New Sidewalk Superstars to be Unveiled

SHREVEPORT – Robinson Film Center will unveil four new Sidewalk Superstars Friday, February 24, 2017, at a noon ceremony. A reception with champagne and hors d’oeuvres will follow.

The Sidewalk Superstars program honors those who have made a significant impact in Shreveport-Bossier. Specifically, the 2017 honorees have all made great contributions specifically to the Shreveport-Bossier arts community.

To recognize their contributions, RFC has added their names to the Hollywood Walk of Fame-style stars just outside its front doors. These terrazzo stone and brass-lettered stars provide RFC with a permanent way to honor these supporters.

“The Sidewalk Superstars program is a fun and unique way to say thank you to people who mean the world to RFC and to the larger arts community,” said Meghan Hochstetler, RFC’s executive director. “These individuals and families are tireless supporters of the arts through a variety of ways.”

The 2017 class of Sidewalk Superstars are Linda and Richard Biernacki, Alexandyr Kent, Father Kenneth Paul and Henry Price.

The unveiling ceremony will kick off Oscar weekend, with RFC’s red carpet fundraiser, The Robbys, held 7 p.m. Saturday, February 25. The the new stars will be highlighted along the red carpet as guests enter the Louisiana film-themed event.

“We’re grateful for the tremendous support of these patrons, and their stars are going to look fantastic,” said Robbys party chair, Ro White. “We are a stronger organization because of these honorees, and we are excited to have this opportunity to celebrate them.”

2017 Honorees

Linda and Richard Biernacki

Linda and Richard Biernacki met in 1987 and will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.  They have two daughters – Emily, who is studying at Ole Miss, and Nikki, who is a student at Loyola College Prep.  Richard is retired from Kraft Food Service and is currently a licensed gun dealer. Linda has owned Firetech Systems, Inc. for 26 years, employing 88 fire protection professionals across the Ark-La-Tex area.

Aside from the family’s love of golf, both Linda and Richard have been heavily involved in local organizations and professional associations. Richard serves on RFC’s board, the American Red Cross North Louisiana Chapter, and the Eighth Air Force Consultation Committee. Linda serves on the board of directors for Sci-Port Discovery Center and the National Association of Women in Construction. Professionally, she serves as the first female president of the Louisiana Fire Sprinkler Association and on the National American Fire Sprinkler Association board. Linda has received several community accolades, including being a Junior Achievement Laureate, Shreveport Chamber of Commerce 2016 Business Leader of the Year Award, a past recipient of the ATHENA Award, and the first female Committee Chairman in the Committee of 100’s 50 year history. The Biernacki family enjoys giving back to a community that has given them so much.

Alexandyr Kent

Alexandyr Kent served as RFC’s executive director from 2010 to 2016. During Kent’s tenure, RFC expanded its education programs to include a Teen Film Council and added popular film series such as the Family Matinee and Faith on Film. He also worked with the board of directors on fundraising projects to expand the membership program, add digital projection, replace weathered seats and crowdfund a new marquee.

Kent came to RFC in 2009 with a strong background in multimedia journalism, arts education and nonprofit programming. He holds a master's in English literature from the University of Oregon, where he concentrated on film studies. In 2016, he and moved to Madison, Wisconsin with his wife Kate Archer Kent and their four children.

Father Kenneth Paul

Fr. Kenneth Paul was born on the edge of a cotton field in Rapides Parish.  Following graduation from Buckeye High School it was on to a series of private colleges and universities where Paul was an "intellectual lay about" for 12 years. Included are Asbury College, Southern Methodist University, University of the South, Christ Church College, Oxford University England, The General Seminary and the New School of Social Research – some from which he took degrees and some he took a good time.  He was ordained a deacon in Christ Episcopal Church, Bastrop in 1965 and a priest at St. Mark's, Shreveport in 1966.  Here he served on the staff of St. Mark's, Episcopal Chaplain at Centenary College and was elected Rector of Church of the Holy Cross in 1968.  He is married to Virginia Hodges Millener and they are parents of William and Raymond and grandparents of Caroline and James. Paul has served on many boards and agencies since his arrival to Shreveport.  When asked how he would like to be remembered he says for founding two facilities for the elderly and handicapped – Holy Cross Villas in Bossier and Holy Cross Villas in Shreveport – and for Holy Cross Hope House a day shelter that provides a multitude of services for those in need in the downtown area. Paul retired on Easter Day 2007.

