Category Archives: Recommendations

In Theatres: TRUE SON

true-son.10107268.87Coming to theatres today, Friday, October 31: TRUE SON

Kevin Gordon’s portrait of young man’s entry into local politics had its world premiere at Tribeca this Spring. The doc has gone on to SF DocFest, Oakland Underground, the United Nations Association, and the upcoming Indie Memphis film fests.

Michael Tubbs already beat the odds once, taking the charismatic African American young man from the beleaguered city of Stockton CA to the halls of Stanford University. Having completed his studies, Tubbs isn’t content to put his past behind him – instead, he returns home, ready to make a difference in a city with serious problems. His solution, borne of late-night dorm talks: run for city council and unseat an incumbent who seems content with the status quo – despite a lack of experience and funds. While he faces an uphill battle, his passion, and ability to rally otherwise disinterested young adults, gives Tubbs a fighting chance – even if Stockton’s electoral rules systemically make it unlikely for minority candidates to win seats. While fairly conventionally constructed, Gordon’s film benefits greatly from the engaging personalities of Tubbs and his campaign team to rally audience engagement, making this an appealing entry in the nonfiction subgenre of political campaign docs.

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2014 DOC NYC in Focus: Centerstage

still dreamingDOC NYC features four new sections for 2014. The first, Centerstage, focuses on performance: Continue reading

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In Theatres: BRADDOCK AMERICA

braddockComing to NYC’s Anthology Film Archives today, Friday, October 31: BRADDOCK AMERICA

Jean-Loïc Portron and Gabriella Kessler’s portrait of a former steeltown debuted at La Rochelle’s Escales Documentaires last year. It went on to screen in a sidebar program at Cannes, Thessaloniki Doc, Cleveland, Lussas, Nashville, France’s International Environmental, and Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers film fests.

Braddock PA was once at the heart of US steel, but as that industry collapsed, so to did the town, losing the majority of its population. Expertly employing copious archival footage and often emotional interviews with residents, Portron and Kessler chronicle the decline of the town through the decades, leading to today’s sad present, with shuttered factories and mills, rows of abandoned houses, and a crumbling infrastruture. Still, against this backdrop, the community tries to maintain hope, banding together to manage small-scale maintenance projects in the absence of funding or to protest the shuttering of the only hospital. From their outside perspective, and notably without fetishizing the urban decay, the French filmmakers craft an at times affecting look at the wages of greed on post-industrial America, as localized in one town and the challenges it faces.

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On Cable: DOWNLOADED

downloaded_documentary_a_lComing to VH1 Rock Docs this Sunday, November 2: DOWNLOADED

Alex Winter’s chronicle of the rise and fall of Napster debuted at SXSW last year. The film went on to Cleveland, Hot Docs, Martha’s Vineyard, and Sydney, a limited theatrical release, and VOD.

I included the doc in my SXSW coverage here.

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In Theatres: POINT AND SHOOT

point-blog480Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, October 31: POINT AND SHOOT

Marshall Curry’s profile of an unlikely freedom fighter in Libya had its debut at Tribeca, winning the Best Documentary Award. It went on to screen at Hot Docs, Maryland, AFI Docs, IFF Boston, Nashville, Traverse City, New Zealand, and Melbourne, among others.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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2014 DOC NYC in Focus: International Perspectives

everyMoving beyond the US to the rest of the world, International Perspectives closes out today’s DOC NYC 2014 preview: Continue reading

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On VOD & In LA Theatres: SHOWRUNNERS

showrunners_592x299Coming to VOD and to Los Angeles theatres tomorrow Friday, October 31: SHOWRUNNERS: THE ART OF RUNNING A TV SHOW

Des Doyle’s exploration of the world of television creation premiered in Ireland as part of Dublin’s Stranger Than Fiction doc festival. It has also screened at Zurich and Austin, and now comes to VOD platforms, with a theatrical engagement in LA.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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