Blog RSS



The past few years have seen new energy and investment in thinking about what’s next for public media. Projects like the Public Radio Talent Quest and MQ2 have inspired an  eruption of creativity and new ideas, many of them germinating from brain trusts right here in our own backyard in Cambridge. Nellie recently wrote about Zeega and the brilliant innovations being cooked up by the likes of Jesse Shapins, Kara Oehler and James Burns. They have a partner in crime nearby in Sue Schardt from AIR (Association of Independents in Radio). In her leadership of the organization, Sue has put AIR at the forefront of innovation in storytelling and their new project Localore is just another example of the kind of vision that AIR is contributing to new experiments in public media.

As part of the ongoing Frederick Wiseman retrospective happening at the Harvard Film Archive,
this week brings us screenings of the Cambridge-based filmmaker's Belfast, Maine (1999) (Sunday 20 Nov. at 6pm) and Titicut Follies (1967) (Monday 21 Nov at 7pm). Belfast, Maine is "serenely composed of the illuminating routines and intimate minutiae" of a New England town, while Titicut Follies, Wiseman's first film (also set in New England, in Massachusetts), "proved so shocking in its unadorned rendering of a state mental institution that it remains the only American film to have been completely censored for reasons other than obscenity or national security."  No matter what slice of American life he chooses to film, Wiseman's documentaries are engrossing - this is a chance to see a part of his panorama of work on a big screen.

In a special event on 2 Dec, the filmmaker will be at the HFA in person to talk about The Last Letter (La Dernier Lettre), his only fiction film. The last movie of the series is State Legsislature on 2 Dec - a film that LEF supported with a Production grant.

The screenings at the HFA coincide with Frederick Wiseman's Phelps Lecture at the Radcliffe Institude for Advanced Study on Dec 1:"Shooting, Editing, and Reading a Documentary Film"

"Frederick Wiseman will discuss—and illustrate with sequences from his films—his approach to documentary filmmaking. He will address choice of subject, fundraising, technical filming
issues, sound recording and editing, analysis of sequences, relation of facts to metaphor and abstraction, and the creation of a dramatic structure. Wiseman will end with a discussion
about how he applies the principles of "close reading" to film." 

The lecture is free and open to the public on Dec 1 at 4pm at the Radcliffe Gymnasium, 10 Garden St. Cambridge MA.

- Nellie

The Center for Social Media at American University has created yet another helpful and informative study examining the work of nonfiction filmmakers. This one is "Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Challenges in Their Work"; a report based on conversations with 45 filmmakers about the ethical challenges they face in the creation of their work and how they handle them.

New England