Henry Price

Henry Price has served as supervisor of art for Caddo Parish Public Schools since 1995. Prior to the job of supervisor of art, he was the assistant principal at Caddo Magnet High School for 15 years. Price also serves as the president of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council board of directors, where he was instrumental in creating the popular ArtBreak festival. He is a board member at The Arc of Caddo-Bossier Foundation and a former board member of RFC, Meadows Museum of Art and Sci-Port Discovery Center. Price is an artist whose art has been featured at exhibits around Louisiana. He has been recognized throughout his career with many accolades including the 2014 Southeastern Regional Arts Supervisor of the Year Award and the 2014 Lt. Governor’s Award for Art Education in the State of Louisiana.

Previous Honorees

These four Sidewalk Superstars join 22 other stars on RFC’s Texas St. sidewalk: Bruce Wayne Allen; Anderson Feazel Manaement, Inc.; The Ballengee Foundation; Karin and Greg Barro; Boomtown Casino; Zama Dexter; The Falbaum Family; Sylvia K. Goodman; O. Delton Harrison, Jr.; Scarlett and Jefferson Hendricks; Bobbie Hicks; Nancy McCullough Humphrey; Elizabeth Baucum Joyce; Moonbot Studios; Carolyn and Coco Nelson; Sam and Sally Norton; Red River Bank; William A. Robinson; John Settle; Charles Leon Thomas; Querbes and Nelson; and Willis-Knighton Health System.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Meghan Hochstetler, executive director

(318) 459-4111, mhochstetler@robinsonfilmcenter.org

Hochstetler named executive director

Meghan Hochstetler, Robinson Film Center’s interim executive director, has been named executive director by the nonprofit’s board of directors.

Hochstetler has been at Robinson Film Center since 2011 helping to grow and sharpen RFC’s education and film programming. She took over as interim executive director in May from outgoing director Alexandyr Kent.

“I’m so proud to be a part of the Robinson Film Center team of board and staff members,” Hochstetler said. “I’m excited to continue working for and leading this organization that is very close to my heart.”

Hochstetler came to RFC in 2011 as a media educator. In 2012 she became education director and in 2015 was named director of audience. After earning a journalism degree from Louisiana Tech University, Hochstetler worked as a freelance writer for local publications like The Shreveport Times while also pursuing a career working with teenagers at area churches.

“We are very proud to announce Meghan Hochstetler as our new executive director,” said Justin Ricou, board president of RFC. “Meghan has done a magnificent job for Robinson Film Center. We are looking forward to continued success and great happenings at RFC.”

RFC names interim executive director

Meghan Hochstetler, Robinson Film Center’s audience director, has been named interim executive director by the nonprofit’s board of directors. She takes over May 2 for outgoing executive director Alexandyr Kent, who is moving soon with his family to Wisconsin.

Hochstetler has worked at Robinson Film Center since 2011. She has helped to grow and sharpen RFC’s education and film programming.

“I’m proud to be a part of the team of staff and board members at RFC and excited for this opportunity,” Hochstetler said. “It has been a pleasure to work for and with Alex for the past five years. He’s done incredible things for our organization, and I look forward to helping RFC push ahead.”

Hochstetler began working at RFC in 2011 as a media educator. In 2012 she became education director and in 2015 was named director of audience. After earning a journalism degree from Louisiana Tech University, Hochstetler worked as a freelance writer for local publications like The Shreveport Times, while also pursuing a career working with teenagers at area churches.

