We seem to have entered that period of the year known as “Awards Season,” with the accolades starting to fly at an ever-increasing pace. At Realscreen, Adam Benzine tallied up the winners of the Grierson British Documentary Awards, noting that the Liz Garbus film BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD had nabbed the Best Cinema Documentary award. Jennifer Merin of About.com also had a recap of the awards, as did Alexandra Zeevalkink of DocGeeks, who noted that the BBC cleaned up at the awards.
The International Documentary Association (IDA) also named a slew of recipients of its Creative Recognition Awards this week. The IDA also handed Jon Shenk’s film THE ISLAND PRESIDENT the Pare Lorentz Award, which recognizes films that address environmental concerns. And David France, director of the film HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, was given the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.
Back across the pond, the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) also announced its nominees, which included a fair number of docs. Again writing for Realscreen, Adam Benzine took a look at some of the films that walked away with nods, as did Christopher Campbell at the Documentary Channel Blog. Alexandra Zeevalkink also provided coverage for DocGeeks.
The PBS show POV this week launched a poll asking participants to cast their vote for the “greatest” documentaries of all time, acknowledging the difficulties in compiling a definitive list. “When we set out to find the “greatest” documentary of all time, we knew it would be a challenge no matter how we approached it. But it’s been a while since anyone has asked film fans to help find the greatest documentaries, so POV is picking up the mantle,” the show wrote on its blog. POV also solicited blog posts from filmmakers Rachel Grady and Caveh Zahedi on their votes for best doc, with additional posts from other filmmakers to come. As of this writing, Jennie Livingston’s PARIS IS BURNING had opened up a sizable gap over the Maysles brothers’ GREY GARDENS. Voting ends on Nov. 25 at 5pm, so head over now if you want to cast a ballot.
POV blogger Tom Roston also posted a two pieces this week, with one focusing on the film CHASING ICE, which documents the disappearance of the polar ice caps. The other took a look at the new documentary series about documentaries (meta!), TO TELL THE TRUTH. The series, directed by Cal Skaggs and David Van Taylor, and produced by Ali Pomeroy, was conceived to stand in six episodes, with two episodes recently screening at the DOC NYC festival.
At the New York Law Journal, Mark Hamblett reported on the efforts by the filmmaking team behind THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE—which includes Ken Burns—to fight against subpoenas for outtakes made by the New York City government. The film closes out the DOC NYC festival on Nov. 15.
And speaking of DOC NYC, there are still several days left in the festival. You can go here to check out all of the films and events still left to see and purchase tickets.
Sophie Fiennes, the director of another film that showed at DOC NYC, THE PERVERT’S GUIDE TO IDEOLOGY, was interviewed by Scott Macaulay for Filmmaker Magazine on the subject of the film, the philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek.
And Filmmaker Alex Gibney this week was interviewed by Brooke Shelby Biggs for the Independent Lens blog on his new film PARK AVENUE: MONEY, POWER & THE AMERICAN DREAM, which examines America’s widening wealth gap. Writing at the New York Post, Ira Stoll took umbrage at the film in a column he penned for the tabloid.
At the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) website, Karen Kemmerle posted an interview with Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez, the directors of the film BURN. And in a separate piece on the TFI’s Future of Film blog, Allie Hoffman wrote about the social partnerships employed by the HALF THE SKY filmmaking team to build an audience for the film’s broadcast.
At its Beyond the Box blog, ITVS noted that 17 of its films were set to screen at this year’s International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), and then provided a list of them, along with trailers for many.
Basil Tsiokos of the What Not to Doc Blog provided the first installment of his overview of the films playing IDFA this year. Tsiokos also shared an overview for the Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) festival going on Nov. 7-18 in Montreal.
At Forbes Magazine, Tony Nitti recounted the details of the Storey v. Commissioner, the court case in which a judge ruled that documentary filmmaking could be, in fact, a profession, and not just a hobby.
Ian Burrell, writing for the UK’s Independent, interviewed filmmaker Kevin MacDonald on the evolution of the documentary form in the age of crowdsourcing and cheap cameras and editing technology.
Mike Hale of the New York Times this week considered a retrospective of documentary works by Japanese filmmaker Shohei Imamura.
In distro news, Starz Entertainment acquired U.S. rights for director Ray Ellis’s film CERTAIN PROOF.
Over at the Matador TV website, Richard Stupart shared 12 lessons he learned while shooting a short doc.
And finally, Christopher Campbell of the Documentary Channel blog has a list of this week’s theatrical releases, which includes the aforementioned BURN and CHASING ICE.