SPOTLIGHT April 2019: Chaz Ebert, Filmanthropist and Activist

The term most often used to describe Chaz Ebert is probably “force of nature.” Most of us come to the world of movies through love of cinematic storytelling, but in her case, it was through love of the most influential movie critic of all time, Roger Ebert. Through her own special brand of film activism, Chaz Ebert consistently champions the work of women in film.

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Defining Feminist Film Criticism – Nell Minow comments

My feminist point of view is reflected in my standards for female characters. For example, the dreadful Book Club starred four of Hollywood’s greatest actresses playing characters of significant professional achievement and yet still didn’t pass the Bechdel test. It is also reflected in the way I write about female filmmakers, as for example, Band-Aid, a film made with an all-female crew.

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KiKi Layne Talks BEALE STREET, Tish and Barry Jenkins – Nell Minow interviews

Kiki Layne has an extraordinary breakthrough performance in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the 1974 novel by James Baldwin. She plays Tish, deeply in love with the unjustly accused Fonny (Stephan James) and pregnant with his child. In an interview, she discussed her early love of acting, creating the look of her character, and the challenge of doing justice to the voiceover narration, her character’s thoughts and Baldwin’s language.

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Joel Edgerton and Garrard Conley talk BOY ERASED – Nell Minow interviews

Joel Edgerton wrote, directed, and stars in Boy Erased, based on Garrard Conley’s memoir/expose about his time in a brutally abusive Christian “gay conversion” program. When the film was screened at the Middleburg Film Festival, Edgerton and Conley spoke about what the theme and story mean to them.

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Peter Hedges Talks Julia Roberts, Drug Use and BEN IS BACK – Nell Minow interviews

Peter Hedges wrote and directed Ben is Back,”with his son Lucas Hedges in the title role of a recovering addict who unexpectedly comes home for Christmas. His mother, played by Julia Roberts, welcomes him with joy but immediately hides all of the medicine and jewelry in the house. The mingled emotions of love, apprehension, panic, and anger play out as Ben’s past comes back to haunt him and the whole family.

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Filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko on WHAT THEY HAD, Inspiration and Sundance Incubation – Nell Minow interviews

First-time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko is an actress, so her sense of story, tone, and pacing are strong in What They Had, inspired by her family’s experiences when her grandmother developed dementia, Chomko talks about filming in Chicago,and how working with support programs for first-time filmmakers at Sundance helped shape her work without taking away from her own vision.

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Filmmaker Dianne Dreyer talks CHANGE IN THE AIR – Nell Minow interviews

Dianne Dreyer is a first-time director but an experienced filmmaker. Her new film is the delicate, touching Change in the Air, starring Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan. Dreyer has 56 IMDB previous credits as “miscellaneous crew,” and her jobs on movies have ranged from script supervisor to co-producer, In an interview, Dreyer speaks about what she learned on movie sets, about creating one of the most extraordinary images in any film this year, and why even in the digital age old-fashioned letters on paper still matter,

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Director Lisa D’Apolito Chats LOVE, GILDA — Nell Minow interviews

In her new documentary, Love Gilda, filmmaker Lisa Dapolito pays tribute to and chronicles the life and career of beloved comedian Gilda Radner, who died of cancer at age 44.. In this interview, Dapolito talks about getting to know Radner through her diaries and recordings, about Radner’s influence on some of today’s brightest talents and about creating a new generation of Radner fans.

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