The documentary filmmaker Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”, “Life Itself”) returns to Filmwax for his third visit. He’s back to discuss his latest great film, “A Compassionate Spy” about the brilliant physicist Ted Hall who is recruited to join the Manhattan Project while still a teenager and who goes to Los Alamos with no clue what he’ll be working on. When he learns the true nature of the weapon being designed, he fears the post-war risk of a nuclear holocaust and begins to pass significant information to the Soviet Union. The film opens in theaters and on VOD Friday, August 4th.
This is Jeff L. Lieberman‘s first time on the podcast. He formerly made the documentary “The Amazing Nina Simone” which is available to stream on Amazon. His latest documentary tackles another woman of epic presence: Bella Abzug, former Congress Member of NYC. “Bella! This Woman Belongs in the House” opens theatrically in New York on Friday, August 18 at the Village East by Angelika and in Los Angeles on Friday, August 25 at the Laemmles.
As Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi lead the nation, they travel a path blazed by several women before them, notably Bella Abzug. In 1970, when the United States was ruled by men, Bella challenged the status quo, running a successful campaign from the streets of Manhattan that elevated her all the way to the halls of Congress. With her trademark hat and Bronx swagger, Bella entered Congress swinging, battling for credit cards for women, equality for the LGBTQ community and trailblazing a path for leadership that reflected the broad diversity of the country. But, the most recognizable woman in politics also became the target of a Washington establishment resistant to change. With her eyes set on breaking the boys’ club of The US Senate or becoming New York’s first female mayor, Bella battled mounting forces from both the right and the left, and the powers of the Nixon Administration, the CIA, FBI, even The New York Times. Using never-before-seen home movies, audio diaries, and a vast trove of newly-discovered news footage, Bella! delves into a colorful and gritty era where one woman sacrificed her own political ambitions for future generations of female leadership.