Category Archives: Film

On VOD: BEHIND THE CURTAIN: TODRICK HALL

Coming to VOD today, Tuesday, December 12:
BEHIND THE CURTAIN: TODRICK HALL

Director:
Katherine Fairfax Wright

Premiere:
SXSW 2017

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Seattle, Martha’s Vineyard, Baltimore Black, San Diego, Calgary Underground, Frameline, Outfest, Image+Nation, Inside Out, LGBT fests in Salt Lake City, Denver, Honolulu, North Carolina, Vancouver, Austin, Memphis, and Sydney

About:
A profile of the performer and YouTube sensation.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
In the years since competing on AMERICAN IDOL, Todrick Hall has amassed a staggering following on YouTube, bringing his distinct voice and aesthetic to pop culture, and serving as an inclusive, inspirational figure to LGBT fans around the world. For his latest project, chronicled in Wright’s entertaining portrait, Hall challenges himself to complete 16 elaborate videos for an autobiographical high-concept musical, STRAIGHT OUTTA OZ, in just two weeks, and then immediately take the live show on the road to his devoted fans.

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On DVD: NALEDI: A BABY ELEPHANT’S TALE

naledi_a_baby_elephant_taleComing to DVD today, Tuesday, December 12:
NALEDI: A BABY ELEPHANT’S TALE

Directors:
Ben Bowie and Geoff Luck

Premiere:
Seattle 2016

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Hot Springs Doc, Virginia, Fairhope, Wildscreen, Ajyal Youth

About:
A baby elephant’s fight for survival underscores the need to protect the endangered species.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On DVD: ARCHITECTS OF DENIAL

Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, December 12:
ARCHITECTS OF DENIAL

Director:
David Lee George

Premiere:
October 2017 (limited theatrical/VOD)

About:
A revisitation of the 1915 Armenian genocide and the legacy of its official denial over the past century.

An earnest if poorly executed project, George’s film aims to be a forceful call to action insisting on the official acknowledgement that the Ottoman Empire committed a genocidal act on more than a million Armenians in 1915. Turkey and its allies, including the US, have consistently refused to acknowledge the genocide, despite the existence of evidence both contemporaneously and that uncovered in more recent years, as well as the use of the term by the Pope and a growing number of other high profile individuals. This project assembles a parade of talking heads – most strangely and uncritically including Julian Assange – to review the historical record and to spin a conspiratorial view of Turkish influence on the US, an alarmist tale of impending violence in the region as a result, ill-thought-out guerrilla ambushes of politicians about their denialism, and attempts to draw direct lines between the Armenian genocide to the Nazi’s Final Solution and other examples of genocide over the past 100 years, all set to an incessant, irritating score and with the over-use of intertitles that make this feel like an amateur film. While there’s obviously merit to the idea that the genocide should be finally officially acknowledged, this clunky polemic is ill-suited to have much impact.

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On TV: HAPPENING: A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION

Coming to HBO tonight, Monday, December 11:
HAPPENING: A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION

Director:
James Redford

Premiere:
Mill Valley 2017

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Woodstock

About:
A hands-on exploration of current efforts to use renewable energy sources.

Is it possible for America to meet its energy needs via renewable sources, or is our country fated to remain addicted to fossil fuels? Director James Redford sets out on a far-ranging quest to get a sense of what our progress is today for a sustainable tomorrow. Checking in with a diverse range of stakeholders, representing federal, corporate, entrepreneurial, and community efforts, the affable filmmaker offers an informative and hopeful look at the clean energy revolution already taking place.

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Cinema Vérité 2017 Overview

Festival:
The 11th Cinema Vérité: Iran International Documentary Film Festival

Dates:
December 10-17

About:
This Tehran event offers more than 70 new and recent features, as well as retrospective and shorts programming. Continue reading

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In Theatres: I AM EVIDENCE

Coming to theatres today, Friday, December 8:
I AM EVIDENCE

Directors:
Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir

Premiere:
Tribeca 2017

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Traverse City, AFI Docs, Provincetown, Hawaii, St Louis, UN Association, Globe Docs, Hamptons, Milwaukee,

About:
An alarming look at institutional failures in prosecuting sexual assault cases.

I previously wrote about the doc for Nantucket’s program, saying:
Produced by Mariska Hargitay (LAW AND ORDER: SVU), this eye-opening documentary investigates the alarming backlog of untested evidence kits that have denied justice to sexual assault survivors. Giving voice to four courageous women whose kits went untested for years, Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s film reveals deep-seated problems with the US criminal justice system that have resulted in perpetrators failing to be held accountable for their heinous crimes, and survivors being left in limbo.

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90th Oscars: Best Documentary Feature Shortlist Announced

JANE

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the Best Documentary Feature shortlist today. Congratulations to all the filmmakers – in particular all of the Sundance and DOC NYC alumni represented.

I’ve previously written about most of these and hope to cover the remainder before the final nominees are announced on January 23. For now, here is the official shortlist, with links to my previous coverage, where applicable:

ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL

CHASING CORAL

CITY OF GHOSTS

EX LIBRIS: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

FACES PLACES

HUMAN FLOW

ICARUS

AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER

JANE

LA 92

LAST MEN IN ALEPPO

LONG STRANGE TRIP

ONE OF US

STRONG ISLAND

UNREST

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