“She had a more positive influence on the climate for film in America than any other single person over the last three decades.”
– Roger Ebert
“It turns out to embody something appalling and widespread in the culture.”
-Renata Adler, in the New York Review of Books
Pauline Kael (1919-2001) was likely the most powerful, and personal, movie critic of the 20th century. Writing for The New Yorker and publishing a dozen best-selling books, she ruthlessly pursued what made a movie or an actor’s performance work, or not, and why. Her passion made her both admired and despised amongst her readers.
Pauline’s own story is one of struggle and obsession: the fight to establish her voice and have it heard, and raise a daughter on her own in a time when the obstacles were high.
Her career began as the Hollywood studio system ended, and finished just as the digital age was born.
The latter golden age of movies of the 1960s and 1970s are the focus of this film that pursues the question of what made Pauline Kael’s work so individual, so influential — and so damned good.
New York-based filmmaker Rob Garver has written, produced, and directed several short films that have been screened in local New York cinemas, and aired on cable television. Films include: “Comic Belief,” a documentary profile of cartoonist Dan Piraro; “The Man in the Yellow Cap,” and “Two Roads From Belfast, Maine,” a short narrative that has aired on the Classic Arts Showcase cable network.
Emmy Award-winning archival researcher/archival producer Rich Remsberg has more than 100 production credits. Remsberg is one of the country’s top researchers for documentary films, TV programs, and museum exhibits.
Vincent C. Ellis is an award-winning Director of Photography with over twenty-five years of experience in film and television. He was the DP on the top-rated crime series “Forensic Files,” with over 300 episodes to his credit. He has also lensed documentaries and specials for Investigative Discovery and The Sci-Fi Channel, as well as numerous commercial and ad agency campaigns.
Doug is known for his work on The Invisible War, The Hunting Ground, and 20 Feet from Stardom (A.C.E. Award). Over twenty years as a award-winning filmmaker, currently focusing on top level documentary features and independent film productions through his Los Angeles-based company, MadPix, Inc.
Helen is an alumnus of the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She graduated with an MA in Film Studies and Art History in 2014, and is currently based in New York. She has worked as production assistant, script supervisor and social media manager on “What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael.”
David O. Russell
Francis Ford Coppola
Roy Blount Jr.
David V. Picker
Dirk van Nouhays
“I try to use my initial responses to explore not only what a movie means to me, but what it may mean to others: to get at the many ways in which movies, by affecting us on sensual and primitive levels, are a supremely pleasurable and dangerous art form.”
How do you sell a documentary? Watch and learn as five preselected up-and-coming nonfiction filmmakers pitch their ideas before a live audience and a group of eminent documentarians.
Filming over the winter has taken the filmmakers from New York to Pennsylvania, to San Francisco and Berkeley, California, where Pauline Kael was raised and educated; then to Los Angeles, and Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where she lived for the last 25 years of her life. Over 40 interviews have been shot, with writers directors, artists and friends, amongst others.
Shooting continues in the spring in the New York metropolitan area.
Work also continues at the Pauline Kael archives, located at the Lilly Library at Indiana University, where the filmmakers have located new photographs and audio material that has not yet been made public.