Monday Memo: Asif Kapadia’s Devastating Portrait of Amy Winehouse On Track To Be Art House Hit

What could be more patriotic than hunkering down in a dark theater for some good, old fashioned non-fiction cinema? According to Tom Brueggemann at Indiewire, this past weekend a substantial amount of American’s did just that, with Asif Kapadia’s AMY taking in a commendable $222,105 on just 6 screens, with plenty more to follow. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom the film broke records as the highest grossing non-fiction film on its opening weekend according to Catherine Shoard in The Guardian. Having premiered to rave reviews at Cannes, the film continues to garner critical acclaim. In just the past few days AMY was selected by Jonathan Romney as Film Comment’s Film of the Week, Jane Giles featured the film in Sight & Sound, Joe Coscarelli wrote at length about it in The New York Times and David Edelstein said Kapadia’s portrait was “alternately thrilling and devastating” at Vulture. The praise continues from Flavorwire’s Jillian Mapes, The Guardian’s Mark Kermode,’s Susan Wloszczyna and Little White Lies’ Sophie Monks Kaufman, while Steven Hyden at Grantland and Luke Goodsell at Movie Mezzanine deepened the critical conversation with their own substantial reflections on the film.

In addition to reviewing AMY for The Dissolve, Keith Phipps also interviewed by producer James Gay-Rees and director Asif Kapadia at length about how they came to know of their future subject and how they got involved in trying to tell her tragic story. Similarly, Mekado Murphy interviewed Kapadia for The New York Times, and their conversation is paired with a trailer overdubbed with a brief audio commentary by Kapadia himself. Manori Ravindran also have the pleasure of speaking with Gay-Rees about AMY at Realscreen.

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Monday Memo: Full Frame Festival 2013 Concludes

The film AMERICAN PROMISE took home top honors at this year's Full Frame festival.

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, concluded this weekend, with Glenn McDonald of the Raleigh News and Observer reporting that the grand jury award for best doc feature going to AMERICAN PROMISE by Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster. Prior to the festival’s start, Basil Tsiokos wrote up an overview for his What (Not) to Doc bog, as did McDonald for the News and Observer. Writing for Film School Rejects, Christopher Campbell reviewed A.K.A. DOC POMUS, as well as MEDORA. And the Tribeca Film Institute published a list of five influences on Marco Williams, the director behind the film THE UNDOCUMENTED, which premiered in Durham.

This week the film community lost two valued members in film critic Roger Ebert and director Les Blank. Writing for the New York Times, Bruce Weber had an obituary for Blank, who had bladder cancer. Phil Gallo of Billboard also had an obit for Blank. You can find an interview with Blank from 2007 conducted by David Tamés for The Independent magazine.

At Realscreen, Adam Benzine penned an obit for Roger Ebert, as did Douglas Martin of the New York Times. Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Steve James planned to finish his in-progress doc biopic on the highly regarded Ebert, as did Nick Venable of CinemaBlend.

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