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Nov
30
    

By Bryan Newbury
November 30, 2006

It was 73 degrees Fahrenheit in Lawrence, Kansas on Tuesday, 28 November 2006. Within a day, that turned to 37 and reduced to low 30’s, then 20’s and eventually into the teens. Rain was followed by freezing rain, then drizzle, then sleet. In spite of the deteriorating weather situation, hundreds packed into the University of Kansas’ Woodruff Auditorium for the maiden screening of Fall from Grace. Mr. Jones quipped to a capacity hall that he was pleased with the attendance. “I spent a year with the Phelps family…with the weather I was beginning to fear that God does hate me.”

Yes, the audience, along with Mr. Jones, pressed on. Good for the filmmaker’s soul, no doubt. Murder on a reviewer’s complexion.

Fall from Grace is the fruit of a long year spent with the Phelps family, the primary members of the Westboro Baptist Church’s congregation. As the film illustrates, Phelps & Co. are known throughout the world for their pickets, protests, and general hatred of Broadway musicals. What would make a young man devote such time to the subject of Phelps and his ever-visible “God Hates Fags” and subsequently, “God Hates Troops” signs? One suspects it is the same reason Westboro changed its focus from homosexuals to the Iraq War: publicity.

Surely he can’t be blamed for it. Indeed, this is a timely subject. Though we might like to look beyond these evangelical instigators and picture them as quaint anachronisms inhabiting a time prior to the War on Terror, it is instructive to get a view from the crow’s nest into their political, theological and philosophical world. Considering that common ground has been reached between Palestinian Imams and Israeli Orthodox Rabbis on the assertion that a gay pride march is the ultimate anathema in al Quds, we may see Phelps through the lens of history as ahead of the curve. When a bulk of America’s states, including Kansas, decided to validate a portion of Westboro’s teachings through the constitutional prohibition of same-sex unions, Phelps might have demurred. Rather than circling the victory lap, Pastor Fred saw an opening for a new whipping boy. How, exactly, Mr. Phelps came to the conclusion that the American military is aligned with the sleeper cells of the homosexual agenda is up for debate. Changing the object of his ire from fags to flags could be a tremendous miscalculation. Then again, when one ponders James Guckert, he might not be that far off.

The aspect of a convoluted philosophy manifested through a charismatic personality is tackled well in Fall from Grace. The aim of the picture seems to be an in-depth portrait of the personality of Phelps and by extension his family and congregation. (As Jones pointed out in the question-and-answer period, there are only two other families in the congregation. One is married in, the other apparently another filmmaker who migrated back to Kansas from Florida to do a documentary on Phelps and ended up a member of the parish. Tread lightly, Mr. Jones. There but for the grace.) As a profile, Fall from Grace works rather well. We learn much about Fred Phelps’ development both spiritually and professionally. Read the rest of this entry »


 
Nov
29
    

BANISHED (Director: Marco Williams) — This story of three U.S. towns which, in the early 20th century, forced their entire African American populations to leave, explores what — if anything — can be done to repair past racial injustice. World premiere.

CHASING GHOSTS  (Director: Lincoln Ruchti) — The 1982 Video Game World Champions share their philosophies on joysticks, groupies and life. World premiere.

CRAZY LOVE (Director: Dan Klores) — An unsettling true story about an obsessive relationship between a married man and a beautiful, single 20-year-old woman, which began in 1957 and continues today. World premiere.

EVERYTHING’S COOL (Directors: Judith Helfand, Daniel B. Gold) — A group of self-appointed global warming messengers are on a high stakes quest to find the iconic image, proper language, and points of leverage to help the public go from embracing the urgency of the problem to creating the political will necessary to move to an alternative energy economy. World premiere.

FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (Director: Daniel Karslake) — Grounded by the stories of five conservative Christian families, the film explores how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to support its agenda of stigmatizing the gay community and eroding the separation between church and state. World premiere.

GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB (Director: Rory Kennedy) — This inside look at the abuses that occurred at the infamous Iraqi prison in the fall of 2003 uses direct, personal narratives of perpetrators, witnesses, and victims to probe the effects of the abuses on all involved. World premiere.

