|News Archives - (Current News)
2000 Oscar Winner on HBO
Ken Burns Jazz Will Premiere
January 8, 2001
Our House Interview/Coverage
Oscar Winners 2000
Oscar Nominees 2000
Man on the Moon Doc
Begins Selling Independent Films
Trek Fan Documentary Receives National Promotional Campaign
Covers the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival's Documentaries
P.O.V. Summer 99 Season Announced
Star Wars' Fan Documentary
Frontline: Memory of the Camps
International Film Festival Call For Entries
Academy Awards Announced:
Year of the Independents
HBO premieres Documentary on Women
$80,000 in funds for
Documentary Film Productions
Film Critic Gene Siskel dies at 53
Adademy Award Nominations Announced
Spielberg Documentary to be Released: The Last Days
Ken Burns' Documentary
Announced: Mark Twain
Announcing the Hot Springs
New Graffiti Documentaries
Home Page Doc
Frontline 1999: Rwanda
Chuck Braverman wins 2000 DGA
Award for documentary film.
Chuck Braverman was presented the 2000 DGA Award for Outstanding
Directorial Achievement in Documentaries during the 53rd Annual DGA Awards Dinner on
Saturday, March 10, 2001 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
Braverman's documentary, High School Boot Camp, follows
teens on the verge of serious trouble as they turn their backs on drugs and violence to
face the biggest challenge of their lives - the hard training and tough
discipline of military drill instructors. This was Braverman's first DGA Award and second
camera doc leads to political scandal. (National Post)
Documentaries big at SXSW (indieWIRE)
Festival will award land to winner (Press Release)
the River on Your Right - Now a documentary
Over 30 years ago, Tobias Schneebaum wrote about his journey
into Peru's Madre de Dios region in his cult classic Keep the River on Your Right
, but now the book has an epilogue. A epilogue in the form of a feature length
documentary that follows Schneebaum as he returns to to Peru and meets up with the
remotely located Peruvians, he had lived with many years ago. The basic storyline is
compelling, but Schneebaum is no ordinary traveler. His amazing story and details
about the documentary can be found at ArtNewsOnline.
of Genghis Blues
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. reviews the Academy Award
nominated documentary, Genghis Blues.
It takes little imagination to understand
why Roko and Adrian Belic had problems financing their film. It would focus on a type of
musicthroat-singingthat few had ever heard of, and be filmed in Tuva, an
isolated region near Mongolia that wasnt even on the map. Worse still, the camera
would follow one Paul Penaa relatively unknown blind blues singer who had taught
himself throat-singingas he interacted with Tuvan culture. The brothers werent
particularly surprised that no one was interested, but neither were they dissuaded. So
with little money and a rag-tag crew who wanted to work on the film for nothing, they
booked a flight to Tuva.
Click here to
read the entire review.
of Don't Look Back
Mark Nichols reviews the D.A. Pennebaker
documentary, Don't Look Back.
Arguably more cinema vérité than
documentary, D.A. Pennebakers Dont Look Back follows four weeks of Bob
Dylans solo acoustic tour across England in 1965. Virtually absent are the standard
documentary conventions of archival or interview footage. Nor is the film a concert
picture, with very few live numbers captured in their entirety, and more than half of the
film following Dylan backstage and between gigs. Instead the camera acts solely as a fly
on the wall and for 96 minutes the viewer watches Dylan ongoing evolution as performer and
personality. Heres hoping hes evolved since.
Click here to
read the entire review.
The DGA announces documentary
The Directors Guild of America nominees are:
- Chuck Braverman, High School Boot Camp (Discovery Channel)
- Laurie Collyer, Nuyorican Dream (Cinemax)
- David deVries, The True Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai
(The History Channel)
- Mark T. Lewis, The Natural History of the Chicken (PBS)
- Michael Mierendorf, Broken Child (HBO)
Hot Docs is almost here -
Registration forms for Hot Docs Canadian International
Documentary Festival, North America's largest documentary event, are now available online
at www.hotdocs.ca and through the Hot Docs office,
with early bird rates available until March 30.
A meeting and marketplace for documentary professionals, Hot Docs has become a must-attend
event for documentary filmmakers, buyers, programmers, distributors and commissioning
editors from around the world. Last year, 1,100 industry delegates from 25 countries
attended Hot Docs.
This year, Hot Docs will present over 80 cutting-edge documentaries from Canada and
abroad, and an expanded roster of professional development, networking and market events.
New in 2001 are:
* Producers Seminars, a series of panels focussing on the "business" side of
* Cutting Truths: Convergence, Interactivity and the Future of Documentary, a one-day
conference mounted in collaboration with the Banff New Media Institute (Banff Centre),
exploring the impact of the "digital revolution" on documentary practice;
* Rendez-vous, an afternoon of one-on-one meetings between independent filmmakers and
international documentary financiers;
* Kickstart, a half-day programme geared towards emerging documentary filmmakers.
