Wrapping up my reactions to films from this year’s Hot Docs, this post looks at a few of the remaining programming sections not covered in previous posts (here, here, and here). These include the playful and subversive Nightvision, thematic focus on Rule Breakers & Innovators, and the art, music, and culture strand Next. Continue reading
Category Archives: Recommendations
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s impressionistic portrait of Detroit made its debut at Sundance last year, picking up the best documentary editing award. Its fest circuit included True/False, Cleveland, Hot Docs, DocAviv, Silverdocs, Milwaukee, Documentary Edge, and Traverse City, among others. Following a theatrical release, the doc made the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature.
I profiled the film before Sundance here.
Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, May 24: WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS
Alex Gibney’s exploration of the history of Julian Assange’s controversial site, and its intersection with Bradley Manning, had its world premiere earlier this year at Sundance. Since then, the doc has screened at Sydney and is part of Seattle’s lineup.
My pre-Sundance profile on the doc may be found here.
Next in my Hot Docs coverage catch up are a selection of films appearing in the festival’s non-competitive Special Presentations and World Showcase sections. I’ll round it up with one additional post later this week looking at the remaining programming strands. Continue reading
With the currently-running Cannes Film Festival setting the arthouse slate for the upcoming year, my latest curated selections for Hulu’s Documentaries page celebrate cinephilia. Watch these films about filmmakers and filmmaking for free now!
For more information about the selections, see my Indiewire article.
As with my recent Tribeca roundups, I’m going to continue my attempt to catch up on festival coverage with a series of posts this week on Hot Docs, which wrapped up its 20th anniversary edition earlier this month. I previously wrote about AMERICAN COMMUNE, THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE, I WILL BE MURDERED, and RIVER in a festival dispatch for Indiewire here, but am planning to share my thoughts on more then thirty more films. This post covers docs featured in the two competition sections, International Spectrum and Canadian Spectrum. The winners of the former included: Best International Feature Documentary to DRAGON GIRLS, Special Jury Prize to CLOUDY MOUNTAINS, HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award to 12 O’CLOCK BOYS, and Best Mid-Length Documentary to THE CIRCLE. Continue reading
Coming to the theatres tomorrow, Wednesday, May 22: PLIMPTON! STARRING GEORGE PLIMPTON AS HIMSELF
Tom Bean and Luke Poling’s portrait of an unlikely citizen celebrity premiered at Silverdocs last year. Its fest run has included DOC NYC, Martha’s Vineyard, Camden, Hamptons, Hot Springs, Austin, Palm Springs, Cleveland, Oxford, and RiverRun, among others.
I previously wrote about the doc out of Silverdocs for Indiewire, saying:
Tom Bean and Luke Poling’s comprehensive portrait of the late Renaissance/Everyman made its world premiere at the festival this week. Known for both his forays into participatory journalism and as the co-founder/editor of THE PARIS REVIEW, Plimpton emerges as a fascinating subject – willing to be the ultimate amateur – trying his hand at stand-up, football, and the flying trapeze for the sake of an experiential story – despite criticisms, while also cultivating the talents of multiple generations of authors through his influential journal. Smartly constructed, using copious archival interviews to allow Plimpton to largely tell his own story, Bean and Poling’s documentary is a brilliant example of creative biographical filmmaking.
The 39th edition of the Seattle International Film Festival began this past Thursday, May 16 and runs through Sunday, June 9, making it among the longest and biggest film festivals in the world. With a huge lineup which mixes a number of world and North American premieres with standouts from films that have recently debuted at other major fests like Toronto, Berlin, Sundance, and SXSW, the event has plenty to offer Seattle cinephiles. This includes a robust nonfiction component, with nearly 70 documentary features as part of its 200 strong feature program, including its high profile Centerpiece gala slot, Sundance alum TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM. This year, I’ve been serving as a documentary programming consultant to the festival, so I’ll be attending for about a week at the end of the month. Highlighted below are a number of new docs to check out from the different sections of the festival: Continue reading
Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21: LA SOURCE
Patrick Shen’s look at one Haitian man’s quest to improve his village debuted at Silverdocs last year. It went on to screen at DocuWeeks, DocuWest, Big Sky, Newport Beach, Sarasota, Atlanta, and Palm Springs, among other fests.
I previously wrote about the doc here.
Mark Neale’s chronicle of the trials and triumphs of developing zero emissions motorcycles seems to have largely bypassed film festivals, though it did win an award at Vegas Independent in 2011. The film is part of Cinedigm’s new seven-film program bringing feature documentaries to theatres weekly in up to fifteen US markets, including NYC, LA, Pasadena, Encino, San Diego, Palm Desert, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Hartford, New Haven, Ithaca, Richmond, and Helena. The films are also available for additional theatrical-on-demand screenings via Tugg. In NYC, Cinema Village will screen the doc next Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Narrated by racing fan Ewan McGregor, Neale’s film focuses on the world’s first zero-emissions motorcycle grand prix, held in the Summer of 2009 on the Isle of Man, home of the most legendary and difficult course in the sport. With practice courses and other prep for the annual regular race already taxing the Isle’s infrastructure, and the patience of its residents, the decision to devote even more time to an unorthodox electric vehicle version is met with skepticism if not downright resistance. Neale follows several teams in the lead-up to the race, out to prove the viability of an electric motorcycle that can complete the challenging course on one charge with the same thrill as their fossil-fueled kin. At the center of this international assemblage are the cocky US team, MotoCzysz, who have sunk $350,000 into their bike, and Team Agni, which taps into the genius of Cedric Lynch, an eccentric pioneer whose innovative motor design is used in several of the competitors’ vehicles. Mechanically minded viewers would likely find more to appreciate in numerous garage and workshop scenes as engineers work out kinks and discuss torque and whatnot, but even those with zero interest in racing will find the film engaging. Neale is able to generate genuine tension about whether the teams will successfully finish their designs, make it to the race, and even finish – both at the inaugural event in 2009 and at the follow up in 2010 – and the green theme at its core should draw an unlikely but appreciative additional audience.