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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On DVD: TAKE ME TO THE RIVER

takemetotheriverComing to DVD this Friday, February 5: TAKE ME TO THE RIVER

Martin Shore’s celebration of Memphis soul music premiered at SXSW last year, winning an audience award. The doc also screened at Nashville, deadCENTER, Maine, Sonoma, and Documentary Edge, among other events.

I previously wrote about the doc here

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On VOD: GAME FACE

GAMEFACE-KEYComing to VOD today, Monday, February 1: GAME FACE

Michiel Thomas’ look at the coming out process of two LGBT athletes made its bow at the Miami LGBT film fest last year. In addition to DOC NYC, it toured extensively on the LGBT circuit, including Frameline, QDoc, Inside Out, FilmOut San Diego, Vancouver, Real Affirmations, Mix Copenhagen, and Austin, among others. The doc now premieres exclusively on VOD on Netflix before expanding to other platforms including iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Prime tomorrow.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
While societal acceptance of LGBT people has grown significantly in recent years, resistance remains in certain domains, such as the sports world. GAME FACE follows two athletes who are contemplating coming out: Mixed Martial Artist Fallon Fox, a transgender woman who worries about unwanted media scrutiny, and Terrence Clemens, an up-and-coming college basketball player seeking redemption for past mistakes. Michiel Thomas captures their struggles and triumphs as they navigate the fraught terrain of living their lives openly in the public eye.

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Special Screening: OXD: ONE EXTRAORDINARY DAY

OXDONEEXTRAORDINARYDAY-KEYComing to NYC’s Stranger Than Fiction series tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2: OXD: ONE EXTRAORDINARY DAY

Craig Lowy’s chronicle of an ambitious series of performance spectacles made its bow at DOC NYC last year. It now opens Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen’s Winter season of their popular IFC Center doc series.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
Elizabeth Streb’s Extreme Action Company has been thrilling audiences around the world since 1985, but never before have they attempted to pull off something as challenging as One Extraordinary Day, a centerpiece culture event celebrating the London Summer Olympics. Craig Lowy’s exhilarating film follows the Brooklyn troupe from auditions, through rehearsals, to the performance of seven death-defying dance spectacles on some of the UK capital’s most famous landmarks, including Millennium Bridge and the London Eye.

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