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Cinema Chat: 'Meeting The Beatles In India,' 'Jimmy Carter,' 'Our Time Machine' And More

Sep 10, 2020

Michigan Theater Popcorn
Credit The Michigan Theater / Facebook

Schools are back in session, while movie theaters still have to wait.  Still, the movies keep coming your way.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about the new flicks you can watch at home, courtesy of the Michigan Theater's 'Virtual Movie Palace.'


ACADEMY CREATES INCLUSION STANDARDS FOR BEST PICTURE OSCARS

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as part of the Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, has detailed new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility in the Best Picture category, starting in 2022.  Academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos lead a task force that adapted the British Film Institute Diversity Standards for funding eligibility in the UK as well as eligibility in some categories of the British Academy of Film and Television Awards, in order to serve the specific needs of the Academy, which also consulted with the Producers Guild of America.  “The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them.  The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement.  “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”

For the 94th Oscars (2022) and 95th Oscars (2023), the Academy requires a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form for Best Picture consideration; however, those films will not be subject to inclusion thresholds.  Inclusion thresholds will be required for eligibility in the Best Picture category with the 96th Oscars (2024).  Starting in 2024, a film must meet two out of four of the following standards to be deemed eligible:

STANDARD A: ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION, THEMES AND NARRATIVES – To achieve Standard A, the film must meet ONE of the following criteria:

A1. Lead or significant supporting actors – At least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

A2. General ensemble cast – At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two of the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

A3. Main storyline/subject matter – The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD B: CREATIVE LEADERSHIP AND PROJECT TEAM – To achieve Standard B, the film must meet ONE of the criteria below:

B1. Creative leadership and department heads – At least two of the following creative leadership positions and department heads—Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer—are from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

At least one of those positions must belong to the following underrepresented racial or ethnic group:

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

B2. Other key roles – At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding Production Assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. These positions include but are not limited to First AD, Gaffer, Script Supervisor, etc.

B3. Overall crew composition – At least 30% of the film’s crew is from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD C:  INDUSTRY ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES – To achieve Standard C, the film must meet BOTH criteria below:

C1. Paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities – The film’s distribution or financing company has paid apprenticeships or internships that are from the following underrepresented groups and satisfy the criteria below:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

The major studios/distributors are required to have substantive, ongoing paid apprenticeships/internships inclusive of underrepresented groups (must also include racial or ethnic groups) in most of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

The mini-major or independent studios/distributors must have a minimum of two apprentices/interns from the above underrepresented groups (at least one from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group) in at least one of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

C2. Training opportunities and skills development (crew) – The film’s production, distribution and/or financing company offers training and/or work opportunities for below-the-line skill development to people from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD D: AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT – To achieve Standard D, the film must meet the criterion below:

D1. Representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution

The studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from among the following underrepresented groups (must include individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups) on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group:

·        Asian

·        Hispanic/Latinx

·        Black/African American

·        Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

·        Middle Eastern/North African

·        Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

·        Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

All categories other than Best Picture will be held to their current eligibility requirements.  Films in the specialty categories (Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, International Feature Film, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film) submitted for Best Picture/General Entry consideration will be addressed separately.

MOVIE TRIVIA! – TONIGHT! – Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 PM

Have you got a decent memory of film history?  Think you can name movies based on their quotes, posters, or music?  Then join our head film programmer Nick Alderink for an online Zoom edition of Movie Trivia!  Whether you are a fan of classic, art house or modern films this trivia night is sure to have something for you.  This event is FREE and all members are welcome, so come test your skills in this family-friendly game of skill, wit and laughs.  Plus, your chance to win prizes!

Tips for Success

Use a desktop or laptop computer – To answer questions, our host will be sending you Google Forms that you will fill out and submit.  On a computer, you will be able to minimize the Zoom window and fill out the forms simultaneously.  We will also be utilizing the chat function via Zoom, which we have found is easier to read and access on a computer.

Have a pen & paper ready – Take your time!  Even when the questions disappear from the screen, you will have some time to think about your answers.  We recommend you use a pen/pencil and paper to write the questions down as we go along, and jot down your answers before you finalize them on our answer sheets.  And of course, the most important rule is always to have fun!

NEW THIS WEEK

"Meeting the Beatles in India"- Opens Friday, September 11

Filmmaker Paul Saltzman retraces his journey of 50 years ago when he spent a life-changing time with the Beatles at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram on the banks of the Ganges River.  In 1968, he discovered his own soul, learned meditation, which changed his life, and hung out with John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  Fifty years later, he finds “Bungalow Bill” in Hawaii, connects with David Lynch about his own inner journey as well as preeminent Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, Academy Award nominated film composer Laurence Rosenthal, and Pattie and Jenny Boyd.  And much of this is due to Saltzman’s own daughter, Devyani, reminding him that he had put away and forgotten these remarkably intimate photographs of that time in 1968.

Pre-order before September 11, 2020, to have a chance at winning Paul Saltzman’s autographed book “The Beatles in India – Special Limited Edition Book.”

"Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President" - Opens Friday, September 11

If it hadn’t been for a bottle of scotch and a late-night visit from musician Gregg Allman, Jimmy Carter might never have been elected the 39th President of the United States.  The documentary charts the mostly forgotten story of how Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others.  Low on campaign funds and lacking in name recognition, Carter relied on support from these artists to give him a crucial boost in the Democratic primaries. Once Carter was elected, the musicians became frequent guests in the White House.  The surprisingly significant role that music played throughout Carter’s life and in his work becomes a thread in this engaging portrait of one of the most enigmatic Presidents in American history.

Selected as the Opening Night Film of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, this film is filled with illuminating new interviews with BOB DYLAN, BONO, WILLIE NELSON, PAUL SIMON, GREGG ALLMAN, GARTH BROOKS, and others, as well as with former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner JIMMY CARTER.  The documentary is an incisive and often-rollicking look at an era that saw youth culture and politics join forces, and at a man of conscience whose love of music was crucial to who he was as a father, a citizen, a man of the South, and a leader during his presidency and beyond.

"Our Time Machine"- Opens Friday, September 11

100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and 2019 Cinetopia Audience Favorite!  Shaken by the news of his father’s dementia, artist Maleonn creates “Papa’s Time Machine,” a wondrous time-travel adventure performed on stage with life-size mechanical puppets.  Through the play’s production, he confronts his own mortality. Maleonn finds grace and unexpected joy in this moving meditation on art, the agonies of love and loss, and the circle of life.

Q&A Discussion - On Saturday, September 12 at 8:00 P.M.

Join filmmakers Yang Sun & S. Leo Chiang, artist Maleonn, and puppet Makuji, for a live Q&A and a tour of Maleonn’s art studio! Moderated by MSNBC’s Richard Lui.

CONTINUING

"Represent"

Equal parts personal and political, this film follows three women (one from Detroit, Michigan) on both sides of the aisle who share the singular goal of improving their community through public service.  Myya attempts to spark a youth movement and unseat the incumbent mayor of Detroit; Bryn, a farmer and working mother in Granville, Ohio, runs for township trustee; and Julie walks a tightrope between her identities as a Korean immigrant and Republican candidate for State Representative in a liberal Chicago suburb.

"Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chadwin"

Werner Herzog turns the camera on himself and his decades-long friendship with the late travel writer Bruce Chatwin, a kindred spirit whose quest for ecstatic truth carried him to all corners of the globe.  Herzog’s deeply personal portrait of Chatwin, illustrated with archival discoveries, film clips, and a mound of “brontosaurus skin,” encompasses their shared interest in aboriginal cultures, ancient rituals, and the mysteries stitching together life on earth.

"Midnight Traveler"

When the Taliban puts a bounty on Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee with his wife and two daughters. Capturing the journey, Fazili shows the dangers facing refugees seeking asylum and the love shared between a family on the run.

"Made in Bangladesh"

100% on Rotten Tomatoes!  Shimu fled her village as a child when her stepmother threatened to marry her off to a middle-aged man.  Now 23 and living in the capital, she works grueling hours for paltry sums at a textile factory while her husband searches for work.  After a fire in the factory results in the death of a co-worker, Shimu is approached by a union advocate who provides her with a crash course in women workers’ rights — and the tools to enforce them.  But Shimu’s attempt to unionize her workplace is met with resistance at every turn, not only from her patriarchal employers, who openly threaten her, but also her colleagues, who are desperate to keep their jobs in a world where options for survival are few.  In her struggle to make her world a fairer place, Shimu discovers within herself reserves of courage and tenacity, along with a galvanizing sense of purpose. 

"Epicentro"

This is an immersive and metaphorical portrait of post-colonial, “utopian” Cuba, where the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine still resonates (which started the Spanish-American war).  This Big Bang ended Spanish colonial dominance in the Americas and ushered in the era of the American Empire.  At the same time and place, a powerful tool of conquest was born: cinema as propaganda (cinema exhibition also started in 1898).  In his latest film, Hubert Sauper explores a century of interventionism and myth-making together with the extraordinary people of Havana — who he calls “young prophets” — to interrogate time, imperialism, and cinema itself.

"Vinyl Nation"

The vinyl record renaissance over the past decade has brought new fans to a classic format and transformed our idea of a record collector: younger, both male and female, multicultural.  This same revival has made buying music more expensive, benefited established bands over independent artists and muddled the question of whether vinyl actually sounds better than other formats.  The film digs into the crates of the record resurgence in search of truths set in deep wax: Has the return of vinyl made music fandom more inclusive or divided?  What does vinyl say about our past here in the present?  How has the second life of vinyl changed how we hear music and how we listen to each other?

"Mr. Soul!"

From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics—voices that had few other options for national exposure, and, as a result, found the program an improbable place to call home.  The series was among the first to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement.  With participants’ recollections and a bevy of great archival clips, the film captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate.

"Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind"

Produced, written and directed by Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni.  The documentary features interviews from many notable voices in the music industry including Lightfoot peers Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Randy Bachman, and Steve Earle; famous fans Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee from Rush, Alec BaldwinAnne Murray, and Sarah McLachlan; as well as behind-the-scenes stories from members of his longtime band.

Following Lightfoot’s evolution from Christian choirboy to troubled troubadour to international star and beloved Canadian icon, this film is an intimate and emotional examination of the artist’s profound relationship to his music and his Canadian roots.

MORE SPECIALTY CONTENT

For more information on virtual screenings and content available, visit michtheater.org/screenings.  Stay safe.  Stay strong.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu