BRINGING TIBET HOME was one of the 10 films selected to participate in this year's IFP Documentary Lab.
The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) this week named the 10 participants in its 2013 Doc Lab, a year-long fellowship for first-time filmmakers. Among the projects named to the program were BRINGING TIBET HOME from director Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, EVOLUTION OF A CRIMNAL from director Darius Clark Monroe and APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT from director Amanda Wilder. Kelly Anderson covered the announcement for Realscreen, while Peter Knegt did the same for Indiewire. Nick Dawson provided coverage for Filmmaker Magazine.
Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL continues to draw the attention of the press, and for good reason. Germain Lussier of /Film (that’s not a typo) interviewed Polley, as did Nick Allen of The Scorecard Review. Tom Roston of the POV blog weighed in on the film, while NPR covered its release.
Cannes already seemed to be heating up doc acquisitions on the French Riveria. Realscreen’s Kelly Anderson reported that HBO had acquired US and Canadian television rights for James Toback’s new film SEDUCED AND ABANDONED, while Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Times had coverage of the same deal. Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter had the news that Phase 4 had nabbed all U.S. and Canadian rights for Lucy Walker’s film THE CRASH REEL. And Geoffrey Macnab of Screen Daily reported that Attraction Distribution had won worldwide rights to Hot Docs award winner DRAGON GIRLS from director Inigo Westmeier.
This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting its last film of the Spring season, ON THE ROPES by directors Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein. The film follows the lives of three boxers struggling to succeed at The Bed-Stuy Boxing Center in Brooklyn. Morgen and Burstein will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening, which will take place on Tuesday, May 21 at the IFC Center in Manhattan. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.
Sarah Polley's festival darling STORIES WE TELL hit theaters this week.
Sarah Polley’s film STORIES WE TELL bowed at theaters this week, attended by a rash of coverage. Writing for the New York Times, Mary Jo Murphy spoke with Polley about the creative impulses that drove the making of the film. Danny King of The Film Stage shared a review of the film, as did Tom Hall at Hammer to Nail. Indiewire republished a review from Eric Kohn dating to the Telluride Festival, and Steve Erickson of Studio Daily interviewed Polley herself.
Ground was broken this week on New York City’s first documentary-specific theater at DCTV in Manhattan. Cristina A. Gonzalez of Indiewire had details on the event, as did Stewart Nusbaumer at Filmmaker Magazine and Jennifer Merin of About.com. Kelly Anderson covered the news event for Realscreen.
News on Hot Docs continued to make its way online, as writers loosed their listicles on the festival. Writing for Indiewire, Basil Tsiokos highlighted eight films from the festival’s forum to keep an eye out for. Tom Roston shared seven reasons to love Hot Docs on the POV blog. At Realscreen, Adam Benzine provided a full recap of the festival, while Robert Greene continued the discussion on whether we are in a documentary golden age at Hammer To Nail.
This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a screening of FOLLOW THE LEADER from director Jonathan Goodman Levitt on Tuesday, May 14 at 8pm at the IFC Center. The film is is a real-life coming-of-age story of three traditional American boys with Presidential dreams. Goodman Levitt will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.
Friends and fellow filmmakers, Kevin Rafferty and Robert Stone, catch up after PANDORA'S PROMISE. Photo by Simon Luethi.
Changing one’s strongly-held personal and political beliefs is never an easy decision, but what do you do when you realize that you have no other choice? This is the question with which the subjects of Robert Stone’s Pandora’s Promise grapple. The film profiles a group of environmentalists who have made the transition from being anti-nuclear crusaders to being pro-nuclear supporters, as they agree that nuclear power is the only way to change the current effects of climate change. Stone presents scientific evidence to support the activists’ claims, while also exploring the challenges and struggles experienced by individuals who go against the status quo in order to defend their true beliefs. Pandora’s Promise is a bold look into the future of environmentalism and fearlessly poses questions that are critical to address in the battle to preserve Earth.
Stone joined STF’s Thom Powers for a post-screening Q&A, featuring contributions from surprise guests in the audience.
The film DRAGON GIRLS from director Inigo Westmeier was an award-winner at this year's Hot Docs.
Canada’s Hot Docs festival concluded its 2013 run this week. Etan Vlessing of The Hollywood Reporter had details on the festival’s award winners, with international feature doc award going to director Inigo Westmeier for DRAGON GIRLS and a special jury prize awarded to Zhu Yu for CLOUDY MOUNTAINS. At Realscreen, Adam Benzine interviewed Canadian doc filmmaker Alan Zweig, who showed his film 15 REASONS TO LIVE in Toronto. Benzine also spoke with director A.J. Schnack, who screened two films at Hot Docs: WE ALWAYS LIE TO STRANGERS and CAUCUS. At the POV blog, Tom Roston shared his own take on CAUCUS. Benzine’s colleague Kevin Ritchie covered director Ondi Timoner’s keynote presentation at the festival.
Jennifer Clibbon covered the thread of Russian docs running through Hot Docs for the CBC blog The Buzz. Writing for the Documentary Channel blog, Christopher Campbell shared his festival experience. Peter Knegt of Indiewire teased out 10 highlights from John Sloss’s doc master class. And at Filmmaker Magazine, Allan Tong spoke to D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus about the 20th anniversary screening of their doc classic WAR ROOM at Hot Docs. This time writing for Film School Rejects, Christopher Campbell reviewed the film THE EXPEDITION TO THE END OF THE WORLD from Daniel Dencik. And back at the POV blog, Tom Roston put out another call for improved documentary criticism. Also, in The New York Times, Roston wrote about UNCLAIMED by director Michael Jorgenson, a film whose main subject’s claims are being refuted by the U.S. government.
There was other big doc news out of Canada this week, namely that the National Film Board of Canada planned to create an online subscription service for streaming docs, i.e. the Netflix of documentary. Kate Taylor of the Globe and Mail reported on the details, as did Kelly Anderson of Realscreen and Jennie Punter of Variety.
This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting director Robert Stone’s film PANDORA’S PROMISE, about the embrace of nuclear power by some of its strongest former opponents. The film is screening on Tuesday, May 7 at 8pm at the IFC Center in Manhattan, and will be followed by a Q&A with Stone. For more information and to purchase tickets please go here.
Doug Block shares tips for producing personal documentaries after STORIES WE TELL. Photo by Simon Luethi.
Sarah Polley is best known as an actress and a director of narrative feature films. She can now add documentarian to her list of credits, as she recently directed the personal film Stories We Tell. The film, which screened at STF on Tuesday, explores Polley’s family history and uncovers secrets about her parents that she had long questioned and wished to understand. Stories We Tell uses interviews with Polley’s relatives and family friends, archival footage, and experimental techniques to investigate the nature of truth and memory. By closely examining her own history and background, Polley is able to provide unique insight into the ways in which families construct and comprehend the complex narratives of their lives.
Filmmaker Doug Block, who consulted with Polley early in Stories We Tell‘s production process, was present for the post-screening Q&A. He spoke with STF’s Hugo Perez about Polley’s process, as well as his own process when making personal documentaries.