Thursday, August 5, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Greetings from The Little Theatre via @constantcontact
Saturday, July 24, 2010
A trio of artists will be showing their work in the cafe: Katherine Weston, Richard Harvey and Michael Harris.
Katherine Weston is a mixed media artist who combines printmaking with painting and collage. Her work teeters between representation and abstraction--graphic form and organic movement. The mysterious quality of her work pulls the viewer in to take a closer look at the subtle nuances she has created by sanding and wiping layers of paint and the inclusion of fabric and other objects in her work.
She is on the steering committee of the Arena Art Group, a member of the Rochester Art Club and a member of the Print Club of Rochester. Her work has been shown in National shows in New York, Chicago, Toledo, Harrisburg, Baton Rouge, Estes Park, Tallahassee, and Rochester. She has won numerous awards for both her printmaking and mixed media art.
In February of this year she took on a new project that consists of the complete renovation of an old building in Brockport. When completed later this year, the 2-story building with it’s new name, A Different Path Gallery, will house an art gallery, a retail shop and her private studio on the first floor. The second floor will consist of 4 or 5 studio spaces to be rented out to professional artists in the area. For more information visit the website: www.DifferentPathGallery.com.
Richard Harvey earned a BFA in Communication Design with a Fine Art Minor from RIT in 1972 and later took graduate work in fine art digital imaging. His fine art pursuits continued alongside a career in graphic design during which he enjoyed a twenty year representation by the Austin-Harvard Gallery in Pittsford NY. The interplay of graphics and fine art remain very evident in much of his work.
The subject matter of Richard Harvey's mixed media work is predominantly human faces or full figures that tend to portray deeply expressive, even haunting, emotional imagery. This quality is also evident in his ruggedly carved, contemporary primal sculpture, which is inspired by tribal masks, rituals and ancient artifacts.
Though the human figure is a constant theme, experimentation in process is a driving force in his work and he thrives on trying a variety of approaches, including the use of encaustic wax, metal sculpture, and imported digital images such as graffiti.
While leaving the door open to the expressive possibilities of abstraction, my current work seeks to reintroduce imagery into painting. Found images and an attraction to less than conscious ideas begin the process, which is also informed by past experience with printmaking, a love of the paper surface and working methods. Perception of contrasts or dualities in the field of time (peace/turmoil, light/dark, expansive/constricted, rough/smooth, ancient/modern, etc.), provide fuel as the formal elements are explored and balance is sought. Process and search for artistic quality are uppermost concerns in what is sensed as a healing enterprise.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Followed by a talkback discussion with Deborah Ronnen (Deborah Ronnen Fine Art) and Douglas Dreishpoon (Chief Curator, Albright Knox Art Gallery). The Little Talkback Series is made possible through support from the New York State Council on the Arts.
About the film
HERB and DOROTHY tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy's paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner.
After thirty years of meticulous collecting and buying, the Vogels managed to accumulate over 2,000 pieces, filling every corner of their tiny one bedroom apartment. "Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment," recalls Dorothy. In 1992, the Vogels decided to move their entire collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The vast majority of their collection was given as a gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired appreciated so significantly over the years that their collection today is worth millions of dollars. Still, the Vogels never sold a single piece. Today Herb and Dorothy still live in the same apartment in New York with 19 turtles, lots of fish, and one cat. They've refilled it with piles of new art they've acquired.
HERB and DOROTHY is directed by first time filmmaker Megumi Sasaki. The film received the Golden Starfish Award for the Best Documentary Film and Audience Award from the 2008 Hamptons International Film Festival. It has also received Audience Awards from the 2008 SILVERDOCS Film Festival and the 2009 Philadelphia Cinefest. Palm Springs International Film Festival named HERB and DOROTHY one of their "Best of Fest" films in 2009.
Watch a PBS clip as Herb and Dorothy Vogel travel the festival circuit with filmmaker Megumi Sasaki, sharing their passion for art and the story of their extraordinary lives. At museums and theaters across the country they are feted by crowds of artists, collectors and admirers.
Take the Collector Challenge at PBS.
Deborah Ronnen is a private art dealer and curator,focusing on modern and contemporary art ,with special expertise in fine art print-making, and contemporary photography. Through Deborah Ronnen Fine Art, she has curated exhibitions of work by Pablo Picasso,Vik Muniz , Alison Saar, Robert Motherwell and Jasper Johns, to name just a few.
She is a Trustee of the Albright Knox Art Gallery where she serves on the Acquisition Committee, and a past Trustee of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, where she also served on its art committtee.
She is a Member of the New York State Council on the Arts, and Chair of its Visual Arts Committtee. She also serves as a Member of the Empire State Plaza Art Commission.
Douglas Dreishpoon is Chief Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. He has worked in museums for more than nineteen years, as curator of collections at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro from 1995 to 1998, and as curator of contemporary art at the Tampa Museum of Art in Florida from 1991 to 1995. His essays, interviews, and reviews have been published in numerous catalogues, magazines and journals, including Art in America, Art Journal, Art News, and Sculpture. His essay, “Sculptors and Critics, Arenas and Complaints,” was published in Action/Abstraction: Pollock, De Kooning, and American Art, 1940 – 1976 (Yale University Press, 2008). Other recent publications include The Panza Collection: An Experience of Color and Light (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2007) and Petah Coyne: Above and Beneath the Skin (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2005). In 2009 he organized for the Albright Knox Robert Mangold: Beyond the Line, Paintings and Project 2000-2008.
He also organized the currently traveling exhibition: Everything: Guillermo Kuitca, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980 – 2008 (Miami Art Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Walker Art Center, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2009-2011) . A former board member of the American Section of the International Association of Art Critics, Dreishpoon holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the City University of New York
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
"Joan Rivers — where have you been all my life?"—from the NYTimes Review
From the AV Club Interview:
AVC: There’s some conventional wisdom that good comedians tend to come from troubled and angry backgrounds. Do you think this is true across the board?
JR: I think it’s very true across the board. I think anyone who’s perfectly happy isn’t particularly funny. And when you’re very, very happy, you’re not very funny. You’re just happy. I’d rather be damaged and funny because I’ve been laughing for 76 years.
AVC: Some of the funniest jokes in the film are when you’re talking about trying to get out there more often, and not getting the bookings you want.
JR: Again, if it’s a fact of life and you laugh about it, it’s okay. Everything is okay if you laugh about it. And that’s a great weapon. That’s a cliché, but clichés come out of truth. The glass is always half-empty for me, because I say it’s filled with poison. Even now, as everyone is adoring this movie and loving this movie, I keep saying to Ricki, “Yeah, but we’ll see, well see.” But I’m also not stupid. I’m delighted and savoring the moment, too.
AVC: A lot of people are fascinated by the movie, but also wary of seeing it, because they have a very negative image of you going in.
JR: I worked at The Bitter End years ago, owned by a man named Freddie Weintraub, and we all came out of there—Woody [Allen], Bill Cosby, and George Carlin. There was a whole group that was going through there. Peter, Paul & Mary, The Mamas & The Papas; we were all mixed up together. Freddie would stand at the door after the shows and he would listen to the comments, and if people loved the act or hated the act, he brought them back. He said, “That means they have a quality people watch.” When people hate me, that’s good. They know I’m there. You’re not a chorus kid. Remember in A Chorus Line, she’s having trouble and he keeps saying, “You’re standing out,” and she’s trying not to? They hate me? That’s good.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Talkback guests include: The Sweet Meat Co., Artist Collective comprised of Sarah Rutherford, St. Monci, Mr. Prvrt, Lea Rizzo, and Erich Lehman. They will also be holding a free, one night artshow in the downstairs lounge of the Little 1.
