Category Archives: Film Festivals

On DVD: WEB JUNKIE

web junkieComing to DVD next Tuesday, March 3: WEB JUNKIE

Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia’s behind-the-scenes look at Internet addiction rehab debuted at Sundance last year. It went on to screen at Miami, Dallas, Melbourne, Traverse City, One World, Hong Kong, ZagrebDox, Göteborg, and DOXA.

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

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Special Screening: CESAR’S LAST FAST

cesar's last fastComing to NYC’s Indocumentales series this Wednesday, February 25: CESAR’S LAST FAST

Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee’s chronicle of Cesar Chavez’s 1988 hunger protest debuted at Sundance last year. Its festival circuit has also included Atlanta, Chicago Latino, San Diego Latino, Minneapolis St Paul, San Francisco, DOXA, and Ambulante California, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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ZagrebDox 2015 Overview

zagrebdox_logoThe 11th edition of Croatia’s premier nonfiction event, ZagrebDox, begins this Sunday, February 22, and continues through Sunday, March 1. The festival annually showcases nearly one hundred new and retrospective feature documentaries, in addition to shorts, masterclasses, panels, and a pitching forum. Its programming lineup includes a healthy mix of international work that has already debuted on the festival circuit, and has been covered here previously, as well new regional work, which makes up the bulk of the following overview:

russianOf the fest’s two competitions, Regional and International, there are more new titles that catch my eye in the former, including: Goran Stanković’s meditation on the lives of Serbian miners, IN THE DARK; Damir Ibrahimović and Eldar Emrić’s hybrid psychological profile of a Russian mafioso, RUSSIAN (pictured); Hrvoje Mabić’s look at a lesbian couple’s attempts to deal with past trauma, SICK; and Eva Kraljević’s portrait of her sister with Down’s syndrome, I LIKE THAT SUPER MOST THE BEST.

jettThe non-competitive Official Programme consists of nine thematic sections, including Biography Dox, which features films like Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger’s THE FORECASTER, on a prescient American economic analyst, and Lorenzo Cioffi and Alessandro De Toni’s RUSTAM CASANOVA – LIFE OF AN ARTIST, about a chameleon-like opera singer; Controversial Dox, featuring work like Aleksandar Nikolić’s THE SERBIAN LAWYER, which focuses on an attorney struggling to defend former enemies, and Karim B Haroun’s MYSTIC MASS, detailing a massive Shia Muslim ritual; Happy Dox, such as Oscar Pérez’s THE FINAL STRETCH, about a small Spanish village facing crisis; Teen Dox, which includes August Baugstø Hanssen’s profile of a borderline personality disorder sufferer, IDA’S DIARY, Alexandra Likhacheva’s look at modern Russia through the eyes of two disaffected young people, LONG.BLACK.CLOUD IS COMING DOWN, and Linda Hakeboom’s portrait of a Dutch rockstar poised for international celebrity, WHO THE FUCK IS JETT REBEL (pictured); as well as strands on global music, current affairs, documentary auteurs’ latest work, and factual programming.

fest of dutyZagrebDox’s Special Programme this year consists of two focus areas, the Middle East, which features such work as Firouzeh Khosrovani’s FEST OF DUTY
(pictured), a look at a traditional Muslim ceremony for girls, and Søren Steen Jespersen and Nasib Farah’s WARRIORS FROM THE NORTH, on the radicalization of young Somali men; and Thriller Dox, which includes Andreas Koefoed’s THE ARMS DROP, about a 1995 weapons deal that went wrong, and Pekka Lehto’s EMERGENCY CALL – A MURDER MYSTERY, on an unsolved 2006 crime in small Finnish town.

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On DVD: WATCHERS OF THE SKY

watchers of skyComing to DVD today, Tuesday, February 17: WATCHERS OF THE SKY

Edet Belzberg’s look at the legacy of genocide made its world premiere at Sundance last year, where it won two awards. It went on to screen at Nantucket, Cleveland, Hot Docs, Melbourne, Sydney, and Human Rights Watch, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On TV: THROUGH A LENS DARKLY

through a lensComing to PBS’s Independent Lens tonight, Monday, February 16: THROUGH A LENS DARKLY: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS AND THE EMERGENCE OF A PEOPLE

Thomas Allen Harris’ look at race through photography bowed at Sundance last year. Festival screenings followed at Berlin, Montclair, Pan African, Atlanta, Boston LGBT, and Frameline, among others.

I profiled the doc pre-Sundance here.

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On DVD: LIFE ITSELF

life itselfComing to DVD next Tuesday, February 17: LIFE ITSELF

Steve James’ look at the life and career of Roger Ebert debuted at Sundance last year. Its extensive festival run has included Nantucket, DOC NYC, Cannes, Ebertfest, and AFI Docs, among several others. The film was shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar, but surprisingly was not one of the five nominees.

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

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Documentary Fortnight 2015 Overview

momaMoMA’s annual showcase of nonfiction, Documentary Fortnight, opens its 14th edition tomorrow, Friday, February 13, with Stanley Nelson’s THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION, a chronicle of the controversial Black Power organization; and runs through Friday, February 27, which features closing night film HOT TYPE: 150 YEARS OF THE NATION, Barbara Kopple’s exploration of the long-running liberal weekly magazine. In addition to these titles, nineteen additional new feature documentaries will screen, as well as seven shorts, special lectures, an installation, and a retrospective selection of director Shirley Clarke’s work.

imgres-1Several of this year’s selections put an emphasis on durational cinema, including: Kevin Jerome Everson’s eight-hour immersion into a working shift at a factory, PARK LANES (pictured); Wang Bing’s long shot exploration of the modest dwelling of a Chinese migrant family, FATHER AND SONS; and Peter Bo Rappmund’s time-lapse study of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, TOPOPHILIA.

hotelOther works also focus on capturing a distinct sense of place, including Irene Gutiérrez Torres’ HOTEL NUEVA ISLA (pictured), a stunning portrait of a crumbling luxury hotel in Havana; Phil Collins’ TOMORROW IS ALWAYS TOO LONG, which constructs a multimedia version of Glasgow; and Nathalie Nambot and Maki Berchache’s BURN THE SEA, an essay film exploring the experiences of Tunisian immigrants to France.

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