Tag Archive for Film Studies

Audrey Hepburn Stars in July’s Summer Film Series

Audrey Hepburn stars in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's. Hepburn was nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role as Holly Golightly. The film will be shown July 22 at the Center for Film Studies.

Audrey Hepburn stars in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn was nominated for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role as Holly Golightly. The film will be shown July 22 at the Center for Film Studies.

“Hollywood Icons: Audrey Hepburn” is the theme of Wesleyan’s Summer Film Series, sponsored by the College of Film and the Moving Image (CFILM). All four films, featuring Oscar-award winning actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in July.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the accompanying “Posters From the Collection” exhibition in the Rick Nicita Gallery.

All films will begin with an introduction by Marc Longenecker, CFILM programming and technical director.

All films are open to the public and are free of charge.

The films include:

Roman Holiday on July 8;
Sabrina on July 15;
Breakfast at Tiffany’s on July 22;
And Funny Face on July 29.

See the Summer Film Series website for more information and additional poster images.

Wesleyan’s Coursera Classes Begin April 21 with Basinger’s “Marriage in the Movies”

Professor Jeanine Basinger is teaching “Marriage in the Movies: A History," starting April 21.

Professor Jeanine Basinger is teaching “Marriage in the Movies: A History,” starting April 21.

Always wanted to take a course with legendary film professor Jeanine Basinger? Miss the first run of Professor of Psychology Scott Plous’ wildly popular “Social Psychology” MOOC? Now’s your chance!

The next round of Wesleyan’s massive open online courses (MOOCs) is starting up this month, with “Marriage in the Movies: A History” launching April 21. Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, is teaching the course based on her book, I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies.

“This is essentially a descriptive course on stories and stars and business strategies,” says Basinger, who is also chair of film studies and curator of the cinema archives. “It provides information and shows clips for support and example. It’s not philosophical; it’s not a formalist analysis. It’s a simple study about content in the movies designed for people who love films and would like to have more information about some of them and have, what I hope, will be a fun conversation on the changes that evolved over time in stories about marriage that were made in Hollywood.”

In the course’s intro video, Basinger says the course will explore “how Hollywood had trouble telling the story and selling the story of marriage on film.”

Hispanic Film Series Begins March 27

In Cuba’s first zombie movie, residents of Havana scream in panic as flesh eating zombies swarm streets and buildings. Watch Juan de los Muertos (Juan of the Dead) on April 24 as part of the Hispanic Film Series.

In Cuba’s first zombie movie, residents of Havana scream in panic as flesh eating zombies swarm streets and buildings. Watch Juan de los Muertos (Juan of the Dead) on April 24 as part of the Hispanic Film Series.

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures is hosting the 2014 Hispanic Film Series March 27 to April 24 at the Center for Film Studies.

“For the second year in a row, we’re showcasing recent award-winning films from Latin America and Spain,” said María Ospina, assistant professor of romance languages and literatures. “Last year, we had hundreds of students attend the screenings, and we’re hoping that this year the event is equally successful.”

All films start at 8 p.m. in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. Screenings are free of charge and are open to the public. Films have English subtitles.

March 27
Biutiful, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mexico/Spain, 2010
Javier Bardem brings admirable passion to the gritty story of Uxbal, a midlevel underworld figure whose main business is dealing with the black-market labor of illegal immigrants in Barcelona. Juggling two young children, a mentally unstable former wife and a terminal illness, he is faced with choices that test both his resolve and his decency, as he tries to be stoical, tough and compassionate.

April 3
Tanta agua (So Much Water), directed by Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, Uruguay/Mexico/Holland/Germany, 2013
Alberto, who doesn’t see his kids Lucía and Federico much since his divorce, refuses to allow anything to ruin his plans for vacation at a hot springs resort.

Faculty Speak at Asian American Film Festival

Asian Cinevision and the 36th Annual Asian American Film Festival co-organized the 2014 Asian and Asian American Film Series. The film screenings take place on Monday nights at the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies. The most recent film, "An Unbounded Romance," screened on Feb. 24 and was followed with a discussion moderated by, from left, Marguerite Nguyen, assistant professor of English; Stéphanie Ponsavady, assistant professor of French; Miri Nakamura, chair and assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures, assistant professor of East Asian studies; and Amy Tang, assistant professor of American studies and English.

