Monday Memo: 20 Feet From Stardom Takes Home Oscar

Morgan Neville's film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM won the Oscar for the best documentary this year.

Morgan Neville’s film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM emerged the winner of the Oscar doc contest this year, beating out the more politically oriented films – DIRTY WARS (STF alum), THE SQUARE, among other films. Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times reported on the win for 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, which also screened at DOC NYC last year. Also writing for the Los Angeles Times, Tracy Brown reported on the win by Malcolm Clark for his short doc THE LADY IN NUMBER 6: MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE. Also, at Indiewire Paula Bernstein reported on how Edgar Barens shot his Oscar-nominated short PRISON TERMINAL: THE LAST DAYS OF PRIVATE JACK HALL in a maximum security prison.

The True/False FIlm Fest seems to keep burnishing its reputation as the documentary filmmaker’s festival, and this year was no different. At Filmmaker Magazine, Vadim Rizov issued a dispatch covering his first day at the festival, while the festival’s own blog did the same. Basil Tsiokos provided an overview of the festival at his What (Not) to Doc blog.  Also writing for Filmmaker Magazine, director Robert Greene considered the benefits of premiering at True/False. At, Daniel Walber wrote up the festival’s five most anticipated films. Public radio station KBAI had a handful of interviews with True/False directors: Ryan Famuliner interviewed Ryan Murdock, director of BRONX OBAMA; Kellie Moore spoke with THE JOYCEAN SOCIETY director Dora Garcia; and Katie Hiler chatted up THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT directors Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin.

At the True/False blog, Dan Steffan spoke with director Robert Greene about his film ACTRESS and APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT, which was directed by Amanda Rose and produced and edited by Greene. Writing for the POV blog, Tom Roston issued a list of five True/False films to keep an eye out for. Writing for, Daniel Walber gave Jessica Oreck’s new film THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA a four-star review. Indiewire critic Eric Kohn reviewed Robert Greene’s ACTRESS, giving it a grade of A-.

This week Stranger Than Fiction hosts a screening of THE ROAD TO FAME from director Hao Wu on Tuesday, March 4 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. The film follows the collaboration between China’s top drama academy and Broadway. Director Hao Wu and editor Jean Tsien will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening. For more information or to purchase tickets, please go here.

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Monday Memo: Illmatic Doc Picked to Launch Tribeca Film Fest

The film TIME IS ILLMATIC was named as the opening film for this year's Tribeca FIlm Festival.

The Tribeca Film Festival this week named the documentary TIME IS ILLMATIC about the seminal hip-hop album Illmatic by Nas as its opening film. Manori Ravindran of Realscreen had a report, as did Mekado Murphy of the New York Times and Nigel M. Smith of Indiewire.

The team of Joshua Oppenheimer, Errol Morris and Werner Herzog on Sunday hosted a Reddit AMA intended to focus on Oppenheimer’s film THE ACT OF KILLING. Nick Fraser of BBC Storyville sparked some controversy with a piece in the Guardian advocating that the film not win an Oscar. At Variety, Tim Gray spoke with Morris about the film, while the BBC’s Tim Masters spoke with Oppenheimer, who told him he feared returning to Indonesia, in advance of the Oscars.

At the New York Times, Lauren Sandler wrote about the ties between True/False and a local church in Columbia, Missouri. Tom Roston of the POV blog interviewed filmmaker Robert Greene about his new film ACTRESS, as well as the True/False Film Festival, where the film will screen. Aarik Danielson of the Columbia Daily Tribune also spoke with Greene about his film. Over at KBIA, Abbie Fentress Swanson interviewed director Jessica Oreck about her film THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA, also a True/False selection.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM, a film about a photo taken of a collection of some of the greatest jazz musicians in history, on Tuesday, February 25 at 8 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with the film’s producer Matthew Sieg and editor Susan Peehl. For more information or to buy tickets please go here.

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Monday Memo: MOMA’s Documentary Fortnight Underway

The film PINE RIDGE from director Anna Eborn was among the films selected to play at the Documentary Fortnight program this year.

The Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight program began on Friday. Writing at his What (Not) to Doc blog, Basil Tsiokos provided an overview of the program. At Twitch, Christopher Bourne wrote up some capsule reviews for some Doc Fortnight films.

Ben Beaumont-Thomas of the Guardian reported on THE ACT OF KILLING’s win at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for best documentary. Writing for Filmmaker Magazine, Scott Macaulay reported that director Joshua Oppenheimer’s speech appeared to have been edited to eliminate criticism of the British and U.S. governments in a video posted by the BAFTAs.

In an open letter posted on Facebook, filmmaker Dawn Porter criticized the decision by Washington, D.C., PBS station WETA not to air her film SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI on Monday, Feb. 10 at 10 p.m. Peter Hart of the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) blog had additional reporting on the incident.

This week Stranger Than Fiction is hosting a screening of the classic D.A. Pennebaker film MONTEREY POP at the IFC Center in Manhattan on Tuesday, February 18 at 8 p.m. The film immortalized the now-famous Monterey International Pop Festival held in the summer of 1967. Following the screening D.A. Pennebaker will be in attendance, along with a number of crew members on the film, including Albert Maysles. For more information or to buy tickets please go here.

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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.

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Monday Memo: Cinema Eye Honors Go To Killing, Stories

Sarah Polley won the outstanding director award for her film STORIES WE TELL at this year's Cinema Eye Honors.

This week saw the 7th annual Cinema Eye Honors, with the award for outstanding feature going to Joshua Oppenheimer’s THE ACT OF KILLING. Sarah Polley took home the award for outstanding director for STORIES WE TELL. Adam Benzine had coverage for Realscreen, while Christopher Campbell did the same at Tom Roston reported on the awards for the POV blog, as did Nick Dawson at Filmmaker Magazine. And Adam Schartoff spoke with Esther Robinson about the awards in an episode of his Filmwax podcast.

In distro news, Paula Bernstein of Indiewire reported that Cinedigm picked up North American rights to REMOTE AREA MEDICAL, while Dave McNary of Variety also had the news. Also, Paula Bernstein reported that CITIZEN KOCH had been nabbed by Variance Films for theatrical release in the U.S. and Canada.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) this week announced its doc nominees, with Alexandra Zeevalkink of the DocGeeks blog on the news and Adam Benzine covering the event for Realscreen.

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