Monday Memo: More Sundance Films Announced

Among the films making it to this year's Sundance Film Festival are (T)ERROR from directors Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe.

This week the Sundance Film Festival continued its announcements of films that made the cut for 2015. Adam Benzine of Realscreen wrote on the docs premiering at the festival, as did Filmmaker Magazine and Daniel Fienberg of HitFix Magazine, along with Casey Cipriani of Indiewire. Christopher Cambpell of had a guide to Sundance documentary titles, while Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie took a look at the festival’s short docs. Alexandra Zeevalkink of DocGeeks also had a round-up of Sundance doc selections.

A slew of “Best of 2014” lists came out this week. Paste Magazine’s staff named the best 12 docs of 2014, while Susan Gerhard listed the top 10 docs of the year at Fandor. At Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman named the best 12 docs of the 2014. Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter had a list of 15 docs from the year that must be seen.

Indiewire’s Paula Bernstein made a useful meta-post rounding up their coverage of documentary filmmaking advice from the past year.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: CITIZENFOUR, LIFE ITSELF Placed on Oscar Shortlist

THE SALT OF THE EARTH was among the films named to the Oscar shortlist for docs this week.

This week the shortlist for the 2015 Oscar doc race was released. At Realscreen, Adam Benzine had a rundown of the films on the list, as did Germain Lussier of Slash Film and Christopher Campbell of At Decider, Olivia Armstrong had a list of the shortlisted docs available for online screening. Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter wondered if Laura Poitras’ film CITIZENFOUR could become the first doc to earn consideration for the best picture award. Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply took a look at the shortlisted films at the New York Times.

The Sundance Film Festival announced its U.S. and world competition docs this week. Writing for Realscreen, Adam Benzine had coverage of the announcement.

At The Hollywood Reporter, Rebecca Ford reported on the winners of the International Documentary Association (IDA) Awards, as did Manori Ravindran of Realscreen.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: 12 O’Clock Boys Reaches Theaters

This week Lotfy Nathan's film 12 O'CLOCK BOYS entered theaters.

This week the film 12 O’CLOCK BOYS from director Lotfy Nathan hit theaters. In his Filmwax podcast, Adam Schartoff spoke with Nathan, while NPR featured a piece on Nathan and his film. Mekado Murphy of the New York Times wrote up the film, and Eric Kohn of Indiewire reviewed it, giving it an A minus. In his weekly Docutopia post at the SundanceNOW blog, Anthony Kaufman considered both 12 O’CLOCK BOYS and RICH HILL, and Andrew Parker of Dorkshelf interviewed Nathan. Also, Josh Slates profiled the film in a piece for the International Documentary Association (IDA) website.

At, Christopher Campbell issued a list of the best docs out of the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Slamdance Film Festival. Campbell and Daniel Walber also dedicated the latest episode of their The Realness podcast to Sundance. Ondi Timoner released the first part of a long Bring Your Own Doc episode about Sundance this week, along with a second report from the festival. Writing for Ion Cinema, Jordan M. Smith turned out a few reviews, one for THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT and another for THE OVERNIGHTERS. And Sean Flynn wrote a piece for Indiewire on the interactive projects featured in Sundance’s New Frontier section.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a screening of LOU REED: ROCK AND ROLL HEART about the late rock legend Lou Reed on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 8pm at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Following the screening, director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders will be in attendance for a Q&A. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: Sundance Doc Awards Go To Rich Hill, Homs

RICH HILL from directors Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo took home the grand jury prize for a U.S. film at Sundance this year.

The Sundance Film Festival awards were handed out Jan. 25, with Adam Benzine of Realscreen reporting that the film RICH HILL from directors Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo took home the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary, and Talal Derki won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for RETURN TO HOMS. Sean P. Means of the Salt Lake Tribune had more coverage of all the award winners. Eric Eidelstein of Indiewire had an interview with RICH HILL cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo. And Manori Ravindran reported on the short doc films that won awards at Sundance.

In Sundance Distro news, Realscreen’s Adam Benzine reported that RADiUS-TWC had picked up FED UP from filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig. Benzine also had the news that Pivot and Univision had bought U.S. television rights to the Cesar Chavez doc CESAR’S LAST FAST from filmmakers Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee. Colleague Kevin Ritchie reported that BBC Storyville had nabbed U.K. television rights for WEB JUNKIE from filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia. Ritchie also reported that Dogwoof had grabbed international rights for DINOSAUR 13. And writing for the Los Angeles Times, Daniel Miller broke down the behind-the-scenes moves that led to DINOSAUR 13’s U.S. acquisition by Lionsgate and CNN Films.

Writing for POV, Tom Roston shared his five major takeaways from Sundance. And in his Docutopia post at SundanceNOW, Anthony Kaufman looked at five Sundance docs dealing with the legacy of colonialism and the exploitation of the developing world. At Deadline, Dominic Patton reported that the Open Society Foundations had given a $5 million grant to Sundance to help fund docs. At, Daniel Walber interviewed CONCERNING VIOLENCE director Goran Hugo Olsson. Writing for Realscreen, Manori Ravindran took a look at some of the Sundance docs focused on the Arab Spring. Colleague Kelly Anderson spoke to Stanley Nelson on his film FREEDOM SUMMER.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a screening of FINDING THE FUNK, a road trip in search of the past, present and future of funk music from director Nelson George. The film will be screened at the IFC Center in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 28 at 8pm, and will be followed by a Q&A with George and special guests. For more information or to purchase tickets please go here. Don’t forget that a season pass granting admission for nine films and free popcorn can be bought for $99.

Continue reading…

Monday Memo: Oscar Noms for Killing, Square and 20 Feet

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, 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

Continue reading…