With the Oscars just under a week away now, media attention on the nominated docs has been ramping up. This week WNYC host Brian Lehrer interviewed all five of the filmmakers behind the nominated films; you can find a link to all of the shows here. Ed Gonzales of Slate Magazine also provided a breakdown of the nominees and picked a favorite to win. Over at the Huffington Post, entertainment editors Michael Hogan and Christopher Rosen considered all of the nominees (although Rosen admitted that he had not seen any of them). Writing for the Tribeca Institute’s blog, Joe Reid gave readers a round-up of the Oscar-nominated doc shorts. At Vanity Fair, Alyssa Bereznak spoke with THE INVISIBLE WAR director Kirby Dick, while Sharon Waxman did the same for The Wrap. At the New York Times Carpetbagger blog, Larry Rohter took a look at the debate brewing over whether 5 BROKEN CAMERAS should be considered a Palestinian or an Israeli movie.
A number of interviews with directors also hit the web this week. Patrick Brzeski of The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Joshua Oppenheimer, director of THE ACT OF KILLING. (Oppenheimer this week also left the Berlin International Film Festival with the audience award for his film.) Christopher Campbell of the Documentary Channel blog interviewed Chris James Thompson, director of THE JEFFREY DAHMER FILES, and also Lee Hirsch, director of the film BULLY. At Filmmaker Magazine, Sarah Salovaara also spoke with Hirsch, posing him five questions. At The Awl, Rick Paulus talked with filmmaker Spencer McCall about his film THE INSTITUTE, a look at the cryptic game The Jejune Institute. At Screen Daily, Andreas Wiseman interviewed Ken Loach about his new film THE SPIRIT OF ‘45, which recently screened at the Berlinale. Filmmaker Bonnie Boswell spoke with Maria Goodavage of the Independent Lens blog on her upcoming film THE POWERBROKER: WHITNEY YOUNG’S FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS. And finally, Sam Clements of Vice spoke with THE HOUSE I LIVE IN director Eugene Jarecki.
This week Stranger Than Fiction on Tuesday, Feb. 19 is hosting Shoei Imamura’s classic film A MAN VANISHES, which Manohla Dargis of the New York Times describes as “a movie about a disappearance and the transformation of reality into an ever more mercurial mystery, a vertiginous drama and the very stuff of cinema.” A post-screening discussion of the film will be led by filmmakers Amir Bar-Lev and John Walter. You can find more information and purchase tickets here. If you need further convincing that this is a film worth checking out, the Chicago Reader’s Ben Sachs this week wrote a piece on Imamura’s documentary films.
At the What (Not) to Doc blog, programmer Basil Tsiokos had overviews of a bunch of film programs. First, he looked at the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight, set to run Feb. 15 – March 4. He also profiled the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, which takes place in Missoula, Montana, from Feb. 15 – 24. Finally, Tsiokos shared his thoughts on the docs screening as part of the New Voices in Black Cinema program hosted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music Feb. 15 – 18.
This week Anthony Kaufman’s Docutopia post examined the slate of artful documentaries coming out of Eastern European countries of late. Kaufman also highlighted the film SOFIA’S AMBULANCE in a post for Indiewire’s ReelPolitik blog.
The POV blog this week featured three posts from guest blogger Paul Pauwels, the head of the Belgian production company Congoo, that shared tips on how to craft a winning documentary pitch. You can find part one here, part two here and part three here.
Indiewire this week published two essays from the book “Rarely Has Reality Needed So Much to Be Re-Imagined: A Mostly True History of the True/False Film Fest,” which celebrates the 10th year of the festival by taking a look at its history.
News broke this week that Orlando Bagwell was leaving his role at the Ford Foundations JustFilms initiative to return to the practice of filmmaking. John Anderson of The New York Times had a nice profile of Bagwell and his work.
In distro news this week, Oscilloscope Laboratories picked up North American rights for AFTER TILLER, the abortion doc from directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson. UK-based distributor Dogwoof nabbed UK and foreign rights for BLACKFISH from Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
At Realscreen, Adam Benzine reported that OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network had ended its documentary club, and would only commission docs on an irregular basis in the future. At the POV blog, Heather McIntosh shared her analysis of what had gone wrong.
Writing for the International Documentary Association’s website, Christopher Campbell reviewed the “Qatsi Trilogy,” which is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray
At the New York Times, Rob Trump considered the gift economy, and how it related to the relatively new phenomenon of Kickstarter campaigns.
The film TPB AKF: THE PIRATE BAY AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD had its premiere at the Berlinale this week, and was simultaneously released on YouTube and made available for download on The Pirate Bay itself. Susan Stone of the Los Angeles Times, as well as Alexandra Zeevalkink of the DocGeeks blog, covered the news.
Kyle Rupprecht of MovieMaker spoke with Jack Myers of Cinelan about their Focus Forward short documentary showcase, which is presented along with GE.
Also on the POV blog this week was coverage from Tom Roston of the red carpet premiere of the new film BEYONCE: LIFE IS BUT A DREAM.
Adam Benzine of Realscreen covered the news that Participant Media and the Doha Film Institute were launching a new $100 million fund to help finance 12-16 feature films over the next five years. Pamela McClintock also had the news for The Hollywood Reporter.
At Kino-Eye.com, David Tamés recommended the book “Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interactive Design as a Cultural Practice” to documentarians interested in interactive work.
Finally, Christopher Campbell has this week’s notable theatrical releases, which essentially consists of THE JEFFREY DAHMER FILES.