AFI Docs 2020: It’s Online So Everyone is Welcome!

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 9:05 am

Copyright AFIDOCs 2020
The annual AFI Docs festival is one of my favorites because these are true stories. They will break your heart, lift your spirits, and change your mind. This year, because of COVID-19, the festival is online, which means everyone can see these extraordinary films. Passes are available for as little as $50 which gives you access to 59 Films From 11 countries. This year, 61 percent of the films are directed by women, 25 percent By POC directors and 14 percent by LGBTQ directors.

The festival opens with “Boys State.”

Each year the American Legion hosts a “civics camp” for high school students (separated by gender) in states across the country. BOYS STATE closely follows a group of teenage boys as they attend one such program in Austin, Texas. The attendees are tasked with creating a mock government and spend the week campaigning for leadership and party platforms. Political ambitions are high and the gubernatorial race is hot. Are you curious what the next generation of our political system looks like?

Winner of the Sundance U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize, “Boys State” explores politics through a coming-of-age lens. The result reveals American democracy and political division at its most hopeful and terrifying moments.

The closing film is another political story, with a new perspective on a politician people think they already know, “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President.”

If it hadn’t been for a bottle of scotch and a late-night visit from musician Greg Allman, Jimmy Carter might never have been elected the 39th President of the United States. This fascinating documentary charts the mostly forgotten story of how Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton and others. Low on campaign funds and lacking in name recognition, Carter relied on support from these artists to give him a crucial boost in the Democratic primaries. Once Carter was elected, the musicians became frequent guests in the White House.
Director Mary Wharton assembles a star cast including Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Nelson, Dylan, Parton and Bono and fills the soundtrack with Southern rock, gospel, jazz, and classical.

Especially timely: “Women in BLue,” about the intersectionality of race, gender and violence in the Minneapolis police department.

One of Hollywood’s top directors, Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Apollo 13,” “Splash”) has a film in the festival, “Rebuilding Paradise.”

On November 8, 2018, tucked in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the picturesque town of Paradise would be changed forever. The Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive fire in history, displaced over 50,000 residents, leaving the community in ashes.

In the aftermath of the haunting images of thick smoke and raging fires, Ron Howard’s documentary follows a group of residents as they struggle to rebuild their lives. While coping from the trauma and grieving their loved ones, they must wrestle with the logistics and bureaucracy of rebuilding their community. A sincere portrait of humanity, “Rebuilding Paradise” is a tribute of resilience in the face of uncertainty.

And Ron Howard appears in another festival film, “Dads,” directed by his daughter, actress Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Help”). I’ve seen the film, which is coming to AppleTV Plus later this month, and it is a wonderfully touching and inspiring look at fatherhood, with appearances by the director’s own family as well as celebrities like Will Smith and Jimmy Kimmel and a marvelous assortment of ordinary dads doing the extraordinary job of raising children.

Other films on the schedule include:

9TO5: THE STORY OF A MOVEMENT: DIRS Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. PRODS Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. USA.
Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s film follows a group of secretaries in the 1970s fighting against lack of acknowledgment, demeaning tasks, low pay and all kinds of harassment in the workplace. From humble beginnings in a small office in a Boston YWCA to a nationwide movement so energized it inspired the iconic song and film, the organization’s rise was no easy undertaking. To achieve some justice, they employed clever tactics and took advantage of hidden talents wasted in the office. While gender parity has yet to be fully realized in the workplace, we would be nowhere as close without these women.

BLOOD ON THE WALL: DIRS Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested. PRODS Sebastian Junger, Nick Quested and Peter Goetz. USA.
Immigration under the current administration is indelibly marked by powerful media images of migrant caravans, thousands of Central American families walking hundreds of miles through Mexico desperate to attain asylum in the United States. Acclaimed filmmaker Sebastian Junger (Academy Award®-nominated RESTREPO and KORENGAL) reteams with Nick Quested (Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS) and National Geographic to chronicle the course of events that would transform Acapulco from tourist destination to murder capital in less than a decade.

BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN: DIR Ivy Meeropol. PRODS Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements and Ivy Meerpool. USA.
Before Donald Trump, there was Roy Cohn, the original New York bully. In fact, during the early days of Donald Trump, there was Roy Cohn, right by his side, introducing the brash young wannabe to the big time of Manhattan real estate. Trump was attracted to Cohn’s “take no prisoners” approach to the law and Cohn recognized a rising social climber when he saw one.
The Trump connection is but one fascinating thread in this multi-layered portrait of Cohn by filmmaker Ivy Meeropol, whose own grandparents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed for spying for the Soviet Union as a result of Cohn’s ethically spurious legal maneuverings. Full of insightful interviews with the famous and the not-so-famous, the alchemical genius of BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN is to be, simultaneously, a searing indictment of Cohn and a poignant family history.