Asian Cinevision and the 36th Annual Asian American Film Festival co-organized the 2014 Asian and Asian American Film Series. The film screenings take place on Monday nights at the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies. The most recent film, “An Unbounded Romance,” screened on Feb. 24 and was followed with a discussion moderated by, from left, Marguerite Nguyen, assistant professor of English; Stéphanie Ponsavady, assistant professor of French; Miri Nakamura, chair and assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures, assistant professor of East Asian studies; and Amy Tang, assistant professor of American studies and English.

13 Movie Posters on Display in New Cinema Archives Exhibit

Wesleyan's Cinema Archives is hosting the exhibit "Posters from the Collection" in the Rick Nicita Gallery through April 30. The posters represent 13 prominent collections from the Wesleyan Cinema Archives. Posters have been donated to the Archives by filmmakers, producers and others, and the Archives now boasts more than 1,500 rare film posters in its collection.

Wesleyan’s Cinema Archives is hosting the exhibit “Posters from the Collection” in the Rick Nicita Gallery through April 30. The posters represent 13 prominent collections from the Wesleyan Cinema Archives. Posters have been donated to the Archives by filmmakers, producers and others, and the Archives now boasts more than 1,500 rare film posters in its collection.

Film Studies’ MacLowry Co-Directs PBS Show on Penn Station

Randall MacLowry '86 co-produced, directed and wrote the PBS episode.

Randall MacLowry ’86 co-produced, directed and wrote the PBS episode, “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station.”

Randall MacLowry ’86, visiting instructor in film studies, co-produced, directed and wrote an episode for the PBS history series American Experience. Titled “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station,” the hour-long episode premieres at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Pennsylvania Station, a monumental train terminal in the heart of Manhattan, finally opened to the public on Nov. 27, 1910. Covering nearly eight acres, the building was the fourth largest in the world. By 1945, more than 100 million passengers traveled through Penn Station each year.

But by the 1960s, what was supposed to last forever was slated for destruction. In 1961, the financially strapped Pennsylvania Railroad, which had been losing customers to air and automobile travel, announced that it had sold the air rights above Penn Station. In 1963, the demolition of the grand edifice began and construction on the new station was completed in 1968. Watch a preview of “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station” online here.

MacLowry is an award-winning filmmaker with over 25 years experience as producer, director, writer and editor, and is co-founder of The Film Posse with producer and partner Tracy Heather Strain. His work for American Experience includes “Silicon Valley,” “The Gold Rush” (2007 Erik Barnouw Award), “Building the Alaska Highway,” “A Brilliant Madness and Stephen Foster;” he also served as editor of “The Polio Crusade” and an episode of the two-part series “Reconstruction: America’s Second Civil War.”

MacLowry majored in art with a film studies concentration at Wesleyan.

Explore Israeli Culture during Spring Film Festival

The film, Fill the Void, is written and directed by Rama Burshstein (2012). It will be screened on Jan. 30 as part of the Israeli Film Festival. Lisa Dombrowski, associate professor of film studies, will speak about the film after the screening.

The film, Fill the Void, is written and directed by Rama Burshstein (2012). It will be screened on Jan. 30 as part of the Israeli Film Festival. Lisa Dombrowski, associate professor of film studies, will speak about the film after the screening.

Seven films, all with English subtitles, will be screened during the annual Israeli Film Festival this spring.

The festival aims to educate and explore the richness, diversity and creativity of Israeli culture as witnessed through the flourishing of contemporary Israeli cinema. Each film screening is followed by a guest speaker or Wesleyan faculty who comments on the film from a particular perspective.

FIlms this year include Fill the Void, Wherever You Go, Welcome and our Condolences, Zaytoun, By Summer’s End, Six Million and One, Back by Popular Demand: Eyes Wide Open. 

Films run every Thursday at 8 p.m. from Jan. 30 to March 6 in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. Admission is free.

The Festival is organized by Dalit Katz, adjunct assistant professor of Religion and Israel Studies and cultural coordinator of Israeli events at Wesleyan University. It is sponsored by the Ring Family, Jewish and Israel Studies and co sponsored by the Film Studies Department.

For more information about the films and the full schedule, visit the Israeli Film Festival website.

Kraft ’87 Receives 2013 International Photographer of the Year Award

Kraft_obama

Photojournalist Brooks Kraft followed Barack Obama during his last campaign producing an intimate look at the President fighting for re-election. © Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Brooks Kraft ’87 has been named 2013 International Photographer of the Year, the top honor given by the International Photography Awards (IPA) in its annual competition. The award was announced at New York’s Carnegie Hall during the 11th annual Lucie Awards ceremony recognizing the accomplishments of photographers working in editorial, advertising, journalism, fine art, fashion and beyond. The IPA’s competition is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive in the photography world today; this year’s field included more than 10,000 entries from 103 countries.

Kraft received the top honor for his portfolio “The Last Days of Barack Obama’s Campaign,” which follows the American President during the final days of the long 2012-election cycle. Kraft captured his award-winning images as President Obama traveled around the country holding multiple large rallies a day in front of crowds of tens of thousands.

Kraft_self

Kraft graduated from Wesleyan with a degree in photography and film.

Born in New York City, Kraft graduated from Wesleyan with a degree in photography and film. Early in his career, he spent a year as an apprentice to photographer Irving Penn and traveled with Nelson Mandela during the historic South African Presidential election of 1994. (Kraft’s portrait of Mandela was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal the day after Mandela’s death on December 5.)

Immersed in commercial photography for the past twenty-five years, Kraft has become one of the world’s most well known and accomplished photojournalists. His work has appeared across the globe in thousands of publications and his iconic images have graced the cover of magazines such as Time, US News, Forbes, Business Week, Life, People, The New Republic and The Atlantic.

As a White House photographer with Time magazine for ten years and a veteran of six presidential campaigns, Kraft traveled with the president on Air Force One throughout America and to more than fifty countries. In the corporate world his diverse clients include Google, Apple, Goldman Sachs, Harvard University and the Wall Street Journal.

“Buffy to the Bard” Exhibit Offers Retrospective Look at Whedon’s Career

The Wesleyan Cinema Archives presents a retrospective look at the career of Joss Whedon '87, from his years at Wesleyan to his 2012 production of Much Ado about Nothing. The exhibit, "Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard," located inside the Rick Nicita Gallery, features posters, notebooks, photographs, props and artwork from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, the Avengers and more.

The Wesleyan Cinema Archives presents a retrospective look at the career of Joss Whedon ’87, from his years at Wesleyan to his 2012 production of “Much Ado about Nothing.” The exhibit, “Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard,” located inside the Rick Nicita Gallery, features posters, notebooks, photographs, props and artwork from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Serenity,” “The Avengers” and more.

Whether you’re a serious student of Joss Whedon’s oeuvre or your inner geek has just really, really wanted to see Buffy’s scythe close up, an exhibit on view in the Cinema Archives’ Nicita Gallery should satisfy every fan of the prolific ’87 Wes alumnus.

Joss Whedon '87 presented Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, with an honorary degree from the American Film Institute Conservatory in 2006. This photograph is on display in the "Buffy to Bard" exhibit.

Joss Whedon ’87 presented Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, with an honorary degree from the American Film Institute Conservatory in 2006. This photograph is on display in the “Buffy to the Bard” exhibit.

“Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard” is an intimate and charming retrospective of Whedon’s career, starting with a picture of Whedon shooting a student film at Wesleyan, continuing through souvenirs of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and winding up with a poster from his latest film, “Much Ado About Nothing,” which he previewed during Reunion & Commencement weekend for a wildly enthusiastic crowd of alumni and students.

“It was an awful lot of fun to put together,” said Curator Andrea McCarty, who not only created the exhibit but also designed the special Lucite cases that hold such Whedonalia as script notes and objéts from Whedon’s blockbuster “The Avengers,” based on the Marvel comic. “Joss basically went into his garage – and gave us all this stuff.”

Marvel and Lions Gate Studio also were generous in donating movie ephemera, McCarty said.

The exhibit will be up through December, honoring the prominent film studies alumnus (whose 2013 Commencement speech has now garnered more than a quarter million views on YouTube) as Wesleyan launches its new College of Film and the Moving Image. The college brings the Film Studies Department, the Center for Film Studies, the Cinema Archives and the Wesleyan Film Series under a single umbrella.

