documentary

    Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA is home to America's longest-running dance festival, is a National Historic Landmark, and is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Their 81st Season continues in Becket, MA through August 25th.

On July 26, the documentary film about Dancing at Jacob's Pillow: Never Stand Still, will air nationally on PBS Great Performances. Director of the film, Ron Honsa filmed interviews and performances at The Pillow over the course of several seasons.

BIFF - "Girl Rising"

May 31, 2013

    This Saturday night the documentary Girl Rising will screen at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA as part of The Berkshire International Film Festival. The screening and the following panel discussion is presented in cooperation with the Interdependence Movement and 10×10.

The thesis of Girl Rising is simple: educating girls in the developing world will bring about transformational change. Every day, millions of girls wake to a world that does not see them. But dollar for dollar, they are the best investment in the developing world. 

Girl Rising tells the stories of nine real girls from around the world - girls in Cambodia, India, Nepal, Egypt, Peru, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Sierra Leone. A female writer from each country has written the girl’s story and in the film, each vignette is narrated by an esteemed actress - including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Kerry Washington. That’s 9 countries, 9 girls, 9 writers, and 9 actresses. In between each girl’s story, the filmmakers share statistical information in an engaging manner and those presentations are narrated by Liam Neeson. 

    Tom Donahue’s documentary, Casting By, takes us through the last 50 years of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective -- that of the casting director. Pioneers like Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster were iconoclasts whose exquisite taste and gut instincts helped to put an end to the studio system and usher in a new Hollywood. They broke away from traditional typecasting and brought actors like James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, and Gene Hackman to the screen.

Tom Donahue combines personal narratives from actors, directors, and casting directors with extensive archival material to reconstruct the untold tale of Hollywood’s most invisible and unheralded profession.

Casting By will screen as part of The Berkshire International Film Festival on Sunday, June 2 at The Triplex in Great Barrington, MA. A Q&A will follow the screening with Casting Directors 
Gretchen Rennell and Elissa Myers.

    22-year-old Kevin Pearce had just come off of the most successful competitive season of his snowboarding career, challenging the dominance of his friend and rival, snowboarding legend Shaun White. Kevin’s professional ascent came at a time when snowboarding tricks were becoming more and more breathtaking – but also more dangerous.

On December 31, 2009, while riding the slopes of Park City, Utah in final training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Kevin missed his landing and took a hard fall.

He was airlifted to the hospital, where doctors scrambled to save his life as his family flew from their home in Vermont to be at his side. When Kevin finally woke up from his coma - that was only the beginning of a long road to recovering from his Traumatic Brain Injury. From language to vision, motor skills to memory, Kevin had to come to terms with his new impairments.

This is the story told in The Crash Reel - a film by two-time Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Lucy Walker. The Crash Reel is screening at The Berkshire International Film Festival on Friday at 6:30pm at The Triplex in Great Barrington, MA.

    Millions know their voices, but few know their names. In his compelling new film 20 Feet From Stardom, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.

20 Feet From Stardom is the opening night film at The Berkshire International Film Festival - it screens tonight at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA at 6pm. The film features interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. 

  One of the backup singers featured in the film is the incomparable, Darlene Love - and she will be in attendance at The Mahaiwe.

From her first number one recording, “He’s A Rebel”, through her string of label hits with legendary producer Phil Spector, to the countless songs she sang backup on for artists like Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, Cher and Aretha Franklin, Darlene Love has blazed a trail of success in the music industry and was inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

    For more than two decades, he was the target of intense scrutiny, with an entire unit at the CIA dedicated to tracking his every move and trying to determine what violence he might perpetrate. When 9/11 confirmed Osama bin Laden's intentions, these same analysts and operatives were now blamed for failing to prevent it, though they had spent years warning about the possibility of an attack.

    MASS MoCA’s Winter/Spring 2013 documentary film series, Compete!, celebrates films about winning, losing, and how you play the game.

This Thursday’s film, The Human Tower, explores the history and culture of one of the world’s most spectacularly unusual team endeavors - the building of multi-story human towers. The filmmakers follow teams from India, Chile, and Spain  - connected by the common themes of passion and teamwork that transcend race, age, and national borders.

  The Human Tower is co-directed by Ram Devineni and Cano Rojas. Rojas will be at MASS MoCA this Thursday for a Q&A following the screening of the film in their Club B-10 at 7:30.

    The documentary film, Buzkashi! is a story of three fascinating characters who are at the top of their sport of Buzkashi in Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic nestled in the Pamir mountains. Donning their protective equipment – including tank helmets from previous wars – they steer their horses to join the hundreds of others playing on the plateaus of this mountainous country.

The rivalries, alliances politics and intrigues surrounding the sport put ancient values of honor and integrity head-to-head with ego-driven hunger for power and wealth.

The film is screening at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA tomorrow night at 7:30 as part of their Winter/Spring 2013 documentary film series, Compete!, the series celebrates films about winning, losing, and how you play the game.

Buzkashi! is written and directed by Najeeb Mirza. You may watch the trailer, here.

Any Questions? #79

Mar 1, 2013

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel begin a month of March Madness with this week's program, which focuses on documentaries.

Dennis Stock

    James Dean walks down a drizzly street in Manhattan with his coat collar up against the wind and the rain. It’s an iconic image, captured by photographer, Dennis Stock.

Stock’s photographs of movie stars, jazz musicians, hippies, architecture, landscapes, and nature are such a part of the story of America in the 20th century that even if you've never heard his name - you have seen some of his work.

Beyond Iconic is a documentary film about Dennis Stock directed by Hanna Sawka. The film is screening this Sunday at 1:30pm at Upstate Films in Woodstock, NY. Hanna Sawka will be at the screening for a Q&A following, and then musicians Teri Roiger and John Menegon - who scored the film - will perform down the street at Center for Photography Woodstock.

Hanna Sawka joins us to talk about the film.

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