With no major theatrical releases and a slew of major festivals on the verge of kicking off, it’s a rather quiet on the nonfiction front. That said, the New York Film Festival did reveal its Spotlight on Documentary lineup, which includes Travis Wilkerson’s True/False alum DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?, TIFF selections JANE, A SKIN SO SOFT, and BOOM FOR REAL, as well as world premieres of Alison McAlpine’s CIELO, Ena Talakic and Ines Talakic’s HALL OF MIRRORS, and Alex Gibney’s NO STONE UNTURNED, which was previously slated to screen at Tribeca and Hot Docs before it was pulled for undisclosed legal reasons.
After revealing its full program schedule on Tuesday, the Toronto International Film Festival added a handful of last minute special events, including the world premiere of GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Chris Moukarbel, “a rare snapshot of the raucously public music icon Lady Gaga and the offstage woman that is Stefani Joanne Germanotta,” as well as the world premiere of Brandon and Skyler Gross’ ON MY WAY OUT: THE SECRET LIFE OF NANI AND POPI – the program notes read, “Roman (Popi) and Ruth (Nani) Blank have been married for 65 years, but at age 95, Roman reveals a secret that tests their seemingly invincible union, in Brandon and Skyler Gross’ touching portrait of their grandparents.”
Though the Locarno International Film Festival wrapped up a couple weeks back, at the fest IndieWire’s Irina Trocan discovered a handful of films that represent modern domestic life in new ways, including a trio of films to soon screen at TIFF – Xu Bing’s DRAGONFLY EYES, Ben Russell’s GOOD LUCK, and Wang Bing’s MRS. FANG. On a similar wavelength, Cara Buckley thoroughly examined the many current docs that are exploring the pain of racism for The New York Times, noting “A burst of new films, many of them documentaries, are taking a deep look beyond the headlines at the lasting impact that racial schisms and racism have on Americans’ everyday lives.”
In the same week that Rebecca Sun reported the disheartening news that Slated’s new “analysis of nearly 1,600 features reveals a ‘trust gap’ when it comes to movies made by women”, The Academy of Motion Pictures released its complete Class of 2016, inviting a record “683 new members: 46 Percent Female and 41 Percent People of Color” according to Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, POV and The New York Times disclosed that they would be collaborating on a new interactive documentary project about race and are currently “seeking pitches from potential mediamakers, with applications due by Monday, July 25,” reports IndieWire’s Michael Nordine.
Though, The Hollywood Reporter’s Gregg Kilday, the Palm Springs International ShortFest‘s jury named Maxim Pozdorovkin’s CLINICA DE MIGRANTES: LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS the best documentary of the festival, while the audience declared Annie O’Neil and Jessica Lewis’ PHIL’S CAMINO to be their favorite, festival circuit happenings were a bit low-key this past week. Always looking ahead, Basil Tsiokos surveyed the doc offerings at the upcoming Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, noting Manuel Abramovich’s SOLAR, Leire Apellaniz’s THE LAST SUMMER and Alice Diop’s ON CALL among others. Looking back a couple weeks, Christopher Llewellyn Reed reviewed a quartet of films from this year’s edition of AFI Docs for Hammer To Nail, including Werner Herzog’s LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s AUDRIE & DAISY, Nicole Lucas Haimes’ CHICKEN PEOPLE, and Alex Gibney’s ZERO DAYS. Gibney and his production company was also the topic of much discussion by Boris Kachka over at Vulture. The piece convincingly argues that the filmmaker’s studio-like Jigsaw Productions is steadily shifting how investigative documentaries are made and marketed. Continue reading…
Among the films making it to this year's Sundance Film Festival are (T)ERROR from directors Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe.
This week the Sundance Film Festival continued its announcements of films that made the cut for 2015. Adam Benzine of Realscreen wrote on the docs premiering at the festival, as did Filmmaker Magazine and Daniel Fienberg of HitFix Magazine, along with Casey Cipriani of Indiewire. Christopher Cambpell of Nonfics.com had a guide to Sundance documentary titles, while Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie took a look at the festival’s short docs. Alexandra Zeevalkink of DocGeeks also had a round-up of Sundance doc selections.
A slew of “Best of 2014” lists came out this week. Paste Magazine’s staff named the best 12 docs of 2014, while Susan Gerhard listed the top 10 docs of the year at Fandor. At Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman named the best 12 docs of the 2014. Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter had a list of 15 docs from the year that must be seen.
Indiewire’s Paula Bernstein made a useful meta-post rounding up their coverage of documentary filmmaking advice from the past year.
The film SEDUCED AND ABANDONED has earned a lot of press at Cannes this year.
The presence of docs at Cannes this year was commanding the attention of Melanie Goodfellow of ScreenDaily, who reported that docs were booming there, both onscreen and in distro deals. Writing for the AFP, Richard Ingahm reported that docs were an increasing portion of the films being marketed at Cannes. At the Chicago Tribune, critic Michael Phillips spoke with director James Toback and Alec Baldwin, the forces behind the film SEDUCED AND ABANDONED, a doc about the state of the film industry. Matt Mueller of Indiewire also interviewed Baldwin and Toback on the new film.
The top prize at Cannes Un Certain Regard went to the autobiographic doc A MISSING PICTURE by Cambodian director Rithy Panh. Read a review at The Hollywood Reporter. Other docs playing in Cannes official selection include Claude Lanzmann’s THE LAST OF THE UNJUST reviewed in Variety, Indiewire, and The Guardian; and Mark Cousins’ A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM reviewed in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian. Playing in Directors Fortnight, Marcel Ophuls’ memoir doc AIN’T MISBEHAVIN was reviewed by Ben Kenigsberg on Roger Ebert’s website and Jordan Mintzer in The Hollywood Reporter. Continue reading…