WXXI AM News

film

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

A new film explores the murky truth behind what really happened at Chappaquiddick. Nearly 50 years after Senator Ted Kennedy crashed his car off a bridge, killing Mary Jo Kopechne, Chappaquiddick brings a riveting story to the screen -- and it's a story that still resonates, with themes of privilege, abuse of power, political ambition, and more.

The director, John Curran, is a Pittsford native, and he's our guest in studio.

Should we fear death? That question is at the heart of a new documentary about death from accomplished filmmaker Helen Whitney. It's called Into the Night, and it's coming to PBS and WXXI TV on Monday, March 26. 

Whitney chose to focus on nine individuals from very different backgrounds, trying to understand various perspectives on how we approach the end of our lives. One of those individuals is University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank, who describes himself as an "atheist plus.” 

We hear from him this hour, as well as Helen Whitney.

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

The Oscars buzz continues, with this year’s winners changing how we view certain genres of film. Many people say the nods to The Shape of Water and Get Out have helped bring sci-fi and horror, respectively, back to the mainstream.

We talk about this year’s Oscar winners, and how the film landscape is changing. Our guests:

A recent piece in the Washington Post is examining the heroes in romantic comedies in a new light. It argues that now, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, the persistence and grand gestures of men in films like Sixteen Candles and Say Anything are not romantic, but harassment.

Critics say they're just films and we should watch them with that in mind, but others say the media we create can reinforce or warn against certain behaviors in our society. We break it all down with our guests:

  • Monica Hesse, author and staff writer for the Washington Post
  • Esther Winter, local actor, choreographer, and director
  • Patti Lewis, local actor, director, and teaching artist
  • Jack Feerick, critic at large for PopDose.com and former critic for Kirkus Reviews

Black Panther is not just a box office smash; it has already become a cultural touchstone. Our panel will discuss the movie, its themes, and its impact on our society.

  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester
  • Willis Brooks, PR rep at Entercom, and actor
  • Leslie Youngblood, author of Love Like Sky
  • Mona Isler, executive assistant and staff liaison to the board at WXXI, and comedy improviser

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