Cinematalk Podcast #18: SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF with Ira Deutchman

Thursday, October 8th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

As part of the Cinematheque’s tribute to the legendary independent distribution company Cinema 5, this episode of Cinematalk features an interview with Ira Deutchmann, director of Searching for Mr. Rugoff, and himself an important and influential figure in independent movie distribution. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

See SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF & GIMME SHELTER for Free!

Thursday, October 8th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

UPDATE: Our licensing period for Searching for Mr. Rugoff and Gimme Shelter has expired and the movies are no longer available to view at home through the Cinematheque. You can still listen to our podcast discussion with Ira Deutchman here on our blog.

Beginning October 8 for a limited time, the Cinematheque continues its series of free movies to watch at home with two feature length documentaries that were both originally selected to screen at the cancelled 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival. Seen together, both movies offer a tribute to Cinema 5, a pioneering distributor of American independent and international films.

SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF (2019, USA, 94 min.) One of the most influential people in the history of independent movies, Donald Rugoff was a New York theater chain owner who later founded his own distribution company, Cinema 5. With a gruff, and sometimes downright impossible personality, Rugoff kicked art films into the mainstream with outrageous marketing schemes and pure bluster. Some of his most successful releases included Costa-Gavras’ Z, Lina Wertmuller’s Swept Away, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Robert Downey's Putney Swope, and the legendary Rolling Stones documentary, Gimme Shelter. His impact on the art film business is undeniable. Yet, mysteriously, Rugoff has become a virtually forgotten figure. In Searching for Mr. Rugoff director Ira Deutchman, himself an important figure in independent releasing, sets out to find the truth about the man who had such a major impact on his life, and uncovers some surprising and poignant truths. “An enthralling documentary that movie buffs everywhere will want to see. Don Rugoff… had a dream, and Searching for Mr. Rugoff is an infectious salute to what that dream was: a place where cinema could live” (Owen Gleiberman, Variety)

GIMME SHELTER (1970, USA, 91 min.) In late 1969, at the peak of their popularity, the Rolling Stones agreed to appear at a festival rock concert at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. This ultimately disastrous event, ending in mayhem and murder, has come to be considered by many as the symbolic nail in the coffin of the 1960s. Interviewed after Altamont, and captured at other venues on their tour by a camera crew that included George Lucas, Joan Churchill, and This is Spinal Tap cinematographer Peter Smokler, the Stones are spellbinding subjects and stage presences, as they perform classics like “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Jumping Jack Flash,” and “Under My Thumb.” Originally released by Cinema 5, Donald Rugoff’s distribution company, Gimme Shelter was cut to earn a PG rating. Uncensored in this digital restoration, the movie also has a revamped Dolby Stereo soundtrack. In the 50 years since its original release, Gimme Shelter has steadily been regarded as one of the greatest of all “rockumentaries.” Join us as we celebrate a half century of this exhilarating and haunting classic. 

Beginning October 8, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view both Searching for Mr. Rugoff and Gimme Shelter at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and simply include the word RUGOFF, in the subject line.

And, on a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, Cinematheque Director of Programming Jim Healy interviews Ira Deutchmann, director of Searching for Mr. Rugoff. Listen here on our blog or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

Plus, limited free access is still available for previous Cinematheque selections Can You Hear Us Now?, Jazz on a Summer's Day, and Narrowsburg, the latter two movies were also 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selections. Click on each title to learn how to gain access. Separate emails are required for each request.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #17: CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? with Jim Cricchi and Susan Peters

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

Tieing-in with the Cinematheque's presentation of Can You Hear Us Now?  this new episode of Cinematalk features director Jim Cricchi and writer/producer Susan Peters discussing their documentary and the Wisconsin electoral process. Jim and Susan first came to our programmer's attention with the short documentary, Los Lecheros, which premiered at our 2018 Wisconsin Film Festival. Jim and Susan were scheduled to present Can You Hear Us Now? at the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival, so we are delighted to have them for this Q&A session.

See CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? For Free!

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with another opportunity to see a 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selection: Can You Hear Us Now? from filmmakers Jim Cricchi and Susan Peters.

CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? (2020, USA, 87 min.) After “Act 10” protests and a Supreme Court gerrymandering case, a potent question lingered in the minds of Wisconsinites: what happens when your government stops listening? The answer is contained in this — Wisconsin’s own version of Knock Down the House. Can You Hear Us Now?  gives us an intimate, on the ground view of several assembly and state-wide races from the 2018 midterm elections, focusing on the campaigns of some fresh-faced female Democratic candidates. As the women crusade against strict voter I.D. laws, gerrymandering, and the Republican establishment, they expose the inequities in our state’s current electoral process. The film becomes a bracing document, laying bare the state of our state. (Ben Reiser)

Beginning October 1, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Can You Hear Us Now? at home for free. To receive access, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word DEMOCRACY in the subject line. 

To read more about Can You Hear Us Now? check out Rob Thomas in The Capital Times and Catherine Capellaro in Isthmus.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, the Cinematheque's Ben Reiser leads a discussion with Can You Hear Us Now? director Jim Cricchi and producer Susan Peters. Listen below or here on Soundcloud or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

Plus, limited free access is still available for previous Cinematheque selections Jazz on a Summer's Day, Werner Herzog's NomadFeels Good Man, and Narrowsburg, the latter three movies were also 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selections. Click on each title to learn how to gain access. Separate emails are required for each request.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #16: NARROWSBURG, with Martha Shane

Thursday, September 24th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

In conjunction with the Cinematheque's free view-at-home presentation of Martha Shane's documentary Narrowsburg, this episode features Martha Shane in conversation with Cinematheque Programmer Mike King. Their discussion touches on the making of Narrowsburg, the reluctance of her interview subjects, the "underworld connections" of Richie Castellano, film fest fraud, and more! Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

See WFF 2020 Selection NARROWSBURG for Free!

Thursday, September 24th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with an opportunity to see a 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selection that sold out its screening even before the Festival had to be canceled, Martha Shane's marvelous "film fest fraud" documentary Narrowsburg.

NARROWSBURG (2019, USA, 84 min.) A corrupt regional film festival is at the center of this hilariously entertaining true crime documentary, which doubles as a head-spinning cautionary tale about the allure of the spotlight. Narrowsburg, NY, was a sleepy hamlet along the Delaware River (population: 414), when Richie and Jocelyne Castellano rolled into town and declared that they would turn it into the “Sundance of the East.” An ingratiating grifter whose sole claim to fame was a bit part in the Billy Crystal/Robert De Niro mob comedy Analyze This, Richie charmed the whole town into a collective movie fever. In quick succession, Richie launched the Richard Castellano School of Acting, the Narrowsburg Film Festival, and enlisted seemingly every one of Narrowsburg’s 414 souls into the production of a derivative mob movie entitled Four Deadly Reasons. Needless to say, none of these panned out quite as the local investors had hoped. Director Martha Shane snags interviews with all parties involved, who spin a Rashomon-like tale, packed with surprise twists, big personalities, and dashed dreams. Shane also dares to call into question the larger economics of the independent film landscape, where profits are scarce, and desperation can too often turn aspiring artists into willing marks. 

Beginning September 24, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Narrowsburg at home for free. To receive access, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word NARROWSBURG in the subject line.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, our special guest is award-winning filmmaker Martha Shane in conversation with Cinematheque Programmer Mike King. Their discussion touches on the making of Narrowsburg, the reluctance of her interview subjects, the "underworld connections" of Richie Castellano, film fest fraud, and more! Listen to Cinematalk below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

Plus, limited free access is still available for previous Cinematheque selections Jazz on a Summer's Day, Werner Herzog's Nomad, and Feels Good Man, the latter two movies were also 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selections. Click on each title to learn how to gain access. Separate emails are required for each request.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

See FEELS GOOD MAN for Free + NOMAD & JAZZ Still Available!

Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with another selection from the cancelled 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival: the thought-provoking documentary Feels Good Man, winner of the Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker at the Sundance Film Festival.

