Monday Memo: POV Releases Interactive Short Docs Online


The interactive documentary project EMPIRE from directors Eline Jongsma and Kel O'Neill was among those posted to the POV website this week.

The interactive documentary project EMPIRE from directors Eline Jongsma and Kel O'Neill was among those posted to the POV website this week.

This week, POV released several digital short documentaries online that had participated in its Hackathon program. Jess Linington of i-Docs covered the release of the online docs, as did Sarah Salovaara of Filmmaker Magazine. POV also hosted several interviews with project creators, including one with the directors of EMPIRE, one with Jake Price of FUKUSHIMA: THE ETERNAL SEASON, and one with the directors of THE MOST NORTHERN PLACE.

POV also announced a call for entries for the POV Hackathon 7, set to take place in New York City November 8-9.

Writing for Nonfics.com, Jason Gorber issued a list of the best docs gracing screens at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Canada’s POV Magazine also had a roundup of its TIFF coverage, which you can find here, and which included a review by Patrick Mullen of the new Joshua Oppenheimer film THE LOOK OF SILENCE, as well as a review by Adam Nayman of MONSOON. And Realscreens’ Adam Benzine covered the doc awards winners at the festival.

The Stranger Than Fiction fall season kicks off tomorrow with with a screening of TOWN BLOODY HALL from filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker on Tuesday, September 23 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. The film captures a 1971 discussion between Norman Mailer and a panel of feminists on the topic of Women’s Liberation. Following the screening, Hegedus and Pennebaker will be in attendance for a Q&A. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here. This season STF is dedicating itself to a retrospective of films from Hegedus and Pennebaker; you can find the full season lineup here.

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Monday Memo: TIFF Docs Make Waves


The film SUNSHINE SUPERMAN about BASE jumping was picked up by distributors after screening at this year's TIFF.

The film SUNSHINE SUPERMAN about BASE jumping was picked up by distributors after screening at this year's TIFF.

This week TIFF dominated documentary news. Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote on the screening of THE LOOK OF SILENCE, director Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to THE ACT OF KILLING. Manori Ravindran of Realscreen had the news that Cinephil had inked a number of international distro deals for the film. And Variety shared a video interview with Oppenheimer. Director Michael Moore made waves by issuing a documentary filmmaker manifesto in a keynote speech that Indiewire reprinted in its entirety. Sam Adams also interviewed Moore in a piece for Biography. Indiewire’s Paula Bernstein reported that CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures had partnered to acquire SUNSHINE SUPERMAN from director Maria Strauch. The Hot Docs festival also used TIFF as a launching pad for its new report on learning from documentary audiences; Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen reported on its release.

Realscreen provided an astounding amount of coverage of the festival. Adam Benzine reported on Martin Scorsese’s Q&A following the screening of his documentary THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT at TIFF. Nick Krewen spoke with THE PRICE WE PAY filmmaker Harold Crooks about his new film. Kevin Ritchie talked to Steven Markovitz, uncovering five tips for finding a coproduction partner. Manori Ravindran covered a panel talk from Marc Schiller of Bond Strategy and Influence. Kevin Ritchie covered the screening of the new Nick Broomfield film TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER. Adam Benzine also reported that HBO had purchased U.S. television rights for Broomfield’s film. Manori Ravindran spoke with directors Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan about their film THE WANTED 18. At Indiewire’s Thompson on Hollywood blog, John Anderson listed the best docs at the festival with about three days left.

Stranger Than Fiction announced its lineup this week, with the coming fall season dedicated to the works of filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. “This is the first time STF has ever devoted a full season to one filmmaking team,” said Artistic Director Thom Powers. “It spans over 50 years of time and traces the history of modern American documentary making.” The season officially kicks off on Sept 23 with TOWN BLOODY HALL (1979), the first collaboration between Pennebaker and Hegedus, about a raucous debate over women’s liberation moderated by Norman Mailer with Germaine Greer. For more information on the season, or to purchase tickets, please go here. Also, a reminder that Stranger Than Fiction will feature a pre-season special screening of the film BRONX OBAMA by filmmaker Ryan Murdock about a Barack Obama impersonator living in the Bronx on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.

A special note this week that Ameena Matthews, one of the subjects from the film THE INTERRUPTERS, was recently diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. Matthews desperately needs an immediate bone marrow transplant. A community of friends has established a crowdfunding page to help Matthews, who lacks insurance, to pay for her lifesaving treatment. You can find out more about the campaign and donate here.

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STF fall tribute to D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus


Film still from ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY

Film still from ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY

Stranger Than Fiction returns for its twenty-fifth season with an eight-week tribute to the careers of D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. “This is the first time STF has ever devoted a full season to one filmmaking team,” said Artistic Director Thom Powers. “It spans over 50 years of time and traces the history of modern American documentary making.”

