FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 25, 2003

The Museum of Television & Radio’s Fourth Annual Television Documentary Festival

April 24 to May 4, 2003

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

 

Members-Only Festival Preview
Wednesday,
April 23 at 6:00 p.m.
WORLD PREMIERE

Guns & Mothers

Guns & Mothers explores the debate over gun control by examining the ideology and grassroots tactics of two women on opposite sides of the issue: Crown Heights resident Frances Davis, who lost all three of her sons to gun violence and is a fierce advocate of gun control; and Maria Heil of rural Pennsylvania, a mother of four, who serves as spokeswoman for the Second Amendment Sisters, a group formed in response to the Million Mom March in 2000. (2003; 54 minutes. Directed, written, and produced by Thom Powers.  Edited, written, and produced by John Walter.  Produced by Meema Spadola. A Sugar Pictures production for Independent Lens.  Scheduled to air May 13, 2003, on PBS.) 

Museum Members should call (212) 621-6780 or e-mail membership@mtr.org to make reservations.

In Person: Thom Powers, Filmmaker  

Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Journeys with George

"History will be happy that Ms. Pelosi caught this side of Mr. Bush on tape."-The New York Times.  One of the most talked-about documentaries of last year, Journeys with George is Alexandra Pelosi's digital-minicam chronicle of George W. Bush's transformation from cowboy to statesman. Attached to the Bush traveling press corp as an NBC News producer, the saucy, self-described "liberal Democrat" (and daughter of House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi) nonetheless found herself enchanted with the charismatic president-to-be. The resulting home movie—which, with its startling informal glimpses of Bush cracking wise with reporters, making funny faces, and rolling oranges down the aisle of his jet, might be subtitled "Dubya Unplugged"—documents with hilarious and sometimes alarming candor both the absurdity of the campaign process and the complicity of the media in its outcome. (2002; 76 minutes. Written, produced, and directed by Alexandra Pelosi.  Codirected and edited by Aaron Lubarsky. Executive produced for HBO by Shelia Nevins.  A production of Purple Monkey Productions.) 

In Person: Alexandra Pelosi, Filmmaker  

Friday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m.
NEW YORK PREMIERE
What I Want My Words to Do to You
Voices from Inside a Women's Maximum Security Prison

Winner of the Freedom of Expression Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, What I Want My Words to Do to You focuses on a writing workshop led by playwright Eve Ensler at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester, New York. As the women in Ensler's group struggle to articulate deep and difficult truths about themselves, their crimes, and their own culpability, the documentary explores the transformative power of the creative process. It culminates with a staged reading of the inmates' manuscripts by actresses Marisa Tomei, Rosie Perez, Glenn Close, Hazelle Goodman, and Mary Alice. (2003; 78 minutes. A film by Madeleine Gavin, Judith Katz, and Gary Sunshine. Executive produced by Eve Ensler, Carol Jenkins, and Judith Katz.  A production of Borrowed Light LLC for P.O.V.  Scheduled to air Fall 2003 on PBS.) 

In Person: Judith Katz, Producer/Exec. Producer, Eve Ensler, Executive Producer, Madeleine Gavin, Editor/Coproducer, Gary Sunshine, Writer/Coproducer

Saturday, April 26 at 12:30 p.m.
VIETNAM VÉRITÉ RETROSPECTIVE
Basic Training

"The best way to go through basic training is do what you're told." Vérité pioneer Frederick Wiseman chronicles nine grueling weeks of indoctrination at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as a savage rite of passage. (1971; 90 minutes) 

Saturday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m.
WORKSHOP
The Art of the Documentary Pitch: How to Turn an Idea into a Reality
 

In this workshop, veteran producers discuss the process of developing a documentary, simulating situations that novice filmmakers face in trying to sell a nonfiction concept. Several neophyte documentarians will be preselected to make public pitches to the panelists, who will evaluate their proposals for uniqueness and viability. Panelists will also take questions from the audience. Cosponsored by the International Documentary Association. 

In Person: Diana Holtzberg, Acquisitions & Project Development Director, USA, Films Transit International; Lauren Lazin, Executive Producer/Senior Vice President, MTV News and Documentaries; Cara Mertes, Executive Director, P.O.V.; Steve Rosenbaum, President/CEO, CameraPlanet Pictures.  

