By Guest Contributor Josh Glick, Assistant Professor of English and Film at Hendrix College, Mellon Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University in the Integrated Humanities
Watching Life Itself (2014) in Washington D.C.’s E Street Cinema, I felt director Steve James’s recent portrait of the late Roger Ebert strike a personal chord. As a wide-eyed teenager attending a summer program at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in 2001, I was fortunate to be exposed to the writing of Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, and Manny Farber as part of a broader menu of cultural criticism. Reading film reviews helped me to cultivate an appetite for all kinds of movies. Now, as it’s my job to teach others a critical awareness of how moving images shape and are shaped by the world around us, I have come to appreciate how it is often the written word that coaxes even the most reluctant spectators to become eager viewers.Read more
For those of you who may not be documentary filmmakers (or even for those of you who are), you may not be aware of a recent decision PBS made which has the potential to impact independent documentary producers. While the decision to move PBS' two flagship independent film series Independent Lens and POV, from Tuesday nights to Thursday nights may, on the surface, seem like no big deal, it actually has a great deal of potential impact and has caused an uproar in the documentary community.
Chicago-based Kartemquin Films -- which has been producing documentaries for more than 45 years, including a number which ended up on PBS (The Interrupters, Milking the Rhino, In the Family, The New Americans, and Hoop Dreams just to name a few) -- has been particularly vocal on the issue, publishing an open letter to PBS on March 15. We recently asked Kartemquin's Communications Manager, Tim Horsburgh to share more of the story of the "PBS Needs Indies" campaign.