TALK TO ME: AMERICANS IN CONVERSATION, a freewheeling one-hour film on American national identity, was commissioned by NEH as the centerpiece of a multi-year “National Conversation on American Pluralism.” (Please note that this film was shot on Standard Definition.) This documentary considers how crucial it is for a culture to possess or piece together for itself a master narrative -- a myth of origin that is also a statement of intent, a symbolic proclamation of that culture's spiritual goals, its sense of itself and its mission. In the clips included here, we examine some familiar imagery to see how conflicts that could not be resolved politically were often solved in popular culture. TTM poses questions: how do we honor and maintain the memory of our origins, while becoming part of the larger culture? How do we marry the loneliness of the backwoods hunter to the solidarity of the wagon trains that crossed the Great Plains, the autonomy of the individual to the very real collective responsibilities of social life? And, finally, how do we build from these contradictions a more inclusive, more generous, more historically inflected America?
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A polyphonic meditation on how memory -- writing, reading, documentation of all flavors -- shapes the Jewish soul. As historian Simon Schama observes: "Moses commands us to tell a story. And we can't tell a story without an archive. So, you know -- no archive, no Jews!" ZAKHOR was a commissioned work for the Center for Jewish History: a magnificent archive, museum and cultural center based in NYC whose extraordinary holdings (over 100 million documents) take you to many vanished worlds, from medieval Spain to Soviet Uzbekistan to Emma Lazarus' New York. And on into contemporary Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, and Tel Aviv! Well worth a visit, or three: check it out at 15 west 16th Street, cjh.org/
The life of Bulgarian film artist and public intellectual Angel Wagenstein is one of the great untold stories of world cinema. Partisan hero, screenwriter and novelist, Wagenstein at 89 is still a man of massive charm and ferocious intelligence.
This documentary weaves together intimate conversations, interviews with artistic collaborators, and rare archival footage of his seven decades in politics and culture -- including a crucial role in Bulgaria's democratic reforms of 1989 -- to reveal Wagenstein's films as one long allegory of Socialist regret.
This trailer was commissioned as a special feature for the recent DVD-re-release of STERNE ( "Stars," winner of the 1959 Grand Jury Prize at Cannes).
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Behind an unmarked door in New York’s Chinatown lurks Apotheke: an improbably chic speakeasy offering alcoholic/botanical cures for a broken heart, recession-depression, and even hipster ennui. All this in a tiny space that once housed an opium den.
Director/Producer: Andrea Simon
Interviewer: Robert Hilferty
Directors of Photography: Sam Henriques, Paul Koestner
Editor: Elizabeth Campos
Produced for Bloomberg TV