On DVD: DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, September 18:
DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?

Director:
Travis Wilkerson

Premiere:
Sundance 2017

Select Festivals:
True/False, Locarno, Camden, New York, Denver, Rotterdam

About:
The filmmaker interrogates an obscured incident from his family’s past involving the murder of an African American man.

I profiled the film before Sundance here.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

In Theatres: GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE

Photograph by Judy Teller | Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Wednesday, September 19:
GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE

Director:
Sasha Waters Freyer

Premiere:
SXSW 2018

Select Festivals:
San Francisco, New Zealand, Thin Line, Vancouver, Haifa

About:
A history and appreciation of acclaimed street photographer.

Garry Winogrand was known for a body of work that encompassed street photography as well as acclaimed publications of American life in Texas and California in the 1960s. Though prone to montages, Freyer makes good use of a rich archive of Winogrand’s striking images in this watchable but fairly straightforward artist portrait, while the photographer himself, who died of cancer in 1984, is represented largely through a frank audio interview with fellow photographer Jay Maisel. Admirers help position his work among those photographers who changed popular understanding of photography from a discipline that illustrated magazine articles to an art form. Taking on particular resonance is work that was produced later in his career, including photo books WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL, which was met with scorn, seen as emblematic of the male gaze coming at the height of feminism; and PUBLIC RELATIONS, focused on the creation of images rather than notable events themselves, a sort of harbinger of the selfie generation.

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Urbanworld 2018: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 22nd annual Urbanworld Film Festival

Dates:
September 19-23

About:
Just seven documentaries appear among the 25 features presented at the long-running NYC event, which celebrates work by African American and multicultural filmmakers. Continue reading

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Special Screening: BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY

Coming to NYC’s Stranger Than Fiction tomorrow, Tuesday, September 18:
BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY

Director:
Dava Whisenant

Premiere:
Tribeca 2018

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Hot Docs, AFI Docs, Traverse City, Nashville, Sidewalk, Mill Valley, Vancouver

About:
A comedy writer becomes obsessed with corporate musicals.

I previously wrote about the doc for Nantucket’s program, saying:
As a comedy writer researching a segment for the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, Steve Young stumbled upon the wonderfully strange world of Broadway-style industrial musicals created by companies like General Electric and Ford to motivate their sales teams at private corporate retreats. Absurd but delightful productions like LIPTON ON THE MOVE and THE BATHROOMS ARE COMING! became Steve’s obsession. Dava Whisenant follows him in his entertaining quest to uncover the secret history of this unusual corporate American art form.

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On TV: 93QUEEN

Coming to PBS’s POV tonight, Monday, September 17:
93QUEEN

Director:
Paula Eiselt

Premiere:
Hot Docs 2018

Select Festivals:
San Francisco Jewish, Marfa, Charlotte Jewish

About:
A driven woman faces controversy when she sets out to form the first all-female Hasidic EMT corps.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres: SCIENCE FAIR

Coming to theatres today, Friday, September 14:
SCIENCE FAIR

Directors:
Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster

Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
SXSW, Edinburgh, Cleveland, New Zealand, Vancouver, Sun Valley, Portland, Provincetown

About:
A profile of participants in the world’s premier science fair.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here here.

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In Theatres: THE DAWN WALL

Coming to theatres today, Friday, September 14:
THE DAWN WALL

Directors:
Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer

Premiere:
IDFA 2017

Select Festivals:
SXSW, Banff Mountain, Mountainfilm, Melbourne, Greenwich

About:
Two free climbers attempt to scale a seemingly unscalable rock face.

Named for the section of Yosemite’s El Capitan sheer rock face that captures the first light of the day, Lowell and Mortimer’s appealing film chronicles the 2015 effort of climbing partners Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson to ascend the granite monolith. The pair are free climbers, only using ropes as supports in case they slip. El Capitan has long been declared an impossible goal for free climbers, but Caldwell – whose background contains a few surprises – has been wanting to conquer it for a decade. The well-shot film is its most engaging and even thrilling as it shadows the two men for the nineteen days of their attempt, witnessing the punishing lengths they take to complete sections of the course, and celebrating their dedication and teamwork. The filmmakers struggle with pacing, however, interrupting the flow of their climb with sometime superfluous interviews apparently meant to inject more human interest long after it’s really needed, as well as with structure. Given the worldwide media attention the pair received, it’s a strange decision to have the entire narrative hinge on the foregone conclusion of their climb, only to abruptly end with very little reflection from the men afterward.

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