The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) launched on Thursday, Sept. 5 and distributors were moving with alacrity to nab titles, with many picking up distro rights before the festival even launched. Realscreen’s Adam Benzine spoke with TIFF programmer (and Stranger Than Fiction Artistic Director) Thom Powers about several of the deals secured by films premiering at the festival. However, Benzine reported that Ron Howard’s Jay-Z concert doc MADE IN AMERICA had found an international rights sales agent in The Exchange. Realscreen colleague Kevin Ritchie had the news that the UK’s Dogwoof had acquired international rights for DANGEROUS ACTS STARRING UNSTABLE ELEMENTS OF BELARUS. Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter reported that HBO had nabbed U.S. television rights for the film.
At the What (Not) to Doc blog, Basil Tsiokos offered an overview of docs screening at TIFF. The Hollywood Reporter also shared a post on five must-see films screening at the festival. Writing for the POV blog, Tom Roston interviewed Thom Powers about certain festival selections. Back at Realscreen, Adam Benzine had the opportunity to speak with director Claude Lanzmann.
The folks behind the blog Film School Rejects this week launched a new site dedicated to nonfiction entertainment titled Nonfics.com and headed by former Documentary Channel blog editor Christopher Campbell. Campbell’s prodigious output has yielded too many posts to link individually, but you can check out his editor’s welcome here, as well as a list of 10 TIFF selections Campbell was excited to see. Campbell also wrote up an interview with TIFF sensation TIM’S VERMEER subject Tim Jenison, and penned a piece about the phenomenon of spoilers potentially ruining documentaries. Robert Greene also wrote the first of a series, Shots From the Canon, as part of efforts to identify a new nonfiction canon.
The film SACRO GRA grabbed headlines this week after winning the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, becoming the first documentary to do so. Josh Dickey of The Wrap reported the news, as did Christopher Campbell at Nonfics.com and Eric J. Lyman at The Hollywood Reporter. Adam Benzine of Realscreen spoke with Errol Morris about his new Donald Rumsfeld doc THE UNKNOWN KNOWN, which screened at Venice. Filmmaker Magazine’s Ashley Clark gleaned six lessons from Frederick Wiseman, whose latest film AT BERKELEY also screened in Italy. At Indiewire, Oliver Lyttelton reviewed the film, as did Leslie Felperin at Variety.
The PBS documentary show Independent Lens announced the lineup for the new season, with Craig Phillips doing the honors at the show’s official blog. Kelly Anderson reported the details at Realscreen while Allison Willmore did the same for Indiewire.
The London Film Festival announced its documentaries in competition, with Alexandra Zeevalkink of the DocGeeks blog reporting the details. Kelly Anderson of Realscreen also had the news.
At The New York Times, A.O. Scott reviewed the new Shane Salerno doc SALINGER, while Miriam Bale awarded a Critics’ Pick to BEST KEPT SECRET from director Samantha Buck.
Writing for the POV blog, Fernanda Rossi shared her analysis of GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA. Shannon Carroll profiled three students making up the next generation of doc filmmakers. Carroll also took a look at three documentary masters programs, and interviewed Elaine McMillion, director of the interactive doc HOLLOW.
At the International Documentary Association (IDA) website Katharine Relth recapped an event focusing on the use of graphics in documentary. The IDA also announced the slate for its documentary screening series.
Joe Reid at the Tribeca Film Institute published an updated documentary power ranking, with 20 FEET FROM STARDOM retaining the pole position.
At the British Film Institute website, Ashley Clark highlighted director John Akomfrah’s latest film THE STUART HALL PROJECT.
Tracey Gardiner put together a list of 10 tips for aspiring documentary filmmakers in a post for The Knowledge. At Dare Dreamer, Faith Fuller shared her own list, one intended to help docmakers fundraise for their projects. And Emma Norton wrote a post on selling your independent film at KFTV.
In a post at The Dissolve, Noel Murray looked at some of the documentaries that impacted the film landscape over the summer.
Chicken & Egg Pictures announced a new executive director in Jenni Wolfson, whose first day is today.
Back at the What (Not) to Doc website Basil Tsiokos provided an overview of the docs screening at this year’s NewFest.
At the Tribeca Institute site, Karen Kemmerle interviewed director Penny Lane about her film OUR NIXON.
In his weekly Docutopia post, Anthony Kaufman made the argument for 2003 as the year that yielded the best crop of documentaries.
In camera news, David Leitner reported on Sony’s release of a 4K camcorder at Filmmaker Magazine, while Sara Salovaara recapped some reports on the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.
At TV Mole Nicola Lees shared some tips for surviving the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which kicks off in November.
That’s it for this week. Please send tips and recommendations for the Memo via e-mail here, or by Twitter to @GuerrillaFace. Have a great week everyone.