deputizedComing to PBS’s America ReFramed series on the WORLD Channel tonight, Tuesday, April 15: DEPUTIZED

Susan Hagedorn and Amanda Zinoman’s investigation of a brutal hate crime premiered at Hamptons Take 2 Doc in 2012. It has also screened at Durango, Arizona, and San Antonio.

In a Long Island community that has seen a rapid growth of a Latino immigrant population, and an increase in their scapegoating by elected officials, seven teens face hate crime manslaughter charges after beating Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian man, to death. This tragic incident, the result of casual, random acts of violence pejoratively called “beaner hopping,” awakens awareness of other such crimes, under-reported when victims have been undocumented workers, and emboldens Lucero’s brother to become an advocate for his community. But Robert Conroy, the father of the supposed ringleader of the attack, takes issue with the media’s portrayal of his son. Hagedorn and Zinoman carefully balance their film, notably providing space for a multiplicity of perspectives, crafting an engaging and thought-provoking exploration of intolerance, scapegoating, and groupthink.

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endoftime_03Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, April 15: THE END OF TIME

Peter Mettler’s exploration of the concept of time made its debut at Locarno in 2012. It went on to screen at Toronto, Atlantic, Busan, Jihlava, RIDM, CPH:DOX, IDFA, Palm Springs, and BAFICI, among many others.

Tackling a subject that is simultaneously omnipresent yet elusive, Mettler weaves together a disparate series of gorgeously shot tableaux that theoretically illustrate or intersect with various conceptions of our experience of time. A tour of CERN’s particle accelerator, for example, imagines the recreation of conditions not seen since immediately following the Big Bang, while a visit to Detroit’s dilapidated buildings demonstrate the more recent ravages of temporality. Ultimately, no clear answer emerges in this part-essay, part-experimental doc – it’s hard to even know what to do with the question, “what is time?” as illustrated in the final moments of the film by the filmmaker’s aged mother – but it’s certainly successful in provoking a sense of wonder about something we take for granted.

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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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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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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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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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