WXXI AM News

film

It's been 25 years since Hollywood released a film featuring an all-Asian lead cast that wasn't a martial arts film. "Crazy Rich Asians" is making big money at the box office, and while it's a rather standard rom-com, it's also a significant moment for representation in film. But that's also what many people said about the Joy Luck Club in 1993.

What makes this time different? Our guests:

  • Eleanor Lenoe, sophomore at the University of Rochester
  • Linh Phillips, creator of the Sir Rocha Says blog, and consumer insights manager at Constellation Brands Inc.
  • Joanne Bernardi, professor of Japanese and film and media studies, and head of the Japanese program at the University of Rochester
  • Regina Buralli, sophomore at Brighton High School

The film, “2001: A Space Odyssey” turns 50 this year. In honor of the anniversary, we discuss the film and how it portrayed artificial intelligence. Was Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 interpretation of what AI would look like in 2001 accurate? What does the computer, HAL, teach us about ethics and technology?

We discuss those questions and the current state of AI with our guests:

  • Christopher Kanan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Carlson Center for Imaging Science at RIT
  • Hayley Clatterbuck, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Rochester
  • Denis Lomakin, computer science research assistant at the University of Rochester
  • Lester D. Friedman, retired professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith College

Two surprise hits at the box office this summer are documentaries, and the stars behind them are being lauded for their quiet voices and powerful messages. Screenings of “RBG,” a documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” a film about children’s television icon Fred Rogers, have been selling out around the country.  Theater owners and critics say Ginsburg and Rogers’ voices appeal to people across the political spectrum and have the power to heal divides in a polarized country.

We discuss the impact Ginsberg and Rogers have had on generations of people. In studio:

  • Elissa Orlando, senior vice president of television and news for WXXI
  • Paula Larew Wooters, teacher in the Rochester City School District’s Universal Pre-K program at Asbury Day Care Center
  • Beth Cordello, chair of the employment law practice at Pullano & Farrow

The top grossing films over the last 10 years have had a total of 1,114 directors. 45 were women. Why aren’t there more female directors in Hollywood? The question is the subject of a new film called “Half the Picture.” The film – part of the One Take Documentary Series – celebrates the groundbreaking work or women in film, and explores the systemic discrimination in the industry.

We’re joined by local female filmmakers who discuss the film, their work, and the challenges they’ve faced (and overcome). In studio:

If you’ve seen the film “Animal House,” you probably remember a few iconic scenes: the toga party, the parade, and basically anything featuring John Belushi. The film is turning 40, and director John Landis is in Rochester for a special anniversary screening at the Dryden Theatre.

Landis has been touring the country celebrating the film, and he makes a stop on Connections to discuss the impact it has had and his legendary career in film. In studio:

The Rochester Jewish Film Festival kicks off next week, and one film tells the story of a local Holocaust survivor. Jack Feldman grew up in Poland and was sent to Auschwitz during the war. In the camp, he was known only by his number, A17606. 

The tattoo on his arm caught the attention of his great-grandson, Elliott Saiontz. Saiontz interviews Feldman in the film, “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm.”

We get a preview of the film this hour from Feldman, Saiontz, and Feldman’s granddaughter, Stacey Saiontz. We also hear what else is in the lineup for this year’s festival. In studio:

  • Jack Feldman
  • Stacey Saiontz
  • Elliott Saiontz
  • Bonnie Abrams, director of the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester
  • Andrea Miller, director of the Rochester Jewish Film Festival

What should we do when artists misbehave? In other words, when an author, actor, director, or artist does something offensive, acts inappropriately, or steps over the line in some way, should we stop consuming their art? When do we give them a pass?

The founder of Writers & Books, Joe Flaherty, dealt with this question when he was arranging for Philip Roth to visit Rochester. The late writer was considered a misogynist by many readers. But, as Flaherty wrote in an essay on the incident, “you have to separate the writer from his characters.”

What do you think? Should we consume and share the work of Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Harvey Weinstein, Philip Roth, and others? Should the work of artists in question stand on its own? Where do we draw the line? Our panel discusses those questions. Our guests:

  • Joe Flaherty, founder of Writers & Books
  • Patti Lewis, local actor, director, and teaching artist
  • Jonathan Ntheketha, senior assistant director of student success and outreach in the Multicultural Center for Academic Success at RIT
  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University

The Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series is underway. It features films and performances that address the stigma attached to mental illness and behavior disorders, while providing messages of hope.

One of the films in this year's lineup is the documentary, Deej; it tells the story of David James Savarese, a non-speaking young man with autism. Savarese joins us in studio to share his remarkable journey and the challenges he has overcome. Plus, we get a look at what's next in the series. Our guests: 

  • Dr. Larry Guttmacher, M.D., clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the Reel Mind Film series
  • David James Savarese, poet, co-producer of Deej, and advocate for people with autism 
  • Dr. Lori Jeanne Peloquin, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Lynne Fisher, education program administrator for NAMI-Rochester

A documentary called Lake of Betrayal tells the story of the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania, and how its construction forced the Seneca Indian people from their ancestral land. It’s a story of politics, commercialization, broken treaties, and the Seneca Nation’s fight to protect its sovereignty and culture.

The film will be shown at Ganondagan this weekend, and we’ll get a preview with the filmmaker. Our guests:

  • Scott Sackett, writer and producer of Lake of Betrayal
  • Peter Jemison, historic site manager for Ganondagan
  • Michael Leroy Oberg, distinguished professor of history at SUNY Geneseo, and author of Native America: A History

A new documentary called Photo City tells the story of Rochester’s past, present, and future as a hub for photography. It will be screened as part of the One Take Film Fest at The Little Theatre.

The filmmakers are from Ireland, and we talk to one of them about why his team chose Rochester as the subject of the film. We also hear from local photographers and filmmakers who will share their take on Rochester as a photo city. Our guests:

  • John Murphy, co-director, co-writer, and editor of Photo City
  • Arleen Thaler, socially-engaged photojournalist
  • Jack Garner, retired national film critic for Gannett Newspapers
  • Linda Moroney, filmmaker, and director and programmer for the One Take Film Festival

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