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NEW VIEWS: Premiere Documentaries in Aspen

 A recent renaissance in documentary filmmaking is having a major impact on American public discourse regarding the arts, politics, and society. To further explore this connection, NEW VIEWS: Premiere Documentariespresents five new documentaries focusing on music, the visual arts, photography, and more. Not yet available to the general public, these inspiring, thought-provoking films have won acclaim and awards on the international film festival circuit.

Each screening will be followed by a conversation with the director or a relevant special guest that will be moderated by Laura Thielen, artistic director of Aspen Film, and poet and critic Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts and current director of the Aspen Institute's Harman-Eisner Program in the Arts.

NEW VIEWS: Premiere Documentaries is made possible by generous donations from Evelyn and Leonard Lauder and Jane and Michael Eisner.

NEW VIEWS: Premiere Documentaries Line-up

July 8: The Furious Force of Rhymes
The Aspen Institute presents an advance viewing of Director Joshua Atesh Litle's (Ever Since the World Ended) new work-in-progress, The Furious Force of Rhymes. Traveling through four continents and six countries, The Furious Force of Rhymes is a fascinating documentary look at hip-hop as transnational protest music. The viewer will encounter characters as diverse as Israeli Jews, marginalized French Arabs, East German skinhead punks, and West African feminists, all of whom share a common musical language. Originating from the ghettos of New York, rap music has found adherents in every country in the world.  Recognizing themselves in the oppression of American blacks, people everywhere have adapted the U.S. street music to their own causes. The Furious Force of Rhymes is produced by ARTE, the Smithsonian Channel, Link TV, and the prestigious French documentary company Les Films d'Ici, well known for Waltz with Bashir and To Be and to Have. (Film length TBA.) Director Joshua Atesh Litle will be present.

July 19: Bill Cunningham New York
"We all get dressed for Bill," says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Bill Cunningham is an 80-year-old New York Times photographer and unlikely man-about-town. With two weekly columns in the Style section, he captures fashion icons, style on the streets, and the "New York Society" charity whirl populated by the likes of Tom Wolfe, David Rockefeller, and the late Brooke Astor, among others. Far from simple picture taking, this is cultural anthropology at its sartorial best. It took filmmakers Richard Press and Philip Gefter seven years to convince the intensely private Cunningham to be filmed. He has lived in the same small studio above Carnegie Hall for 50 years, never eats in restaurants, and gets around on a worn-out bicycle. Pointing his camera whenever beauty crosses his path, Cunningham has managed to create a poignant and ongoing chronicle of the intersection of fashion and society for over 50 years - in effect, a portrait of New York City itself. (84 min.) Director Richard Press and producer Philip Gefter will be present.

July 26: Waste Land
Equal parts surprise and inspiration, director Lucy Walker's stunning Waste Land follows celebrated Brazilian artist Vik Muniz on his journey to a most unusual studio site. Muniz works a large social canvas, creating photographic images of people using found materials from the places where they live and work. This latest project takes him to Rio de Janeiro and Jardim Gramacho, one of the largest garbage dumps in the world. There he photographs and collaborates with an eclectic band of catadores, local pickers of recyclable materials. Together they embark on a fascinating project, sharing their stories and creating an extraordinary body of work that's as vibrant and monumentally beautiful and dignified as the subjects. Audience Award Winner at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals earlier this year, Waste Land celebrates art's transformative power and the richness of the human spirit. (98 min.) Director Lucy Walker will be present.
August 2: The Woodmans
Delicately constructed and poignantly elegiac, The Woodmans is an intimate portrait of a family whose guiding ethos was making art - all the time. Family patriarch George is a professor and painter. Betty is a ceramicist who earned her own show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their son, Charlie, is a video artist. But the breakout talent was daughter Francesca, one of the late 20th century's most recognized photographers, whose work is collected by major museums and acknowledged as an inspiration for contemporary fashion photography. Her gift emerged in a highly developed way at a very young age, only to end tragically early. Through candid interviews with family and friends, journal entries, performance art videos, and Francesca's photographs, director C. Scott Willis brings to life this young visionary and her impact on her family. A recent Tribeca Film Festival award-winner, this debut feature plumbs the depths of what it truly means to be an artist. (82 min.) Director C. Scott Willis will be present.
August 9: Freakonomics
In this lively screen adaptation of economist Steven D. Levitt and author Stephen J. Dubner's bestseller, an omnibus of powerhouse directors tackles provocative material for a singular cinematic experience. Alex Gibney (Casino Jack and the United States of Money) delivers a visually arresting look at the crumbling facade of Sumo wrestling. Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) offers a revealing angle on the repercussions of baby names. Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) balance levity and candor with their eye-opening profile of an unusual learning incentive. Finally, Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) investigates why crime rates dramatically dropped in the early 1990s. This fascinating interpretation of human behavior by the numbers adds up to a revelatory trip into complex, innovative ideas and altered perspectives on how people think. (85 min.) Producer Chad Troutwine will be present.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners.

About Aspen Film.  Established in 1979, Aspen Film is one of Colorado's most active film arts organizations, presenting more than 200 programs and featuring dozens of guest speakers throughout the year. Internationally recognized, Aspen Film organizes a major film event in every season, along with an extensive education program:  Aspen Filmfest, Academy Screenings, Aspen Shortsfest and Film Educates.  Our mission is to enlighten, enrich, educate, and entertain through film. Aspen Film stimulates thought, encourages dialogue, and broadens understanding of our world and ourselves through the diverse spectrum of ideas presented by filmmakers worldwide.

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