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Trailer watch: Mike Wallace is Here

Did Mike Wallace become the blueprint for modern journalism?

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The life and career of one of America’s most celebrated journalists is the subject of an upcoming documentary titled Mike Wallace Is Here. Wallace, who over a seven-decade career solidified himself as one of the most important journalists of our time, won an incredible 21 Emmys for his work- most notably for CBS’ 60 Minutes. The new documentary journals his rise to become of the most confronting, aggressive, but effective reporters, having interviewed a who’s who of politicians, celebrities, and noted figures. Over his career, he’s had pointed sit downs and talks with everyone from Ayn Rand to Deng Xiaoping, from Barbara Streisand to Frank Lloyd Wright.

In one of his more famous interviews, he sat down with General William Westmoreland for a special piece titled, The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception. The CBS documentary purported that General Westmoreland and intelligence officers manipulated enemy troop numbers in Vietnam to create the impression that the war was being won. General Westmoreland sued Wallace and CBS in a $120 million suit.

Wallace retired from his position as 60 Minutes correspondent in 2006 after a lengthy 37-year career. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 93.

Mike Wallace is Here is a documentary by Avi Belkin that features extensive footage from Wallace’s illustrious career, detailing in depth his work and influence. In the official blurb, the documentary is;

“an unflinching look at the legendary reporter, who interrogated the 20th century’s biggest figures in his over fifty years on air, and his aggressive reporting style and showmanship that redefined what America came to expect from broadcasters. Unearthing decades of never-before-seen footage from the 60 Minutes vault, the film explores what drove and plagued Wallace, whose storied career was entwined with the evolution of journalism itself.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, director Avi Belkin talked about the influence and lasting legacy of Mike Wallace. Belkin stated that Wallace became the blueprint for today’s style of news reporting- unshackled and unbound;

“In a way, he made the blueprint of what journalism is today. Mike was, in a way, a revolution. The charisma, the performance — he brought them into the game.”

We find ourselves in a tumultuous time in news journalism and reporting. But what we can glimpse from Mike Wallace is Here is that we have seen this before. History repeats itself yet we’ve found ways to overcome. It is perhaps, one of the many reasons why this documentary seems so timely and fascinating.

The film opens in select theatres July 26th. Check out the trailer above.

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Miles Davis and The Birth of the Cool

Can one distill cool into one documentary?

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If there is one thing that has been indisputable about the legacy of Miles Davis is that he was the personification of ‘cool’. And it seems like there was no decade where he was making music that he wasn’t ever cool. We once said about Miles Davis and his cool that “no matter how scrupulous your selection – one cannot distill cool into thirteen tracks, no matter how good“. Now the unenviable task of distilling that cool into a succinct document falls into the hands of Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a new documentary detailing the life, music, and legacy of Miles Davis.

Directed by Stanley Nelson Jr. (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before hitting the festival circuit through the year. The film chronicles the rebellious nature of Miles Davis, detailing his desire to constantly break from the norm, with director Stanley Nelson saying;

“He was an extraordinary artist celebrated for his restless artistic aesthetic and his ceaseless innovation.  He changed the course of music five or six times.  By unpacking his upbringing, his methodology, his relationships, and his demons, we begin to understand the man who redefined the original American musical genre, jazz, and continues to influence generations of rock, funk, and hip-hop artists.”

Abramorama will screen the film today, August 23rd in New York with director Stanley Nelson taking part in a Q+A. Tickets for this screening, along with future screenings, can be found here.

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Bruce Springsteen gets cinematic with Western Stars

“Life’s mysteries remain and deepen, its answers unresolved”

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“We all have our broken pieces … nobody gets away unhurt. We’re always trying to find somebody whose broken pieces fit with our broken pieces and something whole emerges”

On the heels of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s nineteenth studio album Western Stars, Warner Bros Pictures has announced the release of the cinematic experience accompanying the album. The new film features Springsteen performing all 13 tracks from the new album, accompanied by a full orchestra in his 100-year-old barn. The film will also showcase old home footage as well as Springsteen’s life-earned ruminations we’ve seen through his career- brought to life recently with his stint on Broadway and on his Netflix special.

Warner Bros. exec Toby Emmerich has said about Western Stars and Springsteen;

“Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers. With ‘Western Stars,’ Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead.”

Western Stars will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, kicking off September 5th. The film was produced by Jon Landau, Barbara Carr, and George Travis with Springsteen executive producing it. Western Stars was co-directed by Springsteen and longtime collaborator Thom Zimny.

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