CODED BIAS: DIR Shalini Kantayya. PROD Shalini Kantayya. USA, UK, China.
While working on a project, MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers issues with facial recognition programs. Investigating deeper into algorithms and the data in artificial intelligence, she discovers the large gender and racial bias in software created by tech companies. But her findings are only the beginning to much more disturbing revelations. As many of these AI technologies creep into our everyday systems, everything from college application screenings to the type of medical treatment one receives is affected.
Researcher turned advocate, Joy leads a team of women to raise awareness and push for legislative protection. With personal stories of prejudice and those fighting against it, CODED BIAS sharply reveals the urgent threats to privacy, civil rights and democracy that are not in the daily headlines.

DILEMMA OF DESIRE: DIR Maria Finitzo. PRODS Maria Finitzo, Cynthia Kane and Diane Quon. USA.
Directed by two-time Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Maria Finitzo, the film follows a motley crew of unstoppable women, comprised of artists, educators, scientists, strippers and sex toy designers, who have made it their mission to dismantle internalized sexism and begin to repair the dissociated relationships many women have to their own bodies. In a reframing of daily micro-aggressions, society’s erasure of the clitoris is exposed as a tool of patriarchal deception, a negation of women’s wants and needs. This exciting (and informative) campaign seeks to dispel the discomfort and shame surrounding female sexuality by empowering women to own their desire, connect with their bodies and familiarize themselves with the vast, internal structure of the clitoris. They will paint it, sculpt it, plaster its image on walls and design special toys for it until all of society knows the laws of “cliteracy.”

DOWN AND OUT IN AMERICA (1986): DIR Lee Grant. PRODS Milton Justice and Joseph Feury. USA.
Screening as part of the AFI DOCS Guggenheim Symposium
Years before the economic catastrophes of COVID-19 and the 2008 recession, the U.S. experienced the tumult and divisiveness of the 1980s, a period that saw the country rapidly splitting into the haves and have nots. Lee Grant’s devastating 1986 Academy Award®-winning documentary takes a compassionate, clear-eyed look at those left behind in Reagan’s America. From desperate family farmers in Minnesota to unemployed factory workers in the Midwest and homeless people forced to live in decrepit welfare hotels in Los Angeles and New York, a cruel picture emerges of a country unmoored from its basic principles and core values. But beneath the weight of such crushing hardship, Grant finds courageous people who, on the verge of losing everything, discover the power of community organizing to fight injustice and to preserve basic human dignity.

FIRST VOTE: DIR Yi Chen. PROD Yi Chen. USA.
Toward the end of Washington, DC-based filmmaker Yi Chen’s beguiling and refreshingly non-partisan FIRST VOTE, one of the film’s subjects posits, “The central question that I think all Asian Americans feel is, ‘Do we belong?’” Given that, as recently as 1952, federal law barred immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens and voting, it is a searing and inescapable reality faced by Asian Americans.
Taking her camera on the road during the 2018 midterm elections, Chen introduces us to a diverse cross section of politically engaged Chinese Americans: an avid Trump supporter in Ohio; a Democratic podcaster whose views have alienated his wife’s conservative friends; a gun-toting, Tea Party-favorite in North Carolina; and a progressive University of North Carolina professor. Speaking with distinct political voices, they share the common goal of seeing Asian Americans take their rightful place in American political life.

FREEDIA GOT A GUN: DIR Chris McKim. PRODS Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Chris McKim. USA.
Devastated after learning her brother Adam was murdered, New Orleans bounce legend Big Freedia uses her platform to raise awareness about the complexities of gun violence, a nationwide epidemic that continues to disproportionally harm Black communities. As Freedia shares her personal journey from growing up gay in the projects through Hurricane Katrina and chasing her musical dreams, she delves deep into the first-hand experiences she and the community have had with gun violence, seeking to uncover the causes behind it. She is not alone in her quest to make the streets of New Orleans safer for the next generation: mothers, teachers, students and others personally affected reveal the collective trauma left in the wake of this violence. Her brother’s murder still unsolved, Freedia leads us through a courageous and necessary dialogue about the origins of this American epidemic.

THE LETTER: DIRS Maia Lekow and Christopher King. PRODS Maia Lekow and Christopher King. Kenya.
Karisa lives in Mombasa, one of the largest cities in Kenya. He gets a call and discovers he has a delicate family problem: his grandmother has been accused of being a witch. Fearing for her life, he returns to his family’s village to figure out who wrote the letter accusing her of witchcraft and why. Using Karisa’s family as the jumping off point, we visit other elders accused of being witches and uncover the violence inflicted on them. What starts as an almost absurd family situation gets exposed to be a complicated human rights issue. Exploring unique modern cultural and religious clashes, Maia Lekow and Christopher King’s film is still able to achieve an intimacy and charm, that is, in many ways, magical.

