Television

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vermont Filmmakers Contribute to CNBC Doc on Mac Parker

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 7:13 AM

Mac Parker - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mac Parker

Followers of the Mac Parker saga, which Seven Days and other local news outlets have covered extensively for the last several years, have come to expect curveballs. The most recent development is less of a headline-grabber, but one that will likely lend some context to the fascinating story of this man's alleged criminal activities. Two Vermont filmmakers have contributed to a new, soon-to-be-broadcast documentary that details the tale's strange twists and turns.

Rob Koier, the director of the 2012 documentary Strength of the Storm, and Mark Covino, co-director of the music doc A Band Called Death, are developing a full-length film about Parker. For now, some of the footage they've shot will appear in an episode of the long-running CNBC series "American Greed." The deal to license the footage was struck in January, and the episode will air later this week.

Parker, an Addison County-based storyteller, was convicted of defrauding investors of $28 million to fund a putative film project called Birth of Innocence. Most of the money was reportedly funneled to Parker's "silent partner" and former spiritual guru, a Connecticut man named Louis Soteriou. Soteriou has been sentenced to seven years in prison; a judge recently upheld Parker's own 55-month sentence for his part in the fraud scheme.

The footage that Covino and Koier licensed to CNBC originates from three lengthy interviews that Covino shot with Parker in October 2013. In the first, Parker told the filmmakers about his background; the second, clocking in at seven hours, finds Parker discussing Birth of Innocence and his ensuing legal troubles. The third interview, says Covino, wasn't even intended to be an interview — just some shots of Parker arriving at prison in upstate New York.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

What I'm Watching: "Community"

Posted By on Sat, Jul 5, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Alison Brie in "Community" - NBCUNIVERSAL
  • NBCUniversal
  • Alison Brie in "Community"

A confession: The title of this column has, in recent weeks, not always been accurate. Though I've genuinely been writing about the movies that I've been watching, I've been spending more time watching "Community" than anything else. I'm pretty convinced, having now seen its whole run, that this is one of the greatest shows ever broadcast on network television.

I didn't watch the fifth and most recent season as it aired. Instead, my wife, Laura, and I watched it online, finishing it up just a few nights ago. In an odd coincidence, we learned, just hours after we watched the final episode, of the show's semi-unexpected, online-only renewal.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Want to Help FOX Build a "Utopia"?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:10 PM


Can you envision the ideal human society? Are you living it right now on your off-the-grid homestead? Are you so intense about your utopian beliefs that you sometimes find yourself shouting at people who disagree? Do you have skills so useful that you might be able to convince a bunch of opinionated fellow idealists to keep you around? Are you OK with cameras watching you 24/7 and broadcasting your every move to millions of TV viewers?

If you answered yes to these questions, a representative from FOX's forthcoming reality show "Utopia" may just want to meet you. Casting producer Jacqueline Topacio says she'll visit Vermont this coming week to meet with prospective participants. There's no open call: To be considered, you must submit a video at utopiatvcasting.com.  (Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents over age 21 are eligible, and you should be able to commit a complete year to the show.)

"Utopia" is the latest from über-reality producer John de Mol, creator of "Big Brother" and "The Voice." He first tried out the idea in his native Netherlands, where the premiere of "Utopia" pulled such big ratings that U.S. networks showed immediate interest in a version of their own. According to Deadline Hollywood,  "social experiments" like this one could be the "next hot reality format."

And Vermonters know all about social experiments, don't we? Maybe we could even show those Dutch folks a thing or two.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Movies You Missed & More: 'Rectify'

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Clemens and Young as Tawnee and Daniel - STARZ/ANCHOR BAY
  • Starz/Anchor Bay
  • Clemens and Young as Tawnee and Daniel

This week in movies you missed:
Yeah, I know. It's called Movies You Missed, not TV You Missed. But this year, despite watching almost nothing live, I keep discovering great new drama series I want to recommend. To use a bad cliché, this one might just fill the "Breaking Bad"-shaped hole in my heart.

What You Missed (if, like me, you don't want to pay for 150 or so channels you won't watch just to get the Sundance Channel)

Daniel Holden (Aden Young) has served 19 years on death row for raping and murdering his girlfriend when he was 18 years old. Now DNA evidence has vacated his conviction, to the joy of his sister, Amantha (Abigail Spencer), who always believed in his innocence.

