What's New and Green, From Streaming to the Big Screen

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Upcoming films with Dartmouth ties include ‘Gran Turismo’ and ‘American Buffalo.’

Actors Orlando Bloom and David Harbour '97 discuss Gran Turismo onstage.
Actors Orlando Bloom, left, and David Harbour ’97 discuss Gran Turismo during CinemaCon 2023. (Photo by AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Scan the credits and you’ll find there’s no shortage of Dartmouth graduates working in the entertainment industry. From big studio releases to indie films to TV series, alums are continuing to make their mark, including some major releases this summer.

Here’s a sampler:

Gran Turismo, which takes its name from the PlayStation racing video game series, stars David Harbour ’97. The PG-13 film is based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough, whose incredible skill at the game paved his path to professional race car driver. Harbour plays a former driver who coaches Mardenborough, played by Archie Madekwe. It’s due out on Aug. 25.

The American Buffalo is a new two-part film directed by Ken Burns and co-produced by Julie Dunfey ’80. The movie chronicles the slaughter that brought the species to the verge of extinction in the late 1800s, the conservation efforts that restored the shaggy mammals, and the buffalo’s relationship to the Indigenous people of North America. Buffalo will premiere on Oct. 16 and 17, from 8 to 10 p.m. on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS App. But there’s no need to wait until then. The Hopkins Center for the Arts will present an advance screening of the first episode on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. in Loew Auditorium, followed by a Q&A with Dunfey, Burns’ longtime producer, and Julianna Brannum, consulting producer on the project. Tickets for the screening will be available in early September on the Hop website. Brannum, who also is a filmmaker, will meet with students in two Native American and Indigenous Studies classes on Oct. 9.

The American Buffalo consulting producer Julianna Brannum, filmmaker Dayton Duncan, producer Julie Dunfey '80, and filmmaker Ken Burns.
From left, The American Buffalo consulting producer Julianna Brannum, filmmaker Dayton Duncan, producer Julie Dunfey ’80, and filmmaker Ken Burns. (Photo by Steve Holmes Photography)

Dunfey noted another Dartmouth connection to the film.

“In June of 2021, we filmed the bison herd at American Prairie in Montana,” she said. The nonprofit AP nature preserve, which works to restore the shortgrass prairie ecosystem in northeast Montana, is headed by Ali Fox ’02.

These movies follow on the heels of the June 2 release of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse by writers and producers Chris Miller ’97 and Phil Lord ’97, who just days later returned to campus to give the Commencement address. Rachel Dratch ’88 is the voice of Ms. Weber, the classroom teacher of the main character, Miles Morales.

The blockbuster film has grossed almost $700 million worldwide.

Last month also saw the Netflix release of the fourth season of Never Have I Ever, the comedy-drama created by Mindy Kaling ’01, and on Apple TV , The Crowded Room, a 10-episode thriller series with William Rexer II ’86 at the helm as director of photography. And season two of the musical comedy Schmigadoon! for which Andrew Singer ’00 was a co-executive producer, premiered in April on Apple .

Looking ahead, Migration, an animated feature produced by Illumination, a studio founded by Chris Meledandri ’81, is set for release in December. And season four of the HBO docuseries We’re Here, created and produced by Stephen Warren ’82 and Johnnie Ingram, is also due out late this year.

Also, heads up, actors: filmmaker Tracey Deer ’00 recently issued a casting call for her upcoming movie Thorpe. The sports drama tells the story of the legendary Jim Thorpe, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation who won gold medals in track and field in the 1912 Olympics, played pro baseball, football, and basketball, and is often regarded as the greatest athlete of all time.