Category Archives: Overviews

Karlovy Vary 2015: Documentary Overview

kvmffHitting the half-century mark this year, the Czech Republic’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival opens tonight, Friday, July 3, and runs through next Saturday, July 11. In addition to several retrospective screenings, the prestigious event features approximately 135 new feature-length films, of which just under 30 are documentaries, matching the reduced number of nonfiction offerings evident since last year’s edition. With a handful of exceptions, the nonfiction programming primarily is set apart in its own competitive and non-competitive sections, highlighted below: Continue reading

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Frameline 2015: Documentary Overview

f39-slideFrameline, the longest running LGBT film festival in the world, opens in San Francisco tonight, Thursday, June 18, and will present over 70 new features before it wraps up during SF Pride weekend on Sunday, June 28. More than 30 new and recent documentary features will screen, including Centerpiece film OUT TO WIN, Malcolm Ingram’s focus on professional LGBT athletes; and Showcase programs like FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, Sharon Shattuck’s personal reflection on her transgender dad. Highlights from the fest’s nonfiction programming is highlighted below: Continue reading

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BAMcinemaFest 2015: Documentary Overview

bamTonight, Wednesday, June 17, sees the opening of the seventh edition of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s
annual BAMcinemaFest, a popular program of 35 recent films which had its origins as the Sundance at BAM series. The event, which runs through Sunday, June 28, continues to draw selections from Park City for their NYC premieres, along with acclaimed work from other notable events.

russian woodpeckerNonfiction programming which appeared previously at Sundance includes Chad Gracia’s unforgettable conspiracy theorist profile, THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER (pictured); Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s political history, BEST OF ENEMIES; Frida Barkfors and Lasse Barkfors’ empathetic portrait of a place, PERVERT PARK; Bobcat Goldthwait’s surprising profile of a comedian turned activist, CALL ME LUCKY; and Amy Berg’s look at fundamentalist Mormonism, PROPHET’S PREY.

31952_Cfest_awomanlikeme_613x463From Berlin comes Jem Cohen’s city essay, COUNTING; from Full Frame, Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin’s portrait of a pioneering video collective, HERE COME THE VIDEOFREEX; and from SXSW, Luke Meyer’s look at fame’s impact on a junior high school metal band, BREAKING A MONSTER; and Elizabeth Giamatti and Alex Sichel’s hybrid about creativity and coping with a terminal illness, A WOMAN LIKE ME (pictured).

31952_Cfest_declineofwesternciv_613x463Also from this year’s SXSW and screening in Brooklyn as a Special Event is the late Les Blanks’ unreleased 1974 Leon Russell portrait, A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON. It joins another classic, Penelope Spheeris’ 1981 THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION (pictured), a chronicle of LA’s punk scene, which screens here in a new restored version.

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AFI Docs 2015 Overview

afi docsWashington DC’s AFI Docs returns tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17, opening with acclaimed Sundance title BEST OF ENEMIES by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon, about the infamous Buckley/Gore debates of 1968, and draws to a close five days later on Sunday, June 21 with Jessica Edwards’ loving tribute to performer Mavis Staples, MAVIS!, which debuted at SXSW earlier this year. The event’s 13th edition is the first under the leadership of new Festival Director Michael Lumpkin, formerly of the International Documentary Association and a longtime fest veteran as the former Executive Director of San Francisco’s Frameline.

riseThis year’s lineup includes approximately 50 recent documentary features, primarily culled from the lineups of Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, IDFA, and other notable festivals. Notable exceptions are four world premieres: Dawn Porter’s RISE: THE PROMISE OF MY BROTHER’S KEEPER (pictured), looking at the initiative to mentor African American boys and men to success; Natalie Avital’s THE THREE HIKERS, about three Americans who found themselves behind Iranian prison bars; Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci’s SALAM NEIGHBOR, which explores a massive refugee camp for Syrians in Jordan; and Brad Horn’s FIRST AND 17, on the pressures faced by America’s top-ranked high school football recruit.

black panthersAFI Docs’ annual celebration of nonfiction artistry, the Charles Guggenheim Symposium, this year honors Stanley Nelson, whose Sundance title THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (pictured) screens at the festival. The festival also organizes a two-day Filmmaker Conference for nonfiction filmmakers and industry exploring a range of topics from the risky business of investigative documentary to creating social change through nonfiction projects.

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Edinburgh 2015: Documentary Overview

edinburgh-international-film-festival-2013This Wednesday, June 17 marks the opening of the 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival, the first edition under new Artistic Director Mark Adams, formerly the chief film critic form Screen International. Over the course of twelve nights, 164 new and retrospective features, including 30 documentaries, will unspool, including several world and UK premieres. The following offers a brief look at some of these: Continue reading

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Human Rights Watch 2015: Documentary Overview

hrwlogo copyReturning tonight, Thursday, June 11, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival showcases 16 films and three special programs addressing a wide range of human rights issues to audiences for its 26th edition in New York City, which will run through Sunday, JUne 21. The following offers highlights from this year’s thematic programming: Continue reading

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Los Angeles 2015: Documentary Overview

los-angeles-film-festival-20151The Los Angeles Film Festival returns for its 21st edition tonight, Wednesday, June 10, and runs through Thursday, June 18. After a major shift in its programming team which saw the departure of longtime programmers David Ansen and Doug Jones and the addition of curator Elvis Mitchell, associate director Roya Rastegar, and senior programmer Jennifer Cochis, the event has gone through some significant retooling, with the introduction of several new sections and a refocusing of existing ones. Just over 70 features will screen, with nearly two dozen documentaries counted within that number. Among the highlights are the following: Continue reading

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