GIRL 27 (Director: David Stenn) — When underage dancer Patricia Douglas is raped at a wild MGM stag party in 1937, she makes headlines and legal history, and then disappears. GIRL 27 follows author-screenwriter David Stenn as he investigates one of Hollywood’s most notorious scandals. World premiere.

HEAR AND NOW (Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky) — Filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky tells a deeply personal story about her deaf parents, and their radical decision — after 65 years of silence — to undergo cochlear implant surgery, a complex procedure that could give them the ability to hear. World premiere.

MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) (Director: Jason Kohn) — In Brazil, known as one of the world’s most corrupt and violent countries, MANDA BALA follows a politician who uses a frog farm to steal billions of dollars, a wealthy businessman who spends a small fortune bulletproofing his cars, and a plastic surgeon who reconstructs the ears of mutilated kidnapping victims. World premiere.

MY KID COULD PAINT THAT (Director: Amir Bar-Lev) — A 4-year-old girl whose paintings are compared to Kandinsky, Pollock and even Picasso, has sold $300,000 dollars worth of paintings. Is she a genius of abstract expressionism, a tiny charlatan, or an exploited child whose parents have sold her out for the glare of the media and the lure of the almighty dollar? World premiere.

NANKING (Director: Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman) — A powerful and haunting depiction of the atrocities suffered by the Chinese at the hands of the invading Japanese army during “The Rape of Nanking”, one of the most tragic events of WWII. While more than 200,000 Chinese were murdered and ten of thousands raped, a handful of Westerners performed extraordinary acts of heroism, saving over 250,000 lives in the midst of the horror. World premiere.

NO END IN SIGHT (Director: Charles Ferguson) — A comprehensive examination of the Bush Administration’s conduct of the Iraq war and occupation. Featuring first-time interviews with key participants, the film creates a startlingly clear reconstruction of key decisions that led to the current state of affairs in this war-torn country. World premiere.

PROTAGONIST (Director: Jessica Yu) — PROTAGONIST explores the organic relationship between human life and Euripidean dramatic structure by weaving together the stories of four men — a German terrorist, a bank robber, an “ex-gay” evangelist, and a martial arts student. World premiere.

WAR DANCE (Director: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine) — Devastated by the long civil war in Uganda, three young girls and their school in the Patongo refugee camp find hope as they make a historic journey to compete in their country’s national music and dance festival. World premiere.

WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN: THE DESTRUCTION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI (Director: Steven Okazaki) — WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN offers a visceral, topical and moving portrait of the human cost of atomic warfare. World premiere.

ZOO (Director: Robinson Devor) — A humanizing look at the life and bizarre death of a seemingly normal Seattle family man who met his untimely end after an unusual encounter with a horse. World premiere.


 
Nov
28
    

By Bryan Newbury
November 10, 2006

Detractors of Michael Moore usually share something in common besides politics. More often than not, they haven’t seen the films of which they’re speaking.

It is surprising, then, that The Big One hasn’t shared the enmity that greeted his other feature documentaries. After all, if there is one film of Moore’s that hasn’t been seen, by and large it is this one.

The film takes place on Moore’s book tour promoting his 1996 work “Downsize This!: Random Threats from an Unarmed American.” It is little wonder that Moore has been widely castigated by not only the right, but also mainstream media in general. Here is a man making millions from films and publishing books… and he doesn’t even have a college degree! What right does such a slovenly lout have telling us on which side the bread is buttered? Read the rest of this entry »


 
Nov
28
    

WALPOLE, N.H. (AP) – Ken Burns thought he was done with war movies after his series “The Civil War.” But he says two troubling statistics fuelled the creation of “The War,” a 14-hour documentary about the Second World War.

“It was really a couple of statistics that got me,” Burns said. “One was that we’re losing a thousand (Second World War) veterans a day, and the other is that our children just don’t know what’s going on.”

Burns said he was astonished at the number of high school graduates who believe the United States fought with the Germans in the Second World War.

“That to me was terrifying, just stupefying,” said Burns, who will show the first two-hour instalment of “The War” to Dartmouth College on Dec. 1.