“We hope to explore some of the conspiracy theories about the flick and people's reactions—there's so much to talk about in this film; the audience I saw it with earlier this year was definitely buzzing afterwards,” said Erich Lehman, owner of 1975 Gallery and talkback discussion moderator.
About Exit Through The Gift Shop
Banksy is a graffiti artist with a global reputation whose work can be seen on walls from post-hurricane New Orleans to the separation barrier on the Palestinian West Bank. Fiercely guarding his anonymity to avoid prosecution, Banksy has so far resisted all attempts to be captured on film. Exit Through the Gift Shop tells the incredible true story of how an eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains exclusive footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and many of the world's most infamous graffiti artists at work, on walls and in interview. As Banksy describes it, "It's basically the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed."
About the speakers:
Erich Lehman, Owner/Curator, 1975 Gallery
Building on over 14 years of art collecting experience, owner/curator Erich Lehman started 1975 as a means of sharing his love of art and helping others learn how to build their own collections while exposing the countless gifted artists he has become friends with over the years to an audience that might otherwise not encounter them.
1975 is a mobile gallery living in a semi-permanent space within SURFACE salon in the South Wedge neighborhood in Rochester, NY. We are dedicated to exposing talented artists to a community that might otherwise overlook them and facilitating the would-be collector. 1975 is born of a labor of love. As with all great love, it needs to be shared.
The Sweet Meat Co., Artist Collective
The Sweet Meat Co. is an art collective out of Rochester, NY. We have come together, young artists all navigating our ways through our chosen creative paths, dealing with the distractions of everyday life, of the jobs that pay our way, and feed off each other’s struggle, passion and talent. We seek to celebrate the artistic heartbeat of Rochester and expose its beautiful, raw potential. Together, we play off our mutual loves and skills and grow through exposure to each others' unique specialties.
Whimsical Comedy 'Micmacs' is like Spy Vs. Spy on film
Jeunet begins Micmacs with the kind of somber intensity of imagery that distinguished his World War I movie, A Very Long Engagement. In a bravura wordless opening, a French soldier in Africa steps on a land mine; then, thirty years later, his orphaned son, Bazil (comedian Dany Boon, looking like David Niven on a bender) is a video store clerk. While happily watching The Big Sleep, he is accidentally shot in the head by a criminal on the street.
With the bullet still lodged in his brain, Bazil is eventually released from the hospital to earn his meager living as a street mime. According to Anatole France, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread,” but that’s what this little tramp is reduced to. He decides to take revenge on the CEOs of the two weapons manufacturers who ruined his life. Conveniently, their grand offices are located right across the street from each other.
This sounds grim, but the tone of Micmacs rapidly lightens, becoming more Amélie-like. Jeunet tries to resist creeping Amélization by setting much of the film in a junkyard, where Bazil finds refuge with a quirky fellowship of stereotypical Parisian misfits (including a goateed artist, a contortionist, and a human cannonball). Because this is a Jeunet movie, however, it’s a fabulously French-looking junkyard, the dump of Baron Haussmann’s dreams. Bazil conspires—aided by his ex-video clerk’s grasp of plot twists and his new friends’ reconfigured equipment—to bloodlessly goad the two merchants of death into ruining each other. Countless sight gags ensue—all clever, some astonishing—as multinational corporate technology is outfoxed by old-fashioned French miserliness.
Pick them up at great places all over town:
Right here at The Little!
Great Harvest Bread Co. (Brighton)
Great Northern Pizza Kitchens (Brighton)
Eleventh Hour Gift Shop
Play Better Golf
Stereo Shop (Henrietta)
Four Walls Art Gallery
Gates Public Library
Pagano’s Visual Perceptions
Theresa Zink, LMT
Guido’s Pasta Villa
Rochester Contemporary Art Center
East Ave Deli & Market
Java's (on Gibbs St.)
Temple Bar & Grille
Wallace Library (RIT)
Color Me Mine
Monday, June 21, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The body of the work at the Little is a collaboration with artist Jason Flack (www.jason flack.com). As photographers living in vastly different landscapes, rural vs. urban, we decided to respond to the imagery that we created photographically 1200 miles apart. The result is a variety of diptychs paired thematically based on texture, color, subject or composition.
About Margaret Lejeune
Margaret LeJeune is an image-maker from Rochester, New York. Working predominately in photographic-based mediums, LeJeune explores issues of constructed gender, sexism, power dynamics and stereotypes. Her work has been exhibited at the Griffin Museum of Photography, ARC Gallery, Woman Made Gallery and in numerous national invitational and juried exhibitions. Recently Ms. LeJeune was awarded third prize by Roxana Marcoci (Curator of Photographs, MOMA) in the 2010 Curator’s Choice Award at Center for her series The Modern Day Diana. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Art and the Director of the Kresge Art Gallery at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.
Monday, June 7, 2010
The Little Theatre has created a cinematic rock festival in June, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Rush and The Doors.
Also, to reward music lovers, The Little will be offering a Rock Week Pass. Once you purchase your first Rock Week Film ticket, you will be given a Rock Week Pass. If you see all three films and have the card punched, you’ll be awarded a free movie ticket to use in the future. Four films for the price of three—the opposite of ticket scalping!
About the films:
RUSH: Beyond the Lighted Stage
Opens Thursday, June 10 at 8:00
2010 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Choice Award Winner
For fans of the legendary Canadian band RUSH, this is the documentary to experience. It’s a comprehensive exploration of this extraordinary power trio, from their early days growing up in Toronto, through each of their landmark albums, to the present day. Sit back and revel in the words, music, and wonder of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.
Runtime: 106 minutes
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
London Calling: Live in Hyde Park
Three Shows Only!
Friday, June 11, Saturday, June 12, Wednesday, June 16 at 7:00pm
Tickets are $15 each with 100% of the proceeds going to support The Little Theatre
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's concert film, was captured in London at the Hard Rock Calling Festival on June 28, 2009 in HD. Watch The Boss spontaneously directing the E Street Band and shaping the show as it evolves in front of an enthusiastic festival crowd.
Runtime: 90 minutes
When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors
Opens Friday, June 11
Historic and previously unseen footage of the illustrious rock quartet provides new insight into the revolutionary impact of its music and legacy. The film is a riveting account of the band's history and the first feature documentary about them. Using footage shot between the band's 1965 formation and Morrison's 1971 death, When You're Strange follows the band from the corridors of UCLA's film school, where Manzarek and Morrison met, to the stages of sold-out arenas.
Runtime: 89 minutes
Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (106min.)
Thursday, June 10 - 8:00pm
Friday, June 11 - 9:10
Saturday, June 12 - 1:00, 3:10 & 9:10
Sunday, June 13 - 1:00, 3:10, 7:00 & 9:10
Monday, June 14 - 7:00 & 9:10
Tuesday, June 15 - 7:00 & 9:10
Wednesday, June 16 - 9:10
Thursday, June 17 - 7:00 & 9:10
*Regular ticket prices
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
London Calling: Live in Hyde Park (90min.)
Friday, June 11 – 7:00
Saturday, June 12 – 7:00
Wednesday, June 16 – 7:00
*$15-100% of proceeds support The Little (no discounts available)
When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors
Showtimes for Friday, June 11 - Thursday, June 17
Evenings: 7:10 & 9:40
Weekend Matinees: 1:10 & 3:40
*Regular ticket prices
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Throwback Thursday is a benefit for The Roc City Park: A group of involved citizens and small business owners are working with the City of Rochester’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Human Services and the New York State Department of Transportation to build and maintain a skate park for skateboarders and BMX riders. The Roc City Park (RCP) will be a world-class, public cement skate park located in the city.
About the Event:
We'll be showing a double-header of great skate and speed films that will take you back!
The fundraiser is presented by KRUDCO Skateshop, Etiket Clothing, Thread, The A-List and The Little Theatre. Proceeds benefit the Roc City Park project.
