Category Archives: Recommendations

On VOD: MR SOUL!

Coming to HBO Max this Sunday, August 1:
MR SOUL!

Director:
Melissa Haizlip

Co-Director:
Sam Pollard

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2018

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, True/False, AFI Docs, New Orleans, Rotterdam, Durban, BlackStar, Urbanworld, Pan African, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, London, Indie Memphis, Woodstock, Heartland

About:
A portrait of the pioneer behind SOUL!, the acclaimed African-American public television cultural variety show.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: SABAYA

Coming to theatres and VOD today, Friday, July 30:
SABAYA

Director:
Hogir Hirori

World Premiere:
Sundance 2021

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, CPH:DOX, True/False, Docaviv, Hong Kong, Moscow, Melbourne

About:
An immersion into dangerous efforts to rescue Yazidi women and girls from their horrific fate as ISIS sex slaves.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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In Theatres: PRAY AWAY

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, July 30:
PRAY AWAY

Director:
Kristine Stolakis

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2020 (unscreened)

Select Festivals:
Telluride, Hot Docs, Florida, Doc10, AFI Docs

About:
A powerful exposé on gay conversion programs, revealing the damage inflicted by shame and repression through intimate testimonies from current members and former leaders of the pray the gay away movement.

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In Theatres & On VOD: ENEMIES OF THE STATE

Coming to theatres and to VOD tomorrow, Friday, July 30:
ENEMIES OF THE STATE

Director:
Sonia Kennebeck

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2020 (unscreened)

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Toronto, CPH:DOX, Calgary, Glasgow

About:
Everything is not as it seems for an American family that flees to Canada to protect their hacker son from US government persecution.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
Director Sonia Kennebeck investigates the strange case of Anonymous hacktivist Matt DeHart and his claims of persecution by the US government. He and his parents fled the US seeking asylum in Canada after law enforcement brought charges against him for child pornography. DeHart counters that he’s being framed, targeted for his support of Wikileaks, and that he was tortured in a US prison. Unfolding like an espionage mystery, the film follows a multiyear quest for truth, with unexpected twists and turns until the very end.

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Special Screening: BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE

Coming to NYC’s Rooftop Films this Friday, July 30:
BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE

Director:
Lucy Walker

World Premiere:
Sundance 2021

About:
A compelling and comprehensive essay exploring the history and causes of wildfires.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On DVD: KENNY SCHARF: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

New to DVD this week:
KENNY SCHARF: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

Director:
Malia Scharf, Max Basch

World Premiere:
SXSW 2020 (unscreened)

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Revelation, Provincetown, Montclair, Atlantic

About:
A portrait of artist Kenny Scharf, whose work fuses popular culture and fine art.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: MAYOR

Coming to PBS’s POV today, Monday, July 26:
MAYOR

Director:
David Osit

World Premiere:
True/False 2020

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Nantucket, CPH:DOX, IDFA, Hot Docs, Full Frame, Camden, Maryland, DokuFest

About:
A portrait of the Christian mayor of Ramallah, Palestine.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On VOD: PLAYING WITH SHARKS

Coming to Disney+ today, Friday, July 23:
PLAYING WITH SHARKS

Director:
Sally Aitken

World Premiere:
Sundance 2021

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Hot Docs, Doc Edge, Boulder, Washington DC Environmental, EarthX, Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, DocLands, Mountainfilm

About:
A tribute to a pioneering shark conservationist and underwater cinematographer.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: AILEY

Photo by Jack Mitchell

Coming to theatres and VOD tomorrow, Friday, July 23:
AILEY

Director:
Jamila Wignot

World Premiere:
Sundance 2021

Select Festivals:
CPH:DOX, Tribeca, Frameline, Provincetown, Thessaloniki Doc

About:
A revealing, moving portrait of pioneering choreographer Alvin Ailey.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On TV: STATELESS

Coming to PBS’s POV tonight, Monday, July 19:
STATELESS

Director:
Michèle Stephenson

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2020 (unscreened)

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, BlackStar, Hot Docs, AFI Latin American, Portland, Halifax Black, Boston Latino, RIDM, Trinidad and Tobago

About:
After the Dominican Republic strips the citizenship of residents of Haitian descent, a determined attorney fights to protect the rights of these now stateless people.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
The stunning island of Hispaniola is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, countries with a complicated history and tense relations. In 2013, the DR’s Supreme Court retroactively stripped the citizenship of residents of Haitian descent, leaving more than 200,000 people stateless, subject to immediate deportation, and devastating loss. In the midst of staggering intolerance, attorney Rosa Iris fights to protect the rights of these disenfranchised people while leading a grassroots campaign for a better future. 

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