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Lin-Manuel Miranda, Norman Lear Partner on New Documentary About Rita Moreno

Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS and Thirteen announced a new documentary about the Egot-winning entertainer Rita Moreno, slated to premiere in 2020.American Masters aoeRita Moreno The Girl Who Decided to Go For Ita w.t.is a partnership between Thirteen'sAMERICAN MASTERSseries and Norman Lear's Act III Productions in association with Maramara and executive producer Lin-Manuel Miranda.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Paula Kerger Signs 5-Year Contract Extension as PBS CEO

  • Variety
PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger has signed a 5-year contract extension with the company.

Kerger made the announcement at the network’s summer Television Critics Association press tour. She has been in the role since 2006 and represents the longest-running PBS president in the broadcaster’s history.

“You always wrestle with the question how long is long enough,” Kerger said. “I want to make sure that when I do hang up those skates, I’ve done everything to make sure public television is on a sound a foundation as possible.”

During her executive session, Kerger addressed once again the Trump administration’s continued attempts to zero out federal funding for public broadcasting and how PBS is planning to combat the loss of funding going forward.

“Federal funding remains a vital source of finding for public television…but it represents only 15% of our annual revenue,” Kerger said. “Public-private partnership has always been central to our success…
See full article at Variety »

Norman Lear & Lin-Manuel Miranda Partner On Rita Moreno Doc For PBS – TCA

Norman Lear & Lin-Manuel Miranda Partner On Rita Moreno Doc For PBS – TCA
Norman Lear and Lin-Manuel Miranda have partnered on a new doc exploring the life of West Side Story and One Day At A Time star Rita Moreno.

The pair are working up Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It (w/t) for PBS and its Thirteen strand. The film, which will premiere in 2020, will explore the Puerto Rican actor’s 70 year career and will feature interviews with Moreno, Lear, Miranda, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally and Chita Rivera.

It is produced by Norman Lear’s Act III Productions in association with Maramara and executive producer Miranda.

It will explore how she went from being born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, she immigrated to New York City and became the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in West Side Story.
See full article at Deadline »

PBS Fall Slate: Dates For Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’, New Contemporary History Series, ‘Poldark’ Finale & More

  • Deadline
PBS has unveiled its fall programming slate, which includes premiere dates for Ken Burns’ 16-hour Country Music along with several other docunmentaries and the new contemporary-history series Retro Report on PBS.

Also on tap are new editions of Frontline, Pov, Great Performances, American Masters and Independent Lens; four-part documentary series College Behind Bars; and the fifth and final season of British drama Poldark. Check out the full slate below.

“PBS is the most prolific platform for documentaries, with more than 200 hours per year,” said Perry Simon, the pubcaster’s Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming. “This fall, we are showcasing first-rate programs featuring award-winning directors, diverse storytellers, hard-hitting investigations and untold stories, solidifying our status as America’s premier destination for documentary film. We are also excited about our programs representing the best in news, arts, drama, history and science.”

The new four-part docuseries College Behind Bars runs Monday-Tuesday,
See full article at Deadline »

Paul Benjamin Dies: ‘Do The Right Thing’ Actor Was 81

  • Deadline
Paul Benjamin Dies: ‘Do The Right Thing’ Actor Was 81
Paul Benjamin, who appeared in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, has died. Lee announced on Instagram that the veteran actor died June 28. The cause of death was not immediately known. Benjamin was 81.

Benjamin, who played one of the three wise Brooklyn “cornermen” in Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing, began his career in 1969 as a bartender in Midnight Cowboy. He went to play small roles in Sidney Lumet’s The Anderson Tapes and Born to Win, then segued into more extensive TV work later in the 1970s.

He appeared as a death row inmate in a 1988 episode of In The Heat of the Night and also in the 1994 pilot episode of ER, which led to his recurring role of homeless man Al Ervin during the next few seasons. Benjamin also worked on the American Masters documentary of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ralph Ellison, which aired on PBS, as
See full article at Deadline »

He Shot The Famous And The Ordinary: Emmy-Contending Doc Puts Focus On Brilliant Photographer Garry Winogrand

The great photographer Garry Winogrand took more than a million pictures during his career. Among his preferred subjects was people at airports, especially those saddled with luggage.

“When we talk about people psychologically and having issues we say, ‘Oh, they’ve got baggage,’” notes Geoff Dyer, author of a book on Winogrand. “That’s one of the things that’s so manifested in Winogrand. Yeah, we see the baggage these people are carrying.”

Dyer makes that observation in the documentary Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable, a film in which director Sasha Waters Freyer unpacks the complicated life and remarkable work of a man some consider the greatest American street photographer.

“He was really interested in these public spaces where a certain kind of theater of the street might unfold,” Waters Freyer tells Deadline. “He took this style associated with photojournalism and brought it into the world of the fine arts.
See full article at Deadline »

Susan Lacy (‘Jane Fonda in Five Acts’ director) on how 4 men affected Fonda’s lifelong journey to find herself [Exclusive Video Interview]

Susan Lacy (‘Jane Fonda in Five Acts’ director) on how 4 men affected Fonda’s lifelong journey to find herself [Exclusive Video Interview]
Susan Lacy felt it was “logical” to divide her Jane Fonda documentary into the titular five acts. Reading the Oscar-winning actress’s autobiography “My Life So Far,” Lacy zeroed in on a line she wrote about how “she wanted to understand her first two acts … in order to understand how to live her third.” Yet the documentarian knew that three acts weren’t enough. “She was dividing her life into thirds,” Lacy explains, “and it was very obvious from her book that the four men in her life … had influenced who she was.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Lacy above.

