News-Gazette Report on My Ebertfest Panel

Posted on April 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

Champaign’s News Gazette wrote a nice piece about our panel discussion on “Synecdoche, New York” with writer-director Charlie Kaufman. Reporter Melissa Merli called it “perhaps the liveliest post-screening discussion so far.”

said he explores themes in which he’s interested and that are going on in his life.

“It gets complicated and messy,” he said. “I usually don’t have an outline unless I have to pitch. I try to keep it honest and emotionally kind of naked.”

During the audience Q-and-A, Roger Ebert, who lost his speaking voice due to complications following surgeries for thyroid cancer, had his wife, Chaz, ask the Kaufman panel to discuss the film from the aspect of life and death. The critic said he watched “Synecdoche” at a time of illness and that it “enormously helped” him understand his life.

Kaufman said it was very meaningful for him to hear that. The writer-director also said the most any writer in general can offer as a creative person is to be themselves and to be as honest as they can be “because maybe then you can bridge a distance between you and other people” and make them feel less alone.

“We should recognize we are not in opposition to one another,” Kaufman said. “I think we live in an alienating culture that puts people at odds with each other. To what end, I don’t know.

“Worry about illness and missed opportunities and missed connections with people — that’s what I tried to put in the movie.”

For this panel and more, check out the Ebertfest webcast.

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Festivals Media Appearances

Today at Ebertfest

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I will be on stage following I Capture the Castle today. Unfortunately, the travel delays in Europe kept Bill Nighy from attending the festival as planned, but we will have a good audience discussion. Then, we will see Vincent: a Life in Color, a documentary about a Chicago man who wears suits the color of jellybeans and entertains the crowds on the Chicago River boats by twirling. He is here at the festival and came up to me last night to make a joke about my last name (better than most!).

All that and more coming up. Stay tuned.

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Festivals

Lois Wilson, the Woman Behind Al-Anon

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

“When Love is Not Enough,” the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie about Lois Wilson, the wife of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, will premiere this weekend starring Winona Ryder and Barry Pepper. Lois Wilson recognized that the friends and families of alcoholics needed a place to share their stories and find support. She had learned that those who love alcoholics could not change them but that they could find their own peace. And so she and helped to found the Al-Anon Family Groups. From the initial 48 who responded to her in 1951, it grew to over 29,000 groups worldwide and a membership of over 387,000, reaching out with a blog, podcasts, publications, and the core of their program, their in-person meetings, held all over the world. “In Al-Anon and Alateen, members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.”

The motto is, “To help them, you have to help yourself first.” They tell their members, “It is estimated that each alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people… alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship.”

Here Bill and Lois Wilson tell their story.

“I believe that people are good if you give them half a chance and that good is more powerful than evil.

The world seems to me excruciatingly, almost painfully beautiful at times, and the goodness and kindness of people often exceed that which even I expect.”

– Lois Burnham Wilson

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Television The Real Story

Today at Ebertfest

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I will be on stage following I Capture the Castle today. Unfortunately, the travel delays in Europe kept Bill Nighy from attending the festival as planned, but we will have a good audience discussion. Then, we will see Vincent: a Life in Color, a documentary about a Chicago man who wears suits the color of jellybeans and entertains the crowds on the Chicago River boats by twirling. He is here at the festival and came up to me last night to make a joke about my last name (better than most!).

All that and more coming up. Stay tuned.

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Festivals

Movies That Take Place in One Night

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Rotten Tomatoes picked the five best movies that take place in one night.

Some other one-night movies:

“Can’t Hardly Wait” and “Dazed and Confused” — like “American Graffiti,” both stories of the celebration of the end of school/start of the school year
“Adventures in Babysitting,” “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” and “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” — like “Date Night” and “After Hours” these are stories of a night of unexpected and mostly disruptive events
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “Conversation(s) With Other Women” — after a social gathering, the characters interact in unexpected and often disruptive ways

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