Artie Shaw & Ralph Nader + Dancing Pig & Can Mr. Smith Really Go to Washington?

Young at Heart Sue Marx
Young at Heart.

The Oscar-winning documentaries Young at Heart, The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table, and You Don't Have to Die will screen on Monday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Linwood Dunn Theater as the final installment of “Oscar's Docs, Part Three: Academy Award-Winning Documentaries 1977–1988.” Oscar-winning producer Sue Marx and executive producer Jennifer Warren will take part in post-screening discussions.

Young at Heart (top photo), the 1987 Documentary Short Subject winner co-produced by Marx, follows the journey of two widowed artists in their mid-eighties who meet on a painting trip and fall in love despite differences in temperament.

(On Marx's website, there's a quote by Gregory Peck: “I loved your documentary and that wonderful couple! The Oscar went to the right filmmaker.”)

Aviva Slesin's The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table, the 1987 Documentary Feature winner, revolves around the group of artists and intellectuals – snooty (or brilliant, depending on your take) people like Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott, Edna Ferber, George S. Kaufman, and Robert Sherwood – who traded quips while stuffing their faces at New York's Algonquin Hotel during the 1920s.

The Ten-Year Lunch was written by Peter Foges and Mary Jo Kaplan, and it is narrated by Heywood Hale Broun, son of Algonquin Round Table member Heywood Broun. Among the interviewees are playwright and former Round Tabler Marc Connelly and actress Ruth Gordon.

Malcolm Clarke and Bill Guttentag's You Don't Have to Die, the 1988 Documentary Short Subject winner executive produced by Warren, tells the story of Jason Gaes, a young cancer survivor who went on to help other children to overcome their fear of the disease.

“Oscar's Docs” is a comprehensive screening series of every short subject and feature to win the Academy Award for documentary filmmaking since the category was established in 1941.

The series will return in September 2008 with its fourth installment, screening Academy Award-winning documentaries between 1988 and 1998.

Tickets to “Oscar's Docs” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). For additional information, visit www.oscars.org/events or call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: New Dimension Films (Young at Heart), Direct Cinema (The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table), Filmworks, Inc., and Tiger Rose Productions (You Don't Have to Die)

Artivist festival winners

The 4th Annual Artivist Film Festival, which was held between Nov. 8-11 at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

According to its press release, Artivist short for Activist Artist "is the first international film festival and awards dedicated to addressing Global Consciousness (Human Rights, Children's Advocacy, Environmental Preservation, and Animal Rights)."

This year's Artivist Award honorees were Ted Danson, Alyssa Milano, and Claes Nobel (from the Nobel family).

Since its inception in 2004, the Artivist Film Festival has screened 223 films from about 50 countries. Among the films presented this year were Darryl Roberts America the Beautiful, about Americans obsession with youth and beauty; Peter Josephs Zeitgeist (see below), which is supposed to address myths about democracy both in the U.S. and elsewhere (I haven't watched the video, yet); and Roberto Maders Condor, a depiction of the lasting consequences on a personal level of Latin Americas repressive governments.

Also this year, there was some angry controversy because Artivist (see "Environmental Preservation" above) reportedly accepted financial sponsorship from Brazils government-owned oil giant Petrobrás, which has been accused of drilling in protected and environmentally fragile areas in the Amazon basin.

A “Best of Artivist Fest” will take place in Lisbon on Dec. 1-2. That will be followed by London screenings on Dec. 8-9.

'Artie Shaw' & 'Down and Out in America': Oscar's Docs

As the next installment of “Oscar's Docs, Part Three: Academy Award-Winning Documentaries 1977-1988,” the Oscar-winning documentaries Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got and Down and Out in America (lower photo), which tied in the Documentary Feature category in 1986, will be screened on Monday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Oscar-winning actress Lee Grant will join Oscar-winning producers Brigitte Berman and Joseph Feury in post-screening discussions.

Produced by Berman, Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got chronicles the life of the bandleader and clarinetist. This screening will feature a new print from the original negative.

Produced by Feury and Milton Justice, and directed by Grant, Down and Out in America takes a look at a cross-section of poor Americans, while highlighting the societal conditions that contributed to their poverty. This screening will feature a new print.

