AUTHOR | Eric Althoff

ARCHIVES

With very uncertain days ahead “Surge” strikes a note of common sense and optimism

Our interview with Hannah Rosenzweig and Wendy Sachs

In the 2018 midterm elections, a then-record 117 women won seats in Congress, leading many writers to call it the “Year of the Woman.” Documentarians Hannah Rosenzweig and Wendy Sachs followed three Democratic women running in 2018, and the result of their years of work is a film called “Surge.” “So many women were activated to actually run for office—women who had never thought they would ... more >

The pursuit of self-realization taken to another level: “Rising Phoenix” (PREMIERING ON NETFLIX THIS WEEKEND)

Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgu

Thanks to covid-19, both the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were postponed to 2021. That means the competitors will have another whole year to train and prepare for their events in Tokyo. And however disappointing, it’s just one more bump on the road for the Paralympics athletes featured in the new documentary “Rising Phoenix,” which opens on Netflix this weekend. Directed by Ian Bonhôte and ... more >

“Even in this terrible time of pandemic, there’s something about art and music and beauty that we can all aspire to” (Lynn Montgomery)

Our interview with the director of "Amazing Grace"

Grace Fisher’s positivity has served the young lady well over her two decades of life, as she honed her musical abilities on guitar and piano, while dreaming of becoming a composer. “My mom always said that [even] as a young girl, I’ve been blessed with a happy outlook on anything,” Fisher told me recently of her optimistic attitude. Incredibly, Fisher has maintained that same poise and ... more >

Bentonville Film Festival closes strong with an offering that combined virtual and drive-in screenings

America's in a constant state of flux, boundaries are being enlarged and society is evolving and these filmmakers, and the films they have made, reflect this

The hybrid in-person and online version of the Bentonville Film Festival wrapped up this weekend, with drive-in films, virtual panel discussions and a host of films to choose from. Here are a few from the many offerings to keep in your sights. “Amazing Grace” Directed by Lynn Montgomery Grace Fisher was a happy-go-lucky, musically-gifted teen who dreamt of being a professional musician. But ... more >

“Boys State,” or when young alpha males retool politics to build a better society

Interview with the filmmakers and participants

Every year, the American Legion program called Boys State brings in some of the best and brightest young men to experience simulated democracy first-hand.  They are divided into two different “parties,” and then must choose their leaders, give speeches, make deals and campaign over six intense days.  Its alumni include Bill Clinton, no less. And in a strange turn, in 2017, the Texas Boys State ... more >

In the Philippines where a pandemic gave Duterte absolute power it’s open season for the intimidation of journalists

Our interview with Ramona Diaz, director of "A Thousand Cuts"

Journalist Maria Ressa was convicted of “cyber libel” just as Ramona S. Diaz’s documentary about her, called “A Thousand Cuts,” was due to premiere at AFI Docs in June. Ressa had for years worked for a press outlet called the Rappler, which was severely critical of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime and stifling of the free press. “We anticipated it,” said Diaz, whose “A Thousand ... more >

Screen Comment interviews WENDY GUERRERO, Bentonville Film Festival president of programming

Five years' young this year, Bentonville Film Festival adapts to the pandemic while hewing close to its principle of inclusiveness and diversity

Like all current cinema events, the 2020 iteration of the Bentonville Film Festival is taking place almost exclusively online. Next week, the festival started by Oscar-winner Geena Davis will take place in Northwest Arkansas as pure usual, but with on-the-ground screenings taking place at a local drive-in—with nearly everything else going virtual. Panel discussions, celebrity guests and a great ... more >