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MTV Enlists Sheila Nevins to Launch Documentary Films Unit

  • Variety
MTV has recruited renowned HBO alum Sheila Nevins to launch the MTV Documentary Films banner to operate as part of Viacom’s growing MTV Studios operation.

Nevins will lead the charge on developing a broad slate of documentary features, specials and series designed to inspire young adults to take action on pressing social issues. Nevins, who left HBO in early 2018 after a storied 38-year run as documentary chief, will build a team to produce programming for MTV and affiliated Viacom outlets as well as for outside buyers. Nevins will put a big emphasis on scouting for rising stars in the docu world and filmmakers from non-traditional backgrounds.

“The whole purpose here is to energize the large population of young people that MTV embraces,” Nevins said. “The world is in a sorry state. We need to energize people in some way to make regular people feel that they can make a difference.
See full article at Variety »

Tribeca Film Review: ‘Xy Chelsea’

  • Variety
Tribeca Film Review: ‘Xy Chelsea’
With the imprecisely assembled “Xy Chelsea,” multimedia artist-cum-filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins makes a bold yet mostly fruitless attempt to tell the infamous whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s remarkable story. While it’s hardly Hawkins’ error that his documentary feels unfinished — the self-defined activist’s dramatic saga is still unfolding as we speak — you can’t help but feel his unprecedented access to Manning should have emanated a portrait a lot more enlightening.

This is not to say Hawkins doesn’t give a sincere shot to understanding his complex subject. Born in Oklahoma in 1987 and raised by heavy-drinking parents, the former U.S. Army soldier and intelligence analyst Manning was arrested in 2010 for leaking thousands of sensitive documents, a decision she made after witnessing a series of war crimes in Iraq. During her jail time of seven years, she came out as a trans woman and was released in 2017 upon a Presidential pardon
See full article at Variety »

‘The Proposal’ Trailer: A Conceptual Artist Resurrects Luis Barragán’s Hidden Work

The last chapter in an ongoing project that began in 2013, provocateur conceptual artist Jill Magid is making her feature film debut with an experimental art documentary. Becoming a character in the film herself, Magid shares her efforts to photograph the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragán — the bulk of whose archives are owned and controlled by a powerful private corporation. “The Proposal” played at Hot Docs and the Tribeca Film Festival to positive reviews in 2018, and is executive produced by Laura Poitras.

The official synopsis reads: “Known as ‘the artist among architects,’ Luis Barragán is among the world’s most celebrated architects of the 20th century. Upon his death in 1988, much of his work was locked away in a Swiss bunker, hidden from the world’s view. In an attempt to resurrect Barragan’s life and art, boundary redefining artist Jill Magid creates a daring proposition that becomes a fascinating
See full article at Indiewire »

Dogwoof Acquires International Sales Rights to Chelsea Manning Documentary

  • Variety
Dogwoof has acquired international sales rights to Tim Travers Hawkins’ “Xy Chelsea,” an intimate portrait of Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who was recently incarcerated after refusing to testify in the WikiLeaks case.

Manning was was sentenced to 35 years at a maximum-security prison for leaking classified military information to WikiLeaks in 2013. Four years later, then-President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence as one of the final acts of his presidency.

The documentary, which will have its world premiere at Tribeca, follows Manning as she prepares her transition to living life for the first time as a free woman. Hawkins was granted exclusive and intimate access to Manning after her release from military prison.

Produced by Pulse Films, “Xy Chelsea” will air on Showtime in North America in June, following its release in the U.K. on May 24.

“‘Xy Chelsea’ is a challenging documentary that speaks to many troubling phenomena of our times,
See full article at Variety »

Chelsea Manning Documentary ‘Xy Chelsea’ Secures International Sales Deal With Dogwoof Ahead Of Tribeca Bow

  • Deadline
Chelsea Manning Documentary ‘Xy Chelsea’ Secures International Sales Deal With Dogwoof Ahead Of Tribeca Bow
Chelsea Manning documentary Xy Chelsea, which premieres at Tribeca and will air in the U.S. on Showtime in June, has been picked up for international sales by UK documentary specialist Dogwoof.

Produced by Pulse Films and executive-produced by Laura Poitras, director Tim Travers Hawkins’ feature is an intimate portrait of Manning after her initial release from military prison. The whistleblower and former soldier was convicted by court martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionages Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified or sensitive military and diplomatic documents. The trans activist had her 35-year sentence in an all-male maximum security prison commuted by President Obama in 2017 but was sent back to prison this year for contempt of court.

