In our latest, we catch up with 2019 duPont award winning director Alexandria Bombach about her latest film, “On Her Shoulders.” It’s an achingly beautiful 3-month snapshot of the life of activist and Yazidi genocide survivor, Nadia Murad. But it’s also a call to action for journalists and filmmakers, to think about the stories we tell, how we tell them and most importantly, why.
Director Bing Liu started making “Minding the Gap,” when he was 23-years-old. Now, six years later, he’s premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and snagged himself an Oscar nomination.
As the countdown to the Academy Awards begins, get a behind the scenes look at how Liu made the film, plus hear about some of his ethical dilemmas while filming. But before you listen, be warned. There will be spoilers.
Roger Ailes founded Fox News, kicked off #MeToo, and helped elect Donald Trump. “It was about using Roger's story to try to make sense of where we were as a country...it gave us a point of entry to a difficult, complicated, national moment,” says Producer Will Cohen. In this episode of On Assignment, Cohen discusses navigating Fox News for access, the challenge of profiling a dead man, and how Ailes influenced the current media and political climate.
“RBG” Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West plus Executive Producer Amy Entelis talk the power of optimism, the challenging rules for filming in the Supreme Court, and how RBG herself reacted to seeing the film for the first time in front of a sold out audience at Sundance.
“Going into Syria itself at the point where we started shooting was basically a suicide mission. Not so much the risks of combat, but the risk of being kidnapped, sold to ISIS and having your head cut off. So we were making a film about the Syrian civil war and we couldn't shoot in the Syrian civil war.”
“When we were in the back of a van crossing Hungary to Vienna, the driver was drunk and all the smugglers had AK-47s... and I remember my cousin looking at me like, I hope you're not filming. But I was secretly holding the camera.”
Brian Knappenberger, director of the Netflix documentary Nobody Speak, came to the Journalism School for Q&A about press freedom, the tabloid industry, and the Hulk Hogan/Gawker scandal.
"It struck me how quickly the facts of a life just start to immediately disappear when someone dies."
"For almost every one of these individuals, they're talking about things that happened yesterday for them, or that they will carry with them for many years to come."
"We always knew he was an absolutely deplorable person who had done horrible things to our nation. That being said, we wanted to really understand him."
"I realized that I could approach telling the story by not focusing on a murder and a trial—I could talk about the history of Los Angeles, the history of OJ Simpson, who he really was, to help explain why everyone lost their minds."
Professor Betsy West spoke to filmmaker Nanfu Wang about her film "Hooligan Sparrow," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. The film follows Ye Haiyan, more widely known as “Hooligan Sparrow," a Chinese activist protesting the case of six young girls who had been sexually abused by their school principal.
The film tells the story of Saba, a Pakistani woman who survives an attempted honor killing at the hands of her father and uncle. The story takes an unexpected turn when she chooses to forgive the perpetrators.
"For me, it was a coming of age story. And the stakes were higher because Owen lives with Autism."
"We use our power, as filmmakers, in the ways we want to use it. We do it for our own purposes."
"When I first went down to South Carolina, I thought I knew what to expect. But I wasn’t prepared for it. Not at all."
“You can't divide the self into good parts and bad parts, good guys and bad guys... That's fiction."
"How is it that smart, discerning people fall into a belief system like this and get lost in it? And how do they get out?"