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June 28, 1999 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: "This American Life" on TV; SF Jewish Fest

by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE


>> "This American Life" Aiming for TV Project with Miller and Alpert

"This American Life," Ira Glass' acclaimed weekly public radio documentary
program, is being developed into a TV special with doc maker Bennett Miller
("The Cruise") and producer Jed Alpert on board. Glass, Miller, Alpert,
and William Morris Agent Ann Blanchard were in Los Angeles earlier this
month to pitch the project to TV networks and production companies.

Describing the program in an online diary of his trip to LA, Glass
indicated that the program, like his radio show, would be a one-hour
special incorporating 4 or 5 stories on a specific theme. "Each story
would be filmed in a different visual style," explained Glass in a diary
published on The Slate, "It would look like nothing on TV." Continuing he
wrote, "Our hope is that the narratives will be so fiercely compelling that
we can be less traditional in the way the visuals work. In many stories
they'd be more impressionistic, more like a great rock video, more like
Errol Morris, than anything on the TV newsmagazine and documentary
programs."

"This American Life" debuted on Chicago's WBEZ in 1995 and is distributed
weekly to over 325 stations by Public Radio International. Ira Glass is a
self-proclaimed fan of Miller's black and white, digitally shot documentary
and approached the filmmaker after seeing the movie. Alpert, a producer
and rep who is a principle at Sunshine Amalgamedia in New York, represented
"The Cruise" and secured last year's theatrical deal with Artisan.

Glass was recently named to Entertainment Weekly's "It List" of the 100
most creative people in entertainment. The magazine indicates that two
network offers for the special are on the table.

[Eugene Hernandez]

[Read Ira Glass' diaries from Los Angeles on The Slate at:
http://www.slate.com/diary/99-06-07/diary.asp?iMsg=1, for more
information on "This American Life" visit the program's website at:
.]


>> 19th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

The 19th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival continues its tradition of
mapping the Diaspora and exploring identity with a 37-film program set to
roll July 15-22 at the Castro Theater. Opening the fest is the U.S.
premiere of Ivan Nitchev's "After the End of the World," the story of two
childhood sweethearts reunited in Bulgaria years after their multi-ethnic
community was torn apart. A closing night reception follows the local
premiere of Amos Gitai's "Yom Yom," an Israeli comedy about a half-Arab,
half-Jewish hypochondriac.

Six features and shorts will see U.S. premieres, including Christa
Maerker
's "The Roth Explosion" (Germany), a profile of the American
novelist Philip Roth, and Benny Brunner's "The Seventh Million"
(Israel/Germany), an examination of the holocaust survivors' chilly
post-war reception in Israel. Five new episodes of the racy Israeli TV soap
"Florentene" -- a hit at last year's fest -- will screen July 18th. The
schedule is rounded out with works fresh from the 1999 Berlin Film Festival
as well as a number of new American films.

New York cartoonist Ben Katchor ("Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer")
will present a slide-show/performance titled "Carfare City" on July 22. The
evening will include two films about Katchor: Sam Ball's "Pleasures of
Urban Decay
," and George Kuchar's "Urban Doodles."

Following its S.F. run, the program will bounce around the bay with
screenings in Berkeley, Menlo Park and San Rafael. For ticket information,
call the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival at (415) 552-3378, or visit
their web site at www.sfjff.org.

[Carl Russo]





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