Category Archives: Releases

On VOD: 3100: RUN AND BECOME

New to VOD this week:
3100: RUN AND BECOME

Director:
Sanjay Rawal

Premiere:
Illuminate 2018

Select Festivals:
Queens World, Ottawa Adventure, Lake Placid

About:
A grueling 3100 mile, 52 day race for spiritual transcendence serves as the entry way to profile several endurance runners.

Sanjay Rawal’s film ostensibly focuses on the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, which takes place over 52 days on the same loop of NYC streets in Queens, and was dreamed up by Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual guru and avid runner who saw running as a means to achieve enlightenment. The theoretical main character is Finnish runner Ashprihanal, the current record holder for the 3100 and a longtime veteran of the race and follower of the now deceased guru, but, likely recognizing just how cinematically tedious it is to watch people run the same square block of sidewalks over nearly two months, the film expands beyond the 3100 to profile other long-distance runners elsewhere: Shaun, a Navajo who sets out to run 100+ miles to recreate the journey his father took when he escaped the Indian boarding house program to which he was subjected; Gyoman, a Japanese monk who has pledged upon promise of death to run 1000 days over 7 years for enlightenment; and Gaolo, a Bushman of the Kalahari who defies Botswana government bans to run as part of traditional hunting practices. While they are thematically tied to the idea of running for some kind of greater purpose, they have no direct ties to the endurance race and their inclusion feels somewhat arbitrary. As with most marathon-focused projects, this fails to sustain interest for non-runners, and outside of the spiritual angle – not easily or successfully captured here – covers very familiar terrain, making this project fall far short of its mark.

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On DVD: MAKALA

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, December 11:
MAKALA

Director:
Emmanuel Gras

Premiere:
Cannes 2017

Select Festivals:
Karlovy Vary, Toronto, London, Busan, IDFA, CPH:DOX, True/False, Thessaloniki Doc, New Directors/New Films, Poland’s New Horizons, Palm Springs, Goteborg, Tokyo, Hamburg, Vienna

About:
A young Congolese man embarks on a Sisyphean trek to sell charcoal.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On DVD: QUIET HEROES

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, December 11:
QUIET HEROES

Directors:
Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga, and Amanda Stoddard

Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
Frameline, BFI Flare, Portland QDoc, TLVFest

About:
A tribute to the only medical professionals in Utah who would treat patients with AIDS in the early years of the epidemic.

My pre-Sundance profile may be found here.

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On TV: THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE

Coming to Showtime this Wednesday, December 12:
THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE

Director:
Ian McFarland

Premiere:
DOC NYC 2017

Select Festivals:
Big Sky Doc, SF Doc, Florida, IFF Boston, In Edit, Sound Unseen, Raindance

About:
A profile of the long-standing punk band Agnostic Front.

I previously wrote about the film DOC NYC’s program, saying:
The hardcore punk band Agnostic Front formed in 1980 and soon became synonymous with the New York punk scene. At its core were Vinnie Stigma and Roger Miret. Over 35 years later, the legendary guitarist, born and raised on Mott Street, and his Cuban-born vocalist bandmate are still going strong. Interweaving remarkable archival footage of the early days of Agnostic Front with present-day interviews and performances, Ian McFarland’s film captures the duo’s unmistakable personalities and their influential band’s enduring legacy.

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On TV: WINTER AT WESTBETH

Coming to PBS’s America ReFramed tomorrow, Tuesday, December 11:
WINTER AT WESTBETH

Director:
Rohan Spong

Premiere:
Sydney 2016

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Salem, ZagrebDox

About:
An inspiring look three elder artists.

I previously wrote about the film DOC NYC’s program, saying:
Occupying the former Bell Laboratories, the West Village’s Westbeth Artists Housing has been home to an eclectic community of professional artists since 1970. Director Rohan Spong puts the spotlight on three longtime residents as they engage with their craft over the course of a year: 75-year-old contemporary dancer Dudley, 82-year-old poet Ilsa, and 95-year-old experimental filmmaker Edith. The resulting tripartite portrait is a celebration of creativity and self-expression no matter one’s age.

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On TV: MOMENTUM GENERATION

Coming to HBO tomorrow, Tuesday, November 11:
MOMENTUM GENERATION

Directors:
Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist

Premiere:
Tribeca 2018

Select Festivals:
Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard, Hot Springs Doc, Sidewalk, Aspen

About:
The behind-the-scenes story of a close-knit group of surfing legends.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: SACRED

Coming to PBS this coming Monday, December 10:
SACRED

Director:
Thomas Lennon

Premiere:
Tokyo 2016

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, IDFA, Sebastopol Doc, RiverRun, Cleveland, Ashland, Montclair

About:
A look at spirituality around the world.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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