MCN Columnists
Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Premiere: “Raising Bertie” On POV

Raising-BertieOne of my favorite docs of the year, Margaret Byrne’s long-in-the-works Raising Bertie, debuts on POV on August 28. A behaviorally rich and visually ravishing six-year immersion into the African-American North Carolina farming community of Bertie County, the rich narrative follows the lives of three young men approaching adulthood. “I love vérité filmmaking and telling stories that leave the audience asking questions,” Byrne told me for 2016’s Film 50 in Newcity, as she described her observational knack. “Having trusting relationships with the people I film is the foundation of making a story that honors their experience and is authentic. I worked on ‘Raising Bertie’ for seven years, so those families and that community are very close to my heart. I’m not interested in making easy films, I want to challenge myself and I want to challenge audiences.” The absorbing Raising Bertie rises to all its challenges.

Raising Bertie debuts Monday, August 28 on POV. Local listings here. Trailer here.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch