documentary

  The documentary feature film, Life, Animated, will be The Berkshire International Film Festival’s opening night film in Pittsfield, MA at The Beacon Theatre on Friday, June 3rd at 7pm.

Life, Animated tells the story of how Owen Suskind, who is autistic, found a pathway through Disney animation to language and a framework for making sense of the world. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. Owen’s father, Ron Suskind, wrote a book of the same name to tell his family’s story of losing Owen.

The film interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life, the film explores how identification and empathy with characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel forge a conduit for him to understand his feelings and interpret reality.

Life, Animated won the Directing Award for a U.S. Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and director, Roger Ross Williams, join us now. Roger Ross Williams is an Academy Award winning documentarian -- winning in 2010 for the Documentary Short Subject, Music by Prudence.

  Nancy Spielberg grew up surrounded by the film industry, where she worked on her brother Steven’s early films.

She join us this morning to talk about her new documentary, Above and Beyond, and about her Women's Philanthropy Connections event for the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

  Darius Clark Monroe, award-winning film director, producer, and screenwriter, will provide commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening of his film, Evolution of a Criminal this Friday in Page Hall on the University at Albany’s downtown campus.

The film reexamines, in strikingly candid fashion, an event from Monroe’s own teenage years: his participation in a 1997 Texas bank robbery and his subsequent incarceration. The film includes a variety of interviews with Monroe’s family members, teachers, and law enforcement officials. Monroe also talks to the two men who robbed the bank with him and stages a reenactment of the crime.

The event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with the School of Criminal Justice’s Crime, Justice, and Social Structure film series.

  In How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change, Oscar Nominated director Josh Fox continues in his personal style, investigating climate change. Traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?

Josh Fox is best known as the writer/director of Gasland Parts I and II. He is internationally recognized as a spokesperson and leader on the issue of fracking and extreme energy development. Gasland premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2010 and was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for best documentary.

There will be a Woodstock Film Festival screening of How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change and a Q&A with director Josh Fox this Wednesday March 16th @ 6PM at Onteora High School in Boiceville, the event is part of The Let Go and Love tour.

Muppeteers and Big Bird
http://www.iambigbird.com/

  The Northampton Arts Council presents a special screening of I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story on Friday February 12th at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton.

The film will be followed by a Q&A session at which Mr. Spinney, his wife Debra and a very special guest will be discussing their journey and answering questions.

The documentary chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, the man who has been Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969. For over 4 decades, Caroll's characters have been cherished by generations of children. At 81 years old, the tenacious and enthusiastic performer has no intention of slowing down.

Caroll Spinney joins us this morning.

Connie Shulman, left, with Laury Sacks.
Looks Like Laury, Sounds Like Laury

Looks Like Laury, Sounds Like Laury is one of the scariest films of the year, but it’s not a horror movie. It’s a loving documentary — a true story of a devastating decline. The subject is Laury Sacks, a lively actor and mother who in her mid-40s started struggling to speak. Her quick deterioration from a form of dementia affects everyone around her: family, caretakers, and a large group of friends who stand by her during the worst.

  Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings have just released a new record, It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Their previous album, Give the People What They Want was nominated for a Grammy Award. The new Christmas album features soul revivals of holiday classics and original songs like “There Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” and “8 Days (of Hanukkah).”

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings are performing at The Egg in Albany, NY this Saturday, December 5th at 7:30pm -- bringing their inimitable energy and sound to the stage of The Hart Theatre. They are also guests on “Michael Bublé’s Christmas in Hollywood” which will air on NBC on December 10th. The Dap Kings blast and blare, side-step and put on a great show at the center of which is the incredible vigor of Sharon Jones - providing lead vocals and more power than seems possible.

Warren County Historical Society

An upstate New York businessman who was considered a pioneer in the amusement park industry is having his story told in a documentary film.

Activist writer/director Josh Fox’s two Gasland films had a symbiotic relationship with the worldwide anti-fracking movement. 

Next Wednesday, September 30th, Fox will open the 2015 Woodstock Film Festival with a keynote address about the intersection between human rights and climate change  --- and how film can illustrate and transform our approach to this complex political problem. 

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

This week, we are talking with filmmaker Laurie Kahn about her new documentary, Love Between the Covers, a film about popular romance novels and the author-reader community that sustains the billion dollar popular romance fiction industry.

The film has garnered rave reviews at the Library of Congress as well as at film festivals around the country, most recently in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. It was funded both by Mass Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

hbo.com

  America is the most punitive nation in the world, handing out historically harsh sentences that largely dispense with the concept of rehabilitation.

