This week Brainchild Films announced that musician Janet Jackson was set to serve as an executive producer on a documentary about transgendered people titled TRUTH, to be directed by Robert Jason. TRUTH will join a few other recent projects following transgendered subjects. Filmmaker Dan Hunt is currently in post-production on his film MR. ANGEL, an examination of trans porn star and lecturer Buck Angel. And the New York Times Op-Docs recently featured an excerpt from Sharon Shattuck’s film PROJECT DAD, about her transgendered parent. (Shattuck recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, which you can check out here.) Add that to the Sundance Channel’s show Transgeneration, and you might have the makings of a small trend.
Silverdocs released its conference agenda, which is stacked with a number of great panels and events. The festival, which runs June 18-24, will feature a keynote address from Jigar Mehta, one of the brains behind the interactive documentary/journalism project 18 DAYS IN EGYPT. Erica Ginsberg of Docs in Progress provided her own preview of the festival, which takes place in Silver Spring, MD, just outside of Washington, D.C.
The Sundance Institute and Cinereach this week announced the 15 projects to be recipients of a total of $200,000 in grant money. The doc projects selected were THE COMMISSIONER by Jarreth Merz about Ghana’s presidential elections; THE KILL TEAM by Dan Krauss about a U.S. soldier on trial for war crimes; and THE SHADOW WORLD by Johan Grimonprez about the arms industry.
The Sheffield Doc/Fest is set to begin in two days time, running June 13-17 in England. Basil Tsiokos of What Not to Doc graciously provided readers with an overview of the festival. On his list of films to keep an eye out for are GLASTOPIA by Lindsey Dryden and GYPSY BLOOD by Leo Maguire.
In this week’s Docutopia, Anthony Kaufman takes a look at a few of the films focusing on Egypt’s recent revolution, and specifically its geographic heart—Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Those in New York City can check out one of the films referenced by Kaufman, TAHRIR: LIBERATION SQUARE by Stefano Savona, during its June 11-17 theatrical run at the Maysles Cinema.
For those of you in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has scheduled a retrospective of the work of filmmaker Lourdes Portillo, scheduled to run June 22-30. The films are being co-presented with the Flaherty Seminar.
Christopher Campbell has this week’s theatrical releases, which include MARIA ABRAMOVIC: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT by Matthew Akers and PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE by Stephen Kessler. Campbell also got a chance to speak with Kessler and songwriter/tv personality Williams, you can check that out here.
Writing at the Center for Social Media blog, Lauren Donia breaks down the importance of blogging platform tumblr to filmmakers attempting to build an audience for their projects. In other news from the Center, Pat Aufderheide had a chat with the folks from Techdirt on fair use. You can check out a recap of the conversation here.
Filmmaker Ondi Timoner dropped her latest episode of the online show Bring Your Own Doc, featuring interviews with Rachel Loube, Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus and Chris Kenneally.
The trend of remaking documentaries extended to the realm of musical theater this week, when Variety reported that producer David Sonenberg was remaking the 1996 Leon Gast doc WHEN WE WERE KINGS into a stage musical.
This year, the International Documentary Association (IDA) has partnered with the Games for Change festival, which runs June 18-20 at New York University’s Skirball Center. The nonprofit Games for Change facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts.
At ITVS’s Beyond the Box, Rebecca Huval also provided a few routes that DIY film distributors can take. And Jon Reiss, director of the graffiti doc BOMB IT, has collected some excerpts from his class “Thinking Outside the Box Office,” about exploring new methods of film distribution. You can watch them on his YouTube channel here.