Entertainment behind the scenes
Worry about the U.S. public education system has brought billionaire Bill Gates into the movie business, with a cameo role in a documentary looking at the “full-on crisis” of undereducated kids, in a school system that’s failing to meet their needs, and a tough message to business leaders:
Education matters, and good students will strengthen American business and improve its competitive position.
Gates is one of the experts who appears in “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary that focuses on staggering signs that American children are falling way behind their counterparts in other countries, even as school spending increases.
Director Davis Guggenheim, who also directed Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” tells the story through everyday students, as well as key reformers and stakeholders in education.
“We are in full-on crisis mode,” producer Lesley Chilcott told a press conference which Gates also attended.
Gates said Microsoft is finding it increasingly difficult to find home-grown science and engineering students, and many science students did not come through the public school system.
“If you look at a computer science department in the top schools the majority are not U.S.-born,” he said. “That just says something about our education system.”
Director Davis Guggenheim (R) and Bill Gates attend a news conference to promote the film “Waiting For Superman” during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival September 11, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill
With the Toronto International Film Festival set to kick off on Thursday, organizers appear to have dodged a nasty subplot that could have turned the 11-day drama into a horror movie.
The trouble began last week after a Toronto woman woke up with itchy spots on her back after visiting the Scotiabank Theatre, where several festival movies will screen.
(Reporting by Frank McGurty)
Michael Douglas has done just about all one can do in Hollywood. He grew up a member of show business royalty as the son of legendary Kirk Douglas. He won an Oscar for best movie by producing ”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and another one for best actor with “Wall Street.” He’s been in big blockbusters like “The American President” and little, independent movies such as “Solitary Man,” which played here at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
So, it’s little wonder that when asked by reporters at TIFF how he balances making movies and being a father Douglas, 64, who is currently married to Catherine Zeta-Jones with whom he has two young children, said he doesn’t anymore – so much.