Gary Hustwit's 2011 documentary Urbanized will screen on Monday, May 13, at Georgia Tech's Reinsch-Pierce Family Auditorium at 6:30 pm in partnership between the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the Georgia Tech School of Architecture.
The film screens as part of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center's current exhibition Jon Pack & Gary Hustwit: The Olympic City.
We caught up with Ellen Dunham-Jones, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center's Artistic Director Stuart Horodner to discuss some of the issues in the film, and how they apply to Atlanta.
We begin with Dunham-Jones, who is featured in the film.
Discuss the process of participating in the film. How did Gary Hustwit reach out to you? How long was the interview, etc?
I'm not sure how they found me - but I suspect in their research on urbanism they found my TedX talk. Gary and a cameraman came to Atlanta and filmed me at Georgia Tech for a little over an hour. They told me to expect only about 1-3 minutes to make it into the film so at the end of the interview I had NO idea what parts they would select.
You get one of the best quotes in the film - paraphrasing Supreme Court Chief Justice Potter Stewart's famous line about pornography to define "sprawl." Given that there's only so much a film can convey in its timeframe, were there any points where you feel the film missed the mark, or failed to make your case?
It was clear from Gary's questions that he wanted me to talk about sprawl. I was happy to do so, but kept trying to squeak in discussion of solutions to sprawl and my research on retrofitting suburbia. I love the film but wish there had also been inclusion of the ways we are reinhabiting, redeveloping and regreening underperforming suburban properties.
From Buster Keaton's Haunted House and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein to Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn and Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead, humor and horror have gone hand-in-glove since the advent of film.
Laughter has an uncanny knack for diffusing tension. A crafty filmmaker can prey on the heightened state of attention the audiences pays to the genre by subverting expectations with a well-placed joke.
Hitchcock knew this best of all. While his stabs at pure comedy missed the target, the humor he squeezed from his thrillers is dazzling.
A local Web series by creator/writer/producer/director Elizabeth Stacy, titled Zombie Socks: The Series, follows in this tradition. Set sometime after the Zombie Apocalypse, each webisode is shot in the style of a popular unscripted television show.
Stacy overcomes her limited resources with ambition, organization, and a practical flair for creative problem-solving that led her to apply for Zombie Socks to become the first series to become a post-merger SAG-AFTRA new media production in Georgia. CL caught up with Stacy to ask her a few questions about the show.
Producer and entrepreneur Autumn Bailey is a tireless advocate for the "little people" who make up the Georgia Entertainment Industry.
In addition to furnishing networking opportunities for up-and-comers to meet and mingle with professionals in Georgia's booming film and television industry in a relaxing and fun environment at the immensely popular monthly mixer called Get Connected, serving as the Director of Panels at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival where experience professionals share their expertise with aspiring filmmakers, and managing Autumn Bailey Entertainment, where she produces documentaries, shorts, features and unscripted television shows, Autumn is the driving force behind the newest event on Georgia's social calendar: The Georgia Entertainment Gala, described as a "night of immaculate elegance showcasing the immense talent that Georgia has to offer in the entertainment industry...an awards ceremony created to honor the excellence of Georgia's film and music industry professionals, live entertainment, and the world's most tantalizing complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres."
1. What is the Georgia Entertainment Gala? How does this fit into your other networking projects ?
This Gala is designed to bring the Georgia Entertainment Industry out for a night of entertainment and fun. I love the indie community and I feel we are all one part of one giant industry family. I see so many folks doing amazing work that never get recognized. So many people contribute to the success we are experiencing in the state.
When the Georgia World Congress Center approached me about producing an event, I said "Why not an upscale event that shines the spotlight on folks who support production and entertainment in Georgia?"
In some ways, this is the logical extension of Get Connected. Were it not for the monthly event, there would not be a Gala. Get Connected is the mother of the Georgia Entertainment Gala.
Also, the Gala is an opportunity to give back to the community. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the art program of Bethune Elementary School, a Title-One school located in downtown Atlanta's "Vine City." It is a predominately African-American school, which encourages students to strive for academic excellence. The art program uses a Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) that enriches students' learning by connecting art concepts to core subjects that incorporate history, aesthetics, art criticism and production.
2. How to you answer those who believe we don't need another awards show? What will set the GEG apart? What can the audience expect, in other words, why should someone pony up the cash to attend this event?
One thing he most certainly is not, however, is a dick.
Contrary to popular belief, he appears to be mellow, thoughtful, and as interested in you as you are in him. That’s the impression I gathered when I chatted with him last week at Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def studios. Lee was in town promoting his latest film, Red Hook Summer, which spins a tale that touches both Atlanta and Brooklyn, so it’s sort fitting that he’d visit the ATL.
While lounging at the lair of Mr. Dupri (who, along with a few of his staff members, slipped in to pose and snap iPhone photos with Spike), we chatted about Red Hook and a few other hot topics.
Well, congratulations on the new film man.
Thank you. How long you been writing for Creative Loafing?
I’ve been with them for like 8 years.
Where did you go to school?
Where’s that — Indiana?
Yeah, Muncie. You know, you’re one of the few directors that I argue about with people.
Yeah? What’s the argument?
Well, we fight about legacy a lot, and where you stack up with other directors. I remember years ago, someone tried to compare you to Woody Allen. Back then you said you were only a few films into your career. But now you’ve got a large body of work. So, with the release of Red Hook Summer, what are your thoughts on your cinematic legacy?
It’s not done! [I’m] keeping it going. I mean, look, this is a busy time. I got Red Hook Summer opening in New York, so I’m doing press. [Last] Sunday, the Broadway play I directed — Tyson [the one-man show starring former boxer Mike Tyson] — that ends. Then I’ll be in Venice for the world premiere of my Michael Jackson documentary, about the making of the Bad album. And then in the fall, I start [working on the film] Old Boy.
Getting back to Red Hook Summer, you’ve stated how this is the latest film in your “Chronicles of Brooklyn” ...
She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, Crooklyn, Clcokers, He Got Game and now Red Hook Summer; that’s six films. And you could say six and a half, because Jungle Fever goes between Harlem and Bensonhurst, and Bensonhurst is in Brooklyn. That’s six and a half!
OK. Now, also throughout your films, it seems like you’ve touched on Atlanta a couple of times, like in School Daze and now Red Hook. Do have any plans to tap Atlanta again?
Oh yeah. I have a script [for] a contemporary film that takes place on the campus of Mission College, which was the school in School Daze.
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