Interviews

A Conversation with Les Blank

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In his new film All In This Tea, director Les Blank operates at the far extremes of technology, using digital video to explore an old-world subject matter: artisan, handmade tea. Blank, who is best known for Burden of Dreams, Garlic is as Good as Good Mothers, and Chulas Fronteras, saw digital video as a way… Read more »

Q/A: Chris Hegedus, Nick Doob, and D.A. Pennebaker

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In 1993, The Independent ran a story about The War Room, directed by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. The film followed Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign from inside campaign headquarters. This year, Hegedus, along with Nick Doob, the cinematographer on The War Room, released Al Franken: God Spoke, an intimate portrait of Al Franken’s growing… Read more »

Q&A – Larry Clark

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Larry Clark’s films are shocking. There’s Kids, about drug-using, AIDS-carrying, sexually active Manhattan teenagers; Bully, the true story of a group of teens who murder their tormentor; and Ken Park, which was so sexually explicit, it was never released in the U.S. These films are shocking because they capture a reality most people don’t want… Read more »

Q&A – James Schamus

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Writer, producer, and film executive James Schamus has had about as brilliant a career in independent film as they come, and it just keeps getting better. The films he has worked on read like a list of the only films that really matter in the modern trajectory of independent cinema: The Wedding Banquet (1993), The… Read more »

Q&A: Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins Costigan

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For most people in America, “Sesame Street” warrants no introduction. The long-running PBS program and landmark, nonprofit children’s educational organization, Sesame Workshop (renamed from Children’s Television Workshop in 2000), has been viewed in thousands of homes across the country since 1968 when it first began changing the way we look at television with its smart,… Read more »

Shaking the Tree

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Five years ago, when Deepa Mehta was about to start making her film Water in the holy city of Varanasi, India, 11 people stood outside the set and threatened to light themselves on fire. Weeks before, protesters had stormed the film’s set on the banks of the river Ganges and destroyed it, causing hundreds of… Read more »

Q/A: Rosario Dawson and Talia Lugacy

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Rosario Dawson was sleeping when I arrived on the set of Descent at Brooklyn’s Galapagos bar/gallery on a slushy morning in December. I had come to interview Dawson and her Trybe production company partner and longtime friend, Talia Lugacy. But Lugacy was busy directing the film’s “club scene,” and thus also unavailable, so I waited… Read more »

Q&A: David Strathairn

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If you’ve seen a John Sayles movie, you know who David Strathairn is. Sadly, if you’ve not seen a John Sayles movie, you’re much less likely to have ever even heard of David Strathairn. He’s one of those I-know-I’ve-seen-him-somewhere actors that every once in a blue moon will pop up in a studio film like,… Read more »

On the Same Page

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Earlier this year, I got a call from a friend of a friend—a former executive producer of a children’s television show. He asked me, “Are you interested in writing for television?” The truth was that writing for television had never been one of my goals, exactly, but the idea of emerging from my isolated writer’s… Read more »

Q/A: Ryan Gosling

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Ryan Gosling brought me flowers when we met for this interview on a hot Sunday in July. Our earlier scheduled meeting had gone awry, and he was feeling badly for his part in the miscommunication. I don’t mind saying that I loved the gesture or that I’m a huge fan of Gosling’s work—even before he… Read more »