The series follows four American towns – Waterbury, Conn., Mobile, Ala., Sacramento, Calif., and Luverne, Minn. – through the war years, focusing both on the soldiers from the towns sent to war and the families and friends left behind. “The point of view is from ordinary people, who do the fighting and who do the dying in all wars,” Burns said.

© The Canadian Press 2006

 
Nov
26
    

DVD Releases November 28, 2006

Where the Heart RoamsReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Put some famous romance writers (Barbara Cartland, Janet Dailey), some not-so-famous romance writers, and some would-be romance writers on a train and what do you get? The Love Train. Organized by novel d’amour fan Chelley Kitzmiller, this train ride took romance fans from Los Angeles to New York for a late-1980s Romantic Book Lover’s Conference. As they travel cross country, the women–and a couple of husbands–discuss the business of romance novels (how explicit should the sex be? should they wait until they’re married?), while Hunter S. Thompson biographer (and Playgirl writer) E. Jean Carroll grills them about what men and women want from each other. This 80-minute documentary spotlights Kitzmiller’s angst at not having written the book of her dreams and her growing confidence from organizing this public relations coup for the romance industry. –Kimberly Heinrichs

Marshall University: Ashes to Glory – ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – This documentary chronicles how a grief-stricken football team rose from unfathomable ruin and despair to achieve one of the most remarkable and triumphant victories in the history of sports. It was the fall of 1970 when a chartered plane carrying Marshall University’s Thundering Herd football team, coaches, and leading supporters across West Virginia crashed, leaving no survivors. In the face of crushing heartbreak, a young coach named Jack Lengyel took over the devastated program. Honoring the memories of those who died, Lengyel and the five players who were not on the doomed flight found the strength and courage to patch together a ragtag team that would overcome the odds and triumph despite catastrophe.

The Brave New Films Box SetPurchase at Amazon.com – A pioneer in 21st century activism, Robert Greenwald releases documentaries that are the centerpieces for guerilla campaigns designed to break through noisy news cycles. This special box set includes three films: “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”, “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers” and “The Big Buy: Tom Delay’s Stolen Congress”. Also includes an exclusive bonus disc that is available only with this box set. This bonus disc contains over an hour of extra footage, interviews, montages and more.


 
Nov
26
    

By Umut Newbury
November 26, 2006

Since their victory on Nov. 7, the Democratic leaders have pledged to make raising the minimum wage among their top priorities. If they want to accomplish that goal they should make sure to have all of their Republican colleagues view Roger Weisberg’s Waging a Living before the debates begin.

The federal minimum wage has remained at $5.15 per hour since 1997. According to The New York Times, when adjusted for inflation, the buying power of the wage has dropped to its lowest level since 1955. By December, The Times reported recently, the minimum wage will have remained unchanged for the longest period since it was established in 1938.

Weisberg follows four Americans over a period of three years in Waging a Living, three women and one man. Jean Reynolds, a rest home nurse in New Jersey, is recently divorced and is taking care of her children, one of whom is a 29-year-old cancer patient, and her children as well. Jerry Langoria, a security guard in San Francisco earns $12 per hour, but can only afford a small room in a hotel for $530 per month.

Weisberg points out several facts throughout the documentary such as, after 10 years, of those who start in poverty 50 percent stay there. After a divorce, in the year following a man’s standard of living increases by 10 percent while a woman’s decreases by 27 percent. An estimated 18,000 Americans die every year for lack of health insurance. Read the rest of this entry »


 
Nov
26
    

Real2can.com is the newly formed European division of Reality Entertainment working in association with Reality Films. With award winning directors, presenters and musicians on board Real2can.com are looking for people to join the fold and showcasing the various skills available.

With the successful launch of several DVD documentaries and the launch of the in-house band, Soul Path, Real2can.com already have a growing list of experts for people interested in having their book turned into an audio book or DVD. Real2can.com believe strongly that the future of books and concepts lies in the new technology of downloadable audio books and documentaries, as well as DVD’s. Many authors are now turning to these technologies as a way of getting their message across and making something out of their work for a change. Open to authors, script writers and publishers, Real2can.com’s great and unique new way forward is the answer to all these things. Working from studio’s based in the UK and with an expanding list of voice-over experts, directors, presenters, sound technicians, special fx experts, editors and much more, Real2can.com are already working on some major new projects – including several UFO documentaries. With in-house musicians capable of writing music to any genre and with the backing of a huge catalogue of records via Reality Entertainment, Real2can.com can provide just about anything you may need, from Marcy Playground and K. C. and the Sunshine Band to heavy rock and even Enya style music via Soul Path.

