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Josh is the publisher of Documentary Films .Net.

Number of posts: 223
Web site: http://www.documentaryfilms.net
 
Dec
05
    

DVD Releases December 5, 2006

Desperate Man BluesReview by Bryan NewburyReview the film for yourselfPurchase at Amazon.com – Minutes into Desperate Man Blues we’re treated to the bubbly and idiosyncratic personality of Joe Bussard. On the opening cut he’s found smoking what is to be an omnipresent cigar and grooving to a prewar vinyl. Aficionados of air guitar will be as entranced with Joe as record collectors and old time music enthusiasts. Within minutes, the audience is treated not only to air guitar, but air clarinet, air fiddle, air trombone and even (this may be the only recorded case, which would suit Bussard fine to be sure) air Weissenborn. All this while dancing contagiously.  Joe began collecting 51 years ago throughout his native Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. A few side trips into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are certainties. Just like that barracks buddy your grandfather was acquainted with in the Great War who kept his copies of The Fantastic Four intact, Bussard had the vision to see treasure in another man’s rubbish. He relates tales of collecting at a time when pre-Depression 78’s were viewed as throw-away items. In the 1950’s the original owners saw little value in what are now priceless records in Joe’s collection.

Grey GardensReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Grey Gardens is the name of a neglected, sprawling estate gone to seed. The crumbling mansion was home to Edith Bouvier Beale, often referred to as “Big Edie,” and her daughter, “Little Edie.” The East Hampton, Long Island, home became the center of quite a scandal when it was revealed in 1973 that the reclusive aunt and cousin to Jackie O. were living in a state of poverty and filth. That’s the background to this 1976 film portrait by cinéma vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles, but it’s only incidental to the fascinating story they discover inside the estate walls. The two Edies have lived in almost complete seclusion since the mid-1950s, ever since Big Edie’s husband abandoned her and Little Edie (then a young socialite on the verge of a dancing career, or so she claims) was called home to care for her depressed mother. Twenty years later they continue to live in their memories while camped out in a single bedroom of the 28-room mansion overrun with cats (who use the floor as their litter box).

Beales of Grey GardenReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The 1975 cinema vérité classic Grey Gardens, which captured in remarkable close-up the lives of the eccentric recluses and cousins to Jackie Onassis, Big and Little Edie Beale, in their decrepit East Hampton mansion, has spawned everything from a midnight-movie cult following to a Broadway musical remake an upcoming Hollywood adaptation. Now, Albert and David Maysles have revisited their landmark documentary with a sequel of sorts, culled from hours of never-before-seen footage recently found in the filmmakers’ vaults.

Pucker Up: The Fine Art of WhistlingReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – “Just put your lips together and blow!” Well, that’s easier said than done, as this exploration of the high-stakes world of competitive whistling reveals. Pucker Up follows several competitors as they converge on Louisburg, NC – the mecca of whistling – for the International Whistling Convention and Competition. Seasoned veterans and nervous amateurs alike perform for their chance to be named the world’s best whistler in a unique atmosphere of tense competition and convivial camaraderie. Exploring the history and former glory of the pasttime, even the dark underbelly (who knew?) of the whistling world, this delightful film communicates whistling enthusiasts’ hopes of reviving the once-popular entertainment now all but absent from the cultural radar.

Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War IReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Except for the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaigns, the extensive combat operations in the Middle East during World War I have been largely overlooked in documentary programs. Given the historical significance of the Ottoman Empire’s demise in 1918, and the ongoing importance of Middle Eastern oil reserves to Western economies, a close study of this conflict provides two important lessons: 1. The Treaty of Versailles, agreed to by the Western Powers in 1919, paved the way for military and political chaos in the Middle East, which continues to this very day. 2. Oil reserves in the Middle East became an important strategic concern for Western Powers, helping to justify their economic, diplomatic and military interference in the region.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take OneReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – In William Greaves’s spontaneous, one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One, Greaves presides over a beleaguered troupe of camera and sound men in New York’s Central Park in 1967, leaving them to try and decipher exactly what it is they’re making: a strange, bickering couple enacting a break-up scenario over and over; a documentary crew filming a crew filming the crew; locals wandering casually into the frame. A multilayered and wildly entertaining deconstruction of cinema, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm defies easy description yet remains one of the most tightly focused movies ever made about making movies.


 
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
    

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
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
    

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.

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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
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
    

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.


 
Nov
07
    

DVD Releases November 7, 2006

WordplayReview – Purchase at Amazon.com – “Wordplay” starts the story of the New York Times crossword puzzle, and the current and historical creative forces behind it. But as it dances across the story, filling it in as one of its devotees might across the puzzles, it reveals an entire amazing world behind its practice, creation, and history, from the annual crossword convention in Stamford to the breadth of individuals who enjoy it daily.