Tickets are $10 each or $15 for both movies and are available at Krudco, Thread and The Little Theatre box office.
Thursday, June 3
8:45pm: Gleaming the Cube
Jack Casey (Kevin Bacon) is a brash yuppie broker who ends up losing his and his parents' wealth playing the stock market. What's Jack's next move? To drop out of the corporate rat race and become a bike messenger. Jack finds his new "free-wheeling" co-workers to be a diverse bunch, and he especially likes the down-and-out, sensitive Terri (Jami Gertz). But Jack also discovers that Terri and other messengers have an illegal and lucrative sideline delivering drugs for the nefarious drug dealer Gypsy. Can Jack rescue Terri from Gypsy's dangerous grip?
Gleaming the Cube
To 16-year-old Brian, life is an empty pool and a skateboard, until his brother is found dead and it's declared a suicide. Determined to uncover the truth, Brian risks all as he crosses into a world of deceit, contraband, and murder. Christian Slater impresses in one of his first leading roles.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I find it easy to be creative.
However, the only thing I cannot create is....
From where does it come?
Why does it arrive when it does?
Where does it go?
There.... for but a moment, the image captured, then gone.
Like a gentle breeze, taken back into it's home; the roiling, eternal cosmic storm of all life, creation and thought.
It is far greater than me, the source of this breeze.
For, it is the source of ALL.
Am I using this inspiration, or it, me?
The question hangs, bloated and waiting.
As I use the brush to create, I ponder the concept of myself, perhaps being an instrument in the hand of the true, only, MASTER artist. For, is it not God?
Martin J. Rogers 5-10'
Friday, May 14, 2010
A new book published this month claims that Crowe threatened to kill “with [his] bare hands” an elderly producer of Gladiator, whom he felt was underpaying his staff. The book, by Nicole Laporte, also reveals Crowe’s reluctance to deliver the film’s most famous line – “And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next” – telling Scott he thought it to be “s---” before adding, “but I’m the greatest actor in the world and I can make even [that] sound good”.
Today, Crowe is in a rather mellower mood. “As many times as Ridley and I have disagreed on things, we don’t yell at each other; there’s no need,” he says. “We just discuss things and we understand we might not see each other’s point of view all the time, but ultimately by the time we’re standing in front of the camera we’ve collaborated on the decision that we’ve made and what we’re doing.”
Crowe, as always, threw himself into the role of Robin Hood, losing the weight he’d packed on for Body of Lies, learning about English folklore and taking archery lessons. “I had to be able to do the things that he did,” he says. “And obviously his principal skill was with a bow and arrow.”Read the full interview here.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
In the film (in theaters Friday), Seyfried plays Sophie, a fact checker for the New Yorker who travels to Verona, Italy (aka the city where Romeo met Juliet) with her fiance (Gael Garcia Bernal) for a romantic pre-honeymoon getaway. But when he ignores her, Sophie is left to wander the city on her own, during which she discovers a wall where people write letters to Juliet asking for her advice about love. To her surprise, Sophie finds a letter dating back to 1957, which leads her on a life-changing journey across Tuscany to reunite its author (Redgrave) with her long-lost love, Lorenzo. But when chemistry blossoms with Claire's grandson (Egan), Sophie is forced to reevaluate her own love life and wonder if he's her true Romeo after all.
See the video interviews here.
Cool fan art page!
Excerpt from an interview with filmmaker Tomm Moore
Moore first had the idea of a Kells-inspired film about a decade ago out of Ballyfermot College in Dublin, as he and a friend formed Cartoon Saloon, their animation company in Kilkenny. Some five years later, "Kells" began to become real when the animated film "The Triplets of Bellville" received an Oscar nod -- and its European producers backed Moore's project. "We kind of got the financing from that Oscar nomination," Moore says. "That was a big boost for us because they signed us as the follow-up."
Another boost was getting acclaimed Irish actor Brendan Gleeson to do voicework -- the filmmakers' first choice. "Brendan was a really early supporter," Moore says. "He'd agreed years ago -- he was making 'Gangs of New York' at the time -- and he probably thought it was never going to happen. But then we went back to him and he said yes."Read the full article here.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
A nature film about humans, "Babies" is devoid of political agenda, philosophizing or, for that matter, commentary of any kind.
Visiting with four babies during the first two years of their lives, the documentary tracks their physical development, the blossoming of personality and the ways their cultures socialize them. As a portrait of children who are wanted and loved, it's intimate and often delightful.
Article/interview with the director
Friday, April 30, 2010
360 | 365 interactively engages filmmakers and our audiences in education, discovery, and celebration through the medium of film in all aspects and directions, 365 days a year.
Live. Breathe. Film.
360 | 365 grew out of the very successful Rochester/High Falls International Film Festival. Honoring the past, the 360 | 365 Film Festival focuses a portion of its programming on the achievements of women in all roles of filmmaking. However, the new Festival expands its programming with a wide range of films appealing to both sexes, all age ranges, and all personal tastes. Beyond the Festival, 360 | 365 is a year round conversation that includes short and feature length emerging filmmakers.
Coverage in City Newspaper
Coverage in the Democrat & Chronicle
Schedule & Tickets
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Andy Garcia’s Career High Turn as a Family Man with Secrets Makes City Island the Year’s Best Acted Film
By Lee Shoquist
City Island, the new family comedy starring Andy Garcia as the patriarch of a Bronx family wrestling with long-buried secrets, is the best family movie in ages and a labor of love for the star, who also produced the low-budget, independent feature.
As Vinnie Rizzo, a prison guard who secretly dreams of being an actor and undergoes a chance encounter with a son he abandoned, the actor deftly balances comedy and pathos as he comes to terms with the responsibilities of an adult man—to others and to himself.
Vinnie Rizzo is as complex a character as Garcia has played, which is really saying something considering my favorites on his resume—Oscar-nominated, hair-trigger Vincent Corleone in The Godfather III, husband to alcoholic Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman, cop crusading for justice in Internal Affairs and wet behind the ears journalist chasing a serial killer in The Mean Season. Expert, each of them. Yet in City Island, which may just be his best, the actor is perfectly pitched in a performance that is symphonic in its notes and dimensions of fatherhood and manhood. To say the character resonates deeply by the film’s climactic street corner blow-out between all parties is an understatement.
An Interview with Andy Garcia
How did you get involved with the movie in the first place?
Ray [De Felitta, the director] had it before me, trying to get it made, and he was having difficulties. It came to me through our mutual PR agency... someone suggested, 'Hey, what about Andy?' and he said, 'Why not?' At least I hope that's what he said. You'd have to ask Ray about whether he really wanted me or not. Regardless, I fell in love with the script, and I told him that I'd help him produce it, too.
What was it like playing prison guard Vince?
I loved Vince Rizzo. I love the fact that this character was put in these farcical situations, but they were all based in a very real, human emotional reality. You'll note that there are no jokes in the movie, it's all behaviour and situational. He has this private, deep-rooted painful dream of being an actor, and he's so embarrassed by it. His obsession with [Marlon] Brando too, which is something I brought to the script, is very charming. It's easy to fall in love with him.
Read the full interview here.
Monday, April 19, 2010
1. Blake, tell us about the Walk the Dream project?
Walk the Dream is a feature length documentary about pursuing your dreams. Three film makers including myself, Dan Petracca and Josh VanBuskirk along with still photographer Sara Klem will walk from New York City to Los Angeles in search of our dreams. While walking we will interview people we meet about their dreams. I firmly believe that everyone we encounter has a passion, whether they pursue it or not. We're hoping to learn why people follow their dreams and how they become successful. There is also a lesson to learn from those who have tried to achieve their dreams and failed. Hopefully we'll be able to find insight into how we can succeed on our own path. Once we reach L.A. we will pitch scripts we have written while on the road and a picture book to attempt to secure future jobs in our respective fields. Ultimately, we hope to make a finished product that inspires those who watch it to follow their dream in life no matter what stands in their way.
