Monday Memo: Rory Kennedy Elected as Documentary Branch Governor to the Academy, The Dissolve Dissolves

Newly elected governor to the Board of the Academy, director Rory Kennedy (Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha of Los Angeles Times)

It’s been a rather quiet week on the non-fiction front. The biggest new to hit the net was the announcement that The Dissolve, a reliably astute source of online film criticism that was often linked to here, has digitally closed up shop after just two wonderful years. It was also revealed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has elected its 2015–16 Board of Governors, among them LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM director Rory Kennedy. She’ll sit alongside Alex Gibney and Kate Amend as part of the Documentary branch. After the story broke on Friday, Rebecca Keegan of the LA Times reported on how the new elections continue to shift the demographics of the Academy.

Festival-wise, the 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival kicked off – both David Hudson (at Keyframe) and Basil Tsiokos (at What (not) To Doc) previewed the festival’s non-fiction offerings. Tsiokos also gave an outline of the non-fiction fare at the 32nd edition of the Jerusalem Film Festival which began on Thursday. According to Daniel Estrin in The Washington Post, late filmmaker Herz Frank and Maria Kravchenko’s BEYOND THE FEAR, “which profiles Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, and his tabloid-fodder wife” has caused a “firestorm over the film’s compassionate look at his family broke out in the lead-up to its Israeli premiere”.

While Asif Kapadia’s AMY screened out of competition at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, stateside its theatrical run expanded substantially, gleaning additional coverage from Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune’s Michael PhillipsChristopher Campbell at Nonfics and Jeff Reichert at The Talkhouse. Filmmaker Magazine’s Howard Feinstein and Amy Taubin in Artforum both reviewed the doc, while at Movie Mezzanine, Christina Newland regards the film warmly while considering the delicacy in piecing together a musical martyr, finally deciding that “Kapadia’s film is an honest, maybe necessarily imperfect vision of Amy, colored with warmth and humanity”. Michael O’Sullivan also interviewed Kapadia about the film for The Washington Post.

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Monday Memo: Cinema Eye Honors Announces Awards Nominees

CITIZENFOUR from director Laura Poitras earned several nominations for the Cinema Eye Honors awards.

This week the Cinema Eye Honors announced the nominees for its awards. Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio had coverage at Indiewire’s Thompson on Hollywood blog, as did Manori Ravindran at Realscreen. Indiewire’s Shipra Gupta also had coverage, as did Pete Bland of the Columbia Daily Tribune.

The DOC NYC festival kicked off this week. At Eye For Film, Anne-Katrin interviewed DOC NYC programmer Basil Tsiokos in two parts: part one here and part two here. At the New York Times Stephen Holden provided an overview of the festival, while Kevin Ritchie profiled it for Realscreen. At the POV blog, Tom Roston named his must-see films of the festival, while Lauren Wissot did the same at Filmmaker Magazine.

This week the doc community lost Kartemquin Films founding partner Jerry Blumenthal. At the Kartemquin website Tim Horsburgh shared an encomium for Blumenthal, while Manori Ravindran wrote on his passing for Realscreen.

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Monday Memo: POV Releases Interactive Short Docs Online

The interactive documentary project EMPIRE from directors Eline Jongsma and Kel O'Neill was among those posted to the POV website this week.

This week, POV released several digital short documentaries online that had participated in its Hackathon program. Jess Linington of i-Docs covered the release of the online docs, as did Sarah Salovaara of Filmmaker Magazine. POV also hosted several interviews with project creators, including one with the directors of EMPIRE, one with Jake Price of FUKUSHIMA: THE ETERNAL SEASON, and one with the directors of THE MOST NORTHERN PLACE.

POV also announced a call for entries for the POV Hackathon 7, set to take place in New York City November 8-9.

Writing for, Jason Gorber issued a list of the best docs gracing screens at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Canada’s POV Magazine also had a roundup of its TIFF coverage, which you can find here, and which included a review by Patrick Mullen of the new Joshua Oppenheimer film THE LOOK OF SILENCE, as well as a review by Adam Nayman of MONSOON. And Realscreens’ Adam Benzine covered the doc awards winners at the festival.

The Stranger Than Fiction fall season kicks off tomorrow with with a screening of TOWN BLOODY HALL from filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker on Tuesday, September 23 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. The film captures a 1971 discussion between Norman Mailer and a panel of feminists on the topic of Women’s Liberation. Following the screening, Hegedus and Pennebaker will be in attendance for a Q&A. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here. This season STF is dedicating itself to a retrospective of films from Hegedus and Pennebaker; you can find the full season lineup here.

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