An ode to documentaries, local filmmaking, and 'Monsters'

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An ode to documentaries, local filmmaking, and 'Monsters'

By Scott Pukos

When I was in college, one of my favorite courses focused on film. We examined classics, learned what mise-en-scène means, and got to pitch ideas for our own documentaries. This was a 100-level class, so we didn't actually get to make a portion of the doc, but it still gave us a chance to get creative. Plus, we had to sell our idea to our classmates.

During my presentation I started by telling my peers how it was a beautiful day out, how I had a job lined up for after graduation, and how excited I was for my date that night.

The next part of my pitch involved a sly smile.

"See what I did there?" I asked the class. When there wasn't an answer I told them: I lied. It was actually cold and rainy outside, my job prospects were alarmingly non-existent, and the possibility of a date that night were somehow even more non-existent (sad trombone effect here).

I called the fake film Pants on Fire. The movie would examine everything about lying -- why we lie, ways to tell someone is lying, who are the great liars in history, a look at some of the most audacious lies ever told, etc. My pitch won, and while actually making the movie remains on my to-do list, I did receive a Blockbuster gift card (guffaw out loud) for my ideas.

I think of this class and my beloved Pants on Fire every time we screen a terrific documentary here at The Little. Luckily, we show a lot of them with the stellar One Take Doc series. I can't say enough about the awesome job Linda Moroney does to, not only bring a wide array of interesting docs to The Little, but also to give the audience a chance to interact and ask questions with those who make these great docs.

Our 2016 One Take Doc lineup is looking just as strong as previous efforts. We're kicking things off with In Transit at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The film unfolds as a series of interconnected vignettes -- ranging from overheard conversations to moments of deep intimacy -- in which passengers aboard Amtrak's Empire Builder share their fears, hopes and dreams. It's the final film by director Albert Maysles. We'll also speak via Skype with co-director, producer and editor Lynn True after the screening.

Special Screenings

The next day after In Transit, we'll have another special screening in theater 1 -- this time we'll feature a movie from a Rochester native. Sympathy, Said The Shark will screen at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Director Devin Lawrence will be in attendance, and you can hear a conversation the filmmakers had on Connections with Evan Dawson on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at this link (hurray for podcasts!). I'm was also on the program talking about how fantastic Memento is (Spoiler: it's super fantastic). 

January Art

This month, our featured artist takes a look at an unlikely trio with his series, "Men, Women & Monsters." These paintings of yes, men, women and creative, colorful monsters are from artist Eric Polise. The series will run from now to Friday, Jan. 29. You can meet Eric Polise during the opening reception from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 10.