But the rest of Daniel's small Georgia town isn't so sure. After all, he confessed to the crime — albeit after a prolonged, unrecorded interrogation. The prosecutor of his case, now a state senator (Michael O'Neill), is eager to get him back behind bars.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Movies You Missed: 'The Returned'

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 12:24 PM

A bride-to-be gets a visit from her other fiancé  — the dead one. - COURTESY OF CANAL PLUS
  • Courtesy of Canal Plus
  • A bride-to-be gets a visit from her other fiancé — the dead one.

This week in movies TV you missed:
 Dead people won't stay dead. No, they're not zombies. And no, this is not ABC's new hit show "Resurrection," but its artier and spookier European predecessor.

What You Missed

Four years ago, a small French mountain town lost 39 children to a freak bus accident. Now, as the power grid flickers ominously in the twilight, one of those kids comes back.

Fifteen-year-old Camille (Yara Pilartz) doesn't remember anything after the accident. Not aged a day, she expects to pick up her life where she left off. Instead, she returns to a home driven asunder by grief, to parents who have split and an angry sister (Jenna Thiam) who spends all her nights at the local pub. 

Camille and her family aren't the only ones getting a rude surprise on this idyllic summer evening. Librarian Adèle (Clotilde Hesme) is about to marry her live-in boyfriend when a dead lover (Pierre Perrier) knocks at her door. An elderly man receives a similar visit from his wife, who died more than 30 years ago. And a serial killer who hasn't struck in years is suddenly active again.

Why is it happening? How can it happen? No one knows, and, for the most part, no one cares. They just want to keep their loved ones from disappearing again.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Movies You Missed & More: 'The Killing,' Season 3

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 3:31 PM

click image Kinnaman and Enos look like they wish they could forget S2, too. - COURTESY OF AMC
  • Courtesy of AMC
  • Kinnaman and Enos look like they wish they could forget S2, too.

This week in movies TV you missed:
I watch the third season of an AMC show that any sane person would have chosen to miss. And it's good.

What You Missed

If you were lucky enough to miss the first two seasons of "The Killing," keep missing them. They have virtually no bearing on season 3, which starts, naturally, with a killing.

The corpse of a nearly decapitated teenage prostitute turns up in an abandoned building, and Seattle homicide detectives Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) and his cynical new partner (Gregg Henry) are on the case. The partner suggests they fob the probably unsolvable murder off on someone else. But the mutilation of the corpse suggests a link to another killing for which low-lifer Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard) has been sentenced to death. Holder knows his former partner, Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), worked that case. In fact, she was obsessed with it.

Could a still-active serial killer be responsible for both murders? Linden, who always suspected Seward was wrongly convicted, comes out of her peaceful retirement to find out.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

'Orange Is the New Black' Author Coming to UVM

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 4:59 PM

click image The cast of the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black," based on Piper Kerman's memoir - JILL GREENBERG
  • Jill Greenberg
  • The cast of the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black," based on Piper Kerman's memoir


Before "Orange Is the New Black" was a hit Netflix series, it was a critically acclaimed memoir — and before that, Smith College graduate and self-described "nice blond lady" Piper Kerman really did spend 15 months in federal prison on drug-trafficking charges. Kerman now frequently travels the country doing book readings and advocating for prisoners' rights. On March 27, she'll make a stop at the University of Vermont.

For those unfamiliar with the author's backstory, here's a recap: After graduating from college, Kerman stuck around Northampton, Mass., to work at a brewery and became romantically involved with a glamorous older woman, who happened to be trafficking heroin for a West African drug lord. Also self-described as a "well-educated young lady from Boston with a thirst for bohemia," Kerman eventually moved to Bali with her lover and began carrying suitcases of cash across international borders.

After six months of "room service, exoticism and anxiety," Kerman cut all ties with the lover and the life of crime and moved back to the United States to start anew. Years later, when she was in New York working as a television producer and living with her boyfriend (now husband), the cops showed up at her door. Her ex-lover's drug ring had been busted, and she'd been ratted out. After a lengthy legal process — and about a decade after her crimes had been committed — Kerman arrived at the federal women's prison in Danbury, Conn.

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