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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 »

Parker Smith’s ‘Ramblin’ Freak’ Lands at Gravitas Ventures (Exclusive)

Parker Smith’s ‘Ramblin’ Freak’ Lands at Gravitas Ventures (Exclusive)
Gravitas Ventures has acquired all rights to Parker Smith’s documentary-style feature film “Ramblin’ Freak,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The Zipper Bros Films production, which premiered at SXSW in March, will be launched on demand in October.

The story follows Smith, a struggling Austin-based filmmaker who sells tacos to fund his projects, deciding to take a road trip across America in the wake of a devastating personal tragedy and purchasing a decade-old camera on eBay. He’s surprised to discover that it holds a long-forgotten video tape containing strange home video footage of notorious bodybuilder Gregg Valentino, also known as “The Man Whose Arms Exploded.”

Convinced that Valentino’s tape found its way into his hands for some important reason, Parker sets off from Austin to New York to find the fading bodybuilder, accompanied by his beloved cat and two cameras. A surprising backstory on Smith that bonds him to Valentino comes to light.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘La 92’ Clip: National Geographic Documentary Revisits the Tumultuous Times of the Rodney King Riots — Watch

‘La 92’ Clip: National Geographic Documentary Revisits the Tumultuous Times of the Rodney King Riots — Watch
With the recent heavy media spotlight placed on police brutality, “La 92” does not seem as though it consists of footage from 25 years ago. The new National Geographic Documentary film finds itself immersed in the tumultuous period of the Rodney King trial and riots.

Read More: National Geographic and Jason Silva Tell Humanity’s ‘Origins’ Story – Exclusive First Look

The official synopsis states, “…after the verdict in the Rodney King trial sparked several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles, ‘La 92,’ revisits the period through stunning and rarely seen archival footage.”

The film is produced by two-time Oscar winner Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire”) and Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn (“American High”) and directed by Oscar winners Dan Lindsay and Tj Martin (“Undefeated”), the film looks at the events of 1992 from a multitude of vantage points, bringing a fresh perspective to a pivotal moment that reverberates to this day.
See full article at Indiewire Television »

‘La 92’ Clip: National Geographic Documentary Revisits the Tumultuous Times of the Rodney King Riots — Watch

  • Indiewire
‘La 92’ Clip: National Geographic Documentary Revisits the Tumultuous Times of the Rodney King Riots — Watch
With the recent heavy media spotlight placed on police brutality, “La 92” does not seem as though it consists of footage from 25 years ago. The new National Geographic Documentary film finds itself immersed in the tumultuous period of the Rodney King trial and riots.

Read More: National Geographic and Jason Silva Tell Humanity’s ‘Origins’ Story – Exclusive First Look

The official synopsis states, “…after the verdict in the Rodney King trial sparked several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles, ‘La 92,’ revisits the period through stunning and rarely seen archival footage.”

The film is produced by two-time Oscar winner Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire”) and Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn (“American High”) and directed by Oscar winners Dan Lindsay and Tj Martin (“Undefeated”), the film looks at the events of 1992 from a multitude of vantage points, bringing a fresh perspective to a pivotal moment that reverberates to this day.
See full article at Indiewire »

L.A. Riots 25th Anniversary Documentaries, Ranked: Which Ones Best Explain the Unrest Now

  • Indiewire
L.A. Riots 25th Anniversary Documentaries, Ranked: Which Ones Best Explain the Unrest Now
There’s no question that Rodney King was brutally beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers – video taken of the savage act proves it. Yet the four men seen clubbing King were acquitted by a Simi Valley jury in 1992, lighting a match for one of the deadliest and costliest civil unrests in U.S. history.

Read More: How Spike Lee, John Singleton and John Ridley Left Their Marks on the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots

It’s 25 years later, and Los Angeles – and the Lapd – have changed. But has the rest of the country? Regular reports of police brutality, now well-documented in an age of phone cameras, makes it clear that we haven’t come all that far. Several new documentaries explore the L.A. riots, including the underlying reasons, the actual events, what happened next, and how it relates to today. Among the filmmakers putting their own
See full article at Indiewire »

L.A. Riots 25th Anniversary Documentaries, Ranked: Which Ones Best Explain the Unrest Now

  • Indiewire Television
L.A. Riots 25th Anniversary Documentaries, Ranked: Which Ones Best Explain the Unrest Now
There’s no question that Rodney King was brutally beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers – video taken of the savage act proves it. Yet the four men seen clubbing King were acquitted by a Simi Valley jury in 1992, lighting a match for one of the deadliest and costliest civil unrests in U.S. history.

