By definition, movies have an enormous social impact, whether they are pure entertainment or take on a socially relevant issue. In helping to define the fabric of our culture, do filmmakers have a responsibility to address social issues? By focusing deeply on one particular subject, can filmmakers bring to the forefront troubled issues that the general media is unable to highlight, thus filling up the gap where journalism used to be? Or are movies that matter just good films? Our panel of acclaimed documentary and narrative filmmakers will explore the impetus, the process and the impact of movies that matter on our world.
David D'Arcy is a critic for Screen International. He also writes regularly for a wide range of publications and is a frequent commentator for BBC.
John Sayles has been working with Maggie Renzi since 1978 when he wrote, directed and edited Return of the Secaucus Seven. In addition to those Renzi produced, Sayles has written and directed Baby It's You, Eight Men Out and Casa De Los Babys. Honeydripper, about the origins of rock and roll in the Deep South, was his latest project. All his fiction: Pride of the Bimbos, Union Dues, Anarchists Convention, and Los Gusanos is being reissued by Nation Books, which published his new collection of short stories, Dillinger In Hollywood, in 2004. His book about the making of Matewan, Thinking in Pictures, has never gone out of print.
His many awards include the John D. MacArthur Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the John Steinbeck Award, the John Cassavettes Award and the Ian McLellan Hunter Award. He has received two Academy Award¨ nominations.
Haskell Wexler is considered one of the most well respected cinematographers in the film industry today. His career spans six decades and his work includes films such as Bound for Glory, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Interviews with My Lai Veterans, Blaze, Matewan, and American Graffiti. Wexler has received five Academy Award¨ nominations, two Oscars¨ (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Bound for Glory) and other awards honoring his outstanding achievements. Wexler has also directed several successful films including Medium Cool (1969) Latino (1985), and From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks (2007). Haskell Wexler will receive the special Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Woodstock Film Festival.
Morgan Spurlock is the writer/producer/director of the Academy Award¨-nominated film Super Size Me. His highly acclaimed series 30 Days recently completed its third season on the F/X network. The show examines social issues in America and has been praised by such diverse groups as the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Spurlock's latest directorial project, Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? premiered at Sundance 2008. In 2006, Spurlock and Arts Alliance America created a film and distribution partnership to release films considered to be groundbreaking and important that were overlooked by the majority of filmgoers.
Pamela Yates is the co-founder of Skylight Pictures, Inc., a film and television company committed to producing artistic, challenging and socially relevant independent documentary films on issues of human rights and the quest for justice. She is a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow. Yates is the the Executive Producer of the Academy Award winning film "Witness to War", the Producer of the Emmy Award winning "Loss of Innocence", and the Director of the Sundance Award winning "When the Mountains Tremble". Her latest film, "State of Fear: The Truth About Terrorism" was translated into 47 languages and broadcast in 156 countries and received an Overseas Press Club Award. She is a member of the Director's Guild of America (DGA) and the Writer's Guild of America (WGA).
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