film

Meet Sonia Warshawski, a local Holocaust survivor and tailor. Her family tells her story in a documentary-in-progress called Big Sonia. Selected scenes will be screened at the Jewish Film Festival this Sunday.

Guest:

  • Sonia Warshawski

Steve Kraske talks with University of Kansas film professor John Tibbetts about his new book, Those Who Made It: Speaking with the Legends of Hollywood. A collection of interviews with Hollywood stars and directors spanning more than three decades, the book includes conversations with Spielberg, Altman, Roger Ebert, Michael Moore, and John Houseman.

The holiday weekend means plenty of time to catch a film . . . or two! If you're undecided which to see, here's some suggestions from one of Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics.

Cynthia Haines

Spotlight, R

  • Reporters working for the Boston Globe uncover evidence of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.

Brooklyn, PG-13

  • An young Irish immigrant is torn between her new home in Brooklyn and her life back in Ireland.

Carol, R

When Anthony Ladesich found his father's youthful correspondence with an old Navy friend on a stack of reel-to-reel tapes, he also found so much more: a portal into Kansas City's jazz history, material for his films, and a way of keeping his dad with him a little longer.

This is an encore edition of Central Standard.

Guest:

  • Anthony Ladesich, filmmaker, Be It Ever So Humble, There Is No Place and Studio A
Courtesy Photo / Bruce Branit

Kansas City visual effects artist Bruce Branit and his former partner, Jeremy Hunt, are getting credit for making the first viral online video.

This according to no less a pop culture authority than Bravo TV, which is scheduled to air a segment about Branit and Hunt's video Wednesday on "Then and Now with Andy Cohen."

In 2000, Branit and Hunt made a three-minute video in which a computer-generated DC 10 lands on a California freeway. They posted it on what was a still-novel Internet:

University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott's latest movie, CHI-RAQ has opened to lots of buzz. Steve Kraske and the film critics talk to the screenwriter about what he and co-writer Spike Lee were trying to say in this film. 

spotlightthefilm.com

It's the most wonderful time of the year — for movie lovers, that is. Awards season is around the corner and many of the year's most-anticipated titles are arriving at area cinemas. You can enjoy the season too, by hitting the movie theaters this weekend. Here are Up To Date's film critics' suggestions from the crop of indie, foreign and documentary films playing now.

Cynthia Haines

Spotlight, R

Da Chi Pictures, LLC

The new movie Chi-Raq, about gang violence in Chicago, opens Friday. It caused controversy long before it opened: Some Chicagoans don’t like their city being compared to Iraq, while other critics have said the premise is sexist. It’s making national headlines as Spike Lee’s new movie, but that’s only partly true.

Sex trafficking occurs in all fifty of the United States and too often the victims are our children. Steve Kraske examines sex trafficking with a Kansas City FBI agent and the filmmaker of a documentary that looks at the effects on the victims, their families and law enforcement.

Guests:

The cars, the exotic locations, the action scenes, the gadgets, the women … even the most casual moviegoer is familiar with the world of James Bond. But what is Bond's place in the world today? We review Spectre, the latest in the franchise, with a movie critic, a tech inventor and a travel enthusiast.

Guests:

Courtesy Photo / Julia Barnett

Julia Barnett spent her childhood backstage at the theatre while her mother, Cathy, took center stage. She didn’t have any intention to carry on in the family business.

“I actually started college as a global studies and world religions major,” Julia says.

Despite her plans, show business eventually found its way back to her — though she is still most comfortable behind the scenes.

“It’s absolutely in my blood," Julia says.

In addition to her actress mother, Julia’s father, Dan Barnett, is a writer.

Mike Edmund / Courtesy Andrew Jenks Entertainment

Ryan Ferguson was nineteen years old on March 10, 2004, when he found himself in the back of a police car headed to the station in Columbia, Missouri.

On the basis of flimsy eyewitness reports and faulty if not fabricated evidence, he would be convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder two years earlier of Columbia Daily Tribune staffer Kent Heitholt.

Courtesy Anthony Ladesich

Anthony Ladesich never got to buy his father a drink.

Ladesich was just 19 when his father, Vincent Floyd Ladesich, died after a brief illness in 1992. Afterwards Ladesich vaguely remembered how, when he was about 12, his father had called him to the basement one day, excited to play him some tape recordings of his friend from World War II.

Ladesich, a self-described punk, was more interested in riding his skateboard than listening to his dad's old tapes. But after his father died, Ladesich dug through old boxes and found the reel-to-reels.

When Anthony Ladesich found his father's youthful correspondence with an old Navy friend on a stack of reel-to-reel tapes, he also found so much more: a portal into Kansas City's jazz history, material for his films, and a way of keeping his dad with him a little longer.

Ladesich is showing his movies in the Kansas International Film Festival.

