On TV/DVD: BOSS: THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN BUSINESS

Coming to PBS and to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23:
BOSS: THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN BUSINESS

Director:
Stanley Nelson

Premiere:
Pan African 2019

Select Festivals:
African Disapora

About:
An exploration of the history of African American entrepreneurship and business.

The spirit of enterprise is a defining characteristic of the American Dream, but, with few exceptions, popular historical examples of successful entrepreneurs are generally white males. Stanley Nelson offers a corrective in this historical survey that stretches from slavery to the present. In addition to briefly profiling several individuals who may have been known within African American circles but largely were ignored outside, like Madam CJ Walker, who became the wealthiest woman in America, black or white, through her hair care empire, the film offers fascinating insight into systemic efforts to exclude African Americans from financial self-reliance and success, from the mishandling of the Freedman’s Savings Bank to the economic roots of lynching.

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Special Screening: KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

Coming to NYC’s Pure Nonfiction at IFC Center tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23:
KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

Director:
Rachel Lears

Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
SXSW, Hot Docs, True/False, Full Frame, Athena, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago Doc 10

About:
Four progressive political newcomers – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – seek to unseat entrenched incumbents.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On TV & On DVD: CHARM CITY

Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens tonight, Monday, April 22 and to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23:
CHARM CITY

Director:
Marilyn Ness

Premiere:
Tribeca 2018

Select Festivals:
AFI Docs, Human Rights Watch, Maryland, Nashville, Mill Valley, GlobeDocs

Notable Recognition:
The doc was shortlisted for the Academy Awards.

About:
A multifaceted exploration of the crisis of violence in Baltimore.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: ELEPHANT PATH/NJAIA NJOKU

Coming to PBS’s Doc World this Sunday, April 21:
ELEPHANT PATH/NJAIA NJOKU

Director:
Todd McGrain

Premiere:
San Francisco DocFest 2018

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Sebastopol Doc, Washington DC Environmental, Congo, Sedona, Portland, Oaxaca, Zimbabwe, Wisconsin, Princeton Environmental

About:
The elephants of the Central African Republic – and those who protect and study them – are threatened by both civil war and poaching.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
In the forests of the Central African Republic, one of the last wild herds of elephants struggles for survival. While scientists study these magnificent, vital creatures, conservationists and eco-guards work to save them from poachers emboldened by political unrest and economic instability. Set against the luminous natural beauty of an ancient forest and paired with a hauntingly beautiful score, Todd McGrain’s film explores the complexity of stemming violence against people and animals alike in war-torn nations.

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In Theatres: INSTANT DREAMS

Coming to theatres today, Friday, April 19:
INSTANT DREAMS

Director:
Willem Baptist

Premiere:
IDFA 2017

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Thessaloniki Doc, Sofia, Docs Against Gravity, Jihlava, Slamdance, SF DocFest, Visions du Reel, IndieStreet

About:
Fans of Polaroid are determined not to let its magic vanish.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
A casualty of the digital revolution, Polaroid instant film and cameras were meant to fade quietly into oblivion when the company stopped production in 2008. Following three enthusiasts bent on keeping the instant dream alive, director Willem Baptist takes viewers on a hallucinatory quest to discover the secret chemical formula for Polaroid film. His documentary develops like prints pulled out of instant cameras, magically coming into focus as something wonderful appears before your eyes.

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On DVD: LATE LIFE: THE CHIEN-MING WANG STORY

New to DVD this week:
LATE LIFE: THE CHIEN-MING WANG STORY

Director:
Frank W Chen

Premiere:
Los Angeles Asian Pacific 2018

Select Festivals:
NY Asian American International, San Francisco CAAMFest

About:
A former NY Yankee and Taiwanese hero attempts a comeback.

Celebrated as the first Taiwanese NY Yankee, earning him national praise in his homeland as “the Pride of Taiwan,” Chien-Ming Wang had a successful, if short, stint with that team before injuries derailed his path. Though he bounced between other teams after the Yankees, Wang’s injuries largely kept him from major league play, forced instead into instructional or minor leagues. Chen’s portrait picks up as he struggles to return to the majors, facing the challenges of competing against younger players, separation from his family, and the disappointment and fear of being a hasbeen. While sympathetic to its subject, the doc unfortunately is overlong and never digs particularly deeply into Wang’s motivation in the face of little reward and seemingly little chance of success, but should still resonate with diehard baseball fans.

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On TV: GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE

Photograph by Judy Teller | Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Coming to PBS’s American Masters tomorrow, Friday, April 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.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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