Films Media Group, an Infobase Company, agreed today to sponsor up to four registrations to the 2018 National Media Market and Conference (NMM) for librarians who collect media for community colleges. This sponsorship will benefit librarians who wish to attend but don’t have conference funding in their budgets. Films Media Group provides high-quality video on academic, vocational and life-skills topics to schools, colleges, libraries, the medical community, and other institutions. NMM will administer the sponsored scholarships to community college librarians who qualify as participating in film and video related purchasing decisions at their institutions. A special application form on the conference website is available for librarians who wish to apply. All applications will be reviewed, and recipients notified, by conference staff and advisory board members. “Films Media Group and Infobase are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity for community college librarians,” said Sarah Hicks, an FMG account executive who also serves as a board member for NMM. “We feel this conference provides a learning and networking experience, as well as purchasing advantages, that are often out of reach at community college libraries, where budgets for conference attendance may be limited.” Now in its 40th year, National Media Market & Conference meets annually to bring librarians together with distributors of film, streaming providers, and other media- and film-related services. “We’re a boutique conference, the only one of its kind, dedicated to improving knowledge, access and best practices for librarians who collect film,” said NMM Chair Jeff Tamblyn. “Participation and support by companies like Films Media Group is vital to carrying out our mission every year. We’re extremely grateful and proud to have them as a sponsor.” The 2018 National Media Market convenes October 7th through the 11th, in Indianapolis. For more information, visit Films Media Group at https://www.films.com/ecHome.aspx or National Media Market at https://www.nmm.net/.
The Criterion Collection’s August releases kick off August 14 with director Robert M. Young’s 1982 drama The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a passion project for producer-star Edward James Olmos, who plays the titular Mexican American farmer forced to run from the Texas Rangers after a heated misunderstanding leads to the death of a lawman. On August 21, Susan Seidelman will join the collection with her trailblazing independent 1982 debut, Smithereens (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a punk-rock portrait of down-and-out scenesters in 1980s New York, starring Susan Berman, Brad Rijn, and Richard Hell. Also slated for August 21 is the Blu-ray debut of Ernst Lubitsch’s sly 1943 Technicolor comedy Heaven Can Wait (Blu-ray: $39.95), which follows deceased turn-of-the-century playboy Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche), who asks a bemused Satan for permission to enter through the gates of hell and proceeds to recount past sins, exempting his happy marriage to Martha (Gene Tierney). Coming August 28 is a 4K restoration of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s long-unavailable 1968 Spanish-language masterpiece Memories of Underdevelopment (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), which is set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Cuban Revolution and follows a bourgeois intellectual (Sergio Corrieri) wandering Havana after his family flees due to the Bay of Pigs invasion. Also arriving on August 28 is visionary filmmaker Terrence Malick’s 2011 Palme d’Or-winning magnum opus The Tree of Life (DVD: 3 discs, $39.95; Blu-ray: 2 discs, $49.95), available in a new cut that adds nearly 50 minutes of footage to the coming of age story profiling a 1950s Texas child (newcomer Hunter McCracken) who learns to navigate between his bitter, often tyrannical father (Brad Pitt) and his ethereal, nurturing mother (Jessica Chastain).
The events that led to the deadliest terrorist attacks ever to take place on American soil are chronicled in The Looming Tower (DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray: $39.98), the powerful 10-part Hulu drama to be released on September 18 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Adapted from the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Lawrence Wright and executive produced by Dan Futterman and Alex Gibney, the series reveals the untold story of the September 11 attacks and how the secret rivalry between the FBI and the CIA may have inadvertently set the country on the path to tragedy. The series has received critical praise and features an all-star ensemble cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, and Tahar Rahim. Following members of the I-49 Squad in New York and the code-named Alec Station in Washington D.C. as they travel the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward trying to prevent an imminent terrorist attack on U.S. soil, The Looming Tower focuses on Chief John O’Neill (Daniels), who faces a deliberate lack of cooperation from other intelligence organizations within the federal government after he’s convinced that the United States has been targeted for an attack by Al-Qaeda. Bonus features include behind-the-scenes featurettes, and creator audio commentaries.
Music Box Films is releasing the documentary My Letter to the World (DVD: $29.95) on June 12. Offering a rich examination of the life and work of one of America’s greatest poets, the film features world experts and renowned scholars who help to unravel the enigma of Emily Dickinson, who has spent the 130 years since her death being pigeonholed as a mysterious recluse. Directed by Solon Papadopoulos and narrated by Cynthia Nixon, My Letter to the World takes viewers on a journey through the seasons of Dickinson’s life in mid-1800s New England, exploring her experiences and relationships via her impassioned letters and poems. As new theories come to light about both Dickinson’s life and poetry, experts offer often conflicting opinions. Also featuring behind-the-scenes clips from filmmaker Terence Davies’s 2016 biopic A Quiet Passion (starring Nixon as Dickinson), bonus features include poems read by Davies and Nixon.
Collective Eye Films has recently released A Good American (DVD: public libraries: $50; schools: $125 [$295 w/PPR], www.collectiveeye.org), director Friedrich Moser’s gripping docu-thriller about a groundbreaking surveillance program, the brilliant mastermind behind it, and how a perfect alternative to mass surveillance was killed by NSA management for money—three weeks prior to 9/11. Brilliant cryptologist and long-time National Security Agency analyst Bill Binney developed a sophisticated program named ThinThread for gathering data capable of providing clues—in real-time—of potential terrorist threats. Built-in safeguards would have prevented the massive surveillance methods later exposed by Edward Snowden. Why was this program killed off? And who was behind it? The film provides a chilling account of those willing to go on the record and what happened to them when they tried to expose the truth. [Note: the film is also available for individuals from most distributors from Gravitas Ventures for $16.99.]