For more information, go to www.real2can.com or email info@real2can.com


 
Nov
25
    

1) Leelavathy: 50 minutes; 1997; Tamil; VHS
She is an elected member of Madurai Municipal Corporation, who gets killed by water mafia as she fought for the right to drinking water.

2) Theeviravadhigal: 60 minutes: 1998; Tamil with English subtitles; VHS
Gundupatty, a dalit (untouchables) hamlet near famous resort Kodaikanal, is crushed, looted and ransacked by the police as the people decide to boycott the general elections.

3) Thodarum Thisaivali: 45 minutes: 2001; Tamil; Mini DV
Students of Government run colleges in Tamilnadu (India) protest the Government’s move to privatize the higher education. Thousands of girls and boys come to the streets to protect their rights.

4) Kaviri Padugai: 45 minutes: 2002; Tamil with English subtitles; Mini DV
16 Farmers die due to shock, heart attack and suicides as they face unprecedented drought in the Cauvery delta and the indifference by the state Government.

5) Shit: 26 minutes; 2003; Tamil with English subtitles; Mini DV
Mariyammal, a sanitary worker with Madurai Municipal Corporation shares her anger and frustration with the filmmaker while cleaning a street near by a Hindu temple, which is full of shit. She is part of the dalit community, who face discrimination and untouchability since ages in India.

6) Notes from the Crematorium: 25 min.; 2005; Tamil with Eng. subtitles; Mini DV
The film is a journey through the Madurai central crematorium where the dalits (untouchables) – who work as undertakers – do the final most rituals to their fellow citizens who otherwise would not have touched them.
7) Seruppu: 74 minutes; 2006; Tamil with English subtitles; Mini DV
The film narrates the socio-cultural life of the Catholic Arundhatiyars (dalits) of Dharmanathapuram -one of the oldest slums in Tiruchi, who are involved in making footwear, a caste based traditional occupation in India. Š


 
Nov
25
    

We, Marupakkam (the otherside) a media activist group based in Madurai, are planning to organise our 8th Madurai documentary and short film festival 2006 in Madurai on 6-10 December 2006.

We are planning to screen 100 plus films in 5 venues including 3 colleges in Madurai. Students, teachers, artists, filmmakers, activists, writers and of course general public are our audiences.

Ours is a non-competitive festival. We have included a retrospective section this year and would screen best films of filmmakers K.P.Sasi and Sehjo Singh.

Magic Lantern Foundation from New Delhi, Pedestrian Pictures from Bangalore, Third Eye Communications from Kochi and various educational institutions are part of the organising team.


 
Nov
20
    

mueck.jpgRon Mueck, a hyperrealist sculptor, recently opened a new exhibition of his work at the Brooklyn Museum.  For several years his shows have been accompanied by a 25 minute documentary that shows some of his work and his process.  That documentary is now available online and worth checking out.  After viewing it, if you are within traveling distance from his current show, you will likely be going.

Documentary

Brooklyn Museum Exhibit Page


 
Nov
20
    

By Bryan Newbury
November 20, 2006

There was a time, not too distant in this nation’s history, that to be accused of profiteering was tantamount to a treason charge. In fact, Harry Truman said as much. One gets the feeling that if he could resurrect Truman and F.D.R. for a screening of Robert Greenwald’s Iraq for Sale the reaction would be something just short of seeing Rosemary Clooney on stage in hiphuggers and a bustier.

War profiteering is as time-honored as the act of killing itself; however, just like appearing in public in a Vicodin haze and a state of undress, there used to be something clandestine and scandalous about the enterprise. As this film illustrates, the act of profiteering has become essentially official state policy.