Regular events returning in 2001 include Filmmaker Discussions, a series of panels
focusing on the creative aspects of documentary filmmaking; Micro-Meetings led by industry
professionals; Master Classes with Albert Maysles and the collaborative team of D.A.
Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus; and Hot Docs' annual Symposium, this year entitled
"Imagining Change". The Doc Shop, a documentary market running in conjunction
with the festival, will include an on-demand videotheque and a video library of over 1,100
In 2001, Hot Docs will also mount the 2nd annual Toronto Documentary Forum (May 2-3), a
two-day international market event during which independent documentary production teams
pitch their projects to an international assembly of commissioning editors and other
documentary financiers. A limited number of Observer seats are now available (see
Registration Form for details).
Register before March 30 to receive early bird rates on Hot Docs Industry Passes, as well
as passes for various individual events. Submit your registration form on-line at www.hotdocs.ca or call Hot Docs office at (416) 203-2155
to obtain a registration brochure.
New IMAX documentary is one
big concert video.
All Access: Front Row. Backstage. Live! offer
brief views of individual musical artists as they prepare to perform along with
traditional concert style footage of individual song performance, in the not so
traditional format of IMAX. Artist featured include Dave Matthews Band, Moby, Carlos
Santana, Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, Sting, Al Green, George Clinton, B.B. King, Sheryl
Crow, Mary J. Blige, Kid Rock, Macy Gray, the Roots, Phish's Trey Anastasio, and Cheb
of Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. reviews the American
Experience documentary series, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided.
The three part series will air on PBS over three nights: February 19, 20 & 21.
of The Target Shoots First
When I first heard about a filmmaker who had
shot video for two years while working at Columbia House corporate headquarters, I assumed
that he was using a hidden camera. I was wrong. He showed up for his first day of work
with a video camera, and when no one objected to being filmed, he proceeded to bring it to
work everyday for the next two years. Click here
to read the full review by Joshua Davis.
The Cinemax Reel Life presentation debuts Tuesday,
February 20 at 8:00 p.m. EST.
of Frontline's Saving Elian
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. reviews the Frontline
documentary, Saving Elian. This film offers a penetrating and disturbing
look at the underlying forces and groups that mobilized when presented with the spark that
was Elian Gonzolas. It will air on PBS Tuesday, February 6th.
Craven directs Clinton documentary.
Director of many horror films including
the original Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven filmed Clinton in the White
House as he gave a tour of it. The completed film will be shown at his presidential
library in Arkansas. (iWon)
of Frontline's Juvenile Justice
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. reviews the Frontline
documentary, Juvenile Justice. The filmmakers were given full access to the
Santa Clara, California juvenile court system to study four cases over the course of a
year. It will air on PBS Tuesday, January 30th.
Cinemax will show 2000
Slamdance and SXSW documentary winner.
Winner of the 2000 Best Documentary Feature award at
the Slamdance and South by Southwest film festivals, The Target Shoots First is a
biting commentary on the gap between corporate America and the disillusioned youth market
it is trying to exploit. From the offices and corridors to the conference rooms and
cafeterias, the director Chris Wilcha provides an all-access journey in his life as a
worker for Columbia House. The "CINEMAX Reel Life" presentation debuts TUESDAY,
FEB. 20 (8:00-9:15 p.m. ET). Other air date: March 9 (6:00 a.m.)
The New York Times and
docfest team up for documentary series.
docfest, The New
York International Documentary Festival, in partnership with The New York Times is
presenting a new screening series of classic documentaries as part of "Times
Talks," the New York Times speaker series dedicated to discussion of the arts,
entertainment, and society. Each "Times Talks" screening will be
accompanied by special guests, a Q&A, plus a champagne reception in the manner of
"docfest," the New York Documentary Center's annual spring event in New York.
(This year's "docfest", the fourth annual New York International
Documentary Festival, is April 27-May 1st.)
Review of Jazz: A Film by Ken
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. reviews the new Ken Burns
documentary series Jazz. A full review of the series is accompanied by a guide to
each episode and a listing of air dates. The series will begin airing on PBS Monday,
review of The Clinton Years
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. reviews the first 2001
Frontline documentary, The Clinton Years. The film looks
back at Clintons presidency through the eyes of those who served him. It
will air on PBS Tuesday, January 16th.
Excellent overview of the state of documentary film
A must read for every documentary
filmmaker and anyone concerned about the continued availability of documentaries.
Covers the role that public television, cable, the NEA, and corporate sponsorship play in
getting films made. (New York Times - Registration may be required)
dot-coms affecting the online film community.
Think the .com shakedown doesn't affect the independent
film industry; think again. With more and more online movie showplaces like iCAST going
under, be sure to get your film shown by a company that will be around when you need them.
