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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

9 items from 2016


Documentary, Now: Three Rock Stars Who Run The Fast-Changing Nonfiction World

24 October 2016 1:33 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

The Academy will announce its list of Oscar-eligible documentaries this week, a field that counted just 82 entries in 2005; last year, there were 124. And along with this growth comes a new attribute for the much-admired/often ignored genre: Power.

Under Sheila Nevins, HBO led the way in showing how documentaries could draw audiences with nonfiction programming that’s skillful, dynamic, and relevant. Under Lisa Nishimura, Netflix upped the ante with deep-pocketed algorithms that not only proved audiences craved this content (after all, documentaries are the original reality TV), but also guided exactly where those viewers could be found, and what they wanted to see. And while social justice has always been the bailiwick of documentary filmmakers, Diane Weyermann at Participant has given that niche the financing and clout it deserves.

While their business models differ, they’re all producing documentaries that might not otherwise exist, making them better and getting them seen. »

- Anne Thompson

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Documentary, Now: Three Rock Stars Who Run The Fast-Changing Nonfiction World

24 October 2016 1:33 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The Academy will announce its list of Oscar-eligible documentaries this week, a field that counted just 82 entries in 2005; last year, there were 124. And along with this growth comes a new attribute for the much-admired/often ignored genre: Power.

Under Sheila Nevins, HBO led the way in showing how documentaries could draw audiences with nonfiction programming that’s skillful, dynamic, and relevant. Under Lisa Nishimura, Netflix upped the ante with deep-pocketed algorithms that not only proved audiences craved this content (after all, documentaries are the original reality TV), but also guided exactly where those viewers could be found, and what they wanted to see. And while social justice has always been the balliwick of documentary filmmakers, Diane Weyermann at Participant has given that niche the financing and clout it deserves.

While their business models differ, they’re all producing documentaries that might not otherwise exist, making them better and getting them seen. »

- Anne Thompson

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4 Reasons Distributors Should Buy Errol Morris Gem ‘The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography’

29 September 2016 8:22 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Errol Morris is best known as an influential and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker (“The Fog of War”), but he’s also a master of the short form who commands big bucks shooting commercials and episodic television. Then there’s the New York Times op-docs and essays, his many deep dives into photography and the bestsellers such as “Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography” and “A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald.” However, none of this prepared me for his latest gem of a film,”The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,” a gentle exploration of a woman who’s also one of Morris’ best friends.

Read More: New York Film Festival Announces 2016 Documentary Lineup, Including New Films by Errol Morris and Steve James

Dorfman started out photographing the Beats in the early ’60s and became friends with poet Allen Ginsberg, who she shot many times over the decades. »

- Anne Thompson

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4 Reasons Distributors Should Buy Errol Morris Gem ‘The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography’

29 September 2016 8:22 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Errol Morris is best known as an influential and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker (“The Fog of War”), but he’s also a master of the short form who commands big bucks shooting commercials and episodic television. Then there’s the New York Times op-docs and essays, his many deep dives into photography and the bestsellers such as “Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography” and “A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald.” However, none of this prepared me for his latest gem of a film,”The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,” a gentle exploration of a woman who’s also one of Morris’ best friends.

Read More: New York Film Festival Announces 2016 Documentary Lineup, Including New Films by Errol Morris and Steve James

Dorfman started out photographing the Beats in the early ’60s and became friends with poet Allen Ginsberg, who she shot many times over the decades. »

- Anne Thompson

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Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel added to Lff Screen Talk line-up

22 September 2016 5:40 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Park Chan-wook also added to line-up; latest Lav Diaz and Errol Morris features join festival programme.

This year’s BFI London Film Festival (Oct 5-16) has bolstered its Screen Talk line-up and added two titles to its film programme.

Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel - who star in Lion, playing as the American Express Gala at this year’s festival - will join Lff director Clare Stewart to jointly discuss their careers as part of this year’s Screen Talk series.

