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

January 1, 2008
An interview with Daniel Karslake the director of For the Bible Tells Me So. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Karslake's documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families — including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson — we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. For six years, Daniel Karslake has been an award-winning producer for the highly acclaimed newsmagazine, In the Life, which airs nationally on PBS in over 120 markets. Recognition for his outstanding work for the show, which has centered primarily on issues regarding religion and homosexuality, includes an Emmy nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as praise from GLAAD and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. For the Bible Tells Me So is on the Academy's short list of nominees for Best Documentary.


December 18, 2007
An interview with John Turturro the director of Romance and Cigarettes — a down-and-dirty musical love story set in the world of the working class. Nick (James Gandolfini) is an ironworker who builds and repairs bridges. He's married to Kitty (Susan Sarandon), a dressmaker, a strong and gentle woman with whom he has three daughters. He is carrying on a torrid affair with a redheaded woman named Tula (Kate Winslet). Like Oedipus at Colonus, Nick is sent into exile and searches to find his way back through the damage he has done. This is Turturro's third film as a director. As an actor he has become a regular in the films of Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers. His performances include the highly agitated "Pino" in Do the Right Thing (1989), an intellectual playwright in Barton Fink (1991), a pedophile tenpin bowler in The Big Lebowski (1998), a confused boyfriend in Jungle Fever (1991) and as the voice of Harvey the dog in Summer of Sam (1999).


December 11, 2007
An interview with Academy Award Winning director Jessica Yu (Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien). Yu, who also directed In the Realms of the Unreal, returns with one of the boldest documentaries of the year. Protagonist weaves together the stories of 4 men: A German terrorist, a bank robber, a gay evangelist and a martial arts student. At first glance the characters appear disconnected. But as their stories unfold in riveting detail, one starts to see the parallels between the uncommon, common experience of these four men. To illustrate the timelessness of her subjects' dilemmas, Yu uses puppets and the work of Greek dramatist Euripides. Whether famous, infamous, or simply anonymous, each lives out the eternal drama of how we control — or don't control — our own destinies.


December 4, 2007
An interview with Paul Freedman the director of Sand and Sorrow. Offered exclusive and unparalleled access to the situation on the ground inside Darfur, Peabody award-winning filmmaker, Paul Freedman, joins a contingent of African Union peacekeeping forces in Darfur while a tragic and disturbing chapter in human history unfolds. While analyzing the historical events that have given rise to an Arab-dominated government's willingness to kill and displace its own indigenous African people, “Sand and Sorrow” also examines the international community's “legacy of failure” to respond to such profound crimes against humanity in the past. But while immersed in the despairing crisis of our time, Freedman manages to give voice to the ever-growing and inspiring movement of those who wish to make “Never Again” finally mean something. Sand and Sorrow premieres Thursday, December 6 at 8pm ET/PT on HBO.


November 27, 2007
An interview with Peter Raymont director of A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman — an exploration of exile, memory, longing and democracy through the words and memories of playwright/author/activist Ariel Dorfman ('Death and the Maiden', 'How to Read Donald Duck', 'Other Septembers'). Born in Argentina, growing up in New York and Chile, Dorfman became cultural advisor to socialist president Salvador Allende in Chile. When the Allende government was toppled in the military coup of September 11, 1973, Dorfman was among a handful of Allende's inner circle to survive. A Promise to the Dead was filmed in the USA, Argentina and Chile in late 2006, coinciding with the death of former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.


November 20, 2007
An interview with Guy Moshe the director of Holly. Shot on location in Cambodia, including many scenes in actual brothels in the notorious red light district of Phnom Penh, Holly is a captivating, touching and emotional experience. Patrick (Ron Livingston), an American card shark and dealer of stolen artifacts, has been 'comfortably numb' in Cambodia for years, when he encounters Holly (Thuy Nguyen), a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl, in the K11 red light village. The girl has been sold by her impoverished family and smuggled across the border to work as a prostitute. Holly's virginity makes her a lucrative prize, and when she is sold to a child trafficker, Patrick embarks on a frantic search through both the beautiful and sordid faces of the country, in an attempt to bring her to safety. Harsh, yet poetic, this feature forms part of the K-11 Project, dedicated to raising awareness of the epidemic of child trafficking and the sex slavery trade through several film projects. The film's producers endured substantial hardships in order to be able to shoot in Cambodia and have also founded the RedLight Children Campaign, which is a worldwide grassroots initiative generating conscious concern and inspiring immediate action against child sexploitation.


