As a city that dates back to some of the earliest days of this country, it’s not surprising that much of our architecture is considered historical. Entire neighborhoods in Boston are designated “historical districts,” make it necessary that all businesses and residences within those limits adhere to strict standards in regards to maintaining the look of the time period the area is representative of. Many areas of Cambridge are the same way. This is part of the problem for the cast and crew of the 33 year-old PBS series, “This Old House,” which just began shooting it’s newest season at a home near Porter Square.
Cast members Kevin O’Connor and Tom Silva have been on the scene from the beginning, working on gutting the interior of the house and offering insight into what sorts of changes are being made to the structure. The Bellevue Ave. home was originally built in 1887 and is owned by Cambridge couple Sally Peterson and John Stone. Because the house is historic, the exterior will remain largely unchanged, but the interior will be completely gutted. Mounted cameras have been placed throughout the three stories in order to capture the progress of the work. As the renovations have already begun moving along, the construction crews are using various green construction practices as part of the overall show project. Many of the materials salvaged from the inside of the old home, including the kitchen sink, will be resold so that they can be re-used and repurposed. The first episode of the new season featuring the Cambridge home will premiere on WGBH this October.
★ Charlie Sheen tells a Boston radio station that he might return to “Two and a Half Men.”
★ Henry Louis Gates, who appeared in the PBS-TV series “African American Lives” and “Faces of America,” died.
★ Can you hear me now? Verizon ad guy, who resides in Connecticut, ends his contract.
★ Maine resident Kara DioGuardi admits she was molested as a child in her new book.
★ Catherine Zeta Jones checks into a mental health facility in Connecticut to treat her bipolar disorder.
★ Of the celebrities who have gone to college, many of them have gone to colleges here in Boston, including Harvard and Emerson.
★ NBC to air Concord, MA native Steve Carell’s final episode of “The Office” on April 28.
Fans of aristocracy and Newport, Rhode Island history can now rejoice as the critically acclaimed documentary Behind the Hedgerow: Eileen Slocum and the Meaning of Newport Society makes its broadcast debut at 8PM this Wednesday, April 6, 2011, on WSBE/Rhode Island PBS.
The feature length film tells the history of aristocratic Newport through the focus of one of Newport’s last grand dames, Eileen Gillespie Slocum. You can expect the documentary, which was last year’s opening night feature at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, to cover not only Slocum’s long life and stature, but the Gilded Age when the Vanderbilts and Astors reigned.
Director David Bettencourt and producer/writer G. Wayne Miller had unprecedented access to Slocum’s extensive personal archive of photographs, books, belongings and papers – notably the diaries she kept for sixty years to tell Slocum’s story. Rare footage and still photographs from a multitude of sources and on-camera interviews of people in Eileen Slocum’s set and Slocum’s family help give this documentary a complete picture of life as a New England aristocrat.
Behind the Hedgerow is the second title from Eagle Peak Media, the production company founded in 2008 by the film’s writer and director. The company’s first documentary, On the Lake, was nominated for an Emmy by the New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has been broadcast in PBS markets across America.
You can now buy the director’s cut DVD with bonus footage of Behind the Hedgerow online or at gift shops of The Preservation Society of Newport County, which operates The Breakers, Marble House and other Newport mansions and sites. Details on other air dates for Behind the Hedgerow can be found on PBS. To learn more about Behind the Hedgerow or Eagle Peak Media, make sure to check out their website.
The 33rd Annual Boston/New England Emmy competition will be announced May 22 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.
One of this year’s first time nominees is Eagle Peak Media’s documentary On the Lake, directed by David Bettencourt and produced by G. Wayne Miller. Centering on the tuberculosis epidemic in early 1900s America and globally today, the documentary was inspired by a series Miller wrote for the Providence Journal, where he is a staff writer. The articles centered on a Rhode Island state hospital that opened in the early 1900s and served as a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients.
In response to his first Emmy nomination, writer/producer Miller said, “We are honored to be considered for this award, and we thank the Academy’s independent judges. It’s a testament to the dedication and hard work of our entire crew.”
Next up for Miller and and Bettencourt, their first feature-length film, Behind the Hedgegrow: Eileen Slocum and the Meaning of Newport Society, will premiere this August at this year’s Rhode Island International Film Festival.
If you’re interested in watching On the Lake, it still broadcasts on PBS and is available through Netflix, Amazon and other outlets. For more information, visit the film’s website.
For more information on Eagle Peak Media productions and their upcoming projects, visit their website.
The encouragement of fresh talent is beyond important, but it can often be overlooked in today’s competitive and fast-paced society. By providing those talented individuals with an outlet to really express themselves, original voices and visions can emerge in the most exciting of ways. With this in mind, the reason for starting WGBH Lab in 2003 was simple – to create a platform for filmmakers to work with each other and to grow.
