By Nick Vivarelli
Isabella Rossellini first saw “The Truffle Hunters” while serving on the 2020 Sundance jury, where Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw’s doc — now considered among the frontrunners in the race for the best documentary feature Oscar — first launched.
Directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw didn’t necessarily get much sleep when they were making their Sony Pictures Classics documentary The Truffle Hunters, about superannuated men and their dogs in Italy who search for the subterranean delicacy.
Watch this exciting conversation with The Truffle Hunters Directors/Producers/Cinematographers Gregory Kershaw and Michael Dweck, moderated by Eric Kohn, Executive Editor & Chief Critic at IndieWire.
In this special 58th New York Film Festival edition of the Film at Lincoln Center podcast, NYFF programmer Rachel Rosen is joined by directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw to discuss their revelatory, earthy documentary The Truffle Hunters.
Directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw in conversation with TIFF in advance of THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS' premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. This beautiful, meditative documentary follows three elderly specialists, and their dogs, as they seek the prized delicacy and contend with poachers in the woods of Northern Italy.
Directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw immersed themselves in the daily lives of this small sect of truffle hunters, who only prowl the sloping Italian forests in the dead of night in order to protect the location of the white Alba truffle. Dweck and Kershaw explain the arduous process of gaining trust within the community and the intimacy of filming them.
Michael Dweck is the director of the feature film, "The Last Race", a movie about the last oval track on Long Island, and the battle between those that want to keep racing and those that want to develop the property. Premiers Friday, Nov. 16.
It's my creative effort to provide the audience with a singular emphatic experience as opposed to what documentaries typically do, which is give you information. I tried to have the audience become active participants and witnesses to the spirit of this place, the Raceway, and I hope they explore questions of blue collar American identity.
Whether he’s submerged in a Plexiglas box 40 feet underwater, or hanging onto the hood of a car on Havana’s busiest road, visual artist and photographer Michael Dweck has always found a new angle from which to document life.
We agreed this was going to be a cinematic portrait of a specific place, and the shots had to be either magical or mysterious. If they didn't meet that prerequisite, they didn't make the film. Another requirement was that there could be no repetition. We'd need to have moments of silence to breath, to stay, and to not cut a lot. If we had cuts, you wouldn't have time to observe this very particular world.
The director, Michael Dweck, is a fine art photographer, and we had been talking about collaborating on a project together for some time. He came to me with the idea of creating a film about a small stock car race track that was the last vestige of the Long Island racing culture that he experienced as a child.
Ethan interviews Director Michael Dweck of THE LAST RACE, a Sundance Film Festival documentary about Riverhead Raceway. For decades, this track has hosted showdowns between local residents in Mad Max style vehicles. Dozens of quarter-mile tracks just like that used to exist on Long Island - but now Riverhead is the last.
Intrigued and encapsulated by the pure love of surf and beach-life of the community that he so often frequented, Dweck’s book is a visual representation of the inspiration that this fisherman’s town has had on his artistry and creative eye.
I’m really happy with the way the project came out… It was kind of my attempt to look back – ten years later – on timelessness, and dig through a lot of contradictory feelings about a certain place and/or a certain time.
Photographer Michael Dweck has captured the charm of Montauk, N.Y. for the past 40 years, and is the first living American artist to have a solo exhibition in Cuba. He joins Tanya Rivero to discuss his enduring love affair with Montauk.
I get to work in a medium that provokes and teaches in inexplicable ways. Like Whitman says (another Long Island guy, actually) “I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes;/ We convince by our presence.” That, to me, is art.
I think it's important to remember that "Habana Libre" doesn't depict Cuba, nor Havana, but a group of people in the city, in the country — my ideal vision. It's no different than the photographs that come out of Fashion Week in New York. They depict a very small subset of a very large and complex society.
I think it's important to note again that Habana Libre wasn't assembled as propaganda or counter-propaganda or anything in between. It doesn't represent its photographer's point, so much as his point-of-view; my vision of Cuba and no one else's. It represents an island -- or my idea of one -- ripe with seduction, mystery, sensuality and, yes, a little danger.
There’s always a mixture of reasons that bring you to a particular place – for me, beauty is always a factor. In that sense – taken apart from political or social ideas – Cuba has the same draws as other islands in the Caribbean – Jamaica or the Virgin Islands or Antigua. The beaches are stunning, the people are beautiful. It’s just a great place to visit.
We’re dealing with people living buoyant, cinematic lives and I want the audience to share in that, feed on it. A single photo won’t borrow all the corners of that cube and give it away in two dimensions. But I think a book like this that doesn’t treat itself like “just a photobook” and whose images and narratives refuse to treat their subjects like “subjects” can go further in making its points, whatever island they may reference.
Looking back, I think my first trip to Havana was like walking into a nightclub – and actually connecting with that group was like picking up a woman at the bar. You see a confident, sexy woman across the dance floor. You catch her eye. You look one another over. You flirt. And, in my case, you stay together for a while and have some fun.