Wednesday, July 11, 2012

People Like Alex Kurtzman

Alex Kurtzman got his start in television, writing episodes for Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess.  He and his longtime collaborator, Roberto Orci, went on to create the series Fringe, and co-wrote big blockbusters including Star Trek and Transformers.

Admittedly, championing a small-budget passion project was quite the transition, and Kurtzman let the script stew for eight years.

He speaks with Elvis about the original title for People Like Us the personal experience that inspired the film, plus, Elvis' favorite episode of Hercules: Porkules.

A "treatment," in Hollywood parlance, is a concise overview of a screenplay.

On The Treatment radio program, film critic Elvis Mitchell turns the tables and gives the "treatment" to some of the most influential and innovative forces creating movies and popular art and entertainment.

Each week, Elvis speaks with an amazing array of guests, discussing everything from their inner conflicts to their interior design. With a straightforward style that understates his vast knowledge, Elvis is able to extract insights, issues and inspirations from even the most introverted guests.

Conversations on The Treatment are mostly comfortable, sometimes contentious, but always fascinating.

Elvis Mitchell has hosted The Treatment with its inside look at the creators of popular culture, since KCRW radio first aired the program in April of 1996. Mitchell served as the film critic at the New York Times from January 2000 until May of 2005. In October 2002, he gave the prestigious Alain Locke lectures on African American culture at Harvard University, and subsequently, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard in Visual and Environmental Studies, and in African American Studies.

The former entertainment critic for NPR’s Weekend Edition, Mitchell has also been film critic at the Fort Worth Star Telegram, where he received the 1999 AASFE award for criticism, the LA Weekly and the Detroit Free Press. He has been editor-at-large at Spin magazine and is special correspondent for Interview magazine. He also hosts the TCM interview program Under the Influence.

A WGA Award nominee for his work on The AFI Lifetime Achievement Award: Sidney Poitier, he produced and co-created The Black List, Volume One, a documentary focusing on achievement in the African American community that HBO acquired and ran after the film’s debut at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival (where Mitchell has twice served on the Dramatic Competition Jury).

Featuring interviews with Slash, Chris Rock, Colin Powell and Toni Morrison, The Black List, Volume 1 recently received the NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary. An accompanying book is available as   an audio book and ebook. A sequel, The Black List, Volume 2, featuring interviews with Laurence Fishburne, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Melvin Van Peebles, Maya Rudolph and RZA, aired on HBO.

In 2011, Mitchell was hired by Movieline to serve as Chief Film Critic for the site. He'll be reviewing films weekly,  conducting interviews and writing unique features for the site about popular entertainment and the film industry. "Movieline represents the future of film journalism and I love what they have been doing," says Mitchell.

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