Editorial: Week's end
Beneath a noir sky, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival kicked off its annual celebration of non-fiction cinema on Thursday.
It's apt, really, the chill and the rain on opening day, as it coincided with news of the death of legendary film critic Roger Ebert.
Robert Redford, actor and founder of the Sundance Institute, called Ebert "one of the great champions of artistic freedom."
"When the power of independent film was still unknown and few would support it, Roger was there for our artists," Redford said. "His personal passion for cinema was boundless, and that is sure to be his legacy for generations to come."
Ebert's love of movie storytelling encompassed far more than popular blockbusters or artistic fantasy. He also enjoyed great documentaries that captured the human experience and almost certainly would've appreciated efforts showcased this weekend such as "The Editor and the Dragon: Horace Carter Fights the Klan," about a North Carolina newspaper editor who blasted the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950s and "After Tiller," about the few doctors in the United States still willing to perform third trimester abortions after the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller.
Check out these and other documentaries during this Week's End at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, Power Plant at American Tobacco and even Durham Central Park. Tickets for indoor films at the festival are $15, $10 for Sunday encore showings. For information, check out fullframefest.org.
In another blow to the arts, closer to home, Durham lost Robert Ward on Wednesday.
Ward, a composer and influential North Carolina music educator, served as chancellor of the N.C. School of the Arts from 1967 to 1975 before joining Duke University's music department as a professor. He wrote orchestral works, such as "Prairie Overture" and "Jubilation Overture," as well as choral works, chamber music and operas.
His operatic translation of "The Crucible" earned him the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
The Herald-Sun's Cliff Bellamy wrote about Ward's passing and had the opportunity to talk with William Henry Curry, director of the Durham Symphony Orchestra. Curry considered Ward a mentor, he said. Curry recalled advice given by Ward about composing: "The idea is to say something clearly that has some poetry and power behind it."
Ward has left us, but the poetry and power of his work remain.
Greg Sousa won't give up.
Last year, the father of two received a cancer diagnosis. Doctors found a two-inch tumor in his brain. In July, most of the tumor was removed at Duke, but malignant cells remained. He's on chemotherapy and faces a lifetime of cancer check-ups.
Now, The Herald-Sun's Keith Upchurch reported, the longtime athlete seems more driven than ever to achieve his dream of competing in the Ironman Hawaii triathlon. The Hawaii competition includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.
"This is important to me for two reasons," Sousa said. "One is to fulfill an athletic dream. The other big one is the magic of survivorship - to prove that anything is possible."
We wish good luck and continued good health to our latest recipient of the Grit Award.