Little Theatre

A documentary called “Slay the Dragon” takes on the issue of gerrymandering and its impact on elections and social issues. From the Flint water crisis, the bathroom bills, and more, the film explores how elected officials can control political outcomes by redrawing district maps. The film tells the story of citizen groups in two different states that challenge the issue and their fight to protect democratic principles.

The film will be screened at the Little Theatre next week as part of the One Take Documentary Series, but first, we preview it on Connections. Our guests:

  • Tim Kneeland, chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Nazareth College
  • Linda Moroney, filmmaker, and director and programmer for the One Take Documentary Film Series
  • Katie Fahey, founder of the citizen action group, Voters Not Politicians
  • Chris Durrance, co-director of “Slay the Dragon”

Dresden Engle/High Falls Women's Film Festival

Longtime local film critic Jack Garner was honored at the High Falls Women’s Film Festival at The Little Theatre on Saturday night.

He received the Rochester Film Legacy Award which honors a filmmaker or film supporter based in the Rochester area whose passion and dedication embodies Rochester’s proud film legacy.

Garner, who began reviewing films for the Democrat & Chronicle in 1977, is also a dedicated supporter of the High Falls Women’s Film Festival.

Scott Pukos / WXXI


The Little Theatre on East Avenue in Rochester kicked off a year-long celebration of its 90th birthday  Thursday night with cake of course, but also with beer….and it was a special beer created by Rohrbach Brewing with the help of staffers at The Little.

It’s called the House of Silent Shadows Prohibition Porter, and the theater’s publicity coordinator, Scott Pukos, says it hearkens back to the prohibition era which was going on when The Little opened in 1929.

How can brick and mortar movie theaters maintain and grow audiences in the digital age? 

We sit down with teams at the Cinema Theater and the Little Theatre to discuss how they handle competition from Netflix and other platforms, and what they see for the future of their industry. In studio:

  • Scott Pukos, public relations coordinator for the Little Theatre
  • Bri Merkel, artistic director for the Little Theatre
  • Alex Chernavsky, co-owner of the Cinema Theater
  • Audrey Chernavsky, co-owner of the Cinema Theater
  • Frances Andreu, member of the Cinema Theater's advisory board
  • Johannes Bockwoldt, member of the Cinema Theater's advisory board

The documentary “Don’t Be Nice” tells the story of five slam poets from New York City who have teamed up to compete for a national title. Their coach encourages them to push past the entertainment value of the form and write and speak from a place of vulnerability, confronting painful issues related to race, gender, sexuality, and identity.

The film will be screened as part of the Black Cinema Series at the Little Theatre on Friday. We preview the film with its director and local slam poets who share their process. Our guests:

A documentary called "Back to Natural" explores the relationship between politics, hair, and racial identity in black communities. It will be screened later this week at The Little Theatre as part of the Black Cinema Series.

The film’s director, a clinical psychologist, says her documentary is a call for healing in a society that polices black hair. She joins us to preview the film and discuss the natural hair movement and its history with our guests:

  • Gillian Scott-Ward, Ph.D., director of “Back to Natural”
  • Reenah Golden, founder and artistic director of The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, host of the Goddess Hour on WAYO FM, and co-creator of Kuumba Consultants 
  • Kaci Jones, reporter at News10NBC, and member of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists
  • Ericka Wilson, producer at News10NBC, and treasurer of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists

WXXI has produced a new documentary that unites master fabricator Jesse James with one of his heroes, the great metal sculptor Albert Paley. The two men collaborated on pieces of art, and the documentary, "Dialogue in Metal," unveils the results.

We talk to both James and Paley, and we discuss how this remarkable program came together with WXXI's own Todd McCammon and Tom Dooley.

The film debuts on WXXI-TV on November 5 at 9 p.m., and will be screened at The Little Theatre on October 26 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Both James and Paley will participate in post-screening Q&As that evening. 

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:

The One Take Film Festival will celebrate its second year at The Little Theatre next month. This year’s films cover a range of subjects, including fracking, race riots, Rochester’s history as a photo city, and more.

We preview the films selected for this year’s festival, and we talk about the art of documentary filmmaking with our guests:

The Black Cinema Series at The Little Theatre continues this month with the documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor. Oprah recently mentioned Taylor’s name during her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, saying Taylor never got justice after she was raped by six white men. Taylor’s case – and others like hers – helped spark the civil rights movement.

We discuss Taylor’s legacy, race relations in 2018, and issues surrounding sexual assault. In studio:

  • Kevin Hicks, journalist and vice president for print for the RABJ
  • Allison O'Malley, chief executive officer of RESOLVE
  • Moiet James, development administrative assistant for WXXI, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ
  • Ericka Wilson, producer for WHEC-TV, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