Since its conception, WGBH Lab has offered a virtual and physical space for innovation and experimentation in the world of user generated content. It is both a resource and community for media makers to create and collaborate on their video/audio production work. The opportunities are really for any passionate filmmaker, as it is considered just a stage for an individual’s creativity. Some filmmakers have walked away from a project done with WGBH Lab toting various awards, Emmys, and multiple regional and national broadcast opportunities.
WGBH Lab is made up of three distinct programs, each of which offers its own unique prospects. The first program, “Lab Open Call,” is their most popular, where they partner up with PBS shows to generate a compelling topic, and allow you to submit your take on a certain subject for a chance at a direct PBS broadcast opportunity. The second program, “Lab Sandbox,” provides you with the ability to watch and download free video clips selected from the WGBH Media Library that you can then cut, loop, and play around with to make your own unique creation. Lastly, there’s “Filmmakers in Residence,” which gives filmmakers and media producers with independent funding the chance to produce or post-produce a film during a six- to nine-month residency at WGBH.
Looking ahead, WGBH Lab is spending the bulk of 2010 focusing on their Open Call series, two in particular that they are very excited about. The first is “The Video Diary Open Call,” for which WGBH Lab has partnered with Masterpiece Classic to give an outlet to young media makers (13 and up) to submit video diaries centered on the harder parts of their lives, and what they’ve had to do to overcome adversity or discrimination. The idea is inspired by The Diary of Anne Frank, and portions of the diaries submitted may be selected for broadcast on Masterpiece Classic’s PBS airing of The Diary of Anne Frank on April 11th, 2010.
The second upcoming project is “The Antiques Roadshow Open Call,” where WGBH Lab and “Antiques Roadshow” are asking antiques enthusiasts to submit original home movies or short videos about items passed down in their families from now until the end of May. Three of the submissions will win a pair of VIP tickets to an “Antiques Roadshow” appraisal event this summer and may be chosen for national broadcast, featured on the web, or distributed to PBS stations nationwide as stand-alone video shorts.
WGBH Lab relies on their interactions to keep the site alive, so visit them here to watch videos, rate, comment, review, and participate.
Award-winning filmmaker, James Rutenbeck, finally sees the light of national coverage for his independent film, Scenes From A Parish airing on the PBS series “Independent Lens.” The documentary film is about St. Patrick’s Parish in Lawrence, MA and the changing faces of a community that once was predominantly Irish American and is now divided. Rutenbeck captured the truth of issues not only happening at this neighborhood church but at parishes across the country that are dealing with a divided community, homelessness, and drugs. Father Paul O’Brien, the head pastor at St. Patrick’s Parish, desperately wants to unite its community and isn’t giving up–even with some disagreement from community members. The film shadows nine different lives in the community, including Father O’Brien’s. Creatively, Rutenbeck was able to capture the distresses these individuals faced outside the walls of the parish.
“I was looking for a new challenge in my filmmaking career,” Rutenbeck told us, “I wanted to tell a story through many stories in the community. I wanted to connect with people I may have not connected with before.
Rutenbeck said that when he first started filming he thought it was only going to take a year, but as the stories were unfolding, Rutenbeck wanted his own understanding of what was happening in this community. They never had enough money to work on the film full time, so it took 4 years to finish.
Although this will be the first national exposure the film has received it certainly has not been sitting on a pew. Last April it ran at the Museum of Fine Arts for a week and also has been shown at two film festivals even one right here in Boston. But finally after months of waiting, it’s getting the light it deserves.
“Many fine filmmakers don’t get the chance to be exposed at a national level,” Rutenbeck told HEC, “I am very grateful and excited.”
For more on the film, visit the Scenes From A Parish website. There you can watch clips and read more about Rutenbeck and the making of the film. Watch the film on PBS on December 29th at 10pm and January 3rd at 9pm. If you think this may be a good stocking stuffer, you can purchase the film at neoflex. We look forward to watching this inspirational film on its debut.
Sunday marked the first day of PBS’s broadcast of the most recent documentary by Ken Burns, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The documentary, which has been broadcasted throughout the week, is a six-episode series directed by Burns that showcases the grandeur of American nation parks such as Acadia, Yosemite, Arches, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and the Gates of the Arctic. In addition spellbinding panoramas of the magnificence of nature, the film explores the human ties to the land, focusing on the people that are connected to these locations in a myriad of different ways.
Burns, who was born in New York but earned a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and currently resides in Walpole, NH, is most well known for his three documentaries The War, Baseball, and The Civil War, which earned over 40 major film and television awards including two Emmys, two Grammys, the Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild of America, the People’s Choice Award and the Peabody Award, among many others. Until today, many critics consider The Civil War Burns’ masterpiece.
Burns got his start on PBS with The Brooklyn Bridge, which he produced in 1981. The film detailed the history of the Brooklyn Bridge, formerly called the Great East River Bridge, and its effects on American culture past and present. It was nominated for an Academy Award a year later. Since then at least 19 films by Burns have been featured on PBS and he has produced and directed many others.
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea is broadcasting on PBS throughout this week. Check your local listings for show times or visit the PBS website for a complete schedule of all the episodes within the series.
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