2. How did it start? How will you pull it off?
Last August I was working a day job assembling medical equipment and daydreaming about what films I could make and where I should start. I used to listen to the radio for 8 hours a day to make the day pass by faster. I heard an interview with this guy who had walked across the country. He had an amazing story but he didn't document it. I thought, 'I can walk across the country!' But I needed a storyline which is where dreams came in.
Most people find walking across the entire country daunting. I have to admit making a good feature documentary seems far more difficult to me. I needed three things to pull it all off. First I needed a very dedicated team who where willing to commit over a year of their lives to this project. I recruited three producers and four walkers (including myself) from friends I've known over twenty years as well as people I had met very recently at Rochester Movie Makers meetings.
We now needed a great plan about how to execute this project. We've spent the past seven months in pre-production—planning everything from our walking path to contacting thousands of news outlets to create publicity. Of course, we've also been in the gym for 8+ hours a day. The last thing we need to pull this off is money. It's something we're still struggling with—like all film makers. We are partnered with Rochester Movie Makers which allows us to take tax-deductible donations through our websites. It seems trivial, but we're asking everyone we meet for five dollars. We may have to beg for food or do odd jobs to get all the way across the country. But sacrifice is something you need to be willing to do to make your dreams come true—and our dream is to make this film.
If you would like to donate to Walk the Dream you can visit:
3. What is your personal take on film making in Rochester?
Film has such a rich history in Rochester, from George Eastman to Kodak. Yet, we're lucky to have a handful of feature films made in Rochester each year. I've only been working on films for five years now but I've seen a positive change in the atmosphere. Organizations such as Rochester Movie Makers encourage people who are interested in learning about film to get out there and make something.
They're really the grassroots Rochester needs to show people you don't have to own a million dollars of film equipment to tell a great story. On a larger scale, we're starting to see more financed feature length films being made here to support jobs in the film industry. There is also a film studio being built in the old Rochester Tech Park which offers the opportunity for larger motion pictures to be filmed here. Overall, I believe Rochester has the potential to cultivate an innovative film scene. If one of my bigger dreams comes true I'll be able to make feature films in Rochester for the rest of my life.
4. What's your dream film project?
It's cheesy but I think every film project is a dream to its creator. I don't know if most people think of movies as art, but the creators who spend years of their life to create two hours certainly do. There is one script I've been thinking of for years now that I'm very excited about trying to make. I'm interested in doing an ensemble piece with interweaving stories.
P.T. Anderson is one of my favorite directors and I admire the way he moves you fluidly through sequences in films like Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Many people say these types of scripts are cheap writing because you're only putting together a few shorts. However, I think there is an elegance in how they're related that can lend a lot of meaning to a film. I'm interested in using this to show how some of the characters within my script influence the lives of others in serious ways without intending too. The idea that I can show someone making a good-intentioned, well-rounded moral decision with an objectionable outcome they may not even be aware of fascinates me. One of life's mysteries to me is our complete lack of knowledge about how our actions affect others; and how our misunderstanding of events can shape our opinions and viewpoints. These will certainly be themes I play with a lot within my dream project.
5. What have your previous film experiences been like?
I've worked on mostly feature films shot in Rochester. There is really nothing like working on films. During production you frequently spend your entire waking life on a film set. The first film I worked on had a typical workweek of at least 84 hours. It can be difficult because you have to sacrifice your personal life for the duration of a film—so surrounding yourself with understanding friends, family and significant others is extremely important. The truth is, no matter how stressful or nerve-wracking a film can be, I might take time off; but in the end I wouldn't want to do anything else with my life.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Bernie Lehmann is a professional guitar builder who has been painting since he was inspired by a trip to Europe in 1994.
Color itself is often the subject of his recent paintings and the theme is often landscape.
He received a Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University in 1972 and has been a member of the Rochester Art Club and the Penfield Art Association.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
LA Times Critic’s pick!
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger’s are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is based on the trilogy of books by Stieg Larsson and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
Interview: Actress Noomi RapaceLisbeth Salandar, she’s such a prominent, well fleshed out character in the book, so I was curious about your and [director] Niels Andres Oplev’s collaborative process when you were trying to figure out how to play Lisbeth on screen?
Noomi Rapace: I always try to use myself and dig for myself as much as I can. I don’t like to pretend things. I don’t like to fake things. I have to fully understand the person that I’m going to be in a way and then translate experiences and feelings and emotions and things I’ve gone through into her. I read the book a couple of years before so when I met Niels I had a pretty clear picture of who I thought Elisabeth was, and I said to him that if you want me to play her, I think I know who she is and I want to transform into her and do a lot of things to become her. I wanted to change my body. I wanted to be a little bit more masculine and get rid of my female body. I wanted to be more like a boy. I wanted to be able to do all the fighting scenes, so I wanted to go into martial arts training. I trained a lot in Thai boxing and kickboxing with this crazy Serbian guy five days a week. I did a lot of preparation, and I also took motorcycle driving lessons, and I cut my hair and pierced myself.
Read the full article here.
Friday, April 9, 2010
This action comedy tells the tale of mild-mannered married couple Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire (Tina Fey) who fear their relationship may be falling into a stale rut. During their weekly date night, they impetuously steal a dinner reservation, which leads to a case of mistaken identity. Turns out the reservation was for a pair of thieves, and now a number of unsavory characters want Phil and Claire killed. If they can survive a wacky life-threatening night, they may just rediscover the passion missing from their marriage. Directed by Shawn Levy. Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, and Rochester's own Kristen Wiig co-star.Interview with Tina Fey, Steve Carell and director Shawn Levy:
Q: Tina, once they took your bag away, you didn’t have any props, but you did a great job ad-libbing. How hard was that?
Tina Fey: Thanks. Yeah once I lose my purse and coat, it was just me and my arms and the night. Just my bare arms.
Shawn Levy: I feel like we thought about…it was always what are the arms and hands doing in every scene?
Tina Fey: And I was trying to hide my arms behind like a doorjamb. The only thing they didn’t take was my heels. They didn’t take my high heels.
Shawn Levy: That’s right, because of course you would keep your high heels on as you are running for your life. Always.
Q: Did you wear the heels all the time?
Tina Fey: I mean, I took them off when we were in the car sometimes. You know I would cheat a little bit. And I think we had several sets. We had this sort of grandma set and a higher set and then the higher set.
Shawn Levy: Anytime Tina ran it was an inch and a half but with an athletic strap that went across the top of the foot.
Tina Fey: There was a steel reinforcement in the heel…but really Steve built all those shoes for me. He is also a cobbler.
Steve Carell: I am.Read the full interview here.
About the Film
Of all the bands to come out of the 1970s Los Angeles music scene, The Runaways are by far the most uniquely fascinating. This is partially due to their music but more so to the fact that they were teenage girls whose wild and reckless lifestyle was the stuff of legend.
Focusing on the duo of guitarist/vocalist Joan Jett and lead vocalist Cherie Currie as they navigate a rocky road of touring and record-label woes, the film chronicles the band's formation as well as their meteoric rise under the malevolent eye of an abusive manager.
Acclaimed video artist Floria Sigismondi directs from her own script, and her luscious camerawork captures every sweaty detail—from the filthy trailer where the women practice to the mosh pits of Tokyo. What really makes the film cook are the sizzling performances by Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. Not to be missed, The Runaways is an ode to an era and a groundbreaking band.—from the Sundance Film Festival Notes
Interview with Cherie Currie:
So, is it strange having Dakota Fanning play you in a film?
