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Film Connecticut


This site will cover the worlds of film, video and the visual arts in the state of Connecticut, beginning with coverage of the Connecticut Film Festival from May 4 to 10, 2010. One of the most important places in the Northeast Corridor of the United States, the state of Connecticut is fast emerging as a go-to destination for innovation in new technologies and the visual arts.


Politics + Hollywood = Poliwood


It is a powerful mathematical equation: Politics + Hollywood = Poliwood. In his latest film, Oscar winning director and Connecticut resident Barry Levinson (RAIN MAN) surveys the close dance between the celebrity culture of the film capital and the political halls of power in Washington. The film is the Closing Night attraction for this year's Connecticut Film Festival on Saturday evening at 730pm at the historic Palace Theater, preceded by the announcement of the Festival's awards in the categories of feature film, documentary and short subject.

Since the early days of film, celebrities from the cinema have been powerful allies for politicians, bringing them attention and endorsements. In recent years, we've seen the close connections between Presidential hopefuls Eugene McCarthy and Paul Newman, George McGovern and Warren Beatty and Barbara Streisand and Bill Clinton. In the current Obama administration, actor Kal Penn (of HAROLD AND KUMAR fame) has actually put his movie career on hold and is working in Washington DC in a public relations post.

POLIWOOD was inspired by director Barry Levinson’s work with the
Creative Coalition, a non-partisan organization of entertainer/activists. It’s loosely organized around the
2008 presidential campaign, as Levinson uses the group’s visits to the
Democratic and Republic national conventions to examine the role that
mass media plays in present-day politics. It addresses the still controversial issue about whether celebrities should use their fame to voice their
opinions and raise awareness about their causes.

The film mainly focuses on celebrities who are active voice in the Creative Coalition, including Anne Hathaway, Ellen Burstyn, Josh Lucas, Tim Daly, and
Rachel Leigh Cook.
Commentators like Lawrence O’Donnell, Tucker Carlson,
and Eric Alterman
add probing insights as well.

After creating some of the most distinctive and memorable films of the 1980s (DINER, TIN MEN, RAIN MAN, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM), Levinson's career faltered in Hollywood (although the vintage gangster epic BUGSY starring Warren Beatty and the political satire WAG THE DOG starring Dustin Hoffman were underrated gems). He has emerged as a gifted documentarian, both with this film and his highly praised ESPN documentary THE BAND THAT WOULDN'T DIE.

While Saturday evening is being billed as the Closing Night Reception, the Festival still has a full day of screenings and events on Sunday. For more information, visit:

Sandy Mandelberger, Film Connecticut Editor



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