Focus

WILL - Focus - April 18, 2014

Life Itself: director Steve James and Chaz Ebert on the new documentary about Roger Ebert

During this Focus interview, Jeff Bossert talks with Steve James and Chaz Ebert about capturing the life of a critic on film.  

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(Duration: 50:26)

Flm critic Roger Ebert in Chicago in 2005

After he lost his voice, some say film critic Roger Ebert became an even better writer, pouring all his efforts into movie reviews and other columns. As he further mastered his craft, legendary writer, historian, actor and broadcaster Studs Terkel sent him a note about his ‘new’ voice. “This – what you write now, it’s more than about movies. Yes, it’s about the movies but there is something added. A new REFLECTION on life itself.”

Those last words became the title for Roger Ebert’s 2011 memoir, and is now the title of a new documentary about his life. Steven Zailian, screenwriter for ‘Schindler’s List” among other films, first approached director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, 2005) in late 2012 about the project. When James first met with Chaz and Roger about the direction the film would take, no one could have predicted he would pass away just five months later.

During this Focus interview, Jeff Bossert talks with filmmaker Steve James and Chaz Ebert about capturing Roger’s life, and his death, on film. 


WILL - Focus - May 28, 2013

Uncle Joe Cannon

Many consider Joseph Gurney Cannon one of the most dominant speakers of the House of Representatives in U.S. history. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the life and legacy of Uncle Joe Cannon.

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(Duration: 51:42)

A painted mural of "Uncle Joe" Cannon on the side of a building in downtown Danville at the corner of Harrison and Vermilion streets depicts the Time Magazine cover he was featured on.

Uncle Joe Cannon served in the U.S. House of Representatives as speaker from 1903 to 1911 and is considered the second longest serving Republican speaker in history. He was featured on the first cover of Time Magazine and is remembered as one of the more colorful members of Congress.

This hour on Focus, we’ll remember Joe, his Illinois roots, and some of his more notorious moments as speaker in Washington D.C. Host Jim Meadows talks with Matt Wasniewski, a historian for the House of Representatives and Timothy Smith, an amateur historian and long-time Danville resident who is working on a biography about Joe.

Categories: Biography, Government, History

WILL - Focus - November 06, 2012

Exploring JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit

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(Duration: 51:33)

This September marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. An estimated 100 million copies of the book have been sold since its publication, but interest in The Hobbit sees no signs of abating, as the first of a trilogy of Hobbit films by Peter Jackson opens this December. Author Corey Olsen, who produces a podcast called The Tolkien Professor, feels that The Hobbit has lived far too long in the shadow of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books. His idea is to turn attention back to what he calls "this brilliant little book." Olsen is an Assistant Professor of English at Washington College in Maryland and the President and founder of the Mythgard Institute, a new online teaching center for the study of Tolkien and other works of imaginative literature.


WILL - Focus - October 24, 2012

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

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(Duration: 51:23)

Bob Spitz, Journalist and Author

Host: Craig Cohen
Book Jacket of Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

This August marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Julia Child. Child practically invented the television cooking program – would there be a Food Network without her? - and helped usher in the early years of PBS. But her life was so much more than the French Chef. Her files as a member of the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, were declassified in 2008, leading to a flood of information about her fascinating life. Her time in the OSS led her to France, where she took cooking classes and was determined to master Franch cooking. Journalist Bob Spitz spent time with Child in the early 1990s, and the conversations about food they had then form the basis of his new book Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child.








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