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51th Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019


Fortnight 1977, Feature film, 1h23


I have made a comedy that shows the age of technology from a completely fresh point of view. The idea for the film wame to me when I realized that preceeding every giant leap mankind takes forward are three steps backwards. Yes, failure often looks funny, and what I depict in my movie is that without the thousands of people daring enough to try the difficult, the unlikely and the improbable, we would still be riding around on square wheels. Through the use of humor, I salute all those brilliant innovators who were mad enough to de the undoable. If we applaud success, we should cheer the failures that make it possible. Howard SMITH


Howard Smith

Howard Smith, born in New York in 1936, is an Oscar winning film director, producer, journalist, screenwriter, actor, and radio broadcaster. He started his career as a photographer. His work appeared in Life, Newsweek and many other national publications. Several years later, he pursued journalism from another perspective and became a writer for more than thirty years. His articles appeared in newspapers and magazines ranging from Playboy to The New York Times; from the Ladies Home Journal to The Village Voice. He wrote regularly for the New York City based weekly newspaper, The Village Voice, in the 1960s and 1970s. During the Village Voice’s early and formative years, his column, « Scenes », with its reporting on the emerging counterculture, became a part of the paper’s groundbreaking new journalism. The column ran weekly for twenty years and became known for its cutting edge coverage and innovative short-form critiques. Howard produced and directed, with Sarah Kernochan, the Oscar winning feature-length documentary film, « Marjoe », in 1972, about the evangelist Marjoe Gortner. When it was first shown at the Cannes Film Festival, and subsequently played in theatres worldwide, the movie caused a sensation by exposing, for the first time ever, the underbelly of a corrupt movement, including its self righteous religious leaders, that was about to burst into public awareness. He followed up with a documentary film in 1977, called « Gizmo! », about improbable inventions of modern times, caught on film. The film received wide distribution and acclaim. He was also a film actor and a screenwriter in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Howard had a weekend overnight show on WPLJ FM radio in New York City, and syndicated nationally, conducting extensive in-depth interviews with well-known musicians and notable figures, as well as playing an interesting mix of albums and songs in the « progressive » freeform rock music and Album-oriented rock formats. He covered many of the tumultuous era’s most legendary events including Woodstock, from which America heard his live radio reports, broadcast around the clock for five full days. At the peak of the historic Stonewall Riots, he managed to get inside the now famous bar. He was the only journalist who reported about the siege from that dangerous vantage point. Over the years he interviewed an array of pop-culture icons: From Mick Jagger to Buckminster Fuller; from Janis Joplin to Margaret Mead. The list continues with Jim Morrison, Hugh Hefner, Jane Fonda, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Ravi Shankar, Dustin Hoffman, Carole King, Jack Nicholson and many others. Howard Smith became particularly well known for his insights into the growing influence and economic power of America’s rapidly expanding Youth Culture. As a result, he frequently lectured and was a guest on many network TV shows.

Kathleen Cox, Nicholas Hollander, Clark Whelton

Terry Manning

Dick Lavsky