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Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, promoting the recently released documentary “Inequality for All,” says that there is a link between the growing income disparity and the wave of states, including California, that are offering tax incentives for movie and TV productions.
In fact, Reich, who served under President Bill Clinton, called the bonanza of states offering production tax credits a “race to the bottom,” as competition sees governments sweetening the pot to try to lure movies and TV shows within their borders.
“These tax credits and tax incentives are a zero sum game,” he said in an interview last week. “They don’t create a single new job. They just move jobs around, and they rob the states of the money they need for education and infrastructure.”
His comments reflect what has been an argument against tax incentives among some lawmakers in Sacramento, where an industry coalition is preparing to »
- Ted Johnson
We’re not sure if Redford’s character in All is Lost spent much time visiting the ocean floors, but he might have noticed that some fish friends were absent. Louie Psihoyos blasted into public consciousness with single issue/Oscar winning docu The Cove and his “sequel” promises to stir up auds and promisingly address issues that the Al Gore docu An Inconvenient Truth mysteriously left out. The problem with damn documentary filmmakers are productions don’t have clear “end” dates – and while mention of the project initially began in 2012, we could be another year away from The Heist materializing into the high buzz docu it promises to be. In the mean time…stick to eating plants.
Gist: Written by Mark Monroe, although largely ignored by the media and politicians, collapsing biodiversity critically undermines society. Our civilization is founded on planet earth’s ecosystems. As species are lost, ecosystems change. »
- Eric Lavallee
Gravity is a game-changer that makes a swath of films seem redundant. Here are seven earlier movies that broke the mould – and one that didn't
Every now and then a film comes along that totally changes everything: whether it is expensive new technology or a cute talking pig, nothing can be the same again. Gravity is the latest film that makes a whole swath of cinema look and feel redundant: its hard-won sense of documentary realism means everyone attempting to film a spacewalk or satellite explosion will have to raise their game massively. This is by no means a definitive, historical list – you would have to go back to the Lumière brothers for that – but we have narrowed it down to the seven films that have made the biggest impact on movies in their current form and obsessions.
The game: Superhero films were traditionally camp, trashy affairs – even Superman: The Movie, »
- Andrew Pulver
A rallying cry for government and collective action, “H2Omx” is a good-looking, well-researched and smartly assembled documentary that makes a persuasive case that the time is nigh to remedy the status of water management in the Valley of Mexico. Raising awareness a la “An Inconvenient Truth,” the crusading pic employs dramatic aerial photography, easily assimilated statistics presented via eye-catching graphics and animation, and the testimony of experts and ordinary people. With the support of global financial institution Hsbc, which is making water sustainability its main issue, this excellent educational tool should be screened widely at home and abroad.
The docu highlights the numerous aspects of the region’s water problem, many of which stem from the fact that Mexico City was built in the middle of a series of ancient lakes. The Spanish colonists fought against nature, building massive drainage systems and importing fresh water from elsewhere; these same outdated »
- Alissa Simon
★★☆☆☆ Documentarian David Bond is the worried father of two young children. Like many kids raised in the city, his kids spend most of their day indoors and an inordinate amount of time in front of screens of one type or another. Inspired by a growing trepidation, the filmmaker appoints himself the 'Managing Director of Nature' and decides to market what the outdoors has to offer. The result is Project Wild Thing (2013), a kind of prog-doc both raising awareness of an issue and to some extent trying to solve it. Imagine a small-scale version of 2006's An Inconvenient Truth riffed upon by an English, middle-class Morgan Spurlock.
Bond seeks the advice of professionals in marketing as well as experts in psychology and social welfare. He quizzes school children, trying to encourage them to see something positive in going outside and communes with nature via an owl named 'Merlin'. Finally, we see »
- CineVue UK
The documentary Project Wild Thing hopes to get kids off computers and embracing nature. But do protest films ever change anything – and who actually watches them?
What are you doing about global warming? Or fracking? Arab democracy? Diminishing bee populations? Nuclear energy? Gun control? Repression in Uganda? Russia? Burma? Increasingly, what we're doing about the world's problems seems to be watching documentaries on them – which does feel like doing something, while at the same time being very close to doing nothing. Now, at least, we can do nothing about more issues than ever before. The current cinema landscape is saturated with documentaries and fictionalised movies highlighting important political, humanitarian or environmental issues. That should be a good thing, but somehow, it doesn't always feel like it.
