Category Archives: Overviews

Sarajevo 2015: Documentary Overview

imagesOpening this Friday, August 14, the Sarajevo Film Festival celebrates its 21st edition through Saturday, August 22, while also commemorating the 20th anniversary of the end of the Bosnian War in which it began. Just over 100 features will unspool during the proceedings, with approximately 40 documentaries among their number, including the following: Continue reading

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Locarno 2015: Documentary Overview

locarnoThe 68th edition of the Locarno Film Festival launches tonight, Wednesday, August 5, and will screen approximately 100 new feature films before it wraps on Saturday, August 15. Once again, the event has shown a welcome acceptance of nonfiction nearly on par with its fiction offerings, and includes more than forty new documentaries or hybrids in its line-up. As has been the custom for several years, these are integrated throughout nearly all of the various sections of the festival, with some highlights noted below: Continue reading

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Melbourne 2015: Documentary Overview

miff_art_940_470hzFounded in 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival is among the longest-running film events in the world, championing Australian cinema while also showcasing the best international work on the fest circuit. The 2015 edition opens today, Thursday, July 30 and runs through Sunday, August 16, and presents approximately 80 new and retrospective feature length documentaries as part of its impressive line-up. A selection of world premieres, regional filmmaking, and less familiar titles are noted below. Continue reading

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Sound + Vision 2015 Overview

danny saysThe third edition of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual music documentary series, Sound + Vision, opens tonight, Wednesday, July 29, with Brendan Toller’s appreciation of a seminal behind-the-scenes figure in American punk music, DANNY SAYS (pictured). The event continues through Wednesday, August 7, presenting more than twenty additional recent and retrospective nonfiction features, including a tribute to the work of Julien Temple.

redemptionAmong the newer offerings are Micha Hollenbach and Johann Rashid’s SUNSHINE SOUP, an experimental companion to a noted electronica album; NC Heikin’s SOUND OF REDEMPTION: THE FRANK MORGAN STORY (pictured), about a sax legend’s rise, fall, and rise; a work-in-progress screening of Paul Rachman’s LOST ROCKERS, about a number of musicians whose careers didn’t take off as expected; and Wayne Price’s HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED, a spiritual sequel to James Szalapski’s 1976 portrait of Outlaw Country musicians, which will also be screened during the series.

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Traverse City 2015: Documentary Overview

imgresThe Traverse City Film Festival returns for its 11th edition today, Tuesday, July 28, and runs through Sunday, August 2. As in previous editions, Michael Moore’s annual celebration of cinema – under the slogan “1 Great Movie Can Change You” – showcases an eclectic lineup of festival favorites, including more than fifty recent feature documentaries. While the majority of these made their debut within the last year at notable larger film events like Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, and Tribeca, the festival also spotlights several lesser-seen works and a few premieres, noted below:

brainwashing_of_my_dad_2These include Rick Prelinger’s YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW IN DETROIT 5, the noted film archivist’s latest look at Detroit’s history through discovered home movies; Michael Matheson Miller’s POVERTY, INC, which explores the hampering of development due to the modern charity industry; Sabina Guzzanti’s THE STATE-MAFIA PACT, a provocative, satirical exploration of the collusion between the Italian government and the mafia; Sabine Gruffat’s SPECULATION NATION, a look at Spanish citizen activism in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis; and Michael Webber and Bailey Webber’s THE STUDENT BODY, which follows a young filmmaker’s investigation into state sanctioned measures to body shame youth; Kuo-Liang Chiang and Chen Singing’s MOUNTAIN SPIRITS, a portrait of a Taiwanese master craftsman; and, screening as a work-in-progress, Jen Senko’s THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD (pictured), which explores the appeal of conservative media to older audiences.

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Asian American International Film Festival 2015: Documentary Overview

imagesThe 38th annual Asian American International Film Festival brings eighteen new features to New York City between today, Thursday, July 24 and Saturday, August 1, reflecting the diversity of Asian and Asian American filmmaking. Among the eight new nonfiction features presented are the event’s opening night film, Ruby Yang’s MY VOICE, MY LIFE, about a musical staged by under-privileged Hong Kong students. Other documentary entries include:

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From China, Haibin Du’s A YOUNG PATRIOT (pictured), a portrait of the gradual ideological development of a young Chinese man over several years; Adler Yang’s IF THERE IS A REASON TO STUDY, which follows the teenage Taiwanese filmmaker as he documents the experience of alternative schooling on his fellow students; Lauren Knapp’s LIVE FROM UB, which offers a look at Mongolian identity through an independent rock band; Derek Shimoda’s JUNE BRIDE: REDEMPTION OF A YAKUZA, about former Japanese gangsters turned pastors; and DOC NYC 2014 alumnus MISS TIBET: BEAUTY IN EXILE, Norah Shapiro’s exploration of a controversial cultural and beauty pageant for Tibetans in exile.

KillingFieldsAlso represented at the festival is the work of noted Asian American filmmaker Arthur Dong, the subject of a retrospective tribute, which also includes the NYC debut of his latest film, the Cambodian-focused THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR HAING S NGOR (pictured), on the Hollywood actor and Khmer Rouge survivor; and Grace Lee’s OFF THE MENU: ASIAN AMERICA, a travelogue that explores Asian American identity through food.

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Outfest 2015: Documentary Overview

la_outfest_heroTomorrow, Thursday, July 9 sees the kick off for the 33rd edition of Los Angeles’ Outfest, one of the leading LGBT fests in the world, which will present just over 60 new features until its wrap on Sunday, July 19. Among these are 24 new documentaries, including opening night selection, TIG, Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York’s portrait of a tumultuous year in the titular comedian’s life; and centerpieces BEST OF ENEMIES, Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s Vidal vs Buckley chronicle; and OUT TO WIN, Malcolm Ingram’s look at LGBT athletes.

tchindasDocumentaries appearing in the main program of the festival include a mix of brand new work and other highlights from the past year of LGBT programming from larger festivals like Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, and Berlin. Among the offerings are: Cammie Pavesic and Michael Gough’s ADD THE WORDS, on the fight for workplace protections for LGBT people; Marc Serena and Pablo García Pérez de Lara’s TCHINDAS (pictured), a portrait of a transgender Cape Verdean woman preparing for Carnival; Alex Berry’s DRAG BECOMES HIM, about a RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE contestant; Parvez Sharma’s A SINNER IN MECCA, a personal journey to Mecca by the gay Muslim filmmaker; and Ron Nyswaner’s SHE’S THE BEST THING IN IT, a portrait of celebrated character actress Mary Louise Wilson.

aboutNonfiction also appears in the fest’s Special Events section, such as Lauren Fash and Ryan Suffern’s OUT & AROUND (pictured), which follows a lesbian couple as they meet with LGBT rights advocates around the world; and in the avant-garde Platinum section, which includes Brad Besser’s BEAVER TRILOGY PART IV, the story behind a cult classic which was made three times.

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