Smart bet: traditional distribution systems are still the way to go. Also,
interesting comments on the state of online-independent-movie-news sites.
the directors of Hairdo
Hairdo explores the sub-culture of hair style
contests by following a group of hair stylist as they travel and compete in New York in
front of professional hairstylist judges. (NewEnglandFilm.com)
Ira Glass, host of This American Life, get
a taste of his own medicine.
The host of this sometimes documentary
series is asked questions that he had previously used on his own guests. (Chicago Tribune)
PBS gets into the
"reality" TV business
Last summer PBS aired the British produced 1900
House, a documentary program that followed the lives of an English family who tried
to live with 1900 technology, just as a turn-of-the-century family would. Now PBS is
doing its own take on the series with Frontier House. This six-part series
will follow three groups as they fend for themselves in the primitive conditions of the
1800s. Production for the series is being handled by WNET in New York. PBS
film crews will document the entire six-month experience. Frontier House will air in
2002. PBS is even keeping the location a secret. Survivor without the
Documentary Film Festival seeks recent creative documentary work to screen in its
General Submissions category. The 4th annual international festival will take
place May 3-6, 2001 at the historic Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC. Over 40 programs
make up the General Submissions, Thematic, International, and Career Award segments.
Competition films are eligible for the Jury, Audience and other awards.
Documentaries must have been completed after January 1, 1999 and be no more than 180
minutes in length. Deadline is December 28, 2000. Late deadline is January 8,
2001. Visit their site for more details.
Sundance Documentary Entries Announced
- "Chain Camera"
- "Children Underground"
- "Dogtown and the Z-Boys"
- "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic
- "Go Tigers!"
- "Home Movie"
- "LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton"
- "Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind"
- "The Natural History of the Chicken"
- "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey"
- "Scout's Honor"
- "Southern Comfort"
- "Start Up.Com"
- "Trembling Before G-D"
- "An Unfinished Symphony"
Dark Days documentary invites audiences into 'homes' of
the homeless. (CNN)
"Dark Day won three awards at the
Sundance Film Festival, including the Audience Award. Now, it's finding new audiences as
it slowly releases to 20 markets across the country this fall. "
independent filmmaking spurred by the ability to screen films online. (Time Asia)
Jazz PBS Broadcast Schedule Announced
NOTE: At the beginning of January we will have a full review of Ken Burns' Jazz by
Documentary Films .Net lead reviewer, Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.
All times are 8PM Eastern Standard Time
January 8 - Gumbo, Beginnings to 1917
January 9 - The Gift, 1917-1924
January 10 - Our Language, 1924-1928
January 15 - The True Welcome, 1929-1935
January 17 - Swing: Pure Pleasure, 1935-1937
January 22 - Swing: The Velocity of Celebration, 1937-1939
January 23 - Dedicated to Chaos, 1940-1945
January 24 - Risk, 1945-1956
January 29 - The Adventure, 1956-1961
January 31 - A Masterpiece Midnight, 1961-Present
A review of Return
With Honor - POWs tell their story in their words.
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. reviews The American Experience
documentary Return With Honor, which explores the lives of America pilots who
were captured and retained in North Vietnamese prisons. The documentary will air on PBS
Monday, November 13th.
Death of Video
Rentals? (LA Times)
The content is not dead, but with increased options for leisure time
including the Internet and more on demand video options, traditional video retailers are
feeling the pressure in fewer sales.
with Documentarian and Activist Robbie Leppzer (New England Films)
Offers interesting thoughts on the state of documentary
film distributing in the U.S., and how some thing have improved, while the climate as a
whole has not.
Biographer of Presidents Tackles an Emperor (NY Times - Registration Required)
Three years and three million dollars have resulted in Napoleon.
A documentary directed by David Grubin and narrated by David McCullough, which begins
Wednesday night on PBS.
Justice on Frontline Tonight
Producers for Frontline spent 10 months observing and
documenting the goings-on of Boston's criminal court system by going inside the city's
courtrooms and DA's office. Real Justice, a two part series, goes beyond
the headlines of high-profile case and show what the modern court system is really
Attention New York (and
The HBO FRAME BY FRAME documentary film showcase
will run from Friday, Oct. 13, to Thursday, Oct. 26, at The Screening Room in lower
Manhattan. The showcase helps focus the fim community on documentary films, by showing
award winning films, along with films by up and coming filmmakers and their works.
Admission to FRAME BY FRAME screenings is $5.00 general
admission. The Screening Room is located at 54 Varick Street. All proceeds from
ticket sales benefit the International Documentary Association.
Among the 21 films being screened at FRAME BY FRAME
* "Nuyorican Dream," Laurie Collyer's intimate look at three
generations of one Puerto Rican family living in New York City.
* "Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks," a portrait
of the modern-day Renaissance man, directed by Craig Rice.
* "The Laughing Club of India," acclaimed director Mira Nair's look at
Bombay's unusual and popular phenomenon of bringing people together to
promote healing and well-being through laughter.