MIRACLE FISHING: DIR Miles Hargrove CODIR Christopher Birge. PRODS Miles Hargrove, Christopher Birge and Eric F. Martin. USA.
So, your dad has been kidnapped by a rebel group and you are forced to negotiate for his release… what do you do? Well, if you’re Miles Hargrove, you make a video diary. Twenty-five years later, with the gift of hindsight, he returned to these diaries to tell this incredible story. In 1994, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) kidnapped journalist Tom Hargrove from the family home in Cali, Columbia, leaving his wife and two sons to pay the ransom. With the help of their friends, including a hostage negotiator, FBI agent and their 18-year-old neighbor, the group navigated conditions for his expected release. Their story, impeccably captured by a then state-of-the-art Video8 camcorder, shows a family in crisis, yearning for normalcy and finding moments of hope and kindness amidst the horror.

ONE LIFE: DIR Josh Turnbow. PRODS Akshay M. Shah and Robert Dvoran. USA.
In October 2016, in response to the Myanmar government’s promised political reforms, President Obama ended decades of U.S. sanctions against the country. What Obama didn’t anticipate was that his actions would inadvertently open the door to the Myanmar military’s all-out assault on the country’s Rohingya people. With a population of nearly one million, the predominantly Muslim Rohingya people were targeted, terrorized and killed. Within a matter of weeks, nearly 700,000 Rohingya were driven from the country.
Shedding light on the long term persecution of the Rohingya, tracing their forced migration to neighboring Bangladesh and illustrating their current conditions, Josh Turnbow’s moving – and infuriating – documentary screens at AFI DOCS on United Nation’s World Refugee Day. The U.N.’s World Food Programme has taken responsibility for feeding the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya in a massive refugee camp in Bangladesh.

THE REASON I JUMP: DIR Jerry Rothwell. PRODS Al Morrow, Stevie Lee and Jeremy Dear. UK.
Opening a window into the sensory universe of five nonspeaking autistic people from around the world, THE REASON I JUMP takes the audience on a uniquely cinematic journey that is both revelatory and inspiring. Based on the remarkable best-selling book by 13-year-old Naoki Higashida, the film brilliantly blends its portraits with Higashida’s own insights into autism.
Acutely observed moments in the lives of each of the five people are connected by passages from Higashida’s writing, which comes to life in scenes featuring a young Japanese boy. As the boy travels through an epic landscape, he gradually discovers what his autism means to him and why he acts the way he does: the reason he jumps. Winner of the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Audience Award.

SAUDI RUNAWAY: DIR Susanne Regina Meures. PROD Christian Frei. Switzerland.
Muna, a young woman living under the oppressive state of Saudi Arabia, prepares for her imminent arranged marriage…and her risky escape to Europe. Using cell phones to secretly document her life, Muna exposes the strict patriarchy affecting her family and controlling her free will. Her only chance to flee is during her honeymoon. Muna is fearless, but will she succeed with her plan?
SAUDI RUNAWAY shares an intimate and thrilling story of human rights and the voice of those silenced by their government. Filmmaker Susanne Regina Meures collaborates with Muna, constructing the secret footage into a raw and insightful profile of a culture caught between tradition and modernity and a young woman willing to risk everything for a better life.

SING ME A SONG: DIR Thomas Balmès. PROD Thomas Balmès. France, Germany, Switzerland.
Returning ten years later to the remote mountainside village where he once encountered precocious but dedicated eight-year-old Tibetan monk Peyangki, documentarian Thomas Balmès (BABIES, HAPPINESS) discovers that much has changed. The roads leading into Laya are now paved and, beyond the television Peyangki once longed for, the young monks now scroll mindlessly through their phones while chanting their prayers. Now 18 years old, our subject texts his girlfriend, a bar singer who lives in the city, his devotion to her having supplanted that of his religious studies. Without falling prey to a simple binary of good/bad, Balmès’ beautiful observational portrait is a remarkable opportunity to explore both the positive and negative repercussions that modernization and technological access has on a community.

STOCKTON ON MY MIND: DIR Marc Levin. PRODS Cassius Michael Kim and Mike Marangu. USA.
Upon his election as mayor of Stockton, CA, in 2016, Michael Tubbs inherited one of the poorest, most violent and least literate cities in the country. Tubbs was also 26 years old, the youngest and first African American mayor of the city. This intimate portrait follows Tubbs during his term as he and others work on projects to address homelessness, universal basic income and education for at-risk youth.
A native of Stockton, Tubbs knows how street violence affects families – his father is serving a life sentence in prison. His determination to change his community started in childhood. Capturing this unique moment in history, STOCKTON ON MY MIND reveals the creative ideas and collaborative spirit Tubbs brings to government, as well as the multitude of strong reactions that his leadership elicits from citizens. A hopeful story of community, leadership and love, Tubbs is an undeniable leader to have on your radar.

