Tag Archives: Bingham Ray

The Bingham Show

It’s been a little over three weeks since Bingham Ray passed away and I have read countless tributes, obits and stories, almost all of them touching and heartfelt. In my head, The Bingham Show has been running a regular time slot since his passing and maybe I should have written more, sooner, but I just couldn’t. Of course the idea that it will get better over time is silly and I ought to have known better. Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows that it doesn’t get better with time, it just gets…different.

Bingham was one of the first and kindest and most inclusive mentors I had in the business and one of my closest friends, too. He was quick to understand where Eugene Hernandez and I were going with indieWIRE, always had time for the new kids in school and unlike some other people in the business (you might have a guess or two), Bingham didn’t seem to take himself overly seriously. That didn’t hold true for film, of course. For Bingham, film was serious business but it was the business of wonderment…of the joy, sadness, horror and happiness that a good film can bring.

Moose, Scott and Bingham at the Siasconset Casino on Nantucket

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A Bittersweet Return To Sundance: Great Films and an Even Greater Loss

This year, after an eleven year absence, I made my return to the Sundance Film Festival and yes, there were a lot of changes but as the saying goes, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose! There were new hotels and condos, new restaurants and a much better transportation system but there were also the same old throngs of pseudo celebs and their hangers on that were only there for the gifting suites, club nights and seemed to not even know there were films being screened. Like I said, the more things change….

The Sundance lineup always looks good on paper. There are dozens of films from directors both new and unsung that virtually no one has seen, including one (Amy Berg’s West of Memphis) so fresh that producer Peter Jackson literally hand-carried the print to Utah from New Zealand!

A Singular Doc Experience

An emotional moment at the Q&A for Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War."

By the time the awards were handed out on Saturday night, it seemed like many categories had six or seven favorites, although a few were pretty obvious. One of those obvious winners (to me, anyway) was Kirby Dick’s The Invisible War which won the audience award for documentaries. A heart-breaking and shocking look at rape in the military, Dick’s film details the pain, shame, horror and lasting damage caused by the attacks and the shocking hypocrisy and cover-ups endorsed by the military establishment.

Why was it obvious to me that it would get the audience prize? Simple: I have never seen an audience reaction and a post-screening Q & A like this one. Not in over 20 years and well over 150 film festivals have I seen a crying standing ovation with an audience full of senators, US representatives and celebs, including Mary J. Blige, who is writing an original song for the film. Packed with stories and statistics that can do nothing but inspire action and outrage, The Invisible War is a perfect piece of advocacy filmmaking.

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Robert Altman Tribute

Altman.jpg
As I am sure many of you know, this past Tuesday was Fat Tuesday, the last blow out before Lent and the end of Carnivale. February 20th also marked another special day, the anniversary of the birth of Robert Altman. Thus, a memorial service was held in New York City’s Majestic Theater for the great filmmaker who lost a long battle with cancer late last year.
I was lucky enough to have attended and it was truly an inspiring event. As an auteur and as a human being, Robert Altman was a force to be reckoned with, something the speakers and guests at his memorial made sure to point out. A true iconoclast, Altman “never met a status quo he didn’t hate,” according to speaker Bob Balaban, Altman’s producer and story collaborator on Gosford Park.

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Reel Paradise Premiere

In 2002, indie film gurus John and Janet Pierson along with son Wyatt (13) and daughter Georgia (16) spent a year on the island of Taveuni, Fiji while John ran what might be the most remote movie theater on Earth, the 180 Meridian. Thusly named due to the island’s location, straddling said line of longitude, aka the International Date Line. Monday, August 8th saw the premiere of Steve JamesReel Paradise, a new Wellspring release that documents a month in the lives of the Piersons and it was old home week at New York’s Tribeca Cinemas.

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