On TV: AMERICAN ARAB

american arabComing to the WORLD Channel’s America ReFramed series this coming Tuesday, February 9: AMERICAN ARAB

Usama Alshaibi’s meditation on the Arab-American experience premiered at IDFA in 2013. Other fest screenings have included Big Sky, Chicago Underground, Cleveland, Stockholm, Revelation, Kansas City, and the San Francisco Arab Film Festival, among others.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: MOTLEY’S LAW

MOTLEYSLAW-KEYComing to Al Jazeera America this Sunday, February 7: MOTLEY’S LAW

Nicole N Horanyi’s portrait of a lawyer practicing in a foreign land made its debut at Chicago last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, where it won the Viewfinders competition, as well as CPH:DOX, IDFA, and Göteborg.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
More than five years into her practice as a defense lawyer in Kabul – the first and only Western lawyer, not to mention the only woman, licensed to work in the Afghan courts – no-nonsense attorney Kimberley Motley finds herself at a crossroads. Though originally motivated to provide for her children’s futures, her experiences have ignited a personal drive to fight against corruption and abuse. With the withdrawal of international troops looming, can Motley brave personal threats and an unstable country to continue her work?

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On TV: A BALLERINA’S TALE

ballerinaComing to PBS’s Independent Lens this coming Monday, February 8: A BALLERINA’S TALE

Nelson George’s profile of a dance world pioneer debuted at Tribeca last year. Screenings followed at Rio, Milwaukee, Urbanworld, Bentonville, Vancouver, Calgary, New Hampshire, and the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, among other events.

I previously wrote about the doc upon its theatrical and VOD release here.

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On TV: MICHAEL JACKSON’S JOURNEY FROM MOTOWN TO OFF THE WALL

michael jacksonComing to Showtime this Friday, February 5: MICHAEL JACKSON’S JOURNEY FROM MOTOWN TO OFF THE WALL

Spike Lee’s charting of the late icon’s evolution and maturation just debuted at Sundance. It now reaches broader audiences with its cable debut.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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SXSW 2016: Features Lineup Announced

sxsw film 2016After a sneak peek announcement of a selection of titles early last month, SXSW has just released their initial list of features, with additional announcements to come shortly. 47 of the 104 features and episodics announced so far are documentaries. Following is the list of documentary features, broken down by section: Continue reading

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On TV: OLD SOUTH

old southComing to The World Channel’s America ReFramed today, Tuesday, February 2: OLD SOUTH

Danielle Beverly’s look at a divided community made its debut at the Atlanta Film Festival last year. It has gone on to screen on the Southern Circuit, Sebastopol Doc, Indie Grits, SF DocFest, and the Afghanistan International Women’s film fests, among others.

Beverly investigates modern-day race relations in the South through the microcosm of a single neighborhood in Athens GA, the historically African American Hancock/Reese area near downtown. After the local university’s Kappa Alpha fraternity lose their house, their leaders purchase property within this neighborhood to construct a new frat house, with architecture that to some residents is reminiscent of old plantation styles. Given KA’s annual celebration of the antebellum period, and their seemingly exclusively white membership, neighborhood residents were wary – particularly Hope, whose mother’s home is the only survivor after KA demolishes the rest of the historically-black homes on the block. Beverly follows Hope’s efforts to have the neighborhood designated as an historic district, which will help prevent any further gentrification or destruction. At the same time, no matter what the local government decides, KA is there to stay, so the film also looks at the tentative efforts made to build bridges between longtime residents and the fraternity brothers, appealing to their reputation as a service-oriented organization, and finding common ground in a community garden project. Despite a too-condensed running time, utilizing a largely verité approach, Beverly profiles the two camps as they move from suspicion on on side and naïveté on the other, to cooperation and mutual respect.

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On VOD: FOR GRACE

FORGRACE-KEYComing to VOD today, Tuesday, February 2: FOR GRACE

Kevin Pang and Mark Helenowski’s portrait of a driven chef made its debut at SXSW last year. Other fests have included DOC NYC, Nashville, Hot Docs, Bentonville, Documentary Edge, Seattle, SF Doc Fest, Melbourne, Chicago, and Tallgrass. The doc now comes to iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and other VOD platforms via FilmBuff.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
Already recognized with two Michelin stars, chef Curtis Duffy has grander ambitions for his latest venture, Grace. If Duffy has his way, his new Chicago restaurant will receive three stars, and be recognized as the best in the country. But first, he has to open Grace to his exacting standards, and this perfectionism will come at a great personal cost. FOR GRACE expertly blends Duffy’s tragic personal story with an inside look at the world of luxury dining.

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