Film series: Cornell Alums Make Movies

Student working on film projector

Andrea Berloff on the carpet with The Kitchen stars Tiffany Haddish & Melissa McCarthy

Cornell Cinema offers another installment of its periodic and popular showcase of films whose making involved a Cornell alumnus either working behind the camera in some capacity or in front of it as a subject of the film, and this semester’s slate is particularly robust. First up is Heather Mackey, who earned her BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell in 2010, and is one of the adventurers/researchers in The River and the Wall about the borderlands between Texas and Mexico. One of the producers of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which won the recent Oscar for Best Animated Feature, was Christine Steinberg ’88, who may offer a pre-recorded introduction to the film on August 30. Then bask in the presence of the late, award-winning author Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55, by watching the new documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. Artist Jill Magid ’95 is both the onscreen protagonist and the director of her feature documentary debut, The Proposal, about her efforts to gain access to the archive of famed Mexican architect Barragán, and she’ll join us via Skype for a post-screening discussion. For All Mankind, “the gold standard for NASA documentaries” (NY Times), being shown in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, has two Cornell alums among its producers: David Leitner ’76 (co-producer) & Jonathan Turell ’81 (associate producer). Lori Balton ’81, considered one of the best location scouts in the business, scouted L.A. locations for P.T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and Quentin Tarantino’s latest. The series closes out with The Kitchen, written and directed by Andrea Berloff ’95, who was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar for Straight Outta Compton. Schedule-permitting, Andrea will join us on November 15 to discuss her feature directorial debut. And even though we didn’t list Captain Marvel in the series, it’s well worth noting that Cornell linguistics doctoral students Ryan Hearn and Joseph Rhyne created the alien language Torfan used in the film, which will screen on August 30!