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, 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…

Monday Memo: Dust Settles After VAXXED Pulled From Tribeca, NO HOME MOVIE Reminds Of Loss

A week after the Tribeca Film Festival decided to pull the discredited physician Andrew Wakefield’s documentary VAXXED: FROM COVER-UP TO CATASTROPHE from their line-up following outcry from the medical and film communities, indieWIRE’s Eric Kohn and The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington published a pair of postmordems outlining why the film was programmed in the first place and how pressure from various groups finally forced Tribeca to pull it. Chris Barsanti praised Tribeca for their decision to cancel its world premiere of VAXXED in Little White Lies, noting that “Tribeca’s decision not to show VAXXED does not constitute censorship, as some critics and commentators have suggested. The idea that one relatively high-profile film festival could stop the world from seeing a film is, in an age of instantly available streaming video, fairly quaint.” Unsurprisingly, despite its unscientific hogwash, the film was instantly scooped up by Cinema Libre for distribution and opened appropriately on April Fool’s Day at New York’s Angelika Film Center.

At Variety, Paul Gaita reflected on the fifth annual American Documentary Film Festival, which has its final screenings this evening, and the growth of interest in non-fiction cinema. Likewise, Chicago’s new DOC10 Film Festival wrapped up yesterday, Michael Phillips gave an overview of the offerings at the inaugural edition in the Chicago Tribune. Featuring approximately 70 documentaries among its nearly 200 film lineup, the 40th anniversary of the Cleveland International Film Festival kicked off last Wednesday. Basil Tsiokos previewed the non-fiction offerings over at What (not) To Doc. And in a surprise announcement, Charlotte Cook, former director of programming of Hot Docs and co-founder of Field of Vision, has joined the CPH:DOX programming team. The announcement comes in the wake of its recent scheduling change, from November to March, with its next edition scheduled to take place in 2017. Also on the topic of festivals, DOC NYC’s regular submissions deadline is this coming Friday, April 8th – filmmakers, get on that!

Co-presented along with the New York Film Academy, our Spring Season kicks off tomorrow with Victoria Campbell’s MONSIEUR LE PRESIDENT, which “traces the ascent and downfall of Gaston Jean Edy, a charming and much-loved voodoo priest in the Christ-roi section of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.” The director, as well as Amy Wilentz, author of the National Book Critics Circle Award winner for Autobiography, Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti, will be in attendance for a post screening Q&A session. Tickets for our Spring Season kick off can be purchased here. Additionally, our home, the IFC Center, is gearing up for a major expansion, but they need a show a public support to convince city officials that this expansion is fully supported by the community. Show your support today by going here.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: Thanksgiving Edition

As with most holiday weekends, Monday has come too soon, but hopefully you’ve stuffed yourself silly, enjoyed the company of family and friends and maybe even watched a doc or two (possibly the final film of our fall season, DANNY SAYS?)! Over at the POV Blog, Tom Roston gave thanks for a variety of doc film related goodness, while I gave thanks to The Criterion Collection for releasing D.A. Pennebaker’s doc classic DON’T LOOK BACK by hitting up their bi-annual half sale at Barnes & Noble which wraps up today. Celebrating the release, Criterion posted a series of outtakes from the film, an interview with Patti Smith about the film’s influence on her life, and an in depth essay on the film by Robert Polito. How could one not be thankful for that?

DOC NYC concluded this year’s edition over a week ago now and coverage of the festival’s riches continue to hit the net, including Daniel Walber‘s top five festival favorites found at Nonfics and a pair of indieWIRE articles from Aubrey Page and Ryan Anielski covering DOC NYC PRO’s Pitch Day and Show Me The Money sessions, respectively. Similarly, on behalf of the New York Film Festival, Alex Hunter posted a video this week of a live conversation with Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook about their ongoing journalistic doc short development and distro project, Field of Vision. And following the conclusion of this year’s edition of CPH:DOX, the festival announced that the 2017 edition of the fest would be permanently shifting to March.

