For immediate release: October 11, 2022
Press Contact: Lloyd Komesar, email@example.com
Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival Announces New Season of the MNFF Selects Monthly Film Screenings at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury
Middlebury, VT. . . . The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is pleased to announce its 2022-23 season of MNFF Selects, its monthly screening series at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. The Series will begin in October and conclude in April. MNFF Selects has chosen a “Larger Than Life” theme this season and the Series will feature seven films about individuals whose lives and presence have genuinely impacted our culture: Maya Angelou, Kurt Vonnegut, Leonard Cohen, Toni Morrison, Ted Kaczynski [The Unabomber], Golda Meir and Yogi Berra. Three of the films will be having their Vermont Premieres at MNFF Selects: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, Ted K and Golda. Additional information, including each film’s trailer, can be found at on our MNFF Selects page.
Now on sale, MNFF Selects Series Passes are $90; Individual Advance Tickets, $14; and Walk Up Tickets at the door are $16. Visit https://middfilmfest.org/selects-2022-23/ to purchase Series Passes and Advance Tickets.
“Larger than life characters are essential to riveting cinema,” said Jay Craven, MNFF Artistic Director. “These documentaries and the Ted K drama all deliver the goods.”
“The MNFF Selects series is one of our signature programming events,” noted Lloyd Komesar, MNFF Producer. “It has come to represent great storytelling and high quality filmmaking. This season’s “Larger Than Life” theme affords us the opportunity to present seven distinctive films about individuals whose cultural influence was remarkable and truly memorable.”
Here are the films of the MNFF Selects “Larger Than Life” Series:
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise [Documentary, 114 min]
Thursday, October 20 @ 7pm
Winner of the prestigious Peabody Award, the evocative documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, from directors Rita Coburn and Bob Hercules, is the first feature film to be made about the incomparable Maya Angelou, the singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer who inspired generations with modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. The film presents her incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her prolific life with remarkable unmatched access.
In weaving Dr. Angelou’s words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos, we are offered many hidden moments of her singular life during some of America’s most defining moments. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana to her inauguration poem for President Bill Clinton, the film takes us on a memorable journey through the life of a true American icon.
The film also features an illuminating series of interviews with friends and family including President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, John Singleton and Dr. Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson.
Never before screened theatrically in Vermont, MNFF Selects presents the Vermont premiere of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise on Thursday, October 20 at 7pm at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. Audience discussion following the film will be led by Natasha Ngaiza, Assistant Professor, Department of Film and Media Culture, Middlebury College.
Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time [Documentary,127 min]
Thursday, November 10 @ 7pm
Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time is a dazzling, worthy tribute to the celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut and a compelling introduction for the uninitiated. The feature documentary – the first of its kind on Vonnegut – is a deep, immersive dive into the author’s upbringing and his creative output. It spans his childhood in Indianapolis, his experience as a Prisoner of War in World War II, his marriage, family, and divorce, his early careers as a publicist for General Electric and a car salesman, and his long years as a struggling writer, leading to eventual superstardom in 1969 following the publication of his lightning-bolt anti-war novel “Slaughterhouse-Five”.
The film began 39 years ago when young, fledging filmmaker Robert Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth) wrote a letter to his literary idol proposing a documentary on Vonnegut’s life and work. Shooting began in 1988, and the resulting film reflects the friendship and bond Weide and Vonnegut formed over the decades.
In the film, past, present, and future cease to become linear as Weide strives to get an overview of his subject’s life and his own role in it. Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time is first and foremost a biography of a beloved American author. But it also documents a filmmaker’s odyssey as he examines the impact of a writer’s legacy on his own life, extending far beyond the printed page. Co-directed by Don Argott.
Audience discussion following the film will be led by Jay Parini, D. E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing, Middlebury College.
