Monday Memo: Academy Announces Shortlist for Short Docs

WHITE EARTH from director J. Christian Jensen was among the short documentaries to make the Oscar short list this year.

This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced the shortlist for films nominated as best short documentary for 2014. At, Christopher Campbell had coverage of the announcement, as did Adam Benzine of Realscreen. Manori Ravindran of Realscreen rounded up the trailers for the shortlist, while Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter also covered the news.

Laura Poitras’ new film CITIZENFOUR opened in limited release this past weekend. At Indiewire, Eric Kohn interviewed Poitras in two parts: part one, part two. At the Dissolve, David Ehrlich also interviewed Poitras, as did Andrew O’Hehir of Salon. Anne Thompson of the Indiewire blog Thompson on Hollywood also interviewed Poitras. At Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman wrote on the legal challenges faced by Poitras and other filmmakers in completing their films.

THE WHITENESS PROJECT director Whitney Dow was interviewed on “CBS This Morning” this week. Jess Joho of Killscreen also spoke with Dow for a piece at the magazine. And Jess Linington of i-Docs reviewed the project for the site.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a screening of MOON OVER BROADWAY from directors Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, a backstage look at the Broadway production of “Moon Over Buffalo.” The screening is on Tuesday, October 28 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Following the screening, Hegedus and Pennebaker will be in attendance for a Q&A session. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.

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Monday Memo: Filmmaker Robert Gardner Passes Away

This week news broke that the documentary world had lost filmmaker Robert Gardner.

This week news broke that filmmaker Robert Gardner had passed away on June 21 at the age of 88. At the New York Times, Bruce Weber penned an obit of Gardner. The Documentary Educational Resources website also posted a note about Gardner.

Writing for the Washington Post, Anne Hornaday recapped some of the highlights from this year’s AFI Docs festival. At Realscreen, Manori Ravindran reported that HONEST LIAR from filmmakers Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom had won the festival’s audience award. The Week’s Scott Meslow shared a list of five docs screening at AFI Docs that could not be missed. And Patricia Aufderheide provided thoughts on the social issue docs that shined in Silver Spring at the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) website.

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS) announced its new invitees; at Realscreen Adam Benzine reported on the documentary filmmakers among the group. Jonathan Sullivan did the same for

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Monday Memo: Oscar Noms for Killing, Square and 20 Feet

20 FEET FROM STARDOM was one of the docs to receive an Oscar nomination this week.

This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) loosed the list of nominees for the Oscar awards on the world. At, Christopher Campbell had coverage, along with a reaction from director Jehan Noujaim, with Adam Benzine on the news at Realscreen.  Larry Rohter of the New York Times also reported on the nominations with an eye toward the themes of politics and entertainment. At the POV blog, Tom Roston shared his impressions of the list and named snubs. Both Michelle Kung of the Wall Street Journal and Joan E. Solsman of cnet took note of the fact that THE SQUARE was the first Netflix “original” documentary to earn an Oscar nod. Paula Bernstein shared info on where nominated films could be screened online in a piece for Indiewire. And at the Thompson on Hollywood blog at Indiewire, Sheerly Avni interviewed Rithy Panh, director of doc THE MISSING PICTURE, which earned a nomination in the foreign language category.

The Sundance Film Festival also kicked off this week. At Realscreen, Kelly Anderson spoke with programmer Caroline Libresco to preview some of the docs to keep an eye on. In a piece for Indiewire’s Reel Politik section, Anthony Kaufman took a look at the film THE GREEN PRINCE. And in a separate piece for the SundanceNOW blog, Kaufman wrote a piece identifying trends and players to keep an eye on at Park City.  Paula Bernstein of Indiewire wrote on the influence that Chicken & Egg Pictures has had on getting women documentary filmmakers some festival shine. Ondi Timoner previewed the docs playing at the festival in an episode of Bring Your Own Doc. Writing for Variety, Addie Morfoot noted that most festivals, including Sundance, seemed to privilege left-leaning docs over their rightward counterparts. In a piece for the Sundance website, PARIS IS BURNING director Jennie Livingston wrote on the experience of being branded a failure as a filmmaker.

At the International Documentary Association (IDA) website, Michael Galinsky interviewed Jesse Moss, director of THE OVERNIGHTERS. Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen spoke with LIFE ITSELF director Steve James. Michael Dunaway of Paste Magazine also interviewed Steve James, as did Matt Zoller Seitz at

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Monday Memo: Oscar Doc Shortlist for 2014 Announced

20 FEET FROM STARDOM from director Morgan Neville was one of the films named to the Oscar doc shortlist this week.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) this week announced the 15 docs named to this year’s Oscar shortlist. Adam Benzine of Realscreen covered the news, as did Peter Knegt of Indiewire and Tim Gray of Variety. Basil Tsiokos took a look at the shortlisted films and linked to previous coverage of them at his What (Not) to Blog, while Larry Rohter of the New York Times noted a focus on politics and music. Inkoo Kang of the Women in Hollywood blog at Indiewire took note of five women directors whose films made the shortlist. In his Docutopia post at the SundanceNOW blog, Anthony Kaufman examined the effect that recent rule changes had on the doc Oscar process. And Lily Rothman of Time explained how viewers could watch every film on the doc shortlist.

The other big news came this week when the Sundance Film Festival announced the films in its 2014 lineup. Again, Adam Benzine had coverage at Realscreen, as did Daniel Fienberg of Hitfix. Indiewire had a rundown of the films in the World Cinema doc competition, and in the U.S. doc competition. Christopher Campbell had a nice rundown of the Sundance films, along with some trailers for films. And Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen had coverage of the docs screening at this year’s Slamdance.

The International Documentary Association (IDA) also had its awards ceremony this week, with Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio of the Thompson on Hollywood blog at Indiewire providing coverage. Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also wrote up the awards.

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Monday Memo: PBS Expands Netflix Agreement

The Ken Burns film PROHIBITION was among those made available on Netflix through the recent agreement.

Adam Benzine of Realscreen reported that Netflix had expanded a licensing agreement with PBS that would make a number of docs, including several works from Ken Burns, available on Netflix’s streaming service. You can find the Netflix press release on the deal here.

Adam Benzine also reported on the 40 documentary filmmakers invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), with Claude Lanzmann, Roger Ross Williams and Jafar Panahi numbering among them. A statement from Panahi, director of THIS IS NOT A FILM, was also published on Michael Moore’s website.

Joe Reid of the Tribeca Film Institute blog published his list of the five most essential docs of the year thus far, with Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL topping his rundown.

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