TIP OF THE WEEK: ANDkids World Film Festival 2014

2014_ANDKids_web_01Shifts for the July events and performances will be opening on the 10th, and headlining the July shifts is the ANDkids (Arts at Notre Dame) World Film Festival beginning July 23rd. The region’s signature summer children’s film festival, now in its fourth year, will feature an entertaining, educational, and diverse line-up of new films for both children and adults.  Hands down, it’s a blast!

Check out the line-up of films, all of which are free and open to the general public, at http://performingarts.nd.edu/andkids/.  As in years past, the center is inviting children to participate in the planning and execution of the festival.  If you know of any children interested in filling the following roles, please contact Ted Barron at ebarron2@nd.edu.  Your email should include the names and ages of the children who would like to participate and also include what role the children would like to perform from the following list:

  • Film Reviewers – We are looking for kids to preview films, write reviews of 90-120 words and introduce films in front of a live audience.
  • Ushers – We are looking for kids to act as festival greeters and ushers.
  • Narrators/Actors – We are looking for kids to read aloud subtitles during screenings of international films with English subtitles.

Calling All Alfred Hitchcock Fans!!

Undoubtedly, many of you have viewed and enjoyed a vast array of movie films over the years.  And of all that you’ve seen, sometimes there’s nothing like taking in a film classic from times past.  What better place to do this than in the Browning Theater and who better to enjoy than the iconic director and producer, Alfred Hitchcock.hitchcock

Regarded as England’s best filmmaker, Hitchcock produced more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades.  A pioneer inventor in the making of suspense and psychological thrillers, Hitchcock’s work established himself as a master technician of twisted plots and memorable character creation.  Probably more than any other filmmaker, his name evokes instant expectations on the part of the audience; at least two or three great chills (and a few more good ones), some striking black comedy, and elements of sex and violence for good measure.  Movies by Alfred Hitchcock range from the irrefutable masterpieces to minor classics to astonishing experiences in the language of film.

One well known Hitchcock trademark had him making cameo appearances in the beginnings of his films.  He knew viewers were watching for him and he didn’t want to divert their attention from the story’s plot. (See if you can spot him next time you’re watching one of his movies.)cameo

During this current school semester, a stellar selection of Hitchcock films are being presented in the Browning.  So far this year, renowned classics including The Lodger (1926) 39 Steps (1935), Rebecca (1940), Notorious (1946), and Rear Window (1954), have already been offered.rear

Alas, if you happened to miss any of these older, superb films, don’t despair.  The Browning plans to show several more later made Hitchcock classics throughout the month of April.  Pencil in the following dates on your calendar to catch the remaining film series selections:  Vertigo on 4/2, North by Northwest on 4/9, Psych on 4/16, The Birds on 4/23, and Marnie on 4/30.  Start times for all shows is 8:00 pm.birds

So head on over, grab some popcorn and treat yourself to an evening of terrific movie nostalgia and entertainment.

April shifts at a glance…

Because several of the shifts in April may be new to ushers, here is a quick glance at a few that might interest you…

Sacred Music – Joan of Arc:  I Was Born for This – April 4th

joanTaken from one of her most famous quotes, “I am not afraid; I was born to do this,” the Sacred Music Joan of Arc performance in the Leighton Concert Hall will be like none other.  In 1928 the film The Passion of Joan of Arc was made and is considered one of the greatest films of all time.  Much later in 1994, composer Richard Einhorn wrote the cantata Voices of Light to underscore the silent film.  Both works will merge on the Leighton stage with full orchestra and choir (with our own Sean Martin in the ensemble!).

FTT Symposium:  Fascism, War, and Historical Schisms in Contemporary Europe – April 9th & 10th

symposium_poster10Preceding two performances of FTT’s Blood Wedding will be two symposiums in the Philbin discussing themes relevant to the play:

  • April 9th – Panelists Dr. Carlos Jerez-Farran and Dr. Teresa Phelps will discuss Fascism and War:  Garcia Lorca and the Spanish Truth.
  • April 10th – Panelists Caridad Svich, Yiannis Lymtsioulis, and Dr. Diana Jorza will discuss Historical Schisms:  Europe, Spain, and Garcia Lorca

Screening:  Lenny Cooke – April 12th

lennyProfessional sports is known as a true meritocracy, a field in which the cream really does rise to the top, as there’s simply too much money at stake to operate in any other fashion. In uncommon instances, however, inefficiencies can occur and gifted players may fall through the cracks. Such is the story of Lenny Cooke. In 2001, Cooke was the number-one ranked high school basketball player in America, with future NBA greats LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony listed beneath him. Yet after declaring himself eligible for the 2002 NBA draft, Cooke, shockingly, ended up going undrafted, and became a journeyman playing in little-known leagues across the world. Today he lives in southern Virginia, a should-have-been-great who simply did not quite make it. The first documentary feature from American independent film scene fixtures Josh & Benny Safdie, LENNY COOKE explores the fascinating question of how, exactly, Cooke’s seemingly assured future could go so awry.


