Perfectly set in Seattle, Lucky Them stars Toni Collette as a rock music magazine journalist, Oliver Platt as her editor, and Thomas Haden Church as wealthy, would-be documentary filmmaker, who tags along as she searches for her presumed dead rock star/former lover. A totally enjoyable comedy written by Sarah Lawrence graduate Emily Wachtel and directed by Megan Griffiths. Especially delightful for doc makers and journalists! See it now at the IFC Center or online.
We fully support withoutaboxsucks.com - a group of independent film festivals and filmakers from across the globe who are coming together to stop the unscrupulous practices of Withoutabox. In 2000 Withoutabox was created, 8 years later they were acquired by Amazon. Since then they have been causing serious harm to independent film, making it harder than ever for film festivals to survive, taking all rights from under filmmakers noses and using bully tactics/legal threats to anyone who challenges them. Fine. Sue Us.
I created a draft post on my www.script-doctor.net tumblr site and was looking for tags…which seemed to no longer be there…and I accidentally signed out and cannot sign in. I have changed my email recently, but Tumblr seems to have my former email: email@example.com
I see no way to send a forgot password or change user name…and my records of passwords don’t seem to work. PLEASE ADVISE…THANK YOU.
I AM SENDING THIS TO EMAILS LISTED IN MY CONTACTS FOR TUMBLR…can’t see a Tech Support or Help Contact at tumblr itself.
NOTE MY NEW EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS BOOK while you consider supporting
NAM JUNE PAIK & TV LAB: License to Create
The “first digital revolution” that changed all of television.
STREAM THIS DOCUMENTARY. I DID — AND FOUND IT EXTRAORDINARY. JOURNALISTS: PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO HOW NOT TO BEHAVE. FILMMAKERS: NOTE THE EXTRAORDINARY BONDING. HERE’S A REVIEW WITH LINKS TO STREAMING SITES:
On the surface, “Maidentrip” is a documentary that recounts the incredible feat achieved by Laura Dekker, the Dutch schoolgirl who became the youngest person to sail solo around the world in January 2012 at age 16. But this is no fight-to-the-finish quest to break a sports record or perilous struggle for survival against the elements. Instead, it is a high-seas chanty of a coming-of-age tale: a portrait of a once-giddy youngster who develops into a poised and determined woman over the course of 17 months as she charts her course not just on the water, but in life. The movie is directed by Jillian Schlesinger but primarily filmed with a Sony Handy Cam and narrated in both in English and Dutch (with subtitles) by Dekker herself during long passages aboard Guppy, her 38-foot refurbished ketch. In between endless days of sailing, there are stops at the Canary Islands, the Panama Canal, the Galapagos Islands and French Polynesia. Delicate watercolor-style maps provide a way to keep track of her progress while uplifting, often-propulsive string music by Ben Sollee sets the mood on the soundtrack. One of the first orders of business, however, is to quickly address the 10-month controversy that developed in Holland in 2009 after Dekker announced her plans to circumnavigate the globe. Fearing for the teen’s safety, the government stepped in, sharing custody with her parents to prevent her from attempting the challenge until a court finally ruled that she could proceed. The media labeled her spoiled and delusional.As we learn in segments devoted to her upbringingâillustrated with home video and snapshotsâif ever a child was raised to achieve this goal, it was Laura Dekker. She was born on a boat in Whangarei, New Zealand, during a seven-year trip around the world conducted by her Dutch father and German mother, and spent her first four years at sea. She had her own dinghy at 6 and always dreamed of repeating the route that her parents followed.Divorce split up the family, with Dekker choosing to reside with her shipbuilding father while her mostly-absent mother lived elsewhere with her younger sister. She was forced to become self-sufficient when her overworked dad had a breakdown, learning various life skills and acquiring a self-assurance that would serve her well during her remarkable expedition. Dekker captures on camera portions of some of the more harrowing episodes encountered during her oceanic trek, including the heavy damage her boat sustained after making it through the hazardous Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea as well as enduring 60-foot waves and heavy rains while navigating around the