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Rialto Acquires Martin Scorsese’s ‘Public Speaking’

By | Monday January 31, 2011 @ 1:04pm PST
Mike Fleming

Specialized distributor Rialto Pictures has acquired the U.S. theatrical rights to Martin Scorsese’s PUBLIC SPEAKING, the director’s portrait of author, social critic, and acerbic wit Fran Lebowitz. The company will open the acclaimed new documentary on February 23 at New York’s Film Forum, with special engagements in select U.S. cities to follow throughout 2011.

Directed by Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese and produced by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, an Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentarian, and Margaret Bodde, the feature-length documentary spotlights Lebowitz’s experiences and sardonic world view. Made in the energetic style of Scorsese’s early documentaries Italian American and American Boy, PUBLIC SPEAKING captures Lebowitz in conversation at New York’s Waverly Inn, in an onstage discussion with longtime friend Toni Morrison, and on the streets of New York.

The film was recently nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award in the Best Documentary category.

Lebowitz offers insights on social issues like gender, race, and gay rights, as well pet peeves including celebrity culture, smoking bans, tourists and strollers. Gender, she says, is “a very big piece of luck… Any white gentile straight male who is not President of the United States failed.” Of aging, she says, “At a certain point, the worst picture taken of you when you were 25 is better than the best picture taken of you when you’re 45.”

Fran hit the New York literary scene in the early 1970s when Andy Warhol hired the unknown scribe to write for Interview magazine, with stints as a writer for Mademoiselle and a contributing

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HBO Picks Up Martin Scorsese’s Documentary ‘Public Speaking’

Nellie Andreeva

HBO, which is gearing up for the premiere of the Martin Scorsese-produced and directed drama series Boardwalk Empire, has also acquired U.S. TV rights to Scorsese’s documentary Public Speaking. Produced by Graydon Carter and Margaret Bodde, the feature-length film in the style of Scorsese’s early documentaries Italian American and American Boy showcases New York writer Fran Lebowitz, her worldview and experiences. Public Speaking, also produced by Scorsese and Lebowitz, will premiere on HBO in November. Boardwalk Empire debuts Sept. 19.

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