9 items from 2014
On the heels of the 39th edition of the Toronto Int. Film Festival (Sept 4-14), Ifp’s Independent Film Week is where a plethora of fiction, non-fiction and new this year, web-based series from the likes of Desiree Akhavan and Calvin Reeder find future coin. Sectioned off as projects at the very beginning of financing to those that are nearing completion, there happens to be tons of Sundance alumni in the names below. Among those that caught our attention we have Medicine for Melancholy‘s Barry Jenkins’ sophomore feature, produced by Bad Milo!‘s Adele Romanski, Moonlight is about “two Miami boys navigate the temptations of the drug trade and their burgeoning sexuality in this triptych drama about black queer youth”. Concussion‘s Stacie Passon digs into the thriller genre with Strange Things Started Happening. Produced by vet Mary Jane Skalski (Mysterious Skin), this is about “a woman who has »
- Eric Lavallee
Director: Steve Hoover
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Synopsis: Blood Brother focuses on Rocky Braat and a group of orphaned HIV positive children. Leaving behind everyone he knows and loves in America, Rocky impulsively decides to move to India and dedicate his life to an orphanage with children suffering from HIV.
It takes a special kind of person to give up everything they know, move half way across the world, and dedicate their life to helping others. Blood Brother prevails in depicting an authentic and raw account of Rocky Braat’s story. The documentary is powerful and moving, at times testing you as a viewer. Following Braat and his dedication to the children suffering from HIV makes you feel a sense of responsibility. Seeing the suffering and harsh reality you can’t help but feel attached to these children who are complete strangers.
The documentary is an intimate portrayal of Rocky, »
- Ciham Messouki
Blood Brother, which Austin Film Society will screen Tuesday evening at the Marchesa as part of the Doc Nights series, is very obviously a labor of love. Filmmaker Steve Hoover travelled to India with his best friend Rocky Braat, who was returning after a short break to his work volunteering at a rural hostel for mothers and children with HIV/AIDS. For a few months, the director documented the daily life of his friend and the kids he serves.
The documentary may sound at first like a white-guy-goes-to-a-developing-country-to-do-good story (it kind of is one, literally), particularly when Rocky says things like he went to India "seeking authenticity." But Blood Brother is a layered film, and goes far deeper than this initial premise. The film kicks off in medias res, with an older man clutching a near-lifeless child to his chest; Rocky and others are shown racing to take the girl to the hospital. »
- Elizabeth Stoddard
The Austin Film Society's series on New Romanian Cinema continues this weekend with Corneliu Porumnoiu's When Evening Falls On Bucharest Or Metabolism. It plays this evening and again on Sunday night at The Marchesa. Tuesday night's featured theme is Doc Nights, turning the spotlight on Blood Brother. Steve Hoover's documentary about a young man's trip to India working with HIV-infected children won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at last year's Sundance Film Festival. If you're up for a German WWII epic, Richard Linklater will be presenting a 35mm print of 1981's Das Boot on Wednesday night. Finally, Essential Cinema on Thursday night will be the 2012 Turkish film Watchtower.
Heading over to the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, the theater is bringing us the Marx Bros. starring in Animal Crackers on Saturday and Tuesday afternoon, a few screenings of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 35mm happening from Saturday-Monday, »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Deadline reports that 2014 Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize Documentary winner has found a double down of a deal: a theatrical distrib home with the folks at The Orchard and a television preem via with PBS’ Independent Lens. Marking a second affiliation between the PBS and the filmmakers, Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz’s Rich Hill will likely continue on the fest circuit with screening after Dallas and Hot Docs before breaking into a proposed 18 markets.
Gist: Rich Hill, Missouri. Seventy miles south of Kansas City, fifteen miles east of the Kansas border. Once a thriving mining town, shortly after World War II, the coal was gone – mined out. Stores closed, people moved away, farms were sold. It’s a story that could be told in hundreds of towns across America. But people still live here: 1,393 of them at last count. Deep potholes line the gravel roads, and property tax is almost nonexistent. »
- Eric Lavallee
The San Francisco Film Society has announced this year’s finalists for the Documentary Film Fund, which is set to divy up $75,000 next month. Open to nonfiction films in post-production, the Fund has previously supported such Sundance titles as Narco Cultura, American Promise and the Oscar-nominated Cutie and the Boxer. Making the list is Western, the Ross Brothers’ follow-up to Tchoupitoulas, and Blood Brother director Steve Hoover’s Gennadly. The Fund is made possible by Jennifer Battat and the Jenerosity Foundation, and you can view the full list of finalists below. Anatomy of an American Dream — John Ryan Johnson, director Antoine Hood is a charismatic 28-year-old former college basketball […] »
- Sarah Salovaara
As you read this I've just arrived in La. After settling in at the brand new hotel The Line (it's so industrial chic inside), dinner with friends and then surely a fitful night of sleep given what happens in the morning: Christmas Presents (by which I mean "Oscar Nominations!") After that blessed event, I shall strap a tux on for the first time since my high school prom (!!!) for the Critics Choice Awards. Then jet off to meet up with Glenn and Michael at Sundance where I'll try to shift focus a bit from Oscar mania to snowbank-climbing film-festing. All of this while still wrapping 2013 up with my own awards ballots and continuing to process those Oscar nominations. I'm exhausted thinking about all this but I share it with you to lean on your collective strength. Give it to me!
My point is this: it's a good time to take »
- NATHANIEL R
Continued from picks 10 to 6….
I don’t know how Oppenheimer managed to find and befriend Anwar Congo and his merry band of genocidal murders, but his mind melting expose of Indonesia’s not-so-distant history of government backed mass murder is as outlandish as the giant fish shaped restaurant that graces the film’s poster. Asking death squad leaders to reenact their self-esteemed atrocities in the style of their favorite American movies seems at first highly inappropriate and possibly dangerous, yet they take up the challenge with glee. In doing, the buried remnants of an empathic human heart begin to surface in the faces of an old man, now a grandfather, whose calloused shell of empty headed pride has finally broken in a profound, »
- Jordan M. Smith
I must admit that I was never completely won over by Steve Hoover’s music video work, but that was more the fault of his chosen musical collaborators than his keen eye for the alive and his feeling for rhythmically propulsive pacing. With his debut feature doc he expands on these talents, crafting a bracingly vivacious work of soul searching and self sacrifice that sees the American dream traded by his best friend Rocky Braat for the cyclic misery of caring for Indian women and children doomed to die at the cruel hands of HIV/AIDS. Despite their destiny, the children are given love and hope, and in return, Braat and Hoover find within themselves a »
- Jordan M. Smith
9 items from 2014
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