* "Long Night's Journey into Day: South Africa's Search For Truth &
Reconciliation," winner of the Grand Prize for best documentary at the 2000
Sundance Film Festival, from filmmakers Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffmann.
* "Legacy," a stunning saga of one family's rise from the grips of
despair in one of Chicago's most dangerous housing projects, directed by Tod
* "Paragraph 175," the shocking story of the Nazi persecution of
homosexuals, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.
* "Big Mama," the story of a determined and resilient 89-year-old
grandmother's struggle to raise her nine-year-old grandson, directed by
* "Just, Melvin," a chilling and candid account of the cycles of
incest, directed by James Ronald Whitney.
* "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," a look at the fall and rise of Tammy Faye
Bakker Messner, directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.
* "On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom," a poignant profile of South
African singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, directed by Eric Simonson in
association with Leelai Demoz.
article on how the documentary Hands on the Hardbody compares to Survivor.
Note: Hands on the Hardbody is a
difficult to locate documentary, but if you get the chance, definitely see it. The
USA Network has been running a similarly themed show, Last One Standing, on Sunday evenings
periodically, while not up to the Hardbody standard, it is the best of current
2000 Oscar Winning
Doc - Coming to HBO - One Time Only
on HBO just prior to this year's Summer Olympic Games, One Day in September will
air one time only: on Monday, September 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
This year's Academy Award winner for Best
Documentary Feature, One Day in September tells the gripping story of the 1972
Munich Olympics massacre from the initial hostage-taking, through the fruitless 24-hour
negotiation process, to the final horrifying hours at a German airport. Produced by
six-time Oscar-winner Arthur Cohn and narrated by Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas,
this must-see documentary film provides explosive new insights into the Munich
massacre-including the first-ever interview by the only terrorist still alive today. It
also featues a wealth of film and television archival footage, including the memorable
commentary of Olympic TV anchor JIm McKay. The film is driven by a majestic score
including songs by Led Zeppelin and other top bands from the 1970's.
Burns Jazz Will Premiere January 8, 2001.
The first episode of Ken Burns documentary series, Jazz, will be shown on
January 8th of next year. This series will be the third of what Ken Burns has
described as his epic, American documentary series, with the first two being The
Civil War and Baseball. The Jazz series has epic media
proportions, in that Columbia Records' Legacy imprint and Verve Records are joining forces
to release a far-reaching overview of jazz in conjunction with Ken Burns' PBS documentary Jazz.
On Nov. 7, Columbia Legacy and Verve will release a five-CD box set companion titled 'Ken
Burns Jazz: The Story of American Music' in addition to 22 individual artist discs. There
will also be a single disc overview of the 10-episode series. Before
the series airs, Knopf will publish a coffee-table book of photographs from the series. After
its airing, Warner Home Video will release it on DVD. For coverage of Ken
Burns and a complete listing of his available films, visit our Ken Burns section.
View of things to
come. The Documentary Film Interview Index is being developed as a new feature
of the site. Click here to view, and start sending us
New York (and the World):
Though only in its third year, DOCFEST has fast
become one of the must-attend events in the New York film festival calendar.
Seventeen films representing the very best of recent international documentaries will be
featured, including eight US and eight New York premieres. The festival kicks off May 31
at the Brooklyn Academy of Musics Rose Cinemas with a special Opening Night
screening of the US premiere of Argentinian director Daniel Rosenfelds SALUZZI:
COMPOSITION FOR BANDONEON AND THREE BROTHERS followed by a Gala Reception featuring a
one-of-a-kind performance by the films subject, Argentinian musical legend Dino
All other screenings - beginning on June 2 and
running to June 6 - will be held at the Directors Guild of America Theater, 110 West 57th
Street. Each director and many special guests will attend their screenings with audience
discussions and a champagne reception after every program. For those who want to see
the latest and best of documentary film, this event should not be missed. We
encourage you to visit the festival's web site to learn about the
specific films listed below and to view the most current schedule.
Other featured works include: Nina Davenports ALWAYS
A BRIDESMAID; Jem Cohen and Peter Sillens BENJAMIN SMOKE; Peter Wintonicks
CINEMA VERITE:DEFINING THE MOMENT; Paul Wilmshursts DICE WORLD; Pola Rapaports
FAMILY SECRET; Deann Borshays FIRST PERSON PLURAL; David and Laurie Gwen
Shapiros KEEP THE RIVER ON YOUR RIGHT: A MODERN CANNIBAL TALE; Jane Treays ONE
MAN, SIX WIVES AND TWENTY-NINE CHILDREN; Marina Goldovskayas THE PRINCE IS BACK;
Irene Langemanns RUSSIAS WONDER CHILDREN; Barak Goodman and Daniel
Ankers stunning SCOTTSBORO: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY; Gidi Dars SHINE; Elizabeth
Barrets STRANGER WITH A CAMERA; Michael Camerini and Shari Robertsons
WELL-FOUNDED FEAR; Michel Negropontes W.I.S.O.R.;and a Special Tribute to CBS Sunday
Films .Net Interview with Meema Spadola, Director of Our House: A Very Real
Documentary about Kids of Gay and Lesbian Parents.
