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Sundance Film Review: ‘Sea of Shadows’

  • Variety
Sundance Film Review: ‘Sea of Shadows’
It’s a decidedly grim circle of life that moves us all in “Sea of Shadows,” a tight, troubling documentary eco-thriller that charts a compelling course of consequence from Chinese black-market apothecaries to the near-extinction of a rare whale in the Sea of Cortez, hitting on Mexican crime cartels and institutional corruption along the way. Austrian director-cinematographer Richard Ladkani has form in this field, having previously co-helmed Netflix’s urgent anti-poaching doc “The Ivory Trade,” and once more brings sturdy conventional craftsmanship and boots-on-the-ground engagement to an environmentally conscious, unabashedly heart-grabbing exposé. With its clear crowd-pleasing credentials confirmed by an audience award win at Sundance, “Sea of Shadows” will sail through the festival circuit; in an ideal match of sensibilities, National Geographic has secured worldwide rights.

Louie Psihoyos’s 2009 Oscar-winner “The Cove” provides the most obvious commercial precedent for “Sea of Shadows,” though Ladkani’s film is something of a shape-shifter,
See full article at Variety »

Santa Barbara Film Review: ‘Sharkwater Extinction’

  • Variety
Santa Barbara Film Review: ‘Sharkwater Extinction’
Sharkwater Extinction” isn’t just a follow-up to 2006’s “Sharkwater”; it’s another in a long line of well-intentioned advocacy docs that end with a website address. The difference, however, is that Rob Stewart’s film also concludes with the Canadian writer-director’s own 2017 demise at the age of 37 from hypoxia, which lends it a gravity — and urgency — that few like-minded efforts can claim. A testament to its maker’s staunch belief in the cause of shark preservation, it’s a plea for transparency and conservation whose gorgeous 4K cinematography should make it an enticing proposition for nonfiction cinephiles and activists alike.

Stewart’s fate isn’t revealed at the outset of “Sharkwater Extinction;” rather, it’s foreshadowed by ominous colleague comments as well as Stewart’s own admission that, while his parents worry about his safety, his success at surviving brushes with death has only amplified his confidence. There
See full article at Variety »

Cinema Eye Honors 2018: ‘Minding the Gap,’ ‘Hale County,’ ‘Shirkers,’ and More First-Time Films Dominate

Cinema Eye Honors 2018: ‘Minding the Gap,’ ‘Hale County,’ ‘Shirkers,’ and More First-Time Films Dominate
The Cinema Eye Honors, which annually presents awards to “celebrate outstanding artistry and craft in nonfiction film,” has revealed its nominees in 10 categories, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature and Outstanding Nonfiction Short. Multiple nominees include Robert Greene’s ​”Bisbee ‘17,” Sandi Tan’s “Shirkers,” and RaMell Ross’ ​”Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” with five nods each. While Greene is a Cinema Eye Honors vet, both Tan and Ross are first-time filmmakers.

Another first-time filmmaker on the rise: Bing Liu, whose autobiographical skateboarding doc “Minding the Gap,” leads the nominees with a total of seven nominations. That’s good enough to put the newbie filmmaker into rarefied territory, tying his film with lauded documentaries like Louie Psihoyos’ ​”The Cove​​,” Lixin Fan’s ​”Last Train Home​,”​ and Ari Folman’s “​Waltz With Bashir​​” for most Cinema Eye Honors nods ever. As Liu is a named nominee for six of those awards, he’s
See full article at Indiewire »

Hulu’s ‘Minding the Gap’ Ties Cinema Eye Honors All-Time Nominations Record

  • Variety
Hulu’s ‘Minding the Gap’ Ties Cinema Eye Honors All-Time Nominations Record
Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap,” an look at small-town American life through the lens of a group of skateboarder friends, led the 2018 Cinema Eye Honors nominations for nonfiction filmmaking Thursday.

