Category Archives: Documentary

In Theatres: CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER

Coming to theatres this Friday, August 18:
CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER

Director:
Doug Nichol

Premiere:
Telluride 2016

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Denver, Cleveland, Nashville, Big Sky Doc, Mill Valley, Documentary Edge, Woods Hole, SF DocFest

About:
An appreciation of a bygone but once ubiquitous technology.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
Named for one of the last remaining typewriter repair shops in the US, Doug Nichol’s crowdpleasing film celebrates the design, tactility, and permanence of the typewriter. As the shop struggles to survive, devotees including Tom Hanks, John Mayer, and Sam Shepard weigh in on their deep love for the machines. For those beyond repair, artist Jeremy Mayer lovingly repurposes their parts to create elegant sculptures. Nichol’s crafts an entertaining ode to a technology that most find obsolete and disposable but which some still joyously embrace.

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In Theatres: THE FARTHEST

Coming to theatres today, Friday, August 11:
THE FARTHEST

Director:
Emer Reynolds

Premiere:
Dublin 2017

Select Festivals:
Tribeca, Edinburgh, Seattle, AFI Docs, Sydney, New Zealand, Telluride Mountainfilm

About:
A comprehensive history of the Voyager mission, from inception to execution to the present day.

Reynolds assembles an impressive collection of archival material, new animation, and interviews with scores of NASA scientists, engineers, and analysts to recount the story of the monumental Voyager project. Relating its history while contextualizing the mission with changes to presidential administrations and the impact of the Challenger disaster on the US space programs, the film offers a privileged look at the planning, preparation, launch, troubleshooting, and media attention afforded the probe and its pioneering images of the solar system. Reynolds also devotes significant attention to the fascinating Golden Record carried within both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 – an eclectic recording of sounds and images meant to provide a sense of mankind’s existence to whatever extraterrestrial intelligence might happen upon the vehicles, and which became the first manmade object to leave the solar system and travel into interstellar space in 2012. While providing an engaging look at a major achievement of NASA’s past, Reynolds’ film also might just re-awaken viewers’ curiosity about the future of space exploration.

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On VOD: I DO?

New to VOD via iTunes this week:
I DO?

Director:
Joe Brandmeier

Premiere:
Montreal World 2016

Select Festivals:
Green Bay, Twin Cities, Singapore

About:
Interviews about marriage, ranging from the newly engaged, couples married seven decades, and divorcees.

Brandmeier, serving as a chatty narrator and interviewer, embarks on a film about marriage after the divorce of his own parents following 30 years together. With the exception of one couple personally tied to the filmmaker, other interview subjects appear chosen at random, and are asked to offer insight into the joys and struggles of their relationship, addressing their pre-wedded expectations and the realities of married life in a series of loosely-themed titled chapters. As with most survey projects of its ilk, there are few surprises or revelations here – marriage is hard work is the consensus – and leaving aside some of the clunkier aspects – chiefly the unnecessary on-camera presence of the filmmaker – this straightforward doc at least manages to keep things on the lighter side.

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In Theatres: WHOSE STREETS?


Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, August 11:
WHOSE STREETS?

Director:
Sabaah Folayan

Co-Director:
Damon Davis

Premiere:
Sundance 2017

Select Festivals:
True/False, San Francisco, Encounters, Sheffield, BAMcinemaFest, Seattle, Montclair, Maryland, Full Frame, RiverRun, Outfest, Provincetown, Atlanta

About:
An on-the-ground immersion into the Ferguson uprising.

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

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Sarajevo 2017: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival

Dates:
August 11-18

About:
More than 100 features – among them over 40 docs – screen at the celebrated festival in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Continue reading

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On DVD: HELL ON EARTH: THE FALL OF SYRIA AND THE RISE OF ISIS

New to DVD this week:
HELL ON EARTH: THE FALL OF SYRIA AND THE RISE OF ISIS

Directors:
Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested

Premiere:
Tribeca 2017

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, Greenwich, Provincetown

About:
A comprehensive exploration of the conflict in Syria and the origins of the Islamic State.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On DVD: HILLEMAN: A PERILOUS QUEST TO SAVE THE WORLD’S CHILDREN

New to DVD this week:
HILLEMAN: A PERILOUS QUEST TO SAVE THE WORLD’S CHILDREN

Director:
Donald Rayne Mitchell

Premiere:
Scinema 2016

Select Festivals:
American Documentary, New Hope

About:
A profile of Dr Maurice Hilleman, credited with developing most childhood vaccines.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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