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Documentary Film

The Leonard Lopate Show

Backstory: Omar Khadr & Guantanamo

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In July 2002, 15-year-old Omar Khadr was picked up in Afghanistan by U.S. forces and accused of killing an American soldier with a hand grenade. Although he is a Canadian citizen, Kadhr remains in the U.S. Prison at Guantanamo Bay and is the only Westerner still held there. Filmmakers Luc Côté and Patricio Henriquez talk about about their documentary "You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantanamo," which includes excerpts from Khadr’s 2003 videotaped interrogation by Canadian intelligence officers. “You Don’t Like the Truth” is currently playing at Film Forum through October 4. 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Backstory: Prosecuting the Guatemalan Genocide

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In the early 1980s, an estimated 200,000 Guatemalans were killed in a genocide carried out by the country’s military. Documentary filmmaker Pamela Yates was there in 1982 shooting footage of the struggle for her documentary, “When the Mountains Tremble.” On today’s Backstory, Yates discusses the efforts to prosecute some of Guatemala’s highest ranking generals for the genocide, and how her film footage has been used to help build a case against them. She tells the story in her latest film, “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator.” We’ll also be joined by Fredy Pecerelli, a forensic anthropologist who’s leading a team of anthropologists in combing through some of the mass graves in Guatemala.

“Granito: How to Nail a Dictator” is playing at the IFC Center

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Where Soldiers Come From

Friday, September 09, 2011

Heather Courtney, director of the film “Where Soldiers Come From,” and soldiers Matt Beaudoin and Cole Smith discuss the documentary, an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars and the families and towns they come from. Returning to her hometown, director Heather Courtney gains extraordinary footage; following young men as they grow and change from teenagers to soldiers to 23-year-old veterans facing the struggles of returning home.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Life of Ayrton Senna

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Director Asif Kapadia talks about his new documentary film “Senna,” about the Brazilian race car driver Ayrton Senna. The film spans the racing legend’s years as an F1 driver, from his opening season in 1984 to his untimely death a decade later, using footage drawn from F1 archives, much of it never before seen. “Senna” opens August 12 at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Harvest

Friday, July 29, 2011

Albie Hecht and Susan MacLaury discuss their documentary “The Harvest,” about child migrant laborers. The film tells the stories of three adolescents who travel with their families across thousands of miles to pick crops in southern Texas, northern Michigan, and northern Florida during the harvest season. They face back-breaking labor in 100-degree heat, the hazards of pesticides, the burden of helping their families through economic crises, and separation from their families.  “The Harvest” opens in New York July 29 at the Quad Cinema.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Interrupters

Friday, July 29, 2011

Producer-director Steve James and author-turned-producer Alex Kotlowitz talk about their creative partnership and the documentary “The Interrupters,” inspired by Kotlowitz’s New York Times Magazine article. The film focuses on former gang members who disrupt violent situations as they happen. “The Interrupters” opens at the IFC Center on July 29.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Marie Riviere on Working with Eric Rohmer

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Actress Marie Riviere discusses working with Eric Rohmer in his films “Le Rayon Vert” (celebrating its 25th anniversary) and its long-overlooked companion piece, “Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle.” She’ll also talk about her brand new video portrait of Eric Rohmer, “In the Company of Eric Rohmer,” which she made shortly before his death. “Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle” is showing at BAM Cinematek July 20-26.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Project Nim

Friday, July 08, 2011

James Marsh, director of the documentary “Project Nim,” and Stephanie LaFarge, who is featured in the film, discuss the story of Nim Chimpsky, the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. The film is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. “Project Nim” opens July 8 at Angelika Film Center and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness

Friday, July 08, 2011

Filmmaker Joseph Dorman discusses his film “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness,” a portrait of the great writer who created an entirely new form of literature and whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” Sholem Aleichem captured a Jewish world in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, and he helped create a new modern Jewish identity. “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness” opens July 8 at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

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Features

Michael Rapaport on Hip-Hop, Sampling and His New Tribe Called Quest Doc

Friday, July 08, 2011

Even before Michael Rapaport's documentary "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest" was officially released, the film had kicked up controversy in the hip-hop world. WNYC spoke to the Upper East Side actor-turned filmmaker about hip-hop, sampling and the drama around the movie, which opens in theaters on Friday.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