Cherie Currie: Literally, it's like I am in a dream and I am not waking up. It is that surreal and that out of this world. I am literally living a dream. I feel like I'm dreaming right now. I keep waiting to wake up and I am not waking up. It's truly that unbelievable. I just can't comprehend it.
Read the whole interview here.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Art of the Steal plays like a thrilling whodunit as it seeks to solve what happened to the world-renowned Barnes art collection, valued in the “billions and billions.” The collection's unrivalled holdings of post-impressionist and early modernist art are staggering in quantity: 181 paintings by Renoir, 69 by Cézanne, 59 by Matisse and 46 by Picasso, including many masterpieces.
Dr. Albert Barnes was a self-made man with a well-trained eye who assembled the art in the twenties. He snubbed the provincial elites in his hometown of Philadelphia by housing the collection in the suburb of Merion, Pennsylvania. Rather than grouping canvases by artist or era as in a typical gallery, he displayed work in an idiosyncratic way to express his own aesthetic vision. Barnes was more concerned with educating serious students in his vision than reaching casual tourists, so he restricted attendance and refused to loan paintings to other institutions. His individualism earned him antagonists (notably Walter Annenberg, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer) but also many loyal supporters.
Upon Barnes's death in 1951, his will gave control of the collection to the trustees of Lincoln University, the first black university in the United States. Eventually, lawyers and business people swarmed to exploit its resources. In the nineties, a sampling of the collection travelled the world on a multi-city tour (including Toronto). Then a scheme was hatched to permanently remove the collection from Merion that some would later call the heist of the century.
Director Don Argott previously made the endearing documentary Rock School about another iconoclastic educator from Philadelphia. In The Art of the Steal, the filmmaker deftly adopts an investigative approach to unravel the complicated politics and personalities that determined the fate of the Barnes collection. Drawing upon research from John Anderson's book Art Held Hostage, the film tantalizes us with the sumptuous imagery of the paintings, and features interviews full of intense conflicting opinions.
The story is full of twists, turns and double-crosses. Along the way, multiple questions are raised: How is art best served? Should it be reserved for true connoisseurs or made available to the most eyeballs possible? And who decides?—From the film notes of the Toronto International Film Festival
Interview with the director:
So how did you go from documentaries about rock music and the NFL Draft to one that details the intricacies of the museum world? This film came to us from Lenny Feinberg, the executive producer. He’s a gentleman who lives in the Philadelphia suburbs. Being from this area you don’t have to go very far to get peoples’ take on the Barnes. The story stuck with him, and he was itching to tell it. He found us through [Genevieve Jolliffe’s] The Documentary Filmmakers’ Handbook, which [producer] Sheena [Joyce] and I were interviewed for. He just called us up. I knew a little about the [Barnes Foundation] and the more we delved into it, the more I thought it was an incredible story. We would be the first to tell this story from the ground up. There is a ton of misinformation out there.
Friday, April 2, 2010
About the Film
A mother and daughter find themselves locked in an ugly battle over the same man in this drama. Mia Williams (Katie Jarvis) is 15 years old and lives in a shabby apartment block with her mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), and younger sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). Mia is a reckless and rebellious teenager who frequently argues with her mother and sister and has run afoul of the authorities at school, leading to her being suspended.
With plenty of time on her hands, Mia spends her days drinking when she can find alcohol and partying in a empty flat near her apartment. Joanne is a single mother, and she's begun dating a new man, Connor (Michael Fassbender); when Joanne brings him home to meet the girls, Mia is immediately attracted to him, and it's soon clear Connor feels the same way about her. Mia attempts to seduce Connor to take him away from her mother, and when she succeeds, Joanne's greatest anger is not with the man who has slept with her underaged daughter, but the girl who is now a rival for the affections of her lover.
An Interview with the Director:
LW: First off, one of the things that most impresses me is how concise and precise the images are in your films. You say everything you need to say within the least amount of frames. Obviously a lot of people are going to think of the kitchen sink realism of Loach and Leigh but there’s also a poetic, nearly Neorealist quality to your work. Can you talk a bit about your filmmaking influences?
AA: Ooh, I have quite a lot. Everyone from Terence Malick to the Dardenne brothers to David Lynch, Michael Haneke –
LW: “The White Ribbon.” Everyone hated it but me. (laughs)AA: Yeah, I saw it at Telluride. I don’t know if I was just in a funny mood that day, but it was the first time during a Haneke film that I wanted to leave the cinema.
LW: That’s good!
AA: Yeah, I know. He wants me to feel that way.
LW: Well, you direct in a similar way. I mean, you don’t have a comfortable filmmaking style at all. That seduction scene between older man Connor played by Michael Fassbender and Katie Jarvis’s teenage Mia, which is the centerpiece of “Fish Tank” – that’s damn hard to watch.AA: Yeah, one of my friends described it as “everything I didn’t want and everything I wanted.”
Read the full interview here.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
In most prison movies, anticipation is a survival skill. How long until I’m paroled? How long until I’m jumped? How long until I’m dead? In Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet,’’ waiting runs a distant second to watchfulness. Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim) puts his little brown eyes everywhere he can. He studies the fraught dynamics between his Corsican protectors and the Africans and Arabs in the prison yard. He observes how the Corsicans interact and learns their endangered species of a language. Malik is a young recidivist thug, serving his first adult stint in a French penitentiary for assaulting the police. This time he elects to give himself a Sorbonne-level education in cunning. Read the full review here.
A Prophet – Lead Actor Tahar Rahim interview
Did you do any other kind of research for the role?
I saw a lot of documentaries, and I saw movies and photos and I talked with ex-prisoners. But this only helped me for the second part of the movie. For the first part I had to forget all this to find another way of working with Jacques and talking and trying to think about the situation, the character and the way he acts at this moment. Malik was a virgin to the prison, so I am too. That’s why I discovered the set the first day of shooting. I knew that this could help me.
Which films inspired you most?
Mainly foreign jail movies. One I remember in particular was a film by Brazilian director Hector Babenco called Pixote. I watched those movies because I thought it could help me, but it wasn’t exactly like that.
Read the full interview here.
Friday, March 26, 2010
An untrusting wife attempts to prove that her husband is cheating by hiring an escort to seduce him, inadvertently endangering her entire family in the process. Catherine (Julianne Moore) is a respected doctor, and her husband, David (Liam Neeson), is a dedicated music professor. They've been married for years and have a teenage son together, but lately the passion has faded from their romance. The morning after David misses his flight home -- and the elaborate surprise birthday party Catherine had planned to celebrate his return -- Catherine finds a text message on his phone that leads her to believe her husband is sleeping with a female student. Her suspicions grow over the following weeks, and when Catherine has a run-in with an escort named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), she hires the ravishing blonde to test her husband's fidelity. After each encounter with David, Chloe reports back to Catherine with all the sordid details. But the further the experiment goes, the less clear Chloe's motivations for taking part in it become, and the more the untrusting wife begins to fear that the situation has spiraled out of control. Directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Ararat), this erotic thriller is a remake of Anne Fontaine's French film Nathalie..., and was adapted by Erin Cressida Wilson.
Interview with Amanda Seyfried
Q: What were you attracted to with this film, and were you worried about doing the more intimate scenes?
Amanda: I was worried that I wasn’t capable of actually being able to nail them the way it was written and also the way Atom [Egoyan] wanted it to be played. It’s the study of a marriage. It seems like it’s never easy. It’s about a woman coming into this place where she feels like she’s lost and she doesn’t know exactly who she is anymore. I think it’s just so realistic and the way things happen is just so unexpected. I’ve never seen that before, in a . For me, it’s also a character that wouldn’t come around very often, for someone my age.
