San Francisco 2014: Documentary Overview

2014sfiff_logo_mainKicking off today, Thursday, April 24, the San Francisco International Film Festival holds the distinction of being the longest-running film festival of the Americas. The 57th edition runs through Thursday, May 8, bringing more than 100 features, plus shorts, panels, and other signature programming to the Bay Area. Among these are nearly 30 feature docs, representing a smartly curated mix of festival favorites, as well as several titles making their premieres. The following offers brief highlights: Continue reading

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Hot Docs 2014 Overview

hot+docs+logoHot Docs opens its 21st edition tonight, Thursday, April 24, and runs through Sunday, May 4. With nearly 150 new feature-length docs, plus more than a dozen retrospective selections, the festival is the largest nonfiction event in North America, drawing filmmakers, industry, and an impassioned audience to Toronto each year. I’ll be attending again, though my Nantucket duties have meant that I’ll only be at the festival for its final weekend, unfortunately missing the event’s corresponding Forum earlier in the week. While this means I’ll only manage to see a fraction of the fest’s offerings, the following provides a section-by-section run-down of the new titles that have most intrigued me: Continue reading

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In Theatres: WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL?

dayaniComing to theatres tomorrow, Friday, April 25: WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL?

Marc Silver’s microcosmic exploration of immigration had its world premiere as a Day One film at Sundance last year, where it claimed the World Cinema Documentary Cinematography Award. It went on to screen at Hot Docs, San Sebastian, San Diego Latino, Abu Dhabi, Cork, Zurich, Rome, Miami, and the New York Film Festival, among several others.

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

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In Theatres: FOR NO GOOD REASON

fornogoodreason_01Coming to theatres this Friday, April 25: FOR NO GOOD REASON

Charlie Paul’s profile of Gonzo British artist Ralph Steadman premiered at Toronto last year. Its fest circuit has included BFI London, Biografilm, Palm Springs, Florida, Brisbane, CPH:DOX, Minneapolis St Paul, and Dallas, among others.

I included the doc in my Toronto coverage here.

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On DVD: BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL

Bettie-Page-Key-Image-courtesy-Movie-Star-News1Now on DVD: BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL

Mark Mori’s profile of the life and career of the cult pin-up queen made its debut at the Viva Las Vegas Film Festival in 2012. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, New Orleans, CineKink, LA Indie, Hot Springs Doc, and Atlanta, among other events.

Gaining access to Page before her death in 2008, Mori smartly structures his tribute to the 1950s model around her own retelling of her life story, an often gleeful look back that proves infectious to the audience. Having retired in her early thirties, she doesn’t appear on camera, preferring to allow people to remember her in her heyday – a dark-haired beauty with bangs and a curvy physique with a sense of uninhibitedness. Mori illustrates her biography with a copious amount of archival photos and films featuring Page in her prime, along with the occasional comment from admirers or collaborators, including Playboy‘s Hugh Hefner, photographer Bunny Yeager, and artist Greg Theakston, whose fanzine, The Betty Pages, contributed to the resurgence in her popularity in the 1980s.

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Nantucket 2014: Features Lineup Announced

nantucket logo longI’m excited to share this pointer to the Features line-up announcement for the Nantucket Film Festival, where I joined the staff as Film Program Director at the beginning of the year. I’ve been working since then to secure these films, which are nearly evenly split between fiction and nonfiction. Announcements about our Shorts and additional Signature Programs will follow in the coming weeks, and the festival’s 19th edition will take place June 25-30.

Following is the list of features. For descriptions, check out the link above: Continue reading

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On DVD: THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI

large_trials_of_muhammad_ali_1_pubsComing to DVD today, Tuesday, April 22: THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI

Bill Siegel’s chronicle of the Greatest’s conscientious objection over Vietnam premiered a year ago at Tribeca. It went on to screen at Seattle, Traverse City, San Francisco Jewish, Melbourne, and Montclair, among many others.

I previously wrote about the doc out of Tribeca here.

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