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Shooting in a warzone by Amber Wilkinson

Talal Derki: 'There should not be any more violence in houses, in school against kids, because they are the most sensitive and if violence happens, they will be broken' Photo: Basis Berlin Directing can be deadly. In warzones across the world documentarians put their lives at risk to record the stories that would otherwise go untold, with past casualties including Restrepo co-director Tim Hetherington, who was killed in 2011 while covering the Libyan Civil War, and French filmmaker Christian Poveda, who, in 2009, is thought to have been executed by gangs in El Savador who were unhappy with his documentary La Vida Loca.

It’s a risk that Syrian documentarian Talal Derki says was worth taking. He previously entered the Syrian warzone for his documentary Return To Homs and, in order to capture the footage for his latest, Of Fathers And Sons, he embedded himself with a radical Islamist family in Syria,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Shooting in a warzone by Amber Wilkinson

Talal Derki: 'There should not be any more violence in houses, in school against kids, because they are the most sensitive and if violence happens, they will be broken' Photo: Basis Berlin Directing can be deadly. In warzones across the world documentarians put their lives at risk to record the stories that would otherwise go untold, with past casualties including Restrepo co-director Tim Hetherington, who was killed in 2011 while covering the Libyan Civil War, and French filmmaker Christian Poveda, who, in 2009, is thought to have been executed by gangs in El Savador who were unhappy with his documentary La Vida Loca.

It’s a risk that Syrian documentarian Talal Derki says was worth taking. He previously entered the Syrian warzone for his documentary Return To Homs and, in order to capture the footage for his latest, Of Fathers And Sons, he embedded himself with a radical Islamist family in Syria,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Oscar Documentary Race Pits Youth vs. Experience

Oscar Documentary Race Pits Youth vs. Experience
The Academy’s documentary branch has proven once again that it is made up of a consistently unpredictable bunch, particularly keen on spreading the love.

After narrowing down a record-breaking 170 eligible features to a remarkably strong shortlist of 15 docs, the nonfiction branch whittled down that batch to five nominees: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Faces Places,” “Icarus,” “Last Men in Aleppo” and “Strong Island.”

It’s a quintuple of powerful films from six formidable helmers. It’s also a list that is notably missing two high-profile, high-pedigree critical favorites: Brett Morgen’s “Jane” and Matthew Heineman’s “City of Ghosts.” Both docus were preferred by critics, industry groups and nonfiction orgs who were alike in singing their praises.

Morgen’s “Jane” made a splash when it premiered last September at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. Before the shortlist was announced, Morgen had already taken top honors at the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. The [link=nm
See full article at Variety - Film News »

In Oscar Documentary Race, First Time Can Be the Charm

In Oscar Documentary Race, First Time Can Be the Charm
It’s never easy being green, but if you’re a documentary filmmaker it can have its advantages. Especially come Oscar season.

In the past two decades, 12 directors have taken home the Academy Award for their very first documentary theatrical feature. They include Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”), Louie Psihoyos (“The Cove”) and Malik Bendjelloul (“Searching for Sugarman”). Those films beat out docus made by veteran nonfiction helmers like Kirby Dick (“The Invisible War”), Wim Wenders (“Pina”) and Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams (“Life Animated”).

When it comes to receiving a nomination in the documentary feature category, the odds are even better. In the last decade more than 20 first time feature docu helmers have nabbed an Oscar nod. They include Ellen Kuras (“The Betrayal — Nerakhoon”), Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington (“Restrepo”), Charles Ferguson (“No End in Sight”) and John Maloof and Charlie Siskel (“Finding Vivian Maier”).

Comparatively, in the last 10 years,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

10 Oscar Underdogs Who Stand the Best Chance at Gold

10 Oscar Underdogs Who Stand the Best Chance at Gold
Ten months into the year, it’s hard out here for an Oscar contender. Being worthy of remembering, or being watched by Academy members, demands a warm film-festival reception, rave reviews, effective marketing and distribution, strong theater attendance, and word of mouth. Check out this curated (alphabetical) selection of long-shot performers who are worthy of Oscar consideration, but may see their movies get lost in the intense competitive awards shuffle.

1. Bryan Cranston

Category: Best Actor

Awards: Nominated for Best Actor by SAG and the Oscars for “Trumbo,” Cranston won three Best Actor in a Drama Emmys for playing Walter White in “Breaking Bad” and won SAG Best Actor in TV movie as Lbj in “All the Way.”

