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Documentary Film

The Leonard Lopate Show

"Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story"

Friday, April 20, 2012

In 1965, Frank De Felitta made a documentary about the civil rights struggle in the Mississippi Delta. A black waiter named Booker Wright, who worked at a “whites only” restaurant, spoke openly about his thoughts on segregation in the film, and as a result, he lost his job and was beaten and ostracized. Booker Wright’s granddaughter Yvette Johnson joins Frank De Felitta’s son Raymond De Felitta to discuss about the new documentary directed by Raymond De Felitta, “Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story,” about who Booker Wright was and how the 1965 film changed his life. "Booker's Place" is playing as part of the Tribeca Film Festival April 22, 25, 26, 28, and opens at the Quad Cinema April 27.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underreported: Human Guinea Pigs for Pharmaceuticals

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On today’s Underreported, directors Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher talk about the people who serve as human test subjects for medications being developed by pharmaceutical companies. They look at how those medications are being marketed, sold, and used throughout the United States after they’ve been approved. It’s the subject of their documentary, “Off Label,” which is being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

"Man on Wire"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Due to a computer mix-up, we mistakenly reran a 2008 interview with French high wire artist Philippe Petit and filmmaker James Marsh about the documentary "Man on Wire," about Petit's incredible high wire walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. The film is available on DVD, and even though we didn't plan to run the interview today, it's a great conversation.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underreported: Bear Bile Farming in China

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In China, Asiatic black bears are kept in cages for their bile, which is valued in Asian medicine. Jill Robinson, the founder and CEO of Animals Asia, who appears in the documentary "Cages of Shame," talks about bear bile farming and bear rescue efforts.

"Cages of Shame" premiers at the Rubin Museum of Art April 14.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

“Grand Coulee Dam”

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Director Steven Ives talks about his new documentary, “Grand Coulee Dam,” about a public works project that played a central role in transforming the Northwest and was the largest hydroelectric power producing facility in the world when it was completed in March 1941. But the dam prevented access to one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world, and the native people who lived along the Columbia suffered a profound cultural decline. “Grand Coulee Dam” premieres on PBS on April 3 at 8 pm.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Mohamed Nasheed and Jon Shenk on “The Island President”

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On February 7, 2012, Mohamed Nasheed, the democratically elected president of the Maldives, was forced to resign in a coup d'etat orchestrated by the military and forces loyal to the country’s former dictator. President Nasheed and Jon Shenk, director of the documentary “The Island President,” discuss confronting the survival of the country. “The Island President” is playing March 28–April 10 at Film Forum.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

“Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York”

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nina Rosenblum and Daniel Allentuck discuss producing and directing the documentary “Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York,” about a cooperative of radical photographers, born out of the labor movement, who were determined to use their cameras as a tool for social change. Members included noted mid-20th century photographers Weegee, W. Eugene Smith, Aaron Siskind, Bernice Abbott, and Ruth Orkin, among others. In 1951 the U.S. Attorney General publicly blacklisted the Photo League for its left-leaning roots, and the group disappeared. “Ordinary Miracles” opens March 29 at the IFC Center.

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The Takeaway

The Criterion Collection Releases "The War Room"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Documentary filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus followed Bill Clinton's campaign staff during his 1992 Presidential campaign. The resulting film "The War Room," was a quick classic, giving viewers a peek behind the curtain of American politics. Last week "The War Room" was released as part of the Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-ray.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

“Undefeated”

Friday, February 17, 2012

Daniel Lindsay and T. J. Martin, directors of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Undefeated,” along with coach Bill Courtney. Manassas High School in North Memphis had never won a playoff game until Courtney came along and transformed the team. For player and coaches alike, the season is not only about winning games, it’s about how they grapple with the unforeseeable events that are part of football and part of life.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Backstory: "Putin's Kiss" and the Nashi youth movement in Russia