Read More: How Spike Lee, John Singleton and John Ridley Left Their Marks on the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots

It’s 25 years later, and Los Angeles – and the Lapd – have changed. But has the rest of the country? Regular reports of police brutality, now well-documented in an age of phone cameras, makes it clear that we haven’t come all that far. Several new documentaries explore the L.A. riots, including the underlying reasons, the actual events, what happened next, and how it relates to today. Among the filmmakers putting their own
See full article at Indiewire Television »

Redband trailer for new Morgan Spurlock wrestling documentary

Produced by Kerri Borsuk, Academy Award Winner Glen Zipper (Undefeated) and Ross Dinerstein (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), Ryan Harvie and John Paul Horstmann, Morgan Spurlock’s latest documentary takes a look at a subject close to my heart… wrestling!

Morgan Spurlock Presents Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana! follows a unique group of social outcasts who partake in the world of amateur wrestling via Ssp Wrestling (Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling). Led by Josh Black a.k.a. “Ronald McFondle,” and Bill Bates a.k.a. “Eddie Van Glam,” by day the wrestlers are chefs, hairdressers, and delivery men, but by night these “cabaret combatants” put on raunchy matches while rabid fans chant obscenities and hurl beer cans at their heads…

It’s all fun and games until new recruit Paul a.k.a. “The Banana” joins up and plays the role of villain far too well. Banished from the group, he swears
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

First Look: 'La 92' Revisits the Los Angeles Riots on Their 25th Anniversary

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of the four L.A. police officers charged with beating Rodney King, National Geographic Documentary Films is presenting a new look at those charged events that reverberated throughout the city.

Directed by Dan Lindsay and Tj Martin — Oscar winners for the 2011 doc Undefeated, about a high school football team — La 92 is set to premiere at New York's Tribeca Film Festival on April 21. It will then have a limited theatrical release in N.Y. and Los Angeles on April 28 before making its television broadcast...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

‘Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana’ Trailer: Morgan Spurlock Presents Doc Explores Wild World of Amateur Wrestling — Watch

  • Indiewire
‘Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana’ Trailer: Morgan Spurlock Presents Doc Explores Wild World of Amateur Wrestling — Watch
From Kerri Borsuk, Glen Zipper (“Undefeated”) and Ross Dinerstein (“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”), along with lauded documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, comes Ryan Harvie and John Paul Horstmann’s “Bodyslam: Revenge of The Banana.” And yes, that title almost speaks for itself.

Read More: Morgan Spurlock’s New Documentary ‘Rats’ Will Definitely Make You Lose Your Lunch — Watch

The film debuted at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and was recently acquired by Virgil Films. You too can soon experience the power of The Banana.

Per the film’s official synopsis, it “follows a unique group of social outcasts who partake in an unfamiliar world of amateur wrestling via Ssp Wrestling (Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling.) By day they are chefs, hairdressers, and delivery men, but by night these ‘cabaret combatants’ put on raunchy matches while rabid fans chant obscenities and hurl beer cans at their heads. The de-facto spokesman of the wrestling
See full article at Indiewire »

2017 Oscars: A Tale of Two Oscar Stories and One Very Big Gaffe

2017 Oscars: A Tale of Two Oscar Stories and One Very Big Gaffe
Going into the Oscars, the question was which of two competing narratives would dominate the night.

The end result: a balance between the two, amid a disturbing gaffe as presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway pulled a “La La Land” card out of a red envelope. There was a mistake.

Read More: 2017 Oscars: Full Winners List

With eight nominations, “Moonlight” looked to be the likeliest film to unseat rival juggernaut “La La Land” for Best Picture and so it did, among three total Oscars.

“There were two cards. I wanted to see the card,” said “Moonlight” writer-director Jenkins backstage in explaining the bizarre mixup which initially saw “La La Land” announced as Best Picture before a correction was issued that it was “Moonlight.” Beatty showed to him. (It said “Moonlight.”) “The folks from ‘La La Land’ were so gracious,” he added.

“There was a time when I thought this movie was impossible,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

2017 Oscars: A Tale of Two Oscar Stories and One Very Big Gaffe

  • Indiewire
2017 Oscars: A Tale of Two Oscar Stories and One Very Big Gaffe
Going into the Oscars, the question was which of two competing narratives would dominate the night.

