On DVD: 12 O’CLOCK BOYS

12 oclock boysComing to DVD next Tuesday, August 5: 12 O’CLOCK BOYS

Lotfy Nathan’s portrait of an African-American dirt-biking subculture had its premier at SXSW last year. It went on to screen at Hot Docs, Full Frame, Maryland, Sundance Next Weekend, Philadelphia, and CPH:DOX, among others.

I included the doc in my SXSW coverage here.

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In Theatres: FINDING FELA

finding felaComing to theatres tomorrow, Friday, August 1: FINDING FELA

Alex Gibney’s exploration of the history and legacy of the acclaimed Nigerian musician/activist had its world premiere at Sundance this past January. It went on to screen at Montclair, Sydney, Martha’s Vineyard, and Seattle, among other fests.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

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On VOD: RED LINES

Red_Lines_3-620x350New on VOD this week: RED LINES

Andrea Kalin and Oliver Lukacs’ experiential look at the conflict in Syria had its world premiere at Hot Docs this Spring. Additional screenings followed in Oslo and Washington DC. FilmBuff now releases the doc across VOD platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Vimeo, Vudu, Google Play, Blinkbox, XBOX Video, and Sony PlayStation, with an Arabic version also forthcoming on Vimeo On Demand.

Kalin and Lukacs ground the complexity of the current crisis in Syria through their subjects, two inspiring young activists who marshall modern technology and savvy dealmaking to bring what aid they can to their nation while the international community waits for the titular last straw to be broken before intervention is inevitable. Initially working independently, Razan, the university-educated socialite daughter of a wealthy family, and Mouaz, Syrian-born but raised in America and based in Washington DC, partner together to implement a daring plan that they hope will lay the groundwork for a free Syria. Identifying a potential leader, they work to create a democratically-run village free from Bashar al-Assad’s control, with a civilian police force keeping things in check, to provide an example that can be replicated village by village before the brutal regime is able to extinguish all hope. The filmmakers follow these efforts, as well as their other actions to smuggle in supplies and to lobby for international assistance, providing a visceral sense of the life-threatening risks these individuals are willing to take, even as the world stands by.

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Sound + Vision 2014 Overview

BeautifulNoise5Returning to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for a second year, Sound + Vision assembles 15 feature documentaries, three retrospective screenings, and several live performances in its celebration of music-focused nonfiction. Opening the series tomorrow, Thursday, July 31, is Eric Green’s BEAUTIFUL NOISE (pictured), a revisitation of late 1980s/early 1990s shoegazing bands like Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, while Florian Habicht’s PULP, which follows the titular band’s final Sheffield concert, brings the event to a close on Wednesday, August 6.

windingOther new titles screening include: Tetsuaki Matsue’s FLASHBACK MEMORIES 3D, a profile of a semi-amnesiac Japanese didgeridoo player; Alejandro Franco’s FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK: THE STORY OF RODRIGO Y GABRIELA, about Mexican metal rockers-turned-Dublin street buskers; Javier Polo’s EUROPE IN 8 BITS, an exploration of the chipmusic phenomenon as it invades Europe; Kiley Kraskouskas’ THE LAST SONG BEFORE THE WAR, on Timbuktu’s annual Festival in the Desert; Petter Ringbom’s SHIELD AND SPEAR, a survey of the role of music in South African politics and society; and Beth Harrington’s THE WINDING STREAM (pictured), an engaging history of the influential and talented Carter and Cash families.

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In Theatres: RICH HILL

RichHill2Coming to theatres this Friday, August 1: RICH HILL

Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo’s vibrant portrait of impoverished life had its debut earlier this year at Sundance, where it won the US Documentary Grand Jury Prize. Screenings followed at Nantucket, True/False, Dallas, Cleveland, Wisconsin, Sarasota, and Ashland, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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Traverse City 2014: Documentary Overview

tcff-1-2014Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival celebrates its first decade beginning today, Tuesday, July 29, with more than 200 films screening before its 10th anniversary edition wraps up this Sunday, August 3. Among these are more than fifty feature documentaries, largely offering the festival audience a look at some of the standout programming that premiered earlier in the year at notable fests like Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and Hot Docs, as well as a smattering of premieres and largely undiscovered gems, noted below:

Meet-the-PatelsIn the first category are titles such as Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel’s funny, personal look at Indian matchmaking in America, MEET THE PATELS (pictured); Håvard Bustnes’ ridealong with unassuming senior activist agitators, TWO RAGING GRANNIES; Andrew Renzi’s meditation on modern-day Montana cowboys, FISHTAIL; Alan Hicks’ portrait of a musical mentor/mentee relationship, KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON; Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel’s look at the race to popularize 3D printing, PRINT THE LEGEND; and Kris Kaczor’s environmentally-focused chronicle of participatory democracy in New England, DIVIDE IN CONCORD.

Bending-the-Light-2Making its world premiere at the fest is Michael Apted’s celebration of the craft of lensmaking, BENDING THE LIGHT (pictured); while North American debuts include Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda’s GOOD DRIVER SMETANA, a portrait of an unlikely Czech activist; and Jeroen Van Velzen’s A GOAT FOR A VOTE, which follows three Kenyan teenagers as they run for class president. US Premieres include Dave Jannetta’s doc murder mystery, LOVE AND TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE; and Joerg Burger’s existential experimental doc, FOCUS ON INFINITY. Other nonfiction titles taking the spotlight include Thomas A Morgan and Jack Henry Robbins’ profile of American homelessness, STORIED STREETS; Julianna Brannum’s portrait of an influential political activist, LADONNA HARRIS: INDIAN 101; and Robin Blotnick and Rachel Lears’ inspiring underdog story of unionizing undocumented NYC bakery workers, THE HAND THAT FEEDS.

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On DVD: IN NO GREAT HURRY

In-No-Great-Hurry-Key-Image-Photo-by-Tomas-Leach-280x140Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, July 29: IN NO GREAT HURRY: 13 LESSONS IN LIFE WITH SAUL LEITER

Tomas Leach’s portrait of a seminal figure in American photography debuted in 2012 and has screened at film and photography events including DOC NYC, Thin Line, Salem, Open City, SANFIC, and Bath. It enjoyed a limited theatrical release at the beginning of the year.

I previously wrote about the doc upon its release here.

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