Still from indieWIRE's Twitter Link to Reality Checks
Entertainment attorney Victoria Cook stirred up much conversation around the perception of gender equality within the non-fiction filmmaking community with a lively Facebook post that was subsequently republished at The Female Gaze as an opinion piece titled “In Reality, We Must Demand Equal Representation for Women Documentarians, Too.” As an outpouring of opinions from within the doc making community hit the net, Cook expanded her thoughts in a follow-up piece for indieWIRE’s Women and Hollywood Blog, “Gender Parity in Documentary Filmmaking Is A Fiction.” indieWIRE’s own Anthony Kaufman responded via a Reality Check’s piece asking if the documentary industry is indeed unfair to women. Cook hopes to continue the conversation in person at a meet up at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival in Park City.
Speaking of Sundance, Basil Tsiokos has been spending quite a lot of time previewing each of the docs hoping to make a splash with their Park City world premieres at What (not) To Doc. In addition, Variety has learned that the originally anonymous filmmaker responsible for the religious cult doc HOLY HELL due to premiere at Sundance is Will Allen. The report from Dave McNary reveals that “his name was kept secret so that he could finish the film while minimizing the possibility of interference by the some of the subjects of the film.”
While Tsiokos, McNary and so many others are looking forward to what 2016 holds, the British Academy Film Awards have just announced their nominations, including nods to AMY, LISTEN TO ME MARLON, CARTEL LAND, SHERPA and HE NAMED ME MALALA, and the National Society of Film Critics named AMY the Best Documentary of 2015. Dan Epstein of Rolling Stone also wrote at length about the resurgence of the music doc in 2015. Looking toward the Oscars and back at last year’s releases, Cara Buckley outlined what it takes for a non-fiction feature to embark on the Oscar race for The New York Times. And, while not exactly dealing with docs, Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes, also of The New York Times, reviewed the supposed truths on which the fiction features in the Oscar race were built upon and how far each film strayed.
Just as HBO’s Vice premiered their latest episode, “Campus Coverup” (which Sarah Seltzer covered for Flavorwire), and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo began to screen Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick’s exposé of rape crimes on U.S. college campuses, THE HUNTING GROUND, in an effort “to promote legislation that would establish a uniform definition of consent, as well as reporting and investigative procedures for all his state’s public and private colleges and universities”, controversy has broken out over the film’s legitimacy thanks to an exhaustive factual critique by Emily Yoffe at Slate in which she suggests that “the filmmakers put advocacy ahead of accuracy”. In response, Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey published an article he titled “Our Brand Is Rape Skepticism: On Slate and Emily Yoffe’s Weird ‘Hunting Ground’ Obsession”. The back and forth makes for an interesting read.
In the same vein, Bailey, Deadline’s David Robb and The Hollywood Reporter’s Jonathan Handel each reported that Amy Berg’s child sex abuse in Hollywood doc, AN OPEN SECRET, has once again come under fire, this time in a threat to sue from the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists if Berg didn’t remove all references to the union from the film. Supporting the film, Jen Yamato wrote a feature on AN OPEN SECRET for The Daily Beast.
Last week our Spring Season of Stranger Than Fiction came to a close with a sold out screening of Crystal Moselle’s THE WOLFPACK. Stranger Than Fiction will return in the Fall starting September 22nd.
Errol Morris - Photo by Genaro Molina of Los Angeles Times
Tenacious in its attention grabbing fervor, the elation of Oscar night has been lingering in the air for much of the past week. Reflecting on CITIZENFOUR’s big win, Mark Olsen of the LA Times called attention to Neil Patrick Harris’s slight, yet pointed joke of ‘treason’ following Laura Poitras’s acceptance speech, while Tom Roston dissected the acceptance speech itself over at the POV Blog. At Indiewire, Nigel M. Smith listed 8 things he learned from the Oscar red-carpet, and Anne Thompson wrote up and extensive diagnosis of the evening’s events. Following the Oscar win, the CITIZENFOUR team – Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden – took part in a rather tense Reddit hosted Ask Me Anything session, which ended up garnering the attention of journalist like Will Oremus of Slate, Colin Gorenstein of Salon, and Thomas Halleck of International Business times, all of whom wrote pieces on the participatory event. In contrast, The Nation’s Ali Gharib simply wrote an elegant piece on the necessity of CITIZENFOUR’s Oscar win.
Tomorrow, another Oscar nominated film comes back into focus with Liz Garbus and Jonathan Stack’s THE FARM: ANGOLA, USA screening at the IFC Center as part of our ongoing Winter ’15 season of Stranger Than Fiction. In addition to garnering the attention of the Academy back in 1998, THE FARM also won 3 Primetime Emmy Awards, Best Documentary Film of 1998 from the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle and the LA Critics Association, as well as the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Following tomorrow’s screening, directors Liz Garbus and Jonathan Stack will be on hand for a Q&A.