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‘Mr. Chibbs’ Follows Kenny Anderson’s Life After Life on an NBA Court

1 September 2016 7:22 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

Mr. Chibbs

Logline: NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson is in a mid-life crisis, grappling with his identity and coming to terms with his past and he searches for relevancy in his future.

Elevator Pitch:

This is not your typical basketball documentary. Like Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” we follow Kenny as he travels back to people and places of his past witnessing him reconciling the good with the evil. What happens to a sports superstar once their talent has left them, and they are forced to confront who they will be for the rest of their lives. “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, »

- Steve Greene

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Casey Affleck to Star in Debra Granik’s Adventure Drama ‘My Abandonment’

31 July 2016 8:46 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Casey Affleck is set to topline Debra Granik’s film adaptation of the 2009 novel by Peter RockMy Abandonment,” according to The Tracking Board.

Inspired by a true story, the film will center around Caroline, a thirteen-year-old girl and her father who live in Forest Park, an enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. Living in the an elaborate cave shelter, they bathe in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water’s edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts. Once a week they go buy groceries and blend in with the civilized world. Their whole world turns upside down when a jogger discovers where they live and Caroline is torn between her loyalty to her father and the possibility of a new and normal life. 

Granik will direct and co-write the script with Anne Rosellini. Rossellini is producing with Linda Reisman and Anne Harrison of ReVision Films. »

- Liz Calvario

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‘Newtown’: Survivors, Filmmaker Talk ‘Tipping Point’ in Fight Against Gun Violence

29 July 2016 3:50 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Despite the continuous string of mass shootings in the United States, no progress has been made toward enacting stricter federal gun-control laws. But Dr. Bill Begg, an emergency-room physician who was on duty at Danbury Hospital in Newtown, Conn. on the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, sees progress being made.

“The Sandy Hook tragedy was the tipping point in our country, and there absolutely has been a cultural change already,” Begg said Friday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. Begg was one of three Newtown residents interviewed for PBS’ Independent Lens documentary “Newtown” to appear at a panel Friday for the film, along with director Kim A. Snyder.

Begg likened gun violence to other public health issues, such as smoking and the AIDS epidemic.

“It took a generation for change to occur,” he said. “The fact that you’re allowing us to even talk about this topic now, it »

- Daniel Holloway

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Itvs Diversity Development Fund Seeks Submissions from Documentary Producers of Color

25 July 2016 8:19 AM, PDT | ShadowAndAct | See recent ShadowAndAct news »

The gist… The Independent Television Service (Itvs) funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television and cable, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens Monday nights at 10:00 Pm… Continue Reading → »

- shadowandact

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37th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Nominations: PBS Leads with 54, CBS with 37

21 July 2016 1:37 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has announced the nominees for the 37th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards. Once again, PBS earned the most nominations, with 54.

PBS’ plethora of nominees include a “PBS NewsHour” expose of the for-profit universities milking students eligible for tuition paid by the G.I. Bill, “G.I. Bill$,” “Rape on the Night Shift” from “Frontline,” and “The Kill Team,” about American war crimes in Afghanistan, from “Independent Lens.”

CBS snagged the second-most nominations, with 37 followed by HBO with 19, NBC with 14, and CNN with 13.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which blew the lid off worldwide corruption and financial crime in 2016 with the Panama Papers, received a “New Approaches: Documentary” nomination for a piece on Australian mining in Africa called “Fatal Extraction.”

The biggest topics receiving nominations for coverage were the Paris terrorist attacks of November, the San Bernardino shooting in December, and ongoing reporting on the 2016 presidential election.

NATAS »

- Oriana Schwindt

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PBS & ‘60 Minutes’ Again Dominate News & Documentary Emmy Noms

21 July 2016 11:15 AM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

As is typically the case, PBS dominated the nominations for News and Documentary Emmy Awards announced today. The pubcaster grabbed 54 noms — three fewer than last year’s haul — fueled by 18 for Frontline and eight apiece for its Independent Lens and Nature series. CBS more than doubled its nearest network rival with 37, driven as usual by 60 Minutes, which leads all programs with 26 noms. It also topped the field last year with 29. HBO leads the cable field with 19 noms… »

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‘Orchestrating Change’ Profiles a Group Using Classical Music to Change Perceptions of Mental Illness

13 July 2016 9:26 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

Orchestrating Change

Logline: The documentary film that tells the inspiring story of Me2/Orchestra, the only classical music organization in the world for people living with mental illness and those who support them.

