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Josh is the publisher of Documentary Films .Net.

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On November 14, 2006 at 9pm EST, HBO is presenting Thin an intimate look into the lives of four women suffering from an eating disorder.

HBO Films and Documentary Films .Net are offering two autographed copies of the accompening book Thin to our readers.  The book is a photojournalistic showcase for the woman in the story and includes photos from author/filmmaker.  Greenfield has been named one of the 25 most influential photographers by American Photo Magazine.

One autographed book will be given to the reader who has the most posts in our forum in the month of October.  The other book to the reader who has posted the most reviews in our new documentary film review database in October.  Click here to see the current top reviewers.

Thin takes director Lauren Greenfield (author of the critically acclaimed book Girl Culture) along the various stages of recovery and downfall through group therapy sessions, mealtimes, weigh-ins and heated arguments.

Thank you to HBO and Deep Focus for making this possible.

All decisions by Documentary Films .Net editors are final on the results.   Be sure to check out this film and contribute to our new sections.


In an hour long documentary for German television, Werner Herzog returns to the South American jungle with Juliane Koepcke, the woman who was the sole survivor of a plane crash there in 1972. They travel the streets of the country and eventually go to the site of the crash.  The film is now available in its entirety online.

View Film


George Lucas has a message for studios that are cutting their slates and shifting toward big-budget tentpoles and franchises: You’ve got it all wrong.

The creator of “Star Wars,” which stamped the template for the franchise-tentpole film, says many small films and Web distribution are the future.

And in case anyone doubts he means it, Lucasfilm is getting out of the movie biz.

“We don’t want to make movies. We’re about to get into television. As far as Lucasfilm is concerned, we’ve moved away from the feature film thing because it’s too expensive and it’s too risky.

“I think the secret to the future is quantity,” Lucas said.

He spoke to Daily Variety after the groundbreaking ceremony for the renamed School of Cinematic Arts at USC.

He gave $175 million — $100 million toward the endowment, $75 million for buildings — to his alma mater. But he said that kind of money is too much to put into a film.

Spending $100 million on production costs and another $100 million on P&A makes no sense, he said.

“For that same $200 million, I can make 50-60 two-hour movies. That’s 120 hours as opposed to two hours. In the future market, that’s where it’s going to land, because it’s going to be all pay-per-view and downloadable.

Click here for the full article at Variety.


In a effort to push Errol Morris to become a filmmaker, Werner Herzog promised he would eat his own shoe if Morris finished a film. Morris did, and Herzog did eat the shoe at a screening. The shoe angle is played up, but the twenty minute film gives a good view of Herzog and his love of Morris’ early craft.

Click here to watch the film.

Found via (The Documentary Blog)


When: September 29-October 5, 2006
Where: Istanbul, Turkey
What: The festival has accentuated the universality of cinema art, hosted hundreds of films, filmmakers and theoreticians of documentary film making. In the last 9 years the festival provided a warm environment for the documentary filmmakers and spectators of the world to meet and get to know each other through cinema.

The films selected for the festival program have met with their audience not only in Istanbul but as they contribute to the archive of Documentary Filmmakers Association of Turkey, they have been screened, again free of charge, during the “Documentary Days” organized in numerous other cities of Turkey.

By in News

Documentary: Priest and Predator
Excerpt from Newsweek

Oct. 9, 2006 issue – Deliver us from Evil,” a gripping new documentary opening in theaters next week, profiles Father Oliver O’Grady, a convicted pedophile who spent 22 years molesting children in parishes throughout California, where he served as their priest. In the film, O’Grady describes his sexual attraction to boys and girls, and details how church authorities, including Roger Mahony, now head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, moved him from parish to parish. Other chilling moments include interviews with O’Grady’s victims, their families, and never-before-seen deposition testimony from Mahony, who denies knowing about O’Grady’s predilection. Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the L.A. Archdiocese, said in a statement that the film is nothing more than a “hit piece designed to cast the Archdiocese and Cardinal Mahony in the worst possible light.” Julie Scelfo spoke with Amy Berg, the film’s writer and director, who covered the sex-abuse scandal for years as a freelance investigative producer.

How did you get O’Grady to speak with you?
I got his phone number and started calling him at his home in Ireland. He wanted to tell his story but he wasn’t sure how. We spoke every Sunday for five months until he finally decided he was ready to speak on camera.

Were you surprised by how easily he spoke of molesting children?
No, because he was like that on the phone straightaway … He was very jovial and polite, and he just seemed like he wasn’t that nervous about it. He had been holding this in for so long, and obviously he was ready to talk.

I heard the interviews made you physically sick.
You have to be so nonemotional and professional and not let anything in, but after a week of listening to someone talk about molesting children, specifically and graphically, I was overcome. I spent the last day of the trip holed up in my hotel room, unable to get out of bed.

Has Cardinal Mahony seen the movie?
I don’t think so. We provided a private screening to the church and five people showed up, but not Cardinal Mahony.

Do you think that Mahony should resign?
I do. And I don’t think putting him in Rome in charge of a bigger church—like [Boston’s] Cardinal Law was—is a solution, either.