In the past month we've already had films on bees (More Than Honey), the internet and children (InRealLife), and climate change denial (Greedy Lying »
- Steve Rose
Fracking heck, Captain Planet And The Planeteers are back. Telly's most dedicated band of environmental-aware heroes are getting the big-screen treatment, with Sony working on a movie version of the early '90s TV show. It's been in the works for three years now and finally seems to be taking to the skies.The show's premise, originally commissioned by Ted Turner as a kind of Last Airbender-meets-An Inconvenient Truth for tweens, has Earth spirit Gaia bestowing magical rings on five teenagers. Each ring represents a different life force: African Kwame gets earth; Wheeler, from North America, has fire; Linka, a Russian, controls wind; Asian Gi has water; and South American Ma-Ti gets heart. They'll be using these powers against a range of pun-heavy villains like Dr. Blight, Verminous Skumm, Duke Nukem, Looten Plunder and Rapen Pillage - Ok, not the last one - and occasionally calling upon titular superhero »
3 October 2013 4:00 PM, PDT | International Documentary Association | See recent International Documentary Association news »
In what is sure to be remembered as this decade's An Inconvenient Truth, Jacob Kornbluth's documentary feature debut Inequality for All tackles the increasingly unbalanced distribution of wealth among America's workers. Developed from the concepts of leading political economist and former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich, the film uses Reich's wealth and poverty course at Uc Berkeley as the through line by which the history of income inequality is simplified, explained, and exposed.
Inequality for All screened on Thursday, September 26 in Los Angeles to kick off the Ida Documentary »
There are documentaries that uncover hitherto unknown shocking facts, and then there are the ones that take what is already known and then package that information in one place for tidy consumption. “Inequality for All” fits neatly into the latter category, but if you’re looking for a streamlined explanation for the mess the U.S. economy’s in, and how we might get out, it’s as good a place to start as any. Director Jacob Kornbluth (“Haiku Tunnel”) seems to be pursuing the formula of “An Inconvenient Truth” to explore wealth inequality in this country: Take someone from the Clinton White House (in. »
- Alonso Duralde
By Søren Hough
* * *
“Never capture what you can’t control.”
So says the tagline for Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s muckraking new documentary — currently being distributed in select art-house theaters by Magnolia Pictures — which is a stunning indictment of the manner in which SeaWorld has captured and treated wild orca whales over the years. The film could have an enormous impact on tourism and revenue for the theme park chain — but the ramifications of this exposé will extend beyond the director’s intended target.
Blackfish has been welcomed with open arms by critics. With an 84 on Metacritic and a 98 on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is being hailed as a well-crafted documentary that has brought about a paradigm-shift in terms of the public’s thoughts about show animals. And it is also generating some serious awards buzz — see our own Scott Feinberg‘s latest forecast over at The Hollywood Reporter — with »
- Søren Hough
Conspiracy, a drama series project based on Christopher MacBride’s 2012 found footage-style indie feature The Conspiracy, has landed at NBC as a put pilot. Written and executive produced by Contagion scribe Scott Z. Burns, the TV adaptation centers on a conspiracy theorist who vanishes after a man is killed at an Occupy Wall Street protest, leaving behind his sister and an FBI agent to investigate. Also executive producing are Working Title Films’ Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Liza Chasin, with the company’s Daniel Pipski co-executive producing. The rights to The Conspiracy, written & directed by MacBride and produced by Lee Kim, were held and shopped by Kyle Franke and Aram Tertzakian of Xyz Films, with MacBride, Kim, Franke and Tertzakian also executive producing the TV version. (watch the movie’s official trailer below). This marks feature writer Burns’ reunion with Working Title where he developed his first project, Pu-239, which »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
The Republican National Committee has responded to CNN Films' hiring of Courtney Sexton -- who oversaw Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" at Participant Media -- as senior director of its Los Angeles team. Spoiler alert: they're not happy. "Between Diane Lane and Al Gore's filmmaker, any concerns from Hillary Clinton's campaign that CNN and NBC's Hillary productions would be bad for Democrats are gone," communications director Sean Spicer told TheWrap. "This puts the 'p' in 'puff piece.' What's next, Michael Moore directing?" Also read: 'Inconvenient Truth' Vet Courtney Sexton Joins CNN Films CNN Films drew the »
- Sara Morrison
Update, 1:30 Pm: “Any concerns the Clinton team had are all gone. This puts the ‘P’ in puff piece,” a Republican National Committee rep said this afternoon, in response to our report about the announcement by CNN Films that it had hired senior director Courtney Sexton, who previously oversaw Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and the bio-docu Jimmy Carter Man From Plains among many other projects. “What’s next: Michael Moore directing?” added Sean Spicer, the Rnc’s communications director, in an email to Politico about Deadline’s coverage of the hire. Previous: CNN Films, the division of CNN Worldwide responsible for commissioning the documentary about Hillary Clinton that’s got the Rnc’s knickers in a knot, today announced it is welcoming Courtney Sexton to its Los Angeles team as senior director. The Republican National Committee may latch on to this news — in much the same way it »
- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist
CNN Films has hired Participant Media veteran Courtney Sexton as senior director of its Los Angeles team. Sexton spent eight years at Participant Media as director of documentary production, managing such films as "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Food, Inc." from development to release. Her exit was announced a week after Participant announced the hiring of Emmy-wining producer Elise Pearlstein as its Svp of documentary films, reporting to Diane Weyermann, Particpant's Evp and Sexton's old boss. Pearlstein also worked with Participant on "Food Inc." Also read: Participant Hires 'Food Inc.' Filmmaker Elise Pearlstein for Doc Department Prior to »
- Tim Molloy
MSNBC will air “The Politics of Power” on Aug. 16, a documentary devoted to the subject of climate change. Yet the editorial approach of this Chris Hayes-hosted hour continues an all-too-common trend of cable news preaching to the choir, where not a single dissenting voice is incorporated in any serious way.
