Category Archives: Releases

On TV: TWELVE DISCIPLES OF NELSON MANDELA

Coming to The WORLD Channel’s AfroPoP tonight, Friday, February 21:
TWELVE DISCIPLES OF NELSON MANDELA

Director:
Thomas Allen Harris

World Premiere:
Toronto 2005

Select Festivals:
Thessaloniki Doc, Africa in the Picture, Pan African, Bermuda

About:
The story of the first wave of black South Africans who fought for freedom in exile.

After the death of his stepfather, Benjamin Pule Leinaeng, filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris sets out to tell not only Leinaeng’s story, but that of his close friends and fellow freedom fighters, in total a dozen young men who grew up under apartheid, supported the African National Congress, and, eventually, had to leave their homeland to try to garner support for their cause in the international community. For his part, Leinaeng resettled in New York City, where he met Harris’ mother, and, together, created a central hub of sorts for the movement. Reflections from the surviving Mandela “disciples,” as well as Harris and his family, are combined with dramatic re-enactments and film shot by Leinaeng to trace the freedom fighters’ often surprising and sometimes dangerous activities, intimately revealing both the costs and joys of their three decades of work conducted in exile.

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On TV: GILDA BRASILEIRO: AGAINST OBLIVION

Coming to The WORLD Channel’s AfroPoP tonight, Friday, February 21:
GILDA BRASILEIRO: AGAINST OBLIVION

Directors:
Roberto Manhães Reis and Viola Scheuerer

World Premiere:
São Paulo 2018

Select Festivals:
Rio, Los Angeles Pan African, Smithsonian African American, Johannesburg

About:
A woman unearths proof of an illegal slave trade in 19th century Brazil.

After Gilda Brasileiro moves to a small community in the Brazilian rainforest, she is confronted by a willful amnesia about the location’s involvement in an underground slave route of the early 19th century, when Africans were forced to work the coffee plantations of the region. Of Afro-Brazilian background herself, Brasileiro begins digging for evidence, and uncovers indisputable proof that not only had slaves been used on the plantations, but the practice continued for a half century after Brazil was said to have left the transatlantic slave trade. Supplementing Brasileiro’s story, the filmmakers gather their own visual record of slavery in the region, conducting close readings of historical posed photographs of slaves by Marc Ferrez. While these images are haunting, the film does not properly contextualize the filmmakers’ backgrounds, making the personal reflections conducted here awkward and somewhat at cross purposes with Brasileiro’s mission. As a result, while there’s intriguing hidden history explored, the doc is on the whole too clunky in its presentation.

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On TV: WE BELIEVE IN DINOSAURS

Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens tonight, Monday, February 17:
WE BELIEVE IN DINOSAURS

Directors:
Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross

World Premiere:
San Francisco 2019

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, AFI Docs, St Louis, Hot Springs Doc, Woods Hole, Sidewalk, Southern Circuit, Rocky Mountain Women’s, Virginia

About:
An exploration of the influence of American creationism through Kentucky’s contentious Ark Encounter museum.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
In rural Kentucky, a creationist group builds a life-size, $120 million Noah’s Ark museum – replete with animal, human, and dinosaur models – in an attempt to affirm the factuality of the Biblical story. Standing against this attempt to co-opt history and science are a local geologist, an atheist activist, and a former creationist. Throw in a tax scheme that funnels public funds into the Ark at the expense of local economic sustainability, and the result is an outlandish tale that must be seen to be believed.

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On DVD: MCCARTHY

New to DVD this week:
MCCARTHY

Director:
Sharon Grimberg

World Premiere:
American Experience (January 2020)

About:
A comprehensive account of the rise and fall of notorious Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On VOD: RAW HERRING

New to OVID.tv last week:
RAW HERRING

Directors:
Leonard Retel Helmrich and Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2013

Select Festivals:
Hamburg, Nederlands

About:
A look at a peculiarly Dutch fishing tradition.

I previously wrote about the doc out of Tribeca here.

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On DVD: WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE?

New to DVD this week:
WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE?

Director:
Roberto Minervini

World Premiere:
Venice 2018

Select Festivals:
Toronto, New York, CPH:DOX, Sheffield, Busan, London, Rotterdam, Göteborg, Mar del Plata, Valdivia, Vancouver, Vilnius, DocPoint, Docs Against Gravity, Munich

About:
An exploration of race in the American South.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On VOD: THE PEARL BUTTON

pearlNew to OVID.tv last week: THE PEARL BUTTON

Director:
Patricio Guzmán

World Premiere:
Berlin 2015

Select Festivals:
Toronto, BAFICI, Biografilm, Sydney, Jerusalem, Melbourne, San Sebastian, Bergen, Vancouver, London, Yamagata

About:
A personal excavation of Chile’s dark legacy.

I previously wrote about the film here.

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