Hollywood

BREAKING BIG
Danai Gurira

 

See how Tony Award-nominated writer Gurira made the leap from storyteller to Hollywood star. The Zimbabwe native yearned to bring African faces and voices to Broadway through her plays, but ended up starring in the mega-hit film Black Panther.

 

 

FRONTLINE
Weinstein

 

How the Hollywood mogul allegedly sexually harassed and abused dozens of women over four decades. With allegations going back to Weinstein’s early years, the film investigates the elaborate ways he and those around him tried to silence his accusers.

 

 

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
The Hawaiian Room

 

The Hawaiian Room, located in the famed Lexington Hotel, was an oasis of Hawaiian culture and entertainment in the heart of New York City. Between 1937 and 1966, hundreds of dancers, singers and musicians from Hawai‘i were recruited to perform at the entertainment venue. In this documentary, filmmaker Ann Marie Kirk shares interviews with over 20 former performers who speak candidly and fondly of their experience at the historic nightclub, and the culture shock of going from Hawai‘i to New York City.

 

 

AMERICAN MASTERS
Hedy Lamarr

 

Discover the ingenious inventor behind the beautiful face as the Hollywood star tells her own story in a newly discovered interview. Learn
how Hedy Lamarr’s pioneering work is the basis for secure WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth technology.

 

 

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT
Making Good Men

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT: Making Good Men – Former rugby player Norm Hewitt (left) and Hollywood actor Manu Bennett (right)

 

Two high-profile New Zealanders – former rugby player Norm Hewitt (left) and Hollywood actor Manu Bennett (right) – reveal their experiences with bullying with unprecedented honesty. Instead of highlighting blame or humiliation, the film focuses on the path to redemption, reconciliation and restoration.

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Band Years

 

This retrospective features the music that brought the country through WWII, turning back the clock to a time when swing musicians ruled the radio and night clubs, bringing musical escape to Americans during one of the most turbulent periods in the nation’s history. The program mixes live and rare footage of bands and vocalists from the 1930s and 40s. Peter Marshall (“Hollywood Squares”) hosts. Glenn Miller, Harry James, Benny Goodman, The Andrews Sisters and Cab Calloway are among the featured artists.

 

 

MAKERS
Women in Hollywood

 

Six new documentaries in the MAKERS project feature groundbreaking American women in different spheres of influence: war, comedy, space, business, Hollywood and politics. Each program will profile prominent women and relate their struggles, triumphs and contributions as they reshaped and transformed the landscape of their chosen vocations.

 

Women in Hollywood
Follow the women of showbiz, from the earliest pioneers to present-day power players, as they influence the creation of one of the country’s biggest commodities: entertainment. Hear from: Jane Fonda, who at 75 is starring in the award-winning seriesThe Newsroom; Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal; Linda Woolverton, the screenwriter who re-imagined the traditional Disney princess by making Belle (in Beauty and the Beast) a self-possessed, strong-willed young woman; Lena Dunham, who mines comedy and drama gold by exploring what it’s really like to be a young woman today; six-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close; director Nancy Meyers; and actress Zoe Saldana.

 

 

David Letterman
The Mark Twain Prize

 

Emmy award-winning comedian David Letterman receives the 2017 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. This special features tributes from Letterman’s friends and colleagues including Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Amy Schumer and Martin Short.

 

What Drives KEN BURNS?

 

CEO Message

What Drives Ken Burns?

 

Ken Burns, Photo courtesy of Justin Altman

 

Filmmaker Ken Burns, who’s coming out with an 18-hour Vietnam War film to be shown over 10 evenings this month on PBS Hawai‘i, freely admits that he’s a workaholic; that he’s obsessive in his pursuit of archival material for his films; that his detractors dismiss him as long-winded.

 

And Burns can laugh at himself.

 

As he did when he was being honored as the greatest American documentary filmmaker of his generation. Stepping up to receive a lifetime achievement, he joked that he’d prepared a nine-part response.

 

He had to learn about laughter, since sadness and loss were prevailing childhood themes.

 

Burns, 64, is clear about what drives him and his compulsion to look at the past. It is the death of his mother, Lyla Burns, just before he turned 12. She had suffered from breast cancer for nearly a decade.

 

Burns remembers coming home from school or play every day and telling his ailing mother stories about what had happened, in effect sharing life with her. After she passed away, he recalls watching movies with father, Robert Burns, and seeing him cry, which was something his father didn’t do in other circumstances. That’s when young Burns says he grasped the storytelling power of film.

 

In a short video posted online at creativeplanetnetwork.com, Burns says: “I found myself becoming a documentary filmmaker, trying to tell stories and using American history to tell those stories that I wanted to tell. When you look back at it, the job that I try to do is to wake the dead. And it doesn’t seem too far a leap to understand, from that early decision to be a filmmaker, who I really want to wake up.”

 

From the earliest time that he can remember as a child, he says he knew his beloved mom was sick. He was not close to his father.

 

As a young man, he rejected chasing a Hollywood-type career. He says he innately knew, and was taught at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, that “there’s much more drama in what is and what was, than in anything the human imagination can dream of.”

 

Delivering the commencement address at Stanford University last year, Burns explained that delving into history can lead to personal and professional breakthroughs.

 

“The past often offers an illuminating and clear-headed perspective from which to observe and reconcile the passions of the present moment, just when they threaten to overwhelm us,” he told new graduates.

 

Burns wants this newest film with his creative partner Lynn Novick, about the divisive Vietnam War era, to spur national healing.

 

As he told an interviewer from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee:

 

“We caught something during the Vietnam War – like a virus – and we are still suffering from the effects of that virus today. I’m hoping my film is a bit like a vaccination – that it exposes you to a little bit of the disease to permit you to go past it and heal from it.”

 

I invite you to join me in viewing this new Burns/Novick film series, starting at 8:00 pm, Sunday, September 17, on your TV station, PBS Hawai‘i.

 

A hui hou (until next time),
Leslie Wilcoxʻ signature

 

 

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