The husband and wife team behind the Oscar-nominated and Sundance award-winning STREETWISE returns to that film’s most unforgettable subject.
In July 1983, renowned photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark and writer Cheryl McCall told the story of the lives of Seattle’s street kids in LIFE magazine. Affected by the teens they met, including 13-year-old prostitute Tiny, the duo returned later that year with director Martin Bell, Mark’s husband, to create a documentary film about nine youths they met. Released theatrically, STREETWISE also screened in competition at Sundance in 1985, where it won a special jury prize, and was later nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar. In the decades that followed, Mark and Bell have maintained a relationship with Tiny, filming her as she struggled with drugs and poverty and became a mother several times over. Over the next year, the filmmakers will return to Seattle to capture Tiny and her family today, using the footage from the past 30 years to supplement the story. Continue reading
Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens this coming Monday, December 16: PLAYWRIGHT: FROM PAGE TO STAGE
Robert Levi’s chronicle of the development and staging of two new stage plays makes its debut on the popular ITVS supported PBS program.
Levi’s film focuses on two plays made possible by the NEA’s New Play Development Program, which supports emerging playwright, following the efforts of two grant recipients to realize their visions over three years. Cleveland’s Rajiv Joseph crafts an allegorical tale exploring the Iraq War, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” while Miami’s Tarell Alvin McCraney plumbs personal and cultural history to represent African American Louisiana in his “Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy. As their work takes shape, Levi reveals the intense collaborative process these young writers separately engage in, working with producers, directors, actors, and theatres to hone their plays before they make their debut, wrestling with controversial subjects and themes. Of the two, Joseph’s play garners more attention, attracting noted director Moises Kaufman and eventually heading to Broadway. The concessions and compromises needed to support such an endeavor, such as the necessity of recasting a key role with celebrity Robin Williams in order to draw audiences, offer insight on the practical, economic realities of the theatre world, while both writers’ journeys as a whole reveal the painstaking work that goes into the creative process, making it especially resonant for other artists and theatre fans.
Coming to NYC’s IFC Center this Friday, December 13: THE THIN BLUE LINE
Errol Morris’ ground-breaking investigation into a Dallas murder made its debut in 1988, screening at San Francisco and Toronto, among other festivals, before being released to popular and critical acclaim by Miramax. Though it was disqualified for Oscar consideration on a technicality, it was recognized as the year’s best doc by the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, and the National Society of Film Critics. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the film has been restored and begins a week-long run screening in HD at the IFC Center.
I previously wrote about the doc here.
Coming to theatres this Friday, December 13: THE CRASH REEL
Lucy Walker’s candid look at traumatic brain injury through the story of snowboarder Kevin Pearce debuted at Sundance this year. Since then, the doc has screened at DOC NYC, Berlin, Hot Docs, True/False, Full Frame, Seattle, and Los Angeles, among many others, and has been shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar.
My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.
Coming to NYC’s JCC for its CineMatters series tomorrow, Thursday, December 12: BRAVE MISS WORLD
Cecilia Peck’s profile of a former beauty queen’s mission to speak out against sexual violence debuted as a sneak preview at NYC’s Athena fest last February. It has gone on to screen at DOC NYC, AFI Docs, Sarasota, Dallas, Chicago, San Diego, Mumbai, Denver, Woodstock, SF Jewish, and Cleveland, among others.
I previously wrote about the film out of AFI Docs here.
Now on DVD: 30 FOR 30 SEASON II/VOLUME I
This post wraps up my capsule assessments of the newest boxed set of ESPN’s acclaimed sports documentary series, supplementing my thoughts yesterday on its first seven films. Continue reading