Greenwald takes on the usual suspects. We begin with Blackwater’s private security team. Everyone remembers seeing the grisly scene of 13 April 2004 in Fallujah where four American citizens were burned, mutilated and strung up. The most jarring realization at the time seemed to be that these weren’t American military, but civilians. Actually, these men occupied the gray area of the mercenary. Not a state charge, exactly, but certainly not a water treatment worker or an architect. As it happens, Blackwater funds a sort of private army in Iraq. The four who lost their lives that day were doing security detail for Mr. Bremer.

A reoccurring theme is set with the story of two of these men, told by grieving families. The money paid to private contractors to outsource military duties at an egregious premium is the primary motivation for said companies’ employees to be in Iraq in the first place. While we feel sympathy for the losses of the families seen throughout the film, it is hard to ignore the fact that the employees of KBR, CACI and Blackwater are there for a huge payday as well. Irrespective of this, there is a case to be made that with such hefty resources it is the duty of these companies to use some reason in deployment of hired guns and truck drivers. The beef of the families is by and large that the private contractors in Iraq cut corners to increase profits. Couldn’t call it unexpected that when an entity whose primary goal is increased profit is charged with the business of state, the invisible hand of the market chops off the occasional head.

The numbers and actions of the companies profiled in Iraq for Sale make quite a case for the bereaved. Crisis communications expert Chris Lehane describes in detail what public relations moves Blackwater made after the Fallujah incident. No matter what a person thinks about the men and women seeking a small part of the fortune and the risks they take, it is difficult not to look for new and better curse words for these folks. Combine that with the 600% growth the company has enjoyed and the fact that the U.S. government awarded them with a $73 million contract from FEMA for Katrina “relief” and the question of just who is running the government becomes increasingly salient. Read the rest of this entry »


 
Nov
20
    

Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 79th Academy Awards®. Eighty-one pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order:

“Blindsight”
“Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?”
“Deliver Us from Evil”
“The Ground Truth”
“An Inconvenient Truth”
“Iraq in Fragments”
“Jesus Camp”
“Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple”
“My Country, My Country”
“Shut Up & Sing”
“Sisters in Law”
“Storm of Emotions”
“The Trials of Darryl Hunt”
“An Unreasonable Man”
“The War Tapes”

The Documentary Branch screening committee viewed the eligible documentaries in a preliminary round of screenings. Documentary Branch members will now select the five 2006 nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST, beginning with a half-hour arrival segment.

—–

Thank you to Phil from our forum for finding this.


 
Nov
20
    

DVD Releases November 21, 2006

An Inconvenient TruthReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Director Davis Guggenheim eloquently weaves the science of global warming with Mr. Gore’s personal history and lifelong commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. A longtime advocate for the environment, Gore presents a wide array of facts and information in a thoughtful and compelling way. “Al Gore strips his presentations of politics, laying out the facts for the audience to draw their own conclusions in a charming, funny and engaging style, and by the end has everyone on the edge of their seats, gripped by his haunting message,” said Guggenheim. An Inconvenient Truth is not a story of despair but rather a rallying cry to protect the one earth we all share. “It is now clear that we face a deepening global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly, and wisely,” said Gore.

ThinRead our review by Umut NewburyReview for yourselfPurchase at Amazon.com – Lauren Greenfield’s debut as a documentary filmmaker is not for the faint of heart. In the United States, we have come to believe that the food we are eating is making us fat, which it is. The majority of American adults are clinically overweight or obese (more than 63 percent according to 2005 studies).  However, there are also five million people who suffer from eating disorders that keep them too thin. Greenfield opens the film with a little known and shocking truth: one in seven anorexic women will die from complications caused by their disease.  She takes us on a dark journey inside the Renfrew Center, one of a handful of treatment centers in the nation for women who suffer from anorexia or bulimia, most often both.

Andy Warhol: A Documentary FilmReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – “He was the most American of artists and the most artistic of Americans,” one man later said – “so American in fact that he is almost invisible to us.” ANDY WARHOL – a riveting and often deeply moving film portrait of the most famous and famously controversial artist of the second half of the twentieth century – is the first to explore the complete spectrum of Warhol’s astonishing artistic output, stretching across five decades from the late 1940’s to his untimely death in 1987. Combining powerful on-camera interviews and rare still and motion picture footage, it is also the first to put Warhol himself – his humble family background and formative experiences in Pittsburgh, and his crucial apprenticeship as a commercial artist in New York – back into the presentation of his life.