A THOUSAND CUTS: DIR Ramona S. Diaz. PRODS Ramona S. Diaz, Leah Marino, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements and Carolyn Hepburn. USA.
Upon taking power in 2016, the newly elected populist president Rodrigo Duterte promised a relentless war on drugs. Brushing aside the rule of law and due process, his campaign resulted in thousands of deaths. Another constitutional casualty of Duterte’s rule has been freedom of the press.
Co-founded by journalist Maria Ressa in 2012, the online site Rappler is one of the Philippine’s most popular news outlets and a thorn in Duterte’s side. The stakes are raised when Rappler is cited as a fake news outlet and targeted for possible closure, followed by Ressa’s arrest on specious charges.
Set against the backdrop of the country’s 2019 midterm elections, this stirring documentary shows what happens when a strongman president threatens democratic norms. But Ressa, part of a group honored as Time’s Person of the Year 2018, is not backing down: “We, at Rappler, we will not duck. We will not hide. We will hold the line.”

THROUGH THE NIGHT: DIR Loira Limbal. PRODS Jameka Autry and Loira Limbal. USA.
Any working parent can tell you how vital childcare providers are to their lives. As America’s economy requires more parents working multiple jobs or the nightshift, the need for 24-hour childcare is critical. THROUGH THE NIGHT shares an intimate portrait of the struggle and bond between two working mothers and their childcare provider.
For over twenty years, “Nunu” and her husband “Pop Pop” have dedicated their lives to their business — creating a safe space for children to learn, eat, sleep and be loved. It is hard work and Nunu is relentless in providing care to her families. Through beautiful verité storytelling, filmmaker Loira Limbal demonstrates the personal toll of rising economic inequality — an issue even more relevant now as our country struggles with the effects of a health pandemic.

TRANSHOOD: DIR Sharon Liese. PRODS Sasha Alpert and Sharon Liese. USA.
We all remember the trials and tribulations of being a kid: fitting in at school, getting along with siblings, finishing homework. These alone are enough to handle. Now, add in discovering who you are and growing up as a trans youth in Kansas City. TRANSHOOD is director Sharon Liese’s in-depth five-year journey following the lives of four kids (ages beginning at 4, 9, 12, and 15) discovering their specific trans experiences alongside their families. Each of the kids and their parents navigate the day-to-day challenges of their home lives and their lives out in the world. Finding normalcy isn’t easy while tackling issues of body dysphoria, transphobia and bullying, and many other big topics that their cis-gender classmates can’t understand. What truly ties these stories together is the unbelievable empathy and humanity exemplified by each family, not just with the heavy moments, but often also during those typical of any childhood.

UNLADYLIKE2020: DIRS Charlotte Mangin and Sandra Rattley. PRODS Charlotte Mangin and Sandra Rattley. USA.
An exciting sampling of the ambitious PBS American Masters multi-platform series that profiles over 200 women, UNLADYLIKE2020 calls into question American history as we know it, reaching back to the dawn of the twentieth century to recognize unsung female leaders and trailblazers. Upending expectations and challenging the definition of womanhood, these “first women” found themselves at the forefront of progressive movements, organizing campaigns and leading paths to cultural change. Female historians share the names and stories of five of these pioneers: Martha Hughes Cannon, Jovita Idár, Jeannette Rankin, Mary Church Terrell and Zitkála-Šá. Their profound and extraordinary achievements in government, suffrage and civil rights, largely taken for granted by history, underscore the importance of continuously revisiting and revising the historical record to include the contributions of women and women of color. The inspiring battles that they waged in the name of equality continue to be fought by women today.

WHITE NOISE: DIR Daniel Lombroso. PROD Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg. USA.
WHITE NOISE is the definitive – and disturbing – inside story of the alt-right. With unprecedented, exclusive access, first-time filmmaker Daniel Lombroso tracks the rise of far-right nationalism by focusing on the lives of three of its main proponents: Mike Cernovich, a conspiracy theorist and sex blogger turned media entrepreneur; Richard Spencer, a white-power ideologue; and Lauren Southern, an anti-feminist, anti-immigration YouTube star.
Lombroso’s intrepid camera takes the viewer into the terrifying heart of the alt-right movement: explosive protests, riotous parties and the private spaces where populist and racist ideologies are refined and weaponized. Easy to dismiss as extremists and provocateurs, the alt-right’s leaders adroitly wield the tools of social media to great effect, demonstrating that this dangerous movement is to be ignored at our democracy’s peril.

WOMEN IN BLUE: DIR Deirdre Fishel. PRODS Beth Levison. USA.
Janée Harteau became Minneapolis’s first female police chief in 2012. She quickly began the hard work to reform the MPD by increasing diversity through recruiting and leadership promotions. After a high-profile police shooting occurs in the city a few years later, Chief Harteau is forced to resign and the three female officers under her wing must continue the mission under an all-male leadership unit while rebuilding the community’s trust in the police.
WOMEN IN BLUE examines the relationship between gender, race and violence in an American institution that has long been male dominated. This compelling portrait demands we ask our society: by fighting for gender equality in policing, can we reduce police violence against citizens?