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On today’s Backstory, we’ll look at the Nashi youth movement in Russia, which was started in 2005 and has close ties to the Kremlin. With thousands of members, the group rallies in favor of the government and harass the political opposition. Director Lise Birk Pedersen talks about her documentary “Putin’s Kiss,” which follows a young Nashi leader as she gradually becomes disenchanted by the movement—and the opposition journalists who risk their safety to criticize the Nashi. She's joined by Sasha de Vogel, program coordinator at Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Oscar Nominated Documentaries: Pina

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Filmmaker, Wim Wenders discusses his Oscar-nominated documentary "Pina" -- a tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch, done in 3D.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Oscar Nominated Documentaries: "Undefeated"

Monday, February 13, 2012

T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay, co-directors of "Undefeated", talk about their documentary following a football season at an inner city high school. "Undefeated" opens Friday, February 17.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

"Man on a Mission"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Michael Woolf, director of the documentary “Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars,” and the film’s subject, Richard Garriott, discuss Garriott’s lifelong quest to become the first son of an astronaut to blast into space. When eye problems made a career at NASA impossible, he turned to private space travel to launch into space. “Man on a Mission” opens at Cinema Village January 13.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Wim Wenders on "Pina"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Director Wim Wenders talks about his 3D documentary “Pina,” about the legendary choreographer Pina Bausch. Wenders and Bausch had conceived a dance film like none seen before, but after her untimely death in 2009, Wenders continued with the project, turning it into a tribute, rendering the beauty and physicality of the dances and dancers of her Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble. “Pina” opens in New York Friday, December 23, at the Walter Reade Theater, IFC Center, and BAM.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Addiction Incorporated

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In 1994, scientist Victor DeNoble became the first whistleblower to reveal the tobacco industry's efforts to manufacture "a maximally addictive" product. Director Charles Evans, Jr., tells his story in the documentary “Addiction Incorporated.” The film opens in New York on December 14 at Film Forum.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

"Khodorkovsky"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Director Cyril Tuschi; Pavel Khodorkovsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s son; and New York Times business writer Joe Nocera, discuss Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was once the richest man in Russia and is now one of the world’s most famous political prisoners. In the documentary “Khodorkovsky,” filmmaker Tuschi shows that Khodorkovsky’s tax embezzlement charges are bogus, and that his real crime was challenging Vladimir Putin. The film opens November 30 at Film Forum.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bill Jersey, co-director of the documentary “Eames: The Architect and the Painter,” talks about the film—a look into the private world of the Renaissance-style studio that Charles and Ray Eames conceived in a warehouse in Venice Beach, California, where design history was born. “The Eames Era,” began in the optimistic flush of American victory during World War II, and the global impact of the Eames aesthetic continues today. “Eames: The Architect and the Painter” opens November 18 at the IFC Center.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

A Trip to the Moon

Friday, November 11, 2011

Serge Bromberg, of Lobster Films, discusses the hand-painted color version of Georges Méliès’ “Le Voyage dans la lune” (“A Trip to the Moon”) (1902), unseen for 109 years until its glorious new restoration by Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage, and talks about the world premiere of his and Eric Lange’s 2011 documentary “The Extraordinary Voyage.”  “The Extraordinary Voyage” and “A Trip to the Moon,” are both playing as part of MoMA’s “To Save and Protect” program.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Revenge of the Electric Car

Friday, October 14, 2011

Director Chris Paine and Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, discuss the documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car.” Paine (who directed the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car”) goes behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to follow the race be the first, the best electric car, and to win the hearts and minds of the public around the world. "Revenge of the Electric Car" opens October 21 at Landmark Sunshine Cinemas.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Paradise Lost

Friday, October 07, 2011

Critically acclaimed HBO documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger discusses the “Paradise Lost” series, directed with Bruce Sinofsky. The latest of which, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,” will be show on HBO in January 2012. The series follows three teenagers arrested in 1993 and wrongfully convicted of murdering three eight-year-old boys, and “Paradise Lost 3” concludes with the release of Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, the West Memphis 3, after serving 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

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