The exhibit will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and also by appointment, allowing visitors to ponder notes and sketches for “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog;” film and TV posters; and props and artifacts from various Whedon productions.

For more information see the Nicita Gallery’s website.

In this 1986 photograph, director/producer/writer Joss Whedon '87, at left, makes a student film with classmate Richter Hartig '87. This photograph, taken by Brooks Kraft '87, is on display in the "Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard" exhibit inside the Nicita Gallery through December.

In this 1986 photograph, director/producer/writer Joss Whedon ’87, at left, makes a student film with classmate Richter Hartig ’87. This photograph, taken by Brooks Kraft ’87, is on display in the “Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard” exhibit inside the Nicita Gallery through December.

During the academic year, the Rick Nicita Gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and by appointment by calling 860-685-2220.

During the academic year, the Rick Nicita Gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and by appointment by calling 860-685-2220. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Basinger Speaks on Casting Directing in HBO Documentary

Casting ByJeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, is a guest speaker featured in the new HBO documentary, “Casting By.” The documentary premiered Aug. 5. Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Robert Redford and others make appearances in the film.

“Casting By” explores the unsung hero of Hollywood: a casting director. The story focuses on Marion Dougherty, known for pioneering the casting business, long before the Casting Society of America or the Directors Guild of America existed. Dougherty gave actors including James Dean, Glenn Close, Al Pacino, Bette Midler, Warren Beatty, Jon Voight and Diane Lane their first onscreen roles.

Watch the trailer online here.

Seniors Produce, Direct “Minds of Makers” Documentaries in 3 Countries

Piers Gelly ’13 and Daniel Nass ’13 created a nine-part documentary series on “The Minds of Makers."

Piers Gelly ’13 and Daniel Nass ’13 created a nine-part documentary series on “The Minds of Makers.”

In Kilkenny, Ireland, a man spins wool from freshly shorn sheep into rich fibers. A furniture maker in South Pomfret, Vt. studies the natural geometry of wood he turns into tables, chairs and consoles. And in London, England, a silversmith wielding a hammer transforms smooth metal into beautifully shaped and textured bowls, vases and pieces of art.

These and other craftspeople are featured in a series of nine short documentary films produced and directed by Piers Gelly ’13 and Daniel Nass ’13. Each film in the series, titled, “The Minds of Makers,” shows the creative process of a craftsperson working in a different medium—wood, glass, metal, wool. The films are available to view on ArtBabble, a website created by the Indianapolis Museum of Art to showcase art video content.

Gelly, a College of Letters major, won the Writing Program’s Annie Sonnenblick Writing Award last spring and received a grant to travel around France, Ireland and England researching historical recreation. He planned “to visit places where groups of people attempt to preserve and recreate ‘pure’ craft practices for various reasons of historical authenticity.” The “crown jewel,” he explained, was a 13th century chateau fort in Burgundy called Guédelon, which workers are building from scratch using period technology.

When Gelly was home in Milwaukee that spring break, he met up with Jon Prown of the Chipstone Foundation, a Milwaukee-based foundation that promotes craft and design education and scholarship. The two discussed Gelly’s travel and research plans, and Prown said he’d love to have a series of videos made about the people Gelly would be interviewing. Chipstone offered financial support for the project. Gelly then asked Nass, a friend since freshman orientation and a film studies major, if he’d like to come along and work on the films. The two had previously collaborated on two issues of the 48 Hour Magazine, and on articles for Ampersand, the Argus’ comedy supplement.

Piers Gelly ’13 and Daniel Nass ’13 filmed craftsman Michael Eden in England.

Piers Gelly ’13 and Daniel Nass ’13 filmed Michael Eden in England. Eden unites tradition and modern technology in the intricate ornamental objects that he designs and creates via 3D printing.

Gelly attributes his interest in questions of tradition and history largely to the College of Letters curriculum, and, in particular, to conversations with Javier Castro-Ibaseta, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of letters, and Tula Telfair, professor of art and Gelly’s thesis advisor. In addition, two introductory film classes Gelly took as a freshman “definitely gave me some film knowledge,” he said.

