Posted on March 8, 2014Here is the spring screening schedule for Jeff McLoughlin’s film, The Condor’s Shadow. Broadcast and community screening details will be posted at the condorsshadow.com as the information becomes available.
PBS SoCal: March 15 & 16
Boise, ID: April 19
Santa Barbara Audubon: April 23
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry/Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR: May 7
Draper Museum, Cody Wyoming: May 17
PBS San Francisco, KQED: TBD this spring
Posted on February 4, 2014The New York City premiere of Ending Silence, Shame & Stigma: HIV/AIDS in the African American Family was held on February 7th, 2014, on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, on the campus of New York University.
The program featured a post screening panel discussion made up representatives from diverse communities.
Congratulations to director Kat Cheairs!
Posted on February 2, 2014Written by Zev Robinson
The most memorable thing about my six trips to Oporto and the Douro Valley in North Portugal to film Life on the Douro are the terraced vineyards that were carved out of the steep, rough embankments. They are magnificent visual wonders extending for some 130 miles, each vineyard with its own character and form, catching the light differently according to the weather and time of day, as if it were God himself creating a work of art. They are the result of millions of hours of work, first moving boulders out of the way and making the walls of each step of the terraces, and then rolling heavy barrels filled with wine down to the boats to take them down the river to Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, and then ship them to Great Britain and elsewhere. You can see the ghosts of those who sacrificed life and limb to do so, and people still die every year in accidents while working in the vineyards. All that and more goes into producing every bottle of wine.
There may be more magnificent landscapes on this planet, but few where the interaction of man and nature can be so clearly seen, that show man as part of nature, sometimes its master, sometimes at its mercy.
“Life on the Douro” narrates the last three centuries of the region’s history. To make a long story short, the wars between England and France in the 17th and 18th centuries caused the English to look elsewhere for their wines, in particular Portugal and Spain. Brandy began to be added to the wine to preserve it on its long ocean voyage to England, and that was the beginning of Port.
This caused a boom in wine production in the Douro valley, but the wine became adulterated with additives to increase production, and the quality went down, the buyers were unhappy, and the producers suffered financial hardships.
In 1755, a huge earthquake destroyed Lisbon, and in order to raise funds, the King of Portugal sent his envoy the Marquis de Pombal to the Douro where he marked the region’s boundaries and introduced a strict set of regulations, taxation, and responsibilities for the producers, creating the world’s first demarcated and regulated wine region.
In order to have quality control, one regulation said that all Port wine for export had to be shipped from Vila Nova de Gaia, the city across the river from Oporto. That meant that the small producers in the Douro Valley were more or less forced to sell their grapes or wine to a few larger companies with warehouses in Gaia.
The situation stayed that way until 1986 when Portugal entered the European Union, and the latter said that the situation constituted a monopoly which had to be changed. After that, smaller and medium size producers were able to establish their own wineries and sell under their own name, causing a boom in the variety and diversity of wines and wineries in the Douro region.
That, in a nutshell, is the region’s history, narrated in more detail on the DVD.
The history of the documentary is another story. I was invited to create a short video on the Quevedo winery, one with a varied history of about a hundred years but that was able to fully establish itself only because of the new regulations that came into effect after 1986, and is an example of the changes that have occurred over the last couple of decades.
After a couple of trips to film there, I met Roy Hersh of “For The Love of Port,” one of the leading experts of the region and a long time tour organizer. He arranged a special tour for me and a few others that allowed me to interview most of the key figures in the Port and Douro wine industry, many of them direct descendants of those who established it in the first place three hundred years ago. They related their family sagas on personal terms that enabled me to weave a complex, intricate picture of the history of the Douro, the changing fortunes of individual wineries and the region as a whole, intermarriages, international relations, and its past, present and future. By the end of the six trips, I had about 27 participants, and the original short video idea became a 90 minute feature documentary.
For the last six years, I have been working on a series of documentaries on the production of food and wine, showing how they are the products not just of agriculture, but of a culture and history. “Life on the Douro” clearly shows how a particular history, how wars, earthquakes, and international relations influenced the production of wine and people’s lives in equal measure.
Coincidentally, my next film was Arribes: Everything Else is Noise, about the isolated region on the Spanish side of the Douro/Duero river. Arribes has had a very different history, most of the vineyards have disappeared, not having had the fortune of being exported in large quantities. But it also offers a sustainable, self-reliant alternative, free from the constraints and regulations of international trade. Without falling into easy cliches, the two films provide a contrast about how history can affect our lives and our choices, a contrast between a globalized world and regional identity, and serve as metaphors for the choices we all have to make, one way or another.
Posted on January 14, 2014Written by Rob Okun
Here are men more on an expedition into the heart of darkness and light that make up their lives than characters in a documentary film. The Men’s Story Project: Out Loud! (Proyecto Historias de Hombres: ¡ En Voz Alta) highlights diverse Chileans—celebrities, community leaders and everyday men—sharing personal stories with a live audience at a popular theater in Santiago.
With unusual candor, the presenters address hot-button topics including family relationships; breaking the cycle of domestic violence; substance abuse; bullying; homosexuality and the Church; transgender identity and LGBT rights; violence between men; living with HIV/AIDS; the evolution of men’s social roles; fatherhood in the context of divorce; poverty, manual labor and classism; physical disability and self-actualization; and the healing power of self-acceptance, community and love. Mediums include prose, comedy, dance, photography and video. Continue reading…
Posted on December 31, 2013Happy New Year from all of us at Dark Hollow Films. Please check back later this month for announcements about some very exciting new releases and guest blogs from our filmmakers.
We are pleased to announce that Jeff McLoughlin’s film, The Condor’s Shadow will be screening on Thursday, January 23, 2014, at 7:00pm at Garces High School 2800 Loma Linda Dr. Bakersfield, CA 93305.
It’s a Kern Audubon sponsored event for Bakersfield High School Students, with a post-Screening Q&A with USFWS Biologist Joseph Brandt of the California Condor Recovery Program and filmmaker Jeff McLoughlin.