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Documentary Festivals

AFI Docs Festival Goes Online June 17-21, 2020

Posted on May 6, 2020 at 9:30 am

The American Film Institute’s annual Documentary Film Festival highlights the best non-fiction films of the of the year, and they are not going to let a COVID-19 get in the way. Instead of showing the films at their theater in Silver Spring, Maryland and venues in Washington, D.C. they are moving the festival online. The festival will run June 17–21 and films will be available to view on DOCS.AFI.com.

They’re describing it as an online film festival — “where the best seat is in your house, ” with AT&T returning as Presenting Sponsor for the seventh consecutive year. The festival will open with the Apple and A24 release “Boys State,” which follows a group of teenage boys at an annual civics program hosted by the American Legion in Austin, Texas. Attendees create a mock government and campaign for leadership and party platforms. Exploring politics through a coming-of-age lens, the result reveals American democracy and political division at its most hopeful and terrifying moments. The film, a Jury Prize winner at Sundance, was directed by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine. The Opening Night screening of “Boys State” will be held on June 17, followed by a Q&A.

“AFI is committed to the documentary art form in the best of times and in the most challenging of times,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI Festivals. “Now more than ever, we are dedicated to supporting extraordinary films because the world needs stories that educate, inspire hope and remind us of humanity’s strength. AFI DOCS is here to help.”

The AFI DOCS 2020 program will be presented in the following sections: Special Presentations, Features, Cinema’s Legacy and Shorts, as well as a virtual AFI DOCS Forum. Apple TV+, A24, Audience Network, HBO, National Geographic, PBS and The Atlantic will all have films in the festival. The full slate will be released on June 10.

Special Presentations will include the festival’s unique slate of special evening events, available to a limited audience for one-time viewing and featuring conversations and Q&A’s with the films’ directors and main subjects. Featuring exclusive films, many of which have not yet been publicly screened, the festival’s Feature Film program will include over two dozen films from the US and around the world.

The festival will also include a Cinema’s Legacy program, featuring historically notable non-fiction films that have made an impact on the documentary art form. In one of the most challenging general election years in modern times, this year’s program will be dedicated to films documenting landmark moments in our nation’s political history.

AFI DOCS Shorts Program will feature more than 20 documentary shorts screening in four curated programs. Each shorts program will be available to screen from June 18 through June 21.

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Documentary Festivals

TCM’s Virtual Film Festival — April 16-19

Posted on April 11, 2020 at 8:00 am

 

I’ve always wanted to go to the TCM Classic Film Festival and now I kind of can — it’s going to be virtual, and everyone is invited.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition, an on-air celebration of TCM Classic Film Festival movies and moments from the past decade that fans can enjoy from the comfort of their homes. As a part of the Special Home Edition, TCM is proud to showcase films that have been a part of the TCM Classic Film Festival, both from years past and slated for this year’s event.

To provide additional context and insight, details are below that share when these films were screened at the Festival along with the special guests that attended these screenings. This special edition of the Fest begins April 16 at 8pm continuing until April 19 on TCM and will include TCM hosts, special guests and events to follow on-air and online.

 

All times EST

THURSDAY, APRIL 16
8:00 PM A Star is Born (1954)
Opening Night Film at the inaugural 2010 TCM Classic Film Festival, presented by Robert Osborne and Alec Baldwin.
11:00 PM Metropolis (1927)
Closing Night Film at the 2010 TCM CFF, this was the North American premiere of a restored version of the film with footage found in 2008 in Argentina, with live score by the Alloy Orchestra.
1:45 AM Luise Rainer: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2011)
Recorded at the 1st TCM CFF in 2010 when Ms. Rainer, the first back-to-back Oscar winner for Best Actress, was 100 years old.
2:30 AM The Good Earth (1937)
Presented at the 2010 TCMCFF with Luise Rainer in attendance.
5:00 AM Neptune’s Daughter (1949)
Presented at the 2010 TCM CFF at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel pool on Opening Night, with Esther Williams and Betty Garrett in attendance and featuring a performance by the Aqualilies.
FRIDAY, APRIL 17
6:45 AM The Seventh Seal (1957)
Shown as part of a tribute to Max Von Sydow at the 2013 TCM CFF, with the actor in attendance.
8:30 AM She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
Introduced by Keith Carradine, at the 2016 TCM CFF.
10:30 AM Sounder (1972)
Presented at the 2018 TCM CFF with Cicely Tyson in attendance, who was honored prior to the screening with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX.