The end result: a balance between the two, amid a disturbing gaffe as presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway pulled a “La La Land” card out of a red envelope. There was a mistake.

Read More: 2017 Oscars: Full Winners List

With eight nominations, “Moonlight” looked to be the likeliest film to unseat rival juggernaut “La La Land” for Best Picture and so it did, among three total Oscars.

“There were two cards. I wanted to see the card,” said “Moonlight” writer-director Jenkins backstage in explaining the bizarre mixup which initially saw “La La Land” announced as Best Picture before a correction was issued that it was “Moonlight.” Beatty showed to him. (It said “Moonlight.”) “The folks from ‘La La Land’ were so gracious,” he added.

“There was a time when I thought this movie was impossible,
See full article at Indiewire »

IndieWire’s Final Oscar 2017 Predictions: ‘La La Land’ Will Win Nine of Its 14 Nominations

  • Indiewire
IndieWire’s Final Oscar 2017 Predictions: ‘La La Land’ Will Win Nine of Its 14 Nominations
Sunday’s Oscars 2017 are driven by two competing narratives. The question is which one will dominate the night.

We know Damien Chazelle’s retro musical “La La Land” (Lionsgate) will take home a slew of Oscars. But out of its record-tying 14 nominations, will it win five, like the BAFTAs? Seven, like its Golden Globes sweep? Or can it break the record of 11? (Three epic spectacles hold the record for most Oscar wins: “Titanic,” “Ben-Hur,” and “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.”) “West Side Story” holds the record for a musical, with 10 wins.

Check my predictions below: By my “La La Land” tally, it’s nine.

The second story of the night: a dramatic course correction a year after #Oscarsowhite. The Academy actors’ branch nominated a record seven actors of color: familiar faces Octavia Spencer (Fox’s “Hidden Figures”) and Paramount’s “Fences” stars Denzel Washington (his eighth nomination
See full article at Indiewire »

Anti-isis Fighters Documentary ‘March to La Mancha’ in the Works (Exclusive)

Christopher Livesay and Stephen Buchanan are developing “March to La Mancha,” a documentary about former U.S. servicemen who have joined a shadow war of unpaid volunteers taking on Isis, Variety has learned exclusively.

Preferred Content’s Kevin Iwashina (“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”) and Zipper Bros FilmsGlen Zipper, who won an Academy Award for “Undefeated,” have joined the team as executive producers and will advise on the film and help guide the sales and marketing.

The production team is not identifying the subjects of the film until it is completed.

Filmed in Iraq, Syria, Europe and the U.S., the film features first-hand footage from conflict zones and the risks these characters take to get there and back, from testing law enforcement in their own country, to making unpredictable alliances with clandestine recruiters and Middle East fixers. As they endeavor to take on Islamic State terrorists, these Don Quixote
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Weiner,’ Yes; ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ No: The 15 Documentaries on the Doc NYC Short List

‘Weiner,’ Yes; ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ No: The 15 Documentaries on the Doc NYC Short List
That wailing you hear is all the best-documentary aspirants who did Not make the Doc NYC “Short List.” It’s considered one of several key steps for landing on the Academy doc branch’s eventual short list – which, like the Doc NYC list, also numbers 15.

The stats are impressive: In each of the past three years, the Doc NYC Short List had nine or 10 titles that overlapped with the subsequent Oscar Documentary Short List. For the last five years, Doc NYC screened the documentary that went on to win the Oscar: “Amy” (2015), “Citizenfour” (2014), “20 Feet From Stardom” (2013), “Searching for Sugar Man” (2012), and “Undefeated” (2011).

With such a wide field of contenders, respected festivals wield even more than their usual influence in turning movies into must-sees. Oscar documentary branch voters have to see more than 130 movies released theatrically in 2016; inevitably, the movies nabbing the best reviews and most attention move to the top of the queue.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

‘Weiner,’ Yes; ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ No: The 15 Documentaries on the Doc NYC Short List

  • Indiewire
‘Weiner,’ Yes; ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ No: The 15 Documentaries on the Doc NYC Short List
That wailing you hear is all the best-documentary aspirants who did Not make the Doc NYC “Short List.” It’s considered one of several key steps for landing on the Academy doc branch’s eventual short list – which, like the Doc NYC list, also numbers 15.

The stats are impressive: In each of the past three years, the Doc NYC Short List had nine or 10 titles that overlapped with the subsequent Oscar Documentary Short List. For the last five years, Doc NYC screened the documentary that went on to win the Oscar: “Amy” (2015), “Citizenfour” (2014), “20 Feet From Stardom” (2013), “Searching for Sugar Man” (2012), and “Undefeated” (2011).