The Passing Show: The Life & Music of Ronnie LaneReviewPurchase at Amazon.comFilm Web Site – This brilliant musical documentary tells the story of Ronnie Lane from his heyday with first the Small Faces and then the Faces, through the sixties and seventies, his experiments with a rural life and the touring musical circus that he dubbed The Passing Show. Finally it charts his latter days once he developed Multiple Sclerosis. Featuring numerous musical clips and interviews with family, friends and colleagues including Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones, Glyn Johns, Henry McCullough, Joe Ely and many more.

The Blood of My BrothersReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The Blood of My Brother shows the war in Iraq from the perspective of an Iraqi family grieving the loss of a son who was killed by an American patrol as he stood guard at a mosque. The subtle dynamic between grief and rage is eloquently explored by director Andrew Berends, while he extends the scope of the doc to encompass the burgeoning culture of militancy found among young Iraqi men. From the family weeping at the gravesite to the Battle of Najaf, The Blood of My Brother gets closer to the troubles in Iraq than the embedded media ever could.

Death Before DishonorReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – When put in a position were one is either going to jail or selling out his friends and colleagues, the outcome naturally lends itself to self protection.  The mafia is perhaps best known for a code that attempted to prevent snitching.  But today this philosophy of keeping silent is now seen in the urban “Stop Snitching” movement.  Death Before Dishonor gets the takes of today’s leading hip-hop figures on the subject.

Live Tonight Sold Out - ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Originally conceived by Kurt Cobain, LIVE! TONIGHT! SOLD OUT! is a video document of Nirvana’s rise from a scruffy trio from the Pacific Northwest into one of the most iconic and important bands in the history of rock music.

LoudquietloudReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – When college rock darlings the Pixies broke up in 1992, their fans were shocked and dismayed. When they reunited in 2004, those same fans and legions of new listeners were ecstatic and filled with high hopes. loudQUIETloud follows the rehearsals and the warm up shows for the full-fledged, sold out reunion tour. It also catalogs, in the cinema verite style of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Look Back”, the less glamorous side of the touring band lifestyle, getting as close to this enigmatic act as anyone is ever likely to get. LoudQUIETloud captures the Pixies, their families and their fans in what seems to be a once in a lifetime chance at rock n roll redemption.

The Who: The Vegas JobReviewPurchase at Amazon.com


 
Nov
06
    

LOS ANGELES — The Rev. Ted Haggard has been fired amid allegations of gay sex and drug use, but the evangelical leader can still be seen at the height of his powers – preaching to thousands and condemning homosexuality – in the documentary “Jesus Camp.”

In one scene of the film, which follows a group of children as they develop evangelical Christian beliefs, directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady visit Haggard’s 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. He tells the vast audience, “We don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the Bible.”

Then Haggard looks into the camera and says kiddingly: “I think I know what you did last night,” drawing laughs from the crowd. “If you send me a thousand dollars, I won’t tell your wife.”

Later, another joke for the filmmakers: “If you use any of this, I’ll sue you.”

Full AP story by Christy Lemire


 
Nov
05
    

With U.S. elections being held on Tuesday of this week, the site is featuring two new reviews by Bryan Newbury of election focused documentaries.

Monday – Anytown, USA
Tuesday – The Party’s Over

Also check out Ronnie Lankford’s review of the classic The War Room.


 
Nov
05
    

WIN Johnny Cash – At San Quentin: Legacy Edition CD/DVD package by reviewing documentary films on this site.

After nearly four decades, their full-length, unedited hour-and-a-half concert is now officially available over-the-counter, as Johnny Cash – At San Quentin: Legacy Edition, a deluxe three-disc display book box set package (arrives in stores November 14th on Columbia/Legacy). The one-hour DVD documentary film, produced by England’s Granada TV, chronicled the event with numerous performances as well as graphic one-on-one interviews with prison guards and inmates discussing their experiences behind bars. The package also includes three CDs with over 31 tracks.

Columbia/Legacy and Documentary Films .Net are offering one copy of this set to our readers. The set will be given to the reader who has posted the most reviews in our new documentary film review database in the month of November.

All decisions by Documentary Films .Net editors are final on the results. Previous winners are not eligable to win again for six months.

Click here to start sharing your knowledge by reviewing some films.


 
Nov
01
    
By in News

He is one of the world’s most revered film directors, and they are probably the world’s biggest band. Martin Scorsese is now going to give the same treatment to the Rolling Stones that he has given to Bob Dylan, and a host of acclaimed Hollywood movies before that.

This week Scorsese began filming the band for a documentary movie due out in cinemas next year, and the director has surrounded himself with some of the industry’s best names in cinematography, documentary film-making and camerawork.

The Stones are on the New York leg of their Bigger Bang world tour, and were filmed at one their smallest venues, the art deco Beacon Theatre, by Scorsese last night and on Sunday night. Footage from the concerts is expected form the main part of the film, along with behind-the-scenes moments, interviews and historical footage of the band.

How the finished product will turn out, probably only Scorsese, 64, really knows. Nobody connected to the project will yet talk about it publicly.

