Morgan Neville’s film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM emerged the winner of the Oscar doc contest this year, beating out the more politically oriented films – DIRTY WARS (STF alum), THE SQUARE, among other films. Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times reported on the win for 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, which also screened at DOC NYC last year. Also writing for the Los Angeles Times, Tracy Brown reported on the win by Malcolm Clark for his short doc THE LADY IN NUMBER 6: MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE. Also, at Indiewire Paula Bernstein reported on how Edgar Barens shot his Oscar-nominated short PRISON TERMINAL: THE LAST DAYS OF PRIVATE JACK HALL in a maximum security prison.
The True/False FIlm Fest seems to keep burnishing its reputation as the documentary filmmaker’s festival, and this year was no different. At Filmmaker Magazine, Vadim Rizov issued a dispatch covering his first day at the festival, while the festival’s own blog did the same. Basil Tsiokos provided an overview of the festival at his What (Not) to Doc blog. Also writing for Filmmaker Magazine, director Robert Greene considered the benefits of premiering at True/False. At Nonfics.com, Daniel Walber wrote up the festival’s five most anticipated films. Public radio station KBAI had a handful of interviews with True/False directors: Ryan Famuliner interviewed Ryan Murdock, director of BRONX OBAMA; Kellie Moore spoke with THE JOYCEAN SOCIETY director Dora Garcia; and Katie Hiler chatted up THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT directors Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin.
At the True/False blog, Dan Steffan spoke with director Robert Greene about his film ACTRESS and APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT, which was directed by Amanda Rose and produced and edited by Greene. Writing for the POV blog, Tom Roston issued a list of five True/False films to keep an eye out for. Writing for Nonfics.com, Daniel Walber gave Jessica Oreck’s new film THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA a four-star review. Indiewire critic Eric Kohn reviewed Robert Greene’s ACTRESS, giving it a grade of A-.
This week Stranger Than Fiction hosts a screening of THE ROAD TO FAME from director Hao Wu on Tuesday, March 4 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. The film follows the collaboration between China’s top drama academy and Broadway. Director Hao Wu and editor Jean Tsien will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening. For more information or to purchase tickets, please go here.
In the Guardian, THE ACT OF KILLING director Joshua Oppenheimer responded to the charge that his latest work was a snuff film. Oppenheimer also penned a piece for Indiewire in which he explained how the Oscar nomination for the film gave it a second life. U.K. distributor Dogwoof pulled out some of the best bits from a Reddit AMA held with Oppenheimer and producers Errol Morris and Werner Herzog. At Indiewire, Eric Kohn made a case for why THE ACT OF KILLING was the most important film in the Oscar race this year. Writing for the New York Times, Joe Cochrane reported that Oppenheimer’s film had yet to stir a public debate in Indonesia.
Adam Benzine of Realscreen reported that Jehane Noujaim’s film THE SQUARE had been distributed for free in Egypt on YouTube. In other distro news, Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie reported that BBC Worldwide acquired the Jared Leto helmed doc ARTIFACT and Dave Grohl’s film SOUND CITY. At The Hollywood Reporter, Pamela McClintock reported that Participant and FilmBuff had purchased U.S. rights for INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ. Writing for Indiewire, Paula Bernstein reported on the unusual distro strategy employed for the film AS THE PALACES BURN.
The IFP is currently seeking first-time filmmakers with features in post-production (rough assembly through fine cut) for this year’s Independent Filmmaker Labs. Their deadlines to submit are March 7 for the Documentary Labs and April 4 for the Narrative Labs. For more information, please go to their website here.
In a review at Nonfics.com, Christopher Campbell wrote on KIDS FOR CASH, giving the Robert May-directed film four stars. Campbell also rounded up a list of films hitting theaters this week, including FATAL ASSISTANCE. And in yet a third post, Campbell shared some of his top films available at home via various media.
The Scottish Documentary Institute turned out its latest podcast, this one focusing on Boris Mitic.
Writing for the International Documentary Association (IDA) website, Ron Deutsch took a look at some of the best music-focused docs out there.
In his weekly Docutopia post, Anthony Kaufman profiled the film PARTICLE FEVER from director Mark Levinson.
Over at RogerEbert.com, Emma Myers wrote up the biographical films that hit the Sundance Film Festival this year.
Stephanie Brown issued a report on the Media That Matters festival hosted by the Center for Media & Social Impact out of American University.
In a piece at Sight and Sound Magazine, Robert Greene wrote on Rachel Boynton’s film BIG MEN.
At The Dissolve, critic Nathan Rabin looked back at the 1999 cult doc AMERICAN MOVIE
Jason Nolte of The Street considered the impact that streaming distribution has had on documentary films.
Writing for Movie Morlocks, R. Emmet Sweeney issued a recap of the Documentary Fortnight program hosted at the Museum of Modern Art.
Back at Indiewire, Mira Burt-Wintonick, the daughter of late documentary filmmaker Peter Wintonick, shared an account of her efforts to finish her father’s last film.
Twitter issued a case study on its website examining BLACKFISH’s highly successful Twitter campaign.
Finally, Tom Isler penned an article on the viability of a legal defense fund for documentary filmmakers for the Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law.
That does it for this week. Please send tips and recommendations for the Memo via e-mail here, or by Twitter to @GuerrillaFace.