Category Archives: Film Festivals

Asian American International Film Festival 2014: Documentary Overview

Screen-Shot-2014-06-20-at-3.56.26-PMTomorrow, Thursday, July 24 kicks off the 37th edition of the longest-running event celebrating the work of Asian and Asian American filmmakers, AsianCinevision’s Asian American International Film Festival. Running through Saturday, August 2, AAIFF will present nineteen features, including six documentaries:

bringingtibethome02-770x433The Asian American nonfiction offerings this year are: Tenzin Tsetan Choklay’s BRINGING TIBET HOME (pictured), in which a Tibetan artist smuggles tons of Tibetan soil to the seat of Tibet-in-exile, Dharamsala; Dianne Fukami and Eli Olson’s STORIES FROM TOHOKU, following Japanese Americans on a mission to Japan to help in the aftermath of disaster; Steven de Castro’s FRED HO’S LAST YEAR, a tribute to the jazz composer in his vibrant final year of life; and Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson’s KUMU HINA, on an inspirational trans Native Hawaiian teacher.

lovehotel31-770x433Asian doc features screening this year are Philip Cox and Hikaru Toda’s THE LOVE HOTEL (pictured), about sex, intimacy, and commerce in conservative Osaka; and Christine Choy’s GHINA, a cross-cultural exploration of the growing presence and developmental influence of China in Ghana.

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In Theatres: ALIVE INSIDE

alive insideComing to theatres this Friday, July 18: ALIVE INSIDE: A STORY OF MUSIC & MEMORY

Michael Rossato-Bennett’s look at the restorative power of music debuted at Sundance this year, where it picked up an audience award. Its fest circuit has included Nantucket, Seattle, Big Sky, RiverRun, deadCenter, Nashville, Ptown, and Cleveland, among several others.

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

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In Theatres & On VOD: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL

battered bastardsComing to NYC and LA theatres and to VOD today, Friday, July 11: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL

Chapman Way and Maclain Way’s look at an underdog independent baseball team premiered at Sundance earlier this year. It went on to screen at Tribeca and Los Angeles, among others. It now comes to Netflix, as well as NYC’s Village East and LA’s Laemmle’s Music Hall.

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

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Outfest 2014: Documentary Overview

www.outfestOne of the largest and most influential LGBT film festivals in the world, Outfest, opens its 32nd edition tonight, Thursday, July 10. Running through Sunday, July 20, the fest will bring scores of shorts and over 60 features to Los Angeles audiences, including more than 20 documentary features. Nonfiction takes a few prime slots, including the Gala Centerpiece, MY PRAIRIE HOME, Chelsea McMullan’s profile of Canadian trans musician Rae Spoon; Special Event TO BE TAKEI, Jennifer M Kroot’s portrait of the STAR TREK actor turned LGBT icon; and Platinum selection KATE BORNSTEIN IS A QUEER AND PLEASANT DANGER, Sam Feder’s look at the pioneering gender outlaw.

diorThe main program showcases the remainder of the event’s doc programming, a vibrant mix of recent new work, including, among others, portraits of notable LGBT figures like BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS, Cheryl Furjanic’s look at the famed Olympic diver; I ALWAYS SAID YES: THE MANY LIVES OF WAKEFIELD POOLE, Jim Tushinski’s exploration of the life and career of the famed adult filmmaker; AN HONEST LIAR, Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom’s surprising biography of noted skeptic magician James “The Amazing” Randi; and DIOR AND I (pictured), Frederic Tcheng’s countdown to the unveiling of designer Raf Simons’ first collection for Christian Dior.

naomiOther doc offerings include Thomas G Miller’s LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, about America’s first legally married same-sex couple; Nicolas Videla and Camila Donoso’s NAOMI CAMPBEL, IT’S NOT EASY TO BECOME A DIFFERENT PERSON (pictured), a hybrid project exploring the life of a Chilean trans woman hoping to win a plastic surgery competition; and blair doroshwalther’s OUT IN THE NIGHT, which unpacks the truth behind an infamous case of a so-called lesbian gang attack in Greenwich Village.

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Jerusalem 2014: Documentary Overview

jff-2014_1.jpgTomorrow, Thursday, July 10, was to see the launch of the 31st edition of the Jerusalem Film Festival, which annually showcases a healthy collection of new nonfiction among its 200 strong line-up. Because of recent hostilities in the region, the open air screening of the opening night film has been postponed a week, with the remainder of the festival still set to continue beginning Friday. The festival, which runs through Sunday, July 20, introduces nearly 50 documentary features to the region. The following is a rundown of some of the new and local work making its debut: Continue reading

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Karlovy Vary 2014: Documentary Overview

kvmffThe Czech Republic’s acclaimed Karlovy Vary International Film Festival kicks off its 49th edition today, Friday, July 4, and runs through Saturday, July 12. One of Europe’s signature cinema events, the A-list festival offers nearly 250 selections, though, by my count, this year’s line-up includes a noticeably reduced number of documentary features among that number -
fewer than 30 vs the nearly 40 of last year’s edition. The following offers highlights from the nonfiction programming: Continue reading

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Special Screening: THE NOTORIOUS MR BOUT

notorious mr boutComing to NYC’s Rooftop Films this Saturday, July 5: THE NOTORIOUS MR BOUT

Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s multi-layered portrait of a convicted Russian arms dealer premiered at Sundance in January. Its gone on to screen at Nantucket, Hot Docs, True/False, Little Rock, Miami, and BAMcinemaFest, among others.

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

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In Theatres & On VOD: LIFE ITSELF

life itselfComing to theatres and to VOD this Friday, July 4: LIFE ITSELF

Steve James’ inspiring portrait of the late Roger Ebert made its debut at Sundance earlier this year. It has gone on to screen at Nantucket, Cannes, Ebertfest, and AFI Docs, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY

internet's own boyComing to theatres and VOD tomorrow, Friday, June 27: THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ

Brian Knappenberger’s elegy to the too-soon-departed Internet wunderkind premiered at this year’s Sundance. It went on to screen at SXSW, Hot Docs, Atlanta, IFF Boston, and Seattle, and will screen at the Nantucket Film Festival this week in advance of its release.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: WHITEY

whiteyComing to theatres and VOD this Friday, June 27: WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V JAMES J BULGER

Joe Berlinger’s investigation into the notorious mobster debuted at Sundance this year. It has also screened at Hot Docs, Sarasota, Nashville, Montclair, and Dallas.

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

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