Monday Memo: DOC NYC PRO Announced, Field of Vision Sets Off

While the New York Film Festival rages on with the upcoming premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s JUNUN this coming week and Jacob Bernstein’s EVERYTHING IS COPY (which was reviewed by Steven Zeitchik in The Los Angeles Times and by Variety’s Nick Schager) this past week, DOC NYC is gearing up for their own festivities, announcing a rebrand of their industry conference with DOC NYC PRO. The eight-day series of talks, panels, masterclasses, and professional development workshops was reported on by Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie. Speakers already scheduled to present at the already stacked event include Sheila Nevins, Jon Alpert, Abigail Disney, Kirby Dick, Justine Nagan, Simon Kilmurry and Dan Cogan.

Stephen Holden wrote a broad overview of the New York Film Festival for The New York Times, making special mention of Michael Moore’s TIFF-premiered WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, which was just picked up for theatrical release this past week by ex-Radius heads Tom Quinn and Jason Janego and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League’s still unnamed new distribution company. Jeremy Kay of Screen Daily broke the news, with subsequent reports coming in from Variety’s Dave McNary and Brent Lang, as well as from Deadline’s Patrick Hipes. The Guardian’s Nigel M. Smith quoted Moore speaking at the press conference of his new film and why he didn’t invade the UK for ideas as saying, “We don’t have much to learn from the UK…The UK has in recent years started to look too much like us.” Eric Hynes reviewed Moore’s latest project (along with other TIFF Docs) for Film Comment, aptly observing that “Every interview is a setup, every scene is “a scene,” and his every appearance contradictorily signifies both Liberal Crusader and Ugly American. We’re invited to see these layers of artifice, and encouraged to feel and think more deeply because, not in spite, of them.” In anticipation of the film, The Close-Up podcast released an in-depth conversation with the filmmaker recorded back in 2012.

As festival season rolls on, Oscar debate begins to heat up, as Peter Knegt‘s pair of pieces in indieWIRE on the likeliest doc candidates to go up for Oscars later this year. He pegs AMY as the front runner, but only head of THE HUNTING GROUND, CARTEL LAND, THE LOOK OF SILENCE and THE WOLFPACK by a smidge.

Last week here at Stranger Than Fiction we kicked of our Fall 2015 season with director Evgeny Afineevsky’s WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. If you missed the screening, you can now watch the post-screening conversation between Thom Powers and the filmmaker, or read Jeffrey Fleishman‘s rave in The Los Angeles Times. We also had a late addition to our Fall schedule, slotting in director Jennifer Peedom’s Mount Everest climbing doc SHERPA on on November 5th. The film was, in addition to being selected as WNYC’s Documentary of the Week, glowingly reviewed by Sheri Linden in The Los Angeles Times and Ken Jaworowski in The New York Times. Tomorrow we welcome directors Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue with their intimate and transformational new feature, BODY OF WAR! Screening tickets and season passes are still available for purchase here!

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WINTER ON FIRE: Front Row to the Ukrainian Revolution

It’s an all too familiar story – a peaceful protest fueled by a deep desire for change becomes a violent battle for basic human rights. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed the rise of revolutions in Egypt, in Spain, and in the US, but on the opening night of the Fall season of Stranger Than Fiction, we had a front row seat to an uprising in The Ukraine, and a country’s struggle for independence, freedom, and a better future.

WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM follows 93 days of protests that began in Kiev’s Maidan Square, following then-president Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an agreement that would allow his country to enter the European Union. The people of Ukraine saw inclusion in the EU as a move that would help stabilize the long-flailing country, and usher in a new era of hope, independence, and eventual prosperity. But Yanukovych instead signed a major deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and in the eyes of millions of Ukrainians, betrayed his country and his people.

Director Evgeny Afineevsky brings viewers to the front lines of this turbulent time in Ukraine’s history, and shows how a peaceful youth movement morphed into a bloody struggle. With a crew of over 20 cinematographers using a combination of cameras, Afineevsky and his team capture the major battles and hidden moments that fueled a revolution.

“For the people of Ukraine, this was an important moment in their history, and a chance for them to show that the people still have the power,” Afineevsky said during the Q&A following Tuesday’s screening at the IFC Center. “It started as a joyful youth movement. No one expected thing to unfold the way they did.”

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