The Making of Finally Got The News
by Richard C. Ledes
A Film about The Making of Finally Got The News
It’s been said that a classic is “news that stays news.” FINALLY GOT THE NEWS is today this kind of news--a classic. It lives on as a great film--and it is one that it is incredibly timely to revisit--not just to offer praise but also to listen to criticisms about how time has also exposed its shortcomings. I plan to interview the people involved and get their take on how the film was made. I will be advised by Dan Georgakas, co-author of Detroit, I Do Mind Dying. Dan and I collaborated previously on GOLDEN DAWN, NYC (2013) a short film I made about the Greek anti-fascist movement and its efforts to keep the Greek fascist party out of New York City. I just recently completed a film entitled NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL (2018) about the refugees and undocumented immigrants detained on the Greek island of Lesvos. I’ve also made feature fiction films that have won and been nominated for awards, such as Best Made In New York Film at the Tribeca Film Festival. I am interested in the history of how FINALLY GOT THE NEWS came about and in the details of how the film was made, for instance, how particular scenes were filmed and the decision-making process. To this end, I want to interview the filmmakers, crew members as well as the people who appear in the film and also find out about how it was distributed and found a worldwide audience. My film will have excerpts from FINALLY GOT THE NEWS and shots of the same locations in Detroit today. I understand that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the film. I want to hear in what respects it got things wrong or left things out. I also want to investigate the long-term impact it did or did not have on industrial workers in Detroit. I feel it is critical that dissenting voices about the film be heard because they will fire up young filmmakers to make new films that address these shortcomings. I want people who watch my film to feel inspired to see FINALLY GOT THE NEWS in its entirety and to be inspired to make more films today that will endure and carry on the legacy of FINALLY GOT THE NEWS.
Richard C. Ledes first feature film A HOLE IN ONE (2004), starring Michelle Williams, about a woman who wants a lobotomy, originated in a piece of performance art he did based on the psychiatric records of his mother’s brother who died while a patient at a V.A. psychiatric hospital. He holds a doctorate in comparative literature from NYU, where he wrote a dissertation on the cultural significance of the rise of mental healthcare in the U.S. based on treating veterans after WWII. During his research he volunteered at a center for severely mentally ill, assistant-directing their theater program. This combination of a personal connection to a film’s theme with research into its broader significance remains a cornerstone to his work.
In 2004 A HOLE IN ONE was nominated for the Jury Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. In 2008 his feature fiction film THE CALLER, with Frank Langella and Elliott Gould, won Best NY Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and in 2012 his feature fiction film FRED WON’T MOVE OUT, with Elliott Gould and Fred Melamed, was nominated for Best North American Independent Film at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. His most recent film, NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL, is about refugees detained on the island of Lesvos, waiting to learn if they will be allowed to stay in Europe. He serves on the Cinema Committee of BAM (the Brooklyn Academy of Music).