The Arts

RiverRun salutes the screen legacy of Barbara Stanwyck

BURGER-A Life of Barbara Stanwyck Steel – True 1907 – 1940 book cover


by Mark Burger


Following the success of its inaugural “RiverRun Retro” in November featuring actress Millie Perkins (The Diary of Anne Frank) and noted film historian Foster Hirsch, the RiverRun International Film Festival will present this Thursday a special screening of the 1937 classic Stella Dallas, starring Barbara Stanwyck, a discussion with Stanwyck biographer Victoria Wilson and a signing of her 2013 book A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel – True 1907-1940.

The event takes place at Hanesbrands Theatre in downtown Winston-Salem (doors open at 6:30 pm). BookMarks will have copies of Fuller’s book available for purchase, and the reception will feature light hors d’oeuvres from Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe, craft beers from Hoots Beer Co., and wines from McRitchie Winery.

The 1937 version of Stella Dallas, adapted from Olive Higgins Prouty’s classic novel and directed by King Vidor, earned Stanwyck her first Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. She would subsequently be nominated for Ball of Fire (1941), Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), and was presented with an honorary Oscar in 1982. She also won two Emmy Awards (for “The Barbara Stanwyck Show” and “The Big Valley”).

Fuller’s biography, which covers only the first 33 years in Stanwyck’s life (she died in 1990 at age 83), is merely the first volume in what is widely being hailed as perhaps the most thorough and comprehensive look at the actress’ life. More than 15 years in the making, Fuller had the full cooperation of Stanwyck’s family and friends, drawing on over 200 interviews with those who knew and worked with her, as well as the publication – in many cases for the very first time – of Stanwyck’s personal correspondence, journals, and private papers.


Want to go …?


The “RiverRun Retro” screening of Stella Dallas, and discussion and book signing with author Victoria Wilson (A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel – True 1907-1940) will take place 7 pm at Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 W. Spruce St., Winston-Salem. Admission is $15 (adults), $10 (students with valid ID). Tickets are available online at: For more information about this and other RiverRun events, call 336.724.1502 or visit the official website:




Celebrate tomorrow’s filmmakers at free UNCSA screening



The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) will present a special screening of student short films Friday, Feb. 10 in the ACE Exhibition Complex on the UNCSA main campus – and everyone’s invited.

The sole selection from first-year students is Sweater Getter, an animated Christmas comedy written, directed and animated by Anna Kamaroff. Second-year student films include Acrylics, produced by Matseliso Tlelai and written and directed by Bridget Anderson, set in a nail salon; Pigeonhearts, a coming-of-age fable set in rural North Carolina, produced by Kevin Cutrara and written and directed by Grant Conversano; and the teen drama Blackhead, written by producer Lauren Henderson and director Jack McLain.

Third-year selections include Gertie Gunther Knits a Stitch, a comedy about marital discord and “speed-knitting,” produced by Darren Dai, written by Marylea Wiley, and directed by Sean Rooney; and As Large as Alone, a drama about love, loss and grief, produced by Emil Tomosunas and Clayton Aggeles, written by Noelle Aleman, and directed by Chad Knuth.

Rounding out the event is a trio of fourth-year student screenings: Broken, a drama set in the days after the Civil War, produced by Andrea Goocher, written by Michael Pastore, Dustin Chandler an Cole Townsend McCabe, and directed by Wren Culp; Le Soi, yet another example of the burgeoning animation talent at UNCSA, an abstract short about a ballerina coming to terms with insecurity, produced by Noelle Aleman and directed and animated by Catherine Salisbury; and Parchment Wings, a fantasy/drama about hope and overcoming tragedy, produced by Sofia Thomasson, written by Noelle Aleman (her third film credit for this event!), and directed by Fernando Medina.

As well as showcasing the talent at UNCSA, both in front of and behind the camera, these films also showcase the Piedmont Triad region. It’s not uncommon to recognize familiar landmarks and, perhaps, some familiar faces too.

In an official statement, Susan Ruskin, dean of the School of Filmmaker dean and curator for this screening, said: “Our students create films in each of their four years of undergraduate study. That is one of the features that sets us apart from other top-tier film programs across the country. We are proud to present some of the best films created last year in each of the classes.”

The School of Filmmaking was also recognized as one of the nation’s top 50 film schools by The Wrap (, the popular news organization that covers media and entertainment. The inaugural College Issue (published Dec. 22) saw an anonymous poll of industry insiders, professionals, educators and film pundits that evaluated the achievements of film schools around the nation.

UNCSA was tied at Number 10 with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia. The article noted the success of School of Filmmaking graduates David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Undertow, Snow Angels) and Jeff Nichols (Loving, Mud, Midnight Special).

“We are competing with institutions across the country and around the world,” Ruskin said in a statement. “Being noted by an important industry publication like The Wrap is an excellent way to raise awareness for our film school.”


Want to go …?


The UNCSA School of Filmmaking’s screening of student short films will take place 7 pm Friday, Feb. 10 in the Main Theatre of ACE Exhibition Complex on the UNCSA campus, 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. Admission is free. For more information, visit the official UNCSA website: