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Bar-Ilan University Prof. Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents, on Saturday night dismissed the claims. “It makes a great story for a TV film,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “But it’s impossible. It’s nonsense.”

Kloner, who said he was interviewed for the new film but has not seen it, said the names found on the ossuaries were common, and the fact that such apparently resonant names had been found together was of no significance. He added that “Jesus son of Joseph” inscriptions had been found on several other ossuaries over the years.

“There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb,” Kloner said. “They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE.”

Full article at The Jerusalem Post


The cave in which Jesus Christ was buried has been found in Jerusalem, claim the makers of a new documentary film.

If it proves true, the discovery, which will be revealed at a press conference in New York Monday, could shake up the Christian world as one of the most significant archeological finds in history.

The coffins which, according to the filmmakers held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene will be displayed for the first timeon Monday in New York.

Jointly produced by Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and Oscar winning director James Cameron, the film tells the exciting and tortuous story of the archeological discovery.

The story starts in 1980 in Jerusalem’s Talpiyot neighborhood, with the discovery of a 2,000 year old cave containing ten coffins. Six of the ten coffins were carved with inscriptions reading the names: Jesua son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Matthew, Jofa (Joseph, identified as Jesus’ brother), Judah son of Jesua (Jesus’ son – the filmmakers claim).

Full article by Ariella Ringel-Hoffman at YnetNews.


The familiar and disturbing pictures of torture at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison raise many troubling questions: How did torture become an accepted practice at Abu Ghraib? Did U.S. government policies make it possible? How much damage has the aftermath of Abu Ghraib had on America’s credibility as a defender of freedom and human rights around the world? Acclaimed filmmaker Rory Kennedy looks beyond the headlines to investigate the psychological and political context in which torture occurred. Premieres Thursday, February 22 at 9:30pm on HBO.


DVD Releases February 20, 2007

Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & SingReviewPurchase at – Shut Up & Sing finds two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (American Dream) and co-director Cecilia Peck following the lives and career developments of the Dixie Chicks in the wake of singer Natalie Maines’ denunciation of the Iraq war and President Bush in 2003. The film returns to the pivotal moment in which Maines, speaking to a London audience, raised opposition to America’s invasion of Iraq, resulting in a backlash in America. The Chicks, as one sees, have had little peace of mind since then, banned from country music stations, picketed at concerts, and targeted by death threats. Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Robison respond to the extensive and sometimes scary criticism they’ve faced, though their latest music, including a song called “Not Ready to Make Nice,” also speaks for itself. Kopple and Peck spend a lot of time with the band on a human level as well, in homes and dressing rooms and recording studios.

American HardcoreReviewPurchase at – The history of hardcore punk–the tougher, faster, and more politically minded stepchild of the ’70s punk movement that arose in the ’80s–is examined in exuberant detail in Paul Rachman’s documentary American Hardcore. Rachman’s cameras careen across the landscape of the U.S. to trace the movement’s beginnings in cities like Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York, and cherrypicks interviews with the musicians that helped shape its sound and impact, including Henry Rollins and Greg Ginn of Black Flag, H.R. (frontman for the highly influential, all-African American outfit Bad Brains), Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat (and now Fugazi), and many others. Hardcore’s violent reaction against the Reagan administration and the complacent mindset of middle-class America is also detailed in countless performance footage clips and poster-art reproductions, which do much to dismiss the popular opinion of hardcore as nothing more than mindless hooliganism. Some fans may find the omission of certain bands a considerable oversight (San Francisco’s lethally satirical Dead Kennedys are not mentioned only in passing), but for most punk devotees, American Hardcore will be vital and essential viewing.

Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel PearlReviewPurchase at – The Journalist and the Jihadi – The Murder of Daniel Pearl Narrated by CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, this 80 minute film tracks the parallel lives of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and British-born jihadi Omar Sheikh. Both men were passionate, intelligent individuals from privileged backgrounds, and both were sympathetic to the plight of Muslims around the world, though Pearl was Jewish. With the rise of Islamic militancy in the 1990s, however the two men?s paths diverged; in 2002, those paths collided when Sheikh executed cunning con game that ended in Pearl?s headline-making kidnapping and murder in Pakistan ? and the remorseless Sheikh?s arrest under mysterious circumstances.

disinfo.conReviewPurchase at – You say you want a revolution? If your world-view is left of center, you challenge cultural cognoscenti and the establishment at every turn and really wonder who the “they” is in “that’s what they say,” then turn on, tune in and drop out to the now-legendary Disinfo.Con. Dubbed by The New York Times as “Cyberpalooza”, Disinfo.Con was a revolutionary 21st-century gathering of the greatest countercultural minds in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom in the Year 2000. Now, The Disinformation Company proudly offers viewing audiences of all walks the opportunity to experience this singular, once-in-a-lifetime event from the comforts of home with DISINFO.CON.


