Category Archives: Overviews

New York Film Festival 2014: Documentary Overview

imgres-2For New York cinephiles, Fall truly hasn’t begun until the start of the New York Film Festival. The 52nd edition of the venerable event kicks off this Friday, September 26 and runs through Sunday, October 12. While the festival was never particularly nonfiction-minded under the long tenure of Richard Peña, that has changed drastically in recent years, with documentaries now claiming a significant portion of the lineup – by my count, nearly half of the new features represented are documentaries or essay films. The following runs down several of these works: Continue reading

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Urbanworld 2014: Documentary Overview

urbanworld_2014-hdrThe 18th edition of Urbanworld Film Festival launches in NYC tonight, Wednesday, September 17. Over five days, the festival will showcase over 70 films by African American and multicultural filmmakers, including eight documentaries among its 26 feature presentations.

SEWINGHOPE_Still_Sister_Rose1Premieres include Marquis Smalls’ hereHATING OBAMA, an exploration of the invective directed against our Commander-in-Chief; Derek Wilson’s SEWING HOPE (pictured), about a nun’s mission to empower Ugandan women through vocational training; and Kenneth Price’s THE HIP-HOP FELLOW, which follows 9th Wonder during his stint as a Harvard Fellow.

FindingSamuelLowe1-240_smOther nonfiction offerings include: Adeyemi Michael’s hereSODIQ, exploring how an aspiring doctor ended up on trial for murder; Alberto Ferreras’ HABLA MEN, the latest in a series on Latino Americans; Jeanette Kong’s FINDING SAMUEL LOWE: FROM HARLEM TO CHINA (pictured), tracing the filmmaker’s Jamaican-Chinese roots; and Laura Checkoway’s LUCKY, about a single lesbian mother with dreams of stardom.

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Toronto 2014: Documentary Overview

tiffFor many in the film industry, the Fall season begins as filmmakers, buyers, sales agents, and programmers converge on the Toronto International Film Festival and sample its nearly 400 offerings. That begins this Thursday, September 4, as the 39th edition of the fest opens. Approximately 35 documentary or hybrid features will screen out of more than 280 feature presentations, while the two-day Doc Conference returns for a sixth year. What follows are highlights of the docs I’m planning to check out while in attendance: Continue reading

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Telluride 2014: Documentary Overview

TFF41_Poster_ChristianMarclay©TellurideFilmFestivalBeginning today, Friday, August 29, and running through Monday, September 1, the 41st edition of the Telluride Film Festival offering attendees their first look at what are typically among the upcoming Awards season contenders, many of them heading to Toronto next week, and to the New York Film Festival at the end of next month. Continuing the festival’s tradition of surprise and anticipation, the line-up for this year’s edition was not announced until yesterday, with a full list and descriptions available through their program guide. Below, I present a brief rundown of some of the nonfiction selections this year, by my count numbering 36 feature documentaries. Continue reading

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Venice 2014: Documentary Overview

253705-venice-film-fest-71stThe grandfather of all film events, the Venice International Film Festival, enters its eighth decade as its 71st edition begins tonight, Wednesday, August 27. Running through Saturday, September 6, the Biennale will present over 100 features between its official selection and two autonomous simultaneously presented events, offering attending industry a sneak peek at a number of titles that will almost certainly generate awards attention by the end of the year. Among these are just over 20 new documentaries, many of which I’ll highlight below: Continue reading

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Dokufest 2014 Overview

imagesRunning tomorrow, Saturday, August 16 through Sunday, August 24 in the Kosovar city of Prizren, Dokufest turns 13 with its latest curated selection of nonfiction from around the globe. Featuring more than 80 feature docs, the festival holds several competitions, recognizing international work, human rights, environmental, and regional cinema, as well as non-competitive special programs exploring religion, music, technology, experimental cinema, American, and Austrian themes, among others, plus several retrospectives and tributes honoring Barbara Kopple, Steve James, Michael Glawogger, and others. The following shines a spotlight on some of the less-covered films in this year’s lineup: Continue reading

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Sarajevo 2014: Documentary Overview

sarajevo-film-festival-2014This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sarajevo Film Festival, an event born in the strife of the Bosnian War while the city was still under siege. Since then, the fest has grown to be recognized as the most important film event in its region. Beginning tomorrow, Friday, August 15 and running through Saturday, August 23, the festival will screen over 200 total films, with nearly 40 feature docs represented. Among the latter are the following: Continue reading

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