THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING

October 25, 2018, 7:00 PM

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The Alumni Screening Series, HBO Documentary Films, and the School of Cinematic Arts’ Documentary Program invite you and a guest to a special screening of

The Price of Everything

Directed by Nathaniel Kahn
Produced by Jennifer Blei Stockman, Debi Wisch, and Carla Solomon

 

Followed by a Q&A with Nathaniel Kahn and Professor Mark Jonathan Harris

 

7:00 P.M. on Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Ray Stark Family Theatre
900 W. 34th Street, SCA 108
Los Angeles, California 90007

 

FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. RSVPs REQUIRED.

 

OFFICIAL SELECTION
Sundance Film Festival, True/False Film Festival, CPH:DOX, San Francisco International Film Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

 

In select theaters beginning October 19th, 2018

Coming to HBO November 12th, 2018

 

About The Price of Everything

Paintings by Basquiat and Gerhard Richter sell at auction for tens of millions of dollars; a multi-story inflatable ballerina by Jeff Koons dwarfs visitors at Rockefeller Center; a solid gold toilet by Maurizio Cattelan is installed in the Guggenheim Museum for all to see and use. Today, art is spectacle, big bucks and front-page news. As a society, we have become less concerned with the aesthetic and social values of art, and more concerned with brand names and the business of it all. Many feel that art has become a pawn of the ultra rich — an exclusive investment class with perks and loopholes out of reach to the average citizen. High-end art fairs are springing up all over the world and collectors flip works at auction and squirrel away their trophies in high security warehouses.

Are we in the midst of an art crisis? Can the value of art really be measured in dollars and cents? How are these values assigned and who assigns them? Does the art market have a chilling effect on our great museums and the ability of the public to engage in the art of our time? Most importantly, what does this new consumerist approach to art mean for artists themselves? 

THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING explores these questions and demystifies the rarefied world of contemporary art in a dynamic and entertaining way. With unprecedented access to artists, dealers, collectors and auction houses, the film takes us deep into a hidden world where nothing is what it seems. In revealing scenes and interviews, we come to understand how the art market actually works and we confront the challenges of being an artist in the current environment— where success can come at lightning speed, only to evaporate next season, and where even the most revered creators must find ways to block out the temptations of the market if they wish to remain in control of their creative process.

THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING offers a complex portrait of a late capitalist society confronting itself. While holding a funhouse mirror up to our consumerist culture, the film ultimately reaffirms the transcendent power of art itself and the deep need we have for it in our lives. 

Presented courtesy of HBO Documentary Films and CTPR 547L. Runtime: 98 minutes. English. Not Rated.

Visit the official website: www.thepriceofeverything.com
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Director's Statement

Growing up in a family of creative people, I saw firsthand how difficult it is to live life as an artist. Of course there are great rewards for pursuing one’s artistic passions, but along with those rewards, come demons. Every artist has them, some from without, some from within, but one demon all artists seem to share is money: it’s hell when you don’t have it and, ironically, it can be hell when you do have it. Money explores an artist’s weaknesses — chase it and you can lose your way, disregard it and you can end up with nothing.

Then there is the opaque and bewildering world of the art market. The market has always been a capricious beast; favoring, ignoring, loving, withholding, elevating certain artists one moment only to drop them the next. But in recent years the market has captured the public imagination as it has soared to dizzying heights, with contemporary works going for a hundred million and more and a painting, supposedly by Leonardo da Vinci, fetching 450 million at auction in the fall of 2017. In spite of these newsy items, however, the fact remains that most artists — even great ones — struggle mightily and most of them never generate much money in their lifetimes, if ever. Does money corrupt art? Is it a necessary evil? Is there such a thing as intrinsic value that transcends the world of commerce, or is this just a comforting myth, promulgated by hopeless romantics and idealists?

The relationship between art and money has always fascinated me and I’ve wanted to make a film exploring that relationship since making My Architect over 10 years ago. But, “a film about art and money” is an absurdly broad topic. There could be a million ways of doing it. Where do you possibly start? In this regard, I was extremely lucky to work with producers who allowed me to approach the particular demon of “too many options” the only way I know how to deal with it: start shooting. 

It is very much the record of the odyssey we took through the art world over the period of a couple of years. It evolved organically and it is populated by remarkable characters from all parts of the art world, and by artists with many different trajectories through it. It is a film composed not of interviews, but of scenes—encounters—through which we explored a world vastly more puzzling and contradictory than I ever imagined. In the end, it seems to me the art world holds a much-needed mirror up to our contemporary society, allowing us to glimpse ourselves for a moment and to question where we are going as individuals and as a civilization.

