Category Archives: Film

Special Screening & On VOD: BOMBAY MOVIE

bombay movieComing to VOD and screening once at the IFC Center tomorrow, Tuesday, April 15: BOMBAY MOVIE

Alexandra Eaton’s look at indie filmmaking in India made its debut at the New York Indian Film Festival last year. It also screened at Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival. FilmBuff now releases the doc on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Movies on Demand, and other platforms.

Lured to Bombay, the home of Bollywood, Indian director Raja Menon cut his teeth making forgettable mainstream features that left him dissatisfied and failed to reflect the world he saw outside his window. Inspired by the stories of the working poor around him, Menon sets out to make a film very different from the fare that has popularized Bollywood around the world, recruiting an Italian producer and securing a sympathetic investor to help him realize his vision. Eaton’s hourlong film follows the production, with both expected headaches – shooting in an overcrowded metropolis and dealing with temperamental actors – and unanticipated hurdles – dodgy crew members who try to bilk the filmmakers, but gets much more interesting when the film is completed. Unable to find a distributor, the investor fronts additional money to allow the filmmakers to release it themselves, only to face serious competition from a major Bollywood blockbuster comedy, declining cinema attendance, and a seemingly apathetic public, leading Menon to wonder if there’s room for indie films in a Bollywood country.

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On VOD: JOURNEY TO PLANET X

journey_to_planet_x-2Coming to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, April 15: JOURNEY TO PLANET X

Myles Kane and Josh Koury’s look at a pair of amateur sci-fi filmmakers had its world premiere at Tribeca in 2012. It went on to screen at Denver, Traverse City, Sitges, Camden, Cucalorus, and Chicago Underground, among others. FilmBuff now brings the film to iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Movies on Demand, and other VOD platforms.

I previously wrote about the doc out of Tribeca here.

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On TV: THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI

large_trials_of_muhammad_ali_1_pubsComing to PBS’s Independent Lens this coming Monday, April 14: THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI

Bill Siegel’s exploration of Ali’s conscientious objection from serving in Vietnam made its debut at Tribeca last year. Its fest circuit included Seattle, Traverse City, San Francisco Jewish, Melbourne, and Montclair, among many others, before a limited theatrical and later VOD release.

I included the doc in my Tribeca coverage here.

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Art of the Real 2014 Overview

actressTomorrow, Friday, April 11 sees the opening of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s inaugural edition of Art of the Real, an expansion of the institution’s former monthly documentary series into a two-week showcase which aims to explode conceptions of nonfiction to boundary-pushing extremes through new and retrospective programming. Curated by the Film Society’s Dennis Lim and independent programmer Rachael Rakes, the series presents more than 50 docs and hybrid projects through Saturday, April 26, opening with Raya Martin and Mark Peranson’s LA ÚLTIMA PELÍCULA and Corneliu Porumboiu’s THE SECOND GAME, and closing with Robert Greene’s ACTRESS (pictured). The following highlights offer a look at other selections: Continue reading

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In Theatres: A FRAGILE TRUST

A-Fragile-Trust-Key-Image-280x140Coming to theatres this Friday, April 11: A FRAGILE TRUST: PLAGIARISM, POWER, AND JAYSON BLAIR AT THE NEW YORK TIMES

Samantha Grant’s indepth examination of the notorious newspaper scandal made its debut at Sheffield last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, the Hamptons, Hawaii, Denver, Big Sky, Thessaloniki, Atlanta, Sebastopol Doc, and Cleveland, among others.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program saying:
In 2003, it was revealed that New York Times reporter Jayson Blair was a plagiarist, regularly cobbling together his articles from others found on the Internet or otherwise fabricating facts. This precipitated the lowest point in the Grey Lady’s history, leading to an editorial regime change, resignations, and a review of hiring practices. Samantha Grant goes straight to the source, securing interviews with Blair and his former colleagues to reveal the complex interplay of power, race, ambition and competition at the heart of the story.

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In Theatres: DANCING IN JAFFA

dancing in jaffaComing to theatres this Friday, April 11: DANCING IN JAFFA

Hilla Medalia’s look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through pre-teen ballroom dance made its debut at Tribeca last year. It went on to screen at DocAviv, Sydney, Munich, and Jewish fests in Miami, Boston, London, Palm Beach, Calgary, San Francisco, DC, and elsewhere.

I previously included the doc in my Tribeca coverage here.

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On DVD/VOD: BAYOU BLUE

Bayou_Blue-1345656312Coming to DVD and VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, April 8: BAYOU BLUE

Alix Lambert and David McMahon’s serial killer investigation debuted at IDFA in 2011. It went on to screen at New Orleans, BFI London, and Poland’s American film fest, among others.

Between 1997 and 2006, Ronald Dominique raped and murdered more than twenty men in Louisiana. Most of his victims were African American, gay, and poor, marginalized men who rarely commanded the attention of either law enforcement or the media – unless they themselves were breaking the law – enabling Dominique to continue his killing spree. Exacerbating this bias was the chaos that ensued due to Hurricane Katrina, straining already overtaxed resources in the state. Lambert and McMahon return with local police to the scenes of Dominique’s crimes to reconstruct the case, interview family members about the victims, and question how and why issues of race, regionalism, homophobia, and class prevented what seems to have had the sensationalistic potential to captivate a national audience – possibly enabling Dominique’s apprehension far earlier – from being more than a small, local concern.

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On DVD: I AM DIVINE

i am divineComing to DVD this coming Tuesday, April 8: I AM DIVINE

Jeffrey Schwarz’s love letter to the infamous star of John Waters’ trash cinema had its world premiere at SXSW last year. Its fest circuit also included New Orleans’ Film-O-Rama, Cleveland, Nashville, Sheffield, Sydney, and Provincetown, Inside Out, Frameline, and Outfest.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres: THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN

galapagos affairComing to theatres tomorrow, Friday, April 4: THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN

Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller’s mesmerizing stranger-than-fiction island murder mystery made its debut last year at Telluride. It went on to screen at the Hamptons, Berlin, New Orleans filmOrama, Palm Springs, Vail, and Bermuda, among others.

Goldfine and Geller recount the strange story of Floreana, an uninhabited island of the Galapagos – until a pair of Germans – Dr Friedrich Ritter, and his patient and partner, Dore Strauch – showed up in 1929, seeking an escape from civilization. Viewed as curiosities, reports of their life on the island spread by visiting seaman to newspapers internationally, eventually drawing fellow Germans Heinz and Margret Wittmer in 1931. Though the first couple had viewed Floreana as theirs exclusively, they begrudgingly helped the Wittmers when pregnant Margaret gave birth to their son, but largely kept to their own side of the island. The uneasy equilibrium the Germans tried to maintain was completely upset, however, when Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bosquet arrived, an Austrian who claimed to be a Baroness. With two lovers in tow, the grandstanding Baroness announced her plans to build a hotel and turn Floreana into a tourist destination – anathema to the rest of the island’s inhabitants. These competing philosophies set up a powderkeg on the island, and what follows is contested, but serves as the crux of Goldfine and Geller’s intriguing history, which is further peppered with the unique experiences of modern-day Galapagos residents.

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Sarasota 2014: Documentary Overview

sarasota 2014Tomorrow, Friday, April 4, sees the start of the 16th annual Sarasota Film Festival, the popular Florida film festival that runs through Sunday, April 13. Featuring approximately 200 films, Sarasota’s lineup typically includes a robust selection of nonfiction, with 50 feature docs included this year. Among these are two Sundance titles in key gala slots, Rory Kennedy’s opening night film, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM and Andrew Rossi’s centerpiece, IVORY TOWER. While several more Sundance and SXSW titles figure in Sarasota’s selections, the following overview focuses on other nonfiction picks that perhaps haven’t already benefited from that kind of festival spotlight:

I AM A GIRLWomen-centric films shine in the Through Women’s Eyes sidebar, including: Rebecca Barry’s profile of six diverse female experiences, I AM A GIRL (pictured); Mary Dore’s women’s liberation chronicle, SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY; Yasmin Kidwai’s story of female self-empowerment, NO PROBLEM! (SIX MONTHS WITH THE BAREFOOT GRANDMAMAS); and Jared Brock and Michelle Brock sex trafficking exposé, RED LIGHT GREEN LIGHT.

IN COUNTRYThe fest’s Acts of Valor section pays tribute to the American soldier and their post-combat experiences. Among the documentaries here are: Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson’s TERRA FIRMA, about female combat vets’ struggles with PTSD; and Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara’s IN COUNTRY (pictured), exploring what drives veterans or enlisted men to re-enact the Vietnam War as a weekend hobby.

ENDURING BEAUTY OF MEMORYThe local filmmakers section, Florida on Film, includes: Durand Adams, Charles Clapsaddle, and Charles Williams’ meditation on memory, THE ENDURING BEAUTY OF MEMORY (pictured); and Daniel Espeut’s circus family portrait, GREASEPAINT.

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