It was a busy weekend, with the ’16 Berlinale kicking off with Gianfranco Rosi’s FIRE AT SEA, the True/False Film Fest announcing this year’s lineup along with their ’16 True Vision Award Recipient, Mehrdad Oskouei, and the British Academy Film Award for Best Documentary being awarded to Asif Kapadia’s AMY! Looking further back in the week, writing at What (not) To Doc, Basil Tsiokos gave an overview of the non-fiction offerings in Berlin, as well as the latest additions to this year’s SXSW lineup, which included a handful of features and the whole of the doc shorts program. Daniele Alcinii also reported on the SXSW announcements at Realscreen, while the full lineup can be found here.
Tomorrow, Dawn Porter, the award-winning filmmaker of GIDEON’S ARMY, will make her first appearance at Stranger Than Fiction with her new film TRAPPED, fresh from winning a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. She’ll be joined at this screening by David Brown, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who is one of the lead litigators in the Supreme Court case on abortion access. We here at Stranger Than Fiction also announced that we’ve added a special one night event, THE MAKING OF ‘MAKING A MURDERER’, to our 2016 Winter Season, a live 90-minute conversation between Thom Powers and MAKING A MURDERER directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, accompanied by clips, focusing on how the project came into being. On Thursday, February 25th, they’ll discuss the ten year process of reporting, editing and releasing the series. Tickets for this event are now on sale and going quick!
I’m in agreement with indieWIRE’s Eric Kohn who proclaimed that the best awards event this week wasn’t the Oscar nominations. Last Wednesday night, the 9th annual Cinema Eye Honors celebrated the best non-fiction filmmaking of this past year, awarding three of its top honors to THE LOOK OF SILENCE “for Outstanding Nonfiction Feature, Outstanding Direction for Joshua Oppenheimer and Outstanding Production for Signe Byrge Sørensen.” Dave McNary reported the full list of winners at Variety, while Daniel Walber at Nonfics and Daniele Alcinii of Realscreen had their own takes on the awards.
Following the its trio of honors, THE LOOK OF SILENCE was named the following day as one of this year’s Oscar nominees in an announcement by The Academy, alongside Asif Kapadia’s AMY, Matthew Heineman’s CARTEL LAND, Liz Garbus’ WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? and Evgeny Afineevsky’s WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply of The New York Times and Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post each reflected on the nominations, taking special note of the absence of Alex Gibney’s GOING CLEAR and Kirby Dick’s THE HUNTING GROUND, both of which were early favorites in the race. Our own Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen also discussed the nominees on WNYC’s Documentary of the Week segment. And while the nomination announcements bring flashes of the glitz and glam of the Oscars to ones mind, indieWIRE’s Bryan Glick dared to ask a very serious question regarding the expenses necessary to pursue a serious chance at awards season success – “Is the Academy hurting most documentary filmmakers?” The Directors Guild of America also released their nominations for Best Directorial Achievement in Documentary, naming Liz Garbus, Alex Gibney, Matthew Heineman, Asif Kapadia, and Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi for MERU.
This week’s major doc news may have been filled with award season buzz, for us here at Stranger Than Fiction it was the announcement of our 2016 Winter Season that has us most excited! Our latest season is set to kick off February 2nd with OXD: ONE EXTRAORDINARY DAY, with special guests director Craig Lowy and choreographer Elizabeth Streb in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. Season tickets are now available for purchase here.