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Bradley Bethel

Chapel Hill Filmmakers Land Kidnapping Documentary on Netflix

Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley aren’t like most documentary filmmakers. The Chapel Hill couple, whose production company is based in Brooklyn, likes to joke that they make films about losers. “Well, they’re losers who are really winners,” Galinsky adds. Galinsky and Hawley have made several documentaries over the past 15 years, and their filmography clearly reflects their interest in underdogs. For example, the couple’s first documentary, Horns and Halos (2002), captures a wacky punk rocker’s quest to re-publish a biography of George W. Bush that had been famously recalled by the original publisher. Another example is Battle for Brooklyn (2011),...

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The N&O Continues Failing to be the Newspaper We Need

Before I explain the N&O’s failure, let me tell you about one of most noble athletics staffers I’ve ever met. His name is Eric Hoots, and he’s the Director of Player Development for the UNC men’s basketball team. Eric attended UNC and got a job as a video assistant for the team after he graduated. Over the past 12 years, he’s worked hard and with integrity to get to the position he has now. When I was a learning specialist at UNC, I was fortunate to get acquainted with Eric. I can tell you that he is what everyone...

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‘Lo and Behold,’ a New Documentary on Technology

Werner Herzog’s new film, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, lives up to its subtitle. Opening at The Chelsea on Friday, the documentary immerses us in the auteur’s thoughts on technology. Watching the film feels like entering Herzog’s dreams, the way Leonardo DiCaprio’s character does in Inception. Reverie, rather than story, is what Herzog offers. Presenting his thoughts in a series of chapters, Herzog meanders from the birth of the internet to artificial intelligence to the colonization of Mars, exploring the dark side of technology along the way. One chapter features the tragic story of the Catsaouras family....

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‘Creative Control’ a Satire on Techie-Hipsters

Benjamin Dickinson’s new film Creative Control faintly echoes the theme of Ray Bradbury’s classic short story “The Pedestrian.” In Bradbury’s story, nearly everyone has become isolated from each other. Leonard Mead, the story’s single character, takes walks at night, but, in ten years, has never encountered another person. Like many dystopian tales, “The Pedestrian” depicts a world in which our dependence on technology has subverted our very humanity. From Fahrenheit 451 to The Matrix, stories of dystopian futures have been common in the American literary and cinematic canons. Perhaps less common, however, are stories that depict the transition from functional society...

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Letter From Wainstein Contradicts Report

This post was originally published on the author’s blog Coaching the Mind. Butch Davis was UNC’s first scapegoat in the AFAM paper-class scandal. Davis began coaching at UNC in 2006 and was fired in the summer of 2011, soon after suspicions about Julius Nyang’oro’s classes surfaced. UNC’s first investigation, conducted the following year by two A&S senior-level deans, was limited, without good reason, to the years 2007 – 2011. During my interview with Davis for my documentary, he explained, “It was like everybody wanted it to just be about my tenure. It was just going to be about football. Maybe at the end, we can tie this up in a nice little bow, and it will be, we’ll fire the head coach, we’ll blame it all on the football program, we’ll kick it to the curb, and we’ll be able to move on.” Davis’s firing and that first investigation reveal much about UNC’s priorities, though few have been perceptive enough to see that. What UNC’s most strident critics fail to understand about the University is that its academic prestige, reflected by its status as a Top 5 public university, is far more important than its national championships in sports. Even more important, on a practical level, is the school’s accreditation. A school can persist after losing its championships: it cannot persist after losing its accreditation. Thus, over the past five years...

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Two Foreign Films Premiering This Month

March marks the end of what I call the foreign film season. Following the announcement of the Oscar nominees, the season begins in early January and ends shortly after the Oscars ceremony in late February or early March. An Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film immediately makes a film more marketable, and so film distributors, hoping to capitalize on the buzz surrounding a nomination, often delay releasing the year’s best foreign films until this time of year. Locally, the best venues for foreign films are The Chelsea Theater, in Chapel Hill, and The Carolina Theater, in Durham. Currently,...

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Not an Athletics-Driven Scandal

For four years now, the controversy over paper classes at UNC has provided journalists with ample material for a dramatic narrative of athletics corruption. Ten investigations have no doubt yielded troubling findings, but the news media and anti-athletics crusaders have chosen to highlight only the findings that create the most sensationalized version of events. The selective reading began when UNC professor Jay Smith and N&O executive editor John Drescher lambasted former Governor Jim Martin after one of the 15 critical findings from his investigation was retracted. Martin had claimed that an Athletics official had informed faculty about the paper...

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No One Scapegoating Hatchell

When the NCAA leveled devastating penalties on the Penn State football program in 2012, the NCAA also declared Penn State football players would be permitted to transfer without the NCAA’s standard transfer restrictions. Onlookers expected a massive exodus of players, but that exodus never happened. Some players left, but the Penn State coaching staff was able to retain most. The same cannot be said for the UNC women’s basketball staff, and they haven’t even received NCAA penalties yet. Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s contract extends three more years, to 2018. Three other UNC coaches, including women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Levy,...

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A New Kind Of Play For UNC Athletes

Dave Navalinsky, an assistant professor of Dramatic Arts at UNC, grew concerned when he realized the student-athletes he taught were feeling stigmatized by the negative press the past few years. So he did what we would expect a drama professor to do: he wrote a play about it. At 6’9”, Navalinsky stands taller than even most college basketball players. One may therefore assume he was a basketball star himself and thus has an affinity for athletes. However, that isn’t the case at all. “My student-athlete career—if you could call it that—ended it 8th grade with a record of about...

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