Monday Memo: Wiseman To Be Honored With Oscar, Telluride & Venice Hit The Ground Running

With forty films, a Golden Lion, three Primetime Emmys, and a Peabody award credited to his name, Frederick Wiseman has been selected as one of four individuals to receive honorary Oscars at this year’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards gala. Barry Walsh of Realscreen reported that “the Honorary Award is given ‘to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.'”

On the eve of the 2016 Telluride Film Festival, its hyper secretive program was revealed and IndieWire’s Eric Kohn combed through the A-list offerings, making special note of the latest from Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, as well as the Leonardo DiCaprio backed THE IVORY GAME and Doug Nichol’s essayistic doc, CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER. Glowing reviews of Herzog’s INTO THE VOLCANO and Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson’s THE IVORY GAME from IndieWire’s David EhrlichEric Kohn, and The Wrap’s Robert Abele, respectively. Shortly after the lineup announcement, Basil Tsiokos gave a rundown of the festival’s non-fiction offerings over at What (not) To Doc.

Tsiokos also outlined the Venice Film Festival‘s doc lineup, highlighting the world premiere of Terrence Malick’s first doc outing VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE’S JOURNEY and Jon Nguyen, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, and Rick Barnes’ DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE, among many notable others. Having screened over the festival’s first weekend, Obaidah Zytoon and Andreas Dalsgaard’s THE WAR SHOW has already been dubbed “a deeply affecting documentary of the Syrian conflict” by Jay Weissberg of Variety, while Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian highly recommends Ulrich Seidl’s “brutal, illuminating” SAFARI with a four star review, and Vanessa Friedman and Nicolas Rapold wrote commending pieces on Francesco Carrozzini’s FRANCA: CHAOS AND CREATION and Sergei Loznitsa’s AUSTERLITZ for The New York Times.

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Monday Memo: International Documentary Association Award Noms Set

The film POINT AND SHOOT from director Marshall Curry was among those nominated for an IDA award this week.

This week the International Documentary Association (IDA) announced the nominees for its documentary awards. Kevin Ritchie covered the announcement for Realscreen, while Anne Thompson did the same on her Thompson on Hollywood blog at Indiewire.

The Macarthur Foundation this week announced that 15 documentary projects had received grants from the institution. Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie covered the announcement. And at the POV blog Tom Roston interviewed grant recipient Yance Ford.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting two screenings at the IFC Center. On Tuesday, November 4 at 8:00 p.m. STF presents THE WAR ROOM from directors Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, a film that follows the inner workings of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Following the screening Hegedus and Pennebaker will be in attendance for a Q&A. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.

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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: Our Nixon Released in Theaters

Penny Lane's film Our Nixon hit theaters this week.

The Penny Lane-helmed film OUR NIXON hit theaters this week. At David Ehrlich interviewed Lane, while Reva Goldberg added producer Brian Frye to the mix for her interview at Cinereach’s website. Brandon Harris spoke to Lane for Filmmaker Magazine, while Anya Jaremko-Greenwold queried Lane for BOMB Magazine’s blog. Christopher Campbell profiled Lane and Frye at, while Anthony Kaufman considered the task of documenting presidents in his weekly Docutopia post at the SundanceNOW site. And Nathan Rabin penned a review of the film at The Dissolve.

It was a good week for distro deals. Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen reported that Variance had acquired North American theatrical rights for Roger Ross Williams’ GOD LOVES UGANDA, while Alison Willmore of Indiewire reported that Showtime had snagged the rights for Ron Howard’s Jay-Z concert doc MADE IN AMERICA. Adam Benzine of Realscreen had the news that Entertainment One Films International had picked up worldwide rights for Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky’s WATERMARK. Rebecca Ford of The Hollywood Reporter wrote up Zeitgeist Film’s U.S. rights acquisition of THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN COME TO EDEN. Back at Realscreen Kevin Ritchie reported news of MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE’s acquisition by Autlook, while colleague Adam Benzine wrote about Cinephil’s pickup of UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL from Kitty Green.

Stranger Than Fiction this week announced the details of its new fall season, which will kick off Sept. 18 with a preview screening of MUSCLE SHOALS featuring a Q&A with director Greg “Freddy” Camalier and FAME recording studio founder Rick Hall. Tickets for Stranger Than Fiction screenings are $16 for the general public and $13 for IFC Center members. A Season Pass, good for admission to all 8 evenings per season (plus 1 special), is available at an Early Bird rate of $80 ($70 for IFC members) through Sept. 18. Regular price is $99 ($80 for IFC members).

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Monday Memo: IDA Launches New Screening Series

The International Documentary Association has revamped its DocuWeeks screening program.

The International Documentary Association (IDA) this week announced that it was scrapping its DocuWeeks program in favor of a new Screening Series in response to recent changes in the rules regarding how doc films could qualify for an Oscar nomination. As Steve Pond of The Wrap reported, the new series will take place between September and January. The organization was still working out the details of how it would select films for the new series.

The Silverdocs Documentary Festival is also no more, having been rechristened the AFI Docs Film Festival, and will expand its screening locations from Silver Spring, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post had the details.

Mike Thomas of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Illinois Department of Revenue had denied storied doc film production organization Kartemquin Films exemption from sales tax, based on the rationale that the organization was guilty of “making and selling propaganda DVDs.” The ruling led to some understandable head scratching by Dana Harris of Indiewire, as well as a writer at The Documentary Site.

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