When: Februrary 2007
Where: Shahbagh, Bangladesh
What: A total of 33 selected documentaries, made by Bangladeshi documentary filmmakers during the years 2005 and 2006, will be screened during the festival. The four-day festival organised by Bangladesh Documentary Council, also includes a seminar and publications.  The festival aims at promoting the documentary film culture in Bagladesh.


A biting documentary about the twilight years of Yves Saint Laurent’s haute couture fashion house screened at the Berlin Film Festival after a court blocked its release in France.

The designer, who is credited with putting women in tuxedos, peacoats and sheer chiffon blouses, is losing his sharp eye and depends on his helpers who treat him like a child.

After the film was completed in 2001, Berge went to court in France and managed to prevent its commercial distribution. Meyrou was also ordered to pay a fine.

The director’s previous films includes gritty documentaries about apartheid and the gay world.

He said in a press statement here that he wanted to show the secret life of Saint Laurent with the film which was originally called “5 Avenue Manceau” after the Paris address of the fashion house.

“He is a unique artist whose personality and life are, however, a mystery.”

In the end only Loulou de la Falaise, the designer’s discreet long-time collaborator, and the clothes themselves emerge from the picture unscathed.

The documentary is screening in the Panorama fringe section of the 57th Berlinale which runs until Sunday.

Read the complete article at Breitbart.


When: February 23-26, 2007
Where: Adelaide, Australia
What: Conference offers a mix of classes, panels and a marketplace. Social events and informal meetings offer networking opportunities. Filmmakers can apply for the pitching forums and submit documentaries to the videotheque.


When: February 28-March 8, 2007
Where: Prauge, Czech Republic
What: One World has many missions that shape the content of their festival; they are broad and fairly inclusive.  Activist and investigative works are actively encourage, and are viewed along side other documentaries.  One World is involved in year around outreach that involves dealing with issues in large part with the documentary medium.


When: February 23-March 3, 2007
Where: Pamplona, Spain
What: The Festival is open to all non-fiction audiovisual forms, such as author’s documentaries, creation documentaries, experimental essays, diary films or works created using home, orphan or recycled materials.  Punto de Vista aims to be a meeting point for all documentary film makers who, in a free and experimental way, explore the cinema ability for recording time.


THE DIVERSITY DEVELOPMENT FUND (DDF) provides up to $15,000 in research and development funding for both seasoned and emerging producers of color. From writing a script to creating a trailer, DDF cultivates new projects destined for Public Television that are in the early stages of development. Producers must identify themselves as minority producers belonging to one or more of the following communities of color: African American, Latino/Latina, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native American/Native Alaskan, or Arab American. Deadline: March 30, 2007. Guidelines and applications at Questions? Call Kathryn Washington (415) 356-8383 x258;

FUNDING FOR INDIE PRODUCTIONS: LINKING INDEPENDENTS AND CO-PRODUCING STATIONS (LINCS) from Independent Television Service (ITVS) provides completion funding in the form of matching funds up to $100,000 for collaborations between public TV stations and indie producers. Projects must already be in production as evidenced by a work-in-progress tape of at least five minutes and all genres are eligible, including documentary, fiction, animation and innovative combinations. Only single shows of standard broadcast length (26:40 or 56:40) are eligible – no series. Programs should stimulate civic discourse and find innovative ways to explore regional, cultural, political, social or economic issues. Indie film and videomakers are encouraged to seek collaborations with their local public TV stations. Deadline: May 24, 2007. Guidelines and applications at Questions? Call Rod Minott (415) 356-8383 x270;

