Paying Tribute to Albert Maysles, a Humanitarian and the Godfather of Documentary

By: Friday March 6, 2015 9:35 pm

The godfather of documentary filmmaking, Albert Maysles, has died at the age of 88. He directed the well-known documentary classics Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter and Salesman. Maysles and his brother, David, pioneered cinema vérité or what is commonly known as truthful cinema. As a cinematographer and director, he sought to produce films that put viewers [...]

The Dissenter’s Top Films of 2014

By: Tuesday December 30, 2014 8:33 pm

It has, like a number of other people, become an annual ritual to put together a list of the top films I managed to see during the year and share it here. While most lists of best films of the year were posted a week or two ago, I like to wait until this time [...]

Interview: Director Johanna Hamilton Discusses Making a Film About Activists Who Took Files from FBI Office

By: Wednesday April 30, 2014 10:30 am

The film, “1971,” tells the story of eight Americans who broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania in 1971 with the hope that they would uncover files showing the FBI had infiltrated and spied upon activist communities. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 18.  I sat down with [...]

Chiwetel Ejiofor Wrote & Directed a Short Film Highlighting Exploitation of Coltan in Congo

By: Sunday December 15, 2013 12:12 pm

Bloodshed in Congo can be directly connected to the latest form of colonialism advanced by Western countries—the mining of resources for electronics and military industries. Over six million people have been killed in war over control of resources in the country since 1996. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who impressed and moved critics with his incredible performance in [...]

Declassified Memo Shows ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Filmmakers Played Role of Willing Propagandists for CIA

By: Tuesday May 7, 2013 9:55 am

Filmmakers behind the Oscar-nominated film, Zero Dark Thirty, which dramatized the hunt for Osama bin Laden that ended in his execution, were known to have communicated with the CIA multiple times during production. Now, according to a declassified memo obtained by Gawker, it appears the CIA successfully convinced screenwriter Mark Boal to censor and rewrite certain scenes in [...]

The Humanity of Roger Ebert: Teaching Us How to Love (and Hate) the Movies

By: Friday April 5, 2013 12:59 pm

Film critic Roger Ebert taught us to love the movies. He taught us to love movies for over forty years, as a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Dan Zak at the Washington Post states, “A critic’s noblest and most generous act is to inspire passion in others.” Ebert inspired that passion in this writer. He influenced [...]

The Dissenter’s Picks for the 2013 Oscars

By: Sunday February 24, 2013 12:53 pm

Last year, I made picks here at The Dissenter. I greatly enjoy cinema and make a list of top films that I post every year. Here are some reflections on the films nominated this year. * The front-runners for Best Picture all have facets that lead me to be not particularly excited about the fact [...]

Film Highlights Public Defenders Fighting Against Creation of Permanent Underclass

By: Thursday January 24, 2013 4:48 pm

An HBO documentary on the right that everyone has to a defense lawyer when they are charged with a crime, even if they cannot afford one, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film “Gideon’s Army,” was featured on “Democracy Now!” this morning. The film’s release coincides with the fifty-year anniversary of the Supreme Court [...]

Documentary on Palestinian Struggle That Is Short-Listed for Oscar Streaming Now for Free

By: Friday January 4, 2013 7:27 pm

A documentary the filmmakers describe as a “deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance” in a West Bank village threatened by Israeli settlements, which is short-listed for an Academy Award, is streaming now for free through January 6. Alive Mind Cinema has posted it on their website. The film consists almost entirely of footage shot [...]

The Dissenter’s Top Films of 2012

By: Monday December 31, 2012 9:53 am

Throughout the year, I watch many films. Not only do I enjoy cinema and have a degree in Film/Video, but I find films provide me a way to refresh my insights and keep from getting too burned out from covering an issue or topic as a writer. The Dissenter may be a civil liberties/national security blog, [...]

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