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Boston critics honor five in area film scene

Sergei Bondarchuk (above) acted in and directed 'War and Peace.' The eight-hour epic will be shown in four parts at the Museum of Fine Arts. Sergei Bondarchuk (above) acted in and directed "War and Peace." The eight-hour epic will be shown in four parts at the Museum of Fine Arts. (Film Forum/Seagull Films)
Email|Print| Text size + By Leslie Brokaw
Globe Correspondent / December 23, 2007

Five members of the local film community have received special commendations from the Boston Society of Film Critics and will be honored at an awards ceremony next month.

The five are Kaj Wilson, Thomas Doherty, Rhonda Moskowitz, Steven Samuels, and Nicholas Paleologos.

Wilson has been artistic director for the Boston Jewish Film Festival since 1995, curating the movie selection and helping make the festival a year-round program of events. She was honored with an Image Award from Women in Film and Video/New England in 2003. She will be leaving the festival at the end of the year.

Doherty is a professor of American studies at Brandeis University. He writes articles and books about media culture and cinema, and his most recent book, "Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration," was published by Columbia University Press last month.

(On Jan. 18 at 7 p.m., Doherty will be at the Harvard Film Archive to introduce a four-day series on "Vice vs. Virtue in Pre-Code Hollywood.")

Moskowitz is the founder of a salon of independent documentary filmmakers that meets monthly at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Called Connect the Docs, the 34-member group brings in guest speakers and is a forum for sharing news and ideas.

Moskowitz's own projects include "American Prison: The Forgotten Jews," a work in progress about incarcerated Jewish prisoners in predominantly Christian facilities in the United States. Albert Maysles is one of the cinematographers on the film.

Samuels is a real-estate-developer-turned-film-producer who, from his office on Newbury Street, has helped finance "Michael Clayton," "In the Valley of Elah," and "Running with Scissors."

"If you look at a real estate deal, you might tie up a cornfield in the corner of I-90 and 128 and have a great piece of land, but it's not a great piece of land until you have tenants and permits and a vision for it," Samuels told the Globe in October. "A good script is like a piece of land. It doesn't have a value until you attach talent behind the camera, in front of the camera, and you have a business plan and execute it."

Paleologos is executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office. He moved into the position in January, giving the state a clearly designated official in charge of bringing new film business here - a role that had been vacant for five years. Paleologos told the Globe earlier this month that in 2007 the state welcomed a record $125 million in production spending.

Earlier this month, the critics group announced its annual citations. Winners include "No Country for Old Men," named best picture of the year; Julian Schnabel, best director, for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; and Ben Affleck, best new filmmaker, for "Gone Baby Gone."

The group will host its first-ever awards ceremony to honor winners, both the local players and the films and filmmakers of the year, in an event open to the public on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre (not Jan. 27, as previously announced).

The evening will include a reception, a screening of one of the group's favorite movies, and a special guest to be announced. Details will be available in early January from the Brattle, at 617-876-6837 and brattlefilm.org, and the BSFC's site, at thebsfc.org.

BSFC members include Globe writers Ty Burr, Wesley Morris, and Janice Page. Writer Loren King of The Provincetown Banner is the group's president.

"COLOR OF FILM" GRANTS: The Roxbury-based Color of Film Collaborative is offering a new round of what it calls "mini-grants" - financing of $500 to $1,500 to nudge along works in progress or, as it says, "help release a stalled project from stagnation."

Applications are available online at coloroffilm.com and must be postmarked by Jan. 15.

SCREENINGS OF NOTE: Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" might be a monster to read, but it demands an almost equal commitment to see on screen: the 1967 version by Russian actor-turned-director Sergei Bondarchuk is eight hours long.

The Museum of Fine Arts is offering a variety of options for seeing it between this Wednesday and Jan. 5. The film is in four parts, and can be watched one part at a time over four days, in two sessions of back-to-back screenings, or - for the hard core - as a day-long marathon. The consecutive screenings take place on Thursday starting at 1:15 p.m. and on Jan. 5 starting at 10:30 a.m. Details are at 617-267-9300 and mfa.org/film.

Leslie Brokaw can be reached at lbrokaw@globe.com.

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