With summer coming up, documentary film fans and supporters should be sure
to take advantage of the independent films being shown on PBS. One of the films that
willl be shown this summer is Our House. This film follows the
lives of children of gay and lesbian parents. The documentary profiles sixteen sons and
daughtersbetween the ages of four and twenty-threein five families who are
facing the usual highs and lows of growing up. This documentary is thought to
be the first to profile the lives of children of gay and lesbian parents, that is being
presented to a national audience. This film will be shown in June. To get the
exact times and more information on Our House check out their website. Make time to see independent
films this summer.
Salon.com has a
story on David Schisgall's The Lifestyle: Group Sex in the Suburbs, a
new documentary that explores the all-American world of suburban swingers. Find out
how this film was so controversial, that most "indie" film festivals turned him
down. Click here to
visit the film's web site.
And the Winners are,
ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
the Nominees are,
VISTA SOCIAL CLUB
ON THE ROPES
ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER
SPEAKING IN STRINGS
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
THE WILDEST SHOW IN THE
SOUTH: THE ANGOLA PRISON RODEO
Sure to be a Oscar contender this year, the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon might also
spawn a documentary. Talk at Jersey Films is that the over 200 hours of
behind-the-scenes footage shot by Lynn Margolis, Kaufman's girlfriend, provides enough
laughs and drama to make a full length doc. Jim Carrey was in character 24/7 at the
shoot making for some very strange and interesting footage. The second article at MSN
provides the details.
A film you have likely not seen,
but hopefully will: Sing Faster: The Stagehand's Ring Cycle. This
documentary follows the backstage crew of the San Fransico Opera's presentation of
Wagner's opera Ring Cycle. The film has only been shown at film festivals and on a
few local PBS stations including in L.A. and San Fransico. Explore this film's web
site which includes a great interview
with the director, Jon Else , and then give your local public broadcasting station a call,
and ask for this film to be shown.
Only Trannies Have Beards:
What Outfest '99 Tells Us About Ourselves
an essay by Randy A. Riddle
with Farmer's Wife Director, David Sutherland
to Begin Selling Independent Films Through Its Site
Amazon.com plans to announce today, July 9, that it will now add the selling of films to
its very successful Advantage program, which allows authors and musicians to sell their
work on Amazon.com without having distribution deals with large publishers or labels.
A viewing of the Advantage Programs web site this
morning, finds that Amazon.com has added a video
category to the program. Details are similar to the other Advantage programs, in
that the independent video will receive the same type of display as any other video on
Amazon.com, and the artists will receive 45% of the retail price of the video. The
filmmaker is allowed to set his or her own price, and Amazon.com handles fulfillment for
all orders and keeps filmmaker informed on sales and inventory. The only other
Amazon.com related cost, is the cost of getting the videos shipped to Amazon.com.
Based on the feedback we get here at Documentary Films
.Net, many filmmakers are likely to take Amazon.com up on the offer. If only to have
the opportunity to present their work to a larger audience. (NOTE: Full Disclosure:
Documentary Films .Net is an associate of Amazon.com.)
Trek Fan Documentary Receives National Promotional Campaign to Mark Its Release
Set to be released just as the Star Wars phenomenon reaches it height, Trekkies is a documentary that chronicles the
"other" sci-fi fan obsession, Star Trek. Paramount Classics is releasing Trekkies
in selected cities May 21. The film is produced by Paramount in association with Neo
Art & Logic Production with Roger Nygard directing.
Director Nygard and host Denise Crosby, who created and played the role of
Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, traveled across the country documenting
the obsessive and fun nature of Star Trek fans. Fans highlighted include
Barbara Adams, a grand juror on the Little Rock, White Water Grand Jury, who thought
nothing of where a Star Trek uniform to the jury proceedings. Another profiled fan
legally changed his name to James T. Kirk, and yet another is considering get his ears
physically altered to look like a Vulcan. These fans along with hundreds of others
represent the subjects of Trekkies.
The films subject alone makes this a enjoyable film, but Paramount is
getting behind the film with promotion including national television advertising, that
includes the trailer. Paramount is likely getting behind the films because of it
huge potential. Beyond the documentary and independent film audiences, over 100,000
individuals have registered as official Star Trek fans. Other facts which Paramount
lists in its "Fun Facts" section on the film's Paramount web site include that, "The
average "Star Trek" fan spends $400 per year on "Star Trek"
merchandise.", and ""Star Trek" products have elicited over a billion
dollars in retail sales in the last five years.". These numbers mean that
Paramount thinks the film has a chance and will act accordingly.