Cape of Good Hope. But whenever the going gets really rough, focusing on the task at hand rather than filming becomes a priority. Perhaps as a result, the narrative tends towards the meditative and Dekker’s personal growth. At first, she recounts how she wanted to step ashore regularly for sightseeing. Loneliness is an issue. Dekker sounds weepy during footage of dolphins swimming alongside Guppy, as she begs them to linger a while longer.She hangs out with an American sailing couple at one tropical port of call, catches up with her mother and sister at another and reunites with her dad in Australia, where he helps her repair the battered Guppy. But it’s when Dekker is stuck adrift for 47 days waiting for the wind to pick up on the Indian Ocean that she realizes that solitude actually becomes her. “I love being alone,” she says. “Freedom is when you’re not attached to anything.”She also realizes that the everyday grind of the Netherlandsâwhich she describes as “Get money, get a house, get a husband, get a baby and then die”âis not for her. Instead, Dekker buys a New Zealand flag to fly in French Polynesia, a place she refers to as “paradise.” What a relief it is to spend quality movie time with an adolescent girl who isn’t pining for a boy or obsessed with social media. Not that Dekker doesn’t act her age regularly. She adorns herself with headbands, wrist ornaments and necklaces. She dyes her blond hair red around the trip’s midway point. She celebrates after making popcorn for the first time. She bounces around to music and eats out of a cooking pot just because she can. She even swears, though not quite like a sailor. Dekker is emphatic when she tells a reporter who comes aboard the Guppy that she is not concerned about making it into history books. It is about the experience, she says. Some have compared “Maidentrip” to a young female version of Robert Redford’s “All Is Lost”. But in Dekker’s case, all seems to be found.
Conductor Murry Sidlin's persistence in telling the amazing story of DEFIANT REQUIEM is having a world wide impact. Here’s a letter recently received:
I live in Scotland and recently watched The Defiant Requiem on the BBC which I found very emotional. My mother and her twin sister arrived in England on one of Nicholas Winton’s kinder transports in 1939. Sadly, both my grandparents and many of my extended family members were taken to Terezin and I believe both my grandparents perished in Auschwitz. My grandfather, Otto Flusser, had worked before the war in the German Opera House (now the State Opera House) in Prague. I sadly know very little of my family history as my mother was only eleven when she left Prague. However, I believe that my maternal grandmother’s cousin is Jan Rocek who I was so surprised to see contributing to the programme and wondered if it would be at all possible for you to pass my details to him as I would obviously dearly love to make contact. Thank you for any help you can provide and also a heartfelt thank you for making such a deeply moving programme, so important for my children and future generations.
The Defiant Requiem Foundation made the connection and reported:
They have now corresponded and are in fact, related to each other. The woman in the UK just wrote me the email below. It gave me chills. Wow!
My sister, brother and I grew up believing that we had lost all our maternal relations and that we would perhaps never learn what had actually happened to each of them. It is wonderful to discover that Jan survived and that there is a whole family in America who are blood relatives, and we can hopefully now look forward to getting to know them all.
Filmmaker Nancy Buirski was showing her beautiful, moving documentary Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq in Berlin and couldn’t be at the Eleanor Bunin Munroe theatre last night for the open of its NYC run. When her film debuted at the New York Film Festival, she spoke afterward. In the audience then, Jacques d’Amboise who danced with Tanny, told a wonderful story captured in this video link.
A live special treat last night was Arthur Mitchell who founded Dance Theatre of Harlem and convinced Tanny to teach and coach dancers later in her life. D’Amboise, Mitchell and other friends, not unrelated experts, in the film tell Tanny Le Clercq’s emotional story that you must see. An archival treasure!
Crucial fact in last paragraph: “One longtime layer of oversight — a senior executive in charge of standards who screened every “60” report before broadcast — was removed after Mr. Fager was promoted to chairman of the news division.”