Read the full interview here.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
A fortysomething New Yorker in the throes of a midlife crisis falls for his brother's assistant while house-sitting for his sibling in Los Angeles. Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) is single and jobless. He's at a crucial crossroads in life when his successful family-man brother summons him to Los Angeles to housesit for six weeks. Recognizing the opportunity to turn over a new leaf in a new city, Greenberg reaches out to his former bandmate Ivan (Rhys Ifans) and discovers that some old wounds aren't so quick to heal. When Greenberg meets his brother's pretty assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig), a kindred spirit who longs to become a singer, he vows not to become too attached. But the more time Greenberg spends with Florence the more he begins to wonder whether he might have finally made a connection worth keeping. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Brie Larson co-star in a climacteric comedy drama from Oscar-nominated writer/director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding).
Interview with Ben Stiller
So how would you describe Roger Greenberg?
BS: He's somebody you don't often see in movies. Which is a guy who's obviously flawed, but is really trying to do the best he can in life. And I think a lot of us can identify with that daily struggle, of just trying to get through the day, with your ego intact and your sense of self.
And then having to deal with the thousands of things that chip away at you in life, as you're trying to make your way. And I think there's really something noble in that. Because I felt this character was really courageous, in just trying to get through his life, you know? And trying face himself. And that's a scary thing.
You know, there are a lot of people in my life, who have not been as fortunate as myself in having any sort of material success, or acknowledgement of what they do. But they're still very talented. People who have a lot to offer, but have just not been lucky enough to have that success.
It's not life and death struggles like, you know, having to fight a dragon, or what you see in movies all the time. It's just people trying to get through life. And deal with their choices, and the mistakes they've made in their life. And then to still go forward. And there are parts of that in people I know, and parts in myself.Read the full interview here.
Friday, March 19, 2010
With the Nazis looking to assert themselves on the world stage in the lead-up to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, it became newly appealing for the Germans to conquer the infamous Eiger mountain face, alternately called “the last great problem of the Alps” or, more bluntly, “the Murder Wall.”
In spite of an attempt that ended in tragedy less than a year earlier, two cocky Alpine mountaineers, Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser, were cajoled into scaling the wall, which among other things would earn them a significant honor at the Games.
Every scene on the eponymous wall is tense and riveting, capturing the bruising physicality and constant danger of going straight up an unstable rock, helpless against the possibility of avalanches or sudden blizzards. Read the full article here.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
From Peter Travers' Rolling Stone review:
The Ghost Writer, based on the Robert Harris bestseller, shows Polanski in brilliant command of a political thriller that ties you up in knots of tension while zinging politics and showbiz like two sides of the same toxic coin.
Polanski, who won a 2002 Oscar for the Holocaust-themed The Pianist, is in a playful, prickly mood here that recalls his early work on Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown. Ewan McGregor grabs and runs with his juiciest role in years as the Ghost, a writer hired to pen the memoirs of Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), the unseated British prime minister now taking refuge in America after being accused of war crimes back home. Any resemblance between Lang and Tony Blair seems purely intentional, since Harris, who wrote the script with Polanski, is on the record as becoming disillusioned with Blair after the PM allegedly teamed up with President Bush to hand over suspected terrorists for torture by the CIA. One reviewer of Harris’ book cheekily labeled it The Blair Snitch Project.Interview with a real-life ghost-writer:
Have you ever wondered exactly what a ghostwriter does, and how s/he makes a living doing it? Perhaps you are thinking of hiring a ghostwriter. Or perhaps you are thinking of becoming a ghostwriter. Or perhaps you're just curious. Whatever. Check out this interview with "a real, live" ghostwriter -- you'll find it interesting...
In this interview, veteran ghostwriter Clifford Thurlow describes some of his experiences and the challenges he has faced. He also gives some valuable advice both to aspiring ghostwriters and to those who may be considering using a ghostwriter.
Read the full interview here.
His epic 14-year journey covered over 90,000 miles and 130,000 vertical feet–and that’s just on the way up!
The Little Theatre is proud to share the story of locally-based climber Kevin Flynn, who has reached the top of the highest peaks on each continent. He is now a member of an elite group of only about 90 people (30 Americans) worldwide to ever achieve this feat.
He has written about his experiences in a book titled, Mount Everest: Confessions of an Amateur Peak Bagger. Come hear about his big climbs—and near-death experiences—in a talkback on Saturday, March 20th, following the 6:30 PM screening of “North Face”.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Today we are speaking with John Williams, Development Director at Literacy Volunteers of Rochester.
1. John, tell us a little bit about Literacy Volunteers.
Literacy Volunteers of Rochester, Inc. (LVR) is an organization of trained volunteers, dedicated to providing one-to-one or small group tutoring to functionally illiterate adults and English instruction for speakers of other languages in the greater Rochester, New York area.
LVR , which is 45 years old, provides assistance to both non-native speakers and native speakers who are considered low-literate (which means that they read at a 9th grade level or lower). They are matched with a trained tutor and learn either one-on-one or in a small group setting.
2. How did Literacy Volunteers team up with the MVP Health Care Little Buddies Series at The Little?
As a former Little board member, I knew that one of The Little’s missions was to provide educational opportunities. It seemed like a natural fit to bring literacy needs and educational opportunities together. Beginning three years ago, LVR decided to become a film sponsor for screenings that were a good fit for literacy. The first year we sponsored Akeelah and the Bee about a young girl from South Los Angeles who tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee. It has been a rewarding partnership—one that has helped bring several new tutors to LVR.
This past year, LVR awarded our Friend of Literacy Award to The Little because of its advocacy for education, as evidenced by hosting and supporting the presentation of films and discussions about important community issues.
3. What are some success stories LVR can share with our readers?
Here is one example of the work our organization and volunteers do on a regular basis. Carmen is an immigrant in the United States who worked with her LVR tutor to master the English language. After completing her LVR citizenship classes and improving her English skills, she was able to become a US Citizen. She also received her driver’s license on the same day! That’s pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.
LVR is learner-centered, so we help learners achieve their particular goals. Some people are looking for help with on the job materials they need to read and understand. Some just want to read their children goodnight stories in English.
Imagine the feeling of satisfaction that comes from helping another person learn to read, write, or speak English. It is a life-changing gift to share.
4. How can people become involved with LVR?
Potential volunteers can call our main phone number at 585-473-3030. You begin your volunteer journey with a one hour preview session to learn more about tutor opportunities. We ask that you commit to working with a learner for two hours each week for the duration of one year.
Potential learners should call 585-473-3030 to set up an appointment for a skill evaluation. Once we determine the learner’s skill level and understand the learner’s goals, an appropriate learner/tutor match can be made.
The learner/ tutor experience is an interesting and educational journey for both parties. It is also an opportunity for the tutor to positively impact the community in which he or she lives and for the learner to engage more fully in the workplace and the community. Our motto is “Open a new chapter in someone’s life”. We feel that this encapsulates what happens for both tutors and learners as they work together.
5. Since the days of George Eastman, Rochester has been a hotspot for philanthropy. What is your personal take on the role of non-profits in the Rochester community today?
Non-profits provide an essential group of resources in the greater Rochester area. Their vitality helps distinguish Rochester from other mid-sized communities. This region is blessed to have a community consciousness where giving back is considered a privilege. This spirit of generosity allows our community to address integral needs for all citizens – and makes me proud to live in Rochester!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Now for the interview:
1. Bill, how did you become involved with social justice issues in Latin America?
During the 80s when the U.S. government was supporting regimes in Central America which were committing horrible human rights violations I became interested in the plight of political asylum seekers from that region. I made a documentary called "Where is Refuge" that was shot in the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica. The Costa Rican part was to show that refugee camps in that country were incapable of fulfilling the need. At the time, Canada was admitting about 75% of these asylum seekers; while the U.S. was admitting about 3%, so I tried to show how politicized our policy was.
