Oliver Stone on Conversations with History

8232Years ago (I won’t say how many) I was sitting on the steps of a Cinemobile truck parked near a film set (I won’t say which one), practicing “hurry up and wait.” I was chatting with a grip, a veteran of countless productions with decades in the business. At one point he sighed, looked off in the distance, and said, “Just once I’d like to work on a picture that’s about something real.” Even at that tender age I understood that desire; it’s what compelled me to become a documentarian, while my fellow film students aspired to be Spielberg or De Palma.

I recently recalled that encounter while watching an episode of Conversations with History featuring filmmaker Oliver Stone, and realized that my enthusiasm for factual filmmaking also informed my interest in Stone’s work. Beginning with his sophomore film, “Salvador,” and throughout his career, Stone has incorporated elements of documentary style in heightened narratives that are often based on real people and historical events. In his pursuit of what he’s termed “emotional truth,” as opposed to literal truth, Stone has never shied away from controversy. Stone’s detractors – and they are legion – accuse him of being “undisciplined’ and “reckless” in dealing with facts, labeling him as a “propagandist” and an “amateurish would-be historian.” In fairness Stone has never claimed to be either objective or an historian in the academic sense (though his films are heavily researched); rather, he has stated that his goal is not to provide definitive accounts but to spark debate while hopefully entertaining his audience. In this he has often succeeded, and even those self-same detractors can’t deny his prowess as a filmmaker.

Stone’s work in documentary and docudrama is just one of the many topics discussed in a wide-ranging interview with “Conversations” host Harry Kreisler. Of particular interest is Stone’s discourse on the changes that have overtaken him since his last appearance on the program some twenty years earlier. He’s an older artist who’s fallen out of favor in Hollywood, and his once-prodigious output has slowed as a consequence, but Stone remains committed to his beliefs and fearless in expressing his viewpoint.

One of the consistent themes in Oliver Stone’s work is a determination to explore the complexities of character, and in this interview Stone himself emerges as a complicated figure – by turns insightful, dogmatic, worldly, parochial, passionate, and analytical; at times exasperating, but, like his films, never dull.

Browse this program and others on Conversations with History.

Entrepreneurial Insights from the Pros

8232UC Santa Barbara’s Technology Management Program taps into its extensive network of business professional and entrepreneurs who have distinguished themselves as experts in their fields — and you get a front row seat. This month several new programs are being added to the already extensive archive.

You’ll definitely want to check out these recently added speakers:

Marc Randolph – Award-winning entrepreneur

Todd Stone – Marketing and communications experts and Army vet

Thomas Tighe – CEO of Direct Relief

Ben Casnocha – Technology entrepreneur and executive

Trip Hawkins – PC and game industry pioneer

Mark Coopersmith – Fortune 500 executive

Libby Gill – Executive coach

Take advantage of the rare opportunity to learn directly from those who have excelled through innovation and dedication to their work.

Browse all videos from the Technology Management Program.

All Aboard for STEAM in San Diego!

8232Oh, to be a student in the San Diego Unified School District and get to spend a day aboard the USS Midway. STEAM leaders from around the region welcomed some 300 middle and high-schoolers to the ship and fired them up to consider careers in designing satellites, electric cars, airplanes, algae-fueled motorcycles and even back-friendly bicycles.

Hear what moves them in From the Skies to the Streets.

Get the Latest on Climate Change Research and Solutions

climate-solutionsNew programs on The UC Climate Solutions Channel explore what climate change is, the science behind what we know, and what we can do about it.

8232The Natural Climate Solutions Symposium, from UC Davis
Enjoy highlights from this lively and informative symposium on natural climate solutions hosted by the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy at UC Davis.

8232Harness the Sun: America’s Quest for a Solar-Powered Future
Philip Warburg explores a range of solar technologies. A seasoned environmental lawyer, Warburg makes a case for embracing this technology as he talks about what is happening around the country and what more could be done.

8232Climate Change is Here. Now What?
Berkeley Lab Scientist, Bill Collins, discusses what we know about climate change, how we know it, and what we can do about it. Collins serves as the director for the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab. He is also the director of the Climate Readiness Institute, a multi-campus initiative to prepare the Bay Area for climate change.

Check out The UC Climate Solutions Channel for more videos on climate change research and solutions.

Simon Says: Teach the Teachers!

8232It’s one thing to know a lot about your field of expertise, but as Beth Simon says, teaching others about what you know is not easy. Very few professors are actually taught how to be teachers, a failing that Beth identified early in her career in computer science. And as she tells Karen Flammer in this boisterous conversation, Simon disrupted the old “sage on the stage” formula and instead, offers interactive classes where students engage with each other to solve problems. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot more fun than your “Intro to Computers” class?

Check out her methods in The STEAM Channel’s latest program, Beth Simon – The Constellation: Sally Ride Science Conversations.