Category Archives: Overviews

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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Locarno 2014: Documentary Overview

imagesTomorrow, Wednesday, August 6, is the kick off for the 67th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, which unspools approximately 100 features over the next ten days. The long running Summer event continues to surprise, positioned to introduce its eclectic fare in advance of the major Fall festivals when some of their selections will come to North America for the first time. In contrast to some of the other A-list fests, the Swiss festival affords significant space in its slate for nonfiction and hybrid work – approximately 30 features this year – with such offerings typically appearing spread throughout its sections rather than relegated to one ghettoized program. The following spotlights some of this work: Continue reading

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Sound + Vision 2014 Overview

BeautifulNoise5Returning to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for a second year, Sound + Vision assembles 15 feature documentaries, three retrospective screenings, and several live performances in its celebration of music-focused nonfiction. Opening the series tomorrow, Thursday, July 31, is Eric Green’s BEAUTIFUL NOISE (pictured), a revisitation of late 1980s/early 1990s shoegazing bands like Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, while Florian Habicht’s PULP, which follows the titular band’s final Sheffield concert, brings the event to a close on Wednesday, August 6.

windingOther new titles screening include: Tetsuaki Matsue’s FLASHBACK MEMORIES 3D, a profile of a semi-amnesiac Japanese didgeridoo player; Alejandro Franco’s FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK: THE STORY OF RODRIGO Y GABRIELA, about Mexican metal rockers-turned-Dublin street buskers; Javier Polo’s EUROPE IN 8 BITS, an exploration of the chipmusic phenomenon as it invades Europe; Kiley Kraskouskas’ THE LAST SONG BEFORE THE WAR, on Timbuktu’s annual Festival in the Desert; Petter Ringbom’s SHIELD AND SPEAR, a survey of the role of music in South African politics and society; and Beth Harrington’s THE WINDING STREAM (pictured), an engaging history of the influential and talented Carter and Cash families.

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