Literary Documentary

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Burroughs: The Movie
Made up of intimate, revelatory footage of the singular author and poet filmed over the course of five years, Howard Brookner's 1983 documentary about William S. Burroughs was for decades mainly the stuff of legend; that changed when Aaron Brookner,…
Write Down, I am an Arab
"Write Down, I am an Arab" tells the story of Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian national poet and one of the most influential writers of the Arab world. His writing shaped Palestinian identity and helped galvanize generations of Palestinians to their…
Ralph Ellison: An American Journey
Part of the Series: Diversity Training & Multiculturalism
Ralph Ellison: An American Journey is the first documentary on one of the most gifted and intellectually provocative authors of modern American literature. It establishes Ellison as a central figure in contemporary debates over art, politics, race and nationhood. Narrated…
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life
This Academy Award nominated documentary is the first authorized film look at the life and work of the controversial Russian-born author Ayn Rand. The writer of such renowned novels as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged is the subject of Michael…
Dangerous Edge - A Life of Graham Greene
PBS
British actor Sir Derek Jacobi narrates this portrait of author Graham Greene: a British spy, doubting Catholic, and manic-depressive who wrote critically acclaimed best-sellers including The Quiet American, Brighton Rock, The End of the Affair and The Third Man. Weaving…
Ferlinghetti
This incisive and entertaining portrait of American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti explores his vital role as catalyst for numerous literary careers and for the Beat movement itself. Interviews with Ferlinghetti and others reveal a rich melange of characters and events that…
James Salter: A Sport and a Past Time
This 54-minute documentary traces the writer James Salter's lifelong love affair with France, unforgettably expressed in his 1967 masterpiece, A Sport and a Pastime. The novel, a transcendent examination of sexual desire, follows an ill-fated love affair between a Yale…
In the Wake of the Flood - Author Margaret Atwood
On the eve of her 70th birthday, Canadian writer Margaret Atwood set out on an international tour criss-crossing the British Isles and North America to celebrate the publication of her new dystopian novel, The Year of the Flood . Rather…
The Paris Review… Early Chapters
In the summer of 1953, an expatriated trio of young Americans -- Peter Matthiessen, Harold "Doc" Humes and George Plimpton -- founded the international literary quarterly, The Paris Review. Designed to welcome "the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters…
Odd People Out
Odd People Out is a documentary about the process of marginalization, repression and denial of the gay community during the first two decades of the Cuban Revolution, through the eyes and voice of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas. A counterpoint to…
Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen - The Friendship of a Writer and an Actor
Ernest Hemingway: Writer, war correspondent, international adventurer, lover, drinker, brawler. The tabloid reputation -- filled with truths, half-truths and flat-out untruths -- grows ever wider. If you made up a character like Ernest Hemingway, how many would believe it? The…
Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
We mourn the loss of author, activist, historian and beloved folk hero Howard Zinn, who has been an integral part of the First Run legacy for many years. Howard lent his support to many First Run films (many of which…
Billy Collins: On the Road with the Poet Laureate
Billy Collins is perhaps the first American poet since Robert Frost to enjoy both critical and popular acclaim. This 59-minute documentary captures the qualities that make Collins such a refreshing literary figure. With a film crew trailing him from poetry…
Dear Mr. Watterson - The Era of Calvin & Hobbes
Calvin & Hobbes dominated the Sunday comics in thousands of newspapers for over 10 years, having a profound effect on millions of readers across the globe. When the strip's creator, Bill Watterson, retired the strip on New Year's Eve in…
Paperback Dreams
In a time of increasing competition from mega-chains and online retailers, many local businesses are fighting for survival. Through the tumultuous story of two beloved Bay Area booksellers, Cody's and Kepler's, Paperback Dreams captures the David and Goliath struggle faced…
The Mystery of Agatha Christie with David Suchet
PBS
David Suchet, TV's Poirot, has spent more of his life acting out the plots and dramas created by Agatha Christie than anyone else in the world. Suchet is embarking on a journey to learn more about the woman who created…
The Paper Mirror
In the winter of 2010, Alison Bechdel is entrenched in the process of writing "Are You My Mother", a hauntingly personal graphic memoir about her mother, and a follow up of sorts to 2006's award-winning "Fun Home." Known best for…
A Kiss of Art - Philip Norton (Poetry) & Berni Searle
Part of the Series: Masters of Art
Philip Norton is originally from Chicago and was runner-up in Mark Smith's first ever slam series final at the Green Mill in 1984. He then left for Japan where he lived for 6 years, performing at the Kyoto Connection and…
William S. Burroughs - Commissioner Of Sewers
Commissioner Of Sewers combines interview and archival material, paintings, and clips of William S. Burroughs' film appearances (including "Decoder" and Gus Van Zant's "Drugstore Cowboy" and "Thanksgiving Prayer") with footage from Burroughs' last European reading in Berlin on May 9th,…
Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
One man's wild, lifelong adventure of testing society's boundaries through his subversive art, Far Out Isn't Far Enough _: The Tomi Ungerer Story_ combines traditional documentary storytelling with original animation culled from seven decades worth of art from the renegade…