FUNDING FOR INDIE PRODUCTIONS: ITVS OPEN CALL provides completion funding for programs that are already in production. It is our largest funding initiative with two funding rounds per year.  There is no minimum or maximum funding amount. Producers may apply with single shows in any genre (fiction, documentary, animation, experimental). Documentary producers must submit a work-in-progress tape of at least five minutes , and a previously completed documentary work. Producers of fiction or animation projects must submit a sample of a previous fiction/animation project and a complete script for the current project. Applicants must be independent producers with previous film or TV production experience in a principal role (i.e., director, producer, co-director, or co-producer). Producers must be U.S Citizens, or legal resident; students and employees of broadcast organizations are not eligible. Open Call Round 2 deadline: July 13, 2007. Guidelines and applications at Questions? Call Karim Ahmad (415) 356-8383 x259;


DVD Releases Feburary 13, 2007

The U.S. vs John LennonReview by Bryan NewburyReview yourselfPurchase at – Though certain reviewers have called comparisons to the antiwar movement during the Nixon administration to that of today’s tumult, one would need blinders fitted for a thoroughbred to avoid obvious parallels. The U.S. vs. John Lennon begins with an archetypal image of the scene in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. A concert is being held for jailed MC5 manager and marijuana legalization activist John Sinclair. Sinclair’s offense? Offering two joints to an undercover agent. His sentence? Ten years maximum security.

Enter a cast of fellow musicians and activists. At center stage is John Lennon, armed with National Resophonic guitar and his wife Yoko. We are to find out that the simple act of singing on Sinclair’s behalf coincided with the Michigan Supreme Court summarily overturning the conviction they’d recently upheld. Maybe there’s something to this whole rock ‘n roll thing.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon follows this scene with a bit of exposition. Much of it isn’t altogether necessary to fans of Lennon. For that matter, fans of popular culture in the second half of the twentieth century. It does, however, serve to build the foundation for a narrative pacing that is commendable in documentary filmmaking.

So Goes The NationReviewPurchase at – As John Kerry presidential campaign volunteer Miles Gerety puts it, “As goes Ohio, so goes the nation.” Directors Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern, who were behind The Year of the Yao (about NBA superstar Yao Ming), attempt to get a handle on the 2004 presidential election by focusing on this swing state in the weeks before the big day. Senator Kerry and President George W. Bush staffers recount their experiences in trying to win the White House. Speakers include everyone from door-to-door campaigners to Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and RNC chairman Ed Gillespie. Even some of Kerry’s most dedicated followers admit that there were times their man let them down, like his failure to take a more aggressive stance against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. On the other hand, at least one Bush staffer feels that her candidate made too big a deal about same-sex marriage. As longtime Republican Leslie Ghiz remarks about his campaign promises, “Notice there’s [been] no marriage amendment.”

F**KReviewPurchase at – This challenging and provocative documentary takes a look on all sides of the infamous F-word. Its taboo,obscene and controversial, yet somehow seems to permeate every single aspect of our culture-from Hollywood, to the schoolyard to the Senate floor in Washington D.C. It’s the word at the very center of the debate on Free Speech – and everyone seems to have an opinion. F*** will exam how the word is impacting our world today thru interviews, film and television clips, music, and original animation by Oscar nominee Bill Plympton. Scholars and linguists will examine the long history of f***. Comedians, actors, and writers who have charted and popularized the upward course of f*** will be heard from, often while defending the Constitutional Right of Free Speech, all the way to the Supreme Court. F*** will visit with those who actually f*** for a living. We’ll hear from advocates who oppose f*** and it’s infringement into our everyday lives. We’ll watch some of the most famous and infamous film and television clips that feature f***, we’ll hear some of the most famous f***s ever uttered and we’ll feel the impact of f*** on our everyday lives.


When: May 13-15, 2007
Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
What:Arab broadcast journalists and other individuals who have a specific idea for a documentary film, have until March 15 to apply for a workshop to be held in Dubai from May 13 to 15.  The “Arabic Documentary Workshop” (ADW2007), is organized by Al-Arabiya Satellite channel and supervised by O3 Productions Company.  A total of 25 applicants will be selected to attend the all-expenses paid workshop. Participants will present their proposals to a selection committee and five proposals will be chosen to be produced by the Arabic news channel.