Pic was co-financed by the BFI, Field of Vision and Topic Studio and was written by Mark Monroe, Tim Travers Hawkins, Enat Sidi and Andrea Scott. Producers are Julia Nottingham,
See full article at Deadline »

Dogwoof takes international rights to Chelsea Manning doc 'Xy Chelsea'

Dogwoof takes international rights to Chelsea Manning doc 'Xy Chelsea'
Film will have world premiere at Tribeca.

UK-based documentary specialists Dogwoof have acquired all international sales rights excluding North America to Xy Chelsea, a feature about American military whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

Dogwoof has planned a UK release for May 24, following from the film’s world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival on May 1. Showtime has North American rights on the title and has planned a Us release for June.

Directed by British director Tim Travers Hawkins and produced by the UK’s Pulse Films, the film follows Manning after President Barack Obama commuted her 35 year prison sentence for leaking classified military information to WikiLeaks,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Ava DuVernay and Hundreds More Sign Letter to Prevent Deportation of ‘Infiltrators’ Subject Claudio Rojas

Ava DuVernay and Hundreds More Sign Letter to Prevent Deportation of ‘Infiltrators’ Subject Claudio Rojas
Ava DuVernay, John Leguizamo, and Laura Poitras have added their signatures to a letter fighting against the impending deportation of Claudio Rojas, subject of the documentary “The Infiltrators.” The non-fiction feature from directors Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra debuted in Park City earlier this year to strong reviews, with IndieWire’s Eric Kohn saying it made a “strong case for abolishing Ice.”

Rojas is a native of Argentina but has lived in the United States for 19 years. The International Documentary Association said in a memo that Rojas has been detained by Ice and is now being held at the Krome Detention Center in South Miami-Dade after what should have been a routine check-in. Rojas is now facing deportation as early as sometime this week.

“We feel strongly that detaining a protagonist of a documentary film has a chilling effect on those whose stories we tell as documentary journalists, and restricts
See full article at Indiewire »

8 Must-See Films From Emerging Filmmakers at This Year’s New Directors/New Films

  • Indiewire
8 Must-See Films From Emerging Filmmakers at This Year’s New Directors/New Films
Dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging and dynamic filmmaking talent, this year’s New Directors/New Films festival will screen 35 features and shorts from 29 countries across four continents, with 10 North American Premieres and two World Premieres, 15 films directed or co-directed by women, and 11 works by first-time feature filmmakers.

The Opening, Closing, and Centerpiece selections are the New York premieres of three Sundance award winners: opening the festival is Chinonye Chukwu’s “Clemency,” which won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and features a masterful performance from Alfre Woodard as a prison warden struggling with her work; Centerpiece is Alejandro Landes’ “Monos,” a new reimagining of “Lord of the Flies” and winner of a World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Prize; and closing Nd/Nf is Pippa Bianco’s “Share,” a contemporary portrait of a sexual assault victim, which took home U.S. Dramatic prizes for Breakthrough Performance and Screenwriting.
See full article at Indiewire »

High-altitude documentary ‘Free Solo’ could soar to a rare awards double with an Emmy to go with its Oscar

High-altitude documentary ‘Free Solo’ could soar to a rare awards double with an Emmy to go with its Oscar
The documentary “Free Solo” focuses on free-climber Alex Honnold as he prepares to become the first human to claw his way up the 3,000-foot expanse of rock known as El Capitan without tools, safety gear or rope. Now the National Geographic production itself might make history as just the second doc to win an Oscar as well as an Emmy.

The title will compete for a primetime TV award in the category called Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, which was first given out in 2005. The lone recipient so far to claim both an Academy Award and an Emmy is “Citizenfour,” a 2014 HBO release directed by Laura Poitras about Edward Snowden and the Nsa spying scandal.

Other documentaries have competed for both honors, including 2015’s “Cartel Land,” about the Mexican drug war that won an Emmy in a tie with “Jim: The James Foley Story,” and 2017’s “Strong Island,” a true-crime investigation about a legal injustice.
See full article at Gold Derby »

Independent Filmmaker Project Names Producer Jeffrey Sharp as New Executive Director

  • The Wrap
The Independent Filmmaker Project announced on Wednesday that it has tapped film producer Jeffrey Sharp as the institution’s new executive director.

Sharp, an award-winning producer for “You Can Count on Me,” will bring decades of experience to Ifp, including his other work producing films such as “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Evening and The Yellow Birds” and digitally publishing authors such as William Styron, Pat Conroy and Pearl Buck as co-founder and president of Open Road Integrated Media.

“We are delighted to have Jeff join Ifp as its leader. His credentials and background are a perfect fit with our organization,” Ifp co-chairs Anthony Bregman and Jim Janowitz said in a statement. “He has developed and produced prestigious independent films. He has extensive non-profit experience as a co-founder and Chair of the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board. He has broad contacts across foundations, arts organizations, and government.”

