In Theatres & On VOD: CHASING CORAL

Coming to theatres and to VOD via Netflix tomorrow, Friday, July 14:
CHASING CORAL

Director:
Jeff Orlowski

Premiere:
Sundance 2017

Select Festivals:
SXSW, Hot Docs, Sundance London, San Francisco, Boulder, Seattle, Sydney

About:
A race to chronicle the climate change-driven destruction of coral reefs around the world.

I previously profiled the doc before Sundance

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

Jerusalem 2017: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 34th Jerusalem Film Festival

Dates:
July 13-23

About:
Approximately 100 new and recent features screen at the Israeli event, with a third representing nonfiction work. Continue reading

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On DVD: HEARING IS BELIEVING

New to DVD this week:
HEARING IS BELIEVING

Director:
Lorenzo DeStefano

Premiere:
Hawaii 2016

About:
A portrait of Rachel Flowers, a blind musical prodigy.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On VOD: BARBECUE

New to VOD this week:
BARBECUE

Director:
Matthew Salleh

Premiere:
SXSW 2017

Select Festivals:
Sydney

About:
Barbecue traditions around the world.

Salleh’s film profiles several locations and local customs around grilling meat on fire, including South Africa, Japan, Australia, Mongolia, Sweden, the Philippines, Uruguay, Armenia, Syria/Jordan refugee camps, Texas, Mexico, and New Zealand. Almost uniformly, participants note the importance of community, coming together, sharing stories as they share food, while also revealing some detail about their specific traditions, from Texan dry rub slow indirect cooked brisket to Swedes’ love of prepackaged picnic ready disposable personal grills. While well-shot, this hopelessly overscored project also is far too long and repetitive, having made its point about the commonality and sociability of the practice within its first few scenes, only to repeat them again and again at each new picturesque location.

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In Theatres: I AM THE BLUES

Coming to theatres today, Wednesday, July 12:
I AM THE BLUES

Director:
Daniel Cross

Premiere:
IDFA 2016

Select Festivals:
SXSW, Hot Docs, Pan African, Raindance, Salem, Docs Against Gravity, IndieBo

About:
An ethnomusicological tour of the American South.

As signaled by his film’s title, Canadian filmmaker Cross explores the enduring legacy of the blues, not by offering a comprehensive history of the distinctly American genre, but instead by focusing on the aging musicians who are still performing, and, in so doing, keeping their artform alive. Traveling throughout Louisiana and Mississippi, the filmmaker profiles several old-school African-American musicians, many in their 80s, who grew up with the blues by playing the Chitlin’ Circuit, usually barely eking out a living. While Cross offers audiences a showcase of their talents in several demonstrations of their performances – too many in a film nearing two hours – the project’s survey structure and a surfeit of subjects results in a lack of deep exploration or any strong story-driven thread. Still, music fans will likely find much to enjoy in this loving tribute.

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In Theatres: 500 YEARS

Coming to theatres today, Wednesday, July 12:
500 YEARS

Director:
Pamela Yates

Premiere:
Sundance 2017

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Human Rights Geneva, Human Rights Watch London, Ashland, Full Frame, Seattle, Human Rights Watch New York

About:
The completion of a 35-year trilogy focused on the resistance of Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan population.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On DVD: MY LIFE IN CHINA

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, July 11:
MY LIFE IN CHINA

Director:
Kenneth Eng

Premiere:
San Diego Asian Film Festival 2014

Select Festivals:
Florida, St Louis, Bahamas, and Asian/Asian American fests in Dallas, Boston, and Seattle

About:
A personal look at the sacrifices made by the filmmaker’s father, an immigrant to the US from China.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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