Rod Serling


This year’s RiverRun International Film Festival will pay tribute to Rod Serling, with appearances by his daughter Anne and a makeup artist who worked on one of his films.

“We always strive to focus our spotlight around an innovative theme for our audiences,” said Rob Davis, executive director of RiverRun. “While many people know Rod Serling from his stellar work in television with ‘The Twilight Zone,’ ‘Night Gallery,’ and his early work in live television drama, he was also a screenwriter. We are pleased to spotlight ‘Rod Serling on the Big Screen’ at the 2020 RiverRun International Film Festival and feature four films representing his motion picture scripts.”

The movies will be “Planet of the Apes,” the 1968 classic with Charlton Heston as an astronaut who finds a world of talking apes (screening April 4); “Requiem For a Heavyweight,” a 1962 film adaptation of an award-winning story Serling wrote for the TV series “Playhouse 90” (March 28); “Patterns,” a 1956 film also adapted from a Serling teleplay (March 27); and “Seven Days in May,” a tense political thriller from 1964 set in the then-future year of 1974 (April 5).

Anne Serling will be a guest at several screenings. She is the author of “As I Knew Him: My Dad Rod Serling,” a memoir.

The “Planet of the Apes” screening will include Tom Burman, one of the lead makeup artists who worked on that film, who will receive a Master of Cinema award. A documentary about his work, “Making Apes,” will also be screened during RiverRun.

RiverRun will run March 26 to April 5. More details about the festival will be announced later this month.


Speaking of Rod Serling, the latest revival of his classic show “The Twilight Zone” — previously only available to subscribers of the CBS All Access streaming service — is coming to DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, and includes a documentary paying tribute to him.

“The Twilight Zone: Season One,” on four DVDs or five Blu-rays, has all 10 episodes from the first season of the new series from filmmaker Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), who acts as host and narrator.

The anthology series opens with an episode featuring Kumail Nanjiani as a struggling comedian who finds that if he incorporates his real life into his act, he gets a warm response from the audience but with unexpected repercussions. Nanjiani is a frequent visitor to Winston-Salem, because his wife and frequent collaborator, Emily V. Gordon, is from here.

Other guest stars include such actors as Zazie Beetz, Chris O’Dowd, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sanaa Lathan, Steven Yeun, Seth Rogen, Tracy Morgan and John Cho. Most of the episodes tell new stories, but one, starring Adam Scott, is a clever twist on a 1963 episode that starred William Shatner and was remade in 1983’s “Twilight Zone: The Movie” with John Lithgow, which involves a paranoid man on an airplane flight.

Other bonus features in the set include several documentaries about the making of the series; audio commentary on three episodes; plus a gag reel, deleted scenes and a music video. The Blu-ray but not the DVD also includes all ten episodes in black and white as well as the standard color versions of the episodes. A second season has already been ordered by CBS All Access to be released later this year.


Netflix has released a trailer for the second season of “Altered Carbon,” a science fiction “cyberpunk” series that will star Anthony Mackie, who attended the UNC School of the Arts’ high school program. Mackie takes over the role of Takeshi Kovacs, an investigator whose memories are transplanted into a new body (Joel Kinnaman played the role in season one).

The new season will begin Feb. 27. The trailer can be seen at

Mackie will also be the star of “Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” a spinoff of the Avengers movies that will be shown on the Disney+ streaming service starting this August. A trailer for three Marvel shows, including it (with a very brief shot of Mackie), was broadcast during the Super Bowl.


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