Category Archives: Releases

On VOD: THE DEVIL WE KNOW

Coming to VOD today, Tuesday, October 16:
THE DEVIL WE KNOW

Director:
Stephanie Soechtig

Co-Director:
Jeremy Seifert

Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, Vancouver, Santa Barbara, Lunenberg Doc, New Zealand, SF Jewish, Washington DC Environmental, Greenwich, Riverrun, Sun Valley, Martha’s Vineyard, Boulder, Philadelphia

About:
An exposé of a corporation’s widespread use of dangerous chemicals, despite their known impact on human health.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

On DVD: GENERATION WEALTH

photo by Lauren Greenfield

Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, October 16:
GENERATION WEALTH

Director:
Lauren Greenfield

Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Berlin, SXSW, CPH:DOX, Docville, Full Frame, San Francisco, Sarasota, IFF Boston, Transilvania, Ambulante, Jeonju, Dallas, Docs Against Gravity, Greenwich, Provincetown

About:
A film essay and career retrospective examining society’s preoccupation with materialism.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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Special Screening & On TV: THE SENTENCE

Coming to HBO tonight, Monday, October 15 and to Stranger Than Fiction tomorrow, Tuesday, October 16:
THE SENTENCE

Director:
Rudy Valdez

Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, DOC NYC, Locarno, Traverse City, Montclair, Sarasota, Urbanworld, Thin Line, Provincetown, LA Latino, Aspen Ideas, SF Jewish, Freep, GlobeDocs

About:
A filmmaker reveals the personal impact of mandatory minimum laws on his own family.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

On TV: ITZHAK

Coming to PBS’s American Masters this Sunday, October 14:
ITZHAK

Director:
Alison Chernick

Premiere:
Hamptons 2017

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Palm Springs, Jewish fests in Miami, Palm Beach, Atlanta, and Phoenix

About:
A deeply intimate portrait of acclaimed violin master, Itzhak Perlman.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW

Coming to Discovery tomorrow, Saturday, October 13:
ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW

Director:
Rory Kennedy

Premiere:
Sarasota 2018

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, AFI Docs, Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, GlobeDocs

About:
A celebration of the pioneering and continuing work of NASA.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On VOD: FEMINISTS: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Coming to Netflix today, Friday, October 12:
FEMINISTS: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Director:
Johanna Demetrakas

Premiere:
Big Sky Doc 2017

Select Festivals:
RiverRun, California Women’s, New Haven Docs,

About:
A look at feminism’s past and present.

In 1977, Cynthia MacAdams published Emergence, a book of portraits of self-identified feminists, ranging from influential activists and celebrities to artists and everyday women. On the occasion of a photographic exhibition of those images, Feminist Portraits: 1974-1977, filmmaker Johanna Demetrakas, herself one of the book’s subjects, revisits various women pictured within. As she meets with the likes of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Judy Chicago, and Kate Millett, the filmmaker engages with an expansive set of concerns, both historical and all too topical. Interviewees recall dawning consciousness of sexism, early fear of identifying as “feminists,” and ways they rebelled; the emergence of the second wave of feminism and the fractures within it, felt especially by women of color; political organizing around reproductive freedom and around the ERA; and personal stories that run the gamut of women’s experiences of the 1970s. At the same time, the film introduces younger, modern-day voices, like filmmaker Wendy JN Lee, who recalls being treated as an afterthought during an award ceremony for her own project, the statuette handed to her male actor instead – underscoring the inequality that still remains. While taking on a bit too much, with an at times cursory, episodic feel as a result, Demetrakas’ project is a worthwhile and engaging one as it reminds viewers of the gains made when passionate women worked together to demand change.

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In Theatres: OVER THE LIMIT

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, October 12:
OVER THE LIMIT

Director:
Marta Prus

Premiere:
IDFA 2017

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, Moscow Doc, Visions du Reél, DOK.fest Munich, DocsBarcelona, Zagreb Dox, Krakow, Docpoint, Göteborg, Thessaloniki Doc, One World, Ambulante

About:
A brutally candid look at a rhythmic gymnast’s Olympic training.

Prus’ observational portrait focuses on Margarita Mamun, facing high expectations to win the gold medal for Russia at the 2016 Summer Olympics, her last. Subject to a rigorous training regimen, she barely is shown outside of the gym here, save for a few moments talking remotely via FaceTime to her boyfriend, another Olympian, or dealing with family matters. But fears that this would result in a dull film are quickly dismissed when Irina Viner-Usmanova the head coach of Russia’s national gymnastics program, makes her presence known. A larger-than-life figure, prone to extravagant hats, Viner-Usmanova doesn’t mince words – instead she swears, berates, and verbally uses her young athletes to a shocking degree, and, here, Mamun seems to take the brunt. Her unrelenting abuse is tempered to some degree by Mamun’s personal coach, Amina Zaripova, but it’s clear that the young gymnast is miserable, but still she perseveres. Though not always an easy watch, Prus’ well-constructed film offers a provocative inside look at the pressures facing a world-class athlete and questions if it’s all worth it in the end.

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