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film

Academy Awards
mafleen / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In one of the more controversial award shows in recent memory, Hollywood’s elite will gather in the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday for the 88th Academy Awards.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss Russia's air strikes on Syria, and what the country's motivation could be for trying to take on a greater role on the world stage.

Then, Suzette talks with filmmakers Paco de Onís and Pamela Yates. They use their documentaries to raise awareness and create social change.

Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís
Skylight.is

Pamela Yates’ and Paco de Onís’ introduction to filmmaking wasn’t typical.

Yates grew up in a small Irish-American community in the Appalachian Mountains, far from South America where most of her current film work takes place. During her childhood, stories were the common currency. That love of storytelling, and her exposure to economic disparity, inspired her to combine those two passions to make a difference.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss efforts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons during and after the Cold War as the world marks 70 years since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Then Suzette talks with Greek filmmaker Vassilis Loules, who uses the medium to show how hope persists through the past’s darkest times. His documentary Kisses to the Children tells the stories of five Greek Jewish children who survived the Holocaust.

Nearly 20 years ago, documentary filmmaker Vassilis Loules visited the Jewish Museum in Athens, where he was moved by seeing objects from Greek Jewish children hidden during the Holocaust.

In light of this week’s nuclear agreement with Iran, Asia-Pacific trade talks and renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba, Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about why 2015 has been arguably President Obama’s most successful year in foreign policy.

Then I’ll talk with Nigerian filmmaker Kenneth Gyang about bringing attention to issues facing his country through narrative storytelling.

Kenneth Gyang grew up in Nigeria, watching action films starring people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan. But the narrative style of directors like Quentin Tarantino and Alejandro González Iñárritu convinced him to make a career out of it, and profoundly influenced his storytelling.

Joshua Landis explains rebel advances in Syria and new Saudi aggressiveness in its wars with Iran.

Then Suzette Grillot talks with University of Oklahoma German professor Bob Lemon and Oregon State University Cold War-era cultural scholar Sebastian Heiduschke about cinema and literature in East Germany.

The poster for the 1966 East German Western film 'Die Söhne der großen Bärin' (literally 'The Sons of the Great She-Bear'), directed by the Czechoslovakian filmmaker Josef Mach
Bahavd Gita / Wikimedia Commons

In 1949, postwar Germany officially split into two separate countries with the formation of the German Democratic Republic. Also known as East Germany, the GDR was isolated from the Western world for nearly three decades, but it developed its own, equally rich literary and cinematic cultures.

East Germany did begin producing motion pictures before it officially broke away from West Germany. The films initially were rooted in similar cinematic traditions, says Oregon State University German language professor and world culture scholar Sebastian Heiduschke. He says when the Berlin Wall went up, the similarities between East and West German filmmaking began to disappear.

The Yale University library has acquired a collection of about 2,700 VHS tapes – mostly horror and exploitation films.

The tapes are part of a new archive – the first of its kind at an academic institution – that preserves VHS tapes not only for the movies on them, but also for their boxes’ artwork and copy, the trailers at the beginning and other release-specific content.

The archive is the brainchild of Aaron Pratt, a Ph.D. student at Yale, and David Gary, a Yale librarian.

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