See Jane Fonda movies: 15 greatest films ranked worst to best

“Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” which premiered on HBO in September 2018, looks at Fonda’s development as a performer, political activist and feminist icon. It charts that journey through her relationships with four men: her father Henry Fonda and husbands Roger Vadim,
See full article at Gold Derby »

Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series

Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series
Last Year’s Winner: “Wild Wild Country

Still Eligible: No.

Hot Streak: Since Netflix earned its first nomination (and win) in the category, only Netflix original series — or series that have benefitted from streaming on its platform — have won the category. “Making a Murderer” broke through for the digital giant in 2016, earning the initial nod and win, while “Wild Wild Country” took home the title again in 2018. In between, “Planet Earth II” won for BBC America (while “Chef’s Table” and “The Keepers” were nominated as Netflix originals). The initial “Planet Earth” and its sequel both stream on Netflix (and have for some time).

Fun Fact: In the 21 years this category has been active (it was called Outstanding Nonfiction Series before this and Outstanding Informational Series before that), PBS has won in 14 of those years and has 15 trophies, thanks to two of its programs tying in 1999. There has never been
See full article at Indiewire »

Listen: Charley Pride on PBS Doc, Baseball and Becoming Country Music’s Biggest African-American Star

  • Variety
Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, talks with Charley Pride, the subject of the new “American Masters” documentary, “Charley Pride: I Am Just Me,” which premieres Feb. 22 on PBS.

Pride was one of country music’s biggest stars in the ’60s and ’70s, and is the genre’s most famous African-American performer. In a trailblazing move, Pride released his first record “The Snakes Crawl at Night” through RCA in 1966, and went on to become the record company’s best-selling artist since Elvis Presley.

The documentary explores the legendary artist’s career, which kicked off “smack dab” in the middle of the civil rights movement. However, Pride says that the only resistance he ever faced during his career was from promoters and to this day, he has never received a cat-call during a performance because of his race.
See full article at Variety »

Marty Stuart Slates 2019 Summer Tour

Marty Stuart Slates 2019 Summer Tour
Country music tradition meets legendary rock & roll as Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives join the Steve Miller Band for a 34-date tour beginning June 13th in Des Moines, Iowa. The trek, which includes stops in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, is currently slated to stretch through August 31st.

A country music historian, collector and longtime Grand Ole Opry member, Stuart paid tribute to bluegrass icon Del McCoury during a special Nashville event commemorating McCoury’s 80th birthday last week. He also recently appeared on CBS Sunday Morning to
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Magnolia swoops on 'Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am'

Doc about first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature premiered at Sundance.

Magnolia Pictures has swooped on North American rights to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ documentary and recent Sundance world premiere Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.

The film explores the life and works of the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature, from her childhood growing up in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio, to 1970s-era book tours with Muhammed Ali, to the front lines with activist Angela Davis, to her own riverfront writing room.

Greenfield-Sanders interviews Hilton Als, Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am’ Documentary Acquired by Magnolia Pictures

  • The Wrap
Magnolia Pictures announced on Tuesday that it has landed North American rights to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ uplifting documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.”

The documentary, about the legendary storyteller, who was the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” offers an artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the acclaimed novelist. From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to ’70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own literature. Inspired to write because no one took a “little black girl” seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative.
See full article at The Wrap »

Garry Winogrand Documentary Casts New Light on Mid-Century Street Photographer

  • Variety
It’s an amazing time for documentaries — in fact, there are so many looks into fascinating lives and subjects out there right now that it’s hard to keep track of them all. The brilliant, complicated life and legacy shown in “Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable,” which premiered at SXSW last year, is as compelling as many of the other lauded docus of the past year. But if it slipped under the radar amongst the riches, there’s another chance to catch it when it airs on PBS’ “American Masters” on April 19.

Over three decades of street photography, Winogrand confronted some of the most central themes of mid-century America, from sexism to fame to race and poverty. Though he became one of the last century’s most important visual artists, the photographer died at 56 leaving thousands of negatives unseen — a mystery that underpins the first documentary made about him.
See full article at Variety »

‘Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am’: Magnolia Pictures Acquires Doc On Nobel Prize Winner

  • Deadline
Exclusive: Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to director Timothy Greenfield-SandersToni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, an uplifting documentary chronicling the vibrant life and compelling works of the legendary storyteller who in 1993 became the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize.

In addition to Nobel Laureate Morrison, the film features conversations with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley and Sonia Sanchez, as well as Oprah Winfrey, who adapted Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved into a 1998 feature film directed by the late Jonathan Demme.

Magnolia is aiming for a theatrical release before year’s end. The Pieces I Am, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, will stream on Hulu. The film will make its exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere in late 2020 on PBS as part of the American Masters series.