Alan and Susan Raymond - Oscar and Emmy winners for HBO’s I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School - explore the reality of “the other death penalty” in Toe Tag Parole: To Live and Die on Yard A.

Featuring exclusive, unprecedented access, Toe Tag Parole: To Live And Die On Yard A was shot entirely at California State Prison, Los Angeles County, a maximum-security facility in the Mojave Desert. The documentary debuts on Monday, August 3rd at 9PM on HBO.

  The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz will present a Hudson Valley sneak preview of the new documentary film Here Come the Videofreex this Wednesday - June 24th at 7 p.m. at the Rosendale Theatre, in Rosendale, N.Y.

  The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. The film debuted at Sundance this year.

The film will screen at The Berkshire International Film Festival on Saturday at 3pm at The Mahaiwe.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a CEO, filmmaker, and advocate. She wrote, directed, and produced the 2011 award-winning documentary Miss Representation and then launched The Representation Project, a non-profit organization established to awaken people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action and ultimately, transform culture.

  The BIFF is back! The Berkshire International Film Festival is celebrating 10 years at the end of this month. The BIFF is a world-class festival that is an integral part of the cultural fabric of the Berkshires.

The festival runs Thursday, May 28th through Sunday, May 31st in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, Massachusetts with screenings at The Triplex, The Mahaiwe, and The Beacon.

Kelley Vickery is the Founder and Director of BIFF and she joins us with a preview of this year's offerings.

  

  April 1975. During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon, South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. City after city and village after village fell to the North while the few U.S. diplomats and military operatives still in the country contemplated withdrawal.

With the lives of thousands of South Vietnamese hanging in the balance, those in control faced an impossible choice--who would go and who would be left behind to face brutality, imprisonment or even death. Directed by Rory Kennedy and airing in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, Last Days in Vietnam premieres on American Experience tomorrow night from 9:00-11:00 p.m. on PBS.

  What would you do if you started to disappear? At the age of 45, friend Laury Sacks - an actress and mother - had a reputation as the quickest wit in the room. At the age of 46, she began forgetting words. Soon she could barely speak.

The documentary film, Looks Like Laury Sounds Like Laury, captures one year in her journey with  frontotemporal dementia, a little-understood disease that strikes people in the prime of life.

Looks Like Laury Sounds Like Laury will screen at the Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury, CT at 7pm this Friday, April 24th.

    

  Today in our Ideas Matter segment, we are talking with filmmaker Ian Cheney and Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs for Mass Humanities, about this year's Massachusetts History Conference, which is called, “Chew on This: Presenting Food in Massachusetts Public History” and will take place on June 1 in Worcester, where Cheney s giving the keynote address.

With them, we will discuss Cheney's new documentary, The Search for General Tso, which was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The film is about the importance and excitement of learning to understand where our food comes from and how it got to the shelf.

  In Running from Crazy , Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. As tragedies are explored and deeply hidden secrets are revealed, Mariel searches for a way to overcome a similar fate. The documentary is directed by Barbara Kopple.

The Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA will present a community event on suicide, stigma and mental illness at The Mahaiwe on March 28th at 2pm featuring a screening of the film, and a roundtable discussion on mental health with Mariel Hemingway; James L. Sacksteder MD (Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center); Jane G. Tillman PhD (Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center); and Kelley Vickery, Founder and Executive Director of the Berkshire International Film Festival.

  

In Sanjay Rawal’s documentary film, Food Chains, a group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the global supermarket industry through their Fair Food program, which partners growers and retailers to improve conditions for farm laborers in the U.S.

The Woodstock Film Festival will present a screening of Food Chains this coming Saturday, March 21 at 1:30pm at Upstate Films in Woodstock, NY.

There will be a panel discussion following the screening with Director Sanjay Rawal, Bob Dandrew from the Local Economies Project, Ric Orlando of New Home World Cooking, and Heriberto Gonzalez from the Rural & Migrant Ministry.

We are joined by filmmaker Sanjay Rawal and Cultural Arts activist and promoter, Laurie Ylvisaker.

  

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we are talking with Pleun Bouricius, Director of Programs for Mass Humanities, about Laurie Kahn's forthcoming documentary, Love Between the Covers, a film about popular romance novels and the author-reader community that sustains the billion dollar popular romance fiction industry.

The film was funded both by Mass Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. With them, we will explore what motivated them to fund and explore this topic, which which has raised some hackles in conservative circles, but also garnered rave reviews at its sneak preview at the Library of Congress.

    Brandy Burre had a recurring role on HBO’s The Wire when she gave up her career to start a family. While living with her family in Beacon, NY she decides to reclaim her life as an actor and the domestic world she’s carefully created crumbles around her.

