In Theatres: WHILE I BREATHE, I HOPE

Coming to NYC’s Stuart Cinema tomorrow, Saturday, August 17:
WHILE I BREATHE, I HOPE

Director:
Emily Harrold

Premiere:
New Orleans 2018

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Hot Springs Doc, Cucalorus, Toronto Black, Oxford,

About:
A portrait of a young African-American politician in the South.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres: WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE?

Coming to theatres today, Friday, August 16:
WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE?

Director:
Roberto Minervini

World Premiere:
Venice 2018

Select Festivals:
Toronto, New York, CPH:DOX, Sheffield, Busan, London, Rotterdam, Göteborg, Mar del Plata, Valdivia, Vancouver, Vilnius, DocPoint, Docs Against Gravity, Munich

About:
An exploration of race in the American South.

Following his focus on marginalized white Louisianans in THE OTHER SIDE, Italian director Roberto Minervini turns his attention to African American subjects, weaving together four separate strands and once again employing his usual hybridized storytelling, where subjects at times may be performing versions of themselves for his camera. The most impactful of the storylines centers on Judy Hill, a woman who has pushed past addiction to try to start over, opening a bar that functions as a de facto community gathering place, only to see gentrification snatch it back from her. Quieter but also effective are the scenes devoted to the protective relationship between brothers Ronaldo and Titus, as well as their mother, worried about the fate of young black men in American society. Had Minervini stopped there, and further fleshed out these characters, the project might have been more compelling as a whole. Instead, the film brings in two lesser threads that are either jarringly incorporated or feel like an afterthought – the former, a look at the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, and its leader Krystal Muhammad; the latter, underdeveloped, almost throwaway scenes with the Mardi Gras Indians. Given that the four strands never intersect, the film already has an uneven and not wholly satisfying feel, but the incorporation of these additional strands unfortunately exacerbate the disconnect and draw the project out to an unnecessary length without providing any additional revelations.

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On VOD: INVENTING TOMORROW

New to VOD via Amazon Prime this week:
INVENTING TOMORROW

Director:
Laura Nix

Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Hot Docs, CPH:DOX, Seattle, Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco, Full Frame, AFI Docs, Woods Hole, Greenwich, Montclair, Dokufest

About:
A profile of several international students pursuing answers to environmental issues in their science fair projects.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY

Coming to theatres and to Hulu today, Friday, August 16:
THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY

Director:
Ben Berman

World Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, BAMcinemaFest, Sydney, New Zealand, San Francisco Jewish, Sheffield

About:
An attempt to chronicle a dying magician’s final tour grows increasingly bizarre.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On VOD: THE GOLD SPINNERS

Coming to OVID.tv tomorrow, Friday, August 16:
THE GOLD SPINNERS

Directors:
Kiur Aarma and Hardi Volmer

World Premiere:
Sydney 2014

Select Festivals:
Melbourne, United Nations Association, Message to Man, Monterrey, Vilnius, Cinema Verite

About:
A look back at the only commercial advertising agency in the Soviet Union.

Established in 1967, at the height of the Cold War, the Estonian company Eesti Reklaamfilm had the distinction of being the sole advertising firm for the Soviet Union. Despite operating within a socialist economy that rejected the consumerism of capitalism, the studio was allowed to operate, creating advertisements – often for products that were unavailable or simply didn’t exist. Directors Kiur Aarma and Hardi Volmer tell the story of Eesti Reklaamfilm and its enterprising head, Peedu Ojamaa, smartly incorporating a wide range of archival clips to give the viewer a sense of just how strange and colorful their commercials were. While the storytelling is, on the whole, fairly academic beyond that, with a great deal of narration and talking heads, the subject matter is unusual and fascinating enough to elevate the project.

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Sarajevo 2019: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 25th Sarajevo Film Festival

Dates:
August 16-23

About:
Celebrating an anniversary year, this Bosnian and Herzegovinan event – founded during the siege of Sarajevo – presents 35 documentaries among its approximately 100 new or recent features. Continue reading

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In Theatres: AQUARELA

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, August 16:
AQUARELA

Director:
Victor Kossakovsky

World Premiere:
Venice 2018

Select Festivals:
Sundance, IDFA, SXSW, CPH:DOX, London, BAFICI, Zurich, Göteborg, El Gouna, DocPoint, Glasgow, Revelation Perth, Docs Against Gravity, Biografilm, Istanbul

About:
A round-the-world exploration of water in its various forms.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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