“She had a more positive influence on the climate for film in America than any other single person over the last three decades.”
– Roger Ebert
“It turns out to embody something appalling and widespread in the culture.”
-Renata Adler, in the New York Review of Books
Pauline Kael (1919-2001) was likely the most powerful, and personal, movie critic of the 20th century. Writing for The New Yorker and publishing a dozen best-selling books, she ruthlessly pursued what made a movie or an actor’s performance work, or not, and why. Her passion made her both admired and despised amongst her readers.
Pauline’s own story is one of struggle and obsession: the fight to establish her voice and have it heard, and raise a daughter on her own in a time when the obstacles were high.
Her career began as the Hollywood studio system ended, and finished just as the digital age was born.
The latter golden age of movies of the 1960s and 1970s are the focus of this film that pursues the question of what made Pauline Kael’s work so individual, so influential — and so damned good.
Telluride Film Festival
Colorado, September 2018
New York Premiere
New York, NY, November 2018
Palm Springs Film Festival
California, January 2019
Germany, February 2019
Miami Film Festival
Florida, March 2019
Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival
Greece, March 2019
Sofia International Film Festival
Bulgaria, March 2019
Hong Kong International Film Festival
China, March 2019
Athena Film Festival
New York City, March 2019
San Luis Obispo Film Festival
California, March 2019
Gasparilla Film Festival
Florida, March 2019
Boulder Jewish Film Festival
Colorado, March 2019
Cleveland International Film Festival
Ohio, April 2019
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival
Minnesota, April 2019
Denver Film Society Women + Film Festival
Colorado, April 2019
Freep Film Festival
Michigan, April 2019
BAFICI (Buenos Aires International Festival
of Independent Cinema)
Argentina, April 2019
Newport Beach Film Festival
California, May 2019
Montclair Film Festival
New Jersey, May 2019
Seattle International Film Festival
Washington State, May 2019
Doc Against Gravity
Poland, May 2019
DocAviv Documentary Film Festival
Israel, May 2019
Berkshires International Film Festival
Massachusetts, May 2019
Provincetown Film Festival
Massachusetts, June 2019
“This film was possibly the hottest ticket of the entire festival and I missed four Kael press screenings during the week, all fully booked early in the day. Finally, in desperation fearing it would be very hard to catch it anywhere else, I had to purchase a general admission ticket to see it this morning. Although I have tickets for two other screenings today, because this Pauline Kael and What She Said was the perfect capstone to this festival, and the rich taste it leaves behind is not be further diluted, my other tickets will not be used and so for me the 69th Berlinale is over, done with, and in the bag. THE END.” Alex Deleon, Filmfestivals.com
The Must-See Films From This Year’s Berlinale by Carmen Gray
The Hollywood Reporter
‘What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael’ Film Review | Telluride 2018 by
Little White Lies
What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael First Look Review by Ella Kemp
‘What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael’: Berlin Review by Jonathan Romney
What David O. Russell Learned From Pauline Kael: Critics Can Be Mean and That’s O.K. by Katey Rich
Berlin Film Review: ‘What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael’ by Owen Gleiberman
WNYC Documentary of the Week: Criticizing While Female by Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers
New York-based filmmaker Rob Garver has written, produced, and directed several short films that have been screened in local New York cinemas, and aired on cable television. Films include: “Comic Belief,” a documentary profile of cartoonist Dan Piraro; “The Man in the Yellow Cap,” and “Two Roads From Belfast, Maine,” a short narrative that has aired on the Classic Arts Showcase cable network.
Sarah Jessica Parker is an American actress, producer, and publisher. She is known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO series “Sex and the City” (1998–2004). She won two Emmy Awards for the show: one for Outstanding Comedy Series as producer in 2001, and another for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2004. Her films include “Footloose” “State and Main” “Ed Wood” “All Roads Lead to Rome” “Here and Now” as well as the current HBO series “Divorce.” She has also won four Golden Globe awards.
Rick Baitz composes for the moving image, the concert hall, dance and theater. Credits include HBO’s “The Vagina Monologues” and “Life Afterlife,” and the scores for several immersive museum installations, including “24 Hours That Changed History” (2016) for the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, and three soundtracks for the recently-unveiled Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, with voice-overs by Oprah Winfrey. Other media credits include National Geographic’s award-winning special “The New Chimpanzees”, and the Sundance-honored “The Education of Shelby Knox.” Rick’s CD “Into Light” was released in 2018 on Innova Recordings.
Vincent C. Ellis is an award-winning Director of Photography with over twenty-five years of experience in film and television. He was the DP on the top-rated crime series “Forensic Files,” with over 300 episodes to his credit. He has also lensed documentaries and specials for Investigative Discovery and The Sci-Fi Channel, as well as numerous commercial and ad agency campaigns.
Glen Zipper is a founding partner of Zipper Bros Films and formerly an Assistant State Prosecutor in Hudson County, New Jersey. In addition to producing the Academy Award®-winning documentary “Undefeated,” Glen produced the docs “Betting On Zero” and “Deep Web.” In 2018, and 2019 he produced the multi-part HBO Original documentaries “The Searcher” on Elvis Presley, and “What’s My Name?” about Muhammed Ali. He also created and produced the current Netflix series “Dogs.”
Doug Blush is an award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer whose work includes over 100 feature and television projects, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as well as the American Cinema Editors (ACE). His recent credits include the 2013 -winning feature-documentary from Morgan Neville, “20 Feet from Stardom,” for which he also received the ACE Eddie Award for Best Documentary Editing. Recent work as consulting or supervising editor includes the 2018 Academy Award® winning documentary “Icarus”, as well as the Sundance films: “Jim: The James Foley Story,” “Chasing Coral,” “Dark Money,” “Mr. Soul” and the 2019 Oscar®-winning short, “Period. End of Sentence.”
Melanie Vi Levy is a documentary filmmaker and editor who has worked on feature documentaries including “Hillbilly,” winner of the LA Film Festival Documentary Grand Jury Prize, “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines” (SXSW/Independent Lens), “The Last Laugh” (Netflix), “United Skates” (HBO) and the Sundance award winning film, “E-Team” by Academy Award Winner Ross Kauffman & Katey Chevigny. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film & Video from Stanford University and a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Emmy Award-winning archival researcher/archival producer Rich Remsberg has more than 100 production credits. Remsberg is one of the country’s top researchers for documentary films, TV programs, and museum exhibits. Rich’s recent credits include the 2018 Netflix series, “Bobby Kennedy for President” and “Love Means Zero” for Showtime.
Helen is an alumnus of the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She graduated with an MA in Film Studies and Art History in 2014, and is currently based in New York. She has worked as script supervisor, researcher and social media manager on “What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael.”
Bobby Campbell, founder of Good Wizard Productions, started his digital advertising and content production career by launching two digital marketing companies, Ad Karma, which sold in 2014, and Division-D. He also founded Tasty Productions, a video studio focused on short-form content targeting millennials. Good Wizard is a content production company focused on technology-enabled feature and episodic content.
David O. Russell
Francis Ford Coppola
David V. Picker
Dirk van Nouhays
Pauline’s voiceover performed by Sarah Jessica Parker
“I try to use my initial responses to explore not only what a movie means to me, but what it may mean to others: to get at the many ways in which movies, by affecting us on sensual and primitive levels, are a supremely pleasurable and dangerous art form.”
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