Sad to learn this after having experienced the valuable corrective that lawyer Robert Chandler exercised at 60 Minutes on my first story in 1984. He not only countered the excessive enthusiasm of founding executive producer Don Hewitt but also pushed me to do further reporting before the story aired.
Restraint or Repercussion? No one wants to be micro-managed, but removing those who would regulate us — in editorial, financial or other matters — is a recipe for creating crises.
Not as compelling or as fresh as Frontline’s DROPOUT NATION last fall, THE EDUCATION OF MICHELLE RHEE raises more questions than it answers. Once again, it proves how hard it is to join the issues in reporting on education when the answers have more to do with the general health of the children being educated and the management of a bureaucracy than with teaching. Alexander Russo’s comments on the PR “coincidences” surrounding the Frontline documentary are intriguing and worth pursuing. Knowing that this is a compilation of PBS NewsHour reports somewhat explains its limitations. Had I known that and hadn’t seen the press on Rhee’s new venture I might not have watched. I got the attitude, the personality, the controversy, but overall I wanted to learn more.
Getting attention, finding money and finding your audience is a challenge for today’s documentary filmmaker. I didn’t see “Until They Are Home”, but I know how important reviews and awards are and have to admire Barber’s strategies. This year-end story from the NYT has stayed with me:
So who needs a Lexus? Mr. Barber, who operates from a rent-controlled apartment here, bought a full-page “for your consideration” ad in Variety instead.
The ad, said Mr. Barber, who spoke by telephone last week, cost him a little less than its standard price of $13,500. As with almost everything related to his movies, he haggled — but at least he didn’t ask Variety for a contribution.
“I ask everyone for money,” said Mr. Barber, who describes himself as a salesman by nature. In fact, he makes a living by selling advertising when he isn’t pursuing his passion for documentary films, and especially those about repatriating the remains of American military personnel who died abroad.
Watching ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTIONstirred me to ask why isn’t there a public discussion to limit the time spent on political campaigns, why isn’t everyone automatically registered, why don’t we have a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday voting holiday period, why don’t we have an independent commission to administer the elections, and why do we waste millions on negative advertising instead of requiring television stations to present positive policy positions of the candidates and parties?
Maybe if teachers show this documentary in grade school and high school social studies classes, a new generation will take up these issues.
As one child says when confronted with a demonstration of how the Electoral College works, “It’s not fair!”
Producer/director Bennett Singer showed his documentary at Columbia Journalism School last night and I asked him afterward if PBS was showing it — about 70% of stations, he said. See it in New York at 9 p.m. on WLIW Channel 21 on October 28th. and in Chicago at 9:30 p.m. on WTTW October 30th. More local listings at http://electoraldysfunction.org.
This is exactly the kind of program that PBS should broadcast nationally and be seen by 67 million voters. Mo Rocca’s humor and even-handed reporting raise vital questions about our electoral process that neither President Obama or Governor Romney talked about in their 3 debates.
Documentaries, like anything on television, have to be programmed regularly and have to be of consistent quality. POV and FRONTLINE on Mondays, HBO on Tuesdays — there’s room for more; but CNN’s proposed documentary premiere every three months must be combined with documentary acquisitions for a weekly series if CNN is to gain traction.
No doubt that independent documentaries serve democracy’s need to come to grips with the stories and issues of our time since most of television have abandoned long form non-fiction storytelling.
Chris Matthews followed at 10 p.m. with an MSNBC documentary essay Barack Obama – Making History. Taking an historic view of the election of the nation’s first black President, Matthews reminded us of Obama’s international appeal by noting that he visited 20 or more countries, more than any other president in his first term. Matthews made explicit the character and meaning of this Presidency for our nation. Where CNN’s program was too tight, MSNBC’s was too loose in construction. Its commercial blocks were shorter, but notably one ad from Chevron defended fracking. The viewer was reminded where real power resides. To combine the strengths of both programs would result in a real documentary that if presented without commercials would contribute to voters understanding and education. Oh, that’s FRONTLINE’S “THE CHOICE” on PBS. Or at least it has been, in past election years, the best documentary consideration of the presidential candidates before the electorate.
