MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

Voynar By Kim

Roger and Me

When I was a little girl growing up in Oklahoma City, I was a little geek who read books voraciously and wrote incessantly. I told stories to myself while walking to school to pass the time. I scribbled stories during class, hiding a notebook inside my textbook so my teachers wouldn’t know what I was…

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Yellow-facing and White-washing: The Racial Issues Raised by the Casting of The Last Airbender

I’ve been loosely following the whole kerfuffle surrounding the casting of M. Night Shyamalan‘s live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender (renamed The Last Airbender, presumably to avoid confusion with James Cameron‘s Avatar project), wherein the lead characters of the Asian-influenced animated television series have magically become white people in the live-action version. Avatar is one of my own kids’…

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Drunken Sex or Date Rape? A Look at the Issues Raised by Observe and Report

There’s been a bit of a brouhaha stirring over opening weekend about the alleged “date rape” scene in Observe and Report. When the film played at SXSW I didn’t hear a single person even mention this scene as being at all controversial. Now, as the film is seen – or not seen – by a larger…

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What’s the Truth About Objectivity in Documentaries?

The idea of a documentary film tends to evoke a certain perception that what we’re seeing on-screen is purely non-fiction, a “document of the truth.” But is it possible to say that any documentary encapsulates some objective idea of “truth,” as opposed to the story the filmmaker seeks to tell, albeit through footage taken from…

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Gentle Pressure, Relentlessly Applied: Women’s Voices in a Man’s World

Hip-hop music is a male-dominated field, although there have long been female voices fighting for a place above the testosterone-heavy fray. When the predominant voice of a culture, artistically, politically, and socially, belongs to one gender, how does the other perspective get heard — and, when it is heard, taken seriously? This weighed heavily on…

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“I always thought that once I had lived in Chicago for a while, it would be interesting to do a portrait of the city – but to do it at a significant time. Figuring out when would be the ideal time to do that was the trick. So when this election came around, coupled with the Laquan McDonald trial, it seemed like the ideal time to do the story. Having lived in Chicagoland for thirty-five-plus years and done a number of films here, I’ve always been struck by the vibrancy of the city and its toughness. Its tenderness too. I’ve always been interested in the people at the center of all the stories. This is a different film in that regard, because we’re not following a couple of individuals over the course of the project in the way that a lot of the films I’ve done have, but I still feel like people’s voices and aspirations and hopes are at the center of this series.

It wasn’t easy. We started back in July 2018, it was actually on the Fourth of July – that was our first shoot. It’s like most documentaries in that the further you go along the more involved and obsessed you get, and you just start shooting more and more and more. We threw ourselves into this crazy year in Chicago. We got up every day and tried to figure out if we should be out shooting or not, and what it is we should shoot. We were trying to balance following this massive political story of the mayor’s race and these significant moments like the Laquan McDonald trial with taking the pulse of people in the city that we encounter along the way and getting a sense of their lives and what it means to live here. By election day, Zak Piper, our producer, had something like six cameras out in the field. You could double-check that, it might have been seven. We had this organized team effort to hit all the candidates as they were voting, if they hadn’t already voted. We hit tons of polling places, were at the Board of Elections and then were at the parties for the candidates that we had been able to follow closely. Then of course, we were trying to make sure we were at the parties of the candidates who made it to the runoff. So, yeah, it was kind of a monster.”
~ Steve James On City So Real

“I really want to see The Irishman. I’ve heard it’s big brother Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. But I really can’t find the time. The promotion schedule is so tight, there’s no opportunity to see a three and a half-hour movie. But I really want to see it. In 2017, right before Okja’s New York premiere, I had the chance to go to Scorsese’s office, which is in the DGA building. There’s a lovely screening room there, too, with film prints that he’s collected. I talked to him for about an hour. There’s no movie he hasn’t seen, even Korean films. We talked about what he’s seen and his past work. It was a glorious day. I’ve loved his work since I was in college. Who doesn’t? Anyone involved with movies must feel the same way.”
~ Bong Joon-ho