Monday Memo: #100


Many of you may remember, a little over two years ago the admirable Rahul Chadha, whom manned the memo long before I, announced that he would be permanently signing off. As a budding doc journalist and avid tracker of doc development, I had come to love and rely on the memo for my weekly comprehensive fix of doc news and was mildly worried this helpful resource was doomed. In a surprise twist of fate, at the recommendation of Rahul, I was asked by Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen, the dynamic duo behind Stranger Than Fiction, if I’d like to fill Rahul’s considerable shoes and continue on with the memo under my watch. Without hesitation, I jumped at the chance, and to my astonishment, this week’s Monday Memo marks my hundredth. Before we get into this week’s memo I just wanted to thank Rahul for recommending me, and Thom and Raphaela for the opportunity. It’s been an honor and great source of pride. So, without further ado…

Following in the wake of Trump’s proposed budget cuts, Michael Schneider reports for IndieWire that Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland publicly took issue with several PBS’ Independent Lens documentaries at a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, stating, “When you produce shows like KUMU HINA, almost a third of a million dollar investment, or BABY MAMA HIGH [which cost] $50,000, which you know $50,000 pays for the healthcare of ten individuals on the Affordable Care Act, I have to respond to people in my district… and in fact they would resent if I was publicly funding that.” That came just days after Raney Aronson-Rath, the executive producer of PBS’ Frontline, published a public cry for help on Frontline’s website in response to the proposed budget cuts. She urges, “If you feel as I do that public media is essential to our democracy and to enhancing public understanding of the critical issues of our day, please make your voice heard. Visit www.ProtectMyPublicMedia.org to both sign a petition to support continued funding and to find information about the ways public media serves our communities.”

Here at Stranger Than Fiction, our winter season wrapped up last week with Amanda Micheli’s VEGAS BABY. If you missed out on any of our winter screenings, I urge you to go back and read Joseph Schroeder and Megan Scanlon‘s recaps of each event, complete with live Q&A videos and more. We’ll be announcing our spring lineup within the coming weeks.

Continue reading…


Monday Memo: Hot Docs & Art of the Real Reveal 2017 Lineups


After last week’s politically charged dispatch of stories on Trump’s proposed budget cuts and the controversy over Jason Pollock’s STRANGER FRUIT, this week, thankfully, seems a bit subdued. The most notable news of the week is the dual lineup announcements of Toronto’s massive Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s more focused Art of the Real. At Realscreen, Daniele Alcinii spoke with Hot Docs’ Director of Programming Shane Smith and several filmmakers about this year’s lineup. The complete Hot Docs program and schedule can be found in PDF form here.

Now in its second year, Chicago’s DOC10 film festival kicks off later this week. Leading up to the proceedings, the festival has been posting brief interviews with the filmmakers behind each of the ten films programmed on their website, while over at RogerEbert.com, Matt Fagerholm has given a thorough overview of the festival’s offerings, highlighting RAT FILM, WHOSE STREETS? and THE CINEMA TRAVELERS, among others. Also in motion this week is the Paris based doc fest Cinéma du Réel, which Basil Tsiokos previewed at What (not) To Doc.

Here at Stranger Than Fiction, we’re closing out our winter season tomorrow at the IFC Center with Amanda Micheli’s VEGAS BABY, with Micheli herself in attendance for a live post-screening Q&A. Tickets are still available.

Continue reading…