“We’re very fortunate to have Meghan,” said Ro White, board president of RFC. “We’re sorry to see Alex go, but RFC has a great team in place. Meghan is the right choice to lead us through this transition. She’s been a great spokesperson and tireless leader for our programming. She will do a great job carrying RFC forward.”

Kent’s final day at RFC is April 29. The board will celebrate his contributions at a happy hour reception on May 3, the evening of Give for Good. The “day of giving,” sponsored locally by the Community Foundation of North Louisiana, is an opportunity for citizens to support their favorite nonprofits by donating online at www.giveforgoodnla.org.

Robinson Film Center’s executive director, family departing for Madison, Wis.

Alexandyr Kent, who has served as Robinson Film Center’s executive director since late 2010, has announced he is moving with his family to Madison, Wisconsin.

His wife, Kate Archer Kent, news producer at Red River Radio, has accepted a new position at Wisconsin Public Radio. Madison represents an opportunity for the Kents to advance their careers and move closer to family members living in the Midwest.

RFC executive director Alexandyr Kent and his wife, Kate Archer Kent.

RFC executive director Alexandyr Kent and his wife, Kate Archer Kent.

“I’m proud of my wife, and we’re a great team,” Alexandyr Kent said. “We have lived in Louisiana for 14 years and are sad to leave this warm community. Madison is a wonderful opportunity for us and our kids, and we look forward to it. At the same time, it’s very hard to leave the staff, board, moviegoers and members at Robinson Film Center. They are the bedrock of this institution, and I will be forever grateful to them. RFC is a unique, vibrant center for culture in Shreveport. I can’t wait to watch it grow as a longtime fan.”

During Kent’s tenure, RFC expanded its education programs to include a Teen Film Council and added popular series such as the Family Matinee and Faith on Film. He also worked with the board on fundraising projects to expand the membership program, add digital projection, replace weathering seats, and recently, crowdfund a new marquee. He began working at RFC in 2009.

“Movies mean a great deal to me because they play a vital role in people coming together to explore new ideas, emotions and experiences,” Kent said. “I’m proud that this community is so passionate about this place. This is an entertainment and culture destination that people celebrate day in and day out. It feels good to watch people enjoy it.”

Ro White, president of RFC’s board of directors, says Kent will be missed.

“Alex has been the heart and soul of RFC, and we will miss him dearly,” White said. “I’m kind of at a loss for words, but I am also happy for him and his family. He has all of my support. This is a great opportunity for them.”

The board of directors is currently meeting to discuss its interim management plans.
“RFC won’t be the same,” White said, “but I’m confident that we are in a good position to move forward into a new chapter.”

 

Jefferson Hendricks: The importance of Trumbo

Trumbo arrives at the RFC this week, a film that presents a darkly-comic view of one of the least-comic periods in American history, the McCarthy era of the 1940s and 50s.  Trumbo covers several years in the life of Dalton Trumbo, an award-winning, highly-respected Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted from the movie industry for over a decade after running afoul of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) for his left-of-center political views. 

But some may wonder: who was the historical Dalton Trumbo? And what was the McCarthy Era and The Blacklist? And why should we care?
 
Born in 1905 in western Colorado to a working-class family, Trumbo moved to Los Angeles with his parents in 1925.  While a college student he chose writing as a career but juggled several part-time jobs while piling up rejection letters from his short stories and novels.  By the early 1930s, however, he was beginning to be successful, publishing in national magazines such as Vanity Fair and The Saturday Evening Post.  

His big break in Hollywood came in 1935 when he was hired by Warner Brothers studio as a script reader.  Soon, Trumbo was writing his own scripts and he proved to be fast, versatile, and prolific, working successfully in a wide range of genres, from the college romance Sorority House (1939), to the soap-operaish Kitty Foyle (1940) – which was his first Oscar-nominated screenplay, to the patriotic war film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944). By the late 1940s, when Hollywood was at its height of popularity in American culture, Trumbo was one of its most sought-after – and wealthy – scriptwriters. 

