You’ve got to love a documentary that begins with the film’s subject trying to break the director’s nose. Well, okay, maybe you don’t — but those who think they might enjoy such a thing would be well-advised to check out Jay Bulger’s terrific movie about ex-Cream drummer and all-round madman Ginger Baker, the appropriately titled Beware of Mr. Baker which distributor SnagFilms is platforming out to cinemas across the country from this Friday.
Tag: Documentary (61-70 of 168)
HBO Documentary Films acquired the television right to Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer on Sunday, two days after the documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Co-directors Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin chronicled the controversial imprisonment of three female members of the Russian punk musical group, who were arrested and charged with religious hatred after they performed a 40-second “punk prayer” inside Moscow’s biggest cathedral to protest the election of president Vladimir Putin in 2011.
Their conviction became a cause celebre for the international media, and the film incorporates unparalleled access and exclusive footage of the events and women behind the protest stunt. In a statement, Lerner and Pozdorovkin said they “are thrilled to be working with HBO on bringing this important story to the world.”
There exists today a whole generation of young women who weren’t born when Anita Hill, a young African-American law professor, sat facing a phalanx of 14 white, middle-aged-to-oldie U.S. senator.s and testified in a Senate Judiciary Hearing scheduled over Columbus Day weekend in 1991. Composed and patient, she described to her interrogators – as well as to all of America, riveted in front of the TV – the sexual harassment she had received in the past from then-Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas. For that new generation of young women, as well as for all who remember the stunning event and recognize the important changes her bravery brought about in the awareness of workplace gender equality, the documentary ANITA makes for rapt viewing.
In the twenty years since those hearings, presided over by then-Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Anita Hill has become, apparently to her own surprise, a feminist heroine, in demand as an inspirational speaker. Filmmaker Freida Mock spends a lot of time with today’s Ms. Hill, interviewing her as well as trailing after her as she gives speeches and receives awards. That part’s okay, if all over the place. The archival footage, on the other hand, is powerful, and stirring, and more than a little shocking, too: Here is one woman, stepping into a mess of political, racial, and sexual power plays, and not only retaining her dignity but also, it turns out, leading a revolution that the men who were grilling her couldn’t begin to understand had begun.
Nice detail: Ms. Hill brings the now-famous blue dress she wore to her grilling out of the closet. Other nice detail: It’s thrilling to watch ANITA at Sundance on a weekend that happens to fall before the confluence of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and the inauguration of re-elected President Barack Obama.
Twenty Feet From Stardom, director Morgan Neville’s documentary about the backup vocalists who have toiled in the shadows of rock and soul’s greatest artists, was acquired by RADiUS-TWC after an opening-night premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Neville, who has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for his music films, including one on Johnny Cash, directed his lens on a group of female singers who’d attempted their own solo careers but settled for providing the supporting vocals for iconic artists like Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, and Stevie Wonder. READ FULL STORY
Four years removed from serving two terms as George W. Bush’s powerful and polarizing vice president, Dick Cheney is still capable of sending tremors through the Force, whether it’s the continuation of unprecedented post-9/11 security policies he helped put in place, or movie critics who describe Zero Dark Thirty as a thriller that Cheney would love. While in office, Cheney routinely batted away shrill liberal critics who callously vilified him as some all-powerful Sith Lord manipulating the levers of government from above, but in the new Sundance Film Festival documentary The World According to Dick Cheney, he’s taking questions on the most controversial aspects of his career. Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler, who produced the 1993 inside look at Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, The War Room, sat down with the man Cutler believes is “the most significant non-presidential political figure in our nation’s history.”
But don’t expect any Robert McNamara Fog of War reversals. Cheney may have had a heart transplant last March, but he’s still undeniably Dick Cheney, and his stubborn defiance will likely infuriate his enemies and inspire his supporters. “This is definitely a film that people are going to bring their own political convictions to,” says Cutler. “I’m really not entering from a political point of view; I’m entering from a filmmaking point of view. He himself has said that his vice-presidency was the most consequential and controversial vice-presidency we’ve ever had, so my agenda, if you want to call it that, was to explore who this man is.”
Click below for exclusive footage from the doc’s opening moments. READ FULL STORY
Mariel Hemingway never knew her famous grandfather, Ernest, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot four months before she was born. But his ghost — and the spirits of several other Hemingways — have haunted her family for her entire life. Seven members of her extended clan, from Ernest’s father to her sister Margeaux, waged losing battles with mental illness that resulted in suicide, and Mariel herself has wrestled with her own demons. In Running From Crazy, a documentary from Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple that premieres Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival, Hemingway tries to shed some light on her family’s tragic history and reverse a cycle of violence.
In an exclusive video clip, she takes a plunge into any icy stream. “Looking up at a mountain, listening to a river was the only time I felt sane. In the house, everything felt dead,” she says in the film. “I would often crack ice to jump into cold water. I liked anything that made me feel alive.”
Watch below: READ FULL STORY
Ed Burns, whose debut film The Brothers McMullen premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, was announced today as a jury member for next month’s Sundance in Park City, Utah. Burns joins documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, executive Tom Rothman and 16 others named to five juries that will award prizes at independent film’s most high-profile showcase.
Short Film Awards will be announced at a ceremony on Jan. 22, with feature film awards announced at a separate ceremony on Jan. 26. The festival runs this year from Jan. 17-27.
Click below for the entire Sundance jury list: READ FULL STORY
Spencer Cox, the New York-based AIDS activist who was featured in the Oscar-hopeful documentary How to Survive a Plague, died today at 44. That film’s director David France announced the news online and included an outtake from his last interview with Cox that captures his friend’s unbreakable spirit.
“Spencer Cox, a star figure in How to Survive a Plague and a hero to many, died this morning. He was just 44 years old. As an AIDS activist, he helped spearhead research on protease inhibitors and played a central role in bringing the drugs to market — and saving 8 million lives. Over the years, he was a frequent and always brilliant source of mine, and a good friend.
– David France, 12/18/12
Watch the video below: READ FULL STORY
Is Bully headed for an Oscar nomination?
Given this announcement from the Producers Guild of America, a Best Documentary nod certainly seems likely. The PGA revealed today that Bully, an unflinching look at harassment in schools, will receive the 2013 Stanley Kramer Award at the guild’s awards ceremony in January. The award honors productions or individuals “whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues,” according to a release.
READ FULL STORY
Director David Giancola and 'Dynasty' star John James on their Anna Nicole Smith doc, 'Addicted to Fame'
In 2005, actor John James was asked by Vermont-based, low-budget filmmaker David Giancola to produce the director’s next movie. James enjoyed enormous fame in the ‘80s playing the character of Jeff Colby in Dynasty and had subsequently appeared in a number of TV shows and movies, including three directed by Giancola. But the actor was keen to try his hand at producing and so was all ears when the filmmaker made his pitch. “He said, ‘I have two movies,” recalls James. “One is a kids film called Robo Dog and the other is Illegal Aliens.’ I said, ‘Let’s do Robo Dog.’”
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