“Oscar's Docs” is a comprehensive screening series of every short subject and feature to win the Academy Award for documentary filmmaking since the category was established in 1941.

Tickets to “Oscar's Docs” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.oscars.org, by mail, or at the Academy box office during regular business hours. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). For additional information, visit www.oscars.org/events or call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: Courtesy Bridge Film (Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got), Courtesy Joseph Feury Productions (Down and Out in America)

Ralph Nader 2000: 'An Unreasonable Man' Academy Presentation

An Unreasonable Man, “starring” Ralph Nader, and Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, “starring” Missouri politician Jeff Smith, will be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 26th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Admission is free.

Ralph Nader and the 2000 U.S. presidential election: 'An Unreasonable Man'

Written and directed by Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan, and produced by Kevin O'Donnell, An Unreasonable Man tells the story of former public interest lawyer Ralph Nader, who, by getting votes that would normally have gone to Democratic candidate Al Gore, helped to get Republican George W. Bush elected to the White House back in 2000. Steve Skrovan will be present for a post-screening Q&A session.

Missouri politician Jeff Smith: Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?

Directed by Frank Popper, and produced by Popper, Matt Coen, and Mike Kime, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? recounts the 2004 Missouri Democratic primary in which Jeff Smith, a 29-year-old part-time political science instructor at Washington University, was one of the candidates in the running to replace retiring 28-year veteran and former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt. Frank Popper will be in attendance to take questions from the audience following the Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? screening. (Image: Jeff Smith in Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?)

Needless to say, the film's title refers to Frank Capra's 1939 Best Picture Academy Award nominee Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which stars Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains, and Thomas Mitchell.

The Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. For additional information on the screenings of the political documentaries An Unreasonable Man and Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, visit www.oscars.org or call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: courtesy of At Risk Films (Jeff Smith in Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?), courtesy of IFC First Take (Ralph Nader in An Unreasonable Man).

The Dancing Pig 1907

Films of 1907 Screenings in Los Angeles and San Rafael

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' will present “A Century Ago: The Films of 1907,” on Monday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. The program, consisting of more than a dozen shorts, will repeat on Thursday, December 6, at 7:30 p.m. at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, California. Michael Mortilla will provided live musical accompaniment at both venues. (Previous Academy screenings of early 20th-century shorts have been presented by Randy Haberkamp. I'm assuming that these – or at least the one in Los Angeles – will be, too.)

As per the Academy's press release, “in 1907 the continuing expansion of local storefront nickelodeons attracted new entrepreneurs to the industry, and producers began to deliver more films with higher production values.”

The Eclipse Georges Melies

So, get ready for higher production values in Georges Méliès' The Eclipse (above), from Méliès' own Star Films; J. Searle Dawley and Edwin S. Porter's The Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa Claus, from Edison; the first film version of Ben-Hur, in which future cowboy star William S. Hart plays Messala, from the Kalem Company; An Awful Skate; or, The Hobo on Rollers, starring Ben Turpin, from Essanay; and J. Stuart Blackton's The Haunted Hotel, from Vitagraph.

Also, The Dancing Pig (top photo) and a hand-tinted print of Segundo de Chomón and Ferdinand Zecca's The Red Spectre, from the Pathé Studios in France; and fragments of The Bandit King, featuring the first major cowboy star, Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, and The Girl from Montana, directed by Anderson, both filmed in Colorado by the Selig company.

Most prints are in 35mm and have been made available by the Academy Film Archive (website), the Library of Congress (website), the George Eastman House (website), the Museum of Modern Art (website), and the UCLA Film & Television Archive (website).

Tickets to “A Century Ago” in Los Angeles are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.oscars.org, by mail, or at the Academy box office during regular business hours. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). For additional information, visit www.oscars.org/events or call (310) 247-3600.

Tickets for “A Century Ago” in the San Francisco Bay Area are $10 for the general public and free for Academy members. Tickets may be purchased through the Smith Rafael Film Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Smith San Rafael Film Center is located at 1118 Fourth Street in San Rafael. For more information, call the Academy at (310) 247-2688, the Smith Rafael Film Center at (415) 454-1222, or visit www.cafilm.org.

Photos: Courtesy of the Academy Film Archive

Artie Shaw & Ralph Nader + Dancing Pig & Can Mr. Smith Really Go to Washington? © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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