Last Hit: “Why Him?” ($60 million domestic)

Title: “Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Studios)

Bottom Line: This layered New York Film Festival opener stars Cranston in one of his signature large, colorful, entertaining performances as Sal,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

10 Oscar Underdogs Who Stand the Best Chance at Gold

10 Oscar Underdogs Who Stand the Best Chance at Gold
Ten months into the year, it’s hard out here for an Oscar contender. Being worthy of remembering, or being watched by Academy members, demands a warm film-festival reception, rave reviews, effective marketing and distribution, strong theater attendance, and word of mouth. Check out this curated (alphabetical) selection of long-shot performers who are worthy of Oscar consideration, but may see their movies get lost in the intense competitive awards shuffle.

1. Bryan Cranston

Category: Best Actor

Awards: Nominated for Best Actor by SAG and the Oscars for “Trumbo,” Cranston won three Best Actor in a Drama Emmys for playing Walter White in “Breaking Bad” and won SAG Best Actor in TV movie as Lbj in “All the Way.”

Last Hit: “Why Him?” ($60 million domestic)

Title: “Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Studios)

Bottom Line: This layered New York Film Festival opener stars Cranston in one of his signature large, colorful, entertaining performances as Sal,
See full article at Indiewire »

'City Of Ghosts' wins top prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

  • ScreenDaily
'City Of Ghosts' wins top prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017
Documentary festival announces winners.

Matthew Heineman’s City Of Ghosts has won the grand jury award at Sheffield Doc/Fest (June 9-14).

The award, supported by Screen International and Broadcast, comes with a cash prize of £2,000 ($2,800).

The film covers covert citizen journalist group Rbss (Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently), who are exposing the horrors of life under Isis rule via the media. Amazon have picked up worldwide rights to the film.

On behalf of the jury, Paul Mason said, “City of Ghosts is a passionate portrayal of people who took their lives in their hands to fight an evil that looms over the world. In our discussions we wanted the film makers to answer: who created Isis and who sustains it today? A compelling and vital film.”

The jury also included Andrea Arnold and Anand Pathwardan.

There was also special mentions for The Death And The Life of Marsha P. Johnson, [link
See full article at ScreenDaily »

How Hot Docs, North America’s Smartest Festival, Could Anoint an Oscar Winner

How Hot Docs, North America’s Smartest Festival, Could Anoint an Oscar Winner
In a world where TV networks fight for the opportunity to showcase the best nonfiction content that will keep viewers on their couches, the Toronto-based Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival (April 27 – May 7) is a very, very good place to be.

What began 24 years ago as a modest showcase for Canadian documentaries is now a sprawling international program that screens 230 titles from 58 countries. The festival still favors homegrown product, but also amplifies movies from Sundance (“Chasing Coral,” “Long Strange Trip,” “City of Ghosts”) and Tribeca (“The Departure,” “A River Below”), as well as some international (Joe Berlinger’s “Intent to Destroy”) and world premieres (“A Moon of Nickel and Ice”).

“Hot Docs creates an environment where you can meet with the best in the documentary world,” said director Cullen Hoback, who brought his sharp pollution whodunit “What Lies Upstream” first to Slamdance, then to Hot Docs (Preferred Content is seeking
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

How Hot Docs, North America’s Smartest Festival, Could Anoint an Oscar Winner

How Hot Docs, North America’s Smartest Festival, Could Anoint an Oscar Winner
In a world where TV networks fight for the opportunity to showcase the best nonfiction content that will keep viewers on their couches, the Toronto-based Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival (April 27 – May 7) is a very, very good place to be.

What began 24 years ago as a modest showcase for Canadian documentaries is now a sprawling international program that screens 230 titles from 58 countries. The festival still favors homegrown product, but also amplifies movies from Sundance (“Chasing Coral,” “Long Strange Trip,” “City of Ghosts”) and Tribeca (“The Departure,” “A River Below”), as well as some international (Joe Berlinger’s “Intent to Destroy”) and world premieres (“A Moon of Nickel and Ice”).

