Well folks, I saw a unique documentary about a unique woman. The Incomparable Rose Hartman, a documentary feature film debut from Otis Mass, premiered at SXSW and opened in Los Angeles in limited release at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center accompanied there by unique-to-Laemmle: “Art In The Arthouse,” an exhibition of Hartman’s most iconic photos.
I was able to attend a preview screening presented by The Malibu Film Society. It featured a Q&A with Hartman herself and Mass, moderated by Scott Tallal. Hartman has been called many things, both positive and negative, including: “The Tasmanian Devil of Photography.” It’s her dedication to her craft with the lens, her tenacious persistence, respect and interest in her subjects that have earned Hartman a front row seat that’s allowed her to capture New York’s social scene for almost 50 years.
This diminutive woman has had an effect on pop culture and was always “in the right place at the right time.” For example, Hartman captured the most famous image of Bianca Jagger on a white horse riding into Studio 54 back in the day. From Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, and Lauren Hutton, to Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, Hartman was able to gain access through her lens into their most private moments during conversations – and they let her in.
During the Q&A after the film, Mass shared with the audience that “documentaries are tough to finance and get off the ground. I had attended a cocktail party in Manhattan for ‘the most famous photographer that you’ve never heard of’ and her new coffee table book called Incomparable: Women of Style,” he said. From there, Mass decided to make the film, and continued to find out about “the real Rose Hartman” by interviewing her friends, enemies, colleagues, competitors, representatives and gatekeepers. Hartman is a champion of the film, no matter how much it reveals that could be perceived as an unflattering portrait. Always outspoken, when a fan in the audience asked Hartman, “What is your opinion of “selfies?” Hartman quipped, “What do you think my answer would be? I detest them!” When asked for advice from a budding photographer, Hartman expressed, “Find a passion that moves you. Don’t be too general.” To quote Charles Early, books and movies editor at The Austin American Statesman, on Hartman, “She was pushy, but she had to be.”
On Tuesday, August 29, Gravitas Ventures releases “The Incomparable Rose Hartman” on VOD, DVD and Blu-Ray.
In other news – you heard it here first – Saturday, September 9, join host Mallory Lewis as WRRAP honors Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross at a fundraiser for women’s reproductive rights, featuring a screening of Grandma starring Lily Tomlin. Elliott is featured in this award-winning film.
I started the “Grandma Gang” in honor of the film, and can’t think of a better to way to revisit the film than to support this event being presented by the Malibu Film Society at The Malibu Screening Room.
Live your dreams…….
Katharine “Kat” Kramer is an actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer and actress Karen Sharpe-Kramer. She was named after her godmother, iconic actress Katharine Hepburn. For information on Kramer’s current projects visit KatKramersFilmsThatChangeTheWorld.com.