At this point, there is no doubt about the incredible range of nonfiction productions that are available through all sorts of distribution channels, from the festival circuit to the countless streaming services accessible form your very own couch, yet folks like Mark Kennedy are here to remind us that we are in a golden age of documentaries in his latest piece outlining just a sliver of the quality content that is currently available in The Washington Post. Meanwhile, Guy Lodge, writing at The Guardian, attempted to unpack why documentary sequels like MARCH OF THE PENGUINS 2 are on the rise, summerizing “…it’s only the latest in a recent run of tardy sequels to culture-defining documentaries of the previous decade and beyond – evidence, perhaps, that even the documentary realm has fallen prey to the industry’s risk-averse devotion to existing properties and proven formulae, though few have fully made the case for returning to the well.”
Thankfully, the festival circuit, with new lineups announced this week for Toronto’s Hot Docs and the Film Society at Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real, generally offers a reprieve from such contrivances. Most excitingly, the Hot Docs programmers were keen to reveal this year’s edition of the festival has reached gender parity with fifty percent of the films on offer made by women filmmakers, reports The Globe and Mail’s Barry Hertz. Looking a bit deeper at the Hot Docs program, Selina Chignall of Realscreen spoke with the filmmakers behind THE HEAT: A KITCHEN REVOLUTION, UNITED WE FAN, and THE ACCOUNTANT OF AUSCHWITZ, each of which is due to have their world premieres in Toronto next month.
Last weekend saw the conclusion of this year’s edition of CPH:DOX, where Marcus Lindeen’s THE RAFT won the Dox:Award, Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzaei’s LAILA AT THE BRIDGE took home the F:ACT Award, and Jumana Manna’s WILD RELATIVES was honored with the New:Vision Award for its “groundbreaking experiments in the area between documentary and artistic reflection.” The staff at Desist Film have posted a wealth of reviews from the festival for those interested in delving further. Just as CPH:DOX wound down, the Parisian doc fest Cinéma du Reél kicked off, with Basil Tsiokos writing up an overview of the new docs on offer over at What (not) To Doc. Looking back a few weeks, Tayler Montague of Reverse Shot and Irina Trocan writing at Sight & Sound both posted thorough festival reviews of this year’s True/False, while Film Comment published an interview by Rooney Elmi with Khalik Allah, whose incredible new film BLACK MOTHER had its world premiere in Columbia.
Though you may have believed award season had concluded, Realscreen’s Selina Chignall broke the news that “The Television Academy’s Documentary Programming Peer Group has made an alteration to the Primetime Emmy Awards Documentary and Non-fiction categories. This year, the Outstanding Directing for a Non-fiction Program has been split into two separate Emmy Award categories: Directing for a Documentary/Non-fiction Program and Directing for a Reality Program. Furthermore, television docs are now eligible for entry into the Emmy competition regardless of being sold on DVD prior to their telecast or streaming.”
A trio of new doc centric podcast episodes have arrived via our own Thom Powers’ Pure Nonfiction, which features an interview with VEGAS BABY director Amanda Micheli, The Fog of Truth, which centers around a quartet of filmmaker interviews from SXSW, and the Screen Australia Podcast, features conversations with producers who have worked on international doc co-productions SPOOKERS and THE KINGDOM: HOW FUNGI MADE THE WORLD.
Those looking for a short new doc to stream can check out Brent Renaud and Craig Renaud’s BETWEEN BORDERS: AMERICAN MIGRANT CRISIS over at The New York Times Documentaries page.
I’ll leave you this week with a pair of lovely pieces tangentially related to docs: Lou Pepe, director of LOST IN LA MANCHA, ruminated on falling asleep at the movies over at The Talkhouse, while Matthew Schneier broke the news via The New York Times that the late Bill Cunningham, beloved fashion photographer and subject of the wonderful BILL CUNNINGHAM: NEW YORK, left behind a secret memoir that will soon be published by Penguin Press.