Afterward, I couldn't just walk away from what I had seen and I became a volunteer at Vive, a refuge house for people to stay at here in the U.S. while they completed their applications for asylum admission to Canada; and that is how my activism around Latin American issues got started. That ultimately hooked me up with the Latin American Solidarity Committee of the WNY Peace Center, which has been the focus of my activism since then.
2. What made you choose film as a format for exploring these issues and stories?
I had already made art videos and documentaries about art and dance therapy (my wife is an art therapist) and so it was natural for me to want to turn the techniques I had learned to my new interests. Everyone going into documentary has the illusion that they can change things—I did and, frankly, still do. But now I think it has less to do with shifting the gears of the mass culture and more to do with solidifying communities of resistance and winning a few converts along the way. After all, I was deeply changed by documentaries, albeit by making them rather than by seeing them.
3. Tell us about your latest film, Broken Branches, Fallen Fruit.
Broken Branches is the first documentary that I ever made that I wound up loving, warts and all. Through it I became linked in relationships of trust and mutual curiosity with individuals and families of Tzotzil-speaking Mayan Highland Chiapanecos. Chiapas is the Southernmost Mexican State, and the poorest. These people are among the poorest of the poor.
So on the foreground level—and especially in the title piece—it is about them; a particular family, the lack of work and land, and the resulting drive among the young to immigrate to the U.S. On one level it becomes a conversation between generations about immigration. On another level it becomes a gender dialogue about what it means to be in that situation. It implicitly becomes a meditation about what is worthy of preservation in the culture and the likelihood of that happening.
I decided to surround this central family story with with other material such as looking at surrounding conditions and causes—almost like layers of an onion covering the living core. I put together mini documentaries on topics like how trade agreements like NAFTA, and neo-liberalism in general, are contributing to the conditions that drive immigration; about cooperatives (weaving, coffee, etc.) that the people are forming to demand a more just price for their products; and about several other related issues. I will show a couple of these at the Little's screening.
4. What is the most interesting audience question you have had during a post-screening discussion?
I can think of two. Some people are very moved, not by my doc, but by the people in it, and they want to know what they can do. Right now I would say: support immigration reform, go to Washington on March 21st to march, and tell the administration there is widespread desire for legislation on behalf of the immigrants who come here and do our work to be treated like human beings. Also, people need to find ways to promote legislation that would monitor the effects of NAFTA on the people in these countries and modify it to make it less harmful to the poor. One young woman I know of was motivated to go to her church and get them to fund a scholarship for young women in Chiapas.
5. How have your films helped start conversations and promote change?
The young woman who got the scholarship started is the most dramatic instance of change I know. Beyond that, I think it is mostly conversations and incremental shifts and changes. We live in a world where we are literally awash in media and the media that people spend most time with are controlled by the giant corporations.
So someone who has the hope of sparking change with documentaries is a little like David before Goliath—but not likely to have the outcome of that story. Even Michael Moore, who has reached relatively large audiences despairs about making any real dent in the way big money runs things. But I don't despair. I think that John Berger and Eduardo Galeano are right when they say that we are in a period where we need to pull together and support one another. As communities struggle against the commodification of human beings, the destruction of cultural traditions and community, we have to survive and make our values survive. I hope that my documentary work is a small tug in that direction.
Friday, March 12, 2010
About the film:
Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) re-team for their latest electrifying thriller in Green Zone, a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences.
During the U.S.-led occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Damon) and his team of Army inspectors were dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission.
Spun by operatives with intersecting agendas, Miller must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil for answers that will either clear a rogue regime or escalate a war in an unstable region. And at this blistering time and in this combustible place, he will find the most elusive weapon of all is the truth.
Interview with the Director, Paul Greengrass:
Q. Why did you think this particular project was right for your third film collaboration?
Paul Greengrass: After The Bourne Supremacy I wanted to do a film about 9/11 and a film about Iraq because those were the two things that seemed to be to be what was driving our world. Also, it seemed that those were the events that were driving fear and paranoia and mistrust, all that sort of lethal cocktail of stuff that was coursing around the US, the UK and around the world in the wake of those events. United 93 became the 9/11 film, then we did The Bourne Ultimatum and then we started to turn our attention to what became Green Zone, which began as a film about the hunt for WMDs.
Q. So, what were the challenges?
Paul Greengrass: We began by wanting to make a film that would be of broad appeal [to audiences] and that created a set of challenges. It seemed to me, while making Bourne Ultimatum that there were two important things about the audience that loved the Bourne films… first, it was that audience that was being asked to fight that war, and it was from that audience that people opposed that war. So, you had both ends of the spectrum and they were attracted to those Bourne films because they had a high octane, adrenaline, thriller thing, but also because there was an attitude about those films, to do with: “They’re not telling us the truth, I need to find the truth.” So, it seemed to me that we had an opportunity to ask that audience to take one step through the curtain back to the real world, back to the intrigue-filled, dangerous, conspiracy laden weeks immediately before and after the invasion. That in the end, somewhere in that tangled thicket of events and conflicting agendas, was where all that stuff started. That’s really what began Green Zone.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
About the Film
“Is Sweetgrass even a movie about sheep? Not in the sense that March of the Penguins is about penguins. There’s hardly a frame in Sweetgrass without a specimen of Ovis aries bleating, grazing, or even gazing into the camera, yet the educational and didactic rhetoric that typically characterizes entries in the “animal documentary” genre is noticeably absent. Diverging from the cutesy aesthetics that made Luc Jacquet’s penguin exposé an accessible, international hit, filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor taken a far more empirical approach. There is no voice-over narration or “talking head” commentary, and until the very end of the movie there are no explanatory intertitles, either. Instead, they have crafted an ambient narrative in the cinéma vérité tradition that demands patient observation from the audience, but also rewards their attentiveness.
Documenting the journey of two sheepherders and their massive flock over the mountains of Montana, the movie is finely attuned to the intense physicality of the undertaking. It is less interested in explaining the conventional 5 W’s and 1 H (who/what/when/where/why and how) than in the imagistic expression of the process from start to finish. An opening pastoral and undeniable adorable sequence of the sheep bathed in nature’s quiet (and the vague hum of a digital camera) is first subtly disturbed by the sound of an approaching ATV, and later shattered by the violent sounds and gestures of the shearing of coats. As though to curb any simplistic political reading, there follows a sequence of shots as the farmers assist with sheep pregnancies and tend to needy babies. This wide array of sights and sounds sets up the complex, interdependent relation between man and animal that will only deepen as the two groups journey together across the Beartooth Mountains.
The Last Station
Il Trovatore (Opera Series, Sun. March 14th at noon)
The Little Gallery
March 6th- April 3rd
Sun. 5 pm - 8 pm
Mon - Thurs. 5 pm - 10 pm
Fri. & Sat. 5 pm - 11 pm
White Hots (no music on 3/1)
7:30 – 9:30
7:30 – 9:30
7:30 – 9:30
8:30 – 10:30
Fred Stone Progressive Jazz Trio
8:30 – 10:30
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
To a cultivated film viewer like myself, the first clue as to the direction the night would take began with The Hurt Locker’s win for Best Original Screenplay. With the win for Best Editing (which nearly always goes to the winner for Best Picture) they had the night locked so to speak, though it took another hour to officially declare so.
Thus, in a historic night for Hollywood, “The Hurt Locker” took home six Academy Awards, including Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow who became the first woman to take home the prize in the 82 year history of the Oscars. “There is no other way to describe it, it’s the moment of a lifetime,” said Bigelow as she accepted the award.
In what has been wildly considered a David vs. Goliath scenario, “The Hurt Locker”, a small indie film seen mostly by an art-house audience, not only won the evening’s top award but did so by defeating the highest-grossing film of all time, the 3-D juggernaut “Avatar”. James Cameron’s $300 million blockbuster managed to take home three awards, all for technical achievements, much to no one’s surprise and certainly deservedly so.