2013 Cinema Upgrade

browningIf you’ve been ushering in the Browning Cinema since July, you’ve noticed the changes from this summer’s digital cinema upgrade.  In an effort to make a unique cinematic experience and increase our standing in the international film community, the projectionist’s booth got a makeover in many ways.

The cinema entered the age of DCP; that’s shop talk for “Digital Cinema Package.”  Before, large, heavy boxes of film had to be shipped to the center for the projectionist to load reel after reel in order to play a movie.  Now, a hard drive, roughly the size of a VHS tape, is delivered; less space, less shipping, and less work.  It’s the future of cinema, and here’s how we prepared for it:

  • A brand new projector was installed.
  • A new server was installed to allow these DCP files to be transferred onto a server.  This has an added level of security since the file can’t be activated without a security code for only the dates licensed to screen the film.
  • Single-pane, rather than the previous double-pane, glass was put in the booth.  More light coming through the glass has created a brighter picture.
  •  The sound has been modified from analog to digital.  Along with our THX certification, they recommended a crossover which splits the audio signal to the correct speakers.

For the center, this shift in technology has turned Kevin and Chris into “techies,” troubleshooting computer issues rather than projector issues.  But the changes didn’t discontinue some of our former technology.  The cinema will continue to use our 35 mm projectors to access archival collections.  Coming up this season we are screening the original A Star is Born.

The future is uncertain as we enter this digital age.  But all in all, the Performing Arts Center is prepared! With a state-of-the-art cinema, the end result for our patrons will mean screenings with brilliant colors and crisp audio.

A look ahead to this year’s MET Opera LIVE season

With MET Operas just around the corner (our first will be October 5!), we asked our student “MET Opera guru,” Alex Leslie to give us some insight into the MET Operas this season. You can certainly tell that he loves MET Opera, and hopefully, you’ll sign up for a MET Opera and fall in love with it, as well.

MET Operas are, of course, long. It’s a difficult performance genre to get into for several reasons: we don’t encounter opera often in our day-to-day lives, the texts are largely non-English, and it seems a bit daunting to get a grasp of the field. I don’t claim to have all that much knowledge of opera, but I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts and what I think will be especially worth seeing this season as a bit of a jumping-off point!

The MET Opera Live in HD season tends to be selected from the works of accepted greats, so it’s a safe bet that whatever they’re performing, they’re doing it for good reason. Puccini is certainly one of said ‘greats.’ Two of his operas will be shown this season, Tosca in the fall and le Boheme in spring. Puccini is an expert at portraying and building emotion, and I find Tosca particularly moving: “Vissi d’arte” towards the end of Act II and “E lucevan le stele” from Act III are especially famous arias.

falstaf_nugFalstaff is based on the comic antics of Shakespeare’s fat knight from the Henry IV plays and the Merry Wives of Windsor. Verdi didn’t do much in comedy, but we see both the frill and the pomp of his style here. Longtime and fan-favorite MET conductor James Levine will be back atop the podium for this performance after an extended leave due to health issues, whose skills in themselves make this performance worth attending.

rusalka_nugDvorak’s Rusalka will feature MET regular Renee Fleming as the titular character, considered one of her major roles. Song to the Moon is a particularly well-known piece from this opera, and if you search for it on youtube you’ll find one of the top results is one of Fleming’s concert renditions. Dvorak’s music has a rich complexity that definitely marks his work as distinct.

nugget_hd201314_wertherWerther is considered alongside MET-favorite Manon as Massenet’s best. Massenet is an expert at setting the listener on edge with his composition, paralleling the angst of the plot in its music. In a genre filled with tragic tales, Werther’s is certainly one of the most consistently tragic.

cosi_nugCosi Fan Tutte is my very favorite comedic opera, so it’s a shame we’ll have to wait until spring to see it. The story is based on a classic switch-plot: in order to test the resolve of their lovers, the friends Ferrando and Guglielmo are persuaded by the cynic Don Alfonso to fake military duty in order to return, disguised as Albanians (what else?), and attempt to seduce the other’s lover. Hilarity and fantastic ensemble pieces ensue – definitely a must-see!