Documentary proposals can be submitted by email in either Arabic or English. Organizers will provide funding and supervision for the five winning proposals that will eventually be broadcast on Al-Arabiya. A maximum of three proposals can be submitted by each applicant. For more information or to apply, contact


The public premiere of this film was at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.  Documentary Film .Net’s Bryan Newbury attended the premiere, and you can read his Fall from Grace review here.  The film is continuing on to the film festival circuit with a high profile showing at SXSW in March.

News on the showing at SXSW reported by KC infoZine.

“Fall From Grace,” a film created by University of Kansas senior K. Ryan Jones, has been selected for screening at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.

The announcement of the premiere of Jones’ documentary about the Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka was made Feb. 6 in Austin. The screening times for the film will be announced Feb. 15.

The film festival, which attracts nearly 5,000 people, takes place March 9-17. Included during the festival are screenings, panels, workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions for new filmmakers. Some of the major guests for the 2007 festival are directors Morgan Spurlock, Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater.

“Fall From Grace” started in fall 2005 as a project for a class taught by Matt Jacobson, associate professor of theatre and film. Jones continued working on the documentary during the spring 2006 semester when he wasn’t in class or working. He credits Jacobson and Kevin Willmott, associate professor of theatre and film, for providing advice and assistance. The original cut, completed in May, won the 2005-06 Tensie Award, given by the Department of Theatre and Film, for Best Of Show. For the next few months, Jones shot additional footage and re-edited the film before it was first shown in November at the Kansas Union.


When: February 14-21, 2007
Where: Missoula, Montana
What:The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival opens Thursday, February 15 at Missoula’s Wilma Theatre for the first of seven consecutive days and nights of world-class documentary cinema. The fourth annual event boasts 100 films from 32 countries, including 30 world and North American premieres. In addition to screenings, the festival includes panel discussions, Q&A sessions with dozens of filmmakers, as well as VIP events, receptions and parties.  Since its 2004 debut, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival has grown into an internationally-recognized venue for showcasing  innovative, contemporary, and classic works of documentary film.


Raised in the Athens Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cle “Bone” Sloan was four years old when his father died, and 12 when he became a member of the Bloods. Now an inactive member of the notorious gang, Sloan looks back at the history of black gangs in his city and makes a powerful call for change in modern gang culture with his insightful documentary, BASTARDS OF THE PARTY.

Acclaimed feature film director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) produces along with Sloan, who also directs.

Haunted by his involvement in the Bloods’ pervasive culture of violence, Sloan wanted to explore where it all began. In researching the subject, he discovered that the roots of black gangs were nurtured within a distinct political landscape. BASTARDS OF THE PARTY traces the development of black gangs in Los Angeles from the late 1940s, through the charged atmosphere of the ’60s and ’70s, to the breakdown of community in the ’80s and ’90s, and the brief truce between the Crips and Bloods that followed the Rodney King riots in 1992. Among the gangs that figure in the story are the Spook- hunters, Farmers, Slauscons, Businessmen and Gladiators.

The documentary features interviews with past and current gang members from the Bloods and Crips; LA historian Mike Davis, whose book “City of Quartz” sparked Sloan’s own project; former FBI agent Wes Swearingen; and Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther Party minister of defense, among others. Read the rest of this entry »


UPI – February 6, 2007 – The death of James Brown, director Spike Lee said, forced him to rethink the documentary he was shooting on the Augusta, Ga.-raised soul icon’s life. 

To fill in some information gaps, Lee and producer Brian Grazer have been consulting Brown’s longtime friend, the Rev. Al Sharpton, to ensure accuracy in their portrayal of Brown and learn more personal details about the singer, said. 

Lee also pushed up production on the film, which chronicles Brown’s life from his early childhood in Atlanta to his meteoric rise to worldwide fame. 

Unlike the Johnny Cash biopic, “Walk The Line,” in which Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon did their own singing when depicting Johnny Cash and June Carter, the singing voice of whoever portrays Brown will not be heard in the film, Lee said. 

“Whoever we have is going to be lip-syncing,” Lee said. “We’re not trying to impersonate (Brown). We want to give the essence of the man and how he shaped the time.”


DVD Releases January 30, 2007

Say Amen, SomebodyReviewPurchase at – The first-ever DVD release for this legendary documentary film that explores the lives and music of the pioneers of modern Gospel music. Features Willie Mae Ford Smith, Thomas A. Dorsey, The Barrett Sisters and The O’Neal Twins. Includes bonus 15-song audio CD and deluxe “hymn book” packaging with essays, lyrics and rare photos. Bonus features include newly recorded director’s commentary, photo essay and theatrical trailer.