The world of Hollywood began to internally combust, however, in October of 1947, when The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a House of Representatives committee formed in the late 1930s to combat Nazism, came to Hollywood to investigate the influence of Communism in the film industry.  Trumbo, and scores of other Hollywood writers, actors, and producers – from Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney to John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart – were called to testify before the committee, either “to confess” their political beliefs and affiliations or “to name names” of those who were Communists or “fellow travelers.”   

Trumbo, like many American writers and intellectuals shaped by The Great Depression, supported progressive politics during the 1930s and 40s.  He even joined the Communist Party for a while during the 1940s.  During the HUAC hearings in Hollywood, Trumbo became linked with “The Hollywood Ten,” a group who refused to answer questions by the committee, citing their First Amendment rights to privacy, speech, and thought.  

In the anti-communist climate of Cold-War America, where Senator Joseph McCarthy dominated national headlines investigating Communist influence in Washington, the Hollywood Ten was cited for contempt of Congress, and each was fined $1000 and spent from six months to a year in prison. Afterwards, they were all blacklisted, meaning they were denied work by the Hollywood studios not wanting to appear “soft” on leftist politics.  

Several hundred people ended up being blacklisted in the entertainment business during the late 1940s and 50s, with many careers being ruined forever.  Some of the more fortunate ones, like Trumbo, continued to work, though at grossly-reduced salaries, under pseudonyms or were “fronted” (Woody Allen starred in a film about this: The Front, 1976) by other screenwriters.

Trumbo's journey through this tortured era (what writer Stefan Kanfer called “The Plague Years”) is one of the most famous of the Hollywood stories.  He continued to get occasional work – behind the scenes – for example, writing the Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday (1953) in which his “front” man won an Academy Award for Screenwriting. And in 1957, Trumbo's screenplay for The Brave Ones, written under the pseudonym “Frank Rich,” won another Oscar.  

The following year, Otto Preminger hired Trumbo to write the Biblical epic Exodus (1960) and Kirk Douglas soon followed by hiring him to write Spartacus (1960).  With the publicity surrounding these two Hollywood blockbusters and Trumbo's name publicly acknowledged, the Blacklist was essentially broken, though the psychic trauma within the Hollywood community has only recently begun to fade.  

So Why See This Film? 
Focusing on Trumbo’s eccentricities (writing his scripts in the bathtub!) – as well as on his superb wit and stubbornness – Bryan Cranston’s performance is the center of the film, a performance that’s receiving a lot of Oscar speculation for Best Actor.  And the supporting cast is filled, too, with wonderful actors:  Helen Mirren, as right-wing gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and John Goodman, as movie producer Frank King, help re-create a Hollywood amidst a political civil war.

Perhaps, more importantly, though, this film may give us some insight into how to handle our own turbulent times, when the pressure of world events is leading us to judge and exclude others, to essentially “blacklist” them from the possibility of the American Dream.  In a world getting increasingly complicated, remembering our country's history and what we might learn from it, might be a very good thing indeed.  

Jefferson Hendricks is the George A. Wilson Eminent Scholars Endowed Chair of American Literature at Centenary College of Louisiana.  A member of RFC’s Board of Directors, he has published four books on the American poet Edwin Rolfe and his involvement in the cultural politics of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

Purchase member tickets online

RFC members can now purchase their discounted tickets online. Here are the steps to activating your membership with our online ticketing system.

Click on SHOWTIMES & TICKETS on the main page of the website.

Select the film/event showtime for which you would like to purchase tickets.

In the upper righthand corner, click on "Forgot Password?"

Enter the email account associated with your membership (this would be the email you provided to RFC when you joined). Click submit.

If the email address used is the one we have on file, you should receive instructions to change your password. Click on the provided link, change your password and activate your account. 

If you are having trouble setting up your account, please contact membership coordinator Jennifer Garcie at jgarcie@robinsonfilmcenter.org or at 318.459.4113.