Not that it is a new idea, but The U.S. vs John Lennon, takes what works with the Drudge Report and uses a bit of parody to create an effective and engaging website for the film, Grudge Report 2006.


When: January 18-27, 2007
Where: Park City, Utah
What: This year is the 13th festival of the “other” Park City film festival. Located at the same time and place as Sundance, Slamdance focuses on unknown filmmakers. This years program will feature equal number of narrative and documentary films. Deadline for submission is October 10th for shorts (under 40 minutes) and October 16th for features.


Paper Clips captures how the students of Whitwell Middle School responded to lessons about the Holocaust; they committed to honor every lost soul by collecting one paper clip for each individual exterminated by the Nazis. Despite the fact that they had previously been unaware of and unfamiliar with the Holocaust, their dedication was absolute. Their plan was simple but profound. The amazing result, a memorial railcar filled with 11 million paper clips (representing 6 million Jews and 5 million gypsies, homosexuals and other victims of the Holocaust) which stands permanently in their schoolyard, is an unforgettable lesson of how a committed group of children and educators can change the world one classroom at a time. Here is a poem inspired by the film. Read the rest of this entry »

By in News

The Chicago Cubs were the best team in baseball – almost a century ago. They won a record 116 games in 1906, and back-to-back World Series titles in 1907 and 1908. Fast- forward to 2006, and the “Cubbies” are still waiting for another championship win. But despite the longest dry spell between world championships in all of professional sports, the Cubs are perennially in the top ten in league attendance.

WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR: THE SAGA OF THE CHICAGO CUBS chronicles the lives of die-hard Cubs fans, and the ultimate devotion they show their beloved team. The documentary captures the energy and optimism of opening day from the fans’ perspective, following several fans over the course of the season as they root on their team. The “Sports of the 20th Century” documentary premieres TUESDAY, SEPT. 26 at 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT.


Where: George Washington University
What: The Documentary Center is an expansion of a decade-long commitment at The George Washington University to teaching documentary film production theory and techniques and to creating documentary films for national audiences. Inaugurated in 1990 as The Center for History in the Media, the Documentary Center is one of the few educational centers in the nation that focuses exclusively on the production of non-fiction filmmaking. The Documentary Center is an interdisciplinary program at the school of media and public affairs in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.


When: October 1st-5th, 2006
Where: Art Museum and the Theatre of Music of Olomouc – Olomouc, Czech Republic
What: The theme of the 41st year of the festival will be ‘Prominent personalities in documentary film’, that is notable personalities featuring in films as well as those behind the cameras. During the festival, spectators will have a chance to watch new documentary films, popular-scientific as well as educational programmes produced in the course of the past two years.


When: September 29-October 1, 2006
Where: Newburyport, Massachusetts
What: This film festival is in its third year.  A number of juried catagories exist with a panel of three judges; an audience judged award is also given.   Twenty films will be shown.


When: September 22-24, 2006
Where: Maputo, Mozambique
What:  Twelve films will be shown in various venues in the capitol city.  Included are Filmmakers from Mozambique, South Africa, Cape Verde, Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Brazil, Portugal and Holland.  Contact information not available.


When: September 28th-October 4th
Where: Wellpark, Ireland
What: Only four films will be shown this year so is more of a showcase than a full festival. The Irish Film Institute is hosting at Eye on Cinema.

By in News, PBS

Coming in September as part of the American Masters series. Check your local listings for day and time.

The two-part, four-hour documentary is directed by Ric Burns. The film is narrated by artist and musician Laurie Anderson and features artist Jeff Koons as the voice of Andy Warhol.


You work so much – is the need to tell stories what motivates you to work that much?

Herzog: Probably, but I am not a man who is driven all the time. I am not a maniac. But Ilove my work and I do not like to hang around for years and twiddle my thumbs and hope that something will happen to me and some producer will offer me something. I always, when I am in between larger projects, I do a documentary. For example, Grizzly Man was done in 29 days. 9 days of editing, 14 days of shooting. From the first day of shooting to the first cut of the film being presented to the committee of Sundance was exactly 29 days. That film came so easily – it all fell in place, as if I was sleepwalking.

Were you surprised by the response that film got?

Herzog: The magnitude of the response surprised me, but I had the feeling from the very first moment that this was something very big. You can tell – it happens a couple of times in your life when you know that you’ve gotten into something and you better do it right now, this is big.

It’s a film that is going to stay, it’s not going to age. It’s not going to disappear after its first run, which was quite successful. It’s going to linger. This was a film that’s going to stay.

The themes are timeless.

Herzog: And the character and the environment, and wild nature – this is something I can deal with easily. But I always kept saying, ‘Do not expect me to do a film about wild nature, this is a film about human nature.’ 

It was an incredibly crowded group of documentaries last year – what do you think has changed in the documentary world?