Land of Look BehindReviewPurchase at – This feature film, made for $9200 (including kidnapping ransom paid to the crew’s Castro-backed captors), is the finest non-fiction film to be found on the subject of Rastafarianism and reggae, and a monument in the history of documentary filmmaking. First-time director Alan Greenberg, a Werner Herzog protege, has invented an amalgam of dramatic and field technique with breathtaking results–the master documentarian Herzog, in fact, has called “Land of Look Behind” the documentary film that has influenced him more than any other over the last 20 years. The images and characters are unforgettable, the reggae performances by Gregory Issaacs and Lui Lepki genuinely hypnotic, the original non-reggae scoring sublime. Winner of the Chicago International Film Festival’s Gold Hugo Award. An essential film for any serious filmgoer, filmmaker, musician, musicologist and anthropologist, as well as for fans of reggae and pop culture. Do not miss this film. — Amazon Reviewer

The Doctor, the Tornado, and the Kentucky KidReviewPurchase at – The Doctor, the Tornado, and the Kentucky Kid: The Sequel to “Faster” (Ultimate Collector’s Edition) (2006)the electrifying follow-up to Mark Neale’s 2004 MotoGP smash hit FASTER. Narrated by Ewan McGregor, the movie tells the story of the biggest motorcycle race in American history, the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, California. It’s a tale of extraordinary characters chasing a dream in the face of real danger, under unimaginable pressure, with no margin for error. For lovers of maximum adrenaline action, this is the pure, unadulterated, 100% genuine article.


Sundance Documentary Prizes

Grand Jury – Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)

World Cinema – Enemies of Happiness

Audience Award – Hear and Now

Director – War/Dance

Documentary Special - No End in Sight

Editing – Nanking

World Cinema Special – Hot House


FLYING: CONFESSONS OF A FREE WOMAN – [Sundance Channel]IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON – [ThinkFilms (North American rights excluding TV, 2 million)]


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) [Magnolia (North America excluding TV, mid six figures)] — 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) [HBO] — 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) [Sony Pictures Classic (Worldwide rights 1.85M?), A&E (Limited North American TV)] — 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) [Fortissimo (Undisclosed amount)] — 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) [IFC (theatrical), Netflix Red Envelope (video) low to mid six figures] — 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.


Documentary FeatureDeliver Us From Evil, An Inconvenient Truth, Iraq in Fragments, Jesus Camp, My Country, My Country.

Documentary (short subject)The Blood of Yingzhou District, Recycled Life, Rehearsing a Dream, Two Hands.


DVD Releases January 23, 2006

Jesus CampReviewPurchase at – The feverish spectacle of a summer camp for evangelical Christian kids is the focus of Jesus Camp, a fascinating if sometimes alarming documentary. (Shortly after its release, the movie gained a new notoriety when Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who appears near the end of the film, resigned his post amid a male prostitute’s allegations of drug use and sexual misconduct.) For most of the film, we follow a charismatic teacher, Becky Fischer, as she trains young soldiers in “God’s Army” at a camp in North Dakota. Some of the kids emerge as likable and bright, and eager to continue their work as pint-sized preachers; elsewhere, the visions of children speaking in tongues and falling to the floor in ecstasy are more troubling. Even more arresting is the vision of a generation of children home-schooled to believe that the Bible is science, or Fischer’s certainty that America’s flawed system of democracy will someday be replaced by a theocracy. (In one scene, a cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush is presented to the children, who react by laying their hands on the figure as though in a religious procession.)

This Films Is Not Yet RatedReviewPurchase at – As it turns out, Kirby Dick’s eye-opening documentary isn’t rated. When he submitted it to the Motion Picture Association of America, they slapped it with an NC-17 (though he had always intended to release it unrated). This is fitting since he sheds much-needed light on the inner workings of a secretive organization that wields great power over the movies the public gets to see (since most mainstream media won’t touch the dreaded NC-17). It’s just as well since This Film Is Not Yet Rated focuses on the more controversial films of the past three decades. Aside from the stories of filmmakers who have tussled with the MPAA, Dick hires a private investigator to determine who sits on the board, since this information isn’t in the public domain. With her assistance, he solves the mystery. Directors include Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream), Mary Harron (American Psycho), and Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry). Though frequently humorous, This Film Is Not Yet Rated should be required viewing for serious film fans, because the MPAA doesn’t just affect what gets seen–but what gets made.

