Category Archives: Releases

On Cable: LOST FOR LIFE

lost for lifeComing to Lifetime Movie Network tonight, Monday, September 1: LOST FOR LIFE

Joshua Rofé’s portrait of youth facing life behind bars premiered at AFI Docs last year. Further festival screenings included Nantucket, Annapolis, and Middleburg.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On DVD/VOD: FOR NO GOOD REASON

fornogoodreason_01Coming to DVD and VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, September 2: FOR NO GOOD REASON

Charlie Paul’s profile of Hunter S Thompson’s illustration partner debuted at Toronto last year. It has also screened at BFI London, Biografilm, Palm Springs, Florida, CPH:DOX, and Dallas, among others.

I previously wrote about the doc out of Toronto here.

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On VOD: BARZAN

Barzan_KeyArtComing to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, September 2: BARZAN

Bradley Hutchinson and Alex Stonehill’s investigation of a family’s battle with a terrorism accusation had its premiere at Sarasota last year. It went on to Seattle, Woodstock, Warsaw, Heartland, and Tallgrass. It now comes to iTunes, Amazon Prime, Amazon Instant Play, and Vimeo on Demand.

Sam Malkandi, a Kurd who emigrated to Seattle with his family, finds himself caught in a Kafka-esque purgatory of detention without trial after a mention of his childhood nickname, Barzan, links him to al Qaeda. While he denies any involvement with the terrorist organization, offering an unusual but not wholly unbelievable explanation, his case is hopeless when it’s discovered that he falsified information to gain asylum status in the US, and he is eventually deported back to Kurdistan, leaving his wife and children behind. Malkandi is a curious figure, sympathetic but at the same time never fully convincing, a former actor and theatre director whose past willingness to shape his background casts doubt on the testimonials provided by devoted family and friends. This is something the filmmakers perhaps could have teased out a bit more to render this otherwise fairly conventionally approached, interview-driven film with more complexity. Still, they succeed in revealing an intimate portrait of the human cost of the unforgiving War on Terror – something not unique to Malkandi and his family.

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On DVD/VOD: CITIZEN KOCH

Citizen-Koch-Key-Image-Courtesy-Matt-Wisniewski-580x300Coming to DVD and VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, September 2: CITIZEN KOCH

Carl Deal and Tia Lessin’s exploration of corporate interests on democracy debuted at Sundance last year. Other festival engagements have included DOC NYC, Full Frame, Sarasota, Traverse City, Wisconsin, Big Sky, and Citizen Jane, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On DVD: AMERICAN PROMISE

american promiseComing to DVD this coming Tuesday, September 2: AMERICAN PROMISE

Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson’s twelve-year chronicle of African American education had its premiere at Sundance last year, where it won a special jury award. Screenings followed at the New York Film Festival, Full Frame, Hot Springs, Montclair, Pan African, and DokuFest, among many more.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

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On TV: AFTER TILLER

after tillerComing to PBS’s POV this coming Monday, September 1: AFTER TILLER

Lana Wilson and Martha Shane’s intimate portrait of women’s health providers debuted at Sundance last year. It went on to screen at Hot Docs, Seattle, Sheffield, True/False, AFI Docs, and Full Frame, among many others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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In Theatres: THE NAKED ROOM

naked roomComing to NYC’s Anthology Film Archives tomorrow, Friday, August 29: THE NAKED ROOM

Nuria Ibáñez’s raw exploration of troubled children had its world premiere at Mexico’s FICUNAM last year. It went on to screen at DocsDF, Ambulante, Morelia, BAFICI, Thessaloniki Doc, Hola Mexico, and Rendezvous with Madness.

Taking place entirely within a single room – a hospital’s pediatric psychologist’s office – Ibáñez’s deceptively uncomplicated film hones in on the faces of young girls and boys as they are coaxed to reveal a host of debilitating concerns, from mental illness to the aftermath of sexual abuse. Responding to an offscreen therapist, and the occasional comments from their parents, the young subjects lay bare personal trauma, struggling to articulate what would be difficult even for adults. Taking a simple yet rigorous formalistic approach, Ibáñez forces the viewer to confront her subjects on their own level for the duration of the film, in the process offering validation and empathy for their pain.

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