James Carville, invited to opine last night on CNN after it showed Obama Revealed: The Man, The President, began by saying, “the piece, ‘documentary’, I guess you’d call it.” Anderson Cooper had to reassure him it was a documentary, but I kept thinking if CNN believed more strongly in long form reporting Cooper would have introduced it and introduced the cable network’s reporter, chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. She did a credible job of interviewing, especially when she spoke with the President, but not once did I see or hear her name during 90 minutes of the “documentary” in which commercials seemed more dominant than reporting.
CNN seemed tone deaf in that the first commercial was for “Clean Coal” – but there were eight commercials, usually, in four-minute blocks for about every six minutes of program material. Then, each program segment began by repeating something we had just heard and seen. Ultimately we did “learn something”, as Carville said, about the president’s accomplishments, but at a breathtaking speed because of how the ‘documentary’ was packaged.
After it was “over”, segments were repeated and “analyzed” by Cooper, Candy Crowley, Wolf Blitzer, Gloria Borger, Alex Castellanos, Carville – and Yellin, the only one I hadn’t seen before. Admittedly, I haven’t watched CNN for long time, not since Time Warner moved it higher up on its list of channels. I found it in HD on Channel 778. What a shame to see such good work, more an extended news analysis than a documentary, interrupted and so poorly presented.
What wonderful news to hear that Ricki Stern, Dartmouth ‘87, will be delivering this Fall’s convocation address at Dartmouth. It’s especially heartening to see a documentary filmmaker — and one with such a diverse portfolio of remarkable films made with her documentary partner Annie Sundberg, Dartmouth ‘90 — receive this recognition.
LOVE FREE OR DIEis the title of Macky Alston’s new documentary on Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church. Nowhere, in the film, do you see the ever-present state slogan “Live Free or Die” but having lived through many New Hampshire presidential primaries we are expected to appreciate the play on words.
Until I looked online I wasn’t aware of the film’s subtitle: HOW THE BISHOP OF NEW HAMPSHIRE IS CHANGING THE WORLD. That might have been necessary to persuade funders like the Ford Foundation and ITVS that it was a “social action” film. Most funders these days want to be sure they are supporting change. Actually this documentary is just good journalism, good storytelling, superbly photographed by Tom Hurwitz, about the life of a strong character who enlarges our view of humanity.
Love Free or Die's timely story is similar to the conflict within the Orthodox Jewish community shown in the short documentary DevOUT, by Diana Neille and Sana Gulzar, whom I advised at Columbia Journalism School last year.
SEARCHING FOR SUGARMANis a remarkable music documentary – a mystery story about human freedom, persistence and resilience with haunting music by the Detroit folk singer Rodriguez who disappeared from the concert stage in America after making two albums in the early 1970s but became more popular than the Rolling Stones and Elvis in apartheid-era South Africa.
Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul discovered the search for Rodriguez while traveling in Africa. Unlike most documentaries about popular musicians that, however much you enjoy the songs, seem like promotional vehicles controlled by the performers, SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN is an amazing story that weaves together extraordinary interviews with a host of supporting characters, evocative landscapes and songs as relevant in today’s political climate as they were forty years ago.
The music and the documentary reverberate long after you have left the theatre. I can’t recall seeing another popular music documentary about a solo performer as compelling as SUGARMAN since D.A. Pennebaker’s 1967 cinema-verite documentary portrait DON’T LOOK BACK about Bob Dylan, to whom Rodriguez is often compared.
Click on DEFIANT REQUIEM above TO SEE TRAILER. This documentary is a stirring story of human freedom and choice under the most adverse conditions — the film realization of an important investigation that led to a concert-drama conceived by conductor Murry Sidlin and performed around the world. Learn more at www.defiantrequiem.org and www.defiantrequiemfilm.com