The Guardian full article


 
Oct
30
    
By in News

Both times it aired earlier this month, the CNBC documentary “The Age of Wal-Mart” attracted larger audiences than any other business program on the network that week.

That’s not particularly noteworthy until you consider that they were reruns. More than a rerun: The Peabody Award-winning film is two years old and CNBC has shown it 44 times.

Television executives notice those kind of numbers, and the trend explains how Josh Howard got his job 10 months ago, running a newly formed documentary unit at CNBC and preparing the network’s first news magazine for its December debut.

“It just tells you that there’s a real appetite for in-depth documentaries on people and trends (in business),” the CNBC president, Mark Hoffman, said.

NY Sun article

Review of previous Wal-Mart documentary Store Wars


 
Oct
29
    

Brad Will, 36, a documentary filmmaker and reporter for Indymedia in New York, Bolivia and Brazil, died today of a gunshot to the chest when pro-government attackers opened fire on a barricade in the neighborhood of Santa Lucia del Camino, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. He died with his video camera in his hands.

A friend of Brads reporting for NarcoNews provides the details.

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Oct
24
    
By in News

As posted here several days ago look for The Bridge and it depiction of death to be a leading documentary and film news story in the coming year.  The New York Times considers both The Bridge and Exit.  The article uses the excuse of comparing them to do a history of snuff films and death on film. 

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The evolution of snuff has paralleled that of pornography. Portable equipment and new media have made it easier to capture and disseminate images of real sex. The same goes for real death. Streaming video is to snuff as VCR’s were to pornography. Where snuff images were once so rare as to be almost mythic, they are now, if not quite commonplace, certainly more accessible. Videos of deadly insurgent attacks in Iraq are posted on YouTube. Hostage beheadings are available to any Google user.
Readers’ Opinions
Forum: Movies

In more ways than one, this era of immersive, one-click-away snuff was inaugurated on Sept. 11, 2001, when falling bodies and crumbling towers became the most widely viewed scenes of mass death in human history. The recent glut of extreme images reflects many things: the state of the world, the latest in technology, perhaps even our lowered inhibitions.

Full New York Times Story


 
Oct
14
    

Cable network Turner Classic Movies is currently developing a brand new, 90-minute documentary on the career of Steven Spielberg entitled, simply enough, “Spielberg on Spielberg.”

Spielberg associate Richard Schickel (who directed the Spielberg-produced documentary “Shooting War” in 2000) will be producing the feature doc that according to trade publication Variety will feature an “extensive interview with the director supplemented with clips of his movies.”

Schickel interviewed Spielberg in 2005 for two very separate projects including last summer’s TCM sci-fi documentary “Watch the Skies,” and Time’s cover story “Spielberg Takes on Terror” on the film “Munich.”


 
Oct
09
    
By in News

Narrated by acclaimed journalist Christiane Amanpour, THE JOURNALIST AND THE JIHADI: THE MURDER OF DANIEL PEARL was directed and produced by Ahmed A. Jamal and Ramesh Sharma, who gained unprecedented access to many of the key figures in the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in early 2002. Anant Singh (“Sarafina!,” “Cry, The Beloved Country,” HBO’s Oscar®- nominated “Yesterday”) also produced.

The debut of THE JOURNALIST AND THE JIHADI: THE MURDER OF DANIEL PEARL coincides with events taking place around the globe between Oct. 6 and 15, and organized by the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which battles cultural and religious intolerance through journalism, music and dialogue. Read the rest of this entry »


 
Oct
08
    
By in News

A full review of Rank will be coming later in the week, but for now let me say if you have a chance to catch this film you should.  The inherent drama of bull riding is undeniable, but the personal stories of the bull riders and breeders makes this film.

If I wasn’t riding bulls for a living, I wouldn’t have a really good job or nothing because I am not a really smart guy or nothing.  My talent is livestock.  I just have a feel for livestock, raising and riding bulls.

–Mike Lee 21, third in points going into finals

Bull that can jump the highest, kicks the hardest, and spins the hardest, those are the rankest bull.

–Champion Bull Breeder

Rank official web site.


 
Oct
07
    

I am jaded.  I live in a culture where something is always being sold to me.  I believe the worst until I know better.  Irony is presumed long before sincerity.  I get magazines which are nothing more than elaborate advertisements for one product or a group of products.  I get instant messages that aren’t even from a real person, only a program pretending to be one.

Documentaries offer no relief from suspicion.  Granted they are presumed to be reality or at least one perspective on it.  And so when I begin to watch a documentary that is a personal story I often give it the benefit of the doubt.  But not this time.

A friend told me this film wasn’t really a documentary when I mention my intention to view it; how is that to start the seed of doubt?  Whether intentionally or not this film initially feeds that doubt.  I am questioning whether this is yet another attempt to shoot fiction in a documentary style.  Even the subtitle of the film A True Story, has my cultural radar going off.  Who needs to call their documentary true unless it is fake?  Who believes this Unknown White Male really has amnesia, that he really exists? Read the rest of this entry »