Category Archives: Recommendations

On VOD: HOMO SAPIENS

New to VOD via Amazon this week: HOMO SAPIENS

Director:
Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Premiere:
Berlin 2016

Notable Festivals:
Cinéma du Réel, Honk Kong, BAFICI, Docville, DOK.fest Munich, Docs Against Gravity, DocAviv

About:
A portrait of nature’s reclamation of once inhabited spaces.

I previously wrote about the film here.

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Special Screening: HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY

Coming to NYC’s JCC Manhattan this coming Tuesday, April 4: HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY

Director:
Daniel Raim

Premiere:
Cannes 2015

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, RiverRun, Jerusalem, Edinburgh, Rotterdam, Ashland, Vancouver, various Jewish film fests

About:
A portrait of an unheralded couple and their behind-the-scenes roles in Hollywood history.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
At once a chronicle of a remarkable sixty-year partnership and a tribute to the unsung talents behind a staggering number of cinema classics, this loving film introduces the world to storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson. Though largely uncredited, they left an indelible impression on films like THE BIRDS, THE GRADUATE, and ROSEMARY’S BABY. Through personal letters, rare storyboards, and a wealth of interviews, Daniel Raim pulls the curtain back to reveal their love and work and its impact on Hollywood history.

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In Theatres: GOD KNOWS WHERE I AM

Coming to theatres this Friday, March 31:
GOD KNOWS WHERE I AM

Directors:
Todd Wider and Jedd Wider

Premiere:
Hot Docs 2016

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, DOC NYC, Cleveland, Big Sky Doc, Kansas City, Calgary, Woodstock, Hamptons, Maryland, Full Frame

About:
An immersive exploration of a woman’s experience of mental illness.

I previously wrote about the film for Nantucket’s program, saying:
After one of the coldest winters on record, a woman’s body is found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse. A journal next to her reveals her name, Linda Bishop, and chronicles her life with poignancy, humor, and beauty. It also offers clues as to how she came to this unfortunate end. Using Linda’s own words, supplemented by interviews with family members and friends, the Wider brothers simultaneously construct a compelling, poetic eulogy to a once bright, vivacious woman who fell victim to an insidious enemy – mental illness – and offer an indictment of a flawed mental health care system.

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In Theatres: TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT

Coming to theatres this Friday, March 31:
TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT

Director:
Tyler Hubby

Premiere:
Chicago Underground 2016

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Leeds, Cork, Rotterdam, Big Sky Doc, Ann Arbor

About:
A portrait of the late, pioneering artist.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
Filmed over the past two decades, acclaimed editor Tyler Hubby’s feature directorial debut captures the freewheeling creativity of the groundbreaking avant-garde multimedia artist Tony Conrad, whose work in experimental film and video, music, and sound art – and even public television – spans more than 50 years. From flicker films and drone music to collaborations with Jack Smith and Lou Reed, Conrad playfully and joyously pushed the limits of art in its various forms, inspiring the likes of the Velvet Underground, Moby, and the Yes Men.

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Cleveland 2017: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 41st annual Cleveland International Film Festival

Dates:
March 29-April 9

About:
Approximately 200 features, including more than 80 documentaries:

This year the fest refocuses its long running nonfiction prize, the Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition, specifically on portraiture, featuring such projects as Kevin Burke’s exploration of film promotion, 24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS; and Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s look at an Italian village that holds an annual play about themselves, SPETTACOLO.

Social justice docs take the spotlight in the George Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition, including Andrew Michael Ellis’ FIGHT HATE WITH LOVE, about a former prisoner turned criminal justice reform activist; Apo W Bazidi’s RESISTANCE IS LIFE (pictured), a Kurdish youth’s perspective on refugee life; and Brad Riley’s BE RELENTLESS, following a human sex trafficking victims attempts to raise awareness.

A third nonfiction-focused competition explores Global Health, through such films as: John Gomez’s WHEN I STUTTER, a corrective to misperceptions around stuttering; Robin Berghaus’ STUMPED, which follows a man facing unexpected, catastrophic health problems through humor; Melissa Dowler’s LETTING GO OF ADELE (pictured), about a cardiac service dog; and Brian Storm’s THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, charting a road trip between twin brothers, one of whom lives with cerebral palsy.

Documentaries figures in several remaining sections, including the Local Heroes Competition which celebrates Ohio through work like: Catherine Gund’s DISPATCHES FROM CLEVELAND, which explores pressing issues facing the city; Geoff Yaw’s A MORE CIVIL WAR (pictured), a look at the city during the 2016 Republican National Convention; Danielle Miller and Julia Thorndike’s BURN THE SHIPS, on an Akron women’s pro softball team; and Tony Shaff’s 44 PAGES, a behind-the-scenes look at Highlights magazine.

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In Theatres: ALL THIS PANIC

Coming to theatres this Friday, March 31:
ALL THIS PANIC

Director:
Jenny Gage

Premiere:
Tribeca 2016

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Tribeca, Camden, Vancouver, London, Göteborg, Glasgow, CPH:DOX, Cleveland

About:
A portrait of teen girls coming of age.

I previously wrote about the doc for Nantucket’s program, saying:
Teenagers grow up fast, but perhaps nowhere else quite so rapidly as in New York City. Fine art photographers-turned-filmmakers Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton turn their cameras on Ginger and Dusty, the teenage daughters of their Brooklyn neighbors, and capture their coming of age as it unfolds over three years. Beyond profiling the contrasting personalities of the sisters, this intimate, enchanting film expands into their social circle to include five other girls, each finding her own way. Gage and Betterton balance the excitement and drama of growing up with the bittersweet changes young adulthood brings to family and friendships.

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In Theatres: DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE

Coming to theatres this Friday, March 31:
DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE

Directors:
Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm

Premiere:
Venice 2016

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, London, Taipei Golden Horse, Rotterdam, SXSW, CPH:PIX, Hong Kong

About:
The famed filmmaker reflects on his origins as a visual artist.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
While known for his distinctive, dreamlike films like BLUE VELVET and MULHOLLAND DRIVE, David Lynch began his creative explorations through art, originally training as a painter in Philadelphia. This candid profile grants viewers unparalleled, intimate access to the enigmatic auteur while he works in his painting studio. Early memories and reflections on his formative years through the triumph of ERASERHEAD reveal eerie connections to his body of work, making this portrait an indispensable look at an artist and his process.

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