12:30 PM A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
This world premiere restoration was introduced by Alec Baldwin and Don Was at the 2014 TCM CFF.
2:00 PM Eva Marie Saint: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2014)
Recorded in front of a live audience at the 2013 TCM CFF as part of a tribute to Eva Marie Saint.
3:00 PM North by Northwest (1959)
Presented at the 2010 TCM CFF with Eva Marie Saint and Martin Landau in attendance.
5:45 PM Some Like It Hot (1959)
Presented at the 2010 TCM CFF with Tony Curtis in attendance.
8:00 PM Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)
West Coast premiere at the 2016 TCM CFF, with Lillian Michelson and director Daniel Raim in attendance.
10:00 PM Deliverance (1972)
A cast reunion was presented at the 2013 TCM CFF, with Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jon Voight and director John Boorman in attendance.
12:00 AM Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Presented in 3D at the 2018 TCM CFF, this was introduced by Dennis Miller.
1:30 AM Grey Gardens (1975)
Presented at 2014 TCM CFF as part of a tribute to Albert Maysles, who was in attendance.
3:15 AM Night Flight (1933)
Out of circulation for over 50 years, this was introduced by Drew Barrymore, granddaughter of the film’s star John Barrymore at the 2011 TCM CFF.
5:00 AM Kim Novak: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2013)
Taped in front of a live audience at the 2012 TCM CFF, as part of a tribute to Kim Novak.
SATURDAY, APRIL 18
6:00 AM The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
Presented at the 2011 TCM CFF with Nancy and Tina Sinatra and Vicki Preminger in attendance.
8:00 AM Mad Love (1935)
Introduced at the 2019 TCM CFF by Bill Hader with actress Cora Sue Collins in attendance in the audience.
9:15 AM Double Harness (1933)
Introduced at the 2016 TCM CFF, by James Cromwell, the son of director John Cromwell.
10:30 AM Vitaphone Shorts:
Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder (1929)
Don’t Get Nervous (1929)
Lambchops (1929)
Presented at the 2016 TCM CFF, as part of a program celebrating “90th Anniversary of Vitaphone,” by the founder of the Vitaphone Project, Ron Hutchinson.
11:00 AM Sergeant York (1941)
The first Festival program to screen at the newest venue of the TCM CFF, the Legion Theater at Post 43, this was introduced in 2019 by Andrew Jackson York, the son of Sergeant Alvin C. York and grandson, Gerald York.

Copyright Hal Roach 1924

1:15 PM Safety Last! (1923)
The first of four Harold Lloyd films presented at the TCM CFF, this was accompanied by live orchestra and music composed and conducted by Robert Israel, in 2010, and introduced by Suzanne Lloyd.
2:45 PM They Live by Night (1949)
Presented at the 2013 TCM CFF and introduced by Susan Ray, widow of director Nicholas Ray.
4:30 PM Faye Dunaway: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2017)
Taped in front of a live audience at the 2016 TCM CFF, as part of a tribute to Faye Dunaway.
5:45 PM Network (1976)
Presented as part of a tribute to Faye Dunaway at the 2016 TCM CFF, with the actress in attendance.
8:00 PM Casablanca (1942)
A perennial favorite, this film has been presented three times at the TCM CFF, including a screening introduced by Peter Bogdanovich and Monika Henreid in 2010. Peter Bogdanovich will return to co-host this on-air screening.
10:00 PM The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Presented at the 2010 TCM CFF, it was introduced by Peter Bogdanovich and David Kamp. Peter Bogdanovich with co-host this on-air screening.
11:45 PM Night and the City (1950)
Presented at the 2012 TCM CFF by Eddie Muller.
1:30 AM Norman Lloyd: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2016)
Recorded in front of a live audience as part of a tribute to Norman Lloyd, at the 2015 TCM CFF; Mr. Lloyd was 100 at the time of the taping.
2:30 AM The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Presented at the TCM CFF in 2013 with Norman Lloyd in attendance to talk about his friend, Alfred Hitchcock.
4:15 AM The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
The largest orchestral presentation to date at the TCM CFF was this 2016 screening, with live orchestra and the UC of Berkely Alumni Chorus (under the direction of Dr. Mark Sumner) performing an original score by Richard Einhorn.
SUNDAY, APRIL 19
6:00 AM Jezebel (1938)
Presented at the 2017 TCM CFF.
7:45 AM The Set-Up (1949) )
Introduced at the 2018 TCM CFF introduced by Noir Alley host Eddie Muller and actor/filmmaker Malcom Mays, who did a live reading of the poem the film is based on.
9:00 AM Peter O’Toole, Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2012)
Recorded in front of a live audience, and part of a tribute to Peter O’Toole at the 2011 TCM CFF.
10:00 AM Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Screened as part of a tribute to Anne V. Coates, ACE, at the 2015 TCM CFF, with the Oscar-winning editor in attendance.
2:00 PM Red-Headed Woman (1932)
Presented at the introduced by film historian and author Cari Beauchamp at the 2017 TCM CFF.
3:30 PM Auntie Mame (1958)
Presented at the 2012 TCM CFF, introduced by Todd Oldham.
6:00 PM Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Presented three times to date at the TCM CFF, in 2010, 2012 and 2017 editions, with guests over the years including: Debbie Reynolds, Stanley Donen, and Todd Fisher and Ruta Lee.
8:00 PM Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2016)
Floyd Norman was slated to be honored with a tribute at the 2020 TCM CFF.
9:45 PM The Hustler (1961)
The 2020 TCM CFF included a tribute to the actress Piper Laurie.
12:15 AM Baby Face (1933)
Longtime festival guest Bruce Goldstein intended to present a special presentation at the 2020 TCM CFF, about the censorship of the film and footage added back in decades later, to this popular pre-Code film.
1:45 AM Bardelys the Magnificent (1926)
Serge Bromberg was scheduled to present this recently restored silent with musical accompaniment at the 2020 TCM CFF.
3:30 AM Victor/Victoria (1982)
Julie Andrews was slated to attend the screening of this film, at the 2020 TCM CFF.

