Six-degrees of separation, Scorsese dominates Mini-DocuTime screenings

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Supplied image 

“Italianamerican”  will screen at the Mini-DocuTime film festival on Saturday, Sept. 14, in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s King Hall Auditorium.

Celebrating one of the most revered directors of the 20th century, this year’s Mini-DocuTime film festival will feature two documentary films involving Martin Scorsese. 

Mini-DocuTime is the shorter version of the DocuTime film festival, founded by documentary filmmaker and Wilmington resident Paula Haller. It was Haller’s love of the genre that led her to bring the idea of DocuTime with her to Wilmington when she moved from Los Angeles. 

The simplicity of Martin Scorsese’s 1974 work “Italianamerican,” which is based solely on interviews with his parents about their lives in New York and their family history in Sicily, caught Haller’s eye for this edition of Mini-DocuTime. Beginning with a conversation with his mother about how she learned to make her pasta sauce from her Sicilian mother and mother-in-law, Scorsese’s work offers a glimpse into the lives of Italian Americans in the 1970s. 

“It is so simple and yet so beautifully rendered,” Haller said. “It captures human nature because it is just so natural. Marty [Scorsese] became quite stylistic after a while and rightly so … but this one was so beautifully simple.”

Scorsese’s involvement in another documentary, “Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff,” led Haller to pair the two films for the event. 

Cardiff, recognized as one of the pioneering Technicolor cinematographers, worked on iconic films like “The African Queen,” “The Red Shoes” and “Black Narcissus.” 

“He is a fabulous artist who happened to be a cinematographer back in the old days when they used film,” Haller said. “Now they just push buttons for special effects.”

The documentary follows Cardiff’s career throughout his different roles in filmmaking and his relationship with the directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who were mentors to Scorsese as well. 

“I remembered that Jack Cardiff had been here at Cucalorus in 1995 or 1996 and he sat right behind me,” Haller said. “All of a sudden I put a lot of dots together and I finally found the film.”

Haller said she was excited to show two documentaries that showcase a different side to Scorsese. 

“I am excited that I could honor and present a little different angle of the great director Marty Scorsese and his oeuvre,” she said. “I really wanted to honor him and it was such a surprise when I got the Jack Cardiff film because it fit right in.”

To be held on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 4 p.m. in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s King Hall Auditorium, Haller said there are enough seats for 180 guests at Mini-Docutime and the house is always packed. 

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and free to UNCW students with school ID. 

For more information, phone event partner WHQR 91.3fm at 910-343-1640. 


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