Category Archives: Releases

On DVD: IF THE DANCER DANCES

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, July 23:
IF THE DANCER DANCES

Director:
Maia Wechsler

Premiere:
Dance on Camera 2018

Select Festivals:
Ashland, Raindance

About:
A leading choreographer restages one of Merce Cunningham’s iconic works.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: THE GREAT HACK

Coming to theatres and to Netflix tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24:
THE GREAT HACK

Directors:
Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim

World Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
Sheffield, Traverse City, NewportFILM, Martha’s Vineyard

About:
A disturbing investigation into data and privacy in the modern digital age.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

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On DVD/VOD: HAIL SATAN?

Coming to DVD and VOD today, Tuesday, July 23:
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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On TV: THE GREAT MOTHER

Coming to Starz tonight, Monday, July 22:
THE GREAT MOTHER

Directors:
Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker

World Premiere:
DOC NYC 2018

Select Festivals:
Miami, Athena

About:
A portrait of an activist who has become the guardian of immigration orphans.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
Nora Sandigo has more than 1000 kids. The fierce immigration activist serves as the legal guardian for US-born children of undocumented immigrants who have been deported. Were it not for her, many would be forced into the foster care system, keeping them legally separated from their parents. Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker’s intimate film profiles this inspiring woman, who not only provides economic, legal, and emotional support for her charges, but lobbies Congress for immigration reform despite an increasingly hostile political climate.

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On TV: ON HER SHOULDERS

Coming to PBS’s POV tonight, Monday, July 22:
ON HER SHOULDERS

Director:
Alexandria Bombach

Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, SXSW, Hot Docs, Sheffield, AFI Docs, Full Frame, Human Rights Watch, SF Jewish, Jerusalem, Dokufest, Melbourne, Sun Valley, Doc 10, Ashland, Cleveland, Kansas City, Sarasota, Montclair, Maryland, Dallas, Nashville, Seattle, Warsaw, Biografilm, Heartland

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

About:
A look at the burden carried by a young woman as she advocates for her people on the global stage.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

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In Theatres: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

Coming to theatres for a special one-night-only engagement via Fathom Events tonight, Monday, July 22:
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

Director:
Tom Donahue

World Premiere:
Toronto 2018

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Hamptons, Chicago, Martha’s Vineyard, Napa Valley, Stockholm, Miami, Thessaloniki Doc, Docville, Riverrun, Edinburgh

About:
An investigation into the entertainment industry’s long-running problem with gender discrimination.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
Tom Donahue’s incisive film gathers a who’s who of female actors and directors for a powerful call to action on elevating women’s roles in film and television, both on and off screen. Meryl Streep, Sandra Oh, Jessica Chastain, Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Taraji P Henson, and executive producer Geena Davis are among the many powerful agents of change in this rousing documentary full of fresh revelations about Hollywood’s insidious and systemic sexism.

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In Theatres: CASSANDRO, THE EXOTICO!

Coming to theatres today, Friday, July 19:
CASSANDRO, THE EXOTICO!

Director:
Marie Losier

World Premiere:
Cannes 2018 (ACID)

Select Festivals:
IDFA, CPH:DOX, Morelia, Ambulante, Tempo Doc, Mar del Plata, Santa Barbara, Jeonju, São Paulo, Hamburg, San Diego Latino, SF DocFest, Sarasota, Outfest Fusion, BFI Flare

About:
An intimate profile of the “Liberace of lucha libre” as he faces the end of his career.

Lucha libre, of course, is a wildly popular form of wrestling entertainment in Mexico, known for its masked combatants with colorful names and personalities. Perhaps less well-known is the presence of exóticos within the sport, male wrestlers who adopt feminine outfits, hair, and makeup, as well as exaggerated, campy, and stereotypically gay/feminine mannerisms. While often functioning as comic foils, they sometimes take center stage themselves as unlikely heroes in a culture of over the top machismo. Saul Armendariz, better known as Cassandro, the subject of Marie Losier’s warm portrait, is one such luchador, a record-holding champion who sees himself as a pioneer in bringing dignity to gay men within the field. The Texan-born 47-year-old Cassandro has competed within lucha libre for over 25 year, and he has the scars and broken bones to show for it. As Losier follows him over the course of five years, Cassandro reflects on the triumphs and adversities of his life – the latter including abuse suffered while young, and struggles with alcohol and drugs, though he proudly shows off his many years of sobriety to the camera – but soon comes to recognize that his body just can’t take the rigors of the ring any longer. He makes for an affable protagonist, and a surprisingly genuine and vulnerable one, in this well constructed and at times playful film.

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