Cocaine CowboysReviewPurchase at – In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago – and it put the city on the map. “Cocaine Cowboys” is the true story of how Miami became the drug, murder and cash capital of the United States, told by the people who made it all happen.


By Mary Milliken
Sunday, January 21, 2007; 4:24 PM

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) – Documentary filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival thrive on eager audiences and the support of sages like festival founder Robert Redford.

But down in the real world after the high-altitude soiree ends, directors of even the best documentaries find it hard to keep breathing as commercial distribution opportunities are few and far between.

Sundance is the top U.S. gathering spot for movies made outside Hollywood, and for more than 20 years, it has championed the nonfiction genre. Redford’s main message to documentary makers this year was: don’t despair, “docs” will remain at the heart of Sundance, regardless of their market success.

To make that point, organizers chose for their opening-night film last week the documentary “Chicago 10,” about the trial of anti-war activists after the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

“By opening the festival with this film, we really are making a statement about the importance of documentaries,” Redford said at a news conference.

“Chicago 10″ director Brett Morgen, who mixed original animation with archival television footage, glowed in the aura of Redford.

“He is an icon for me as a documentary filmmaker for what he has done for my generation,” Morgen said.

Sundance 2007, which ends January 28, has 16 U.S.-made documentaries and 16 foreign docs competing for awards in two separate categories.

Among the U.S. entries are two about the war in Iraq, “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” and “No End in Sight,” and one about homosexuality in religion, “For the Bible Tells Me So.” One quirky entry is “Crazy Love” about a tragic romance played out in New York tabloids 50 years ago.

Foreign entries include Britain’s “Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten,” about the front man of 1970s punk band The Clash, and Mexico’s “Bajo Juarez, the city devouring its daughters,” about crimes against women on the U.S. border.

Read full article from Reuters at


After a seven-part Chronicle series in late 2005 and publicity about an upcoming documentary showing half a dozen death leaps from the bridge, the district’s board of directors decided last spring to study a barrier to prevent suicides. It was the eighth time authorities had considered installing such a deterrent.

“When you look at the numbers from 2006, there was a big leap in activity — both successful and attempted (suicides) went up significantly. The first spike in activity that we saw came on the heels of Eric Steel’s film premiering in San Francisco,” Currie  [spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District], said.

Steel’s documentary, “The Bridge,” premiered locally in April. In May, four people jumped to their deaths and another 11 tried to commit suicide, Currie said.

Normally, no more than two people succeed per month, and an average of four others attempt to jump, according to Chronicle research and the bridge’s own statistics.

Full San Fransico Chronicle Article



By Nicole Sperling and Gregg Goldstein

PARK CITY, Utah (Hollywood Reporter) – Magnolia Pictures has nailed a deal for North American rights to “Crazy Love,” a happily-ever-after documentary about a spurned lover and the woman he married years after he hired thugs to blind her.

In the first theatrical deal of the Sundance Film Festival, which began Thursday, Magnolia bought domestic rights Saturday for mid-six figures.

Director Dan Klores, a New York publicist, said he remembered reading contemporary reports about Linda and Burt Pugach: In 1959, the jealous attorney had lye thrown in Linda’s face because he thought he was losing her to another man. But it wasn’t until Klores read a New York Times story about the couple who got married as soon as Burt was released in 1974 that he decided to pursue the project. The Pugaches traveled to Sundance to help promote the picture.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


Persons on Republican mailing lists this week received an appeal for funds from Dick Morris, President Bill Clinton’s political strategist in 1995-1996, asking for a contribution between $25 and $100 or more to finance a critical film documentary of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Signing the letter as “Former Clinton Adviser,” Morris wrote: “If you liked how the Swift Boat Veterans turned the tide against John Kerry, you understand how a top Clinton aide can turn the tables and stop a Clinton-style liberal from becoming the next president of the United States.”

Morris’s appeal was made through The Presidential Coalition, run by conservative activist Dave Bossie. The letter described Morris as dedicated to electing presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Since 1996, Morris has been an author, columnist and television commentator.

From Robert Novak at TownHall