The documentary acquisition
See full article at Deadline »

Helen Mirren Talks Taking ‘Documentary Now’ ‘Frightfully’ Seriously

  • Variety
Few people could introduce a fake documentary called “Bats— Valley” with a straight face. But if there’s anyone for the job, it’s Dame Helen Mirren.

Clad in a shin-length orange dress, Mirren, studio host of the parody series “Documentary Now!,” stood resolute at her mark and took a lengthy pause before delivering the introductory line, “This is ‘Bats— Valley,'” deadpan to camera — only allowing herself a brief chuckle when the director called “cut!”

“It was a little long, but I wanted it to be frightfully serious,” Mirren said, explaining why she delayed the final expletive.

“Bats— Valley” was just one of multiple mockumentaries for which Mirren filmed intros on a hot August day at Walt Disney Studios. Reading from a teleprompter, the seasoned actress knocked each one out back-to-back, only pausing every so often to clear her strained throat (Adr work earlier that day required “a bit
See full article at Variety »

‘Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me’ Trailer: An American Icon Gets His First Major Documentary

‘Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me’ Trailer: An American Icon Gets His First Major Documentary
Sammy Davis Jr. has is an essential member of the Rat Pack and an icon of American culture, but his contributions to pop culture have remained mostly unsung. A new documentary from PBS as part of their “American Masters” series gives the spotlight to Sammy Davis Jr., in the aptly titled Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta […]

The post ‘Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me’ Trailer: An American Icon Gets His First Major Documentary appeared first on /Film.
See full article at Slash Film »

Ricky Jay, Master Magician and ‘Boogie Nights’ Actor, Dies at 72

  • Indiewire
Ricky Jay, Master Magician and ‘Boogie Nights’ Actor, Dies at 72
Ricky Jay, a singularly skilled magician whose acting career included roles in “Deadwood” and “Boogie Nights,” died in Los Angeles yesterday. He was 72. The news was confirmed by Jay’s manager, Winston Simone, who said that he died of natural causes and “was one of a kind. We will never see the likes of him again.”

“I am sorry to share that my remarkable friend, teacher, collaborator and co-conspirator is gone,” tweeted Michael Weber, Jay’s partner in the Deceptive Practices Company.

Jay was the subject of a 2012 documentary, “Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay,” directed by Molly Bernstein. It explored his revered career as a magician, as did a 1993 New Yorker profile that referred to Jay as “perhaps the most gifted sleight of hand artist alive.” Those talents also brought him work as a behind-the-scenes consultant on movies like “The Prestige,” “The Illusionist,” and “Ocean’s Thirteen.
See full article at Indiewire »

Famed Magician and Actor Ricky Jay Dead at 72

  • TMZ
Famed Magician and Actor Ricky Jay Dead at 72
Master magician Ricky Jay -- known for being one of the greatest sleight of hand artists of all time -- has reportedly died in Los Angeles of natural causes. Ricky's attorney confirmed his death to Variety. In addition to being a famous magician, Jay was a writer and an actor, known for his roles in "Boogie Nights," "Tomorrow Never Dies" and as the narrator in "Magnolia." He also consulted on films about magic -- like "The Illusionist" and "The Prestige,
See full article at TMZ »

Ricky Jay Dies: Renowned Magician And ‘Boogie Nights’ Actor Was 70

  • Deadline
Ricky Jay Dies: Renowned Magician And ‘Boogie Nights’ Actor Was 70
Known for his professional career as a magician and his roles in films like Boogie Nights and the HBO series Deadwood, Ricky Jay has died. He was 70.

Details about Jay’s death have not been revealed, but his attorney Stan Coleman confirmed his death while his partner at Deceptive Practices, Michael Weber tweeted, “I am sorry to share that my remarkable friend, teacher, collaborator and coconspirator is gone.”

Richard Jay Potash was born in Brooklyn, New York and had an impressive resume of films. In addition to Boogie Nights and Deadwood, Jay appeared in films such as Magnolia, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Spanish Prisoner, Mystery Men, and, appropriately, the magician drama The Prestige. He was also the subject of PBS’ American Masters in 2015 and was the first magician to be profiled in the series. He was also the subject of the documentary Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.
See full article at Deadline »

Women Directors Reap Rewards in Documentary World

  • Variety
Women Directors Reap Rewards in Documentary World
Women directors and producers are consistent winners and well-represented as nominees when it comes to documentaries in awards season. Barbara Kopple is a two-time Oscar-winning documentary director; Freida Lee Mock is an Oscar winner and was the Academy’s first documentary branch governor; Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”) and Zana Briski (“Born Into Brothels”) are the two women who’ve taken home the gold statuette as directors most recently. It’s a field in which women have made their mark in cinematography and editing, too, and are not outliers.

“Women have always been fiercely part of the documentary filmmaking movement,” says Diane Weyermann, Participant Media’s president of documentary film and TV. The barriers to entry are not as high when compared to scripted/narrative features, especially when it comes to financing. Production costs are less and crews are traditionally a fraction of the size. There’s also the longstanding tradition of
See full article at Variety »
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