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Middleburg Film Festival 2019

Posted on October 22, 2019 at 7:47 am

After just seven years, the Middleburg Film Festival has become a major cultural event, showcasing not-yet-released films likely to be on a lot of year-end ten-best lists, presented by filmmakers, all in one of the state’s most beautiful settings out in the countryside about 30 miles from Washington D.C. For me, the highlight every year is an event unique to Middleburg, a tribute to a film composer. Festival founder and visionary Sheila Johnson originally studied to be a concert violinist, and she says that without music, movies have no soul. She wants audiences to understand that film scores are not about what you hum as you leave the theater; the music helps to tell the story and reveal the characters. It helps you feel the feelings the people who made the movie wanted you to feel. The festival always includes a tribute featuring a full orchestra performing the composer’s work.

This year’s awardee was Terence Blanchard, who has composed the smoky, jazz-influenced scores for films including Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” “Clockers,” “BlackKklansman,” “Inside Man,” and “25th Hour” as well as Lee’s documentary that was very personal for Blanchard, who is from New Orleans, the Katrina documentary “When the Levees Broke.”

Blanchard also brought his own ensemble, the E Collective. He spoke about his career, including performing with Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, about going to music camp with Wynton and Branford Marsalis when they were children, about how he works with different directors, and about his long friendship with director Kasi Lemmons, from “Eve’s Bayou” to her newest film, “Harriet,” starring Cynthia Erivo, which was also featured at the festival. Blanchard and Lemmons have collaborated on an opera based on Charles Blow’s memoir, called “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.”

Another event I look forward to every year is the “Talk Back to the Critics” panel, when audience members get to ask us about movies and let us know when they disagree with our reviews. Sharing the stage with my friends Travis Hobson, Tim Gordon, Susan Wloszczyna, and Jason Fraley in the sunny courtyard of the Old Ox Brewery

“Harriet” was one of the highlights of the festival, the stirring story of Harriet Tubman, who escaped enslavement by running from Maryland to Pennsylvania without a map — and could not have read one if one existed. She then returned repeatedly to rescue more than 70 other enslaved persons, including elderly and an infant and then, during the Civil War, became the first — and still one of the very few — women to lead U.S. military forces in batter. Erivo’s performance is powerful and moving, and the superb cast includes “Hamilton’s” Leslie Odom, Jr., Jonelle Monae, and Joe Alwyn.

Writer/director Kasi Lemmons and producer Debra Debra Martin Chase at the Q&A

Probably the most anticipated film at the festival was saved for the last spot, which, as Festival director Susan Koch, had gone to the films later selected for Best Picture Oscars the previous two years. This time it was Martin Scorsese’s elegiac three and a half hour epic “The Irishman,” starring Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa and Robert De Niro as the title character, once Hoffa’s most trusted colleague, who later confessed to murdering him. We see the characters age over 40 years, with the help of computer imaging.

Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in a searing look at a deteriorating relationship. Each appeared in another high profile film in the festival, Johansson in “Jo Jo Rabbit,” about an Austrian boy in the last months of WWII — with writer/director Taika Waititi playing the child’s imagined version of Hitler, and Driver as the real-life investigator who wrote the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the torture of witnesses detained by the CIA.

Ira Sachs’ “Frankie” is the sensitively told story of a day in the life of an actress (Isabelle Huppert) vacationing with her family in Portugal. “Waves” is a poetic look at a family with two teenagers who have to deal with the aftermath of tragedy. My favorite, and I suspect the favorite of many others, too, was Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Put it on your calendar to take the family to see for Thanksgiving. And maybe put Middleburg on your calendar for next year as well.

