In a busy week for nonfiction cinema news, Vice’s incredible coverage of the horrific events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, miraculously encapsulated in the 22 minute short CHARLOTTESVILLE: RACE AND TERROR (watched over 5 million times on YouTube at this point) is undoubtedly the lead this week. In response to Trump’s appalling press conference following the events, “16 out of 17 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned and asked the president to do the same. The White House advisory council is dedicated to cultural issues including arts funding, economic promotion of the arts and arts education among other responsibilities,” reports Salon’s Gabriel Bell. Ruminating on these events, Jude Dry of IndieWire called WHOSE STREETS? “essential cinema” “for the Charlottesville Resistance.”
Almost facetiously, at The Guardian, Rebecca Nicholson asked, “Why political documentaries are storming the screens,” just as James Luxford posed the question, “What impact do environmental documentaries really have?” at Little White Lies. Meanwhile at IndieWire, Oscar nominated filmmaker Roger Ross Williams wrote about how Full Frame Documentary Festival’s new School of Doc program is attempting to address issues with race in the doc world, describing it as “a program that empowered minority students to tell their own stories, and to expose them to future career opportunities.”
In other film festival news, DOC NYC revealed its initial schedule for this year’s DOC NYC PRO, an 8-day conference “featuring documentary panels and master classes, including an expanded initiative to support works-in-progress with a section called “Only in New York.” DOC NYC also announced this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees at the 4th annual Visionaries Tribute would be Sheila Nevins and Errol Morris. Selina Chignall unpacked the announcements over at Realscreen.
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.
20 FEET FROM STARDOM was one of the docs to receive an Oscar nomination this week.
This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) loosed the list of nominees for the Oscar awards on the world. At Nonfics.com, Christopher Campbell had coverage, along with a reaction from director Jehan Noujaim, with Adam Benzine on the news at Realscreen. Larry Rohter of the New York Times also reported on the nominations with an eye toward the themes of politics and entertainment. At the POV blog, Tom Roston shared his impressions of the list and named snubs. Both Michelle Kung of the Wall Street Journal and Joan E. Solsman of cnet took note of the fact that THE SQUARE was the first Netflix “original” documentary to earn an Oscar nod. Paula Bernstein shared info on where nominated films could be screened online in a piece for Indiewire. And at the Thompson on Hollywood blog at Indiewire, Sheerly Avni interviewed Rithy Panh, director of doc THE MISSING PICTURE, which earned a nomination in the foreign language category.
The Sundance Film Festival also kicked off this week. At Realscreen, Kelly Anderson spoke with programmer Caroline Libresco to preview some of the docs to keep an eye on. In a piece for Indiewire’s Reel Politik section, Anthony Kaufman took a look at the film THE GREEN PRINCE. And in a separate piece for the SundanceNOW blog, Kaufman wrote a piece identifying trends and players to keep an eye on at Park City. Paula Bernstein of Indiewire wrote on the influence that Chicken & Egg Pictures has had on getting women documentary filmmakers some festival shine. Ondi Timoner previewed the docs playing at the festival in an episode of Bring Your Own Doc. Writing for Variety, Addie Morfoot noted that most festivals, including Sundance, seemed to privilege left-leaning docs over their rightward counterparts. In a piece for the Sundance website, PARIS IS BURNING director Jennie Livingston wrote on the experience of being branded a failure as a filmmaker.
At the International Documentary Association (IDA) website, Michael Galinsky interviewed Jesse Moss, director of THE OVERNIGHTERS. Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen spoke with LIFE ITSELF director Steve James. Michael Dunaway of Paste Magazine also interviewed Steve James, as did Matt Zoller Seitz at RogerEbert.com.