Documentary Producer to Lead City’s Film Office -
A great choice and a boost for documentary in the media capital of the world. POV will miss her, but she can do even more for New York and public television in her new job.
Cynthia López, named the new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, says she wants to build on the legacy of her predecessor.
Maidentrip Movie Review & Film Summary (2014) | Roger Ebert -
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.
Amid the Debris of Homs, a Guerrilla Is Born -
Amazing story about a documentary that made it to Sundance. Now how long will it take to move this timely film to theaters and streaming distribution?
Two filmmakers in a besieged Syrian city charted the transformation of a Syrian soccer player from peaceful protester to fighter.
‘Afternoon Of A Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq’ Commands the Stage -
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!
"But documentaries are the art of the journeyman. They can be undone by too much ambition. Too much ingenious construction and they cease to represent the world, becoming reflected images of their own excessively stated pretensions." — Nick Fraser — http://documentaries.about.com/b/2014/01/12/we-love-impunity-nick-fraser-on-the-act-of-killing.htm?nl=1
Documentary Directors Roundtable Full Interview -
Alex Gibney, Lucy Walker, James Toback, Morgan Neville, Teller, and Errol Morris share insights on documentary filmmaking today.
David Letterman - Ken Burns' "The Statement" by Rob Ford -
Documentary is no longer an off-putting word. In fact, it’s quite popular! Thanks to Ken Burns and David Letterman!
60 Minutes Airs Apology on Benghazi -
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.