Guest:

  • Anthony Ladesich, filmmaker, Be It Ever So Humble, There Is No Place and Studio A
Courtesy Oskar Landi / Urban Romances, A Sundance Selects Release

Though the late choreographer George Balanchine may have been a genius, he had a skewed vision of what his ballerinas should look like. He dictated they be flat-chested and that they follow diets so strict they stopped menstruating. Today that's called body fascism in some circles. And it might have produced as much hurt as art.

Fifty years after US troops landed in Vietnam, a 24-year-old victim of Agent Orange and an American struggling with depression create a life-changing bond. 

Guests:

  • Elizabeth Van Meter, writer and producer of "Thao's Library."
  • Cynthia Haines, film critic for KCUR

Thao's Library is now showing at AMC Town Center 20. For movie showtimes, click here.

Courtesy of Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Artist Thomas Hart Benton was a larger-than-life figure. A muralist who's well-known in Missouri, where he was born and lived the last three decades of his life — he's not as familiar as he once was outside the Kansas City area.

But that's starting to change. 

Heather McMichael

When Grace Day enrolled in law school in 1948, it didn't occur to her she was doing anything unusual.

"I just thought, gosh you just enroll and you go," says Day, who is now 88. "If people were going to be resentful about women going into a professional school, it never dawned on me."

Until she got there.

For hundreds of classic movies in danger of being forgotten, the Film Noir Foundation is here to save the day. The organization is dedicated to preserving and restoring 35 millimeter films for future generations, as well as maintaining noir culture. 

Courtesy Aimee Larabee

The Hippocratic Oath that's guided doctors for centuries asks them to "remember that there is art to medicine as well as science." The late cardiac surgeon Jeffrey Piehler and Prairie Village filmmaker Aimee Larrabee shared that sentiment, and the result is her documentary Patient: A Surgeon's Journey, making its one-night local premiere October 1 at the Tivoli Cinema in Westport.

 

Capture

Results are in for the recent 48-hour filmmaking contest between gigabit-fueled Kansas City and Chattanooga: Kansas City won.

Whether you want to view World War I from the trenches, explore the war's Christmas truce or cruise the skies, our Video Gurus have something to feed your historical need. Check out what they had to say on this edition of Up to Date.

All Quiet on the Western Front, unrated (before current ratings)

The kids have gone back to school, and maybe it's time for you to go back to the movie theater. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas to spruce up your weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Best of Enemies, R

  • The thing that’s quite amusing is the pompous attitudes of these men and their accents.

Mr. Holmes, PG

Association for Visual Arts, Chattanooga

Update, 2:30 p.m., Sept. 17: The Kansas City film office has announced the locations for the Capture community film project's kickoff and screening events.

Registered filmmakers will receive their instructions at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18 at the Union Station Boardroom. The resulting films will be screened, and Best Shot and Best of Show awards will be presented, at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20 at the Union Station Extreme Screen. 

Meet actor and Kansas City native Mark Patton. During the 1980s, he was an openly gay actor in Hollywood. After starring in Nightmare on Elm Street 2, his big-screen career took a hit because of homophobia in Hollywood. Patton is back in town for a screening for one of his movies, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

Within the predictable summer onslaught of overstimulated superheroes in crushing surround sound, it’s refreshing to find a charming and funny antidote in "I’ll See You in My Dreams." Directed and co-written by Brett Haley, the movie stars Blythe Danner as Carol, a widowed resident of a retirement village who finds companionship with one man around her age and another some forty years younger. Both of them succeed at whittling away the tough barriers she thought she has needed around her.

photo: EG Schempf / Collection of the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California

Brooklyn-based artist Adam Cvijanovic paints on sheets of a tough, durable product called Tyvek. It's often used to wrap or protect a building during construction, but for Cvijanovic it provides the canvas for his large-scale portable murals.

"I am really interested in narrative because I'm very interested in time," says Cvijanovic. "And I think painting as a plastic art, as a frozen moment in time, can offer insights into it."

The Gnomist

When Sharon Liese started to hear buzz about tiny fairy homes in an Overland Park forest, she knew it was something special. On this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske speaks with Liese about how she and her crew discovered the stores of the three women she features in her 19-minute documentary film, The Gnomist.

Andrea and Annie, two students at the University of North Carolina, couldn't have had a worse college bonding experience. During their freshman year, both were sexually assaulted. The trauma united them to speak out about how badly sexual assault victims are treated on U.S. college campuses.

Subsequently followed across the country by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, the director and producer of the startling new documentary The Hunting Ground, the young women manage to amass an army of like-minded survivors.

In 2013, fairy homes — with doors custom-built for the hollows of trees and tiny furniture nestled inside — cropped up on a wooded trail in Overland Park. Firefly Forest, as it was called, appeared as if by magic. People tucked hundreds of notes into these small abodes, listing their struggles and dreams. And, to their surprise, the fairies answered.

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