Temerlin draws guests to AFI Dallas

Advertising consultant decided his city needed a fest

With four words, Liener Temerlin makes things happen.

“I’ll make a call,” the 79-year-old advertising consultant and former chairman of the advertising agency Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, says. Suddenly, people start to call back. And offer to help.

That’s pretty much how the AFI Dallas Film Festival began. As an active supporter of Dallas’ ongoing cultural renaissance — the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, scheduled to open in 2009, has raised more than $238 million toward its $275 milion goal — Temerlin decided the city where he and his wife have lived for 50 years needed such a festival.

Temerlin is a film buff, not a filmmaker, and he figured that by combining his love of film and his love of Dallas, he’d have something good.

A former member of the AFI board of trustees, Temerlin was the brain behind the institute’s acclaimed “100 Years, 100 Movies” series.

As an advertising consultant who represents Target and the Perot Cos. — both of which donated significant dollars to AFI Dallas — Temerlin boasts an impressive Rolodex and many friends.

So when he called old pal Veronique Peck, she agreed to join the film festival’s board and to attend. Her late husband, Gregory Peck, was the first chairman of AFI’s board.

“Everyone says yes to him,” Peck says of Temerlin. “He gets things done, and gets things going in the best way.”

Marvin Hamlisch, the Pulitzer-, Oscar-, Tony- and Emmy-winning composer, agreed to participate in the festival as soon as Temerlin called.

“If he called and said, ‘I’d like you to come out here and read the comics,’ I’d do it,” Hamlisch says. “That’s how highly I think of him.”