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: Spirit Awards Noms Go To STRAY DOG, CITIZENFOUR

STRAY DOG from director Debra Granik was among the films nominated for a Spirit Award this week.

This week the Film Independent Spirit Awards announced their nominations for best documentary, with nods going to STRAY DOG and CITIZENFOUR, among other films. Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen reported on the development, as did Christopher Campbell of

Also at Realscreen, Manori Ravindran reported on films up for awards at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Ravindran also had two reports on the IDFA forum, you can read part one here, and part two here. Writing for the POV blog, Kel O’Neill had his own report of the IDFA DocLab interactive conference.

Writing for Ion Cinema, Jordan M. Smith had a report on docs in production that are also Sundance hopefuls. Smith also had a roundup of doc awards nominees and winners.

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Monday Memo: Sundance Doc Edit and Story Fellows Named

The film (T)ERROR from directors Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe was among those selected for participation in the Sundance Institute documentary edit and story lab.

This week the Sundance Institute named this year’s fellows for the documentary edit and story labs. Writing for Realscreen, Manori Ravindran covered the news, as did Nigel M. Smith of Indiewire.

The film NORTHERN LIGHT from director Nick Bentgen began a run at the Maysles Cinema this week. On the True/False Fest blog Chris Boeckmann posted an interview conducted with Bentgen about a year ago. Lance Edmands of Hammer to Nail also had an interview with Bentgen, while Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times awarded it a Critics’ Pick.

Basil Tsiokos turned out a slew of overviews of some upcoming film festivals and events on his blog, What (Not) to Doc. Among the events he looked at were the BAMcinemaFest, the American Black Film Festival, the AFI Docs festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

This week Stranger Than Fiction closes out its spring/summer season with a special Wednesday screening of THE PLEASURES OF BEING OUT OF STEP, a profile of music critic Nat Hentoff from director David L. Lewis, on June 25 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Following the screening, Lewis will be in attendance for a Q&A. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.

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