Berkshire Museum Tom Patti Commission 2

Welcome Our New Little Cinema Curator!

Here at the Museum we absolutely love our Little Cinema and are constantly striving to make it the best place to catch a movie in the Berkshires. Recently, we hired a new Little Cinema Curator, Nannina Stearn, to book films, plan events, and improve the experience of each audience member. Through this blog, Nannina will be sharing her extensive film knowledge and providing a glimpse of her work behind-the-scenes at the Little Cinema. We hope you enjoy!

IMG_0782I guess you might be wondering, who is this person newly hired to decide your combined cinematic fate at Little Cinema? Here are the relevant facts:

Name: Nannina Stearn
Favorite Film: Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo
Favorite Director: The incomparable William Wyler
Favorite Performance: Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia

I love movies. I began my first screenplay at 14, I finished my first screenplay, a different one, at 19, and I’ve made a short film, Bonding. I have studied Art History at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and screenwriting at New York Film Academy. Last Sunday I correctly predicted 21 out of the 24 Oscar categories (Best Actor, Production Design, and Score eluded me). I have a fondness for German and Hong Kong cinema, the golden age of Hollywood, silent films, and Star Wars. At Little Cinema I have found myself mesmerized by life in a fin de siecle Parisian brothel in House of Pleasures and entranced by the strange passion play of The Mill and the Cross, I have laughed too loudly at In a World and Your Sister’s Sister and cried during Amour and Kid with a Bike.

I started going to Little Cinema at age 13, and by the time I was 19 attending had become so routine for me that I stopped checking the schedule, knowing that whatever movie was playing would be one I would want to see. I saw many this way that I never would have otherwise: the Israeli family drama Broken Wings, the hilarious Good-bye Lenin, the gorgeous and contemplative Spring, Summer, Fall Winter and Spring. Each week brought a new surprise for me as I sat in my customary seat front row of the second section. Then there was my excitement when Before Sunset or Bend it Like Beckham came, films that I had been waiting for, that no other cinema in the area was willing to take a risk on.

gone_with_the_wind_ver9_xlgI want to continue Little Cinema’s long tradition in taking risks and finding challenging, beautiful, and intriguing films to set before you on our screen. I also want to help Little Cinema connect with filmmakers and artists in the Berkshires and become a dynamic venue for presenting new work to new audiences, and give audiences the chance to learn from and interact with the countless talented individuals who, in this small corner of Massachusetts, have managed to work on some truly great films, from 1939’s Best Picture Winner Gone With the Wind (screenwriter Sidney Howard of Tyringham) to this year’s Best Picture Winner 12 Years a Slave (set designer Carl Sprague of Stockbridge).

This blog will be your guide to Little Cinema. I will post reviews and articles, and let you know why I choose the films I do. Hopefully it will allow you to learn about the films and maybe take a chance on something you might not have normally seen, because, really, hasn’t that always been the reason that you go to Little Cinema?

3 Responses to “Welcome Our New Little Cinema Curator!”

  1. Janet Tivy March 19, 2014 5:20 pm

    Welcome to the new curator! We, the general pubic, need guidance in choosing which movies we attend and hopefully she will be able to pick films from many countries that we have not necessarily heard about, but which are outstanding in their various ways. Looking forward to new movie adventures!

  2. Nick Thielker March 20, 2014 12:30 pm

    Welcome Nannina! Over the years the Little Cinema has stood out as the one local theater which does not cater to the bottom line and has consistently sought out little known interesting compelling films. As a child in the 60’s I saw William Cameron Menzies Things to Come, Ingmar Bergman’s the Seventh Seal and many more. As a film needer, I look forward to what I’m sure will be a kaliedescopic schmorgastborg of unheralded yet gripping persuasive forceful iconoclastic quirky challenging films. My only request is that you steer clear of standard festival fare. Example: Instead of Ran – High & Low; instead of Lawrence of Arabia – This Happy Breed, Blithe Spirit or Brief Encounter. How about John Waters? (pink Flamingos might be over the top, maybe you could show that in a tent on an abandoned lot and have the rest at the LC) David Lynch? Noah Baumbach’s parents live in Great Barrington! I really believe there is a large enough potential audience of discerning film lovers locally who prefer something they might not have normally seen, it might take a while to cultivate this “market”, but we’re out here.Ben Barenholtz is one of my film hero’s (met him briefly at BIFFMA) Are you considering Elgin type “midnight” shows? (10:00?) How about Takashi Miike’s “Happiness of The Katakuris”? Rock & Roll High School? Repo Man? I could go on. Although I don’t quite have the local stature of Carl Sprague, I have been Prod. Designer on a locally made film, was Gregory Crewdson’s Art Dir. for a few years, master carpenter at Shake& Co. for a couple of years, designed and fabricated numerous Mixed Company productions and Art Directed music videos in LA (including the Ramone’s “I Wanna Be Sedated”). You could say that the Little Cinema helped shape my love and frustration with film and helped lead to my wanting to be involved in the process, so it would be sad to me if the Little Cinema became a standard purveyor of film. Anyhow good luck Nannina, my input does not reflect any lack of faith in your vision or abilities and I’m looking forward to all you have to offer, Nick Thielker (favorite film – David Lean’s Great Expectations)

  3. Nannina Stearn April 4, 2014 4:21 pm

    Thank you Janet and Nick!

    I am so excited to have the freedom to pick films that are from around the world, and that people may not have heard of, that is one of the great benefits to working at the Berkshire Museum. I want to try to make sure that every film I pick is interesting and has something special about it, and I hope that I won’t let you down.

    Nick, I definitely will try to think outside the box, but I don’t know how many older films I’ll be able to show as (and I know this is hard to believe) they are much more expensive than the first run ones in theaters, so they do have to be chosen quite carefully, that’s why I’m starting out by connecting the older movies with a lecture (first one this coming Thursday with The Royal Tenenbaums and Carl talking about his work), as I get more established I might look into a monthly late night screening or something of the kind, but it can be tricky. We shall see. Great to see that you’ve worked at Mixed Company, definitely my favorite theatre venue in the Berkshires, and I just had a fun 2 and a half minutes revisiting “I Wanna Be Sedated” (that video is a madhouse, I’ve heard the song many a time (Ramones got me through High School), but never seen the video). And yes, David Lean’s Great Expectations is fantastic.

    Thanks to both of you for the comments, sorry I didn’t reply sooner, the comment box was broken for a little while. All the best.