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.”
After last week’s jam packed memo, this week’s feels a bit light, especially when weighed against the many mainstream headlines fueling my nightmares the past few nights, but nonetheless there is plenty of juicy nonfiction film news to go around. Kicking it off is Jay Weissberg‘s break at Variety that “a jury that included high profile directors Olivier Assayas and Miguel Gomes has awarded Wang Bing’s unblinkered documentary MRS FANG the Golden Leopard at the 70th anniversary edition of the Locarno Festival.” At MUBI’s Notebook, Daniel Kasman, in seeming agreement, intimated that “MRS FANG’s modestly scaled, minutely attentive and intimate focus on the last living days of this grandmother on her deathbed has unusual force.”
Midway through Locarno, Jordan Raup revealed the 55th New York Film Festival main slate via FilmLinc, which includes Agnès Varda & JR’s L’Oeil d’or winning VISAGES VILLAGES. The festival’s Spotlight on Documentary program will be announced in the coming weeks. The Toronto International Film Festival also added a few titles to their doc lineup with its unveiling of its Canadian titles, including world premieres of Alan Zweig’s THERE IS A HOUSE HERE, Matt Embry’s LIVING PROOF, Sean Menard’s THE CARTER EFFECT and Alanis Obomsawin’s OUR PEOPLE WILL BE HEALED. Selina Chignall covered the announcement for Realscreen, and went so far as to interview a handful of the filmmakers to get their opinions on the matter. And last, but not least on the topic of festivals, is Basil Tsiokos‘ doc overview of the 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival, which runs August 11th-18th.
I must apologize – without warning I took leave weekend to venture off to Rochester, NY to attend the Toronto Film Society’s yearly raid of the Eastman House to watch two days worth of rarely screened prints of films such as Karl Brown’s STARK LOVE, William A. Wellman’s TRACK OF THE CAT and Mikio Naruse’s KIMIKO. But with a lineup like that, who could blame me?
In my absence, startling news broke that Michael Moore had somehow managed to complete a film completely in secret and that our own Thom Powers and the TIFF programming team would have the pleasure of world premiering it as part of their headlining Special Presentations in Toronto come September. Moore’s film, titled WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, has sparked much excitement in the doc community, instantly shooting to the top of my latest most anticipated unreleased docs list published over at IONCINEMA. Anne Thompson, ruminating over at indieWIRE, wrote a piece detailing just how TIFF came to nab Moore’s latest hot commodity. In addition to WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, TIFF also released their lineup of Canadian features at this year’s fest, including a quintet of docs – Brian D. Johnson’s AL PURDY WAS HERE, Patrick Reed and Michelle Shephard’s GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR, Mina Shum’s NINTH FLOOR, Avi Lewis’ THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING and Geneviève Dulude-De Celles’ WELCOME TO F.L.
Prior to TIFF releasing their first wave of films, the Venice International Film Festival also released their staggering lineup of features which includes such notable films as Fredrick Wiseman’s IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, Amy Berg’s JANIS, as well as Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s DE PALMA. And while announcements are being made elsewhere, the Locarno International Film Festival is currently in full swing. David Hudson is keeping close tabs on all the coverage coming out of Locarno over at Keyframe, while Basil Tsiokos wrote up preview of the festival’s non-fiction offerings at What (not) To Doc.