Monday Memo: Sundance’s Mertes Lands at Ford Foundation’s JustFilms

Cara Mertes this week was named the head of JustFilms.

The Ford Foundation this week announced that Cara Mertes, director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund, would succeed Orlando Bagwell as the director of its JustFilms documentary funding organ. Anne Thompson reported on the move for Indiewire, while Kelly Anderson did the same at Realscreen. Dru Sefton of also had coverage.

ITVS issued a response to last week’s New Yorker piece by Jane Meyer suggesting the organization killed funding for the film CITIZEN KOCH for fear of offending conservative billionaire David Koch. Democracy Now offered up an in-depth piece on the story, interviewing CITIZEN KOCH filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal. Michael Lumpkin weighed in on the issue in a piece for the International Documentary Association (IDA), and PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler also considered the story.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a special Wednesday screening of Richard Rowley’s film DIRTY WARS, based on the reporting of Jeremy Scahill on U.S. covert operations overseas. Both Rowley and Scahill will be in attendance for a Q&A following the film’s 8 p.m. screening at the IFC Center in Manhattan. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here. If you need more encouragement, Julie Malkinen of The Los Angeles Times this week offered an in-depth look at the film’s making.

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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…