filmschool, Nathan Callahan, Mike Kaspar, independent film news and interviews, KUCI
Fall 2009


DECEMBER 29, 2009
An interview with PETE McCORMACK the director of FACING ALI. Three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali defeated almost every top fighter of the golden age of boxing and symbolized the sport for generations of fans. Now, ten of his acclaimed rivals pay tribute to perhaps the world’s most beloved and inspiring athlete in FACING ALI, a riveting documentary from director Pete McCormack (Uganda Rising) and producer Derik Murray (Legends of Hockey). From the moment he captured the gold at the 1960 Summer Olympics, the fighter who first came to prominence as Cassius Clay electrified the world and transformed the art of boxing. Articulate, handsome, charismatic and outspoken, he became an icon of the burgeoning civil rights movement and a hero to millions around the globe. A master showman and a brilliant strategist, Ali won as much by getting inside his opponents’ heads as by his astounding physical talents. With exclusive interviews and vintage footage from the champ’s unmatched career, FACING ALI recreates his most unforgettable rivalries, and recounts his triumphs, tragedies and unstoppable spirit.

December 22, 2009
treeless mountain
An interview with SO YONG KIM the director of TREELESS MOUNTAIN. When their mother needs to leave in order to find their estranged father,seven-year-old Jin andher younger sister, Bin, are left to live with their Big Aunt for the summer. With only a small piggy bank and their mother’s promise to return when it is full, the two young girls are forced to acclimate to changes in their family life. Counting the days, and the coins, the two bright-eyedyoung girls eagerly anticipate their mother’s homecoming. But when the bank fills up, and with their mother still not back, Big Aunt decides that she can no longer tend to the children. Taken to live on their grandparent’s farm, it is here that Jin comes to learn the importance of familybonds in this beautiful, meditative, and thought-provoking second feature from So Yong Kim, the acclaimed director of IN BETWEEN DAYS. TREELESS MOUNTAIN is Kim’s second feature film. Her first feature, IN BETWEEN DAYS, was acclaimed by critics and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival along with the International Critics’ Prize at Berlin. TREELESS MOUNTAIN is nominated for a 2010 Independent Spirit Best Cinematography and John Cassavetes Award.


DECEMBER 15, 2009
An interview with OREN MOVERMAN director of THE MESSENGER — the story of a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (Ben Foster) who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Samantha Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband’s death, Will’s emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival. Moverman co-wrote the screenplay for JESUS' SON, co-wrote Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan biopic I'M NOT THERE, and penned two films currently in production: INTERRUPTED, about legendary director Nicholas Ray, and WILLIAM BURROUGHS' QUEER, for


DECEMBER 8, 2009
An interview with KYLE PATRICK ALVAREZ the director of EASIER WITH PRACTICE — the story of Davy Mitchell who, in an effort to promote his unpublished novel, sets out on a road trip with his younger brother. However, the idealism of being on the road wears off and it quickly proves to be a lonely and unfulfilling experience for Davy. One night in a motel room he gets a random phone call from a mysterious woman named Nicole. They start a funny and intimate long distance relationship that leaves Davy happier than he has been in years. Hoping there is more to the relationship then a voice and a phone bill, Davy decides he wants to meet Nicole. Ultimately, he will have to face not only the truth about their relationship but also about himself. EASIER WITH PRACTICE won the Grand Jury Award at the 2009 CineVegas International Film Festival and has a Spirit Award nomination for Best First Feature and the Someone to Watch Award.


DECEMBER 1, 2009
An interview with EMILY KUNSTLER the co-writer director (with her sister Sarah) of WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE — the story of the life of their father, the late radical civil rights lawyer. In the 1960s and 70s, Kunstler fought for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. and represented the famed “Chicago 8” activists who protested the Vietnam War. When the inmates took over Attica prison, or when the American Indian Movement stood up to the federal government at Wounded Knee, they asked Kunstler to be their lawyer. To his daughters, it seemed that he was at the center of everything important that had ever happened. But when they were growing up, Kunstler represented some of the most reviled members of society, including rapists and assassins. This powerful film not only recounts the historic causes that Kunstler fought for; it also reveals a man that even his own daughters did not always understand, a man who risked public outrage and the safety of his family so that justice could


