Category Archives: Recommendations

On TV & On DVD: CHARM CITY

Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens tonight, Monday, April 22 and to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23:
CHARM CITY

Director:
Marilyn Ness

Premiere:
Tribeca 2018

Select Festivals:
AFI Docs, Human Rights Watch, Maryland, Nashville, Mill Valley, GlobeDocs

Notable Recognition:
The doc was shortlisted for the Academy Awards.

About:
A multifaceted exploration of the crisis of violence in Baltimore.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: ELEPHANT PATH/NJAIA NJOKU

Coming to PBS’s Doc World this Sunday, April 21:
ELEPHANT PATH/NJAIA NJOKU

Director:
Todd McGrain

Premiere:
San Francisco DocFest 2018

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Sebastopol Doc, Washington DC Environmental, Congo, Sedona, Portland, Oaxaca, Zimbabwe, Wisconsin, Princeton Environmental

About:
The elephants of the Central African Republic – and those who protect and study them – are threatened by both civil war and poaching.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
In the forests of the Central African Republic, one of the last wild herds of elephants struggles for survival. While scientists study these magnificent, vital creatures, conservationists and eco-guards work to save them from poachers emboldened by political unrest and economic instability. Set against the luminous natural beauty of an ancient forest and paired with a hauntingly beautiful score, Todd McGrain’s film explores the complexity of stemming violence against people and animals alike in war-torn nations.

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In Theatres: INSTANT DREAMS

Coming to theatres today, Friday, April 19:
INSTANT DREAMS

Director:
Willem Baptist

Premiere:
IDFA 2017

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Thessaloniki Doc, Sofia, Docs Against Gravity, Jihlava, Slamdance, SF DocFest, Visions du Reel, IndieStreet

About:
Fans of Polaroid are determined not to let its magic vanish.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
A casualty of the digital revolution, Polaroid instant film and cameras were meant to fade quietly into oblivion when the company stopped production in 2008. Following three enthusiasts bent on keeping the instant dream alive, director Willem Baptist takes viewers on a hallucinatory quest to discover the secret chemical formula for Polaroid film. His documentary develops like prints pulled out of instant cameras, magically coming into focus as something wonderful appears before your eyes.

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On TV: GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE

Photograph by Judy Teller | Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Coming to PBS’s American Masters tomorrow, Friday, April 19:
GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE

Director:
Sasha Waters Freyer

Premiere:
SXSW 2018

Select Festivals:
San Francisco, New Zealand, Thin Line, Vancouver, Haifa

About:
A history and appreciation of acclaimed street photographer.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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Art of the Real 2019 Overview

Festival:
The 6th Art of the Real

Dates:
April 18-28

About:
The Film Society of Lincoln Center includes 20 new features in this annual showcase of innovative nonfiction and hybrid filmmaking. Continue reading

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On DVD/VOD: STANDING UP

New to DVD and VOD this week:
STANDING UP

Director:
Jonathan Miller

Premiere:
DOC NYC 2017

Select Festivals:
Galway, DocuWest, AmDocs, Jewish fests in Toronto, Silicon Valley, Vancouver, and Washington

About:
A profile of three aspiring stand-up comics in NYC.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
So an Egyptian lawyer, a couch-surfing custodian, and an Orthodox Jew walk into a comedy club… and end up in a documentary. This appealing film follows these three unlikely aspiring stand-up comics, willing to risk everything in pursuit of their dreams of making it in comedy. Director Jonathan Miller tells their story with warmth and humor, taking us into the heart of New York City’s downtown open-mic scene, where would-be comics put it all on the line for laughs.

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In Theatres: HAIL SATAN?

Coming to theatres today, Wednesday, April 17:
HAIL SATAN?

Director:
Penny Lane

Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, Full Frame, San Francisco, What The Fest!?, Salem, Boston Underground, Freep, Sidewalk

About:
A provocative exploration of the separation of church and state through the unlikely rise of the Satanic Temple religious movement.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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