April 12, 2014 |
Ben Kalina had to get through. Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy destroyed large swaths of the Jersey Shore on Oct. 29, 2012, the Philadelphia filmmaker was in his car, trying to talk his way past emergency roadblocks on Long Beach Island. He needed to shoot the aftermath. Officials finally were allowing residents back in - but to assess damage, collect belongings, and get out again. It took three attempts before Kalina and his cameraman made it in and started capturing the devastation in Holgate, on the barrier island's southern, and hardest-hit, end. "That was one of my prouder moments in filmmaking," Kalina says with a smile.
April 5, 2014 |
For the fourth year in a row, a Cherry Hill girl is a winner in C-Span's national StudentCam competition. Madeline Bowne, a sophomore at Cherry Hill High School East, will be awarded $1,500 for her second-prize documentary, "Driving Under the Influence (of Cell Phones)," about cellphone use while driving. Bowne's piece will be shown on C-Span on April 14 at 6:50 a.m. and throughout the day. Bowne, the daughter of teachers, has become a regular in the highly competitive contest. As a seventh grader, she took a third prize.
April 4, 2014 |
So just what is The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller ? Even director Sam Green, the creative force behind the evening of entertainment that has sold out two shows at FringeArts on Friday, isn't quite sure what to call it. "I use different terms," the filmmaker said. "At a film festival, I'll call it a 'live documentary.' At a museum, it's a 'performance.' And I've also done shows at libraries. There, I'll just call it a 'fancy lecture.' Which it is. It's a lecture with a band.
February 26, 2014 |
On Tuesday, the documentary production company founded by Philadelphia politician Sam Katz will launch its second major project, Women of Philadelphia: A Documentary , a six-episode TV series created by Nancy Moses, a former executive director of the Philadelphia History Museum. Katz said on Monday that the series will tell the story of the women who have helped shape the city since its early days in the 17th century. The ambitious $1.4 million project, which will have a robust Web presence including more than two dozen webisodes, will begin shooting in June.
February 11, 2014 |
Former Temple University players LaMont Ferrell and Darrin Pearsall just wanted their former basketball coach to say yes . . . to a documentary . . . about his life . . . for television. But the coach in question was John Chaney. The answer - not surprising - was a repeated and defiant "No!" So Ferrell and Pearsall, once high school basketball stars and rivals, staged an intervention. They gathered 10 of Chaney's former players to convince the 82-year-old Hall of Fame coach that not only was his life worth the effort, but, more important, the filmmakers wouldn't get on his nerves.
February 8, 2014 |
VILLANOVA Senior Tom Smith attends college in the heart of the Main Line, but he says his experience in North Philadelphia has transformed him. Smith, with Villanova University classmate McKenna Hinkle, was codirector of Heel'd , a half-hour documentary about Hand2Paw, an organization that connects homeless pets with homeless youths. "It changed my career. It changed my life. It changed me," Smith, 22, of Media, said of the film, the fall-semester project of the university's social justice documentary class.
February 7, 2014 |
"THE HUNGER Games" is just sci-fi, set in a future we'll probably never see. Right? No decent society would allow its leaders to throw working-class teens into a deadly meat-grinder in order to create an authoritarian public spectacle designed to keep the rabble in line. Keep telling yourself that as you watch the hair-raising documentary "Kids for Cash," based on the notorious case of Luzerne County judges convicted of sending juveniles to a new for-profit prison that they endorsed building and whose developer paid them under the table.
February 5, 2014 |
What will they think of me? The question brought Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. to tears. For years, Ciavarella, a former Luzerne County Court judge, had defiantly fought charges that he took kickbacks to sentence thousands of young offenders to private juvenile detention centers. During a moment of reflection while awaiting sentencing for corruption in 2011, Ciavarella broke down, imagining how his own grandchildren would perceive him. "I would hope that they understand that their grandfather screwed up big-time," he said, tears welling in his eyes.
January 24, 2014 |
Since its beginnings, the Sundance Film Festival has been where documentary films come to be born. And this year, three docs with Pennsylvania ties are making news. Amir Bar-Lev's documentary Happy Valley focuses on the Jerry Sandusky scandal. In one sequence, we see a standoff between tourists trying to take a picture by the statue of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, and an elderly man with a handwritten sign accusing Paterno of covering up for a child molester. As the tourists verbally abuse the old man, some pushing him aside as he tries to spoil their shots, the battle over the legacy of Paterno and Penn State devolves into a shoving match from which neither side emerges touched.
November 29, 2013 |
WHEN ALEX GIBNEY started to follow Lance Armstrong around to document his pro-cycling comeback in 2009, he noticed something strange. Cycling insiders with cameras and microphones, looking askance at him, promising to make the "real" Lance Armstrong documentary. Gibney, a respected and decorated documentary filmmaker, was naturally confused. If they were making the real documentary, what, he wondered, was he making? You get the complicated answer in "The Armstrong Lie," Gibney's examination of the disgraced cyclist, whose hypercompetitive personality has many facets.