Weekly Roundup: True False Fest Kicks Off, Whistle Blowers Speak Out and Roger Ebert’s (New) Voice

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Last Train Home image

The True False Film Festival got underway in Columbia, Missouri yesterday and continues over this weekend. POV’s own Yance Ford is there and will be tweeting about the screenings she’s attending. Over 40 documentary films are being featured, including Laura Poitras‘s The Oath and Lixin Fan‘s Last Train Home, which will be featured on POV in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Last week in New York City, a group of famous whistle blowers, including The Most Dangerous Man in America‘s Daniel Ellsberg, Carl Bernstein, Mark Whitacre and Frank Serpico, got together to talk about the essential role of whistle blowing in American society. The panel was held at the Paley Media Center and co-sponsored by Participant Media to herald the DVD release of The Informant. The film stars Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, an employee of the agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland who blew the whistle on their price fixing conspiracy in the 1990s. Participants discussed the role that whistle blowers played in exposing federal government malfeasance, various corporate conspiracies and corruption within the 1970s New York City police department. A video of the entire discussion is available online.


Roger Ebert in Esquire cover

This month’s Esquire magazine includes an incredible profile of film critic Roger Ebert that has generated a lot of buzz in recent weeks. The article focuses on the health problems Ebert has encountered in the past few years that resulted in the loss of his voice in 2006, and how writing and tweeting have helped him to continue to communicate with the world. The enormous response to the piece, written by Chris Jones, prompted an equally compelling reaction from Ebert, and this week’s announcement that Ebert will be appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show next Tuesday talking with a synthetic voice that sounds remarkably like his own.

The show will be Ebert’s first televised interview since he lost the ability to talk, and should be quite personal since Ebert and Winfrey are very old friends. According to Popmatters, Oprah revealed on her 20th anniversary show that “it was Ebert who convinced her to go into syndication while [they were] out on a date in the ’80s. Ebert later confirmed the story in a 2005 piece.”

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  • Carlos Lazarus

    I am trying to find a recent pbs show that was on the radio wherein a female film critic (and others) were discussing Roger Ebert’s legacy and humanity. The female film critic shared how Roger Ebert had been like a mentor to her (through emails I believe) in her beginning years in the industry. It was a talk show format. Please send info to me at my email address given below. Thanks so much. I was a big fan of his.

  • Carlos Lazarus

    My email address is carloslazarus@yahoo.com