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WHQR arts reporter Cheril Lee talks to NPR film critic Bob Mondello

WHQR is hosting a virtual Q&A on Tuesday featuring NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and NPR film critic Bob Mondello. WHQR's arts reporter Cheril Lee recently caught up with Mondello, who's been busy reviewing films at Sundance.

The Q&A event, hosted by WHQR's Rachel Lewis Hilburn, is Tuesday, January 25 at 7 p.m. so you can ask your own questions! More info and sign-up here.

“When I have traveled to a variety of cities around the country. I am always struck by the smarts and the curiosity of our audience and it’s just exhilarating to be able to talk to them," Mondello said.

Mondello said he enjoys working with Deggans. They may be covering two different mediums but there’s plenty for the two to discuss.

“The deal is Eric is convinced that television is the better medium. I know that’s not true so we have a lot of fun talking about it," he said.

With a steady stream of original movies appearing digitally on media platforms, how does Mondello decide what films he will watch? He said he restricts himself to movies actually opening in theatres.

“Film companies like Netflix and Amazon have discovered that they lose film critics unless they open in cinemas so they’re doing that now," he said.

Mondello said reviewing films for NPR is great because there is nowhere else where he could talk for five minutes about a foreign film or a smaller film with a lot to say. Interestingly, his favorite film is a silent comedy: Buster Keaton’s “The General.”

“I had the privilege of seeing it in Salt Lake City. They did it in a theatre built the same year the film came out. They sold tickets for 25 cents each and a thousand people showed up. It was just amazing to see an audience respond in the same way they would’ve responded a hundred years ago," he said.

Cheril was born in Charleston, SC but has lived all over the US, including Mississippi, Illinois, Georgia and Nebraska. Her first broadcast opportunity was as a weather forecaster on the Far East Network (FEN) in Okinawa, Japan! Cheril admits she loves to talk and enjoys meeting people through her work and hearing their stories. Traveling, reading, going to concerts, laughing with friends and trying new restaurants, are a few of her favorite things. She also judges films for the Omaha Film Festival. Her next big trips will include a return visit to Ireland, a first time trip to Taiwan and New Zealand. Have an arts story idea? Email Cheril at clee@whqr.org