With such a wide field of contenders, respected festivals wield even more than their usual influence in turning movies into must-sees. Oscar documentary branch voters have to see more than 130 movies released theatrically in 2016; inevitably, the movies nabbing the best reviews and most attention move to the top of the queue.
See full article at Indiewire »

Oscar-Winning Documentary ‘Undefeated’ to Get Remade into Narrative Drama

Considering Hollywood’s constant output stream of narrative remakes, we’re surprised they don’t mine the documentary field more often. Today, it’s been revealed they’ll be doing so with the 2011 SXSW hit and Oscar-winning Undefeated, Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin‘s Memphis-set documentary about three underprivileged college students and their coach, who helps them on and off the field.

Once in the hands of Puff Daddy, it’s now being remade/adapted to a narrative drama by Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey (The Maze Runner, Twilight), Deadline reports. While straying from documentary territory will grant the film opportunities not possible with only real footage, it will be interesting to see what direction the story goes, and if it can maintain the heart of its inspiration. Until more news breaks, see the trailer for the documentary below.
See full article at The Film Stage »

"Undefeated" Doco Remade As Film

Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are set to produce a narrative feature drama based on the 2011 high school football documentary "Undefeated" for Temple Hill. The doco, which won the Oscar that year for its category, was directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin and chronicled the Manassas Tigers from inner-city Memphis.

The team had been a perennial loser for so long that its school would sell slots in its schedule to more affluent schools looking for an easy win. The story focused on several players and their progression in the classroom and on the football as the Tigers learned to roar with the help of a dogged head coach. They won games and the coach helped the players prepare for manhood and life after high school.

Bowen and Godfrey will now seek out writers and directors to get the new project moving.

Source: Deadline
See full article at Dark Horizons »

Oscar Winner ‘Undefeated’ Movie in the Works by ‘Maze Runner’ Producers

Oscar Winner ‘Undefeated’ Movie in the Works by ‘Maze Runner’ Producers
Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are developing a movie based on the 2011 high-school football documentary “Undefeated,” which won the Academy Award.

The duo, who are in production on “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” has acquired the movie rights to “Undefeated,” directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin. The Weinstein Co., which distributed the documentary, had bought the movie rights in 2011 after the film’s world premiere at SXSW but was not able to develop a feature film before the rights lapsed.

The documentary focused on three student athletes from inner city Memphis and the coach of the Manassas Tigers football team, which had been in a downtrodden state before Coach Bill Courtney arrived in 2004.

Courtney — a white businessman who owned and operated a lumber company — had begun to turn things around by 2009 but some of the best players are impeded by financial hardships or family tragedies during that season.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Temple Hill To Remake Oscar-Winning Football Docu ‘Undefeated’

Exclusive: Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey have acquired rights to do a narrative drama based on Undefeated, the 2011 high school football picture that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. The film, directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, chronicled the Manassas Tigers from inner-city Memphis. The team had been a perennial loser for so long that its school would sell slots in its schedule to more affluent schools looking for an easy win. The…
See full article at Deadline »

‘Grace’ Helmer Paul Solet to Direct Documentary for ‘Undefeated’ Producer

‘Grace’ Helmer Paul Solet to Direct Documentary for ‘Undefeated’ Producer
Paul Solet, who helmed the 2009 Sundance hit “Grace,” has come on board to write and direct the documentary “Tread” which chronicles the destruction of a small Colorado town by a man driving a fortified bulldozer.

Glen Zipper (“Undefeated”) and Sean Stuart (“All Things Must Pass”) will produce the pic with Raphael Swann and Victor Shapiro of Sunset Junction Entertainment exec producing.

“This movie will explore those polarized interpretations and let you to draw your own conclusions about who Marvin Heemeyer was and what drove him to do what he did,” Solet said.

The doc will use both cinematic recreations with archival footage from the event and audio tapes of Heemeyer himself recorded in the months leading up to the event.

Solet most recently directed the thriller “Dark Summer.” He is repped by Pye, Paradigm, and Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams Llp.

In addition to producing the Academy Award-winning documentary “Undefeated,” Zipper produced the non-fiction horror film “The Nightmare” for director Rodney Ascher, the Grammy-winning “Foo Fighters: Back and Forth” for James Moll and “Deep Web” for director Alex Winter.
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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