Category Archives: Film

On DVD: THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST

they will haveNew to DVD this week: THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST

Johanna Schwartz’s profile of musicians exiled over religion debuted at SXSW last year. Screenings followed at London, Göteborg, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sound + Vision, Hot Docs, Singapore, RIDM, and Durban, among other events.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: HUNTWATCH

huntwatchComing to Discovery Impact tomorrow, Thursday, September 22: HUNTWATCH

Brant Backlund’s look at a crusade against seal hunting debuted at DOC NYC last year. Other screenings have included Santa Barbara, Sedona, Boulder, and Newport Beach.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
In Canada, seal hunting was historically considered to be a respectable job until people witnessed the graphic images of the practice for themselves on television. Angry and committed to save the seals, Brian Davies, a charismatic young activist, sets out on a crusade that becomes his life’s mission. Using the power of cinematography, celebrity, and science, Davies exposes the cruelty of the hunt while making audiences fall in love with these graceful, vulnerable creatures, as explored in Brant Backlund’s rousing film.

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On DVD: COLLIDING DREAMS

collidingComing to DVD today, Tuesday, September 20: COLLIDING DREAMS

Joseph Dorman and Oren Rudavsky’s examination of the history of Zionism premiered at the New York Jewish Film Festival last year. Screenings followed at Other Israel and at Jewish fests in San Francisco, Toronto, Miami, and Atlanta, among others.

Attempting to cover over one hundred years of a political ideology, Dorman and Rudavsky’s project runs over two hours, yet still feels like it barely scratches the surface. Notably, the film more or less concludes its historical overview with the assassination of Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which took place twenty years ago. Beyond the army of talking head experts opining here, more recent viewpoints are chiefly represented through occasional, not particularly illuminating man-on-the-street interviews. Leaving that aside, the film does an admirable job of laying the groundwork for Zionism, locating its emergence as a response to anti-Semitism born of European secular nationalism moreso than religious difference. Tracing the nascent movement’s growth from Jewish Austrian Theodore Herzl’s World Zionist Organization to the eventual British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the film doesn’t dwell on the Holocaust very long before moving on the nation’s establishment and the 1948 war, after which, it’s declared, Zionism paused for a time. Only in the aftermath of the Six Day War, nearly twenty years later, does it emerge, torn in different directions as the contentious issues of settlements, occupation, and a two-state solution come to the fore. As a whole, while it at times feels too academic – the intermittent narration doesn’t help it here – and comes to no clear conclusion, striving as it does for balanced viewpoints, it serves as an informative primer for the complex, ongoing story of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

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On VOD: LIFE, ANIMATED

life animatedComing to VOD today, Tuesday, September 20: LIFE, ANIMATED

Roger Ross Williams’ portrait of communication via animated films debuted at Sundance earlier this year, where it picked up an award. It went on to screen at Nantucket, True/False, Hot Docs, Tribeca, Full Frame, Montclair, San Francisco, DocAviv, Transilvania, Sundance London, Los Angeles, Sheffield, and Sydney, among other events.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On DVD: THE BLACKOUT EXPERIMENTS

blackoutComing to DVD today, Tuesday, September 20: THE BLACKOUT EXPERIMENTS

Rich Fox’s immersive look at a popular horror experience premiered at Sundance earlier this year. It went on to screen at horror and other genre events, as well as the Sydney Underground Film Festival.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On DVD: THE WITNESS

witnessComing to DVD today, Tuesday, September 20: THE WITNESS

James Solomon’s exploration of the story of Kitty Genovese murder premiered at the New York Film Festival last year. Its fest circuit also included Palm Springs, Big Sky, Boulder, Hong Kong, Sarasota, and Atlanta, among others.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On DVD: MITT

mittComing to DVD today, Tuesday, September 20: MITT

Greg Whiteley’s candid portrait of the Presidential hopeful had its world premiere at Sundance in 2014. It also screened at Traverse City and Sun Valley following its Netflix debut directly after Sundance wrapped.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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