Tribute: Alex Gibney



Highlighted in this year’s festival Centerpiece slot is a special tribute to Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), which includes the U.S. premiere of Gibney’s latest film, the HBO Documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

Since 1980, Oscar, Emmy, Peabody, and Grammy award-winner Alex Gibney has crafted stories that take an unflinching look at the American landscape. A graduate of both Yale University and UCLA Film School, his body of work includes Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), Oscar-nominee Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008), and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010).

His latest film, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, exposes the abuse of power in the Catholic Church and a cover-up that winds its way from our hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, all the way to the highest offices of the Vatican. This vital documentary places a focal point on the secret crimes of a charismatic priest who abused over 200 deaf children at St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, WI, and all the protests and revelations that it inspired in the three decades since. Gibney’s film is based on information gathered from a number of sources, including retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland, The New York Times investigative journalist Laurie Goldstein, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel archives, and interviews with the actual victims from St. John’s.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God will premiere on Friday, October 5 at 7:00 PM at the Oriental Theatre. Director Alex Gibney, along with several of the subjects of the film, is scheduled to attend the premiere and participate in a Q & A afterwards. **This screening will be presented with open captioning, and the film's introduction and Q&A will include several sign language interpreters to accommodate the hearing impaired.** The film will air on HBO in 2013.

Mr. Gibney is also scheduled to attend the screenings of two films he personally selected for this year’s Film Festival:

Thursday, Oct 4 | 6:45 PM Oriental Theatre
Gibney’s own Oscar-winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side exposes how a desperate post-9/11 U.S. government approved the use of cruel interrogation techniques through the saga of an innocent Afghan taxi driver killed in a Bagram prison. Mr. Gibney will be present for a Q&A following the film as well.

Friday, Oct 5 | 2:15 PM Oriental Theatre

Join Alex Gibney for this special screening of, and conversation following, surrealist director Luis Buñuel’s Oscar-winning 1972 satire. Six well-to-do Europeans attempt to have a “civilized” meal, but their plans are continuously thwarted by unlikely, if not outrageous, circumstances. Gibney cites Buñuel as a major influence, saying his films have a “peculiar” documentary quality, including seemingly arbitrary images with “some sort of power you can’t quite identify.