Ross McElwee’s personal website for “Bright Leaves” features a filmmaker statement, a list of upcoming screenings and details on his previous films.
indieWIRE: Ross McElwee on First-Person Filmmaking
In this interview, hear from McElwee on how his narrative style emerged, why he still uses film for recording, the sound quality of his own voice and more.
Stop Smiling Magazine: Celluloid Dreams, Nicotine Stains
Here McElwee discusses how to achieve comedy in verité filmmaking, the limits of film theory and making an “unconventional” career choice in a family of doctors.
Harvard University Gazette: The World According to McElwee
This article discusses McElwee’s beginnings in the world of avant garde film, his history at Harvard and some of his teaching techniques.
Christianity Today: Bright Leaves
Interesting for its exploration of Christian themes in McElwee’s work.
The Washington Post: ‘Leaves:’ Packed With Pleasure
A complimentary and thorough review of Bright Leaves.
North Carolina and Tobacco
A comprehensive site with extensive information about the history of tobacco, anti-tobacco efforts, tobacco news, and big issues. Be sure to check out news about the tobacco industry in North Carolina.
UNC-TV: North Carolina’s Dependence on Tobacco
You can watch this one-hour program online or read the transcript at the companion site, which also includes tobacco history and related links.
North Carolina Historic Sites: Duke Homestead
Washington Duke’s farm and homestead museum is a state historic site. On the website of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, you can find a history of the Duke family and Durham tobacco production.
Duke Homestead and Tobacco Museum
This website is the Museum’s homepage and offers the “real” story of the Duke family, an online tour of the Duke Estate and a section where you can view classic cigarette ads.
North Carolina State University: Bright Leaves
This online exhibit about tobacco history draws from manuscripts, rare books and images in the archives of the North Carolina State University Library.
CNN.com: Tobacco Under Attack
CNN offers a one-page overview of tobacco history including the early development and popularity, the first statistical correlation between cancer and cigarettes, the original surgeon general’s warning, and today’s legal battles with the tobacco industry.
Public Intimacy: The Development of First-Person Documentary
This article by Pat Aufderheide from Afterimage looks at how the confessional video, the first-person saga and the Op-Ed style journalism, all forms of first-person documentary, are part of a much broader social movement that blurs the lines between public and private life.
You Are Here: Home Movies Are Becoming A Documentarian’s Favorite Footage
This article from The Independent, the magazine of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), looks at the history and current popularity of using amateur home movies in documentary films.
indieWIRE: From Fathers to Fashionistas, Documentary Filmmakers Are Getting Personal
indieWIRE takes a closer look at personal documentary projects now showing on the film festival circuit.
ALSO ON PBS AND NPR
Frontline: Six O’Clock News
The companion website to Ross McElwee’s film, which explores of life, fate and faith reflected in the nightly news. The section titled “Ross McElwee at Work” features reprints of interviews and analyses of McElwee’s filmmaking. (1997)
Frontline: Inside the Tobacco Deal
Frontline tells the inside story of how two small-town Mississippi lawyers declared war on Big Tobacco and skillfully pursued a daring new litigation strategy that ultimately brought the industry to the negotiating table. (1998)
Independent Lens: Inside Indies
ITVS’ Independent Lens series brings us an ongoing “inside look” at independent film and filmmakers.
NOW: The Art of Direct Cinema
NOW Online takes a look at iconic filmmaker Albert Maysles, and a roster of other influential verité practitioners. (2002)
PBS TeacherSource: Tobacco Prevention and Intervention
This resource for teachers offers programs and guidelines for implementing an effective tobacco education prevention program.
Browse all of NPR’s reviews, interviews and other coverage of the movies.
FreshAir: Filmmaker McElwee Documents Family Tobacco Ties
Fresh Air discusses McElwee’s past films and his latest work in “Bright Leaves” of uncovering his family’s past connections to the tobacco industry. (2004)
Morning Edition: Ex-Tobacco Farmers
Adam Hochburg reports on one group’s creative efforts to keep North Carolina tobacco farmers profitable even as the demand for their crop decreases. (2001)