Saint of 9/11: True Sotry of Father Mychal Judge – ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – In an enduring photograph of 9/11, a team of rescue workers carry a Franciscan priest’s body from the World Trade Center. The world came to know Father Mychal Judge, in death as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. Saint of 9/11 represents the turbulent, restless, spiritual and remarkable journey of Father Mychal. Compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, and a beloved New York City Fire Department Chaplain, he was a humble priest who wrestled with his own private demons while touching others in powerful and miraculous ways. Saint of 9/11 weaves interviews with friends, colleagues, congregants and archival footage with Mychal’s words and shows the full humanity of a special life interrupted. Narrated by Sir Ian McKellen. Features interviews with famed author Malachy McCourt and former New York City Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen.

Been Rich All My LifeReviewPurchase at Amazon.com


 
Nov
18
    

In an open ed piece in the LA Times, Michael Moore made this pledge to “disheartened conservatives:”

1) We will always respect you. We will never, ever, call you “unpatriotic” simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2) We will let you marry whomever you want (even though some among us consider your Republican behavior to be “different” or “immoral”). Who you marry is none of our business. Love, and be in love — it’s a wonderful gift.

3) We will not spend your grandchildren’s money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It’s your checkbook too, and we will balance it for you.

4) When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home too. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on some amateur Power Point presentation cooked up by men who have never been to war.

5) When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you too will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that afflict you and your loved ones, we’ll make sure those advances are available to you and your family too. [Read More…]


 
Nov
16
    

GL Productions newest documentary, THE HEALING PROPHET: SOLANUS CASEY (58 minutes) will first have a screening at The Solanus Casey Center on Dec. 16th at 11:00am and 2pm. It will air on WTVS, Detroit Public Television, from 10pm-11pm on December 20th, with subsequent showings for several years thereafter. The documentary will also be broadcast worldwide through EWTN (Eternal World Television). An extended dvd version of the program is available directly from the producers.


 
Nov
16
    

A pre-holiday shopping reminder that The Documentary Film Makers Handbook, the new book in the best selling The Guerilla FIlm Makers Handbook series is available now. The book discusses how to get your doc made from a practical standpoint. We interviewed over 110 documentary industry professionals from such places as HBO, Discovery, National Geographic, BBC, an editor, a DP, Sundance, etc., to get their expert advice on what a filmmaker would NEED to know about their field. In addition, we conducted 24 case studies with working filmmakers such as the teams behind MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, BORN INTO BROTHELS, CONTROL ROOM, DOGTOWN & Z-BOYS, TREMBLING BEFORE F-D to hear their inspirational war stories on how they got their films made.

To purchase the book go to Amazon.com. The book is also available at all major and independent bookstores in the US and Canada – next week the UK and Europe.

Best,

Andrew Zinnes
Co-Author, The Documentary Film Makers Handbook
310-837-1982

Š


 
Nov
15
    

There are hundreds of documentaries and DVD’s, thousands of books and millions of articles and websites in the world all chasing the UFO enigma.

Recently Nick Pope resigned from the MOD to pursue his career in the realm of the UFO and alien hunting world. He gave the British a shock and said that the government were not ready for an alien attack and in so doing raised the profile of the whole genre yet again. But what is the truth? And is the truth only known to government bodies?

Researcher and best selling author, Philip Gardiner, along with co-producer Michael Bourne and Reality Entertainment are on a mission to discover the truth and reveal it to the world in a frank and open new documentary. Already Nick Pope has himself agreed to speak frankly on the documentary, but Gardiner and Bourne want your input too.

“There are thousands of people out there who have taken footage or photographs of something they cannot explain and yet nobody listens to them.” Said Gardiner. “We want to listen to them and to help them get heard. We will show their footage and let the world know their stories.”

Said Gardiner.According to Gardiner and Bourne, they already have some stunning and new evidence that will shock the world, but they also want footage, photographs and any evidence for other paranormal phenomena, which may also be linked to the UFO enigma. “Photographs of ghosts and other peculiar anomalies may also have a relationship to the phenomena and by uniting these concepts we think that we will get to the bottom of what is really going on.” Said Bourne.