Gabriel C. Keorner one of the profiled fans in the film posted on the Trekkies news group, that
Paramount has released 320 prints of Trekkies nationwide for the May 21 weekend.
We have posted a list of theaters were the film will playing
this weekend. This number of prints being released for a documentary in the first
week is very rare. Hopefully this support for the films will allow it to be shown on
screens across the country, during the traditionally competitive summer film market.
Covers the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival's Documentaries
Stephen Garrett has written an excellent article "Pop"
Go the Docs: Non-Fiction Films Shine At LAIFF '99 for IndieWIRE that
provides an overview of the documentaries presented at this years LAIFF. The article
gives synopses of the films and the audience reactions along with some excellent
comments on the state of documentary films. This years documentary films included Pop
and Me, The Lifestyle, Hot Irons, Better Living Through Circuitry, and The
P.O.V. Summer 99 Season Announced
Starting June1, P.O.V.,the independent documentary film series on PBS, will begin
its 1999 season. Eight films are scheduled to air along with two special programs at
the end of the summer. This year's films include:
The Legacy: Murder & Media, Politics & Prisons- Murder victims'
fathers consider the three strike laws in California.
Rabbit in the Moon- Reflections on the WWII internment camps.
Golden Threads- 80 year old gay women's activist organizing in her golden
In My Corner- Two brother from the Bronx dream of being big-time boxers.
The Green Monster- Without a formal education, mechanic designs and
drives cars that break land-speed records.
Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena- Interviews with fans, family, and the
School Prayer: A Community at War- One women stands against the standard
practice in Mississippi.
The Double Life of Ernesto Gomez Gomez- Son of Puerto Rican
revolutionaries explores his past.
Full listing with
descriptions at P.O.V.
Wars' Fan Documentary Available Online
Digital filmmaker John Wishnow's documentary film, Tatooine or Bust, is
receiving renewed excitement as the film is available on the Internet using Quicktime, but
more importantly as the release of The Phantom Menace approaches.
Tatooine or Bust chronicles the powerful and comedic devotion of
Star Wars fans as they camp out in anticipation of the re-release of the original Star
Wars film in 1997. The film was shot at five different theaters simultaneously, and
features interviews with Star War fans as they waited in line. The film has been
shown at several festivals over the past two years, and was recently screened for The
Phantom Menace special effects crew at Lucas Films as they finished up post-production.
The film's web site has
the documentary available for
viewing using Quicktime.
Frontline: Memory of the Camps
This past year has witnessed the released of several films that deal in
some way with the Holocaust. Whether it be the comedic drama Life is Beautiful or
the Oscar winning documentary The Last Days, films are increasingly more willing to deal
with the issues of the Holocaust, and with a increased level of frankness. However,
long before any of these movies had ever even been conceived, and just at the end of World
War II as the allies began to liberate the concentration camps, the United States and
British governments conceived of a plan to film the conditions of the camps and the
results of the Nazi's actions.
This effort resulted in the filming of six reels and the contribution of
Alfred Hitchcock in editing the film, but bureaucratic fights and changing priorities left
this film without release until 40 years later. In 1985, Frontline, attempting to
remain true to the filmmaker's vision of the film, recorded the written narration that
accompanied the film and showed it to a nationwide audience.
This week Frontline is showing this one hour film again; it should not be
missed, as viewers
comments attest to the film's impact. For further information and showtimes
visit the film's web site.
International Film Festival Call For Entries
The Tenth Vermont International Film Festival
will be held in Burlington, October 21-24, 1999. Currently, they are seeking
call-for-entries in the categories of War & Peace, Justice & Human Rights and the
Environment. Prizes will be given, courtesy of Eastman
Kodak. VTIFF primarily shows documentaries because of the nature of their subject matter.
So if your considering submitting your film, give this festival consideration. For
more information, contact Jennie Bedusa at 802.660.2600 or visit their web site.
Awards Announced: Year of the Independents
For the first time ever, the major Hollywood studios failed to capture any
Oscars. While studios such as Dreamworks and Miramax are hardly small independents,
their victories bode well for Independent film. The big movie winners at this years
Academy Awards included Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan, but
some of the most exciting moments came when Roberto Benigni, director, writer, and actor
in Life is Beautiful, won the Oscar for best Foreign Language Film as well as
Best Actor. His standing on the seats with his hands raised to the air after his
first victory, must be categorized as a Academy first.
In the documentary categories, The Last Days won in the long
form category, with The
Personals: Improvisation on Romance in the Golden Years winning in the short form
category. The Last Days was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and
funded by his Shoah foundation. Read below for more information.
Keiko Ibi, the director of The Personals, gave one of the most moving
acceptance speeches of the awards. She thanked the Academy and the world in general
for allowing a Japanese immigrant the opportunity to create the documentary she had always
wanted to do. A long, but generally entertaining cerimony.
premieres Documentary on Women in Sports
On March 8th HBO is premiering its newest sports documentary, Dare to
Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports. This two hour documentary features
over 40 interviews and will chronicle women's struggle to gain acceptance and their own
place in the sports world.