Now, one can argue there is no such thing, scientifically speaking, as a credible “dissenting voice” on the subject of climate change — an assertion, just to set my cards on the table, on which I would agree.
Nevertheless, the whole point of the documentary is to identify how political pushback and a well-funded fossil-fuel industry are thwarting efforts to accomplish anything productive in addressing the issue. And while the program does feature clips of the usual suspects saying goofy-sounding things — like Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe reiterating that climate science is a “hoax,” or a Republican congressman citing the biblical »
- Brian Lowry
Just in time for back-to-school, the two-hour special Teach, which looks at the American education system through the eyes of teachers, will premiere at 8 Pm September 6 on CBS. Directed by Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), the documentary asks the question, “What does it take to be a teacher?” and traces a year inside the classrooms of a fourth-grade teacher and a high school algebra teacher in Denver, a middle school math educator in Kuna, Idaho, and an AP history teacher in Los Angeles. “We all have had a teacher who’s shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and who we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today,” said Jack Sussman, Evp Specials, Music and Live Events at CBS Entertainment. “This special celebrates those educators who, despite many hurdles and obstacles, aspire to bring inspiration to their students to succeed.” The special — Guggenheim »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
The fact that Pivot, a new network for millennials, is launching Aug. 1, the date MTV hit television in 1981, is purely coincidental. But here’s something that isn’t: The first thing Pivot will air at 6 a.m. Et on Thursday is a video for “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
You may recall that the Buggles’ video was the first one played on MTV 32 years ago. For its update, which celebrates a new generation’s creative power, Pivot recorded independent artists live all over Los Angeles, including Run River North, Goldspot, London Thor, Far and Away, Musical Mammal and Rainbow Jackson. »
- Mandi Bierly
Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani education activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban on her school bus, will be the subject of a feaure-length documentary that Davis Guggenheim ("Waiting for Superman," "An Inconvenient Truth") has signed on to direct. Walter Parkes and Laurie MaDonald are producing with Emirati film and TV production company Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which is fully financing the project. Also Read: Malala Yousafzai, Jay-z, Jennifer Lawrence, Among Time's 100 Most Influential Malala became an international symbol for education rights in the Middle East when a gunman shot her in »
- Josh Dickey
The Oscar-winning director of Al Gore environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth is to bring the story of teenage Pakistani women's rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived an attack by the Taliban, to the big screen.
Davis Guggenheim, who also directed the acclaimed documentary Waiting for Superman, about failures in the American public education system, will take charge of the cameras on the as-yet-untitled project.
Yousafzai, who gave a celebrated speech at the United Nations last week about her hopes for the future on her 16th birthday, was targeted by a gunman as she rode home on a bus after school last October. Militants hoped to silence the teenager and destroy her campaign for girls' education in the troubled Swat valley in Pakistan. But the bullet, which passed through »
- Ben Child
Malala Yousafzai, the child advocate who became an international icon after she was shot by Taliban gunmen last October, will have her story told on the big screen. Davis Guggenheim is teaming with producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, backed by Image Nation of Abu Dhabi, for a documentary about the 16-year-old Pakistani, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Guggenheim helmed critically acclaimed docs Waiting for Superman and An Inconvenient Truth, which won the 2007 Academy Award for best documentary feature. Yousafzai first came to prominence after it was discovered that she was the anonymous author of a
- Rebecca Ford
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