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A Virtual Festival for Librarians, Book Nerds, and Fans of Graphic Novels, SF, and Fantasy

Posted on October 21, 2019 at 11:08 am

Copyright Library of Congress 2019

Join Library Journal and School Library Journal for our third annual LibraryCon Live! We’re excited to offer a day-long celebration of fandom-beloved stories and characters, featuring the creators behind mind-bending speculative fiction, innovative comics, and fan-favorite graphic novels. You’ll also learn from librarians and industry insiders on how to plan and host your own Comic Con-style event.

Plus, network online with other fans and explore our virtual exhibit hall where you’ll hear directly from publishers about their newest books and engage in live chats with featured authors. Whether you’re a public or school librarian, an educator of teens and young adults, or a superfan of graphic novels and sf/fantasy, don’t miss this chance to meet and interact with some of your favorite stars across these genres.

LibraryCon Live! is a free, completely virtual conference—no traveling and no cost!

Register now! We look forward to seeing you on November 6th. Can’t make the live date? No problem! All the sessions will be archived, and the virtual environment will be accessible for three months.

AGENDA

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Opening Keynote

Sam Maggs and Delilah Dawson in Conversation: Two comics writers discuss crafting narratives and characters for Marvel Action, writing for middle grade and YA readers, and being on both sides of the “fangirl” experience. Sam Maggs is the author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History. She is also currently writing a middle-grade “Marvel Action: Captain Marvel” series for IDW. Delilah Dawson, a NYT bestselling author, writes the “Marvel Action: Spider Man” series and is currently penning a YA series for IDW called “Star Pig.”

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM | Panel 1 | Fantastic World-Building

Mystical Viking warriors. China in 484 A.D. A ruthless galactic empire. A modern Gothic nightmarescape. A secret society of black magicians. While wildly different, each of the works highlighted by the authors and artists on this panel share a common trait: exemplary world-building. Creators discuss how they construct intricate and believable fantastic worlds.

Natasha Alterici, Heathen, Vol. 2 (Diamond)
Hannah Templer, Cosmoknights; GLOW vs. the Star Primas (Top Shelf/IDW)
Brandon Thomas, Excellence, Vol. 1 (Image)
Sherry Thomas, The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan (Lee & Low)

12:15 PM – 12:30 PM | Break

12:30 PM – 1:00 PM | Lunch Keynote

Henry Barajas, La Voz de M.A.Y.O Tata Rambo (Image)

In La Voz de M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo, Henry Barajas tells the true story of how his grandfather, Ramon Jaurigue (a.k.a. Tata Rambo), co-founded the Mexican, American, Yaqui, and Others (M.A.Y.O.) organization, which successfully lobbied the Tucson City Council to improve living and working conditions for members of the Pascua Yaqui and led to federal recognition of the Yaqui tribe.

1:00 PM – 1:45 PM | Panel 2 | Stories That Engage Young Readers (and Beyond)

Relatable heroes, adventure-filled journeys, and laugh-out-loud truisms define these narratives for middle grade and teen readers. In this panel, authors and artists will discuss how they craft the highly engaging stories that young readers crave.

Drew Brockington, “CatStronauts” series; Hangry (Little, Brown)
Will Henry, Snug Harbor Stories: A Wallace the Brave Collection (Andrews McMeel)
Lucy Knisley, Stepping Stones (RHCB)
Sarah Kuhn, Shadow of the Batgirl (DC)
Christine Taylor-Butler, The Lost Tribe: Trials (Move)
Jen Wang, Stargazing (Macmillan)

1:45 PM – 2:15 PM | Fast Learning Session 1: How the Arlington Public Library Does Their ComicCon Program

Thinking about hosting a ComicCon-style event at your library? Hear Tamera Miller, Program Specialist at the Arlington Public Library (TX), discuss her library’s highly successful model, and learn how to plan, market, and run your own Con.

2:15 PM – 2:45 PM | Fast Learning Session 2: Comics Nerd Expert Picks

Nicholas Allen, comics writer and co-founder of Rexco Comics, will talk about some of the must-have, under-the-radar new and forthcoming comics titles librarians need to know about, including his favorite web comics.

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM | Break

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM | Panel 3 | Portrait of the Artists

Though their styles and techniques vary greatly, the artists on this panel share a commitment to excellence in visual storytelling. This panel will offer a behind-the-scenes deep dive into their artistic processes.

Erin Nations, Gumballs (Top Shelf/IDW)
Becky Cloonan, Reaver; By Chance or By Providence (Image)
Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key series; Tales from the Darkside (IDW)
Koren Shadmi, The Twilight Man: Rod Sterling and the Birth of Television (Humanoids)

3:45 PM – 4:15 PM | Closing Keynote

James Tynion IV, Something Is Killing the Children (BOOM! Studios)

Best known for his work on the “Batman” series with DC Comics, GLAAD Award-winning writer James Tynion IV now delves into horror with a brand-new limited series, Something Is Killing the Children, about “staring into the abyss to find your worst fears staring back.”

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