TOWN DESTROYER: When Art Offends

By C.J. Hirschfield

October 8, 2022

For a documentary to even-handedly and adroitly cover a complex, painful and controversial subject in just 52 minutes requires not only talent, but a clarity of vision, and cinematic compassion.

Award-winning Bay Area filmmakers Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman have accomplished just that in their timely Town Destroyer, with its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival Saturday, October 8. Continue reading

FANTASTIC NEGRITO: A Cat With More Than Nine Lives

Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? album review | Louder

 

By C.J. Hirschfield                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     October 8, 2022

Xavier. Amin. Andrew. Blood Sugar X. Oakland’s Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, born Xavier Dphrepaulezz and now known as Fantastic Negrito has had many names, and even more lives. The new documentary Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?, which has its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival, traces his remarkable and unlikely journey, telling the story in chronological order, interspersed with song tracks and jam sessions that feature his unique blues/R&B/roots music. It all comes together beautifully. Continue reading

Bernstein’s Wall: An Extraordinary Extrovert’s Life

By C.J. Hirschfield

July 19, 2022

In the upcoming (2023) Netflix biographical film Maestro, based on the life of renowned conductor/composer/pianist Leonard Bernstein, directed by and starring Bradley Cooper with Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg producing, there is a scene already circulating on social media of Bernstein passionately kissing his male lover.You will not find this sort of scene depicted in the new documentary film Bernstein’s Wall, which has its San Francisco premiere at the 42nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July 21-August 7. What you will see, however, is a richly textured biography of a man whose remarkable story includes a deep commitment to his Jewish heritage, to political activism, to his art, to teaching, and to his family. His bisexuality, not so much. Continue reading

American Justice on Trial

By C.J. Hirschfield

April 21, 2022 (updated April 23)

Just as the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary ATTICA effectively used historical footage and interviews with key participants to illustrate our country’s history of systemic racism, so too does the excellent new documentary AMERICAN JUSTICE ON TRIAL.

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The Inspiration for the Film “My Vote Registration Vanished in 2016” 

By Ashia Lance

It’s true – in 2016, I went to vote at the same polling place where I’d voted for a decade and had received a postcard in the mail confirming I was registered.  This time when I went to vote, I was told my name wasn’t on the voter rolls and was asked if I wanted a provisional ballot.  Reluctantly,  I voted with a provisional ballot because I knew a dirty little secret about us voting: provisional ballots do not have to be counted.  Whether a provisional ballot is counted varies according to county practices, and some practices can be biased.

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