Saturday, April 26 at 4:00 p.m.
SPECIAL PREVIEW (Work-in-Progress)
Kurt Vonnegut: American Made

After profiling comedic icons like the Marx Brothers, W. C. Fields, Mort Sahl, and Lenny Bruce, documentarian Robert B. Weide (who also directs and executive produces Curb Your Enthusiasm) now turns his camera to the great American writer and humorist Kurt Vonnegut. Fifteen years in the making (and counting), Weide's labor of love blends rare home movies of the author with interviews conducted in a variety of locales: on a train trip to Buffalo with his brother; revisiting his childhood home in Indiana; and attending his sixtieth high school reunion.  Weide will screen excerpts from his opus-in-progress and discuss the challenge of shaping Vonnegut's tragicomic worldview into a filmed biography. (Approximately 60 minutes. Produced and directed by Robert B. Weide. A Whyaduck Production.)

In Person: Robert B. Weide, Filmmaker  

Sunday, April 27 at 12:30 p.m.
VIETNAM VÉRITÉ RETROSPECTIVE

The Mills of the Gods

Produced by the CBC, Beryl Fox's impressionistic journey through the jungles, villages, and battlefields of Vietnam is a celebrated and still-controversial document of extraordinary power and poignancy. (1965; 50 minutes) 

The Anderson Platoon
Pierre Schoendoerffer, a veteran of the French-Indochina War, returned in 1966 and recorded, with grim eloquence, the courage, hardship, and camaraderie of a platoon led by a young African-American lieutenant. (1967; 60 minutes)  

Wednesday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m.
NEW YORK PREMIERE
The Nazi Officer's Wife
 

Liz Garbus (The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison) returns to the Festival with an extraordinary and inspiring testament of perseverance in the face of adversity. Edith Hahn was a student in Vienna until the Anschluss brought Austria under Nazi rule. Separated from her family and forced underground, she tore off her yellow star, obtained falsified papers, and emerged in Munich as Grete Denner, a certified Aryan. There she met and married Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who promised to keep her precarious identity a secret.  Drawing from Edith's personal archive, the largest of any Holocaust survivor, Garbus fashions a complex and riveting narrative of love, loss, and survival. (2003; 97 minutes.  Directed by Liz Garbus. Produced by Liz Garbus, Rory Kennedy, Laurent Zilber, and Christina Zilber. Written and coproduced by Jack Youngelson. Executive produced by Tamar Hacker. Produced by Moxie Firecracker Films, Inc. and Trillion Entertainment, Inc. for the A&E Network.  Scheduled to air June 29, 2003, on A&E Network.) 

In Person: Liz Garbus, Filmmaker; Edith Hahn Beer, Film Subject; Angela Schluter, Film Subject  

Thursday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m.
NEW YORK PREMIERE
American Masters: The Education of Gore Vidal

For more than fifty years Gore Vidal has led a very public life, during which he constantly challenged the literary and political establishments. Deborah Dickson's engaging portrait, which she labels a "film of ideas," catches the many personas of Vidal: the witty conversationalist at his home in Ravello, Italy; the provocateur, who battled William Buckley and Norman Mailer on television; the scion of a celebrated political family, who has spent most of his life exposing the corruption of power; and the esteemed man of letters recently honored by the Smithsonian Institution. (2002; 84 minutes.  Directed by Deborah Dickson. Produced by Matt Kapp. Executive produced by Susan Lacy. American Masters is produced by Thirteen/WNET New York for PBS. 

Scheduled to air July 30, 2003, at 10:00 p.m. on PBS.) 

In Person: Deborah Dickson, Director; Susan Lacy, Executive Producer; Matt Kapp, Producer; Gore Vidal, Film Subject  

Friday, May 2 at 4:30 p.m.
DOCU-JAM: A YOUTH DOCUMENTARY SHOWCASE

Presented in association with Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV).  

Friday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m.
SPECIAL PREVIEW (Work-in-Progress)
Visiones: Latino Art and Culture
 

Visiones is critically acclaimed filmmaker Hector Galán's bold journey into the richness and splendor of the Latino artistic heritage. Creating an evocative tapestry with archival footage, interviews, and performance, Galán explores the crucial importance of the arts in the Latino experience. This sampler previews segments from the upcoming three-part series on PBS, which encompasses Latino traditions in theater, art, music, and dance. Among the subjects featured are the beauty and social impact of mural painting and the influence of Cuban music; hip-hop dancer Rockafella, cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, and performance artist La Bruja are also profiled. (2003; 55 minutes. Series produced by Hector Galán.  A Production of Galán Incorporated and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture in association with KLRU-TV/Austin, Texas.)  Cosponsored by the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers. 