The unique partnership between author Philip Gardiner and website host Michael Bourne has developed over the past few years and they decided it was time to reveal much of what they had learned. Gardiner is the best selling author of seemingly unrelated books such as Gnosis: The Secret of Solomon’s Temple Revealed and Secrets of the Serpent: In Search of Our Sacred Past, as well as being a film maker with some recent highly acclaimed DVD documentaries launched through the USA company Reality Entertainment. Reality are one of the world’s biggest independent record companies, with bands such as Marcy Playground, Krokus and K.C. and the Sunshine Band, but they also have a book and films division that Gardiner is spearheading. Michael Bourne is the creator of the infamous book-of-thoth.com website, which recently launched an incredible book competition to also allow people to reveal their own discoveries.

If you have information which may lead to evidence for or against the alien/UFO phenomena or if you have taken footage or photographs then all you have to do is contact Philip via the contacts page on his website at www.gardinersworld.com. All correspondence will be dealt with in strictest confidence, especially if you have connections to organisations that may deem this to be a breach of secrecy, and according to Gardiner and Bourne, they have already had approaches from within certain bodies.

The resulting documentary will be launched in 2007 by Reality Films.

END

For more information contact Philip Gardiner’s PA on books@radikalbooks.com

See also www.gardinersworld.com or www.book-of-thoth.com or www.reality-entertainment.com


 
Nov
15
    

By Bryan Newbury
November 14, 2006

Do not be alarmed. That sound you heard at the coffee shop this morning was United States documentary buffs praising the celluloid gods in for the manna they’d received from their rental clerk.

Michael Apted’s latest installment of the Up series has hit the street after an excruciating wait. For the film fan, it is something akin to having a class reunion, Thanksgiving Dinner and a letter from a distant relative all at the same time. The opening sequence from 1964’s World in Action feature takes us back to the point we became aware of this groundbreaking work. Since Seven & Fourteen, Apted’s septennial look into the lives of English men and women from across the class and geographical spectrum has surpassed simply groundbreaking and been catapulted into the legendary realm. An argument could be made that it stands alone atop Olympus in the world of documentary filmmaking.

As Apted has admitted on many occasions, the Up series started off with some preconceptions of the class system in Britain that turn out to be far more nuanced than anyone had thought. Rather than serving as a document for the rigid class system, over the years the Ups have displayed striking exceptions to it. Beyond that, it has chronicled the new face of London to some degree, as well as the ever unchanging Dales and Scottish countryside. Read the rest of this entry »


 
Nov
13
    

Borat is a force at the U.S. box office.  This past weekend in its second week of release it remained on top with weekend ticket sales of 29 million, following up its opening weekend of 26 million when it was on just over 800 screens.

“Documentary”, “documentary to be shown outside the US”, and “foreign documentary” all are terms that keep coming up when participates describe how the Borat was portrayed to them when they signed releases and when the being in the film was pitched to them.

For the few who don’t know, Borat is a character played by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen who represents himself as a Kazakhstan journalist, naive to US culture.  In order to set up his interviews, he and his production crew often represent themselves as a news crew or in most cases documentary filmmakers. 

The foreign angle has a number of individuals in the film upset.  They are not helping out a struggling documentary filmmaker, but rather are prominently featured in a film that is a US number one box office phenomenon.

According to ABC news, the couple who owned the Four Seasons Kosher Bed & Breakfast were told, “the documentary was commissioned by the Kazakhstan Department of Tourism”.

At least two groups of participates have begun the process of suing the Borat production in order to attempt to collect a great appearance fee for being part of the movie.

With increased doubt about whether a filmmaker is truthful or even genuine in approaching potential subjects for a film, filmmakers are likely to find it tougher to get individuals to agree to appear in their films.


