It's all things Star Wars.

What are local fans doing to celebrate the re-launch of the series? How, after the critically lampooned last series, can they keep their expectations in check? Jar Jar is not allowed back, right?

Star Wars super fans in studio:

The blockbuster Star Wars movie out this week will benefit a lot of companies and individuals associated with it, including an iconic Rochester brand.

The Force is also with Kodak with this week’s mega-premier of the latest in this blockbuster franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  That’s because it was shot on traditional Kodak film.

That’s a departure from some of the more recent Star Wars movies, according to Andy Evenski, who is Kodak’s President  and general manager of entertainment and commercial film.

You may have never heard of Louise Brooks, but this silent film star was at the height of her career when she ran away from Hollywood and disappeared. That’s until she came to Rochester and, with the help of the Eastman Museum, reemerged from obscurity to a new kind of fame.

We spend the hour discussing the rise, the fall, and the rediscovery of Louise Brooks. Our guests:

First hour: Hidden Passions Series at the Memorial Art Gallery                                                                                                              Second hour: The rise, fall, and rediscovery of silent film star, Louise Brooks

Now in its second year, the Fast Forward Film Festival encourages local filmmakers to utilize the power of visual storytelling to raise awareness and knowledge of environmental issues. The “for local, by local” festival is now accepting submissions for shorts that inspire change and connect our community.

We talk with the festival’s founder, and two of last year’s award-winning filmmakers. Our guests:

  • Andy Stern, founder of the Fast Forward Film Festival, and co-founder and executive director of The Lost Bird Project
  • Tom Gasek, 2015 award-winning filmmaker and professor of animation at RIT
  • Kristin Smith, 2015 award-winning filmmaker and Mercy high school student

Our monthly media panel discusses the film, Spotlight, a new drama about the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” investigative team that from 2001-2002 uncovered a pattern of sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Massachusetts. The team’s story, which exposed the cover-up by the Boston Archdiocese, won the Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The Spotlight team devoted more than a year of reporting to publish the story. This raises questions about journalism today, where budget cuts and the threat (and reality) of layoffs impact the time and resources devoted to stories. We talk about the state of today’s newsrooms and the ongoing struggle for dollars and resources. Our guests:

  • Sean Lahman, Watchdog reporter, Democrat and Chronicle
  • Justin Murphy, education reporter, Democrat and Chronicle
  • Steve Orr, Watchdog reporter, Democrat and Chronicle
  • Scott Pukos, public relations coordinator, The Little Theatre

Two Rochester Murals are to be featured in an upcoming art film.

The film focuses on works created under FDR's Works Progress Administration. The New Deal agency put many skilled and unskilled laborers back to work on government payroll.

Rochester native Carl Peters was hired to paint two murals for Madison High School, which was torn down in the 1980's. But the paintings, and their messages, remain.

"Life of Action" and "Life of Contemplation" are each 22 feet high. Filmmaker Michael Maglaras says they reflect the attitudes of the time.

Movie Critic Jack Garner joins us to preview the 87th Academy Awards, which will be awarded on Sunday, February 22. We will give significant attention to Best Picture nominee "American Sniper". 

We spend this hour talking film and the environment with the Fast Forward Film Festival. It's an upcoming event at the Little and Dryden Theatres. Our guests are:

  • Andy Stern, executive director, The Lost Bird Project
  • Todd McGrain, artist, filmmaker, and film festival juror
  • Nora Brown, film commissioner 

The High Falls Film Festival starts next week. The festival celebrates women in film, one of the few worldwide that does so. We start the hour with Virginia Madsen, she produced a film that will be shown at the festival. Then, we discuss the festival in-depth with the festival's Executive Director Mary Manard Reed.