Herzog: I think there’s a very big background to that. The background is that we have an explosive evolution of new instruments for creating reality or pseudo-reality of invented reality; digital effects, virtual reality and the net, reality TV, PhotoShop itself. All of a sudden filmmakers, and we as an audience, are forced to readjust our attitudes towards reality. What constitutes reality? There will be many great documentaries because audiences are longing for films that point back to the reality of their lives. We have find new way to express this – it’s a great time for filmmaking, and a great time in particular for documentaries. But not in the way that cinema verite was done – that was the answer of the 60s.

Grizzly Man is a documentary that is about Treadwell but is also an editorial and a discussion with him –

Herzog: An ongoing argument.

A lot of people think of documentaries as only fact, fact, fact…

Herzog: We have to look after that, but beyond the facts there is something we have forgotten to ask about, and that is the truth. Where is the truth that illuminates us? I’m after an ecstasy of truth, an ecstatic truth. And not just in documentaries – in all my feature films you see this quest for illumination, this ecstasy of truth. I have my way to do it, but I see many, many others who are doing very bold and unusual new things in documentaries. I really welcome that.

Is it harder to find that truth in a narrative feature?

Herzog: It’s always elusive. It is always mysterious. You have to have a very clear vision, a very deep vision. If you don’t have that, don’t go into filmmaking.

Complete Interview at CHUD

By in News

Kinky Friedman may not win the governor’s race on Nov. 7, but if you thought his quotable roadshow would be forever silenced then, think again.

Win or lose, Friedman has a contract for a documentary on his campaign, which explains why a camera crew has been following him around.

The Los Angeles producers are Wayne Miller and David Steinberg, the comedian/director of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame. . .

The project apparently grew out of earlier pilot episodes the same two producers shot of Friedman’s campaign for a Go Kinky reality show that didn’t get picked up on CMT, the country music network. . .

Miller said the documentary was his idea. He said he used to produce political commercials for television but never has shot a documentary on a governor’s race.

He said he has known Friedman for years and appreciates his talent.

“The reason for doing (the movie) is that it’s a tremendous story, and it has a real place in history,” the producer said, indicating he may try to sell the project to the big screen as well as TV networks.

Complete Houston Chronicle story

By in News

September 16-17 Rochester, NY
September 23-24 Hot Springs, AR
September 30-October 1 Kansas City, MO
October 9-10 Silver Spring, MD
October 14-15 Indianapolis, IN
October 21-22 Ft. Wayne, IN
October 28-29 Salem, OR
November 6-7 Austin, TX


For theater information

By in News

Working on a film with a California twist? KQED-San Francisco has launched a new documentary series where they partner with filmmakers to get their films completed and broadcast. Check out the announcement below, and visit the web site for more details.  This looks to be a good opportunity to work directly with a local PBS station and get a wide audience.

KQED Public Television in San Francisco seeks one hour documentaries for the third season of Truly CA, a showcase for eclectic films about the golden state. Filmmakers will be offered significant post production resources to complete broadcast versions of their films, including: an online, sound mix, closed captioning, promotion, a web site, plus a licensing fee and broadcast. Projects should be completed films, fine cuts, advanced rough cuts, or festival versions. Submissions must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2006. Visit for details.


When: March 26-Apri 1, 2007
Where: Tartu, Estonia
What: With priority given to documentaries, this festival welcomes film entries from all over the world, especially the independent films which are not part of mainstream commercial filmmaking and which develop an anthropological, analytical approach to cultures and societies. Student films are also encouraged.

By in News

Adrian Grenier, the heartthrob star of the hit television series “Entourage”, had a gaping mystery most of his life — he didn’t know who his father was.

But long before he shot to fame with his portrayal of Vincent Chase on “Entourage”, a show about the  hangers-on of a rising celebrity in Hollywood, Grenier turned the camera on himself.

Armed with barely any money, but with an idea and good friend Jon Davidson by his side, he set out to find his father, a man he had not seen in 18 years and knew little about.

He eventually found John Dunbar, and he found that he could now put to rest his childhood.

The product of his curiosity turned into “Shot in the Dark”, a documentary that took seven years to finish and had its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on the weekend.

Full story from MSNBC

By in News

49 UP is the seventh film in a series of landmark documentaries that began 42 years ago when UK-based Granada’s WORLD IN ACTION team, 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 for the original film, has returned to interview the “children” every seven years since, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and now again at age 49.

Documentary Films .Net review of 28 Up

Trailer for 49 Up


A chapter of Ken Burns’ upcoming, 15-hour documentary War also received a sneak preview. French director Bertrand Tavernier (Sunday in the Country, ‘Round Midnight) said that he had watched all of War and that it ranked among the greatest films he’d ever seen.

I can’t think of anything that would have made me more eager to see Burns’ epic World War II documentary than that kind of endorsement from a director whose knowledge of film remains unsurpassed.

Rocky Mountain News


Michael Moore had an eventful festival.  He screened twenty minutes of Sicko as well as clips of Slacker; Slacker is planned as a direct to DVD release covering the aftermatch of the 2004 election.  If you were at the festival and happen to catch the screening feel free to post a comment.  Would be great to have some feedback from actual viewers.