If there’s one thing I’d like audiences to take from this film, it’s to open their eyes to seeing art again on their own terms. The people in the film taught me to do that, each in their own way, and I am very grateful to them for it. They also taught me, whether they intended to or not, that in spite of what the market may say, there actually is very little intrinsic connection between value and price. The idealist and hopeless romantic in me believes, now more than ever, that there really is something in art that transcends money, that twists free of commerce and that, at its best, points the way towards some kind of enlightenment. Most artists pay a high personal price for what they do, but they are bringing things into being that we human beings cannot do without.

– Nathaniel Kahn

About the Guests

NATHANIEL KAHN (Director)

Nathaniel Kahn is an award-winning filmmaker. His documentary My Architect, about his father, Louis I. Kahn, was nominated for an Academy Award® in 2003 as well as being nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards and an Emmy®. Kahn also won the 2004 Directors Guild of America award for outstanding direction of a documentary. His short films include the Oscar and Emmy® nominated Two Hands (2006), about the internationally celebrated pianist Leon Fleisher. Kahn has also made several films on science including Telescope (2015) and Dark Side of the Sun (2016) for Discovery. He is currently working on a film about NASA’s new Webb Telescope and the search for life in the universe, as well as a feature screenplay, which he will direct.

MARK JONATHAN HARRIS (Distinguished Professor, Head of Advanced Documentary Production, Mona and Bernard Kantor Endowed Chair in Production)

Professor Mark Jonathan Harris is an Academy-Award winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and novelist. Among the many documentaries he has written, produced and/or directed are The Redwoods, a documentary made for the Sierra Club to help establish a redwood National Park, which won an Oscar for Best Short Documentary in 1968. The Long Way Home (1997), a film made for the Simon Wiesenthal Center about the period immediately following the Holocaust won the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary (1997). Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport was produced for Warner Bros. and won an Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary in 2000. In 2014, it was also selected for permanent preservation in the National Film Registry.

Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives (2003), an HBO documentary he wrote on slavery in America, was nominated for an Emmy for Non-fiction Special. In 2007, he produced Darfur Now, which was nominated by The National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association for best documentary of the year. The film went on to win an NAACP Image Award.

He also wrote The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing, a documentary about editing produced by BBC-TV, NHK, and STARZ, which is shown in film schools around the world (2004). In 2006, he produced Darfur Now, a film about the humanitarian crisis in Africa, which was nominated as best documentary of the year by the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association and won an NAACP Image Award. Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, a film he executive produced, premiered at the Venice film festival and was shortlisted for the 2011 Oscar for best feature documentary. Code Black, another documentary he executive produced about ER doctors, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival. Lost for Life, a film he produced about juvenile murderers who are sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, aired on both the BBC and the Lifetime Movie Channel in 2014. For the past three years he and Professor Marsha Kinder have led a team of filmmakers in creating a video intensive website on autism, www.interactingwithautism.com which was launched in September 2013.

In 2010 the International Documentary Association honored him with their Scholarship and Preservation Award.

In addition to filmmaking, Harris is also a journalist and has published short stories and five novels for children. He has taught filmmaking at the School of Cinematic Arts since 1983.

About the USC Alumni Screening Series

The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites you to an exciting free screening series featuring a dynamic selection of new feature films by alumni and faculty throughout 2018. All screenings and events will be free of charge and open to the public, although we do ask for an electronic reservation for each screening, which can be made through the website for each individual screening.

Check-in & Reservation

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring either a printed or digital confirmation of your reservation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M. and the RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.

Limited handicap seating is available. For guests with disabilities who require special accommodations, please contact Matthew Meier at mmeier@cinema.usc.edu with the subject line: "Accommodations Request – PRICE OF EVERYTHING."

Parking

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at the McClintock Avenue Entrance (formerly Gate #5) or Royal Street Entrance (formerly Gate #4) on W. Jefferson Blvd. We recommend parking in the Royal Street Parking Structure (formerly PSD), at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd, with limited non-metered spaces also available north of Jefferson and throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Especially if you plan to utilize street parking, we HIGHLY recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before the screening, as parking can be difficult to find and it may take time to walk to the theater from your parking space.

For a map of campus, visit: https://web-app.usc.edu/maps/map.pdf

Contact Information

Name: Matthew Meier
Email: mmeier@cinema.usc.edu