Yale Conference on Milgram’s Legacy

Reading the new issue of Journal of Social Issues devoted to Stanley Milgram’s ‘Obedience to Authority’, I recalled that around this time last year  (October 2013) I  participated in a Conference on the Legacy of Stanley Milgram’ held at Yale Law School and organised by Tom Tyler.  Fellow presenters included Milgram’s biographer, Tom Blass,  Alex Haslam and Steve Reicher. It was an inspiring event,  with much debate. Alex, Steve and I have been collaborating on a documentary Shock Room that restages and reinterprets Milgram’s  dramatic experiment, questioning whether we are really programmed to obey. More  very soon… 

At the conference, I was introduced to the work of  psychologist Saul Kassin who gave a fascinating  presentation about the power of situation in extracting false confessions. Like Stanley Milgram, Kassin and his colleagues go to a great deal of trouble to create the right environment for their experiments,  conducting much of their research in a Psycho-legal Laboratory containing a mock courtroom complete with a judge’s bench, witness stand, podium, and seating area for a jury. Staged trials or testimony are recorded with videotape cameras and microphones built into the ceiling and walls. 



Essay on Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Documentary

In September, the Journal Of Social Issues published a special issue ‘Milgram at 50: Exploring the Enduring Relevance of Psychology’s most Famous Studies.’ It was edited by Alex Haslam, Arthur Miller and Steve Reicher.

My own article Revisioning Obedience: Exploring the Role of Milgram’s Skills as a Filmmaker in Bringing His Shocking Narrative to Life was in a section devoted to new insights from the Yale archives.  It also included terrific new articles by Nestar Russell and Stephen Gibson. Another highlight is Haslam and Reicher’s article. You can find full details of the issue here.

Chaplin’s Tramp Crosses Borders

In October, The Boot Cake screened at Astra Film Festival in Romania. One of Europe’s most highly regarded documentary festivals, Astra began in 1993 as a festival devoted to ethnographic films and broadened its focus to creative documentary.  In 2014, the centenary of  the debut of Chaplin’s Tramp character on screen, Astra programmed three films in a special Chaplin-themed section.  I love their graphic above.  Astra screened  two of Chaplin’s short films The Fireman (1916) and Easy Street (1917).  And, to our great honour, The Boot Cake.  


Charlot 100 Cineteca di Bologna

In June, I participated in the Charlot 100 conference/festival at Cineteca di Bologna which celebrated one hundred years of Chaplin’s iconic character The Tramp. It was an inspiring event with a wealth of screenings, speakers and talks. The picture above shows the audience entering into the spirit of Chaplinitis at a special open screening of KID AUTO RACES AT VENICE (USA/1914), A NIGHT AT THE SHOW (USA/1915),THE IMMIGRANT (USA/1917) SHOULDER ARMS (USA/1918). The films were accompanied by the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna conducted by Timothy Brock. I’m up the front somewhere… Other highlights included a launch of David Robinson’s wonderful new book which tells the story of Chaplin’s novella Footlights, a prequel to the film Limelight.

I screened my film The Boot Cake about another birthday party for Chaplin, held by the Charlie Circle in Adipur, India. And presented some of my research on Chaplin imitators around the globe.

Screenwriting in A Digital Era Book

Earlier this year, my book Screenwriting in a Digital Era was published by Palgrave Macmillan. I aimed to examine a range of practices for writing for the screen. Looking back to prehistories of the form, my book links screenwriting and visual storytelling to visual and oral storytelling. From the shadow playwrights of twelfth-century Europe to semi-improvised ensemble films played out on the streets of cities around the globe. Looking to the future, Screenwriting in a Digital Era examines the blurring of genres, production stages and roles in digital ecologies and the practices of sustainable screenwriting.

Adrian Martin (Goethe University, Germany) wrote:

‘Kathryn Millard’s  brilliant book asks: what is involved in writing for the screen in a digital era? Surely much more than just words on a page. With images, sounds, fragments of story, impressions of place and research materials, we improvise, perform, assemble, re-mix on our computers. We project our imagination into the world (real or otherwise) that we hope to capture on screen. Conventional accounts of screenwriting find the classic story templates wherever they look; Millard, by contrast, finds the ‘seeds of the new’ everywhere in the experiments of the past. Hers is the first truly international survey to look beyond Hollywood for its rich and varied inspiration. It is a book for the future of cinema and all screen media’.

What reviewers have said about Kathryn’s films

Compelling… full of real emotions and situations that ring true,1a film with resonance and integrity,2 stylishly substantial,3 brimful of Australian talent,4 an object lesson in turning a low budget into a virtue.5 A very special bounce6 and a sharp eye for spotting up and coming stars.7 Astonishing,8 the real star is Millard’s cinematic style,9 a luscious visual feast,10 cleverly constructed;11 a striking feature,12 about the impact societal and familial pressures have on people’s mental health,13 the performances are finely nuanced and the direction is strong.14 One of the most intellectual and artistically rigorous filmmakers in the region,15 more interested in emotional resonance than plot and expert at getting it;16 a slow burn,17poignantly comic,18 a rare integrity,19 truly impressive,20 you can almost smell the air and feel the present moment of light on your skin.21 Haunting… an emotional detective story,22 Millard thrives on the thrill of investigation;23 a story about hope, resilience and, ultimately, the power of cinema.2

1 The Age
2 The Movie Show
3 Metro
4 The Movie Show
5 Sydney Morning Herald
6 Chicago International Film Festival
7 Melbourne International Film Festival
8 Pordenone Silent Film Festival
9 Adelaide Advertiser
10 Art and Text
11 The Australian
12 Dox
13 dB Magazine
14 The Age
15 The Monthly
16 The Australian
17 Sydney International Film Festival
18 Sunday Age
19 ABC Radio JJJ
20 Sunday Telegraph
21 Sydney Morning Herald
22 The Australian
23 Cinema Papers
24 The Hindu