NOVEMBER 24, 2009
An interview with PHILIPPE DIAZ the director of THE END OF POVERTY? — a documentary revealing that poverty is not an accident. Global poverty did not just happen. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, the problem persists because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -- in other words, wealthy countries taking advantage of poor, developing countries. Renowned actor and activist, Martin Sheen, narrates The End of Poverty?, a feature-length documentary directed by award-winning director, Philippe Diaz, which explains how today's financial crisis is a direct consequence of these unchallenged policies that have lasted centuries. Consider that 20% of the planet's population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate. At this rate, to maintain our lifestyle means more and more people will sink below the poverty line.Filmed in the slums of Africa and the barrios of Latin America, The End of Poverty? features expert insights from: Nobel prize winners in Economics, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; acclaimed authors Susan George, Eric Toussaint, John Perkins, Chalmers Johnson; university professors William Easterly and Michael Watts; government ministers such as Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and the leaders of social movements in Brazil, Venezuela, Kenya and Tanzania.


NOVEMBER 17, 2009
An interview with SCOTT TEEMS the director of THAT EVENING SUN — the story of Abner, an aging Tennessee farmer discarded to a nursing facility by his lawyer son, who flees the old folks' home and catches a ride back to his country farm to live out his days in peace. Upon his return, he discovers that his son has leased the farm to Abner's old enemy and his white trash family. Not one to suffer fools or go down easy, Abner moves into the old tenant shack on the property and declares that he won't leave until the farm is returned to his possession. But Lonzo Choat, the new tenant, has no intention to move out or give in to the old man's demands. This sets up a ruthless grudge match between Abner and Choat, each man right in his own eyes, each too stubborn to give an inch. Angered by his son's betrayal, and haunted by recurring dreams of his long_dead wife, Abner sets about his own path toward reclaiming his life. Lines are drawn, threats are made, and the simmering tension under the Southern sun erupts, inevitably, into savagery. Scott Teems is a writer-director born and raised in Lilburn, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. His screenplay for That Evening Sun previously won the Emerging Narrative Screenplay Award at the IFP Market, and the film marks his feature directorial debut.


NOVEMBER 10, 2009
An interview with ANTHONY FABIAN the director of SKIN. Ten year-old Sandra is distinctly African looking. Her parents, Abraham and Sannie, are white Afrikaners, unaware of their black ancestry. They are shopkeepers in a remote area of the Eastern Transvaal and, despite Sandra’s mixed-race appearance, have lovingly brought her up as their ‘white’ little girl. By the time she is 17, Sandra realises she is never going to be accepted by the white community. She falls in love with Petrus — a black man, the local vegetable seller, and begins an illicit love affair. Abraham threatens to shoot Petrus and disown Sandra. Sannie is torn between her husband’s rage and her daughter’s predicament. Anthony Fabian has produced and directed five short films, four hour-long documentaries and over a dozen classical music programmes


NOVEMBER 3, 2009
An interview with ANDY BICHLBAUM co-director and co-writer of THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD. Along with co-Yes Man Mike Bonanno, Andy Bichlbaum has an unusual hobby: posing as top executives of corporations he hates. Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits, the Yes Men lie their way into business conferences and parody their corporate targets in ever more extreme ways - basically doing everything that they can to wake up their audiences to the danger of letting greed run our world. At conference after conference, the Yes Men try to wake up their corporate audiences to this frightening prospect, in the process taking on some of the world's biggest and baddest corporations. Just one example: as Exxon, Andy and Mike demonstrate a new biofuel made from climate-change victims. It's a gut-busting laugh riot - one of several in the film - to see the unsuspecting audience learn that the lit candles they hold are made out of dead people. On their journey, the Yes Men act as gonzo journalists, delving deep into the question of why we have given the market more power than any other institution to determine our direction as a society. They visit the twisted (and accidentally hilarious) underworld of the free-market think tanks, where they figure out a way to defeat the logic that's destroying our planet. And as they appear on the BBC before 300 million viewers, or before 1000 New Orleans contractors alongside Mayor Ray Nagin, the layers of lies are peeled back


