November 4, 2011
OPENING LAST night and continuing through Tuesday is the fourth annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, sponsored by HBO and Comcast and screening at various locations around the city. The festival comprises 10 features and 18 shorts for all audiences, from romantic comedy to documentary. Today's Asian American filmmakers target broader audiences by exploring more universal themes while retaining an Asian American flavor in their work. "Enforcing the Silence," for example, explores themes of discrimination as it focuses on the unsolved murder of San Francisco Vietnamese activist Lam Duong in July 1981 by anticommunist extremists.
February 22, 2013
By Steve Hallock This year's menu of Oscar-nominated short documentaries offers not only compelling viewing but also hope for those who despair over the decline of a robust, independent press that serves as investigative watchdog over government, business, and society. Not only are some newspapers going out of business, but those remaining - other than a few major city dailies - are eliminating investigative reporting teams and closing foreign and national bureaus. Broadcast television, meanwhile, long ago saw its special reports and foreign bureaus wither as the networks and the cable brethren exponentially increased sports and entertainment fare.
January 30, 2012 |
WHEN ALL of Comcast's legal and financial minds got together to discuss a purchase of NBC, do you think any of them raised the hypothetical question: "Do we have a corporate position on donkey semen?" That was the question du jour for the media conglomerate after "Fear Factor" shot an episode this past summer in which contestants were challenged to drink a glass of donkey semen (and one of urine, you know, as a cocktail) and some of them did - because one's thirst for cash knows no limits.
January 23, 2013 |
PITTSBURGH - FrackNation is a new documentary that attacks opponents of fracking for oil and gas, but it also raises a bigger question: Is it possible to criticize environmentalists without being a tool for big industry? Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - is a method of stimulating oil and gas from deep underground that has led to a historic boom in U.S. production while also stoking controversy over its possible impact on the environment and human health. FrackNation , an independent documentary produced by Los Angeles-based filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, addresses the issue from an unusual perspective.
October 4, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Trade unions have taken their dispute with developers Michael and Matthew Pestronk to a new level, producing a sleek documentary that accuses the brothers of safety and health violations at their signature project, the unfinished Goldtex building. The 20-minute documentary, unveiled Wednesday at a campaign-style event at the headquarters of electricians union Local 98, includes videos, photos, and interviews with two unidentified "undercover workers" at the job site, just north of Chinatown.
August 23, 2011 |
She sounds a little like Snooki, J-Woww, and the Situation, and, like several Jersey Shore party animals, she lives in Staten Island, but Laura Flynn-Amato occupies a different reality. The animals that come into her life are wretched and helpless, but at least not drunk. She plucks them from their misery, and, with lots of assistance, some from Philadelphia-area people, gives them new life. Flynn-Amato's the title character in a warmhearted documentary whose homey style (everyone's called only by first name)
June 7, 2013 |
FORMER Lenny Dykstra business manager, Dan Herman , has filed a complaint against former Fox 29 weatherman John Bolaris , after a text-message battle between the two resulted in Herman going to the Pennsylvania State Police. The dispute began when Herman, the owner of Chinga Chang Records, pitched a documentary called "Race in the Ring," about the 1982 fight between boxers Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney . On June 28, 2012, Herman says he entered into a contract with Bolaris to narrate the documentary, in exchange for a one-fifth ownership of the film.
February 6, 2012 |
THE TOYNBEE tiles are embedded within the very fabric of Philadelphia. Found in seemingly random spots throughout the city, the license-plate-size tiles are etched with a cryptic message: "TOYNBEE IDEAS IN KUbrick's 2001 RESURRECT DEAD ON PLANET JUPITER. " The tiles also have been found up and down the East Coast and even in Chile and Argentina. Many have investigated the mystery behind the tiles. Who placed them? What do they mean? But until the documentary "Resurrect Dead," the only person who knew the answers to those questions was the one placing the tiles.
January 30, 2012 |
The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, ended Sunday, after honors to a mythical film starring an 8-year-old girl and a documentary about the war on drugs. Beasts of the Southern Wild won the grand jury prize in the U.S. dramatic competition, and The House I Live In won the same honor in the U.S. documentary category. Directed and cowritten by filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, 29, Beasts follows a girl named Hushpuppy who lives with her father in the southern Delta; it also won the cinematography prize.
March 9, 2012 |
BOBBY LIEBLING was a trainwreck. The frontman of beyond-cult metal band Pentagram admitted at the beginning of the documentary "Last Days Here" that he has been a drug addict for some four decades. At 54, he was living at his parents' house in Germantown, Md., and had delusions that parasites were are eating away his hands. But to some, Bobby Liebling is a god. "Last Days Here," directed by Philly filmmakers Don Argott and Demian Fenton ("Rock School," "The Art of the Steal")