In the same week that Rebecca Sun reported the disheartening news that Slated’s new “analysis of nearly 1,600 features reveals a ‘trust gap’ when it comes to movies made by women”, The Academy of Motion Pictures released its complete Class of 2016, inviting a record “683 new members: 46 Percent Female and 41 Percent People of Color” according to Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, POV and The New York Times disclosed that they would be collaborating on a new interactive documentary project about race and are currently “seeking pitches from potential mediamakers, with applications due by Monday, July 25,” reports IndieWire’s Michael Nordine.
Though, The Hollywood Reporter’s Gregg Kilday, the Palm Springs International ShortFest‘s jury named Maxim Pozdorovkin’s CLINICA DE MIGRANTES: LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS the best documentary of the festival, while the audience declared Annie O’Neil and Jessica Lewis’ PHIL’S CAMINO to be their favorite, festival circuit happenings were a bit low-key this past week. Always looking ahead, Basil Tsiokos surveyed the doc offerings at the upcoming Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, noting Manuel Abramovich’s SOLAR, Leire Apellaniz’s THE LAST SUMMER and Alice Diop’s ON CALL among others. Looking back a couple weeks, Christopher Llewellyn Reed reviewed a quartet of films from this year’s edition of AFI Docs for Hammer To Nail, including Werner Herzog’s LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s AUDRIE & DAISY, Nicole Lucas Haimes’ CHICKEN PEOPLE, and Alex Gibney’s ZERO DAYS. Gibney and his production company was also the topic of much discussion by Boris Kachka over at Vulture. The piece convincingly argues that the filmmaker’s studio-like Jigsaw Productions is steadily shifting how investigative documentaries are made and marketed. Continue reading…
I must apologize – without warning I took leave weekend to venture off to Rochester, NY to attend the Toronto Film Society’s yearly raid of the Eastman House to watch two days worth of rarely screened prints of films such as Karl Brown’s STARK LOVE, William A. Wellman’s TRACK OF THE CAT and Mikio Naruse’s KIMIKO. But with a lineup like that, who could blame me?
In my absence, startling news broke that Michael Moore had somehow managed to complete a film completely in secret and that our own Thom Powers and the TIFF programming team would have the pleasure of world premiering it as part of their headlining Special Presentations in Toronto come September. Moore’s film, titled WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, has sparked much excitement in the doc community, instantly shooting to the top of my latest most anticipated unreleased docs list published over at IONCINEMA. Anne Thompson, ruminating over at indieWIRE, wrote a piece detailing just how TIFF came to nab Moore’s latest hot commodity. In addition to WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, TIFF also released their lineup of Canadian features at this year’s fest, including a quintet of docs – Brian D. Johnson’s AL PURDY WAS HERE, Patrick Reed and Michelle Shephard’s GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR, Mina Shum’s NINTH FLOOR, Avi Lewis’ THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING and Geneviève Dulude-De Celles’ WELCOME TO F.L.
Prior to TIFF releasing their first wave of films, the Venice International Film Festival also released their staggering lineup of features which includes such notable films as Fredrick Wiseman’s IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, Amy Berg’s JANIS, as well as Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s DE PALMA. And while announcements are being made elsewhere, the Locarno International Film Festival is currently in full swing. David Hudson is keeping close tabs on all the coverage coming out of Locarno over at Keyframe, while Basil Tsiokos wrote up preview of the festival’s non-fiction offerings at What (not) To Doc.
The film SUNSHINE SUPERMAN about BASE jumping was picked up by distributors after screening at this year's TIFF.
This week TIFF dominated documentary news. Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote on the screening of THE LOOK OF SILENCE, director Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to THE ACT OF KILLING. Manori Ravindran of Realscreen had the news that Cinephil had inked a number of international distro deals for the film. And Variety shared a video interview with Oppenheimer. Director Michael Moore made waves by issuing a documentary filmmaker manifesto in a keynote speech that Indiewire reprinted in its entirety. Sam Adams also interviewed Moore in a piece for Biography. Indiewire’s Paula Bernstein reported that CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures had partnered to acquire SUNSHINE SUPERMAN from director Maria Strauch. The Hot Docs festival also used TIFF as a launching pad for its new report on learning from documentary audiences; Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen reported on its release.
Realscreen provided an astounding amount of coverage of the festival. Adam Benzine reported on Martin Scorsese’s Q&A following the screening of his documentary THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT at TIFF. Nick Krewen spoke with THE PRICE WE PAY filmmaker Harold Crooks about his new film. Kevin Ritchie talked to Steven Markovitz, uncovering five tips for finding a coproduction partner. Manori Ravindran covered a panel talk from Marc Schiller of Bond Strategy and Influence. Kevin Ritchie covered the screening of the new Nick Broomfield film TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER. Adam Benzine also reported that HBO had purchased U.S. television rights for Broomfield’s film. Manori Ravindran spoke with directors Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan about their film THE WANTED 18. At Indiewire’s Thompson on Hollywood blog, John Anderson listed the best docs at the festival with about three days left.
Stranger Than Fiction announced its lineup this week, with the coming fall season dedicated to the works of filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. “This is the first time STF has ever devoted a full season to one filmmaking team,” said Artistic Director Thom Powers. “It spans over 50 years of time and traces the history of modern American documentary making.” The season officially kicks off on Sept 23 with TOWN BLOODY HALL (1979), the first collaboration between Pennebaker and Hegedus, about a raucous debate over women’s liberation moderated by Norman Mailer with Germaine Greer. For more information on the season, or to purchase tickets, please go here. Also, a reminder that Stranger Than Fiction will feature a pre-season special screening of the film BRONX OBAMA by filmmaker Ryan Murdock about a Barack Obama impersonator living in the Bronx on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.
A special note this week that Ameena Matthews, one of the subjects from the film THE INTERRUPTERS, was recently diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. Matthews desperately needs an immediate bone marrow transplant. A community of friends has established a crowdfunding page to help Matthews, who lacks insurance, to pay for her lifesaving treatment. You can find out more about the campaign and donate here.