October 27, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) – Tracing his perhaps improbable odyssey from local movie critic to award-winning New York film critic and filmmaker, Godfrey Cheshire launches his new association with Raleigh Metro Magazine next month with a column entitled “Just Like Starting Over.”
The Raleigh-born New York City-based film critic – and writer and director of the critically acclaimed documentary film Moving Midway – will focus his new monthly Metro column on individual films or filmmakers, as well as issues or trends in the world of film. He will also post reviews of current and upcoming movies on Metro’s website.
Cheshire has served as chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle. His writings on film have appeared in numerous national and international publications. His areas of special interest include Southern and American independent filmmaking; international films (he was responsible for introducing films from Iran and China to the US); and the conversion to digital cinema.
Born and raised in Raleigh, N.C., Cheshire was educated at the Ravenscroft School, Raleigh public schools, Virginia Episcopal School, and UNC-Chapel Hill. He began his career by joining founder Bernie Reeves at the former Spectator Magazine in 1978. He served as an editor and the magazine’s film critic for the next 20 years.
Metro Magazine’s editor and publisher Bernie Reeves says Cheshire’s new association with Metro “brings us full circle.”
Cheshire offers: “Thirty years ago this fall, I joined Bernie in founding Spectator Magazine, an innovative and ultimately very successful alternative weekly for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. Although my primary duties during the magazine’s first dozen years involved supervising its arts coverage, I also got my start as a professional film critic in 1978, beginning a conversation about movies with North Carolina readers that continues to this day.”
Cheshire and Reeves have collaborated on many projects since then, including numerous film festivals and other special events – including the Comboland project in 1985. Cheshire, frustrated that the music scene in the Triangle was ignored by area and national media, compiled a collection of local music and delivered it to the UK and European market where it was well received and resulted in deals for several bands.
Most recently, they collaborated on Cheshire’s film Moving Midway.
“In early 2004, I started making Moving Midway – my documentary about my family’s plantation outside Raleigh – and Bernie came aboard as the film’s executive producer,” Cheshire said. “When the film was released to great reviews in New York in September, I felt like a new chapter in my life began. I am now a filmmaker with a couple of exciting new projects that I’m working on. But I also am still a critic and writer, and I am extraordinarily pleased that Bernie has invited me to be part of the Metro family.
“Thirty years on, Bernie remains a visionary and an innovator as well as a friend,” he added. “Much like Spectator, Metro is a vital, forward-looking publication that has a deep connection to the part of North Carolina where we grew up and started out professionally. I am looking forward to returning ‘home,’ yet again, by writing for its pages.”
About Godfrey Cheshire:
Cheshire moved to New York in 1991 and began a 10-year stint as chief film critic for the Manhattan weekly New York Press. From 1995-2000, he reviewed for the show business journal Variety, for which he covered Cannes, Sundance, Montreal and other festivals. His reviews and articles have also appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Village Voice, Interview, Filmmaker, Cineaste, Oxford American, The American Scholar, Cinemaya and Film International, and have been anthologized in several books.
In 1992, Film Comment invited him to write articles on Chinese and Iranian films. The first of these assignments occasioned a trip to Beijing and led to subsequent investigative visits to Hong Kong and Taiwan. The second involved several visits to Iran beginning in 1997; his interest in Iranian culture has entailed an ongoing study of Islamic thought and its connection to Western philosophy, as well as several projects aimed at using film to bridge the political divide between the U.S. and Iran.
In 1995, Cheshire and Spectator helped organize the North Carolina Film and Video Festival, and he served as artistic director for the three years of its existence. He has served as an advisor, programmer, panelist and juror at numerous other festivals in the U.S. and internationally.
In 1999, his essay “The Death of Film/The Decay of Cinema,” about the cultural and aesthetic ramifications of the conversion to digital cinema, gained international attention and led to several events including a “Millennial Symposium” to discuss his ideas at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and special panels at the Sundance and Seattle film festivals.
A former chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, Cheshire is also a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the international critics group FIPRESCI. Twice since 2000, his film reviews have won Best Arts Criticism prizes from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.
In spring, 2007, he premiered his first feature film, Moving Midway, a documentary about the relocation of his family’s plantation and the Southern plantation’s place in American myth, on which he served as writer, director, narrator and producer. While in North Carolina making the film, he taught a course in the History of Film at his old alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill. He is currently developing two other feature film projects, both large-scale historical drama.