November 13, 2007

An interview with Rob VanAlkemade the director of What Would Jesus Buy? and Savitri D the Director of the Church of Stop Shopping (as well as the artist-wife of Reverend Billy. What Would Jesus Buy? follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they go on a cross-country missionto save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt. Bill Talen (aka Reverend Billy) was a lost idealist who hitchhiked to New York City only to find that Times Square was becoming a mall. Spurred on by the loss of his neighborhood and inspired by the sidewalk preachers around him, Bill bought a collar to match his white caterer's jacket, bleached his hair and became the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping. Since 1999, Reverend Billy has gone from being a lone preacher with a portable pulpit preaching on subways, to the leader of a congregation and a movement whose numbers are well into the thousands.


November 6, 2007

An interview with Lynn Hershman Leeson about her documentary, Strange Culture — the surreal nightmare of internationally-acclaimed artist and professor Steve Kurtz which began when his wife Hope died in her sleep of heart failure. Police arrived, became suspicious of Kurtz's art, and called the FBI. Within hours the artist was detained as a suspected "bioterrorist" as dozens of agents in hazmat suits sifted through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, his cat, and even his wife's body. Today Kurtz and his long-time collaborator Dr. Robert Ferrell, former Chair of the Genetics Department at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, await a trial date.


October 30, 2007
An interview with John Wildman, Director of Press and Public Relations for the AFI FEST and Lane Kneedler Senior Programmer for the festival. November 1 –11, the American Film Institute presents AFI FEST, the longest-running film festival in Los Angeles and one of the most influential film festivals in North America. Featuring international competitions of new films from emerging filmmakers, as well as global showcases of the latest work from great film masters and nightly red-carpet gala premieres AFI FEST offers a crucial avenue of exposure to the entertainment community while providing appreciative audiences with a festive atmosphere and the very best of world film, right in the film capital of the world. Luminaries from around the globe have attended AFI FEST. Recent guests include: Pedro Almodovar, Alejandro Amenabar, Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal, Orlando Bloom, Kate Bosworth, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Marcia Cross, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Fergie (Black Eyed Peas), Joseph Fiennes, Flea, Jodie Foster, Andy Garcia, Cuba Gooding Jr., Teri Hatcher, Anthony Hopkins, Felicity Huffman, Wyclef Jean, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Scarlett Johansson, Tommy Lee Jones, Jude Law, David Lynch, Sienna Miller, Jack Nicholson, Pele, Robin Wright Penn, Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Spacey, Audrey Tautou, Reese Witherspoon, Ziyi Zhang and many more.


October 23, 2007
An interview with Steven Sawalich the director of Music Within, the true story of Richard Pimentel, a brilliant public speaker with a troubled past, who returns from Vietnam severely hearing-impaired and finds a new purpose in his landmark efforts on the behalf of Americans With Disabilities. Guided through the journey by Pimentel's (Ron Livingston) acerbic sense of humor, we see a world that through other eyes would appear devastatingly tragic. Instead, Richard uses it to fuel his plight for the underdog. Music Within won the Audience Award for Narrative Feature Film (Steven Sawalich) at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival.


October 16, 2007
An interview with Patrick Creadon the director of the documentary Wordplay. The film begins with the story of the New York Times crossword puzzle, and the current and historical creative forces behind it. But as it develops, Wordplay reveals the world behind the practice, creation, and history of crosswords — from the annual crossword convention in Stamford, CT to the breadth of individuals who enjoy wordplay daily. Wordplay also focuses on the man most associated with crossword puzzles, New York Times puzzle editor and NPR Puzzle Master Will Shortz. Along the way celebrity crossword puzzlers such as Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, Mike Mussina, and the Indigo Girls, reveal their process, insight and the allure of the game.


October 9, 2007
An interview with AJ Schnack director of Kurt Cobain About a Son — an intimate and moving meditation on the late musician and artist Kurt Cobain, based on more than 25 hours of previously unheard audiotaped interviews conducted with Cobain by noted music journalist Michael Azerrad for his book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. In the film, Cobain recounts his own life — from his childhood and adolescence to his days of musical discovery and later dealings with explosive fame — and offers often piercing insights into his life, music, and times. The conversations heard in the film have never before been made public and they reveal a highly personal portrait of an artist much discussed but not particularly well understood.








Home | Archives | Contact