The crowd gives back what ITVS withdrew.  The faces of corporate money in politics belong on public television.  Next step? 

Art Director George Lois, moonlighting from his ad agency, designed visually stunning covers to highlight Esquire’s innovative literary journalism by Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin et al.  Lois is better here than in the documentary Art & Copy — especially on the Andy Warhol and Sonny Liston covers.

A MUST SEE for any journalism student assigned to read Gay Talese’s classic observational reporting story “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”.      

A MUST SEE for any journalism student assigned to read Gay Talese’s classic observational reporting story “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”.      

Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire magazine in the 60s is a rare personal documentary that is also an important cultural history.  Tom Hayes discovers the magazine world of his father Editor Harold Hayes. 

Riveting, thought-provoking, beautiful, intimate and globally significant, DIRTY WARS, previewed last night at IFC Center, opens this weekend.  
SEE for screenings.  First, READ THE LA TIMES story about the film and how it was made.  Director Richard Rowley puts himself in dangerous conditions alongside journalist Jeremy Scahill as he struggles to report a complex story.  Made with the collaboration of David Riker, this film raises the bar for documentary filmmakers: 

Documentarians, said Riker, “have this concrete knowledge, but the storytelling skills are not always as developed,” he said. “In the fiction world, it’s the reverse. I tried to bring those together, in a way that was completely true to the story.”

For more, Scahill has written a 700-page book, DIRTY WARS:  

The documentary community came out to support Jon Alpert & Keiko Tsuno yesterday at their groundbreaking ceremony for an all-documentary cinema at DCTV.   Michael Moore came from Michigan to praise the intrepid Alpert who inspired him.  

Some there remembered the earlier TV LAB phase of Alpert and Tsuno’s documentary career, when she held the camera for CUBA THE PEOPLE and VIETNAM: PICKING UP THE PIECES!    In recent years HBO has been Alpert’s primary outlet and a contingent of HBO execs were on hand for the event.   

Now it’s up to you to end Hunger in America. A PLACE AT THE TABLE tells us that 50 million Americans are going hungry and that numerous organizations are working to lobby Congress, but they haven’t overcome the power of the agribusiness lobby.  We learn that in 1968 CBS Reports correspondent Charles Kuralt’s documentary “Hunger in America” resulted in substantial federal food assistance that “nearly ended hunger in America” but that all changed in 1980 with the election of President Ronald Reagan.  

The superb animation in this new documentary carries a message that deserves to be heard by all, but it’s not being shown on television where most viewers don’t only have a choice of three or four channels as they did in 1968. So how do we take collective action when we’ve reduced the impact of our most powerful mechanism for galvanizing the nation?  In “democratizing” television we’ve undermined the effectiveness of social action in our democracy.   


Vital info; but commercials undercut context, time to think, to feel, and experience #Rachel Maddow  

Rafea: Solar Mama, the new title since this trailer was cut, is a significant documentary by Arabic speaking directors Mona Eldaief and Jehane Noujaim who follow Rafea, a Bedouin woman from Jordan, to Barefoot College in India where she learns to be a solar engineer.  Beautifully edited by Jean Tsien, the film immerses us in characters whose concern for education, women’s rights, and the environment confront obstacles of patriarchy and local politics.  This is social action by example.  An inspiration!