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Sag Harbor Cinema Announces Executive Director And Continues "Present Tense" Series

Nicole Barylski

Walter Huston and Karen Morley in Gabriel Over The White House. (Courtesy Photo)

The Sag Harbor Cinema has brought on Gillian Gordon, a resident of Springs, as its first Executive Director.

The award winning producer and educator's career has taken her to the US, UK and Asia. For the past 28 years, she has utilized her creative expertise as an Executive and Producer with a resume that spans from film production (former COO of Harmony Pictures in Los Angeles) to teacher to BAFTA Film Festival Judge to Media Development Agency (Singapore) Film Consultant, and more. She has also produced a number of successful TV dramas for the BBC and ITV. Gordon has served as a Senior Lecturer and Director of Graduate Studies Taught in Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London since 2006, and also served as an Associate Arts Professor of NYU, Tisch School of the Arts Asia from 2009-2012, and Chair of the MA International Media Producing in Singapore.

Gordon, who was raised at Princeton University, has long-lasting ties to the East End, as her father, WWII hero Ernest Gordon, was the minister of the Presbyterian Church in Amagansett.

"Gillian's qualifications were stunning, but what especially impressed those of us on the Search Committee was the way she quickly began inspiring us with her new, fresh ideas both for fundraising and for the Cinema itself," April Gornik, head of the Board of the Cinema, remarked. "Her profound knowledge of and active participation in film and filmmaking, and her devotion to education and insistence on participation for every age group and cultural background in the Cinema, were determining factors in her hiring. We were entirely won over by her dynamism!"

As for programming, a screening of Gregory La Cava's Gabriel Over the White House (1933) is up next for the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center. Presented as part of the Present Tense series, the afternoon will feature a special presentation, crafted for the Sag Harbor Cinema, by Bruce Goldstein, Repertory Program Director of New York's Film Forum.

"With its wealth of programs, rich history and loyal audience, New York's Film Forum has been a great inspiration in our conception of the Sag Harbor Cinema. Its director of Repertory Programming, Bruce Goldstein, is one of the geniuses in the business, a great showman as much as he is a sophisticated film historian - who strongly believes that the best place to see movies is with other people, on a big screen, in a theater," Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan, head of the Cinema's Programming Committee, relayed. "Bruce is also a friend and a personal inspiration of mine. I am thrilled about the special program he is bringing to us for the Present Tense series, and I hope this is just the beginning of a long collaboration that can flourish once the new Sag Harbor Cinema will be completed and open."

Set during the Great Depression, Gabriel Over the White House explores what happens when Judson Hammond (Walter Huston), a seemly passive people pleaser, is elected United States president. After a life changing incident, Hammond is inspired to become a different man, leading to far-reaching, drastic changes to the government, including the shocking dissolution of Congress and the revoking of the Constitution.

The film was released by MGM during the pivotal first 100 days of the Roosevelt presidency. Some historians believe it is the most critical political movie made in Pre-Code Hollywood (films made prior to the adoption of the Motion Pictures Production Code's censorship guidelines, in 1934). The film was financially supported by billionaire media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who also offered uncredited creative contribution.

According to the Library of Congress: "The good news: Hammond reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace. The bad news: he's Mussolini."

"A mess of political tripe superlatively hoked up into a picture of strong popular possibilities, Walter Wanger's first Metro production as a supervisor is a cleverly executed commercial release [from the anonymous novel of the same name]," Variety said, while of Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times lauded, "Mr. Huston gives a vigorous and emphatic portrayal of Hammond. He reveals the man's weaknesses in the beginning and his vision and strength in the latter phases. He delivers the various speeches with vehemence."

Goldstein, who founded Rialto Pictures, a distribution company specializing in classic re-release, played a big part in the popularization of "Pre-Code" movies. "He is a celluloid warrior, a dedicated cinephile-activist, a fighter for old movies and new prints, for weeklong revivals and knowledgeable reviews. For going on a quarter of a century, he's been New York film culture's indispensable man," film critic Jim Hoberman said about Goldstein.

The screening will take place at Pierson High School Auditorium on Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m. Admission is $15.

Pierson High School Auditorium is located at 200 Jermain Avenue in Sag Harbor. For more information, visit www.sagharborcinema.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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