“I am tremendously
See full article at The Wrap »

Ifp Hires Producer and Publisher Jeffrey Sharp As New Executive Director

The Independent Filmmaker Project (Ifp) has announced the appointment Jeffrey Sharp as the organization’s new Executive Director. The award-winning international film and TV producer and publishing entrepreneur will succeed long-time Ifp head Joana Vicente, who announced in August that she was joining the Toronto International Film Festival as its Executive Director and Co-Head.

Sharp is best known in industry circles for producing films such as “Boys Don’t Cry,” “You Can Count on Me,” “Evening,” and “The Yellow Birds” and digitally publishing authors such as William Styron, Pat Conroy, and Pearl Buck as co-founder and President of Open Road Integrated Media. Sharp is a member of AMPAS, BAFTA, and the PGA. Sharp won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature for “You Can Count on Me,” was nominated for a Golden Globe for “Nicholas Nickleby,” and was honored with the Andrew Sarris award in 2005 from the Columbia University School of the Arts
See full article at Indiewire »

Ifp names Jeffrey Sharp new executive director

Ifp names Jeffrey Sharp new executive director
Producer won Independent Spirit Award in 2001 for best first feature for You Can Count On Me.

The Independent Filmmaker Project (Ifp) has appointed producer and independent stalwart Jeffrey Sharp as the new executive director following the departure last year of Joana Vicente.

The award-winning international film and TV producer and publishing entrepreneur brings decades of experience to Ifp, including his work as a producer on Boys Don’t Cry, You Can Count On Me, Evening, and The Yellow Birds.

Sharp has also digitally published authors such as William Styron, Pat Conroy and Pearl Buck as co-founder and president of Open Road Integrated Media.
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Documentary’

  • Variety
Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Documentary’
While the presence of “Minding the Gap” and “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” in the Oscar documentary feature category suggest a welcome evolution in the way the Academy thinks about nonfiction filmmaking, the documentary short ballot hasn’t changed much from years past. Once again, just causes, rather than great cinema, dominate the list of nominees, which serve as a kind of armchair activism for voters, who tend to back the issue that matters most to them. Here, the choices range from empowering women in developing nations to easing terminal patients with end-of-life choices.

The first film screened in ShortsTV’s two-hour-plus theatrical program, Ed Perkins’ “Black Sheep,” actually suggests it may be otherwise, interweaving a compelling direct-to-camera interview with Cornelius Walker with equally powerful reenactment footage of his adolescence in Essex, where the young Nigerian immigrant learned to hate the color of his own skin. The story itself
See full article at Variety »

‘Free Solo’ could be the first feature doc winner in 25 years to achieve this feat

‘Free Solo’ could be the first feature doc winner in 25 years to achieve this feat
It is one thing to climb up a 3,000-foot-expanse of solid of rock with no tools, safety gear or rope beyond hands and feet. It’s another for married documentarians to collaborate on a feature about a daredevil sport that requires nerves of steel, an addiction to adrenaline rushes and being able to deal with the knowledge that the activity far too often ends in death.

But Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi — husband-and-wife co-directors of “Free Solo” that is currently the favorite (although “Rbg” is creeping up) to win, according to Gold Derby’s combined odds — and their camera team and crew show no fear as they tag along with free-climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to be the first human to claw his way up Yosemite’s daunting El Capitan.

One of the things that drew me to “Free Solo” is how it examines what sort of person
See full article at Gold Derby »

Field of Vision Announces 2019 Fellows — Exclusive

Field of Vision, the award-winning documentary unit of First Look Media, announces today its 2019 fellows. The Field of Vision fellowship is a year-long, collaborative program designed to support filmmakers in achieving their long-term artistic goals. The four 2019 Field of Vision fellows are: artist and filmmaker Heba Y. Amin, artist and filmmaker Ja’Tovia M. Gary, director, producer and cinematographer Heloisa Passos and filmmaker Bassam Tariq.

“These four filmmakers are rule breakers, troublemakers, and innovators who subvert the boundaries of cinematic form and storytelling. In addition to supporting their individual practice, we hope the fellowship will create a space for the exchange of ideas, skills, and methodologies,” said Field of Vision co-founder and executive producer Laura Poitras.

This year’s fellows are selected from filmmakers who have worked on, or have a film currently in production, with Field of Vision. In addition to creating a framework for idea development, creative support,
See full article at Indiewire »

Fox News Turns Down Ad That Contained Nazi Imagery

  • Variety
Fox News Channel declined to run a commercial for a documentary that used Nazi imagery whose backers were eager to win publicity by having it air during host Sean Hannity’s 9 p.m. hour – typically the most-watched slot in cable news.