Though Nass is a film major, he said he never had an opportunity to take Wesleyan’s documentary filmmaking course. Instead, he feels that two creative nonfiction writing courses he took—“Distinguished Writers/ New Voices” with Anne Greene, and “Intermediate Nonfiction Workshop” with Lisa Cohen—best prepared him to undertake this project.

“There’s a lot of commonalities [between writing and documentary filmmaking] with the process of gathering materials, conducting interviews and figuring out how to shape what you have into a narrative. The experience I got in those classes helped me a lot when I was thinking about how I want to put these films together,” said Nass.

Gelly and Nass traveled and filmed the documentaries through June and part of July 2012.

The craftspeople featured in the films include subjects from Gelly’s Sonnenblick research, family friends, and people they met through Chipstone.

“All our subjects seemed really pleased to be interviewed. Since most never explain their work to anyone step by step, this was an opportunity for them to share a huge wealth of thoughts and ideas that they normally don’t,” Gelly said. “Some of the most interesting things we discussed were the basics of working with their materials, which these people take for granted but which the rest of us never think to wonder about.”

Piers Gelly ’13 and Daniel Nass ’13 documented how the Cushendale Woolen Mills in Ireland uses turn-of-the-century manufacturing techniques to produce fine wool. The film is one of nine documentaries featured in the "Mind of Makers" series.

The Cushendale Woolen Mills in Ireland uses turn-of-the-century manufacturing techniques to produce fine wool. The film is one of nine documentaries featured in the student-produced “Mind of Makers” series.

Nass added, “For many of the people we interviewed, the work that they do just consists of doing. Often, when we would ask them a question about some specific aspect of their technique, it seemed like they would have to figure out how to articulate it. One thing that came up over and over again was the way that an acquired craft is kind of fundamentally not able to be articulated. You have to learn just by doing. They did their best to explain in words how their practices worked.”

Another common theme that emerged in the interviews, said Nass, was “the relationship between tradition and innovation.” For example, they interviewed a basket maker who was one of the last practitioners of a centuries-old craft. In contrast, another subject, who had begun his work in traditional pottery making, went on to creating intricate ornamental objects using new 3-D printing technology.

“Everybody was in some way informed by the past, and chose to either carry on tradition or create something completely new,” Nass said.

In the fall, Gelly and Nass asked some musically-inclined friends—including Ben Seretan ’10, Ashlin Aronin ’13, Jack Ladd ’15 and Danny Sullivan ’13—to contribute soundtrack music for the films.

The first five films went online at ArtBabble in January, and the last four appeared in late March.

Gelly said he hopes the films cause viewers to “take a second look at the objects around them.”

This coming summer, Gelly and Nass plan to make several more films in the series—focusing on American craftspeople—while they shoot a longer documentary for Chipstone about face jugs. As Nass explained, these stoneware jugs with clay faces on them were made by slaves in South Carolina over a limited period of time in the 19th century. “The project is still in its conceptual planning stages, but if all goes well, we’ll be in South Carolina conducting interviews,” Nass said.

Though neither student has concrete plans for the long term, Nass said, “I really love doing independent documentary work like this. I could definitely see myself continuing with it.”

#THISISWHY

 

 

Basinger’s Book Examines the “Marriage Movie”

Book by Jeanine Basinger.

Book by Jeanine Basinger.

Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, is the author of I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies, published by Knopf in January 2013.

This extensively researched and illustrated book examines “the marriage movie;” what it is (or isn’t) and what it has to tell us about the movies—and ourselves. As long as there have been feature movies there have been marriage movies, and yet Hollywood has always been cautious about how to label them—perhaps because, unlike any other genre of film, the marriage movie resonates directly with the experience of almost every adult coming to see it. Here is “happily ever after”—except when things aren’t happy, and when “ever after” is abruptly terminated by divorce, tragedy . . . or even murder.

Basinger traces the many ways Hollywood has tussled with this tricky subject, explicating the relationships of countless marriages from Blondie and Dagwood to the heartrending couple in the Iranian A Separation, from Tracy and Hepburn to Laurel and Hardy (a marriage if ever there was one) to Coach and his wife in Friday Night Lights. The volume contains a treasure trove of movie stills, posters and ads.