A Royal Family

Susan Gerhard February 21, 2007

It’s a big week for writer Peter Morgan. The Oscar Best Original Screenplay nominee (“The Queen”) also has the actors in his films (“The Last King of Scotland,” along with “The Queen”) up for lead performance Oscars (Queen Helen Mirren and King Forest Whitaker), and “The Queen” received nominations for Costume Design, Directing, Original Score, not to mention Best Picture. HBO premiered his “Longford” this past Saturday, which has led to a variety of articles that cover the entire body of Morgan’s work (“The Deal,” “Frost/Nixon,” “The Jury), as well as his personal history as the son of refugee parents in London. In San Francisco, at least, we’ll be getting to know even more about Morgan, given that the San Francisco Film Society announced today Morgan has accepted its Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting to be presented on Awards Night (May 3rd) at the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival. (SF360.org is co-published by the SF Film Society and indieWIRE.)

And speaking of the award, its namesake, Maurice Kanbar — longtime SF Film Society supporter and board member — is a storied inventor who, this past week, revealed he had more tricks up his sleeve. As Leah Garchik reported it, the Skyy Spirits inventor (no hangover!), creator of the first multiplex in New York, patent-holder for the device that takes the pills from your sweater, adds to his own list of accomplishments a new product: Rollit, which Garchik describes as “a battery-operated desktop dispenser for sticky notes cut to any length from a 150-foot-long roll.” It received a live and in-person demonstration at a reception for the San Francisco Symphony by the lively Kanbar.

Oscar article scoop of the week: Film producer esteemed assistant director of the SF International Asian American Taro Goto speaks with filmmaking superstar Kiyoshi Kurosawa, which is brought to us courtesy the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Goto translated the interview from Japanese. The topic: How Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima” was received in Japan. Says Kurosawa: “I wonder if the principle of an individual sacrificing oneself for the good of the whole might be more universal than we think. You can find plenty of American films about heroes that do this. The truth is probably that people who don’t ordinarily think of such an act will, under certain situations, suddenly arrive at a ‘gyokusai’ or ‘heroic’ state of mind and take action. Depending on how it’s portrayed, it may look tragic, inspirational, or even absurd.”

Tragic? Inspirational? Or even absurd? Yes, we’ll be watching the Oscars, too, this weekend, and staying tuned for the Independent Spirit Awards as well.