Elevator Pitch:

Ronald Braunstein, Me2/Orchestra’s founder and music director, was a Juilliard-trained, internationally-known conductor until he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Ronald’s manager dropped him and the classical music community shunned him. Ronald created Me2/Orchestra for musicians like himself living with mental illness. The documentary “Orchestrating Change” depicts the poignant and powerful ways Me2/Orchestra is transforming lives and creating a new model for »

- Steve Greene

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Watch: Dawn Porter’s Op-Doc Film The Chosen Life

16 June 2016 12:11 PM, PDT | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

The New York Times today debuted a new Op-Doc film, The Chosen Life, the latest film in a series by independent filmmakers supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures. Directed by Dawn Porter, The Chosen Life chronicles the challenges faced by Dr. Yashica Robinson, the only practicing Ob Gyn in Huntsville, Alabama who provides abortions. This film was inspired by Porter’s feature Trapped, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. Trapped will appear on PBS’s Independent Lens on June 20. “While making Trapped, I met this beautiful smart determined woman and I […] »

- Paula Bernstein

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‘Documentary Now!’ Stands Out in the Emmys’ Variety Sketch Race

15 June 2016 9:46 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Spliced together from interviews, establishing shots, and dramatic reenactments, its subjects’ homegrown aphorisms set against the forceful tinkling of the score, “The Eye Doesn’t Lie” might’ve been made by Errol Morris himself.

Inspired by “The Thin Blue Line,” the fourth episode of IFC’s inventive, erudite “Documentary Now!” — from the frenzied imaginations of director Rhys Thomas and “Saturday Night Live” alumni Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers — mimics the filmmaker’s work so precisely that it comes to resemble an X-ray, showing the bone structure of his distinctive style while (gently) poking fun at it. In this sense, to describe “Documentary Now!” as a parody is to undersell: It’s a wildly funny act of criticism, deconstructing the mechanics of nonfiction in an age defined by the slippage between “reality” and the real.

Starring Armisen and Hader in an ever-changing series of roles—in a pungent send-up of Vice Media, they even play three indistinguishable pairs of plaid-clad, ne’er-do-well correspondents on the trail of a Mexican drug kingpin — “Documentary Now!” is designed with an in-depth knowledge of the form, down to the title sequence. A clever nod to public television, replete with evolving logo, synthesized theme music, and Helen Mirren’s refined introductions, the homage to the likes of “Pov,” “Frontline,” and “Independent Lens” is telling. Though tough, at times, on the familiar tropes of Morris and the Maysles, the creators’ treatment of documentaries is affectionate; their approach is closer to Christopher Guest’s warm, playful comedies, from “Waiting for Guffman” to “For Your Consideration,” than to the sharp satire of “Drop Dead Gorgeous” or “Tanner ’88.”

This is born, it seems, of their interest in the power of nonfiction narratives, and in the process by which such stories take shape. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, “Documentary Now!” is lavish in its praise — Hader’s version of Little Edie Beale, in the series’ tribute to “Grey Gardens,” replicates several memorable moments in the film almost exactly — but it’s when the series turns toward exaggeration and hyperbole that its understanding of the form’s fakery is on fullest display. Against the “direct cinema” aesthetic of the Maysles, “Documentary Now!” depicts the siblings, here known as the Feins, eliciting performances from their subjects, searching the shadows of “Sandy Passage” for the most compelling variant of the truth. (It comes back to bite them, in a way that acknowledges the elements of Gothic horror in “Grey Gardens” by blowing the original to bits.)

Understanding documentaries as a set of narrative techniques, and not simply as a reflection of “the facts,” “Documentary Now!” is at its most astute in the first season’s “Kunuk Uncovered.” Based on 1988’s “Nanook Revisited,” itself an investigation of the stagecraft in Robert Flaherty’s 1922 silent, “Nanook of the North,” “Kunuk” renders explicit the series’ animating principle: “Was the first documentary a documentary at all,” the narrator intones, “or was it something else?” As William H. Sebastian (John Slattery) attempts to mold his subject, Pipilok (Armisen), into the “Eskimo” of his ethnocentric assumptions, mounting dog sledding and spear fishing scenes, he loses control of the project to its central figure. “Kunuk” becomes an artful farce, part Hollywood excess and part careful craft.

Pipilok first demands compensation, securing the managerial services of a local pimp, and then displaces Sebastian altogether, transforming into a tortured auteur. (At one point, he curses out the cast in his native tongue, a true diva of the directing chair.) His aesthetic innovations — recording sound, building sets, developing “point of view” and new forms of movement — are those, roughly speaking, of realism, and “Kunuk” is, in essence, a reminder that the style that doesn’t seem like a style is no less fabricated for convincing us otherwise. In “Documentary Now!” nonfiction is always “something else”: A performance, a manipulation, a construction, adjacent to “the real” but not a mirror image of it.

