Hollywood on the Potomac

'The Mauritanian'

April 4, 2021

“It’s a little known fact that Jodie and I were actually classmates at Yale together,” said Amb. Charles Rivkin, CEO of the Motion Picture Association, at a virtual screening of The Mauritanian in association with STXFilms followed by a conversation with Jodie Foster – Actress, Director and Producer.  “Not only that, but I had the honor of inviting her to speak in front of a very special audience in Paris when I served as US Ambassador to France. She began her professional career as a child model and learned to read at the age of three and she was accidentally grabbed by a real lion on the set of a movie and lived to tell the story. She’s also fluent in French and even has an asteroid named in her honor. Jodie has had powerful roles in more than 55 movies and four as a director, if I’m not mistaken, and she’s won two Oscars and two Golden Globes for Best Actress in The Accused and Silence of The Lambs in addition to receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award.”


About the film: “Directed by Kevin Macdonald and based on the NY Times best-selling memoir Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this is inspiring the true story of Slahi’s fight for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years. Alone and afraid, Slahi (Tahar Rahim) finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) who battle the U.S. government in a fight for justice that tests their commitment to the law and their client at every turn. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by a formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), uncovers shocking truths and ultimately proves that the human spirit cannot be locked up.” STXFilms

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March 31, 2021

“We don’t know for sure what we would’ve called the book had it gone the other way but the leading candidate on election day was battered and that just tells you that we understood that this was going to be a very close election and we thought that it was going to be closer than the public polling showed,” said Jonathan Allen, senior national politics reporter for NBC News and co-author/work partner with Amie Parnes, senior political correspondent for The Hill at a Zoom book celebration for Lucky:How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency hosted by The Hill’s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons and Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack. “I think we believed that it was going to be closer than the Biden campaign thought and you know, we really weren’t sure how it was going to turn out. And part of that is having in 2016 written a book about Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign before the election happened and having our editor call us and say, in like October of 2016, ‘You guys have a huge problem.’ We said, ‘What’s the problem. Why don’t we just see what happens on election day?’”


About the book: “The inside story of the historic 2020 presidential election and Joe Biden’s harrowing ride to victory, from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Shattered, the definitive account of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Almost no one thought Joe Biden could make it back to the White House—not Donald Trump, not the two dozen Democratic rivals who sought to take down a weak front-runner, not the mega-donors and key endorsers who feared he could not beat Bernie Sanders, not even Barack Obama. The story of Biden’s cathartic victory in the 2020 election is the story of a Democratic Party at odds with itself, torn between the single-minded goal of removing Donald Trump and the push for a bold progressive agenda that threatened to alienate as many voters as it drew.” Penguin Random House

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'Boys State'

March 25, 2021

“This is a fascinating movie with many twists and turns,” said Amb. Charles Rivkin, CEO of the Motion Picture Association while introducing Boys State co-hosted by Apple Original Films at a Zoom screening followed by a conversation with filmmakers Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss along with student and Boys State participant, Steven Garza. Emmy-winning journalist Betsy Fischer Martin moderated. The event also featured remarks from Members of Congress who are alumni of Boys State – including: Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Representative David Cicilline (D-RI).


About the film: A thousand 17-year-old boys from Texas join together to build a representative government from the ground up. That which grabbed my attention is how one learns to be so manipulative (others call it competitive) at such an early age. I found that disturbing. Fortunately, the ethical candidate won, so there’s that!

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