OCTOBER 27, 2009
An interview with DANIEL RAIM the director of SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE — an intimate portrait of life, friendship and the movies, as recalled by some of Hollywood's greatest cinema artists. A follow-up by Daniel Raim to his Oscar-nominated documentary, THE MAN ON LINCOLN'S NOSE, the film profiles renowned art directors Robert Boyle (NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE BIRDS), Henry Bumstead (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE STING), Harold Michelson (STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, CATCH-22) and Albert Nozaki (THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS), as well as master cinematographers Conrad Hall (IN COLD BLOOD, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID) and Haskell Wexler (IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, MEDIUM COOL). From snapshots, sketches, and vintage footage, interwoven with interviews and new scenes of these octogenarian artists at work, we get a behind-the-scenes look at moviemaking in the golden age of cinema. As we watch iconic scenes of our collective imagination emerge from their drawings, models, matte paintings, and sets, we hear tales of Mae West, "Hitch", and DeMille, and experience their longing for the sense of community that made working on these films so great. Not a nostalgia piece, but an exploration of the artist's moral obligation to truthfully portray the human condition, SOMETHING'S GONNA LIVE is a deeply moving and thought-provoking celebration


OCTOBER 20, 2009
An interview with the head of Press & Public Relations for the American Film Institute JOHN WILDMAN and programmer LANE KNEEDLER about the AFI FEST in Los Angeles running from October 30 thru November 7. AFI FEST presents a survey of the year's most significant films each fall. Featuring international work from emerging filmmakers, global showcases of films from the great masters and red-carpet gala premieres, AFI FEST brings world cinema to the heart of Hollywood. Since 2000, the consumer audience at AFI FEST has tripled to over 65,000 attendees. In 2008, over 600 press representatives secured accreditation to the Festival, with combined media impressions in excess of 1.6 billion worldwide. AFI FEST is the only film festival in the United States to hold the prestigious FIAPF accreditation, assuring a high standard of quality and reliability for the international film community. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for the Short Films category of the


OCTOBER 13, 2009
An interview with SEBASTIAN SILVA the director of THE MAID. The story of how a maid called Raquel, who has worked for over 20 years in one affluent Chilean household, rediscovers herself. The Maid is a microcosm of Latin social hierarchy while also focusing on one woman's journey to free herself from a mental servitude of her own making. Born in Santiago Chile in 1979, Sebastián Silva is a multifaceted artist whose body of work includes painting, illustration and popular music. Silva studied filmmaking at the Escuela de Cine de Chile for a year before leaving to study animation in Montreal. While eking out a living selling shoes, Silva mounted the first gallery exhibition of his illustrations and started his band CHC who have since gone on to record three albums. Silva’s second illustration show brought him in contact with Hollywood but a frustrating period in Los Angeles spent pitching to Steven Spielberg and others netted no tangible results. Fleeing Hollywood, Silva initiated two more musical projects, “Yaia” and “Los Mono”, both picked up for distribution by Sonic360 and released in the US and the UK, and exhibited his art work in New York while writing the script for what would become his first feature La Vida me Mata. Back in Chile, Silva recorded a solo album and directed La Vida me Mata. Released in 2007, La Vida me Mata was a critical success, garnering multiple awards including Best Film from the Chilean Critics Circle. Setting aside a script based on his disastrous trip to Hollywood, Silva wrote and directed The Maid in February of 2008.


SEPTEMBER 29, 2009
An interview with RICK GOLDSMITH the director of THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS — the story of what happens when a former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of classified documents, decides to challenge an "Imperial" Presidency, answerable to neither Congress, the press, nor the people-in order to help end the Vietnam War. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg shook America to its foundations when he smuggled a top-secret Pentagon study to the New York Times that showed how five Presidents consistently lied to the American people about the Vietnam War that was killing millions and tearing America apart. President Nixon's National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger called Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in America," who "had to be stopped at all costs." But Ellsberg wasn't stopped. Facing 115 years in prison on espionage and conspiracy charges, he fought back. Ensuing events surrounding the so-called Pentagon Papers led directly to Watergate and the downfall of President Nixon, and hastened the end of the Vietnam War.






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