Monday Memo: Doc Fortnight in Motion, CPH:DOX Announces 2018 Program

MoMA’s Doc Fortnight “has played host to an annual collection of non-fiction films that push boundaries both aesthetically and narratively. Be it groundbreaking works from groundbreaking filmmakers, or like much of the list we are about to dive into, profoundly moving efforts from names many may not be familiar with,” writes Joshua Brunsting in his Criterion Cast preview of the festival’s 17th edition which kicked off on Thursday evening. Singling out highlights in Jeffrey Perkins’s GEORGE, Jackie Ochs and Susanna Styron’s OUT OF MY HEAD, Stephen Organ’s HABANEROS and a restrospective on the documentary films of the late Jonathan Demme, Daniel Eagan notes in Film Journal, “For many years, Doc Fortnight was curated by MoMA’s Film Department. Recently, guest curator Kathy Brew has programmed the series, this year with Gianna Collier-Pitts.” Basil Tsiokos also gave an overview of the new non-fiction offerings at Doc Fortnight, as well as at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival at What (not) To Doc.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX has announced the full 200+ film program of its 15th edition. Of the 12 features in competition for the DOX:Award, Nasib Farah and Søren Steen Jespersen’s LOST WARRIOR, Christian Krönes and Florian Weigensamer’s WELCOME TO SODOM, Marcus Lindeen’s THE RAFT, Salomé Lamas and Stanislav Danylyshyn’s EXTINCTION, Andreas Dalsgaard’s THE GREAT GAME, and Alexander Rynéus, Malla Grapengiesser and Per Bifrost’s GIANTS AND THE MORNING AFTER are all world premieres.

Meanwhile back stateside, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival revealed “that renowned filmmaker Joe Berlinger will curate the 2018 Thematic Program, and the festival will honor Jehane Noujaim’s illustrious body of work with the 2018 Tribute.” And at IndieWire, Eric Kohn reports that while “few major festivals are run by women, or by people of color; several key positions held by white men have now been vacated, creating tremendous prospects for injecting a more complex identity into the festival ecosystem.” He continues, “For many, the answer comes down to one easy solution: Hire a woman. Four major international festivals — Sundance, Berlin, Cannes’ Directors Fortnight and the Toronto International Film Festival — are currently hiring top programming roles. The people who fill those slots could have a radical impact on the kinds of movies resonating on the festival circuit, and eventually, those with the potential to reach wider audiences.”

Stranger Than Fiction’s 2018 Winter Season continues this week at the IFC Center with Daniel McCabe’s THIS IS CONGO, a a highly-immersive, unfiltered look into the conflicts at the heart of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tickets for tomorrow’s screening are still available here.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: US Budget Proposal Cuts Humanities, Full Frame Announces Lineup

Following the release of Trump’s proposed federal budget on Wednesday, which lays out plans to eliminate funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Responding to the news, Sophie Gilbert outlined the real cost of abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts for The Atlantic, while the International Documentary Association released a public statement about the future funding for the NEA, NEH and CPB. The Public Broadcasting Service also published its own advocacy site (Value) in the wake of the budget proposal. Turning to Ken Burns’s 1990 CIVIL WAR documentary as proof, Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson also made a strong case for preserving public humanities funding. Those looking to show their support of the National Endowment for the Arts should head over to the Americans for the Arts Action Center, where citizens are guided through the process of contacting your local U.S. representatives about this issue.

After news broke last week of Jason Pollock’s SXSW debuted doc STRANGER FRUIT containing new footage of Michael Brown just before his murder by police in Ferguson, MO, Mitch Smith of The New York Times reported “a lawyer for the convenience store at the center of the accusations released additional video on Monday that he said disproved the documentary’s assertions,” adding further confusion to the case. The video was published by the Washington Post, along with an additional news break by Wesley Lowery.

Here at Stranger Than Fiction, we are nearing the end of our winter season. Tomorrow at the IFC Center, we host very special 20th Anniversary screening of Monte Bramer’s 1997 Sundance Audience Award winner PAUL MONETTE: THE BRINK OF SUMMER’S END. The film’s producer, Lesli Klainberg, will be on hand for a live Q&A following the film. Tickets for the event are still available for purchase here.

Continue reading…