Mr. Rodgers and Radical Kindness

New York Times Columnist David Brooks has written a lovely piece about the new Mr. Rodgers movie.  There’s of course SO much to say about this movie, and I’ll write something soon about why I think it should be picked for the Academy Award this year. But I’ll let Brooks do the talking for today. “Once, as Tom Junod described in a profile  for Esquire, Rogers met a 14-year-old boy whose cerebral palsy left him sometimes unable to walk or talk. Rogers asked the boy to pray for him. The boy was thunderstruck. He had been the object of prayers many times, but nobody had asked him to pray for another. He said he would try since Mister Rogers must be close to God and if Mister Rogers liked him he must be O.K. Junod complimented Rogers on cleverly boosting the boy’s self-esteem, but Rogers didn’t look at the situation that way at all: “Oh, heavens no, Tom! I didn’t ask him for his prayers for him; I asked for me. I asked him because I think that anyone who has gone through challenges like that must be very close to God. I asked him because I wanted his intercession.”” “And here is the […]

2018 Film Independent Documentary Fellows

Congratulations to these nine filmmakers who were selected as 2018 Film Independent documentary fellows!

Beyond Boredom to Ecstasy

Think of the experience of modern existence (post industrial revolution) as swinging between two poles – INTEREST on the one hand and BOREDOM on the other. Interest in this case has to do with being entertained, your attention being held by something. This is a passive state of consciousness. Boredom on the other hand is NOT being entertained, being DIS-interested.  Ok, now this is the psychological condition of our time. Think about it: advertising and commerce tends to treat us as passive consumers, whose attention needs to be commandeered in order to be sold to. We don’t notice that we are going through life in a passive state, either entertained by what is paraded in front of us or bored by it.  Now my question to you is: does this passive state constitute happiness? CAN one be happy in the process or cycle of entertainment-boredom, entertainment-boredom? Or is there something more to being human?  Here’s what I want to ask in my new book: Is there a way, through artistic appreciation and practice to go beyond this cycle?  Short answer: yes, and it has to do with arriving on the other side of boredom, to a kind of active interest, […]

The Judge 

A film about a female shariah judge, and a window into what life is like, and what issues are being worked through fire Muslims in Palestine. The Variety review is here.

Anthony Bourdain Documentary

This is huge. A documentary in the works in Anthony Bourdain. I really hope they do a good, respectful, complex yet inspiring biopic.

Documentary and Sensitive Issues

This is a great article on some of the issues documentarians face when dealing with sensitive content, not least of which is how to respect your subjects. 

Documentarians Meet the Real People Behind a Media Firestorm

The folks over at Independent Lens (PBS) are about to premiere a documentary I’d really like to see. It deals with a controversial subject: the media storm surrounding ACORN, brought down by secret videos that were released to the world by some activist journalists.

An Avalanche of Exciting Documentaries are Coming Soon

This is a great Indiewire write up of upcoming documentaries. Errol Morris and Werner Herzog among them!