‘The Roosevelts: An Intimate History’ best TV you may not be watching

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  Last Sunday night, September 14, PBS began airing a 7-part, 14-hour documentary series about two U.S. presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt.This is another masterpiece by Ken Burns, that is, if you like interesting and lengthy stories based on extensive research and seamlessly stitched together for our viewing pleasure.All I really want to say here is that if you want to understand much about politics and … [Read more...]

“Korengal” Same valley, same soldiers, different story

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 One of the loglines for Sebastian Junger’s latest documentary film “Korengal” is: “Same valley, same soldiers. Different journey” while another reads: “This is what war feels like.”In one way “Korengal” completes the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo” that Junger made with cameraman, photojournalist Tim Hetherington who died in 2011 while covering the conflict in Libya. But as Junger expresses it, “’Restrepo’ was intended to be a way for civilians to experience what combat … [Read more...]

The Truth-telling Power of Documentaries

Scene from the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary "The Act of Killing"

From my article that appears in the June, 2014 issue of U.S. Catholic:In 2012 Sister Simone Campbell and the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK launched the   "Nuns on the Bus" tour to “live the biblical demand for social justice” and “to speak truth to power” in the name of the poor and marginalized. Campbell and her fellow sisters traveled thousands of miles by bus to call attention to programs for the poor that were under attack from budget cuts. The bus has since made a second tour, wh … [Read more...]

“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” has a story for everyone

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 When director Emilio Estevez’ feature narrative film “The Way” was released in 2011, audiences across the United States and many countries were introduced for the first time to the ancient pilgrimage route “El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.”I had the opportunity to interview Martin Sheen at that time for NCR and followed it up with anarticle about a screening in which Sheen, his son Emilio Estevez, and producer David Alexanian, spoke to the audience after. “The Way” is a fict … [Read more...]

Cesar Chavez’ last fast frames new documentary

Ethel Kennedy gives Communion to Cesar Chavez as he ends the 36 day fast that frames the documentary "Cesar's Last Fast"

If you ask director and filmmaker Richard Ray Perez if the story of Cesar Chavez chose him or if he chose to tell Chavez's story, he would say both.Following the screening of his new film, "Cesar's Last Fast," at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress Film Showcase March 14, he told the audience that when he was 5 years old in the late 1960s, he first became aware of the table grape boycott while eating lunch at Head Start.Perez came from a family of migrant workers, but it was a … [Read more...]

“How Sherlock Holmes Changed the World” PBS doc about the world’s first CSI

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9 p.m. EST Tuesday, PBS (Check local listings)For fans of Sherlockology, this two-hour BBC documentary will confirm the belief that Sherlock Holmes is the greatest and most influential detective in history, even if he is a fictional character created by a Scottish eye-doctor-turned-writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930).The BBC-produced "How Sherlock Changed the World" and its producers are in love with the BBC drama "Sherlock," starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and … [Read more...]

“JFK: Like No Other” PBS documentary on 50th anniversary of JFK’s death

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"JFK: Like No Other," PBS American Experience9 p.m. Eastern time Nov. 11 (part one) and Nov. 12 (part two) (Check local listings)Millions of us remember where we were at the exact moment we heard the news that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. It was about 11:30 a.m. in San Diego that Friday, and I was going to my locker to get my lunch. One of my seventh-grade classmates -- I think his name was Johnny -- came running by the bank of lockers, screaming over and … [Read more...]

My interview with director Nancy Tong on the INNetwork

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Click here for The INNdustry with Sr Rose on the INNetwork … [Read more...]

“War of the Worlds” the most famous invasion that never happened – 75th anniversary documentary PBS Oct 29

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"War of the Worlds," PBS American Experience 9 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday (Check local listings)In 1938, Americans might let their car payments go or give up their telephones, but 80 percent of American homes had a radio. Listeners tuned in for entertainment but became used to the edgy intrusion of news bulletins with bad news interrupting programming.Exactly a month after the Munich Agreement, a pact that allowed Nazi Germany to annex part of western Czechoslovakia, and after months of … [Read more...]

“The Summit” – documentary tells of disaster on K2

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Anyone who is intrigued by mountain climbing and why people are willing to risk their lives to scale the highest peaks on the earth, will be intrigued by “The Summit.”In some ways it’s not that different from the 1998 IMAX documentary “Everest” that chronicled the disaster that Jon Krakauer wrote about in his best-seller “Into Thin Air” (at least two other films were made about this tragedy as well.)  In a freak storm in 1996 eight climbers, some of the best in the world, lost their lives. … [Read more...]


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