Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is profiled in the new documentary “RBG.” Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews the directing duo of Betsy West and Julie Cohen on Ginsburg’s career fighting for women’s rights. They discuss their personal experiences of enduring sexism in the worlds of broadcast news and public radio.
Joe Berlinger has been making documentaries for over 25 years. He started out at Maysles Films where he met Bruce Sinofsky. In 1992, they made “Brother’s Keeper”, a story of a murder trial in upstate New York, that revitalized observational documentary. They went on to make the “Paradise Lost” trilogy and “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.”
Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Joe on his career including the rupture and reunion in his partnership with Bruce who died in 2015. They also discuss Joe’s latest film “Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial and Depiction” (Starz) that examines the legacy of the Armenian genocide. For decades, the history of the genocide has been fiercely contested by the Turkish government. “Intent to Destroy” brings a unique angle by following the making of a big budget Hollywood film “The Promise” that aspires to capture the genocide’s history as an epic in the tradition of “Doctor Zhivago.” With that framing device, Joe interviews contemporary figures active in the historical debate including scholar Peter Balakian, filmmaker Atom Egoyan and the former U.S. ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evan.
This interview was recorded at the School of Visual Arts MFA Social Documentary Program. Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.
Grace Jones has been commanding attention for decades as a singer, actress and icon. Now filmmaker Sophie Fiennes crafts a documentary as unconventional as its subject in “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami.” The film immerses us into Grace’s life on the road – from her childhood home in Jamaica to the recording studio of “Hurricane” to stops in London, Paris and New York. Interwoven with these scenes is a concert staged for the film with set designed by Eiko Ishioka.
Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Sophie about her path to making the film. She discusses growing up in an artistic family and being inspired by films such as Frederick Wiseman’s “Titicut Follies,” Charles Atlas’ “Hail the New Puritan” and Victor Kossakovsky’s “Belovy.”
She discusses why Grace wanted to do the film, why it took several years to complete and what happened the night of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
This interview was recorded at SVA’s MFA Social Documentary program.
Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.