In fashioning a new short film for each installment—with the exception of the two-part “Gentle and Soft: The Story of the Blue Jean Committee” — the series is an outlier in the Emmys’ nascent Variety Sketch category. Last year’s inaugural field featured five nominees on the traditional “sketch” model, including “Saturday Night Live” and winner “Inside Amy Schumer,” and all, including the final season of the excellent “Key & Peele,” are among this year’s twenty eligible series (up from 17). But given the TV Academy’s tendency to settle into firm patterns, to the point that one might call them ruts, it would behoove voters to honor the heterodox, learned, distinctly non-topical comedy of “Documentary Now!” while the contours of the category are still in flux.

If there’s one aspect of the series we know Academy members can appreciate, it’s the brilliant impression: Schumer and Ryan McFaul were nominated last year for directing the dead solid perfect satire “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer” as if inhabited by the spirit of Sidney Lumet, a feat “Documentary Now!” manages many times over, and in myriad registers. Its sketches succeed, in the end, because they’re not sketchy at all, but rather fully realized, remarkably savvy reconsiderations of their subject, which is the creative, sometimes-deceptive act of documentary filmmaking itself.

“The Eye Doesn’t Lie” recalls not only “The Thin Blue Line,” then, but also, by dint of its title, the filmmaker’s examination of visible evidence in “Standard Operating Procedure.” “The pictures spoke a thousand words,” as Army Special Agent Brent Pack says in the latter of photographs of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, launching into the kind of Morris-esque paradox that IFC’s series so beautifully distills. “But unless you know what day and time they were taken, you wouldn’t know what story they were telling.” The eye does lie, of course, and the brilliant “Documentary Now!” is always catching it red-handed.

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- Matt Brennan

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Ifp Announces Documentary Projects for Annual Ifp Labs

9 May 2016 10:07 AM, PDT | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

The Independent Filmmaker Project (Ifp), Filmmaker‘s parent organization, announced today the ten documentaries selected for the 2016 Ifp Filmmaker Labs, Ifp’s annual yearlong fellowship for first-time feature directors. The creative teams of the selected films are currently attending the first week’s sessions – The Time Warner Foundation Completion Labs – taking place May 11-15 in New York City. As of 2015, the 196 projects that have gone through the program include such critically acclaimed films as the recent documentaries (T)error by Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe (Independent Lens), Nanfu Wang’s Hooligan Sparrow (Pov), Sharon Shattuck’s From This Day Forward (Pov), Leah […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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‘Going Clear,’ ‘The Jinx,’ ‘What Happened, Miss Simone’ Named 2015 Peabody Awards Winners

26 April 2016 10:55 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

HBO’s documentaries scored high marks from the annual Peabody Awards, winning nods for four of its efforts: the Scientology expose “Going Clear”; an intimate exploration of autism, “How to Dance in Ohio”; “Night Will Fall,” about the making of a Holocaust film; and the true crime phenomenon “The Jinx,” about Robert Durst.

These documentary and education winners, including Netflix’s riveting “What Happened, Miss Simone” round out the Peabody 30, the coveted annual awards which are administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass CommunicationPead

The entertainment and children’s winners, including ABC’s “Black-ish” and USA’s “Mr. Robot,” and the news, radio and web winners, which included “This American Life” and HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” were previously announced. A full list of winners is available at peabodyawards.com.

The awards will be handed out on May 21 at a ceremony »

- Debra Birnbaum

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Peabody Awards Honor ‘Daily Show’ & David Letterman, Name Finalists (Exclusive)

12 April 2016 9:00 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and former late-night host David Letterman will be among the honorees at the 75th annual Peabody Awards, Variety has learned exclusively.

In addition, 60 finalists have been set by the awards’ board of jurors. From that field, 30 winners — the Peabody 30 — will be selected. Those winners will be revealed beginning next week and honored at the Peabody Awards ceremony in New York May 21.

Among the finalists are ABC’s “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat,” FX’s “Fargo,” Amazon’s “Transparent” and “Catastrophe,” HBO’s “The Leftovers” and “Veep,” Showtime’s “Listen to Me Marlon,” Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” and “Master of None,” USA’s “Mr. Robot” and Lifetime’s “UnReal.”

The first group of winners will be announced April 19 on Facebook Live. Subsequent rounds of winners will be revealed April 21 on NBC’s “Today” and April 26 on Facebook Live.

Letterman and documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson »

- Daniel Holloway

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Us Briefs: 'Love & Friendship' to open San Francisco Int'l Film Festival

22 March 2016 12:00 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Plus: Warner Bros dates Annabelle 2, Untitled event movie; FilmRise acquires The Bad Kids

The San Francisco Film Society has announced the Big Nights selections for the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, set to run from April 21–May 5.

Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny will open the festival and the closing night selection is Jesse Moss’ documentary The Bandit (pictured), a look at the making of the Burt Reynolds film Smokey And The Bandit.

James Schamus’ feature directorial debut Indignation is the Centrepiece selection.