The film, a Hulu original documentary, landed seven bids, for direction, editing, cinematography, original score, debut feature and the audience award, in addition to outstanding achievement in nonfiction feature filmmaking, the organization’s top prize. It was also mentioned in the “Unforgettables” sidebar honoring the subjects of many of this year’s documentaries.

The seven-nomination haul was enough to match Cinema Eye’s record, held by Louie Psihoyos’ “The Cove,” Lixin Fan’s “Last Train Home” and Ari Folman’s “Waltz With Bashir.”

The other nominees for outstanding achievement in nonfiction feature filmmaking were “Bisbee ’17” (five nominations), “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (five nominations), “Of Fathers and Sons” (three nominations), “Three Identical Strangers” (three nominations) and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
See full article at Variety »

Film Review: A Whale of A Tale (2016) by Megumi Sasaki

Louie Psihoyos’s “The Cove” was a shuttering documentary, which painted the whaling practices of the Taiji village in the bleakest of colors, particularly through one of the scenes close to the ending, that showed the fishermen butchering tens of dolphins after having trapped them in a small cove. Its impact was so enormous, that the documentary received an Oscar and turned world interest towards the fishing village and its inhabitants. However, it was also a source of great controversy, particularly regarding the portrayal of the Japanese people. Megumi Sasaki’s purpose was to mend this “injustice” by portraying the historic and material conditions that contributed to local whaling practice and in general, to present the other side in this matter.

“A Whale of A Tale” will open theatrically in New York on Friday, August 17 (The Quad) and Los Angeles on Friday, August 24 (Laemmle Music Hall) with a nationwide release to follow.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Toronto’s Hot Docs Celebrates 25 Years of Truth-Telling Documentaries

  • Variety
Toronto’s Hot Docs Celebrates 25 Years of Truth-Telling Documentaries
When Hot Docs, the documentary film festival held annually in Toronto, staged its first event back in 1994, the program presented a mere 21 features, including the Noam Chomsky profile “Manufacturing Consent” and Nick Broomfield’s “Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer.”

From the humble beginning, this celebration of nonfiction short subjects and features has become the largest of its kind, and one of the most internationally recognized, receiving 3,000 submissions from across the globe for possible inclusion in the 2018 event.

“We’re in the golden age of documentary, and we’re seeing that in the volume of films submitted,” says Hot Docs director of programming Shane Smith, “but also the range and quality of the stories being told. I never have trouble finding films for the festival. The problem is deciding on the final selection because of the number of quality films that we see.”

This year’s Hot Docs,
See full article at Variety »

Alexander McQueen, M.I.A. films added to 2018 Hot Docs line-up

Alexander McQueen, M.I.A. films added to 2018 Hot Docs line-up
Canadian documentary festival Hot Docs has added 17 additional special presentations.

They include McQueen, Ian Bonhôte’s documentary about fashion designer Alexander McQueen, and Steve Loveridge’s Matanga / Maya / M.I.A., the Sundance world premiere about British rapper and record producer M.I.A. that has been picked up for the UK by Dogwoof.

Other highlights in the programme include Liz Garbus’s The Fourth Estate, a look into how The New York Times covered the first year of the Trump presidency, and Mercury 13, the story of Nasa’s first female astronaut training programme.

The full selection from Hot Docs,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘The Game Changers’ Is A Dull Warning About The Myth Of Meat [Berlin Review]

Vegans are very excited for Louie Psihoyos’s “The Game Changers.” They have high hopes for its reach and impact. You might go so far as to say that they want it to change the game. And vegans may just get their wish: “The Game Changers” is executive produced by James Cameron and features a cameo by the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger, both of whom lend it a degree of high-profile celebrity that would be otherwise foreign to a fairly dull — if importantish —documentary about the evils of meat.
See full article at The Playlist »

‘The Game Changers’ First Clip: James Cameron Exec Produces Vegan Action Doc – Berlin

