I’m deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by introducing it to a national audience. I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I’m proud to know that Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on — in a world that needs him now more than ever.
Harper Lee, author, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Background: This Saturday President Obama will provide an introduction to USA Network’s 50th anniversary screening of To Kill a Mockingbird. The film is an adaptation of Lee’s only published book but one that won her a Pulitzer Prize and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 for her contributions to American literature.
Via Hollywood Reporter:
The film stars [Gregory] Peck as a lawyer in a small Alabama town who takes the tough case of a black man accused of raping a white woman. Told from the point of view of the attorney’s daughter, the novel is heralded as one of the first to portray America’s race issues frankly and remains on many schools’ mandatory reading lists.
The film was nominated for eight Oscars and went on to win three of the awards including Best Actor for Gregory Peck, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Art Direction.
We also need an insurgency of theater owners, distributors, marketers, and moviegoers. Yes, the film business is in flux, caught between dwindling box office and fledgling alternative distribution platforms, but maybe it’s time for the biz to start taking notes from the art. Throw away the boxes, stop pretending there are rules, take some risks. Stop worrying over what documentaries should be, and instead find ways to champion what they can be. Stop treating them like the veggies when they’ve become the main course.
Eric Hynes (via this Slate article)
Of the more than 800 feature films released theatrically in America last year, more than 300 were documentaries. (At premiere marketplace festivals like Sundance and Toronto, the ratio is similar.) Yet at the Academy Awards, where the film industry lavishly celebrates itself, all of those films compete for one measly award: best documentary. By comparison, dramatic features get 20 chances for an Oscar. While it’s technically possible (and eminently justifiable) for documentaries to receive nods for technical categories like editing, cinematography, and sound, in practice it hardly ever happens. And in 84 years, no documentary has even been nominated for best picture.
Great read on the attention documentaries don’t receive, and why.