Warner Bros has scheduled a raft of 2017 releases and announced on Tuesday it will open the New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow comedy Fist Fight on  February 17. New Line’s horror film Annabelle 2 will debut on May 19, Untitled WB Event Film on August 11, and Ben Affleck crime drama Live By Night on October 20.FilmRise has acquired worldwide rights from Preferred Content to Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s Sundance »

- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Us Briefs: 'Love & Friendship' to open San Francisco International Film Festival

22 March 2016 12:00 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Plus: Warner Bros dates Annabelle 2, Untitled event movie; FilmRise acquires The Bad Kids

The San Francisco Film Society has announced the Big Nights selections for the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, set to run from April 21–May 5.

Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny will open the festival and the closing night selection is Jesse Moss’ documentary The Bandit (pictured), a look at the making of the Burt Reynolds film Smokey And The Bandit.

James Schamus’ feature directorial debut Indignation is the Centrepiece selection.

Warner Bros has scheduled a raft of 2017 releases and announced on Tuesday it will open the New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow comedy Fist Fight on  February 17. New Line’s horror film Annabelle 2 will debut on May 19, Untitled WB Event Film on August 11, and Ben Affleck crime drama Live By Night on October 20.FilmRise has acquired worldwide rights from Preferred Content to Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s Sundance »

- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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FilmRise Acquires Sundance Docu ‘The Bad Kids’; XLrator Scores ‘At All Costs’

22 March 2016 11:15 AM, PDT | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

FilmRise has nabbed worldwide distribution rights to Sundance Film Festival documentary The Bad Kids from directors Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe. The docu will receive a theatrical run in September and make its television debut on the upcoming season of the PBS series Independent Lens. Set at Black Rock Continuation High School — in the impoverished Mojave Desert Community — the film follows Principal Viland, who is determined to realize the potential of her students… »

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Sundance Documentary ‘The Bad Kids’ Bought by FilmRise

22 March 2016 9:52 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

FilmRise has acquired worldwide distribution rights for the Sundance Film Festival documentary “The Bad Kids.”

The movie will receive a theatrical release in September and make its television debut on the upcoming season of the PBS series “Independent Lens.”

Filmmakers Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe (“Lost in La Mancha”) chronicle one principal’s mission to realize the potential of students whom the system has deemed lost causes in an impoverished Mojave Desert community. The film is set at Black Rock Continuation High School, an alternative school for students at risk of dropping out.

The doc chronicles one year at the school as Principal Vonda Viland coaches three at-risk teens — a new father who can’t support his family, a young woman grappling with sexual abuse and an angry young man from an unstable home.

“Fulton and Pepe locate both heartbreak and hope in their intertwined tales of people fighting to »

- Dave McNary

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Universal Acquires Rights to Claressa Shields' Story (Youngest Woman to Box in Olympics)

15 March 2016 11:05 AM, PDT | ShadowAndAct | See recent ShadowAndAct news »

In 2012, then 17-year-old Claressa "T-Rex" Shields, is the youngest woman - and one of the first women - to ever box in the Olympics. Her story was the subject of a 2015 documentary titeld "T-Rex," which made its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin. TX. The tri-continental effort (North America, Europe and Asia) hailed from directors Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari, who begun work on the doc in 2012, en route to a successful $64,000 crowdfunding campaign - funds that were used to complete the film. Although a major part of the film's funding came courtesy of Independent Lens. For the first time ever, women’s boxing was included in »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Stanley Nelson’s 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Premieres Tonight on PBS

16 February 2016 7:25 AM, PST | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

Tonight, Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 9 Pm, Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed new documentary, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” premieres on PBS’ independent film series Independent Lens. The first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails, Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. A definitive portrait of the Black Panther Party - its rise and fall - Nelson aims to paint a complete and accurate account of the revolutionary black nationalist organization, a film that should act as a reminder, as well as an education (especially for...

»

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Stanley Nelson’s 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Premieres Tonight on PBS

16 February 2016 7:25 AM, PST | ShadowAndAct | See recent ShadowAndAct news »

Tonight, Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 9 Pm, Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed new documentary, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” premieres on PBS’ independent film series Independent Lens. The first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails, Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now

9 February 2016 5:58 AM, PST | ShadowAndAct | See recent ShadowAndAct news »

Last night on PBS' Independent Lens film series, Nelson George's “A Ballerina’s Tale” made its TV premiere, and I'm sure many more of you finally were able to check out the documentary for yourselves, in the comfort of your homes. If you missed it, and didn't record it, you should know that PBS has made it available in full online, so watch it below. The film explores the rise of Misty Copeland, who made history as the first African American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theater. It gives audiences an intimate look at a groundbreaking dancer during a crucial period in her life, as she makes the transition.  On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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