Eighteen-year-old Dawn has never met her father; raised by her mother in a rural New Hampshire town, they are barely getting by. Dawn works at a bait and tackle shop by day and turns tricks at night to fund an escape from her dead-end life. A cascade of bad events set Dawn on the road to find the father her mother doesn’t want her to find. He’s not so keen on the idea either. Our guest, Aaron Wiederspahn wrote, directed and starred in the film, “Only Daughter.”
For anyone who’s ever driven by a crumbling old New Hampshire barn and wondered what could be in there, here’s one answer…a stack of dusty old film reels that turned out to be the only surviving reel from a long lost 1911 film. The movie, called Their First Misunderstanding , was written by and stars Mary Pickford, one of the most beloved actresses of the silent film era. We spoke with Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at Keene State College Dr. Larry Benaquist about the discovery of this rare, important and now celebrated film.
Credit Courtesy Keene State College/Library of Congress
Mary Pickford stars in "Their First Misunderstanding," a 1911 short film believed lost. A copy of the film turned up in a barn in Nelson, N.H., and Keene State College took part in the process to restore the film.
We use the phrase “long lost” more often than is probably warranted, but this story certainly qualifies.
Several years ago a contractor was cleaning out a barn in Nelson that he’d been hired to demolish. He found a 35 millimeter film projector and seven reels of nitrate film. Among those was a short film that had not been seen in decades. The film, called “Their First Misunderstanding,” stars an 18 year old woman named Mary Pickford, who would become one of Hollywood’s first and biggest stars.
Werner Herzog is one of the leading figures of world cinema. In addition to making more than 60 films, he’s produced more than 20 operas, published books and screenplays and articles, acted in films and produced art installations.
His films are known for their unnerving originality and difficult locations. He’s shot films deep in the jungles of Thailand and Brazil, through bone chilling temperatures in Antarctica, and under strained conditions from political coups to maneuvering in a cave of prehistoric art with only hand-held cameras and minimal crew.
His latest work is extreme in a different way… a startling public service announcement about the dangers of texting while driving. Herzog joined us from the studios at Dartmouth College, where he’ll be in residence this weekend.
More recently, he'srounded up a team of pros to film students preparing for their first public performance. He’s launched a Kickstarter project called “Capturing Grace" to finish the film.
Also joining us is David Levanthal – who until recently was one of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s most celebrated dancers. He’s now focusing entirely on dance for PD, the program working with Parkinson’s patients.
Banish the bridge game, and shove off the shuffleboard… competitive table tennis for seniors is the subject of the new film “Ping Pong”, which airs tonight on PBS’s POV series.
The film shows the arch rivalries and individual motivations of the traditional sports drama, ramped up by the presence of cancer, dementia, and the physical deterioration at the end of life. The film’s producer is Anson Hartford, and he joins us to talk about it.
PBS is hosting an encore broadcast of the documentary The City Dark. The film, part of the POV series, will be airing on August 12. Last year we spoke with director IanCheney about light pollution and the development of the film. Here is our conversation with him after the debut of the documentary last summer.
In July of 2007, the sleepy suburban town of Cheshire, Connecticut woke up to a house set ablaze, three fatalities, one survivor, and two suspects caught fleeing the scene. What had started as a home invasion and robbery had ended in rape, arson, and a triple homicide. A new full-length documentary debuting on Monday, July 22nd on HBO explores how the Cheshire murders scarred the town, terrorized the survivors, and sparked public debate in a state poised to abolish capital punishment. Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, who together produced and directed The Cheshire Murders, joined us to discuss their film.
“The People’s Forest” a new film about the White Mountain National Forest by filmmaker David Huntley premieres next Tuesday. The 48 minute documentary examines a dramatic period in the life of New Hampshire’s great woods from 1860 to 1910 and shows how the human forces that conspired to nearly destroy the land came together again to save it. Sean Hurley spoke with the filmmaker and has this story.
In Santa Clarita, a town in southern California, there’s not much to do. The documentary feature Only the Youngfocuses on several teens who live there and follows them as they navigate growing up amongst the foreclosed homes and drained swimming pools that form the landscape of their youth. Only the Youngpremieres tonight as part of PBS’s POV series. Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims produced and directed the film, and Elizabeth Mims joined us from KUT in Austin. Also with us was Kevin Conway, one of the subjects of the film.
Brianna Hammon was in the second grade when she was first restrained and secluded, strapped into a bolted down chair, in a segregated classroom for physically disabled students. Now in her late twenties, Brianna told her story with the help of a speech-generating device at the 2012 TASH Summit in Long Beach, California – one of five testimonies that were recorded for the new film “Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Our Stories”. The film’s director is Dan Habib - former photo editor for the Concord Monitor, now filmmaker-in-residence at the institute on disability at the University of New Hampshire.
Our favorite content from Word of Mouth's weekday show...all wrapped up in one gratifying and glam program.
This week: The emerging forum for high school confessions on Facebook; a sunny picture for the relationship success of online daters; a documentary looks at the life of experiential journalist George Plimpton; Dr. Who's potential recast as a woman; and Glam Rock...it matters more than you know.
If there was ever a man who knew how to fail fabulously, it was writer, journalist, and editor George Plimpton. Ten years after his death, and sixty since he helped launch esteemed literary magazine The Paris Review, Plimpton is probably best known for his amateur antics among pro athletes – taking hits from light-heavyweight champ Archie Moore, playing quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and taking the mound at Yankee Stadium. His accounts of these stories, now acknowledged as the beginning of participatory journalism, effectively transformed Plimpton one of the greatest everyman writers in modern memory.
For the new documentary Plimpton!, directors Tom Bean and Luke Polling combed through countless hours of footage to create a film posthumously narrated by its own subject. Already out in select cities, Plimpton! opens Friday, June 21st at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts.
The Pentagon has often played a role in shaping blockbuster films…at least those featuring tanks, ships, and other military gear. We wondered about the relationship between Hollywood and the D.O.D.…what do filmmakers have to do to get access to all that firepower?
To find out, producer Taylor Quimby called Sean McElwee. He’s a freelance writer who blogged about what studios that collaborate with the military have to give up – in terms of creative – and even ideological – control of their movies.