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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Festival features films that show reality of journalism

About 1,000 people are expected to attend this weekend's Reel Journalism Film Festival, according to Bettina Owens, the School of Communication's director of strategic programs.

The second annual festival will include 10 screenings, discussions related to "The Insider," "Veronica Guerin" and others, and three receptions.

"These [films] are all dramatizations, they're entertainment, but they all have a kernel of truth," said SOC professor Rose Ann Robertson, who helped organize the festival with Owens and SOC professor Alicia Shepard. "Whether any of them change minds about what journalists do every day, I'm not sure we can expect, but I think they do show a great deal of reality about what reporters do."

The films are based on real people and some of them "are just fun," Robertson said.

"I think that [the films], for the most part, show that journalists are human beings and that as human beings we all have flaws, but I also think that the films show that journalism, for those of us who practice it, is much more than a job, that many of us consider it a calling," Robertson said. "I think it shows that journalists have a passion for trying to bring to light things that many want kept hidden."

This year, the events will be held at the Greenberg and Wechsler theaters in hopes of attracting more students.

"Last year we held the festival at the AFI in Silver Spring, [Md.,] and ... we found [students] thought that was too far out," Owens said.

Tickets range in price from $4.50 to $10. The SOC Undergraduate Council will distribute a number of free passes on the Quad at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Owens said.

The Society of Professional Journalists, The Examiner, the Graduate Student Council, the SOC Graduate Student Council, the SOC dean and the provost's office have all helped to sponsor the event.

"The Insider" (1999) Friday, 7 p.m., Greenberg Theatre, $10 Directed by Michael Mann, Rated R, 157 m

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, "The Insider" kicks off the festival with the story of how Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, a vice president of a tobacco company, revealed the industry's knowledge of cigarettes' harmful effects.

"There are parts of it that I think are pretty moralistic and socially relevant that are worth watching," Wigand told The Eagle.

Russell Crowe stars as Wigand, with Al Pacino playing the "60 Minutes" producer who fought for Wigand's testimony to appear in the piece even after CBS ran an edited version for fear of a lawsuit.

After the screening, Wigand will take questions from the audience and a reception will follow. Robertson said she hopes the discussion that follows the film will concentrate on its journalism elements.

"I think we really want to focus on CBS and the kind of thought that went behind what they did because I think it's really important for us as a society to understand the kind of pressure that news sources are under these days not to report certain things," she said.

For more on "The Insider," see The Eagle's accompanying interview with Wigand.

"His Girl Friday" (1940) Saturday, 2 p.m., Wechsler Theater, $4.50 Directed by Howard Hawkes, Not Rated, 92 m

In this film, Cary Grant plays a newspaper editor who tries everything to keep his star reporter and ex-wife, played by Rosalind Russell, from remarrying and moving away.

"Even though it was 65 years ago, it tells a lot about stereotyping and women and relationships in the newsroom," Robertson said. "I would love to see students crammed into Wechsler Theater to see movies they wouldn't normally see, such as 'His Girl Friday,' because it's just so much fun."

The film is based on "The Front Page," which was shown in last year's festival, except in "His Girl Friday," the main character is a woman.

"Veronica Guerin" (2003) Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Greenberg Theatre, $7.50 Directed by Joel Schumacher, Rated R, 98 m

Cate Blanchett plays investigative reporter Veronica Guerin, who was assassinated by Irish drug dealers for her persistent coverage. Rhonda Schwartz, senior investigative producer for ABC News, who has covered such international stories as the U.N. sex scandal in the Congo and the dangers of Teflon, will speak after the film along with The Irish Independent's Susan Garraty. The discussion will focus on women's roles as investigative journalists. Roberta Baskin, executive director for the Center for Public Integrity and a former investigative reporter, will moderate.

"Citizen Kane" (1941) Saturday, 4 p.m., Wechsler Theater, $4.50 Directed by Orson Welles, Not Rated,119 m

"Citizen Kane" parodies the life of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst using groundbreaking filmmaking techniques.

Robertson said she hopes the classic will attract students outside the journalism department.

David Nasaw, who wrote "The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst," will lead a discussion after the screening, facilitated by SOC professor W. Joseph Campbell.

"We Were Soldiers" (2002) Saturday, 6:30 p.m., Greenberg Theatre, $10 Directed by Randall Wallace, Rated R, 143 m

Mel Gibson stars as Lt. Col. Hal Moore in a film based on a book by Moore and Joe Galloway about the first major battle of the Vietnam War. In the movie, Galloway, played by Barry Pepper, accompanied a battalion as a United Press International reporter. Now a senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder, Galloway will answer questions after the screening. Price of the ticket includes a reception sponsored by the Newseum after the discussion.

"Breakfast with Hunter" (2003) Saturday, 10:40 p.m., Wechsler Theater, $4.50 Directed by Wayne Ewing, Rated R, 91 m

This documentary about the late Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalism pioneer, chronicles parts of his life during the planning of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

"Salvador" (1986) Sunday, 1 p.m., Wechsler Theater, $4.50 Directed by Oliver Stone, Rated R, 123 m

A U.S. journalist goes to El Salvador and records the events of the military dictatorship and Archbishop Oscar Romero's assassination in this film.

"'Salvador' is one of my favorite films," Robertson said. "James Woods is just spectacular in this movie. He is not a knight in shining armor. He has many flaws, but for anyone who wants to be a foreign correspondent, I think it's very interesting."

"Almost Famous" (2000) Sunday, 3 p.m., Greenberg Theatre, $7.50 Directed by Cameron Crowe, Rated R, 122 m

At 15, William Miller hits the road with rock band Stillwater, aiming to prove his worth as a journalist by covering them for Rolling Stone. Ben Fong-Torres, the Rolling Stone editor featured in "Almost Famous," had planned to participate in a discussion following SOC's presentation of the film, but can't make it because of an interview with the Eagles of "Hotel California" fame, according to Owens.

"Network" (1976) Sunday, 3:30 p.m., Wechsler Theater, $4.50 Directed by Sidney Lumet, Rated R, 121 m

Satirizing television news, "Network" made famous the rant, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." It also brings to light serious questions regarding how much the news should aim for popularity or serve as "infotainment." The satirized corruption depicts truth as the casualty of the ratings war.

"The World Is Watching" (1988) and "The World Stopped Watching" (2003) Sunday, 7:45 p.m., Greenberg Theatre, $10 Directed by Peter Raymont, No Ratings, 59 m and 82 m, respectively.

This documentary double-feature follows journalists in Nicaragua, first during the Arias Peace Plan negotiations in the 1980s, then following up 15 years later. The documentaries investigate how the media is influenced by the government, and it also highlight's the media's attention span.

SOC professor Bill Gentile is included in "The World Stopped Watching," as he was then a photojournalist for Newsweek. Gentile, Raymont, producer Harold Crooks and ABC's John Quinones, who was in "The World Is Watching," will hold a pre-screening discussion in the Greenberg Theatre.

The Center for Social Media and the Canadian Embassy co-sponsor this screening.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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