Trey Shults, Taylor Russell and Kelvin Harrison on WAVES – Nell Minow interviews

Waves is the story of a tragedy that tears a family apart, and it is the story of what happens then, told in an impressionistic, almost pointillist style by writer/director Trey Edward Shults. In an interview, Shults and stars Taylor Russell and Kelvin Harrison, Jr., who play teenaged siblings, Emily and Tyler, talk about the making and meaning of the film.

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Sarah Timberman, Susannah Grant, and Lisa Cholodenko on UNBELIEVABLE – Nell Minow interviews

Unbelievable Netflix’s truth based series about a vulnerable young woman who was wrongfully charged with filing a false rape complaint, is brought to life by an exceptional ensemble. The three women who helm the show speak about casting and the players.

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Lulu Wang on THE FAREWELL, Immigrants and Traditional Cultures – Nell Minow interviews

Lulu Wang lets the audience know right away that her new film, The Farewell, is “based on an actual lie.” Awkwafina plays a character based on Wang herself, the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the US. The story is about what happened when Wang’s grandmother, still in China, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The practice in China is to tell family members, but not the patient. In an interview, Wang talked about the inevitable conflicts between immigrants and their American-raised children and about deciding when to lie and when she’d like to be lied to.

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Timothy Greenfield-Sanders on TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM – Nell Minow interviews

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is not the typical biographical overview; it is more a thoughtful examination of and by Morrison of her work and her era. In an interview, writer/director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, whose long friendship with Morrison shines through the film, talked about why he likes to shoot people in front of blank backgrounds, the question he asked the interview subjects but could not answer himself, and how Morrison inspired his work.

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Tracy Edwards and Alex Holmes on MAIDEN – Nell Minow interviews

In 1989-90 Tracy Edwards led an all-women crew in an around-the-world sailing race called the Whitbread. The boat was called Maiden, and that is also the name of a new documentary about the crew and the race. The film is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week. In an interview, Edwards and the film’s director, Alex Holmes, talked about tracking down the treasure trove of footage taken by one of the women on the boat and why Edwards changed her mind about calling herself a feminist.

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SPOTLIGHT June 2019: Rita Coburn, Film Activist and Filmmaker, MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE

Rita Coburn’s acclaimed documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, co-directed with Bob Hercules, was released in 2016, but the film is ever timely in its importance and impact. In an ongoing outreach program, Coburn still travels with the film to schools and community centers, bringing to a wide range of audiences — especially impressionable youngsters — an understanding of the brilliant and inspiring Dr. Angelou, of her empowering story, of the importance of storytelling and of documentary film as the record of essential human history — especially the herstory that hasn’t been taught in schools.

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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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