It's been somewhat quiet on the doc front this week, news break-wise. Notable finds include Locarno's 2019 lineup unveiling, this year's Primetime Emmy nominations (which include a hefty helping of DOC NYC alums), TIFF's hotly anticipated opening night doc announcement, an excellent set of new theatrical doc releases, including a pair of beautiful restorations of Martin Bell's classic street docs, and most notable, the first in a series of open conversations at The D-Word on mental health within the documentary business which is both necessary and heartening. If you aren't already a member of the D-Word, now would be an ideal time to join (plus, it's free). Until next week, doc on!
-Jordan M. Smith
Mental Health and the Documentary Business Over at The D-Word, Doug Block started the first in a series of in-depth conversations centered around mental health in the business of documentary making: "The D-Word and IDA are proud to announce a new partnership designed to take vital conversations from Getting Real ‘18 into the online space where we can open them up to the larger community. We will be kicking things off on Monday with Mental Health and the Documentary Business. If you're receiving this, you will likely agree that business of making documentaries can be challenging, lonely and fraught with internal and external factors that affect our sense of value, purpose and place in the world. For some, this might mean facing rejections, financial hardships and self-doubt about their value and talent. For others, this might mean experiencing heavy secondary trauma from the stories they tell, and the human pain they witness.”
71st Emmy Awards Nominees Daniele Alcinii of Realscreen reported on the 2019 Primetime Emmy nominations for documentary based categories, including Documentary or Non-fiction Special, Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking and Directing for Documentary/Non-fiction Program. Notable nominees include DOC NYC alums MINDING THE GAP, HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING, JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS, RBG, FREE SOLO, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS and THE SENTENCE.
JOSHUA: TEENAGER VS SUPERPOWER on Netflix follows the Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong who started leading protests at the age of 14. His actions helped give rise to a democracy movement that brought over a million people to the streets this summer. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Joshua and the film’s director Joe Piscatella at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017 when the documentary made its debut and Joshua was 19. Since then, Joshua served time in prison for charges related to organizing a demonstration. He was released from prison after two months in June 2019.
ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT
2019 Toronto International Film Festival Opening Night Selection The Toronto International Film Festival revealed: "The World Premiere of ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND will be the Opening Night Gala Presentation for the 44th Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, September 5, at Roy Thomson Hall. Directed by Daniel Roher (GHOSTS OF OUR FOREST) and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard, the feature documentary follows Robertson from his early life in Toronto and on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve, in Southern Ontario, to the creation of legendary roots-rock group The Band.”
2019 Locarno Film Festival Lineup Announced The Locarno Film Festival announced: “The official program of the 72nd edition of the Locarno Film Festival was announced at a press conference today, Wednesday 17 July. Also announced were the Leopard Club Award to Hilary Swank, the Vision Award Ticinomoda to Claire Atherton, the Premio Utopia to enrico ghezzi and the Premio Cinema Ticino to Fulvio Bernasconi. The 72nd edition was presented by Locarno’s new artistic director Lili Hinstin.”
Truth and Power at AFI DOCS 2019 Patricia Aufderheide offered an extensive report on this year's edition of AFI DOCS for IDA: "AFI DOCS is a festival well attuned to its environment in Washington, DC, despite its Los Angeles base. The festival features recent (not necessarily premiere), topical work within the broad mainstream of documentary filmmaking. Offerings new to DC but known to the festival circuit ranged from David Charles Rodrigues’ GAY CHORUS DEEP SOUTH, about Oakland and San Francisco choral groups visiting churches in the traditionally anti-gay region, to the nostalgic LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE, by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, to Jennifer McShane’s community-policing good-news film, ERNIE & JOE. Attendance was good, even for day screenings during the week. DC is, after all, full of people with deep specialized knowledge, practical experience of addressing social issues, a practiced habit of learning, and both time and money for an outing. A place sometimes called (but not by me) 'Hollywood for ugly people,' DC also welcomes the touch of glam that comes with a film gala."
Despite the somewhat slow news week, there are plenty of new doc releases to check out, including a pair of beautiful new restorations of Martin Bell's STREETWISE and its follow-up TINY: THE LIFE OF ERIN BLACKWELL, both of which are screening at The Metrograph, A.J. Eaton's musical profile DAVID CROSBY: REMEMBER MY NAME in limited release, Tom Donahue's film industry exposé THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING via Fathom Event showing tonight only, and Marie Losier's CASSANDRO, THE EXOTICO!, also at The Metrograph.
The Tipping Point: Fredrik Gertten Talks PUSH and the Global Housing Crisis Pat Mullen of POV Magazine spoke with PUSH director Fredrik Gertten “to discuss his process working with Farha, his discoveries while making the film, and the relationship of Push to a significant body of work that includes the urban study BIKES VS. CARS and financial exposé BANANAS*.”
The masks of Agnès: Varda’s self-portraits and performances on screen Writing in Sight & Sound, Brad Stevens examines Varda’s swansong VARDA BY AGNÈS: “The late Agnès Varda nurtured a notably elusive facade, oddly so, since on the surface her public persona – playful, curious, accessible – could hardly be more straightforward. Yet, as the comments with which she introduces THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS (LES PLAGES D’AGNÈS, 2008) imply, this persona is at least partly performative: ‘I’m playing the role of a little old lady, pleasantly plump and talkative, telling her life story.’ The difficulty of grasping exactly what Varda is (and isn’t) allowing us to see might be referred to the various ways in which she defines first-person filmmaking.”
A Giant Leap for Mankind: Two Docs Salute the Lunar Landing Reporting for IDA, Darianna Cardilli looked at two new docs that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission: "The 50th anniversary of NASA’s most celebrated mission, the Lunar Landing, has spawned a slew of new documentaries this year. Among these are APOLLO 11 by Todd Douglas Miller (CNN Films/NEON, with MacGillivray Freeman Films handling the distribution of the short IMAX version to science centers and museums) and CHASING THE MOON (PBS, American Experience), a three-part, six-hour series by Robert Stone. Although they cover the same event, the films have a contextually different approach. APOLLO 11 focuses solely on the nine-day mission, whereas CHASING THE MOON starts from the early days of the space race, from the launch of Sputnik in October 1957 to the last lunar mission in 1972."
DOC NYC ALUMNI
Alexandria Bombach's ON HER SHOULDERS 2018 DOC NYC Short List
Has its primetime premiere tonight on PBS via POV.
Tom Donahue's THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING 2018 DOC NYC Behind the Scenes
Has a one night only release via Fathom Events today.
Arwen Curry’s WORLDS OF URSULA K. LE GUIN 2018 DOC NYC Portraits
Will air on PBS American Masters (US and Canada) on August 2nd at 9 pm.
Stephen Wilkes's JAY MYSELF 2018 DOC NYC Metropolis
Will be opening at Film Forum July 31st with Q&As at prime shows Wednesday - Sunday of opening week.
FEATURED STREAMING DOC SHORT
Directed by Barna Szász & Ellie Wen
Tim is an 18-year-old Asian-American with more than 4m followers on Instagram. Although Tim usually shares funny memes, he occasionally posts about mental health. Tackling issues of identity, sexuality, family and communication, the film is a heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting story about a Generation Z teenager at an important crossroads in his life.
FUND THIS PROJECT
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