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Haskell Wexler

Haskell Wexler, a legendary and Academy Award-winning Hollywood cinematographer and producer of a recent controversial documentary, Who Needs Sleep?, will be visiting the Center for Social Media as a Visiting Filmmaker this March 7. Join us for a film screening of his documentary, which lambastes Hollywood for dangerous labor practices, especially for unconscionably long hours on the set. Wexler believes that he must raise his voice on this issue, since most of the skilled craftsmen and artists who work on Hollywood productions are not in a position to reveal the conditions under which they work--and from which their union is not protecting them, he charges. Wexler has been for many decades an independent voice in an industry known for obsequiousness. (He fought with Mike Nichols over the look of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1965 and went on to win an Oscar for the cinematography.) Join us to meet Haskell Wexler and hear his unorthodox views on movie-making today.

Regarded as one of the ten most influential cinematographers by members of the International Cinematographers Guild, Wexler's list of accomplisments also includes documentary collaborations with human rights activist Saul Landau. The 1980 documentary Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang earned an Emmy award. Wexler also wrote and shot Medium Cool, which incorporated riot footage from the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

In 1988, he won an Independent Spirit Award for his cinematography on John Sayles' Matewan (for which he was also nominated for an Academy Award), and in 1993, he won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers. In 2004, he was the subject of a documentary, Tell Them Who You Are, directed by his son, Mark Wexler.

In 2006, Wexler released the film, Who Needs Sleep? at the Sundance Film Festival. The film documents the grueling life of the film and production industry.

Co-sponsored by the DC Labor FilmFest.