Written by Alex Leslie, Class of 2014

To read more and see what is in store for this season, please visit http://performingarts.nd.edu/methd.aspx#.UkG8fIasim4.

2013-2014 Cinema Partnerships

Once again, the Browning Cinema is partnering with academic departments at the University to create film festivals and themed film series. Programmed by Ted Barron, the center’s Senior Associate Director, the Browning maintains its unique identity by being involved in the selection process with these partnerships, expanding the cinema’s programming capacity while supporting academics. Those same partnerships allow the cinema to present directors and filmmakers throughout the year. The Browning Cinema also offers an alternative, unconventional evening; you don’t have to be a film buff to enjoy the full immersion experience of art house, foreign, classic or independent film. You just have to be a free spirit, willing to explore and have a little rebel in your bones. Here are some of the cinema highlights for the 2013-2014 season:

ETThe Classic 100 is more than a film list; it is a “film mission.”   The Classic 100 list of films is not a film canon or the list-to-end-all-lists and can be argued among film scholars and film buffs alike. It is, however, a collection of undeniably great films. After choosing ten sources producing over 400 titles, compiling the list of 100 took many weeks of debate to make sure that as many possible different genres, great directors, innovators and ground-breaking films were included. Some great films shifted in rank—determined by how many times they overlapped each source—to make room for an unrepresented director or missing genre. The final list was literally hand-picked. Whether you trust the sources or methodology, it is difficult for anyone to name a bad film in the titles now known as the Classic 100.  The Classic 100 also pursues an academic mission. It is designed so that it can be screened in its entirety every four years to give all students graduating from the University of Notre Dame, and every student of life, the opportunity to become film literate by taking in these movie masterpieces. Discover, or rediscover, these great works of art that “owned the 20th Century.”

angelsNanovic Institute for European Studies has titled this semester’s film series, Young and Broke in Europe, kicked off by their September 12th screening of The Angels’ Share.  The Nanovic Institute is dedicated to enriching the learning experience at Notre Dame by supporting teaching, research, and events that inform students and faculty about the countries and cultures of contemporary Europe, and the films presented in the series address the current economic challenges in Europe as young people across the continent are facing record unemployment.  This film series always provides access to films found only in International Film Festivals or Europe.  In November, Nanovic will partner with the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures to present The Tournées Festival.

History on Film is an ongoing partnership with the Department of History in which classic films are introduced by history faculty members.

houseThe Center for Social Concerns or CSC, as many of your know from the send-off ceremony every May, focuses on issues reflecting Catholic social teaching.  This year, CSC is focusing on the theme of incarceration, kicking off this series with the screening of The House I Live In on October 3rd.

Shakespeare in Prisons is a partnership with Shakespeare at Notre Dame and will feature keynote addresses and film screenings by Curt Tofteland (founding director of Shakespeare Behind Bars) and Tom Magill (founder of the Educational Shakespeare Company and director of the Irish film Mickey B), the conference aims to bring together artists and educators engaged in transformational arts programs using Shakespeare in prisons across the United States (and the world) for an exploration and study of the effects such programming has on incarcerated populations.  The goal is to promote a collaborative learning forum where participants will be exposed to a diverse array of programs that all strive for a common result:  The habilitation of the inmate’s mind, heart, body, and spirit.

The Africana World is a campus-wide initiative prompted by the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to the University of Notre Dame on October of 1963.  Organized by the Center for Arts and Culture, the Browning will screen King:  A Filmed Record on October 12th.

eugeneMET Opera will return this year, starting in October with Eugene Onegin, with the complete offering of ten presentations Live in High Definition. Come experience opera like you never have before.

Whether you’re a movie scholar or just a movie lover, the films in the 2013-2014 season in the Browning Cinema give us the opportunity to learn new perspectives, gain an understanding of people and cultures different from our own, and also learn more about our own history.   Grab your popcorn and soda and let’s go to the movies!

National Theatre Live presents The Audience

The Royal National Theatre, known to most as the National Theatre, is one of the two prominent publicly funded theatre companies alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. The National Theatre has been presenting performances of Shakespeare and other international classic drama since 1963.  Then in 2009, the theatre began a program of simulcasts of their live performances to cinemas around the world.    The first National Theatre Live (NTL) performance, Phedre starring Helen Mirren, was screened live in 70 countries across the UK.  Since then, NTL productions have been broadcast to over 700 venues in 22 countries around the world.  Coming to the Browning Cinema the first week in September, Helen Mirren stars again in the highly-anticipated performance of The Audience.


“For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses. The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive.”

The Audience, September 5th-8th, in the Browning Cinema.