“We’re delighted to spend the fall revisiting these films and sharing them with audiences,” said Pennebaker. Hegedus and Pennebaker will attend most of the screenings for a Q&A (check website for full details).

The season officially kicks off on Sept 23 with TOWN BLOODY HALL (1979), the first collaboration between Pennebaker and Hegedus, about a raucous debate over women’s liberation moderated by Norman Mailer with Germaine Greer.
65 REVISITED Three films represent earlier work by Pennebaker: JANE (1962), codirected by Hope Ryden and produced by Drew Associates, about Jane Fonda’s starring role on Broadway; 65 REVISITED (1967) capturing another side of DONT LOOK BACK’S Bob Dylan; and COMPANY: ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM (1970) featuring the late Elaine Stritch wrestling with Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company. Four more films cover the long history of the Pennebaker/Hegedus team: DEPECHE MODE 101 (1989) following the pioneer synth/pop band across America as they end up selling out the Rose Bowl; MOON OVER BROADWAY (1998) a look behind the scenes at Carol Burnett’s return to Broadway; THE WAR ROOM (1993) on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, featuring George Stephanopoulos and James Carville; and ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE (2002) a celebration of soul-music legends Sam Moore, Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes and others.

Bronx_Obama_570x317There will also be a pre-season special screening of BRONX OBAMA on Thurs. Sept. 18—the New York premiere of the festival favorite. The film tells the improbable story of a Barack Obama impersonator living in the Bronx. Director Ryan Murdock and film subject Louis Ortiz will participate in a Q&A.

Fall season pass

Fall season passes are now on sale and include entry to all 9 films, free popcorn, a DVD from Docurama and opportunity to bring a friend – all for just $99 ($80 for IFC Center members).  Click here to purchase a pass (select 11:55pm). Full lineup below.

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Monday Memo: THE LOOK OF SILENCE Hits Venice, Telluride, Toronto Fests


Joshua Oppenheimer's new film THE LOOK OF SILENCE reached screens at a handful of film fests this week.

Joshua Oppenheimer's new film THE LOOK OF SILENCE reached screens at a handful of film fests this week.

THE LOOK OF SILENCE, director Joshua Oppenheimer’s highly anticipated follow up to THE ACT OF KILLING, screened last week at the Venice International Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). At Realscreen, Adam Benzine reported on the film winning the grand jury prize at Venice. Writing for Cineuropa, Domenico La Porta reviewed the film, as did Guy Lodge at Variety. UK distributor Dogwoof also announced that it had acquired distribution rights for the film in Great Britain.

This week the Toronto International Film Festival kicked off. The folks at the Freep Film Festival interviewed TIFF doc programmer (and STF Artistic Director) Thom Powers, as well as filmmaker Michael Moore, in their latest podcast. Realscreen’s Manori Ravindran also spoke with Powers for a piece covering the festival, while Basil Tsiokos shared an overview of the festival’s doc lineup at his What (Not) to Doc blog.

In distro news, Manori Ravindran of Realscreen reported that HBO had snagged U.S. and Canadian TV rights for Alex Gibney’s new James Brown doc, MR. DYNAMITE: THE RISE OF JAMES BROWN. Deadline’s David Bloom also reported on the development. Realscreen colleague Adam Benzine had the news that Universal Pictures International Entertainment had picked up international rights for SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, while Jennie Punter of Variety had the same news.

Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a special preseason screening of BRONX OBAMA from director Ryan Murdock on Thursday Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. The film tells the improbable story of a Barack Obama impersonator living in the Bronx. Following the screening, Murdock and subject Louis Ortiz will be in attendance for a Q&A. For more information and to purchase tickets please go here.

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Monday Memo: Additional TIFF Doc Announcements Made


The Toronto International Film Festival announced that the new Martin Scorsese doc THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT would see its Canadian premiere at this year's festival.

The Toronto International Film Festival announced that the new Martin Scorsese doc THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT would see its Canadian premiere at this year's festival.

There was a host of news about the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week. In a post at the POV blog, Tom Roston spoke with TIFF programmer (and STF Artistic Director) Thom Powers about the festival’s Doc Conference. Writing for Realscreen, Adam Benzine reported on details of the Doc Conference, and also had the news that the new Martin Scorsese doc THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT would screen at TIFF. Benzine also reported that the doc MAIDAN about the Ukrainian revolution would also show at TIFF.

In a post at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) blog in early August, Jovana Jankovic wrote on the four basic types of documentary films.

The staff of the International Documentary Association (IDA) website mediated some questions submitted via Twitter for Lisa Chanoff and Bonni Cohen about the Catapult Film Fund.

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