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Director Steve James Vows to Finish Ebert Doc 'Life Itself'

Director Steve James Vows to Finish Ebert Doc 'Life Itself'
In the fall of last year it was reported that Roger Ebert's memoir "Life Itself," chronicling his struggle and recovery from alcohol addiction and his long running battles with thyroid cancer, would be adapted into a documentary by "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James. Ebert was a huge fan of "Hoop Dreams;" he gave it a four star review upon it's release in 1994, and given both the critic and the filmmaker's status as Chicago icons, it seemed like a perfect fit. The film is executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Oscar winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian. The film was acquired by CNN Films early this year, and Ebert was extremely grateful and excited about the project; allowing the filmmakers access to essentially whatever they needed, and letting them to record as much new footage as they could. In the shadow of the iconic critic's unfortunate passing, director James immediately took to
See full article at Indiewire »

To Crowdfund or Not to Crowdfund: 20 Years After Making 'Hoop Dreams,' Filmmaker Steve James Braves the New Financing World With 'Generation Food'

To Crowdfund or Not to Crowdfund: 20 Years After Making 'Hoop Dreams,' Filmmaker Steve James Braves the New Financing World With 'Generation Food'
Steve James is the director and producer of the documentaries “Hoop Dreams,” “Stevie,” “Reel Paradise,” “At the Death House Door,” “The Interrupters” and “Head Games,” which is awaiting release. He also co-wrote and directed the narrative feature “Prefontaine.” “Generation Food” is a collaboration between myself and author/activist Raj Patel that will tell stories about efforts around the world to try to solve the food crisis — through a documentary, a book, a website and mobile apps. On July 8, we launched a crowdfunding campaign to try to raise funds for the very first research trips we need to make on the film, to locations such as Peru and Malawi. So far, we’ve raised half our goal, with a little less then half the time left. I’ve never done this kind of fundraising before. But for some time I’ve been intrigued to see that people have had success with.
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Michel Hazanavicius Tops DGA Awards for 'The Artist'

  • The Wrap
Michel Hazanavicius Tops DGA Awards for 'The Artist'
In yet another sign that an Oscar win for "The Artist" is all but inevitable, that film's director, Michel Hazanavicius, won the Directors Guild of America's award for feature film directing on Saturday night. The win kept alive what has been an unimpeded road to the podium for "The Artist," which also won a key victory at the Producers Guild Awards last weekend. In the 63-year history of the DGA Awards, its winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Director all but six times. In 50 of those cases, including the last five in a row, the DGA winner's film has also been named Best Picture. In the documentary category, James Marsh won for "Project Nim" over competition that included Martin Scorsese for "George Harrison: Living in the Material World" and Steve James for "The Interrupters." Robert B. Weide won the television comedy award for an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," while Patty Jenkins won the drama award for the pilot to "The Killing." The award for a television movie or miniseries went to Jon Kassar for "The Kennedys."
See full article at The Wrap »

Exclusive: 'The Interrupters' Director Steve James Weighs In on the New Doc Rules

Exclusive: 'The Interrupters' Director Steve James Weighs In on the New Doc Rules
It's been a good week for Steve James. His documentary "The Interrupters" won best director and best film at the Cinema Eye Honors Wednesday night; on Thursday, he received a DGA nomination. What "The Interrupters" didn't do this year, of course, was make the Oscar shortlist -- something that's viewed as an egregious oversight (much like his "Hoop Dreams" snub 17 years earlier) and as a case study for why the Oscar's documentary rules were in dire need of an overhaul. James is the first to agree that the rules need help. "It’s embarrassing, if not plain wrong, for our community to have films that qualified under the radar and which few people have seen or heard about push out those that played by the true spirit of the rules and were celebrated by audiences and critics." However, as he writes, "I think it is highly doubtful most of us
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Cinema Eye Awards: Wins for Hetherington, 'Beginners,' 'Interrupters'; James Says Documentary is 'Not a Genre'

Cinema Eye Awards: Wins for Hetherington, 'Beginners,' 'Interrupters'; James Says Documentary is 'Not a Genre'
On Wednesday night the Cinema Eye honors were presented, recognizing the likes of Steve James' "The Interrupters" (Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking and Direction), the late Tim Hetherington's short "Diary" (Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking), Mike Mills' "Beginners" (Heterodox Award for Narrative Filmmaking; a narrative film that imaginatively incorporates nonfiction strategies, content and/or modes of production) and Clio Barnard's "The Arbor" (Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film).  The first ever Hell Yeah Prize was awarded to Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky for their...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

DGA Announces Outstanding Documentary Director Nominees

DGA Announces Outstanding Documentary Director Nominees
The Directors Guild of America's nominees for 2011's Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary include Martin Scorsese, Steve James, James Marsh, Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, and Richard Press. DGA President Taylor Hackford says this year's doc nominees "take audiences on a journey, whether casting light on injustice or exploring the human condition in all of its nuance, cruelty, creativity and triumph. Our nominees represent the best in documentary filmmaking and I congratulate each of them on a job well done." On January 28, winners will be announced at an awards dinner hosted by Kelsey Grammar.   The nominees (in alphabetical order): ...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

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