The initial lineup for the return of the popular FREE Film Society Talks series kicking off tomorrow, Tuesday, February 11, with Philomena’s Stephen Frears and Steve Coogan. The upcoming events will include a combination of panels, clips, trailers and extended conversations, with questions also taken from the audience. Free tickets will be distributed at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center box office on a first-come, first-served basis starting one hour prior to the conversations.
Following Philomena will be by Tony and Emmy award-winning actress and singer Elaine Stritch on Tuesday, February 18 for the upcoming documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me; on Friday, February 21 Dallas Buyers Club Golden Globe winner and Academy Award-nominated actor, Matthew McConaughey will discuss his current work, and on Wednesday, February 26 Elijah Wood will talk about his upcoming film, Grand Piano.
The Art of Advertising on Thursday, February 27 will include Steve Coulson (Campfire), Behnam Karbassi (No Mimes Media), and Jennifer Warren (Brand Cinema) in a lively discussion of the art and craft of making experiences that appeal to modern consumers. And then on Monday, March 31 Saul Austerlitz, author of Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community and New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum will lead a discussion titled Laugh Track: The Evolution of the Sitcom, about the sitcom’s past and present, after screening two classic sitcom episodes dedicated to the theme of death —one almost wholly farcical, the other disarmingly emotional.
STEPHEN FREARS AND STEVE COOGAN
Banished to a convent and forced to give up her baby, an Irish Catholic woman, Philomena Lee sets out in search of her son in this true story about one woman’s battle with the church establishment, namely a group of nuns who forced her to put her child up for adoption. Judi Dench stars as the title character and Coogan, who produced and co-wrote the film, co-stars as an inquisitive journalist in this film that has earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Judi Dench), Best Adapted Screenplay (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope), and Original Score (Alexandre Desplat). British filmmaker Stephen Frears, well known as director of The Queen (2006), High Fidelity (2000), The Grifters (1990) and Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Prick Up Your Ears (1987) was introduced to American audiences with his 1985 film, My Beautiful Laundrette, starring a young Daniel Day Lewis.
*Tuesday, February 11: 7:00PM
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
At 89 years young, the legendary Elaine Stritch is now back in Michigan near where she was born. After decades as the most famous resident of Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel and a fixture on Broadway and in famed cabarets, Stritch decided to leave her singing and acting career behind after more than seventy years appearing on stages worldwide. Her performance of The Ladies Who Lunch in Stephen Sondheim’s Company is a definitive musical moment (and it was captured on screen in a Pennebaker documentary). In Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Chiemi Karasawa captures the humor and intensity of this iconic American artist as she hits the road with her show for one last time. The new documentary, a hit at film festivals last year, opens in theaters later this month.
*Tuesday, February 18: 6:30PM
Dallas Buyers Club
Popular Texas actor Matthew McConaughey has appeared in nearly 50 films since debuting in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused over 20 years ago. But it’s his work in the past few years that has established this performer as one of the most distinctive actors working right now; he has made his mark on several notable American movies, from Mud and Killer Joe to The Wolf of Wall Street and Magic Mike. McConaughey is an Oscar nominee for his performance as real-life AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. An imperfect man fighting for survival during an uncertain time in America, Ron’s self-interest is galvanized into something much more. Dallas Buyers Club is nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor (McConaughey).
*Friday, February 21: 5:30PM
Now in his early 30s, Elijah Wood is one of few actors to have already appeared in a role that will live on well beyond his time as an actor. As Frodo in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wood made his mark and secured a loyal legion of fans. Yet, over a career already approaching 100 on screen credits, Elijah Wood has shown interest in a range of characters. In Grand Piano, Wood stars as a super talented pianist who has given up public performances due to stage fright. In this thriller, he returns to the stage after an absence only to learn that he’s in the sights of a sniper and one wrong note could kill him. The film opens in theaters next month.
*Wednesday, February 26: 6:30PM
THE ART OF ADVERTISING
No longer content to be passive consumers of entertainment, the “New Audience” wants to be active participants in their media. This group doesn’t want to be told about a product via traditional advertising – the 30-second TV spot (who watches live TV!). This has led to a resurgence in “Branded Entertainment,” content supported by long form narrative and crafted to appeal to an audience that actively searches it out to engages with it. To build a branded experience that actively engages an audience takes heart and soul…and story. Navigating between compelling story and promoting a brand’s message is itself an art. Join Steve Coulson (Campfire), Behnam Karbassi (No Mimes Media), and Jennifer Warren (Brand Cinema) in a lively discussion of the art and craft of making experiences that appeal to modern consumers.
*Thursday, February 27: 7:30PM
Laugh Track: THE EVOLUTION OF THE SITCOM
The sitcom is defined by its episodes. Each one is a self-enclosed world, a brief overturning of the established order of the show’s universe before returning, unblemished, to the precise spot from which it began. And great shows are often defined by their truly outstanding episodes—individual installments like The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust,” or Sex and the City’s “My Motherboard, My Self.” This event offers two classic sitcom episodes about death—one almost wholly farcical, the other disarmingly emotional. Saul Austerlitz, author of Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community, and New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum will lead a discussion after the screening about the sitcom’s past and present, and take questions from the audience.
*Monday, March 31: 6:30PM