The documentary film, Actress is both a present tense portrait of a dying relationship and an exploration of a woman, performing the role of herself.

Actress will screen at Upstate Films in Woodstock, NY on November 29th at 5pm and Brandy Burre and filmmaker, Robert Greene will both be in attendance for a discussion following the film.

  

  Celebrating 15-years of innovative filmmakers & filmmaking, the Woodstock Film Festival has unveiled its line-up of nearly 150 films, panels, and events, screening Wednesday October 15th through Sunday October 19th, in Woodstock NY, and neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Saugerties, Kingston and Rosendale.

  Whether loving him or hating him, just about everybody had to admit that three-term Mayor Ed Koch was the quintessential New York City politician. He was blunt, funny, combative and shrewd. He was charismatic in a typically uncharismatic New York way.

Visitors walking the city's clean streets and pedestrian plazas today would hardly recognize the New York of the '70s and '80s. Rampant crime, near-bankruptcy, urban blight, graffiti, the AIDS epidemic and racial conflict marked the mayor's tenure.

The new PBS POV documentary Koch is an insider's account that mixes a wealth of archival material with Ed Koch's ruminations and ceaseless political activity through his final years. Koch has its national broadcast premiere on Monday, Sept. 22nd at 10 PM on PBS as part of the 27th season of POV.

Documentary On Smart Grid To Be Shown In Ulster County

Jun 21, 2014
Vermont Department of Public Service

In Ulster County Saturday afternoon, there will be a free screening of a documentary about the power grid and privacy.

    Beth Harrington is an award-winning independent producer, director, and writer.

Her most recent film, The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music. It will screen twice at this year's Berkshire International Film Festival.

    Blue Gold: American Jeans is a feature-length documentary about how one unlikely garment ended up connecting us all. Following vintage jeans hunter Eric Schrader around the world, Blue Gold searches for the reason we all wear blue mining pants from the late 1800s.

An ambassador of Americana, Eric trades in the history, myth, and intrinsic values that have made blue jeans the most expensive and fetishized piece of vintage clothing on the planet. From fashion history and subculture aspiration to the lost tradition of American manufacturing, Blue Gold explores Americana in our globalized world, where cultural exchange and social responsibility demand greater transparency and inspire innovation.

Blue Gold: American Jeans will have its festival premiere at The Berkshire International Film Festival this weekend -- screening at 11:30am on Saturday at The Beacon in Pittsfield and again at 11:30am on Sunday at The Triplex in Great Barrington.

Filmmaker Christian Bruun joins us.

    Food For Thought is a monthly evening of food, film and discussion with a focus on films of social, political, environmental and community interest. Held on the third Thursday of each month at The Linda in Albany, NY the series is co-presented by the Honest Weight Food Co-op.

This month’s film is Nothing Like Chocolate – a documentary about anarchist chocolate-maker Mott Green who operated an unusual chocolate factory in Grenada that turns out delicious creations unknown to a world saturated with industrially produced cocoa.

Joe Angello was a close friend of Mott Green. Joe is the owner and founder of Angello’s Distributing, Inc., local, organic food distribution company based in Clermont, NY. He joins us to tell us about The Grenada Chocolate Company and the film Nothing like Chocolate.

      Award winning documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, will be at the Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA on February 12 at 7pm to present clips from his new seven-part film The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. The 14 hour film will air on PBS later this year. The event will help the Arms Library raise money for the first phase of a multi-year project to restore the historic Pratt Memorial Library Building. To reserve tickets call 413 625 0306.

“The Roosevelts” weaves together the stories of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt – three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics.

Ken Burns has been making films for more than thirty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, The Dust Bowl – and many others.

For the last twenty years, Bill Maher has set the boundaries of where funny, political talk can go on American television-first on the show Politically Correct and for the last 10 years on HBO’s Real Time

He has written four best sellers including his most recent The New New Rules- he started his career as a stand up comedian in 1979 and still performs at least 50 dates a year. He will perform at The Palace Theater in Albany on Sunday 11/10.

Bending Steel is a documentary from filmmakers Dave Carroll and Ryan Scafuro. It explores the life of 43 year-old Chris Schoeck, a Queens, NY native who is training to become a professional Oldetime Strongman. The story follows Chris’ journey from his early days training in a small basement storage unit, to his very first performance on the big stage at New York’s historic Coney Island.

The film will screen at FilmColumbia on Saturday, October 26th at 5pm with a presentation by Schoeck to follow.

Joe Donahue spoke with Chris at Argot Studios in NYC. During the interview Chris ripped a deck of cards in half and bent a steel spike. Videos below.

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