Lauren Hutton narrates this documentary and some of those interviewed will
include WNBA star Lynette Woodard and tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina
Navratilova. The documentary is scheduled to play throughout the month of June on HBO.
in funds for Documentary Film Productions
Documentaries with "unique social value" are eligible for grants
from the 1999
Roy W. Dean Film and Video Grant. Applications for the grants can be downloaded or
can be obtained via mail.
Carole Dean, CEO of Studio Film & Tape and founder of From the Heart Productions,
created the film grant in 1992 upon the death of her father, Roy W. Dean, an ardent
supporter of independent filmmakers who insisted that "When you put the raw film in
the hands of filmmakers, the project WILL be produced!"
Past winners include In My Corner, by Ricki Stern which will
be seen on PBS this spring, Save A Man to Fight by Mindy Pomper, which will be seen on The
History Channel this year, All Power to the People by Lew Lee, which is now being shown in
18 countries, and Women Who Dare: Hollywood Stunt Women, which is currently doing the
rounds at The Sundance Film Festival. Now an industry honor, the grant also stands
as a testimony of belief in the potential of the individual to make a lasting difference
in public awareness via the mediums of the moving image.
Aditional Conatact Information: 1215 N. Highland Ave. Hollywood
CA 90038 323-769-0900 ext. 816 FAX 323-463-2121
Film Critic Gene Siskel dies at
The AP is reporting
that Gene Siskel, noted film critic, has died at the age of 53. Siskel is best know
for his sparring with fellow Chicago critic Roger Ebert on their nationally syndicated
program Siskel & Ebert. Siskel also wrote film reviews for the Chicago Tribune
and appeared as a movie critic for CBS This Morning. Siskel will be surely missed by
the documentary and independent film community for his and Ebert's reviews have brought
audiences to films that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. The documentary film
community morns the passing of Gene Siskel, a great critic and fan of film.
Award Nominations Announced
-The Farm: Angola, USA
-The Last Days
-Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell
-Regret to Inform
Documentary Short Subject
Improvisation on Romance in the Golden Years
-A Place in the Land
-Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square
Spielberg Documentary to be
released: The Last Days
The documentary The
Last Days, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, will be released by
October Films February 5 in New York and Los Angeles and February 12 - nationally. The
Last Days is the third documentary produced for Survivors
of Shoah Visual History Foundation by director James Moll. It chronicles the
final days of Jews in Hungary in 1944 as they were rounded up by the Nazi in a one
of the many scenarios that was part of the Holocaust. The film focus on the
stories of five Jews who survived Holocaust and now live in the United States.
This film is only part of Spielberg effort to document the stories of
Holocaust survivors. His effort began after the filming of Schindler's List,
with the founding of the Shoah Foundation in 1994. As of
February 1999, the foundation had recorded their 50,000th Holocaust survivor.
The foundation's focus has now turned to making these interviews available to the public
and educational institutions in a variety of forms, including long-form documentaries,
CD-ROMs, as well as future plans for on-line access.
Burn's New Documentary Announced: Mark Twain
According to a interview done with
Dayton Duncun by Jim Zwick, Mining Co. Guide to Mark Twain, Ken Burn's plans to film a
documentary on the life of Mark Twain to be aired sometime in 2000 or 2001 on PBS.
Dayton Duncun, Ken Burn's coproducer, also indicated that a documentary on the lives of
the suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, would be shown in 1999.
While rumors of a potential documentary on Mark Twain's life have been
circulating for years, the Duncun interview is thought to be the first public interview on
the film by someone actually involved in the project.
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
The Hot Springs Documentary Film
Festival is now accepting submissions of non-fiction films for consideration in its
8th annual celebration, October 8-17, 1999. Travel & Leisure Magazine has
recognized the HSDFF as "One of the Top 20 Film Festivals Worldwide". The Hot
Springs Documentary Film Festival features cutting-edge, classic and experimental
documentaries as well as lectures and forums on issues and ideas. Along with the
selections of the Festivals Screening Committee, the current year's Academy Award
nominees in the documentary category and International Documentary Association (IDA)
honorees are screened. In 1999, more than 70 films covering a wide range of topics
will be screened multiple times during the festival. The Festival is unique in its
recognition of documentarians, many of whom will be on hand to discuss their work.
New Graffiti Documentaries
Subject: GV2 and Graffiti Verite' Documentaries
To: AV Media Acquisition Librarians
Date: February 26, 1999
From: Bryan World Productions
Announcing the newly released Graffiti Art Documentary GV2: Freedom of ExpreSSion?
