Monday Memo: SEVEN UP Director Paul Almond Passes, Tribeca Film Festival Kicks Off

Paul Almond in 1971 (Photo by Norma James, Toronto Star via Getty Images)

With so much attention being paid to Richard Linklater’s twelve year project BOYHOOD last year while other (possibly more deserving) long term doc equivalents like Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson’s AMERICAN PROMISE fly confidently under the radar, it’s important to remember where the seed for these projects was originally planted: Michael Apted and Paul Almond’s half-century spanning UP series. Sadly, this passed week Paul Almond died of complications of a recent heart attack at the age of 83. Margalit Fox of the New York Times wrote a profile of the man’s life and work, as did David Colker of the LA Times and Mike Barnes of The Hollywood Reporter. The Guardian’s Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie also reflected on Almond’s filmmaking career.

We at Stranger Than Fiction are playing host to a pair of film screenings this week in Tuesday’s work-in-progress showing of director Howard Weinberg’s NAM JUNE PAIK & TV LAB: LICENSE TO CREATE, which explores the collaborative collisions of the TV LAB through the prism of one of the giants of 20th century video art, and Thursday’s showing of director Nick Broomfield’s AILEEN: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER, the follow-up work to his clear-eyed profile of America’s first female serial killer and the greed and paranoia that surrounded her case in AILEEN WUORNOS: THE SELLING OF A SERIAL KILLER. Both filmmakers will be on hand for Q&As at the IFC Center for their respective screenings.

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Monday Memo: A Good Doc Year at Cannes?

The film SEDUCED AND ABANDONED has earned a lot of press at Cannes this year.

The presence of docs at Cannes this year was commanding the attention of Melanie Goodfellow of ScreenDaily, who reported that docs were booming there, both onscreen and in distro deals. Writing for the AFP, Richard Ingahm reported that docs were an increasing portion of the films being marketed at Cannes. At the Chicago Tribune, critic Michael Phillips spoke with director James Toback and Alec Baldwin, the forces behind the film SEDUCED AND ABANDONED, a doc about the state of the film industry. Matt Mueller of Indiewire also interviewed Baldwin and Toback on the new film.

The top prize at Cannes Un Certain Regard went to the autobiographic doc A MISSING PICTURE by Cambodian director Rithy Panh. Read a review at The Hollywood Reporter. Other docs playing in Cannes official selection include Claude Lanzmann’s THE LAST OF THE UNJUST reviewed in Variety, Indiewire, and The Guardian; and Mark Cousins’ A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM reviewed in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian. Playing in Directors Fortnight, Marcel Ophuls’ memoir doc AIN’T MISBEHAVIN was reviewed by Ben Kenigsberg on Roger Ebert’s website and Jordan Mintzer in The Hollywood Reporter. Continue reading…

Monday Memo: IFP Names 2013 Doc Lab Participants

BRINGING TIBET HOME was one of the 10 films selected to participate in this year's IFP Documentary Lab.

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) this week named the 10 participants in its 2013 Doc Lab, a year-long fellowship for first-time filmmakers. Among the projects named to the program were BRINGING TIBET HOME from director Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, EVOLUTION OF A CRIMNAL from director Darius Clark Monroe and APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT from director Amanda Wilder. Kelly Anderson covered the announcement for Realscreen, while Peter Knegt did the same for Indiewire. Nick Dawson provided coverage for Filmmaker Magazine.

Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL continues to draw the attention of the press, and for good reason. Germain Lussier of /Film (that’s not a typo) interviewed Polley, as did Nick Allen of The Scorecard Review. Tom Roston of the POV blog weighed in on the film, while NPR covered its release.

Cannes already seemed to be heating up doc acquisitions on the French Riveria. Realscreen’s Kelly Anderson reported that HBO had acquired US and Canadian television rights for James Toback’s new film SEDUCED AND ABANDONED, while Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Times had coverage of the same deal. Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter had the news that Phase 4 had nabbed all U.S. and Canadian rights for Lucy Walker’s film THE CRASH REEL. And Geoffrey Macnab of Screen Daily reported that Attraction Distribution had won worldwide rights to Hot Docs award winner DRAGON GIRLS from director Inigo Westmeier.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting its last film of the Spring season, ON THE ROPES by directors Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein. The film follows the lives of three boxers struggling to succeed at The Bed-Stuy Boxing Center in Brooklyn. Morgen and Burstein will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening, which will take place on Tuesday, May 21 at the IFC Center in Manhattan. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.

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