In Theatres: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, May 25:
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ

Director:
Kate Novack

Premiere:
Toronto 2017

Select Festivals:
IDFA, Tribeca, Palm Springs, CPH:DOX, RiverRun, Montclair, IFF Boston, Seattle, Melbourne Queer,

About:
A portrait of influential fashion editor André Leon Talley.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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Special Screening: A JIHAD FOR LOVE

Coming to NYC’s Stranger Than Fiction tomorrow, Thursday, May 24:
A JIHAD FOR LOVE

Director:
Parvez Sharma

Premiere:
Toronto 2007

Select Festivals:
Berlin, Rio, Thessaloniki Doc, Planete Doc Review, Ambulante, Morelia, Sheffield, Istanbul, Melbourne, Reykjavik, Helsinki, LGBT fests in San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Montreal, London, Boston, Miami, Torino, and Zurich

About:
Profiles of gay and lesbian Muslims in several countries.

Timed to the 10th anniversary of the film’s theatrical release in 2018, STF re-presents Sharma’s pioneering project, produced by Sandi duBowski (TREMBLING BEFORE G-D, and exploring the intersection of Islam and homosexuality. Years in the making and filmed at grave personal risk by the filmmaker and his subjects, Sharma’s doc explores the diversity of Muslim lives across more than a half dozen nations, from Iran and Egypt, where there are strict laws against homosexuality, to somewhat more tolerant countries like Turkey and India. A survey of this nature often results in a sense of repetition, more questions than answers, and a lack of context that is sometimes frustrating, but the poignant and at times provocative film succeeds in humanizing its subjects, and, most importantly, providing those who have been silenced with a platform to speak their truth.

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On DVD: OUR BLOOD IS WINE

New to DVD this week:
OUR BLOOD IS WINE

Director:
Emily Railsback

Premiere:
Berlin 2018

About:
An appreciation of the ancient winemaking traditions of the Republic of Georgia.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: WHO IS ARTHUR CHU?

Coming to PBS’s America ReFramed tonight, Tuesday, May 22:
WHO IS ARTHUR CHU?

Directors:
Scott J Drucker, Yu Gu

Premiere:
Slamdance 2017

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, CAAMFest, Cleveland, San Diego Asian, Austin Asian, Calgary Doc, DisOrient

About:
A portrait of the controversial JEOPARDY champion and vocal online cultural critic.

Chu found his proverbial 15 minutes of fame on the TV quiz show staple, JEOPARDY, amassing nearly $300,000 over his 11 wins. His controversial style of play led to a backlash demonstrating the worst of the Internet, with trolls deriding Chu’s appearance and ethnicity. Self-described as an angry nerd, the champion refused to back down, confronting his detractors and speaking out publicly about the toxic elements of nerd culture, including racism and sexism. Drucker and Gu’s profile follows Chu just as his time on JEOPARDY comes to an end, leaving him to figure out his next steps as a public speaker and writer, and what this means for his wife, burdened with a chronic illness. At the same time, Chu reflects on his upbringing as the son of Taiwanese immigrants, and how his fraught relationship with his father, in particular, helped shape his complex and conflicted feelings about being Asian American in a country that still views other races as outsiders. While quietly compelling at times, the film doesn’t always successfully balance these different elements of Chu’s story, and might have benefited from additional outside perspectives to create a fuller sense of why Chu emerged as such a contentious figure, as well as the broader questions of race, representation, and belonging about which he comments.

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Special Screening: SPIRAL

Coming to the JCC Manhattan tonight, Tuesday, May 22:
SPIRAL

Director:
Laura Fairrie

Premiere:
DOC NYC 2017

Select Festivals:
Washington DC Jewish, Montclair

About:
An exploration of the resurgence of Anti-Semitism in France.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and physical and verbal assaults against Jews are on the rise throughout Europe, particularly in France. In response to rising tensions and fears, many in the Jewish community decide to leave. Others, like lawyer Julien, remain behind to fight back against those who would fan the flames of hate, like popular comedian Dieudonné, known for his signature inverted Nazi salute. Director Laura Fairrie presents an urgent, alarming look at the impact of this free reign of hatred on the lives of ordinary people.

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On TV: ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM

Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens tonight, Monday, May 21:
ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM

Directors:
Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard

Premiere:
Tribeca 2017

Select Festivals:
AFI Docs, Montclair, Traverse City, Indie Memphis, Cucalorus, St Louis, Milwaukee, Napa Valley

About:
An exploration of the manufactured controversy that led to the downfall of a powerful community-based advocacy group.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: THE FINAL YEAR

Coming to HBO tonight, Monday, May 21:
THE FINAL YEAR

Director:
Greg Barker

Premiere:
Toronto 2017

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, London, IDFA

About:
An inside look at US foreign policy in the last year of the Obama administration.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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