No Contract, No Cookies: The Stella D’Oro Strike

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Michael Filippou, a shop steward featured in the film “No Contract, No Cookies: The Stella D’Oro Strike, andGeorge Kassai, a former Stella D'Oro baker, talk about the divisive strike at the Stella D’Oro factory in the Bronx. In 2006, Stella D’Oro was bought by Brynwood Partners, a private-equity firm that boasts of giving its investors a 30% return, and it demanded bakers accept wage cuts of up to 30%. The workers went on strike. After a long legal battle, the strike came to an end, but the owners responded by selling the business to a non-union plant in Ohio, and today the Bronx factory is closed. “No Contract, No Cookies” is directed by Jon Alpert and Matt O'Neill, and it premieres July 6 on HBO2.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Crime After Crime

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Director Yoav Potash and Joshua Safran, a lawyer who’s featured in the documentary “Crime After Crime,” talk about the film, which tells the story of a battered woman's decades-long struggle to be released from a wrongful prison sentence. It opens July 1 at IFC Center.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Hot Coffee and Tort Reform

Monday, June 27, 2011

Filmmaker Susan Saladoff, a former public interest lawyer, talks about her documentary “Hot Coffee,” about the McDonald’s coffee case, which continues to be cited as a prime example of how citizens use “frivolous” lawsuits to take unfair advantage of America’s legal system. But is that an accurate portrayal of the facts? The movie looks at the infamous legal battle that began with a spilled cup of McDonald’s coffee and investigates America’s zeal for tort reform, which, Saladoff argues, could restrict the legal rights of everyday citizens and undermine the entire civil justice system. The documentary debuts June 27 on HBO.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Director Marshall Curry discusses his documentary “If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front,” which tells of the rise and fall of an anarchist environmental group, the ELF. The film focuses on the evolution of the group and the transformation and radicalization of Daniel McGowan, one of its members, and poses questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism. “If a Tree Falls” opens June 22 at IFC Center.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Love Crimes of Kabul

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Director Tanaz Eshaghian talks about her film “Love Crimes of Kabul.” In Kabul, Afghanistan’s central woman’s prison, nearly half of the prisoners are young women imprisoned for the “moral crimes” of premarital sex, adultery, or running away from their husband and home. The film is a portrait of three young Afghan women accused of committing these crimes and follows them from prison to trial, and uncovers the pressures and paradoxes that women in Afghanistan face today. “Love Crimes of Kabul” is playing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Battle for Brooklyn

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Filmmakers Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky, talk about their documentary “Battle for Brooklyn.” It’s an intimate look at the very public and passionate fight waged by residents and business owners of Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood facing condemnation of their property to make way for Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project—16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets. “Battle for Brooklyn” has its theatrical premiere in New York City on June 17; it opens this year’s Brooklyn Film Festival on June 3; and will screen in the Rooftop Films summer series on June 9 in Fort Greene Park.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Ken Burns: From The Civil War to Civility

Monday, May 30, 2011

To commemorate the Civil War's 150th anniversary, PBS recently reaired Ken Burns' documentary "The Civil War." Burns, a documentary filmmaker for the past 30 years, talks about the continuing effects of the war and his new project, "Civility and Democracy."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

“Journey Into Dyslexia”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Alan Raymond and Susan Raymond discuss their documentary “Journey Into Dyslexia.” It explores and debunks myths of the most prevalent learning disability, dyslexia, which is neurobiological in origin and typically manifests through difficulty in reading, writing, spelling and math, and affects up to­ ten percent of the population in the U.S. "Journey Into Dyslexia" debuts May 11, at 8 pm, on HBO2.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Exporting Raymond

Monday, April 25, 2011

“Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal discusses writing, directing, and starring in the film “Exporting Raymond,” about his journey to a foreign land to help people who don’t seem to want his help. When Rosenthal joins forces with Hollywood studio Sony Pictures Television to recreate “Everybody Loves Raymond” for Russian TV audiences (as “The Voronins”), he finds himself lost in Moscow, lost in his mission, lost in translation. He tries to connect with his Russian colleagues but runs into characters and situations that conspire to drive him insane. It opens April 29 at the Angelika and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Ken Burns: From The Civil War to Civility

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

To commemorate the Civil War's 150th anniversary, PBS is reairing Ken Burns' documentary "The Civil War." Burns, a documentary filmmaker for the past 30 years, talks about the continuing effects of the war and his new project, "Civility and Democracy."

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