(Graffiti Verite' 2); produced by the multi-award winning Independent Filmmaker
GV2: Freedom of ExpreSSion? is an exciting and revealing look into the controversial
Graffiti Art Movement and the much awaited follow-up to Graffiti Verite', winner of the
National Educational Media Networks "Gold Apple Award, CINE "Golden Eagle"
(and many other awards)" which explores the eclectic world of 24 talented Urban
"This well produced examination of an underground art, explained by the artists who
created it, will add a new dimension to art classes and to Library Video
Collections. We recommend its use in High School and College Art Classes."
School Library Journal
"We endorse Graffiti Verite' to represent the USA in all International Film
Festivals. An American Film about a great American Art Form."
Council of Non-Theatrical Events (CINE)
"Appropriate and useful classroom material."
Committee for the Los Angeles Co. Office of Education
"The colorful, neon like murals seen here (far removed from the ugly gang territory
markings) are, rather the brash Picasso's of hip-hop culture."
"The minority Artists are so well represented and come across with such integrity,
intelligence, cultural and artistic knowledge . This will do a great deal to help
dispel the usually wrong impression that Graffiti Artists are anti-intellectual and
unaware of anything other that their own wish to express themselves."
Andrew Connor, Associate Curator, National Museum, Smithsonian Institution
"The work shown here in this video is very impressive, even more so when you consider
that the primary tool here is a can of spray paint."
Video Librarian Review
"The strength of your videotape is that you focus on the commentary of the
Artists...to understand their thinking and what motivates them is really important to an
appreciation of this art form."
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
"Intelligent and in-depth, it's 45 minutes of art, from Gallery Shows to the stuff on
the streets. Graffiti Verite' is sure to open your eyes."
"This documentary helps dispel the prejudices against Graffiti Art and draws the
viewer into the world of hip hop through stunning visual imagery."
Airbrush Action Magazine
"Keeping the culture alive!" It includes in-depth interviews with 24 Los Angeles
based Graf Artists, going into the history and significance of the Art."
The Source Magazine
"Required viewing for all citizens of big cities that don't understand the
significance and impact of Graffiti."
Rap Pages Magazine
"A mind expanding experience in people's - as opposed to commercial culture."
Press Release for Graffiti Verite':
List of some Libraries and Educational Institutions that have purchased Graffiti Verite'
and/or GV2: Freedom of Expression?
Library / Educational Distributors and Outlets by which you can purchase both GV2 and
How can I order the videos directly?
More Reviews of Graffiti Verite':
If you have any further questions or would like to submit a Purchase Order by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax (323) 856-0855 please call
P.O. Box 74033
Los Angeles CA 90004
Home Page Doc
Sundance is Coming -- Documentary To Watch: Home
This year 18 dramatic films will be presented at Sundance, but more
importantly 18 documentaries will be presented. Here at Documentary Films .Net we
have our prediction for the doc that will be the most talked about this year. It is Home Page, from Doug Block a Sundance veteran, who has produced
such films as Jupiter's Wife and Silverlake
Life: The View From Here. Both of these films where prize winners at Sundance, but
this time his film is somewhat different.
Block began to travel the country in a effort to understand the Internet
phenomenon that was becoming the focus of America's youth. He travels and meets
various Internet fixtures such as Justin Hall of www.links.net,
and Block chronicles all of his travels on film. In the process he becomes
what he studies: a Internet junkie. This new understanding starts in his
establishing of a web site D-Word devoted to what he
loves: documentaries. As Block begins to turn his focus inward, he deals with his
relation with the Internet and how it enhances his ability to communicate with others.
Block used part of his D-Word site to
keep the Internet community abreast on the status of the film. He even posted when
he got the call from
Sundance. This film is truly a film of the Internet.
Undoubtedly, as the population as a whole becomes more interested in the
Internet, Home Page will receive a considerable amount of public
exposure. A Sundance victory will be one of the steps towards this exposure.
Read Rough Cut coverage of Homepage
Frontline 1999: The Triumph
of Evil -- Genocide in Rwanda
Frontline's season is well underway, and several
great documentaries have aired including the season opener A Farmer's Wife, Ambush
at Mogadishu as well as the somewhat disappointing Jesus to Christ, among
others. However, some of the best of the season should be coming in 1999.
The January 12 Frontline, Snitch, will highlight, how
the mandatory minimum laws are forcing all those that are accused of a drug related crime
to turn state evidence, whether they have legitimate information or not to avoid a
life-time in jail. The result of this system is that more and more lower-level
dealer are landing jail sentences that surpass murders and rapists. This
documentary will be highlighting the depth (90 minutes) that Frontline continues
to put into its analysis of the drug war and its consequences.
On January 29, Frontline in The Triumph of Evil examines
the genocide that Western governments promised would not happen again after the Holocaust:
the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Frontline is finally doing
what few other U.S. journalist would do, address the genocide that the world let happen.
Following two UN detectives, Frontline exposes the continuing dismissal
conditions in the country and the cover-up of genocide. This documentary should not be