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Thumbnails 6/29/20

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.—Chaz Ebert


"To Be a Free Person: Ksenia Ivanova on 'Jack and Anna'": The Russian-born director speaks with me at Cinema Femme about her acclaimed short film, which will be screening virtually in July as part of Heartland Film's Indy Shorts Independent Film Festival.

“In order to have a necessary reset, we should definitely change our way of thinking. We need to finally realize that we have this planet, it is our home and we need to take care of it. As filmmakers, we have this great tool to teach people, and we need to embrace this moment as an opportunity to enlighten the world. One of my next ideas for a film is environmentally themed and explores the relationship between human beings and animals. We’ve seen cruelty take so many different forms, and I think filmmakers can use this situation to shape our world into something better. I also hope that the industry will open up more opportunities for everyone who wants to work and live in America, not just for a small amount of privileged people.


"'War of the Words' Might be Steven Spielberg's Most Terrifying Film": According to Erik Childress at Rotten Tomatoes.

The ill-fated ferry ride itself is a horrifying set-piece well beyond the nightmares of Sheriff Brody, ‘Jaws’’ heroic lawman, who also never had to decide whether to save his kids by killing Mayor Vaughn, whose crimes against humanity were far greater than just making too much noise, like Tim Robbins Harlan. The throwaway moment of a blood bank announcing that they ‘have more blood than we can use’ is alternately ominous and reassuring, but paired with the sight of an alien tripod harvesting a human being and spewing their blood across the landscape, it offers little comfort. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.


"Out of Hiding: Group of Ethiopia's Hidden Jews Find Aid and Support to Improve Their Lives and Practice Judaism": An essential report from Keri Guten Cohen at The Jewish News.

Poverty is rampant among the Hidden Jews, Moges said, adding, ‘Most people live hand to mouth and use what little money they earn to buy food.’ He says they make about 90% of Ethiopia’s crafts — pottery, weaving, blacksmithing and metal work using ancient methods — and are known as the Bal Ej (crafts makers). In Ethiopia, these are seen as lowly professions. Because of superstition, no one will buy from them directly in the market, so a broker buys their wares and resells them.”


"'Gone With the Wind' Has Returned to HBO Max With Prologue About How Film 'Denies the Horrors of Slavery'": As reported by TVLine's Matt Webb Mitovich.

“[Jacqueline] Stewart notes how producer David O. Selznick assured the NAACP at the time that he was ‘sensitive to the feelings of minority peoples,’ yet proceeded to deliver a film that depicts a ‘world of grace and beauty, without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery upon which this world is based.’ Stewart says that ‘the treatment of this world through the lens of nostalgia denies the horrors of slavery as well its legacies of racial inequality.’


"On Black Storytelling and Why Hollywood Must Irrevocably Change": Vital Commentary from Deborah Goodwin at The Talkhouse. 

My ‘reasoning’ for this was that Black stories are harder to sell, more difficult to market overseas, less valuable to mainstream domestic distributors, unless they fall squarely into what we still ridiculously label ‘urban’ content. In other words, unless you are writing poverty porn, urban-set crime dramas or feeding the chitlin circuit, you best not be writing about your own Black experience, which in my case is still an experience that, as a biracial woman, hovers between misunderstood and erased.

Image of the Day

Stephan Elliott's 1994 gem "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" is among the titles spotlighted in Sam Cleal's BuzzFeed list of "30 Incredible Queer Movies You Should Be Watching Over Pride Month."

Video of the Day

The silver screen's first interracial kiss, which was featured in 1957's "Island in the Sun," was included in Ranker's list of "The Most Important 'Firsts' in Film History," as compiled by Ann Casano.

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the former Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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