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Death Row Stories, Bari Pearlman and Keith Davis. Photo credit – Bethany Dettmore.

I have been dying to write a blog about the growing demand for True Crime stories. From Serial, to The Jinx, to Making of a Murderer, nearly every outlet has an episodic investigative series. And now my friend Bari Pearlman and I have organized a panel discussion dedicated to the genre!  Bari, who has directed and produced two episodes of CNN Death Row Stories, will be joined by Kelly Laudenberg, creator of the Netflix series The Confession Tapes, and Stephanie Steele VP of current Production for Oxygen Media for an in-depth conversation about making crime stories that matter.  The panel will be moderated by journalist Andrea Marks. For more information about True Crime Stories: Relationships and Responsibilities on Wednesday Oct 25, 2017 at the Tribeca Film Center and to register, click here.    *This Q&A is published simultaneously on Huffington Post. Read More

“How to Dance in Ohio”  – Review

Marideth Bridges, right, in “How to Dance in Ohio” on HBO.

Marideth Bridges, right, in “How to Dance in Ohio” on HBO.

There’s a story I was told recently about a boy with autism. One summer, his mother took him to the community pool every day, and every day people would avoid him or stop and stare. The mother worried that this would be his life, playing alone at the opposite end of the pool, suffering the gaping of strangers. One day, towards the end of the summer, a girl about eight years old tried to talk to the boy but got silence in return. She marched up to the mother and asked, “Does he have autism?”

The mother replied, “Yes, he does.” With that the girl turned on her heel, returned to the boy and changed her dialogue to make it much more direct. She said, “Get on the float, and I’ll pull you.  I’ll throw the ball, and you’ll catch it.” And for 20 blissful minutes, the mother saw her baby boy laughing and playing with another child for the first time all summer. Joyful, hopeful tears ensued.

It is with this story in mind that I watched the documentary “How to Dance in Ohio,” a portrait of young adults with autism preparing for a spring formal dance.  (Full disclosure, it was produced by my dear friend Bari Pearlman. )  Well-deserved praise has followed the film since its premiere at Sundance this year, and now it is widely available on HBO. Read More