South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook, whose latest feature The Handmaiden plays at Lff following its premiere in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, has also been added to the discussion programme, joining a line-up that already boasts film-makers Werner Herzog, Paul Verhoeven and Ben Wheatley.

The festival has made two additions to this year’s film programme: Lav Diaz’s The Woman Who Left has been added to the festival’s Journey strand, while »

- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Amanda Knox Review [Tiff 2016]

17 September 2016 9:20 AM, PDT | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

This current trend of true crime, both in fictional and documentary form, shows no signs in letting up in Netflix’s latest outstanding film, Amanda Knox. Of all the massively popular examples of this genre, most notably the podcast Serial and Netflix’s series Making a Murderer, this movie is the most aware of its place within this cultural landscape, and therefore takes on a perspective that is as much about the murder case itself as it is about the media circus that surrounded it, calling into question the audience that hungers for sensational stories as enablers of the types of injustice that occurred here.

We’re introduced to the subject, Amanda Knox herself, right away through narration that seems scripted (it might not be for all I know), in which she states plainly what has become the tagline for Netflix’s promotional campaign: “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, »

- Darren Ruecker

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Zeitgeist Films Takes Rights to ‘Theo Who Lived’ Doc About Journo Kidnapped by Islamic Militants (Exclusive)

1 June 2016 10:07 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

New York-based specialty distributor Zeitgeist Films has acquired theatrical U.S. rights to potentially hot button docu “Theo Who Lived,” about American journalist Theo Padnos who was kidnapped by Al Qaeda in Syria and held captive for nearly two years in a series of prisons.

Directed by U.S. documaker and producer David Schisgall – known for prostitution-themed “Very Young Girls” and for “The Lifestyle: Group Sex in the Suburbs” – “Theo” features Padnos returning to the Middle East where he “retraces the physical and emotional steps of his harrowing journey,” according to a statement from Zeitgeist.

Padnos (pictured) spoke fluent Arabic and was thus thought by his captors to be a CIA operative after he slipped into Syria to report on the country’s civil war. He was kidnapped in October 2012.

He has written a first-person account of his experience published in a The New York Times Magazine cover story »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘Shadow World’

30 April 2016 3:22 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Johan Grimonprez doesn’t want audiences to get out their handkerchiefs; he wants them to get out their protest signs, their megaphones and their voting ballots. Whether documentaries have that ability is sadly open for debate, but “Shadow World,” Grimonprez’s superb, gut-punching exploration of the global arms trade is the sort of catalyst to energize politically-minded viewers. Flawlessly juggling an impressive array of talking heads with archival footage, the director (“Double Take”) aims his disgust at politicos, from Reagan to Obama, Blair to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and the billions invested in ensuring militarization and war never get put on ice. Smart, hard-hitting and possibly too intellectual for many, “Shadow World” deserves wide exposure at home and abroad.

Grimonprez bases his research on Andrew Feinstein’s 2011 book “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade,” bringing the South African author in as co-writer and talking head. Bookending the »

- Jay Weissberg

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Former History, MTV Execs Julian P. Hobbs, Elli Hakami Launch Talos

28 January 2016 7:28 AM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

U.S. television producers Julian P. Hobbs, who most recently headed up scripted development and production at History, and Elli Hakami, who was formerly MTV’s exec VP of current series and programming, have launched New York-based Talos Films.

The new company, which has the backing of distributor Sky Vision and independent producer October Films, will produce a diverse range of content suitable for a global audience from event documentaries and docu-dramas, to character-driven unscripted series, formatted shows and scripted projects.

At History, Hobbs oversaw “The Bible,” “Vikings” and the upcoming “Roots.” As a VP and Ep at History, Hobbs developed and oversaw numerous hits including “Pawn Stars,” “Storage Wars,” “Counting Cars,” “Ice Road Truckers,” “America: The Story of Us,” and the Emmy Award-winning “Gettysburg.” Hobbs also headed up History’s feature documentary unit, executive producing films including Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” and Errol Morris’ “The Unknown Known. »

- Leo Barraclough

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

9 items from 2016


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