In Person: Hector Galán, Filmmaker.  Additional panelists to be announced.  

Saturday, May 3 at 12:30 p.m.
VIETNAM VÉRITÉ RETROSPECTIVE
Vietnam: It's a Mad War

"Success is extremely difficult to evaluate, for we are not trying to gain the possession of a hill or a piece of terrain but the support and the mind of the people of Vietnam." A lucid contrasting of everyday life in Saigon, where the war seems faraway, against the frustrations encountered by Special Forces troops advising the struggling South Vietnamese army. (1964; 60 minutes)  

Saturday, May 3 at 2:00 p.m.
AMERICAN PREMIERE
Marilyn on Marilyn

Long before her death—and ever since—Marilyn Monroe was seen as a blonde bombshell victimized by personal and professional troubles she could not control. In unearthed private tape recordings and unseen film footage of the star, British producer/director Paul Kerr has discovered a more independent and streetwise Marilyn, a flesh-and-blood icon quite aware of her strengths and weaknesses. In this haunting portrait, Marilyn tells her life story through two previously unheard interviews. After the screening, Kerr will discuss how he tracked down this rare material, including images of a teenage Marilyn parading for the camera. (2001; 51 minutes. Produced and directed by Paul Kerr. An October Films Production for BBC.) 

In Person: Paul Kerr, Filmmaker  

Saturday, May 3 at 4:00 p.m.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
 

The arrival of Ziggy Stardust—the ultimate synthesis of ambition, artifice, and the outré—was nothing short of seismic. His departure caused an even bigger stir: On July 3, 1973, David Bowie ended his show at the Hammersmith Odeon by blithely pronouncing the retirement of his plastic rock 'n' roller. As recorded by D. A. Pennebaker, whom Bowie had enlisted after seeing the filmmaker's previous work on Bob Dylan, anguished cries of "No!" can be heard from the audience. Newly restored, this legendary documentary is now presented in its full, mesmerizing, "To Be Played at Maximum Volume" glory.  (1974/2002; 90 minutes. Directed by D. A. Pennebaker. A MainMan production in association with Pennebaker, Inc. Restoration produced by RZO Music, Inc. and Frazer Pennebaker/Pennebaker Hegedus Films, Inc.) Presented in association with BowieNet. 

In Person: D. A. Pennebaker, Filmmaker; Tony Visconti, Soundtrack Remasterer  

Sunday May 4 at 12:30 p.m.
VIETNAM VÉRITÉ RETROSPECTIVE

I Am a Soldier
An unflinching testament to the ugliness of "life in the muck"-the fighting, the dying, the numbness, the anguish of pursuing an elusive enemy—produced by husband and wife team John Secondari and Helen Rogers. (1966; 60 minutes) 

The World of Charlie Company
Filming over three months, Emmy-winner John Laurence uncovered a life of tedious routine interjected with moments of sudden chaos—including a stunning act of insubordination in the heat of combat. (1970, 60 minutes)   

Tickets

  • Tickets for each Festival event are $10 each ($8 for Museum members) and $5 for students with valid ID. The series price for any three events is $24 ($18 for Museum members) and $12 for students.
  • Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling the Museum at (212) 621-6600 Mondays to Fridays from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., or at the Museum's front desk during regular Museum hours (Tuesdays to Sundays 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., Thursdays until 8:00 p.m.).
  • Admission to the Vietnam Vérité Retrospective screenings is included with general admission.
  • Admission to Docu-Jam is free to students with valid ID.
  • Members of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers and the International Documentary Association may purchase tickets at the Museum Members price. 
Programs and participants are subject to change. Doors open 30 minutes prior to scheduled start time, and all seating is general admission. No refunds or exchanges. The attached schedule includes a complete listing of dates and times for Festival events. For up-to-the-minute Festival information call the Hotline at (212) 621-6699, e-mail tvdocfest@mtr.org, or visit the Museum's website at www.mtr.org/tvdocfest/.

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