First off, I apologize for missing the memo last week. I had prepped one celebrating both my wife’s birthday, as well as the release of DOC NYC‘s and IDFA‘s full lineups, but a family emergency reared its head and everything else got sidelined for a few days. The good news is that all is ok for the time being and I’m back for another week of exciting doc news! Settling at the top was Cinema Eye Honors announcement of the 2016 Unforgettables, the 15 best doc subjects of the year, including Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner of WEINER, Laura Albert of AUTHOR: THE JT LEROY STORY and Kate Lyn Shiel from KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE. Additionally, they revealed that the Museum of the Moving Image will host “a 10-week series highlighting films from the first #CEHDecade: “Pushing the Envelope: A Decade of Documentary’s Cinema Eye Honors”. The series will kick off Friday, November 4, 2016 with the first winner of Cinema Eye’s Outstanding Nonfiction Feature award, Jason Kohn’s MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET).”
In the same vein, the Gotham Independent Film Awards released their full list of nominees, including the documentary category. Oddly, their website still lists last year’s info, but the trades all picked up the press release, with CAMERAPERSON, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA, TOWER and WEINER listed as the doc nominees. And while the festival circuit was fairly quiet this week, Portugal’s Doclisboa did kick off on Thursday evening and Basil Tsiokos wrote an overview of the new features on offer over at What (not) To Doc, noting new work by João Monteiro and several world premiering competition titles in Kimi Takesue’s 95 AND 6 TO GO, Yuki Kawamura’s A FRIEND FROM SIBERIA, Ludovica Tortora de Falco’s DO NOT TOUCH ME!, and Maximiliano Schonfeld’s THE SLEEPING TIGER.
Here at Stranger Than Fiction, our Jonathan Demme documentary retrospective continues tomorrow at the IFC Center with his New Orleans set I’M CAROLYN PARKER: THE GOOD, THE MAD, AND THE BEAUTIFUL from 2011. Director Demme and Demme and producer Daniel Wolff will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A. Tickets for the screening can still be purchased here.
Oscar Class of '16 (Photo credit: Image Group LA / ©A.M.P.A.S.)
In a week relatively quiet on the doc front, the topic of diversity and gender inequality within the filmmaking community as a whole once again reared its head. A pair of pieces found in Filmmaker Magazine via Esther B. Robinson (The Data Says, “We Have a Problem”) and doc filmmaker Katy Chevigny (Can She Pull It Off?) led the charge. Chevingny writes, “Just last month, in January, 2016, the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television at San Diego State University released a new study that showed women made up a mere 9% of directors of films in 2015. Seeing that statistic — 9% — made me wonder anew: why haven’t women become more prominent among the ranks of directors? And more puzzling still, even if the numbers are low, why are they not growing? The numbers are staying put, hovering between 7% and 11% each year since 1998, according to the Center’s review of the top 250 top-grossing films.”
Adding fuel to the conversation, Variety publishd a piece by Addie Morfoot examining gender bias in the documentary world, while Anne Thompson celebrated the female-centric activism that took place at this year’s Sundance Film Festival at indieWIRE. In the same vein, Kate Erbland posted a piece titled 7 Films to Catch Up On at This Year’s Female-Powered Athena Film Festival, naming STF alum TRAPPED among the listed. And on a related note, indieWIRE is also currently a news editor for its regular Women and Hollywood column.
This coming week is somewhat special for us here at Stranger Than Fiction, as we have two screenings on our docket. Tomorrow we host directors Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin, along with video artist Skip Blumberg for a screening of their film HERE COME THE VIDEOFREEX, which charts the path of the titular underground video collective from their assignment on the counterculture beat for CBS News to their rupture with the network and creation of a radical pirate television station in upstate New York. Tickets for this screening are stil available here. On Thursday evening, Thom Powers will play host to the already sold out event, THE MAKING OF “MAKING A MURDERER”, a special 90-minute interview with MAKING A MURDERER directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, accompanied by clips, on how the project came into being. They’ll discuss the ten year process of reporting, editing and releasing the series.