IDFA 2014: Overview, Part Two

idfa_logoI covered IDFA‘s competitions yesterday, while today’s looks at the fest’s non-competitive programs. The festival’s 27th edition begins tomorrow evening, and runs through Sunday, November 30. Continue reading

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On VOD: THE MANOR

The_Manor_1.470x264Coming to VOD today, Tuesday, November 18: THE MANOR

Director Shawney Cohen and co-director Mike Gallay’s portrait of a strip club-owning family debuted at Hot Docs last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, Karlovy Vary, Zurich, Thessaloniki Doc, Woodstock, Bergen, Goteborg, and Planete+ Doc, among others. FilmBuff now releases the film to VOD platforms including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Xbox, PlayStation, Vudu, and Blinkbox.

I previously wrote about the film out of Hot Docs here.

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On VOD: 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH

20000 daysComing to VOD today, Tuesday, November 18: 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s Nick Cave docufiction debuted at Sundance this year, where it won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award. Screenings followed at Berlin, Sydney, True/False, Seattle, San Francisco, and IFF Boston, among others, before a limited theatrical release earlier this Fall.

I profiled the film before Sundance here.

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On TV: COLD WAR ROADSHOW

cold warComing to PBS’s American Experience tonight, Tuesday, November 18: COLD WAR ROADSHOW

Robert Stone and Tim B Toidze’s look back at the unprecedented tour of the US by a Soviet leader has traveled the festival circuit under the title KHRUSHCHEV DOES AMERICA, with stops at Hot Docs and Hot Springs, among other events.

Toidze and Stone’s film recaptures a clear sense of 1950s America in all of its anti-Communist hysteria, and how Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s two week visit unexpectedly precipitated a cautious thaw in the Cold War. In the Fall of 1959, the leader of the USSR touched down in Washington DC with his family, and his unexpected gregariousness prompted a media circus through the then-relatively new medium of television, with regular news coverage following Khrushchev to NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Iowa, and Pittsburgh before a series of talks with President Eisenhower at Camp David. Though his initial reception in NYC , shown here, saw the Premier greeted by thousands of silent onlookers, unwilling to cheer for the leader of the country’s number one enemy, Khrushchev soon upended the average American’s expectations of the Godless, evil Communist. The rotund, jocular man knew how to turn on the charm for the camera, generating proto-reality television fascination as he visited a farmer’s cornfield or hugged a little girl presenting flowers. Still, as noted in the film, Khrushchev wasn’t one to brook insult, leading to tense exchanges with the jingoistic Mayor of Los Angeles, and exasperation when a trip to Disneyland was cancelled for security reasons. Utilizing fantastic archival footage, as well as interviews with Khrushchev’s son and Ike’s granddaughter, among others, Toidze and Stone present a revealing, unusual slice of Cold War history.

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On DVD: WHAT NOW? REMIND ME

140612_WhatNowMain1Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, November 18: WHAT NOW? REMIND ME

Joaquim Pinto’s intimate exploration of disease had its world premiere at Locarno last year, where it won the FIPRESCI and Special Jury Prizes. Its fest circuit also included New York Film Festival, Rotterdam, Vancouver, QueerLisboa, Hong Kong, Thessaloniki Doc, RIDM, DocLisboa, San Francisco, CPH:DOX, Edinburgh, and Seattle, among others.

I previously wrote about the film here.

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On VOD: HOTLINE

1201x782-KEY-IMAGE-Hotline2-Photo-by-Tony-Shaff-copy-1160x652Coming to VOD today, Tuesday, November 18: HOTLINE

Tony Shaff’s exploration of the power of connections made between strangers debuted at Hot Docs. It has gone on to screen at DOC NYC, New Orleans, Denver, Portland, Rhode Island, Brooklyn, and Camden. Gravitas Ventures now releases the film on iTunes and other VOD platforms.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
Once ubiquitous, but surprisingly still in regular use despite our increasingly detached digital world, telephone hotlines connect strangers for a multiplicity of purposes. Some are for profit, others for the public good – from the titillation of phone sex or the spiritual advice of Ms. Cleo, to the lifesaving potential of a suicide prevention line. Tony Shaff’s inquisitive film explores what motivates individuals to reveal personal details of their lives in conversations with faceless strangers.

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IDFA 2014: Overview, Part One

idfa_logoThe 27th edition of the world’s premier nonfiction event, IDFA, begins this Wednesday, November 19, and presents approximately 175 new feature documentaries, plus dozens of retrospective screenings, shorts, transmedia, and more, before it wraps up on Sunday, November 30. I’ve greatly enjoyed traveling to Amsterdam for this event in the past, but will unfortunately be missing it again this year. The fest’s programming traditionally travels widely over the next year, so doc lovers should be sure to keep an eye out for the highlights noted below. Given IDFA’s size, I’ve split them up into two posts – competitions today, followed by the non-competitive sections tomorrow: Continue reading

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