 
Nov
13
    

The Truth Behind the Fiction documentary series explores the realities that inspired some of the most celebrated feature films in recent memory. One Day in September is about the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, the subject of Steven Spielberg’s drama Munich. The documentary Favela Rising and Fernando Meirelles’s extraordinary feature City of God are both about the rise of youth and drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro. The psychology of young Americans going to war is brutally depicted in both the new Iraq war documentary The Ground Truth and Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam classic Full Metal Jacket. The world of old school tap dancing and jazz unite in Robert Altman’s Black and Blue and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club, and the Nazis’ plundering of cultural treasures finds expression in both The Rape of Europa and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Rape of Europa
Thursday, December 7, 2006
8:00 PM
$7

The Ground Truth
Thursday, January 11, 2007
8:00 Pm
$7

One Day in September
Thursday, February 1, 2007
8:00 PM
$7

Black and Blue
Thursday, February 22, 2007
8:00 PM
$7

Favela Rising
Thursday, March 29, 2007
8:00 PM
$7

Keeping Time
Thursday, April 19, 2007
8:00 PM
$7

MASS MoCA is located at 87 Marshall Street, North Adams, MA 01247. For tickets, call 413-662-2111, or visit us online at www.massmoca.org.


 
Nov
13
    

When: February 1-2, 2007
Where: Barcelona, Spain
What:  24 projects will be selected for pitching sessions before 14 commissioning editors from the international TV scene. Those who took part in the last DocsBarcelona Pitching Forum gave the event very high ratings. In fact, 80% of the pitchers surveyed affirmed that the forum was a good investment, and 40% received funding for their projects from the attending commissioning editors.  Deadline to submit projects is 4 December 2006.
Website: http://www.docsbarcelona.com/


 
Nov
10
    

DVD Releases November 14, 2006 

49 UpReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – One of the most historic documentary film series returns with a new film.  49 UP is the seventh film in the series that began 42 years ago when a documentary team from the UK-based Granada TV, inspired by the Jesuit maxim “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man,” interviewed a diverse group of seven-year-old children from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Michael Apted, a researcher on Seven UP, has returned to interview the children (now adults) every seven years since, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and now again at age 49. This latest chapter sees the participants speaking out on a variety of subjects including love, marriage, career, class and prejudice.

Who Killed the Electric Car?ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – With gasoline prices approaching $4/gallon, fossil fuel shortages, unrest in oil producing regions around the globe and mainstream consumer adoption and adoption of the hybrid electric car (more than 140,000 Prius’ sold this year), this story couldn’t be more relevant or important. The foremost goal in making this movie is to educate and enlighten audiences with the story of this car, its place in history and in the larger story of our car culture and how it enables our continuing addiction to foreign oil.

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your ManReviewPurchase at Amazon.com


 
Nov
10
    

This post isn’t going to of interest to most people and maybe isn’t even documentary related enough to be on the site, but it is of interest to me and involves a great work of art.

The Wire, a HBO series in its fourth year, is among the best shows on TV, maybe the best ever.  The shows key elements are the interplay between drug dealers and the police, but it goes so far beyond that to explore the balance of power and life that exist in Baltimore and more broadly life in general. 

The show is worth viewing, but if you are already a fan then you would likely enjoy a discussion of the current season that has been going on between Steve James the director of Hoop Dreams and Alex Kotlowitz a writer. 

Of particular interest to anyone, whether they have seen the series or not, is the exchange between the two of them on whether a writer, filmmaker, artist can or should be covering a culture to which are not a part of.  In this a white director and a white writer share their thoughts.  Kotlowitz addresses it first; James continues.

The series is part of Slate’s TV Club. (Found via Listen Missy)


 
Nov
09
    
By in News

More The Bridge coverage here and here.

See the full size Ted Rall comic.


 
Nov
08
    
It’s apparently OK to say the S-word on TV — as long as it’s on a program that the Federal Communications Commission says even faintly resembles a news show.

The FCC reversed itself Tuesday and deemed acceptable a Survivor contestant’s use of the obscenity during an interview on a December 2004 episode of The Early Show on CBS. The contestant used a vulgar term for “smooth talker” to describe a fellow contestant on Survivor: Vanuatu.

Full USA Today article.

By allowing a entertainment interview on a morning “news” show to be exempt from the strict standards, controversy about documentary content should largely go away. Ken Burns’ “The War” use of profanity in combat footage and interviews should no longer be a issue that might have kept some PBS affiliates from running it.