American Storytellers

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Product Overview

Filmmaker Kevin Mukherji takes us on a fascinating journey into the minds of our American Storytellers, giving us an in-depth portrait of what makes these directors tick. John McNaughton, Harold Ramis, John Sayles and Forest Whitaker discuss life, art and the process of film making.


Studio Indican Pictures
SKU 202096481
UPC 825284200126
UPC 14 00825284200126
Format DVD
Release Date 5/22/2007
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
Name Whitaker,Forest
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Forest Whitaker - Featuring
Harold Ramis - Featuring
John McNaughton - Featuring
John Sayles - Featuring
Kevin Mukherji - Director
Kevin Mukherji - Producer
Kevin Mukherji - Editor
Michael C. Clark - Cinematographer
Penka Kouneva - Original Music By
ReviewSource DVD Verdict
Review Directed by Kevin Mukherji (Death and Taxis), American Storytellers is a documentary about what it takes to make movies in modern-day Hollywood. The film encompasses in-depth interviews with four popular American directors: John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Wild Things), Harold Ramis (Caddyshack, Analyze This), John Sayles (Matewan), and Forest Whitaker (Waiting to Exhale). Mukherji has each director explain how they got into the business, what constitutes an "independent film," and their general philosophies towards both filmmaking and life. Reminiscent of an episode of Inside the Actor's Studio, American Storytellers is very comprehensive and offers some great accounts about filmmaking in general. Talking a leisurely approach, the film gives each of the directors an opportunity to talk at length about their careers, their influences, and their respective visions. Because it never goes for anything more ambitious than talking heads, the film is often only as interesting as the anecdotes of the participants, and is best when goes into the nuts and bolts of the business to give an "insider's" look at Hollywood. These men obviously have a lot of experience between them, and while not consistently entertaining, this documentary does succeed in getting them to come forth with information and stories that would be invaluable to young directors looking to break into show business. It's strange then, that after spending 90 minutes listening to the thoughtful responses of these four filmmakers, that American Storytellers leaves the viewer with fewer answers than questions. Why were these particular directors chosen as representatives for this documentary? Why was it edited this way? And finally, what exactly is director Mukherji trying to say about filmmaking in America? While there's no doubt that this documentary has assembled four interesting personalities, they are surely hundreds of filmmakers equally or more qualified to be talking about contemporary storytelling in Hollywood. Forest Whitaker is probably the oddest choice as an interview subject, considering that he's much better known as an actor than a director. Luckily, his interview segments are some of the best, and he proves to be a thoughtful, well-spoken subject. Both John McNaughton and John Sayles have a few mildly interesting stories to tell, but overall, they don't have a lot to offer for this documentary, and I found many of their segments fell flat. Although McNaughton makes a good choice because of his experience both inside and outside the studio system, he tends to be a little long-winded in most of his answers. With an extensive background in fiction and writing, Sayles also seems like a sensible inclusion because he comes closest to being a "storyteller," but curiously, little is done with this fact. Instead, Sayles focuses on the more mundane aspects his own personal experience. As the biggest name celebrity featured in this documentary, it's a relief that Har
Reviewer Paul Corupe
ReviewRating 6
Product Attributes
Actor Whitaker,Forest
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD

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