With more TIFF wrap ups, a bunch of theatrical releases, award show news and more, it’s been a bustling week for documentary lovers. At the top of the heap was the announcement that the Cinema Eye Honors is turning 10 this year, and to celebrate, the organization polled 110 key members of the documentary community and selected 10 filmmakers and 20 films that helped define Cinema Eye’s first decade. In partnership with the Museum of the Moving Image, Cinema Eye will be hosting a 10-week screening series of films from its first decade, beginning with four-time Cinema Eye Honoree and Academy Award winner Laura Poitras presenting her post-9/11 trilogy: MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY, THE OATH and CITIZENFOUR. A full schedule of the series will be announced at a later date.
Following the news that Poitras would be kicking off the Cinema Eye screening series, she made the major announcement that she’d be stepping down from The Intercept to focus on the expansion of Field of Vision at its new location, fieldofvision.org. Along with her co-founders AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook, the trio released a simultaneous statement in which they revealed “our new website, announce a slate of international films, expanded collaborations, and a SecureDrop platform for sources to leak newsworthy video.” New films from Yung Chang, Emily Pederson, Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko, Braden King, Elizabeth Lo, Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke and Hito Steyerl, among others are in the pipeline, so keep your eyes peeled.
Tomorrow, the fall season of Stranger Than Fiction, which will celebrate the documentary work of Jonathan Demme with a 6-film retrospective, kicks off with his miraculous 1984 Talking Heads concert doc STOP MAKING SENSE! Demme himself will be on hand for a live post-screening Q&A. Season passes are still available here. As a primer to our upcoming retrospective, Demme appeared again on the latest episode of Thom Powers’ Pure Nonfiction podcast to talk about his concert films with Talking Heads, Neil Young and Justin Timberlake.
On Friday, the lengthy list of Hot Docs 2016 Festival award winners were announced. Among the winners was Aslaug Holm’s BROTHERS, which was named the Best International Feature, while Mike Day won the Emerging International Filmmaker Award for THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES and Nettie Wild’s KONELĪNE: OUR LAND BEAUTIFUL took home the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award. Getting at the heart of the festival, CBC’s Peter Knegt asked six Hot Docs filmmakers why documentaries matter. On a similar wavelength, Katie Couric proclaimed in an article by Jeffrey Fleishman in The Los Angeles Times that she now sees documentaries are the new journalism.
Plenty of coverage for films that screened at Hot Docs came through the wire over the past week, including a piece celebrating the festival’s Made in Australia program by Monica Tan in The Guardian, and a pair of reviews from Jason Gorber in POV Magazine for DE PALMA and PICKLE, as well as an interview with Joe Berlinger on his latest project, TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU. POV also published Jonas Jacobs‘ feature on director Min Sook Lee whose MIGRANT DREAMS screened in Toronto. At Realscreen, Kevin Ritchie interviewed Brendan J. Byrne about his film BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS, while Daniele Alcinii spoke with Deborah S. Esquenazi about her film SOUTHWEST OF SALEM. New York Magazine’s Will Leitch called the ESPN series O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA a masterpiece and I had similar thoughts about the Ross Brothers’ CONTEMPORARY COLOR at IONCINEMA.com. Running parallel to the main festival, the Hot Docs Forum saw filmmakers pitching projects throughout the week. Filmmaker Magazine’s Whitney Mallett reported on the forum, as did Realscreen’s Manori Ravindran, in two parts.
Hot Docs may have been the hot festival of the week, but it wasn’t the only one found its way in the news. Amy Taubin had a wrap up of Tribeca in Film Comment, Daniel Walber posted a dispatch from the New York African Film Festival at Nonfics, Realscreen’s Barry Walsh reported that AFI Docs has named Werner Herzog as their 2016 Charles Guggenheim Symposium Honoree this year, and Basil Tsiokos wrote a preview of DOK.fest Munich at What (not) To Doc.
Here at Stranger Than Fiction, we’re prepping for tomorrow’s screening of Rob Cannan and Ross Adam’s THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT at IFC Center, co-presented with the New York Film Academy. The screening will be followed by a special Q&A with Robert Boynton, author of “The Invitation-Only Zone”. Tickets are still available here.