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.
April 24, 2013 |
The Philadelphia region supports film festivals targeted to virtually every fan base and demographic, from gays and lesbians to Asian Americans and African Americans to horror geeks. Except, that is, for the region's growing Latino community. It's an oversight that local cineastes David Acosta and Beatriz Vieira are trying to remedy. "It has been such a void in the city and the region," said Vieira, vice president for philanthropic services at the Philadelphia Foundation. "And there is such a breadth of film and video work coming from Latin America and the Latin community in the United States.
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")
February 29, 2012
Ray Allen scored 22 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and the Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 86-83, on Tuesday night to snap a five-game losing streak. Boston, which couldn't hold a 16-point lead in the first quarter, avoided its first six-game skid since dropping seven in a row from April 4-15, 2007. Kyrie Irving returned from a bruised elbow that sidelined him late in the second quarter and led Cleveland with 24 points, 19 in the second half. Irving hit two free throws with 1:21 remaining to give host Cleveland an 81-80 lead.
August 5, 2011
IT WOULD HAVE been very awkward if Sara Martin and Edward McNelis had broken up between submitting footage for Kevin Macdonald's documentary "Life in a Day" and its release today. Amid the other moments meant to capture the average person's life on July 24, 2010, is Martin and McNelis celebrating their first anniversary as a couple. McNelis, a Bensalem-native and Penn student, heard about Macdonald's project through ads on YouTube and Google. He hounded Martin to participate. Martin demurred at first.
March 25, 1989 |
America is squandering one of its most valuable natural resources with wanton disregard. Throughout the United States, thousands of endangered or threatened animals are killed illegally each year by hunters who cavalierly break the laws designed to protect our nation's wildlife population. Sunday at 7 p.m., the National Audubon Society and Superstation TBS examine this issue in "Greed, Guns and Wildlife," narrated by Richard Chamberlain. It is a one-hour look at the shocking reality of poaching in this country.