FEELS GOOD MAN (US, 2020, 93 min.) Laidback artist Matt Furie created the goofy cartoon character Pepe the Frog for his stoner hangout comic Boy’s Club, but in a twist that could only be caused by internet chaos, Pepe transformed into an irony-laden tool in the alt-right’s attempts to confuse reality and enact violence. Feels Good Man harnesses every imaginable expert –– internet researchers, 4chan users, occultists, crypto currency traders, you name it –– to explain how Furie’s frog went from a silly meme of immense popularity to a cartoon associated with historic and contemporary atrocities. Longing for the days of a purer Pepe, Furie fights to reclaim the character from nameless 4chan trolls and infamous online villains like Alex Jones, but the iconic image might be too far gone, fundamentally altered by an angry subculture averse to “normies.” Director Arthur Jones’s remarkably assured, gripping debut exposes the unbelievable truth about a confounding meme and a perplexed artist who just wants to be “hardcore happy” –– a vibe best illustrated by the film’s many groovy animated sequences. U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker, 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Beginning September 17, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Feels Good Man at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word FROG in the subject line or the first line of the email.  You can view a trailer for the film below.

While there is no new episode of our Cinematalk podcast this week, we recommend listening to this episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast featuring Arthur Jones and Matt Furie of Feels Good Man. Look for a new episode of Cinematalk next week!

Plus, we still have opportunities to view Werner Herzog's Nomad and Jazz on a Summer's Day for free. Visit our other recent blog posts to learn how.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #15: NOMAD, with Rob Thomas

Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

As a supplement to the Cinematheque's free view-at-home presentation of Werner Herzog's Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, this episode of Cinematalk features Cinematheque Director of Programming Jim Healy in conversation with Rob Thomas, Film Critic for Madison's Capital Times. The discussion revolves around Nomad and its relation to Herzog's prolific body of work. Plus, Rob reports from the front lines on the current state of cinema exhibition here in Madison.

See Herzog's NOMAD for Free!

Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

UPDATE: We have reached our limit on free access to Nomad. The film is currently available for home viewing here via our friends a the Music Box Theatre and Music Box Films. Our Nomad podcast is still available for listening below.

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with an opportunity to view the latest release from acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog, Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin. A selection of the 2019 Telluride and Vancouver Film Festivals, Nomad was also a selection of the cancelled 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival.

NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN (2019, UK, 90 min.) Werner Herzog recreates the journeys of his friend and collaborator Bruce Chatwin, a celebrated adventurer and writer who died from AIDS in 1989. Through eight distinct chapters, Herzog travels to Patagonia, the Black Mountains of Wales, and the Australia Outback, encountering concepts, people, and places from Chatwin’s explorations. An eclectic mix of teachers and experts, from mountain guides to Australian aboriginal elders, discuss the convergences of nature and myth that fascinated Chatwin, and heartfelt interviews with his widow and biographer reveal insights into his personal life. Chatwin’s own audio recordings, added to the mix, give him a vivid presence in this tender tribute. Despite the focus on another artist, the signatures of Herzog’s films are all here: his reflective voiceover, gorgeous shots of bizarre landscapes, and clips from his past projects that involved Chatwin in some way. Nomad finds Herzog in an elegiac mode of filmmaking, contemplating the loss of a friend and trying to recapture his unique perspective on a mysterious world. (Matt St. John)

Beginning September 10, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities for Wisconsin residents only to view Nomad at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word HERZOG in the subject line or the first line of the email. Please note that the movie will only be viewable within the state of Wisconsin.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, our special guest is Madison-based journalist Rob Thomas, film critic, features editor, and social media editor for the Capital Times, where he’s been a part of the staff since 1999. Rob and the Cinematheque's Jim Healy talk about Nomad and its relation to Herzog’s prolific body of work. Plus, as commercial movie theaters begin to re-open, Rob’s been reporting from the front lines and the discussion turns to the current state of cinema exhibition here in Madison. Scroll down and listen below, or listen here on Soundcloud. You can also subscribe to Cinemtalk through Apple Podcasts.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #14 JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY, w/Jeff Smith, Jeff Kushner & Bob Gosse

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

In conjunction with UW Cinematheque's view-at-home presentation of the newly restored Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959), this episode of Cinematalk takes a close look at the influential concert documentary filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. In the first segment, UW Madison Film Professor Jeff Smith talks with the Cinematheque's Mike King about the cultural and historical significance of the artists who appeared at Newport and the influence of Jazz on a Summer’s Day on subsequently made concert movies. In the second segment, Cinematheque's Ben Reiser talks with his fellow SUNY Purchase classmates, filmmakers Jeff Kushner and Bob Gosse, about their Film Professor, Aram Avakian, and Avakian's contributions to Jazz on a Summer's Day. Listen below or here on Soundcloud.

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