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song [Documentary, 115 min]
Thursday, December 8 @ 7pm
Directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song is a definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, “Hallelujah.” This impressive documentary weaves together three creative strands: the songwriter and his times; the song’s dramatic journey from record label reject to chart-topping hit; and moving testimonies from major recording artists for whom “Hallelujah” has become a personal touchstone. Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, the film accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust, including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews.
Featuring Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Glen Hansard, Sharon Robinson and Rufus Wainwright.
Audience discussion following the film will be led by Robert Cohen, Professor of English and American Literatures, Middlebury College and Shalom Goldman, the Pardon Tillinghast Professor of Religion, Middlebury College.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am [Documentary, 120m]
Sunday, January 8 @ 2pm
Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, this artful and intimate meditation on the legendary, Nobel Prize winning storyteller Toni Morrison examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she confronted throughout her literary career. From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio, to ʼ70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with activist Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room — Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, 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. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula” and “Song of Solomon,” her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University. The film offers interviews with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel “Beloved” into a feature film.
Audience discussion following the film will be led by Bill Hart, Professor Emeritus of History, Middlebury College.
Ted K [Narrative, 120 min]
Sunday, February 5 @ 2pm
Theodore John Kaczynski lives a life of almost complete seclusion in a simple wooden cabin in the mountains of Montana. But then this former university professor, who despises modern society and its faith in technology, becomes radicalized. What begins with local acts of sabotage, ends with deadly bomb attacks. To the outside world, Ted K becomes known as the Unabomber.
Based on Ted Kaczynski’s diaries and writings, director Tony Stone’s riveting narrative film is a kaleidoscopic true crime journey into the life of one of America’s most complex and eccentric killers. It features a tour-de-force performance from Sharlto Copley [as Ted K] who portrays the complexity of this unique outsider, raging at the forces of both the inescapable technological society that plague him and his own inner demons.
Director Tony Stone will attend and participate in a Q&A session following the screening, moderated by MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven. This will be the film’s Vermont theatrical premiere.
Golda [Documentary, 88 min]
Sunday, March 5 @ 2pm
Shortly before her passing, Golda Meir was interviewed for Israeli television. After shooting ended, the cameras kept rolling, recording an intimate talk with the first and only woman to ever govern the State of Israel. As she lit one cigarette after another, Golda spoke freely, pleading her case for her term as Prime Minister – five turbulent years [1969-74] that secured her place in history, albeit at a high personal cost. Based on these never-before seen materials, plus testimonies of supporters and opponents and rare archival footage, Golda tells the story of Meir’s dramatic and eventful premiership – from her surprising rise to power and iconic international stature as “queen of the Jewish people”, to her tragic and lonely demise.
Directed by Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir and Shani Rozanes, the film is a fascinating portrayal of this larger than life historical figure who invoked so much emotion and controversy. MNFF Selects will present the Vermont theatrical premiere of Golda at this screening at Town Hall Theater.
It Ain’t Over [Documentary, 98 min]]
Thursday, April 13 @ 7pm
An intimate and revealing portrait of a misunderstood American icon, It Ain’t Over, directed by Sean Mullin, is an emotional and uplifting documentary about Yogi Berra that takes us beyond the caricatures and “Yogisms,” and into the heart of a sports legend whose unparalleled accomplishments on the baseball diamond were often overshadowed by his off-the-field persona. Arriving seven years after Berra’s death, the film draws on interviews with former teammates, Berra’s family members and baseball devotees like Billy Crystal and Bob Costas, while tying all of this together with remarkable game footage and archival interviews with Berra and others.
Audience discussion following the film will be led by Karl Lindholm, Emeritus Dean of Advising, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Middlebury College and Alex Wolff, acclaimed Middlebury journalist and author and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Print Media Wing.
At this time, masks are optional for these in-person screenings at Town Hall Theater but that is subject to change based on evolving Federal and State COVID guidelines. Please consult the Town Hall Theater website at townhalltheater.org prior to attending.
MNFF Selects is part of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, a 501[c] non-profit organization based in Middlebury, Vermont. More information about MNFF Selects and the Festival can be found at middfilmfest.org.