69: THE SAGA OF DANNY HERNANDEZ director, Vikram Gandhi, and BELLY OF THE BEAST director, Erika Cohn, are Tom Needham’s special guests this Thursday on THE SOUNDS OF FILM.
Part investigative documentary, part real-life gangster movie, 69: THE SAGA OF DANNY HERNANDEZ unpacks the life of polarizing rap sensation and internet troll Tekashi69. One of the most controversial figures in contemporary pop culture, 69 repeatedly broke the internet with his sensationalist music videos and social media beefs before infamously testifying against Brooklyn gang the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods in a landmark trial. Director Vikram Gandhi (KUMARÉ, BARRY) gets up close and personal with the neighborhood locals who knew 69 when he was still just Danny Hernandez-before the hard-core persona and the face tattoos-to chronicle his meteoric rise and fall from fame and probe the harsh extremes of addiction to fame in the digital era. 69: THE SAGA OF DANNY HERNANDEZ is currently streaming on Hulu.
Vikram Gandhi is an award-winning and boundary-pushing director of fiction and non-fiction film and television. In 2012, his feature documentary Kumaré, in which he impersonated a religious leader, won the Audience Award at SXSW and was distributed by Kino Lorber. His narrative film Barry, inspired by a year in Barack Obama’s youth, premiered at TIFF 2016 and was released as a Netflix Original. In 2018, he directed and produced the Netflix Original’s Trigger Warning and Grass is Greener, respectively. Vikram has also been producer and correspondent on the Emmy-Awarding documentary series VICE on HBO (and now on Showtime) for seven years.
BELLY OF THE BEAST director, Erika Cohn, will be SOUNDS OF FILM talking about eugenics and sterilization.
When a courageous young woman and a radical lawyer discover a pattern of illegal involuntary sterilizations in California’s women’s prison system, they take to the courtroom to wage a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. With a growing team of investigators inside prison working with colleagues on the outside, they uncover a series of statewide crimes – from dangerously inadequate health care to sexual assault to coercive sterilizations – primarily targeting women of color. But no one believes them. This shocking legal drama captured over seven years features extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated women, demanding our attention to a shameful and ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive injustice in the United States.
Erika Cohn is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Erika completed THE JUDGE, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2018 INDEPENDENT LENS series. Her work has been supported by IFP, The Sundance Institute, Tribeca Institute, Hot Docs, Sheffield, ITVS, Women in Film, BAVC and the CPB Producer’s Academy among others.
Tom Needham’s conversation with Erika Cohn was originally recorded for the Port Jefferson Documentary Film Series.
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THE SOUNDS OF FILM is the nation’s longest running film, music, and ideas themed radio show. For the past 30 years, the program has delivered a popular mix of interviews and music to listeners all over Long Island, parts of Connecticut and streaming live worldwide on the internet. Past people interviewed for the show include Alec Baldwin, Billy Joel, Connie Stevens, Carter Burwell, Alex Winter, Dionne Warwick, Jason Biggs, Nile Rodgers, Eric B, Vanilla Fudge and Chuck D.