Berlinger and Sinofsky Retrospective
AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival presents 2012 Guggenheim Symposium honorees Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky are leading voices in American nonfiction cinema. Over the course of their two decades of work, the filmmakers have demonstrated a dedication to uncovering raw truth, establishing the power of documentary to explore multiple aspects of the human experience and to generate dramatic change in the real world.
The work of Berlinger and Sinofsky, both collectively and individually, has delved into the intricate complexities of human nature and shed light onto a painfully flawed criminal justice system. Their riveting three-part PARADISE LOST series, which spans the course of nearly 20 years, follows the fate of three young men known as the "West Memphis Three," wrongfully accused of three brutal murders in Arkansas. The films, which include the 2011 Academy Award-nominated PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY, were instrumental in helping the men win their eventual freedom from prison. The bitter behind-the-scenes conflicts of heavy metal band Metallica are captured with surprising intimacy in METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER as they record their album "St. Anger," while BROTHER'S KEEPER traces the stunning courtroom case of 59-year-old Delbert Ward, who stood accused of murdering his 64-year-old brother William. Individually, Berlinger's CRUDE: THE REAL PRICE OF OIL follows the controversial class action legal battle against the Chevron corporation in Ecuador, while his UNDER AFRICAN SKIES takes an insightful look at Paul Simon's seminal 1986 album "Graceland," as well as the controversy surrounding his travel to South Africa during apartheid to utilize the talents of local musicians. Additionally, Sinofsky's GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT: THE LEGACY OF SUN RECORDS constructs an absorbing history of the legendary Memphis recording studio Sun Records.
As a special extension of the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival, these screenings are priced as festival screenings ($13).
UNDER AFRICAN SKIES
Free outdoor screening on the Silver Plaza, June 22!
No passes accepted.
n 1986, musician Paul Simon released the wildly popular Grammy Award-winning album "Graceland." Inspired by the unique rhythms and harmonies he was hearing from South Africa, Simon traveled there on a whim to record the album using local musicians. Simon's trip, however, went against a United Nations cultural boycott of South Africa at the time designed to help end apartheid. Scorned by many, Simon was unprepared for the wave of hostile backlash in response to his actions. Others however, particularly in retrospect, credited him for helping to bridge cultural gaps through music. Packed with the incredible music of "Graceland," UNDER AFRICAN SKIES finds Simon returning to South Africa to revisit those controversial days and answer his critics.
DIR/PROD Joe Berlinger; PROD Jon Kamen, Justin Wilkes. US, 2012, 101 min.
No passes accepted.
Fri, Jun 22, 9:00 (Free and open to the public; no tickets needed);
Wed, Jun 27, 5:00
In their first feature length documentary, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky examine the unsettling case of 59-year-old Delbert Ward, an isolated and virtually illiterate man in rural upstate New York who stands accused of murdering his equally cloistered older brother Bill in a mercy killing. As the previously disengaged local community rushes to the defense, some disturbing allegations come to the forefront.
DIR Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky. US, 1992, 104 min.
METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER
American heavy metal band Metallica has been making music and evolving since 1981. In METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER, filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky follow members of the band as they struggle to record their 2003 album "St. Anger." Documenting the behind-the-scenes drama and personal relationships the band members have with each other, the film reveals a surprising intimacy rarely seen in the world of heavy metal.
DIR Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky. US, 2004, 141 min.
PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS
In this first in a three-part series, Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger explore the riveting case of the "West Memphis Three," a group of teenagers accused of the brutal murders of three elementary school boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1993. Focusing on the charismatic perceived ringleader of the WM3, Damien Echols, the filmmakers examine the seriously flawed local justice system in which Damien and the others are condemned for their fondness for wearing black and listening to heavy metal music. Within a community that believes that Satanism is to blame, who is really responsible for the violent murders of three children?
DIR Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky. US, 1996, 150 min.
CRUDE: THE REAL PRICE OF OIL
In this remarkable film, Joe Berlinger draws attention to the devastating environmental effects in the Ecuadorian Amazon resulting from unconscionable exploitation of South American workers and infuriating bureaucracy. At the center of the controversy is Texaco/Chevron Oil and the class action lawsuit brought against it by thousands of affected Ecuadorian workers. Dissecting the complexities of the case from multiple angles, Berlinger takes a hard-hitting look at this epic battle, as well as the global environmental impact and human suffering caused by the "Amazon Chernobyl."
DIR/PROD Joe Berlinger; PROD J.R. Deleon, Mike Bonfiglio, Richard Stratton. Ecuador/US/UK, 2009, 104 min.
GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT: THE LEGACY OF SUN RECORDS
Former radio engineer Sam Phillips founded the legendary Memphis, Tennessee, recording studio Sun Records in 1952. Cultivating the unique southern flavored talents of such artists as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison before they were well known, Phillips was integral in giving rock and roll a new voice. Filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky illuminates the fascinating history of Sun Records and the significant impact it had on the history of music.
DIR Bruce Sinofsky. US, 2011, 112 min.
PARADISE LOST 2: REVELATIONS
In the second installment of the engrossing PARADISE LOST series, filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky return to the notorious case of the West Memphis Three in which three teenagers were accused of the 1993 brutal murders of three boys in what some locals believe to be part of a satanic ritual. While the WM3 still vehemently proclaim their innocence seven years after the crime, even an overwhelming lack of evidence can't convince members of the local community who still believe that devil worship is a real and looming threat. At the same time, new disturbing evidence puts one of the victim's stepfathers in the hotseat.
DIR Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky. US, 2000, 130 min.
PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY
The third foray into the notorious murder case of the West Memphis Three, and nominated for an Academy Award in 2012, filmmakers Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger check in with the memorable characters from West Memphis, Arkansas, 12 years after the second film. Still proclaiming their innocence, the WM3 and their legal team work toward winning a new hearing that takes into account recent developments in DNA testing. The film also covers a surprise development in the case when the three accused murderers finally win their freedom after 18 years in prison.
DIR Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky. PROD Joe Berlinger, Jonathan Silberberg. US, 2011, 121 min.