Having concluded yesterday, IDFA announced its award winners, honoring Jerzy Sladkowski’s DON JUAN with the VPRO IDFA Award for best feature-length documentary and Roman Bondarchuk’s UKRAINIAN SHERIFFS with the Special Jury Award, reports Barry Walsh for Realscreen and Damon Wise for Variety. Also at Variety, Damon Wise has published a piece on how IDFA’s DOK Incubator helps doc filmmakers raise their game. Meanwhile, Realscreen’s Manori Ravindran covered the project pitches at the IDFA Forum in painstaking detail in a pair of posts, with another forthcoming.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: DOC NYC Concludes, IDFA Gears Up & Sundance Awards Grants

After a week of social media madness as part of the DOC NYC team, I’ve returned to Stranger Than Fiction feeling invigorated and up to date, ready to report the latest in non-fiction goodness. And speaking of DOC NYC, the festival wrapped up last Thursday after 8 days of documentary celebration, from the Visionaries Tribute at which Frederick Wiseman, Jon Alpert and Barbara Kopple each received Lifetime Achievement Awards, to the final awards ceremony at which MOTLEY’S LAW by director Nicole Horanyi and CLASS DIVIDE by director Marc Levin took home the Grand Jury Prizes. Jeremy Gerard of Deadline and Zack Sharf of indieWIRE both reported on the awards. The festival’s week long industry conference DOC NYC PRO popped up on and off throughout the week via Aubrey Page‘s indieWIRE report of the opening Morning Manifesto featuring all 15 of the DOC NYC Short List filmmakers, Kevin Ritchie‘s coverage of Reaching Your Audience Day and Michele Stephenson’s Morning Manifesto at Realscreen, as well as Ryan Anielski‘s outline of Abigail Disney’s keynote on doc funding at indieWIRE. A full list of additional DOC NYC coverage can be found here.

Wrapping up just prior to DOC NYC, Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX awarded the DOX:Award to Robert Machoian and Rodridgo Ojeda-Beck’s GOD BLESS THE CHILD, the NORDIC:DOX to Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola’s RETURN OF THE ATOM, the FACT:AWARD to Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi’s AMONG THE BELIEVERS, and the NEW:VISION Award to Rosa Barba’s BENDING TO EARTH and Ali Cherri’s THE DIGGER. Demetrios Matheou wrote up an overview of the festival’s winners and disappoints over at indieWIRE. Looking forward, the world’s largest non-fiction festival kicked off in Amsterdam on Wednesday. Variety’s Jennie Punter wrote up a preview of this year’s IDFA, while Basil Tsiokos broke the massive line-up into a pair of posts at What (not) To Doc. But, IDFA is not the only doc festival left on this year’s docket. Portugal’s still fresh-faced Porto/Post/Doc announced the lineup for the festival’s second edition. Cineuropa’s Vitor Pinto reported on the announcement.

After the DOC NYC takeover of the IFC Center last week, Stranger Than Fiction returns for its final screening of the Fall Season tomorrow with DANNY SAYS. Director Brendan Toller and producer Pamela Lubell will both be on hand for a post-screening Q&A. Tickets are still available here.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: IDA Awards Announce Nominees In Tandem With Euro Awards

There’s no denying it now: Awards season is in full swing. This week the International Documentary Association announced the nominees for the 31st Annual IDA Documentary Awards, as well as their honorees who include Gordon Quinn, Ted Sarandos, Lyric R. Cabral, David Felix Sutcliffe, Matthew Heineman, Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation. At indieWIRE, Anne Thompson mulled on the selections, contemplating how they’re beginning to shape the Oscars. Additionally, Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka, The Hollywood Reporter’s Hilary Lewis and Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie each reported on the nominations.

In addition to the IDA Awards nominations, both the British Independent Film Award nominations and the European Film Awards nominations were announced. The BFI and Cineuropa’s Naman Ramachandran reported on the British Independent Film Award nominations, while Guy Lodge of Variety and David González published the nominees for the European Film Awards, also at Cineuropa. James Gay-Rees’ PALIO, which is among the British Independent Film Award nominees, was reviewed by Joe Leydon at Variety.

Tomorrow, Stranger Than Fiction continues with Jeff Malmberg’s modern doc classic, MARWENCOL. Following the screening, film subject Mark Hogancamp and co-author/film producer Chris Shellen will be doing a post-screening Q&A and signing of the new book “Welcome to Marwencol.” Tickets to the screening are still available and can be purchased here.

Continue reading…