The irony of course is that, in a move designed to bring in more interest and viewers to the Awards show, the Academy opened the Best Picture category to 10 nominees so that more populist fare like “The Blind Side” could be included. Yet the richly layered, tense Iraq War tale of a bomb-disposal unit, “The Hurt Locker,” was the critics’ (and I am guessing the bulk of Little audiences’) choice all season yet goes down in history as the lowest-grossing winner for Best Picture. The reason for the win, however is simple, this film and its fierce and smart director were the best, period. The taut suspense of the film, its fully developed and smartly paced screenplay rife with human drama, all in the hands of the expert Bigelow made for a truly exceptional film. I can’t help but love the fact that when a woman finally took home the prize for Best Director, it wasn’t for a weepy drama or cute romantic comedy but for a wholly balls-to-the-wall, action film with a purpose and a heart all at once.
What I also find worth noting, both as a discerning film viewer and as someone who works within the world of independent cinemas, is that “Hurt Locker’s” win is also a victory over the Big Box Cinemas as well. That a film which could barely find a distributor at one point and who played almost exclusively in places like The Little beat out a film that is the darling of the mainstream chains like Regal Cinemas is a hopeful indicator that the trend of multi-plex domination and indie theatres’ demise may be shifting. Did the $10 a ticket, $7 for popcorn, 18 screen behemoth’s show “Hurt Locker”? when it was released late last summer? Nope, but The Little Theatre did, long before the momentum of the awards season hoopla began.
The rest of the evening on Sunday, belonged to several familiar faces as predictable wins and one not quite as predictable win were revealed.
In what has become an all too common case of the Academy fixing a mistake from the past, Jeff Bridges was named Best Actor for his memorable portrayal of an aging country singer seeking one last shot at the big time in “Crazy Heart.” Don’t get me wrong, I love The Dude as much as the next gal, and I do think he gave a rich and complicated performance, but he really should have won year’s ago for any one of his four previous nominations. But the Academy couldn’t ignore this error any longer, especially with such widespread respect in the industry for Bridges. On the other hand, you ignore all the history and compare individual performance to performance, Colin Firth’s heartbreaking and exceptionally complex portrayal of a man discovering the joy of life, through planning his death in “A Single Man” wins out for me. I recently watched the film a second time and was reminded why his performance and the film have stayed with me ever since.
Best Supporting Actor and Actress
As expected, both Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”) and Mo’Nique (“Precious”) took home statues in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories for playing truly vile human beings. For her stunning portrayal of the impoverished , cruel mother in “Precious,” Mo’Nique accepted the award, thanking the Academy for “proving it can be about the performance and not about the politics,” a subtle dig at the harsh criticism she received for not attending the many events typically attended by a nominee in order to garner support for their respective films which was then viewed by critics as a snub to the Academy.
The Best Actress category had shaped up to be a showdown between popular A-list darling Sandra Bullock for her fiery turn in “The Blind Side” against sixteen-time nominee and two-time winner Meryl Streep. But it was Bullock’s night to celebrate as another example of the Academy rewarding the person more than the individual performance (incidentally Bullock also took home the Worst Actress Award at the Razzies on Saturday) The problem for me is that I think if the Academy had just waited a little longer Bullock would have turned in a much more award-worthy performance, but, you know she did dye her hair, get an accent and play a character against type so let’s let her have it. What the hell the Academy is waiting for from Meryl Streep in order to give her first award since 1983 for “Sophie’s Choice” is beyond me.
In what was, for me, the only real upset of the evening (since I already predicted that “The Secret in Their Eyes” would pull an upset to win in the foreign film category) was Geoffrey Fletcher winning Best Adapted Screenplay for “Precious” over the perceived frontrunner and my pick, Jason Reitman for “Up in the Air” which went home empty-handed. The win was a historic one at least, as Fletcher became the first African American to win an Academy Award for writing.
I highly recommend that everyone see the winner for Best Documentary, “The Cove” about a daring attempt to capture on film, the horrific capture and slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fisherman…an attempt that nearly cost the filmmakers their lives. The film is currently available on On Demand.
The ceremony itself proved a bit troublesome under the direction of Adam Shankman. While I am indeed a fan of his show “So You Think You Can Dance” and the film “Hairspray,” this year’s show was far too much like a Vegas act on crack. Too many sequins and kick-lines do not a classy Oscars make. And while I adore Neil Patrick Harris, why on earth would you start the show with a song and dance number from someone other than the host? Perhaps they were trying to please the folks who wanted Hugh Jackman to be at the helm once again. Which brings me to Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, this year’s co-hosts. Thought they did have a few moments of true hilarity- Martin mentioning that Waltz’s character in “Inglourious Basterds” was trying to track down all the Jews, proclaiming, “Well here you go….the motherload, “ while gesturing to the audience. But I was expecting much much more from these two great comic talents. Their trade-offs of lines in the opening monologue did not seem to work well and their timing was not there throughout the entire evening- a real killer in the world of comedy.
In the end though, a historic evening for Kathryn Bigelow and her “The Hurt Locker” made for a truly inspired end to an extra long awards season and one that Little audiences can take pride in, for nearly all the nominees were and are seen on our screens at The Little!
A few added thoughts on the evening.
In a total Kanye move, the director and producer of “Music by Prudence,” Roger Ross-Williams, the winner in the documentary short subject category was interrupted by a seemingly crazed woman named Elinor Burkett in a bizarre moment that left everyone scratching their heads. The backstory is this: Turns out the two had a falling out nearly a year ago resulting in a lawsuit and Burkett was removed as a producer and Williams given ownership of the film yet Burkett still qualified as a producer under Academy rules. However it was Williams who was to speak if the film won, though it seems Burkett disagreed. She claimed that she was not included in all the pre-awards events and was not going to let that continue.
Kudos for including the heartfelt tribute to the late John Hughes. He was too important and his contribution too great to just be included in the In Memoriam section. When I was lowly student in film school, all my classmates worshiped at the alter of Scorsese and the like while I credit Hughes for my love of film from an early age. Some days I still wish I could be Watts in “Some Kind of Wonderful” and articulate the world around me like Hughes did. Bravo.
On the other hand, forgetting to include Farrah Fawcett in the In Memoriam is unforgivable.
Doing the Robot to a music from “The Hurt Locker,” and the rest of the interpretive dance section probably not something that will repeat next year.
What the hell was the deal with all the blue ribbons on the men’s tuxes and all the blue dresses? One bit of note though is that the dress and gardenia worn by Mo’Nique was an homage to Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar in 1939- who wore the same color gown and flower in her hair.
Charlize Theron’s dress? As a friend remarked, “She’s got cinnamon buns on her boobs.”
Sorry but the Oscars is no place for the likes of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Lautner, you had no business being there. That goes for you too Amanda Seyfried. At least Zach Ephron was in a worthy film this year in “Me and Orson Wells.”
Those overwrought and long intros to the 10 Best Picture nominees were unnecessary, a montage would have sufficed. Especially since 8 of the 10 stood no change in hell of winning, yes “I’m mostly talking to you “Blind Side” and “District 9.”
Of the four producers of “The Hurt Locker” why were only three (including Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal) on hand to accept the awards? That is due to the Academy campaign violation by producer Nicolas Chartier, who, in the weeks leading up to the awards, had emailed is friends privately encouraging them to vote for his film and not the mega monster “Avatar.” As a result, he was disinvited from the ceremony, but was given lots of acknowledgement by Boal and Bigelow. The irony is that this kind of thing happens EVERY year- and Harvey Weinstein has been the worst offender and yet never cited.
Did anyone notice that they are returning to using the phrase “And the winner is” instead of the more so-called polite phrase of recent years, “ And the Oscar goes to..?”