Among the deluge of festival reports and theatrical reviews that came in this past week, the most interesting tidbit may be the announcement that docu legend Frederick Wisemen has taken to Kickstarter in hopes of raising funds to complete his 40th feature film, IN JACKSON HEIGHTS. The campaign page features a short video of the director himself pitching his project, as well as the first trailer for the film. Manori Ravindran reported on Wiseman’s first foray into the crowdfunding over at Realscreen, as did Sarah Salovaara for Filmmaker Magazine.
Though the Sheffield Doc/Fest having wrapped a couple weeks back, both Cineuropa’s Naman Ramachandran and Realscreen’s Manori Ravindran reported early this past week that Joshua Oppenheimer’s THE LOOK OF SILENCE took home the festival’s Audience Award, while Sean MacAllister’s A SYRIAN LOVE STORY, reviewed by Camillo De Macro at Cineuropa, took home the Grand Jury Prize. De Marco also wrote a piece on the awards handed out at this year’s Bologna Biografilm Festival, including the Unipol Award for Best Film which was given to Patricio Guzman for THE PEARL BUTTON. Back stateside, as reported by Kevin Ritchie at Realscreen, Mo-Young Jin’s MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER won the LA Film Fest Documentary prize. Ritchie also covered the 10 films shortlisted for next year’s Cinema Eye Awards for television projects, which include Alex Gibney’s GOING CLEAR, Alex Winter’s DEEP WEB and Jose Antonio Vargas’ DOCUMENTED.
AFI Docs kicked off Wednesday and wrapped up last night in Washington, DC. In The Washington Post, Ann Hornaday wrote a substantial preview of the festival that was marked by its truthful, but accusatory headline, “In the Golden Age of documentaries, the medium could use more artistry”. At Keyframe, David Hudson kept a substantial round-up of the festival’s press coverage, while Chad Gracia’s Sundance prize winner THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER received some attention from Manori Ravindran in Realscreen and Camillo De Marco at Cineuropa. Prior the fest, Basil Tsiokos previewed the non-fiction offerings at not just AFI Docs, but BAMcinemaFest, Frameline and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, each at What (not) to Doc.
The new film from Laura Poitras, CITIZENFOUR, had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival.
This week CITIZENFOUR, the new film from director Laura Poitras on the events surrounding the NSA leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden, premiered at the New York Film Festival. Steven Zeitchik reported on the premiere for the Los Angeles Times, as did Emily Buder of Indiewire. At The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Feinberg posited the idea that the film had leapt to the top of the doc Oscar race. Ronnie Scheib of Variety reviewed the film, as did Eric Kohn of Indiewire. Also, George Packer released a profile of Poitras for the New Yorker. Finally, Adam Benzine of Realscreen reported that a new doc on Snowden, titled SNOWDEN’S GREAT ESCAPE, was in the works.
The film THE OVERNIGHTERS from director Jesse Moss premiered in theaters this week. At Nonfics.com, Katie Walsh interviewed Moss about how he handled some of the surprises thrown at him during production. Writing for the A.V. Club, A.A. Dowd gave the film an A- review, while Noel Murray of The Rolling Stone explored how the film came to be. And at the New York Times, Eric Hynes wrote on the intimate approach employed by Moss in making the film.
This week Stranger Than Fiction continues its tribute to Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker with a screening of COMPANY: ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM, a rarely screened film that documents the recording session of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company.” It will be accompanied by the short LAMBERT & CO. The films screen this Tuesday, October 14 at the IFC Center in Manhattan at the special time of 8:30pm. Following the screening D.A. Pennebaker will be in attendance for a Q&A. For more information or to purchase tickets, please go here.
The documentary THE INVISIBLE WAR won this year's Emmy for best documentary.
This week the news and documentary Emmy awards were announced. Craig Phillips of the Independent Lens blog noted that its show took home three Emmys, while POV garnered one, according to its website. Writing for Realscreen, Kevin Ritchie also covered the awards, as did Esther Zuckerman of Entertainment Weekly.
The Camden International Film Festival named the winners of its awards, with the Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature going to VIRUNGA from director Orlando von Einsiedel. Zach Sharf of Indiewire also had coverage of the awards. Also for Indiewire, Eric Hynes covered a panel discussion among film programmers held at CIFF, while Sam Adams wrote up a CIFF master class from director Marshall Curry.
Over at The Atlantic, Andrew F. March wrote a piece on whether the recent Vice doc on ISIS violated U.S. laws forbidding the support of terrorist organizations.
This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a screening of 65 REVISITED, a film by Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker and David Dawkins that pulls together unused footage from the Bob Dylan doc DON’T LOOK BACK. The film is screening with the short SHAKE – OTIS AT MONTEREY on Tuesday, October 7 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan and will feature a Q&A with special guests following the film. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.
This week, Netflix acquired the first-run rights to the film THE SQUARE, strengthening their move into acquiring documentary content.
Netflix continued to grab newshole with the official announcement that it had acquired first-run rights for Jehane Noujaim’s film on the Egyptian revolution, THE SQUARE, as an “original documentary.” Alison Willmore of Indiewire had the news, as did Adam Benzine of Realscreen and Brian Stelter of the New York Times. At Filmmaker Magazine, Sarah Salovaara wondered what Netflix meant, exactly, by describing THE SQUARE as “original programming.” Shortly after announcing its acquisition of THE SQUARE, Netflix revealed that it had picked up another doc, THE SHORT GAME. Again, Alison Willmore reported the news for Indiewire, while Adam Benzine did the same at Realscreen. At the Los Angeles Times, Steven Zeitchik took the temperature of a handful of doc filmmakers on Netflix’s recent moves.
This week the Cinema Eye Honors announced the nominees for its awards; the honors are set to take place in January 2014. Christopher Campbell covered the announcement at Nonfics.com, while Peter Knegt had the news for Indiewire and Adam Benzine did the same for Realscreen. The POV blog used the nominations to rejigger its list of the best documentaries of 2013 thus far.
The documentary filmmaker Ed Pincus, perhaps best known for his film DIARIES, passed away this week at the age of 75 from leukemia. William Yardley penned an obit of Pincus for the New York Times, while Paula Bernstein remembered Pincus in a post for Indiewire.
This week Stranger Than Fiction is playing host to SHOTGUN FREEWAY: DRIVES THROUGH LOST L.A., a film by Morgan Neville about the city of angels. The screening takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan, and will be followed by a Q&A with Neville. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.