In a sea of exciting doc news, for us at Stranger Than Fiction the most thrilling thing to hit the wire this week was the announcement that our theatrical home, the IFC Center, will be expanding “from 10,328 square feet to 20,071 square feet” according to Kate Erbland‘s exclusive at indieWIRE, more than doubling the number of screens from 5 to 11. In a statement from the article, “John Vanco, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the IFC Center said, ‘IFC Center has spent the past ten years celebrating filmmakers from New York and around the world by showcasing their documentaries, fiction features and short films for Greenwich Village audiences hungry for the best in contemporary and classic cinema. Expanding our facility is crucially important in allowing us to continue to fill a unique and important cultural space in the downtown arts scene, as well as helping vital works of cinema get launched into broader release.'”
The IFC Center is also the home of DOC NYC, who announced this week that Barbara Kopple’s MISS SHARON JONES! will serve as their Opening Night selection, as well as the fact that Jon Alpert, Barbara Kopple and Frederick Wiseman will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the festival’s second annual Visionaries Tribute. The announcement was picked up by Gregg Kilday at The Hollywood Reporter, Manori Ravindran at Realscreen and Anne-Katrin Titze at Eye For Film.
Nearing ever closer, the Toronto International Film Festival continues to garner quite a lot of press attention. Rolling Stone’s David Fear posted a list of his top 25 films to look out for, starting with Sydney Pollack’s AMAZING GRACE and including Laurie Anderson’s HEART OF A DOG, Amy Berg’s JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE and more. Similarly, Alexander Huls of Blog TO listed his top 10 docs to catch at the fest, while Eric Kohn named 7 hidden gems that included Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola’s RETURN OF THE ATOM. Surprisingly absent from each of these lists was Morgan Neville’s KEITH RICHARDS: UNDER THE INFLUENCE, which was extensively featured in The New York Times by Jon Pareles. In The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy surveyed the fall festival circuit in hopes of gauging the awards season buzz to follow, while Anthony Kaufman outlined the TIFF doc sales market for indieWIRE. And if you are looking for a taste of what’s on the menu at TIFF this year, Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie has a pair of posts that pair synopses with trailers for each doc on offer.
The New York Film Festival also released their Spotlight on Documentary lineup this past week via the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Both Gordon Cox of Variety and Benjamin Lee of The Guardian reported on the announcement, each noting the inclusion of a series of shorts by Laura Poitras and a preview of her upcoming series, ASYLUM.
Though WNYC’s Documentary of the Week selection was James Keach’s GLEN CAMPBELL…I’LL BE ME, the most written about doc this week was undoubtedly Maíra Bühler and Matias Mariani’s Brazilian oddity I TOUCHED ALL YOUR STUFF. Reviewed in print in The New York Times by Nicolas Rapold and Martin Tsai in The LA Times, the film also gleaned coverage from Joshua Brunsting at Criterion Cast and Mark Dujsik at RogerEbert.com. Next in command this week was a cinematic profile of Julius Rosenwald in ROSENWALD from director Aviva Kempner. The film received a feature in the LA Times from Susan King, as well as a review from Kenneth Turan. Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post also reviewed Kempner’s latest.
Alex Gibney’s latest, STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE earned a pair of articles from Steven Zeitchik in The LA Times and John Anderson in Time. Also in The LA Times, Kenneth Turan reviewed Hubert Sauper’s WE COME AS FRIENDS, noting that “his latest trip to Africa (following the Oscar-nominated DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE) is so audacious that the Sundance Film Festival created a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery just for him.” Actress Eszter Balint also ruminated on the film at The Talkhouse, while CUTIE AND THE BOXER producer Sierra Pettengill commented on J.P. Sniadecki’s THE IRON MINISTRY at the same publication. And finally at The Guardian, Ed Vulliamy wrote at length about Matthew Heineman’s remarkable CARTEL LAND and Caty Enders featured Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s mountain climbing doc MERU, concluding with a list of five other climbing films to check out.
Though there weren’t any new Op-Docs posted at The New York Times this week, Heather McIntosh reflected on utilizing the series as a teaching tool this past year at POV’s Documentary Blog. And looking further back, Matt Brennan wrote a remarkable piece at Flavorwire on the non-fiction films that resulted from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.