Director Greg Barker (Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden) looks at President Barack Obama’s last year in office in The Final Year (DVD: $26.98), newly available from Magnolia Home Entertainment. Following key members of the Obama administration throughout 2016 up until the morning of President Trump’s inauguration, the documentary gives viewers a front-row seat as Obama’s foreign policy team, including Secretary of State John Kerry, United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and even President Obama himself work to cement the President’s legacy ahead of the 2016 election. Barker accompanies the team during high-stakes negotiations, addresses to the United Nations, on humanitarian research missions, and more as they prepare to hand over the government to a new administration. Bonus features include deleted scenes, and a photo gallery.
This July, the Criterion Collection will pay tribute to one of cinema’s most legendary collaborations with the July 3 release of Dietrich and von Sternberg in Hollywood (DVD or Blu-ray: 6 discs, $124.95 each), a lavish box set featuring six newly restored classics starring the alluring Marlene Dietrich and directed by the visually extravagant Josef von Sternberg: 1930 romantic reverie Morocco, 1931’s espionage thriller Dishonored, pre-Code train-ride adventure Shanghai Express (1932), the 1932 musical melodrama Blonde Venus (also starring Cary Grant), 1934 biopic The Scarlet Empress, and the duo’s final film together, the erotic and passionate Spain Carnival romance The Devil Is a Woman (1935). Slated for July 10 is former minor leaguer Ron Shelton’s 1988 hall-of-fame baseball comedy Bull Durham (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), starring Kevin Costner as a veteran catcher who mentors a pitching prospect (Tim Robbins) while both players are pursued by a team groupie (Susan Sarandon). Also slated for July 10 is the 4K digital restoration and Blu-ray debut of King Hu’s 1967 martial-arts classic Dragon Inn (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), and action-packed tale of Ming-dynasty intrigue set after an emperor’s minister of defense is executed and a power-grabbing eunuch sends assassins to trail the victim’s children to a remote point on the northern Chinese border. Slated for July 17 is a 4K digital transfer version of Steven Soderbergh’s disarmingly frank 1989 debut sex, lies, and videotape (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), focusing on housewife Ann (Andie MacDowell), her lawyer husband, John (Peter Gallagher)—who is sleeping with her sister (Laura San Giacomo)—and John’s old voyeuristic friend Graham (Cannes award-winner James Spader). Also newly available on Blu-ray with a 4K digital restoration on July 24 is Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s otherworldly 1946 Technicolor romance A Matter of Life and Death (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95) centers on a RAF pilot Peter Carter (David Niven) who falls in love with an American radio operator (Kim Hunter) to whom he’s just delivered his dying wishes.
PBS has announced the upcoming release of Frontline: Weinstein (DVD: $24.99), slated for May 29. Harvey Weinstein was once one of the most successful producers in Hollywood, but beneath the glitz and glamour there was a pattern of sexual misconduct going back to the very start of his career. Drawing on exclusive insider accounts, this documentary examines how Weinstein used lawyers and private detectives to help him suppress sexual harassment allegations, shining new light on what those around Weinstein knew about his behavior, and when. Filled with fresh insights from those who worked with Weinstein, those who tried to confront him, and the journalists who ultimately broke the story, Weinstein provides an in-depth look at the long history of allegations against the powerful producer.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther (DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray: $39.99, 4K: 2 discs, $42.99) has been announced for release on May 15 from Walt Disney Studios. The highly celebrated story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a young African prince who takes on the mantle of king and superhero, has thrilled and inspired generations of moviegoers around the globe. In the acclaimed film, T’Challa returns home to the hidden high-tech African nation of Wakanda to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king, following the death of his father. But when a man named Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) appears, T’Challa’s mettle as leader—and as his alter-ego—is tested when he’s drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. The film also stars Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Surkis, Daniel Kaluuya, and Sterling K. Brown, with a musical score by Grammy-nominated composer Ludwig Göransson and a soundtrack curated and produced by Grammy Award-winning global superstar Kendrick Lamar. Dominating the box office charts and emerging as the third biggest movie of all time domestically with over $665 million, exclusive bonus features will include audio commentary from director Ryan Coogler, deleted scenes, outtakes, several making-of featurettes, (which detail the Black Panther’s evolution, the remarkable women of Wakanda, the history of T’Challa’s proud nation, and the cosmic origin and technological applications of vibranium), a roundtable discussion with Black Panther filmmakers and writers, and a featurette tracing the countless connections between heroes, characters, and storylines within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
PBS Distribution has announced the upcoming release of Masterpiece: Little Women (DVD: $24.99, Blu-ray: $34.99), slated for May 22. Set to air on May 13 and May 20, this latest adaptation of the 1868 Louisa May Alcott classic follows the four March sisters on their journey from childhood to adulthood while their father is away at war. Under the guidance of their mother Marmee (Emily Watson), the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman: from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss, and marriage. Also featuring Angela Lansbury as the cantankerous and wealthy Aunt March, Michael Gambon as benevolent neighbor Mr. Laurence, and Jonah Hauer-King as a charming boy next door, the miniseries stars Maya Hawke as the willful and adventurous Jo; Willa Fitzgerald as the eldest and most virtuous, Meg; Annes Elwy as the shy sister, Beth; and Kathryn Newton as Amy, the youngest of the family. A celebration of family as much as it is a recognition of the challenges of growing up and forging an individual identity, Little Women remains relevant due to the universal themes at its core.