The director confronts the economics of moviemaking, and whether there's hope for independent film:
"But let’s sex this up with some more numbers. In 2003, 455 films were released. 275 of those were independent, 180 were studio films. Last year 677 films were released. So you’re not imagining things, there are a lot of movies that open every weekend. 549 of those were independent, 128 were studio films. So, a 100% increase in independent films, and a 28% drop in studio films, and yet, 10 years ago: Studio market share 69%, last year 76%. You’ve got fewer studio movies now taking up a bigger piece of the pie and you’ve got twice as many independent films scrambling for a smaller piece of the pie. That’s hard. That’s really hard."
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2013
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5237 words)
Three peace activists—one of whom was an 82-year-old nun—penetrated a U.S. nuclear-weapons facility. The story of what happened to the trio, and those involved in the incident:
"When told that Sister Megan thinks he saved her life by not escalating the situation — that, in fact, he was her salvation — Kirk is speechless. His wife is not.
"'That’s amazing that she’d make that kind of statement,' scoffs Joann Garland. 'She is safe — because of him — to be able to go and do what she’s doing. . . . The joke of it is they came in God’s name. God does not say to break laws. Sorry. God does not say that.'"
PUBLISHED: April 30, 2013
LENGTH: 37 minutes (9448 words)
A Medicare experiment is facing possible shutdown, despite its proven effectiveness. The secret? It's nurses making frequent house calls to those with chronic diseases:
"But Health Quality Partners, with its emphasis on continuous nurse-to-patient contact, did work. Of the 15 programs, four improved patient outcomes without increasing costs. Only HQP improved patient outcomes while cutting costs. So Medicare extended it again and again — now it’s the only program still running under the demo. But Medicare has notified Coburn that it intends to end HQP’s funding in June.
"Medicare’s official explanation is carefully bureaucratic. 'The authority that CMS had to conduct this specific demonstration, which predated the health care law, did not allow us to make the program permanent and limited our ability to expand it further,' says Emma Sandoe, a spokeswoman for the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services. 'As we design new models and demonstrations, we are integrating lessons from this experience into those designs.'"
PUBLISHED: April 28, 2013
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4336 words)
How a U.S. intelligence analyst ended up spying for Cuba for 17 years—all while surrounded by family members who also worked for the FBI:
"Montes must have seemed a godsend. She was a leftist with a soft spot for bullied nations. She was bilingual and had dazzled her DOJ supervisors with her ambition and smarts. But most important, she had top-secret security clearance and was on the inside. 'I hadn’t thought about actually doing anything until I was propositioned,' Montes would later admit to investigators. The Cubans, she revealed, 'tried to appeal to my conviction that what I was doing was right.'"
PUBLISHED: April 18, 2013
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6016 words)
A case of international parental kidnapping, and a mother's fight to get her daughter back:
"To make the plan work, Homaune had to take on a new persona in conversations with her ex-husband. She tried to be calm, helpful and understanding, and mailed him just enough cash, medicine and clothes to keep him interested in a more lucrative rendezvous. She stopped haranguing and screaming, even when her husband threatened to send her daughter home in a 'box' or to sell her on the black market, statements he would later admit he made.
"After the most intense calls, Homaune sobbed or threw up. But she refused to stop calling Iran; a key part of the plan involved being in constant contact, wearing him down, taking his demands seriously and convincing him that they were still friends, no matter what."
PUBLISHED: April 4, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3234 words)
A mother and son from Virginia are kidnapped by terrorists while visiting the Philippines. The story of their escape:
"Every 15 minutes, all night long, the men would shine a bright light inside, checking on the captives.
"Because the militants wouldn’t use names — they called Kevin 'the boy' and Gerfa 'the woman' or 'the infidel' — and never revealed their own, the captives began assigning names to them. Gerfa chose names of parasites that make people sick. 'The first one I called Enterobius vermicularis,' — pinworm.' Another, Falciparum, or malaria. Another was Entamoebas, which cause things like dysentery.
"But her cousin had trouble pronouncing the Latin, so they switched to simpler names. One man had a beard, so Kevin called him Hagrid. Others became Skunk, Tom and Jerry, Pancake and Band-Aid."
PUBLISHED: April 1, 2013
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4635 words)
During the '70s, a father persuades his daughter, a college-age feminist, to meet him at the Playboy Club:
"My conversation with my father been taking place on the hall phone in my dorm, Chapin Hall, which happened to be an all-women’s residence. Normally, the girls gave whoever was on the phone a lot of space, but with 'Playboy Club' and 'Hugh Hefner' springing out of the conversation like champagne corks, I attracted a crowd, a sort of Greek chorus in bathrobes and curlers. Jan, always a cut up, made bunny ears behind Jill. Linda, the biggest women’s libber on campus, raised the power salute. Karen and Nancy listened as they munched from a freshly popped bowl of popcorn. I was militant to begin with, but the more the women watched, the more emphatic my advocacy became.
"'Dad,' I tried to bargain, 'why don’t you go to the Playboy Club with your friends, and I’ll meet you for dinner afterward.'"
PUBLISHED: Feb. 20, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2856 words)
We're excited to introduce this new recurring series, in which we work with publishers to dig up notable stories from their archives that were previously unpublished on the web. We're especially excited to kick this off with The Washington Post
Today's piece is "The Spy Who's Been Left in the Cold," a 1998 Washington Post Magazine story by Peter Perl, who just announced he's retiring from the paper after 32 years.