“Hot Docs creates an environment where you can meet with the best in the documentary world,” said director Cullen Hoback, who brought his sharp pollution whodunit “What Lies Upstream” first to Slamdance, then to Hot Docs (Preferred Content is seeking
See full article at Indiewire »

'Hondros': Film Review | Tribeca 2017

'Hondros': Film Review | Tribeca 2017
Sadly, documentaries about journalists killed during war are not a new phenomenon. In recent years, films about James Foley and Tim Hetherington have affected viewers. One of the most searing of these films, Hondros, has its world premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Chris Hondros, who worked for Getty Images, photographed conflicts all over the world and was killed while covering the civil war in Libya in 2011. The film succeeds partly because Hondros was such a gifted war photographer, and partly because of the thoughtful and loving portrait created by director Greg Campbell. Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Lee...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Kirsten Johnson Talks ‘Cameraperson,’ the Art of Interviewing, First-Person Cinema, and Selling a Movie

I’ve spoken to many accomplished artists, but there are perhaps none who bear the same extent of experience as Kirsten Johnson. Don’t worry if the name doesn’t ring any bells: she’s built her repertoire as a documentary cinematographer by working with and for the likes of Michael Moore, Laura Poitras, and Jacques Derrida, and the things she’s seen have been funneled into Cameraperson, a travelogue-of-sorts through Johnson’s subconscious.

Her time as an interviewer, or at least a companion to interviews, came through when we sat down together at Criterion’s offices in New York last month. Never have I been more directly forced to think about my work than when she turned the tables on me — all of which started with some complementary danishes left for us in the room. It’s a level of engagement that befits one of this year’s greatest films,
See full article at The Film Stage »

'Cameraperson' wins top prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest

  • ScreenDaily
'Cameraperson' wins top prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest
Documentary festival announces winners.

Cameraperson, a documentary about the career of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, has won the grand jury award at Sheffield Doc/Fest (June 10-15).

Johnson, who also directs the film, is the Us cinematographer behind Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winning Edward Snowden doc Citizenfour and Kirby Dick’s The Invisible War among many others.

The award, supported by Screen International and Broadcast, comes with a cash prize of £2,000 ($2,800).

The jury described the film as “a work that´s both expansive and intimate, formally ambitious and morally humble”.

“Though this filmmaker has travelled the world to tell others stories, her real
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot review – frontline follies

A laughter-spiked drama starring Tina Fey as a rookie Afghan war correspondent is like Mash but with too much cheese

Adapted from a factual book by the war correspondent Kim Barker, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is not the first film to deal with the addictive qualities of combat. The Hurt Locker cast a cool eye over the adrenaline hit that hooks bomb-disposal experts; more recently the documentaries Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington and Only the Dead explored the thrill that sends reporters after stories that could claim their lives. But this is one of the first to look at the lure of the frontline from a female perspective.

Tina Fey is well cast as Barker, an inexperienced reporter who finds herself flung into the “Kabubble”: the hard-living, hothouse community of war correspondents stationed in Afghanistan during the ongoing war. Spiked with gallows humour,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Jake Gyllenhaal to produce ‘Chris Hondros’ documentary at Bold Films

It looks like Jake Gyllenhaal is setting his sights on producing a new documentary. It was just revealed that the actor and producer is teaming with Bold Films for his first documentary feature, which will be based on photojournalist Chris Hondros.

“We’re actually doing our first documentary now and it’s through Jake Gyllenhaal,” Bold Films’ CEO Gary Michael Walters told Simon Thompson at Forbes. “He asked us to do it and he’s very passionate about this story.”

“We are financing our first documentary for Nine Stories, Jake’s production company,” Walters added. “It’s a great story about a photojournalist named Chris Hondros. His best friend was doing a documentary about him and during the course of taping of the documentary Chris got killed in Libya during the rebel wars. That will be our first documentary. And you got that story first, it’s an exclusive.”

Hondros
See full article at The Hollywood News »

The Land of the Enlightened | 2016 Sundance Film Festival Review

Something Better Better Come: Afghan Kids Reign Supreme

In the opening sequence of The Land of the Enlightened following a radio broadcast from President Obama that announces that American troops would soon be pulling out of Afghanistan, first time filmmaker Pieter-Jan De Pue‘s alluring vérité depiction of Afghanistan’s bleak future, makes no bones about the country’s seemingly cursed existence, plotting out the cycle of Afghan misfortune via voiceover of holy legend and images mythical landscapes. “I made a mistake,” he (god) said. “I don’t have any land left for you.” With stunning 16mm cinematography, an empathetic eye, and a great deal of courage, De Pue digs into this lawless desert world, following a renegade band of armed children as they raid weary travelers and trade the opium and lapis lazuli they take as bounty, forging in the end a futureless portrait in which morals are discarded in the name of survival.
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Watch: Why Oscar-Shortlisted Doc 'Cartel Land' Is Must-See

