On The Rock: Rory Kennedy to screen and discuss “Ethel” film

rory kennedy

Courtesy Photo | Rory Kennedy to screen and discuss her film “Ethel” at the Shelter Island Public Library.

Rory Kennedy takes a break from her summer holiday on Shelter Island to screen her film, “Ethel,” and discuss it with fellow Islanders at the Shelter Island Public Library’s popular Friday Night Dialogues tonight August 16.

“Ethel” — just nominated for five Emmy awards — “is a loving, touching and sometimes mischievous tribute to Ethel Kennedy … a private look inside a highly public life,” wrote The New York Times in a review prior to last October’s airing on HBO.

Ms. Kennedy concurs, calling it a “point-of-view” film and “very personal,” citing not only a greater appreciation of her mother, but various new and amusing facts she picked up along the way.

In addition to “Ethel,” Rory Kennedy has produced or co-produced 11 documentary films and directed another 14. Her work is held in high critical acclaim and has garnered numerous awards. The current Emmy nominations for “Ethel” for non-fiction programming include Outstanding Documentary, Outstanding Directing, Writing, Cinematography and Picture Editing.

“Pandemic: Facing AIDS” (2003) also garnered an Emmy nomination; “A Boy’s Life” (2004) received the Best Documentary prize at the Woodstock Film Festival; “Street Fight” (2005), which was about Cory Booker’s Newark Mayoral campaign, was nominated for an Academy Award; and “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” (2007) won a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Documentary.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2009, Ms. Kennedy’s career began in the 1990s with May Day Media, a non-profit organization specializing in production and distribution of films with a social conscience, formed with her Brown classmate, Vanessa Vadim.  In 1998, she and another fellow Brown graduate, Liz Garbus, founded Moxie Firecracker Films to produce documentaries that highlight pressing social issues.  Television networks that have shown their films include HBO, PBS, Sundance, Discovery, Lifetime, Oxygen, MTV, Lifetime, TLC and the UK’s Channel 4.

The program begins at 7 p.m. and is free — with reservations suggested and donations gratefully accepted.

Coming up: On September 6, Bill Persky will return with more “Laughter after Labor Day.” On September 13, Berna Huebner will read from her book, “I Remember Better When I Paint”; and Joann Piccozzi will talk about her memoir, “Umbrian Twilight,” on September 20.