Monday Memo: Berlin Begins, True/False Lineup Released, SXSW Adds Titles

It was a busy weekend, with the ’16 Berlinale kicking off with Gianfranco Rosi’s FIRE AT SEA, the True/False Film Fest announcing this year’s lineup along with their ’16 True Vision Award Recipient, Mehrdad Oskouei, and the British Academy Film Award for Best Documentary being awarded to Asif Kapadia’s AMY! Looking further back in the week, writing at What (not) To Doc, Basil Tsiokos gave an overview of the non-fiction offerings in Berlin, as well as the latest additions to this year’s SXSW lineup, which included a handful of features and the whole of the doc shorts program. Daniele Alcinii also reported on the SXSW announcements at Realscreen, while the full lineup can be found here.

Tomorrow, Dawn Porter, the award-winning filmmaker of GIDEON’S ARMY, will make her first appearance at Stranger Than Fiction with her new film TRAPPED, fresh from winning a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. She’ll be joined at this screening by David Brown, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who is one of the lead litigators in the Supreme Court case on abortion access. We here at Stranger Than Fiction also announced that we’ve added a special one night event, THE MAKING OF ‘MAKING A MURDERER’, to our 2016 Winter Season, a live 90-minute conversation between Thom Powers and MAKING A MURDERER directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, accompanied by clips, focusing on how the project came into being. On Thursday, February 25th, they’ll discuss the ten year process of reporting, editing and releasing the series. Tickets for this event are now on sale and going quick!

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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: True/False 2013 Concludes

The Act of Killing by Joshua Oppenheimer was one of the films that screened at True/False this year.

The focus of much of the doc world was in Columbia, Missouri, this weekend for the 10th True/False Film Fest. At the POV blog, Tom Roston recapped his experience, explaining how the festival’s idiosyncrasies add up to a great film experience. Roston earlier in the week had also described why True/False is a standout among festivals. For a look at news that came out of the festival, you can head over to the news section of their website.

LEVIATHAN from directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel got a great press bump in advance of the theatrical release of the film this weekend at the IFC Center. Writing for Filmmaker Magazine, Robert Greene shared his take on the film, describing it as the “progeny of direct cinema, experimental film and ethnography,” while Anthony Kaufman of the SundanceNOW blog considered some of the film’s horror genre-like qualities. At the Documentary Channel blog, Christopher Campbell spoke with Castaing-Taylor, while Indiewire’s Eric Kohn spoke with both Castaing-Taylor and Paravel. Rich Juzwiak of Gawker also had an in-depth look at the film, and Forrest Cardamenis of The Film Stage and Melissa Anderson of the Village Voice both reviewed the film.

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