Watch: Why Oscar-Shortlisted Doc 'Cartel Land' Is Must-See
The Academy doc branch selected their shortlist of 15 semifinalists in December. No one, least of all documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman, who is not a frontline war reporter, expected "Cartel Land" (July 13, The Orchard) to be among the titles. But, with nominations voting set to close Friday, January 8, it is—after the border drug wars movie broke at Sundance, where it won directing and cinematography prizes, nabbed support from director Kathryn Bigelow, scored the Tim Hetherington Award at Sheffield, and landed on the coveted Doc NYC shortlist as well. Now, "Cartel Land" will be available to its widest audience yet: it airs tonight at 10pm on A&E. What's the big deal? Well, Heineman will receive the International Documentary Association's "Courage Under Fire Award," which honors "conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth." Last year's Oscar winner Laura Poitras ("Citizenfour") also won this...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Top 50 modern movie documentaries

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50 fabulous documentary films, covering hard politics through to music, money and films that never were...

Thanks to streaming services such as Netflix, we’ve never had better access to documentaries. A whole new audience can discover that these real life stories are just as thrilling, entertaining, and incredible as the latest big-budget blockbuster. What’s more, they’re all true too. But with a new found glut of them comes the ever more impossible choice, what’s worth your time? Below is my pick of the 50 best modern feature length documentaries.

I’ve defined modern as being from 2000 onwards, which means some of the greatest documentaries ever made will not feature here. I’m looking at you Hoop Dreams.

50. McConkey (2013)

d. Rob Bruce, Scott Gaffney, Murray Wais, Steve Winter, David Zieff

Shane McConkey was an extreme skier and Base jumper who lived life on the edge, and very much to the full.
See full article at Den of Geek »

This Vr Film About the World's Most Endangered Animal Needs Your Help

  • Indiewire
Until now, Eline Jongsma & Kel O’Neill, an award-winning Dutch-American filmmaking team, has been best known for "Empire," the Emmy-nominated interactive documentary which appeared at The New York Film Festival in 2013 before being acquired by Pov. Read More: Check Out 'The Empire Project,' An Interactive Documentary at the Nyff The filmmaking team was recently awarded the inaugural Tim Hetherington Visionary Award in memory of the celebrated British photojournalist and filmmaker ("Restrepo") who was killed covering the civil war in Libya in 2011. They received the award for their latest project, "The Ark," a virtual reality documentary that will tell the stories of the African and American rangers and scientists who are fighting to conserve the world's last four remaining northern white rhinoceros. The pair is shooting "The Ark" with a 360° camera system in both San Diego and Kenya. With the funds they received...
See full article at Indiewire »

'A Syrian Love Story' Wins Grand Jury Prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest

'A Syrian Love Story' Wins Grand Jury Prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest
Read More: Attention, Filmmakers: 8 Things To Know Before Making a Music Documentary The Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 award winners were announced this morning by British comedian, Jeremy Hardy. See the full list below: The Inspiration Award: was awarded to former festival director, Heather Croall. The Tim Hetherington Award: Matthew Heineman ("Cartel Land") The Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Grand Jury prize: "A Syrian Love Story" (dir. Sean McAllister) The jury for this year's Grand Jury Prize included: Kaleem Aftab;(Journalist / UK), John Akomfrah (Smoking Dog Films / UK), Ruby Chen (Cnex / China), Sigrid Dyekjaer (Producer / Denmark) and Alexandra Hannibal (Tribeca Film Institute / USA). Speaking of "A Syrian Love Story," Chen, said "the Jury were enamored by this Bergmanesque portrait of a relationship and love, taking place against an ever-changing and...
See full article at Indiewire »

'Syrian Love Story' wins Sheffield Doc/Fest prize

  • ScreenDaily
'Syrian Love Story' wins Sheffield Doc/Fest prize
Other winners include a film about the early years of Greenpeace and Us documentary 3½ Minutes, 10 Bullets.

Sean McAllister’s A Syrian Love Story has won the Grand Jury prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest (June 5-10).

Acclaimed British documentary filmmaker McAllister, whose credits include The Liberace in Baghdad and The Reluctant Revolutionary, shot the feature over four years.

It follows the plight of one Syrian family as they are forced to leave the war torn country and the impact it has on the family’s relationships. During the filming process, McAllister himself spent time in a Syrian jail when the authorities seized his camera.

On behalf of the jury, Ruby Chen of Cnex China said: “The jury were enamoured by this Bergmanesque portrait of a relationship and love, taking place against an ever-changing and tumultuous backdrop.

“Delivering unusual gender portraits it explores vulnerabilities, looking at the concept of belonging, providing a unique and intimate portrait of disillusionment.”

The
See full article at ScreenDaily »
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