Backers of the Oscar-nominated “A Night at the Garden,” a short documentary that shows footage from an actual Nazi rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1939 and aims to examine the potential ramifications of adherence to abhorrent beliefs, originally hoped to get an ad for the movie shown in local inventory available on Los Angeles-based cable systems operated by Charter Communications. But that placement was pre-empted by breaking news and rescheduled for later this week. Backers decided to try and get the commercial shown in Fox News’ own national feed.

The 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news network turned the spot down because it was not in keeping with its commercial standards.
See full article at Variety »

‘Everybody Knows’, ‘The Gospel Of Eureka’, ‘To Dust’ Among Weekend Arrivals – Specialty Box Office Preview

  • Deadline
‘Everybody Knows’, ‘The Gospel Of Eureka’, ‘To Dust’ Among Weekend Arrivals – Specialty Box Office Preview
Iranian-born director Asghar Farhadi is among an exclusive group of filmmakers to win the Best Foreign Language Oscar twice. For his latest film, Everybody Knows, he’s cast Spanish-born Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, with Focus Features opening the largely Spanish-language film stateside this weekend to begin a slow roll out.

Also among the weekend’s new Specialty lineup is Kino Lorber documentary The Gospel of Eureka by Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri, centering on the inhabitants of a queer and Christian friendly town in the Arkansas Ozarks. The Orchard is opening Under The Eiffel Tower with Matt Walsh, Judith Godrèche, Reid Scott, and Good Deed Entertainment is opening To Dust, starring Géza Röhrig and Matthew Broderick.
See full article at Deadline »

‘The Chi’ Season 2, ‘City On A Hill’, ‘Wu-Tang’ & ‘Xy Chelsea’ Get Spring Premiere Dates On Showtime – TCA

  • Deadline
‘The Chi’ Season 2, ‘City On A Hill’, ‘Wu-Tang’ & ‘Xy Chelsea’ Get Spring Premiere Dates On Showtime – TCA
Showtime announced spring premiere dates for season 2 of The Chi, new drama series City On A Hill starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge, four-part docuseries Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mice & Men, as well as feature documentary Xy Chelsea during its presentation Thursday at the TCA Winter Press Tour. The premium cabler also released trailers for The Chi, City On a Hill and Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, which you can watch below.

Season 2 of The Chi will premiere Sunday, April 7 at 10 Pm. Created and executive produced by Lena Waithe (Master of None) and executive produced by Common (Selma), The Chi is a timely coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption. Ensemble cast includes Jason Mitchell, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Jacob Latimore, Alex Hibbert, Yolonda Ross, Tiffany Boone, Armando Riesco, Barton Fitzpatrick, Shamon Brown Jr., and Michael V.
See full article at Deadline »

Wu-Tang Clan, Chelsea Manning Docs Set Showtime Premiere Dates

  • The Wrap
Wu-Tang Clan, Chelsea Manning Docs Set Showtime Premiere Dates
Showtime set the premiere dates for a pair of documentaries on the Wu-Tang Clan and Chelsea Manning.

The pay cable will debut Sacha Jenkins’ four-part “Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men” on Friday, May 10 at 9 p.m. Et/Pt, while “Xy Chelsea” will premiere a month later on Friday, June 7 at 9 p.m. Et/Pt.

Showtime acquired “Of Mics and Men” earlier this month and the docuseries premiered its first two episodes at the Sundance Film Festival. Watch a trailer for the doc above.

Also Read: Showtime Acquires Sacha Jenkins' Wu-Tang Clan Documentary Series

“Of Mics and Men” is tied to the 25th anniversary of Wu-Tang’s seminal debut album, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” The series looks back on their career, combining intimate and reflective interviews from each of the nine living members with never-before-seen archival footage and performances.

The series follows the founding members – RZA, Gza, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (who died in 2004), Inspectah Deck,
See full article at The Wrap »

True/False Film Fest Announces First Selections for 2019 Edition

Gearing up for its 16th edition, the True/False Film Fest has announced the first components of this year’s programming. Filmmaker Hassan Fazili, director of the just-premiered-at-Sundance Midnight Traveler, and his family, will receive the True Life Fund, awarded to documentary subjects. Click here to read our interview with Fazili. This year’s True Vision Award will be presented to Spain-born, Mexico-based filmmaker Nuria Ibáñez Castañeda. Following on the heels of past recipients such as Laura Poitras and Claire Simon, Ibáñez Castañeda—whose films include 2013’s excellent The Naked Room, a harrowing look inside a therapist’s office counseling abused children—will receive the award along with a retrospective […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »
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