‘The Game Changers’ First Clip: James Cameron Exec Produces Vegan Action Doc – Berlin
Exclusive: Veganism is becoming one of the most popular trends in the food world, which bodes well for The Game Changers, a documentary exec produced by James Cameron about how plant-based diets can improve physical performance. You can watch an exclusive clip above. The documentary, which is directed by The Cove director Louie Psihoyos, tells the story of Ufc star and elite Special Forces trainer James Wilks, who travels the world on a quest for the truth behind the…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

“That Sweet Spot of Story and Science”: Editors Dan Swietlik and Stephanie Mechura on The Game Changers

Louie Psihoyos, the Oscar-winning director of The Cove, returns to the Sundance Film Festival with The Game Changers, his new documentary on the health and environmental impacts of plant-based diets. Psihoyos premiered his previous doc, Racing Extinction, at the festival in 2015. To edit Game Changers, Psihoyos hired seasoned doc editor Dan Swietlik (An Inconvenient Truth, Sick0) to cut the film. He soon brought on a second editor, Stephanie Mechura (The Price of Sex), to help finish the job. Below, Swietlik and Mechura share their experiences on cutting The Game Changers. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

“I Always Had Two to Three Cameras Rigged”: Dp John Behrens on The Game Changers

Louie Psihoyos, the Oscar-winning director of The Cove, returns to the Sundance Film Festival with The Game Changers, his new documentary on the health and environmental impacts of plant-based diets. Psihoyos premiered his previous doc, Racing Extinction, at the festival in 2015. John Behrens (The Mask You Live In) served as a cinematographer on that project, and he reunites with Psihoyos as the Dp of The Game Changers. Below, Behrens speaks with Filmmaker about shooting in five different countries and the influence of Natural Born Killers (of all films) on the project. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the cinematographer of your film? […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

James Cameron’s Documentary About Veganism Takes Sundance By Storm

There are many reasons why people decide to eschew eating animal-based foods and consume a strictly vegan diet, but a new documentary co-produced and co-directed by “Avatar” director James Cameron offers yet another reason: better sex! That’s one of the takeaways from “The Game Changers”, the new documentary from Cameron and Louie Psihoyos (“The Cove”), who
See full article at ET Canada »

Film Festival Roundup: Hot Docs Announces Forum Titles, Wisconsin Film Festival Unveils Lineup and More

Film Festival Roundup: Hot Docs Announces Forum Titles, Wisconsin Film Festival Unveils Lineup and More
Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.

Lineup Announcements

– The Wisconsin Film Festival returns to Madison, running March 30 – April 6. Highlights of the program include James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z,” Terence Davies’ “A Quiet Passion,” Alex Ross Perry’s “Golden Exits,” Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” Geremy Jasper’s “Patti Cake$” and a section dedicated to new women directors. Find out more information at their official site.

– The Denver Film Society has announced its full festival program and schedule for the 7th Women+Film Festival on International Women’s Day. The Festival will take place at the Sie FilmCenter April 4 – 9 and individual tickets and all-access passes are on sale now. The Women+Film Festival shines a spotlight on stories by and about women with a high profile, female-centric mix of documentaries, feature presentations and short films.
See full article at Indiewire »

Consider This: How Fisher Stevens Rebooted His Career and Joined Forces With Leonardo DiCaprio to Save the World

Consider This: How Fisher Stevens Rebooted His Career and Joined Forces With Leonardo DiCaprio to Save the World
In 2004, Fisher Stevens went to Ohio with a coalition of artists to help John Kerry get elected president. It didn’t work, but Stevens — an actor-turned-director best known for campy roles in a string of ’80s and ’90s films such as “Short Circuit” and “Hackers” — emerged a changed man. “It was a fucked-up time,” Stevens recalled over lunch near his offices in downtown Manhattan, “but this a whole other fucked-up time.”

Flash forward a dozen years and Stevens is enmeshed in a new stage of his career, as a prolific documentarian who moonlights as an actor. Six years ago, he won an Oscar as a co-producer of “The Cove,” photographer-turned-filmmaker Louie Psihoyos’ thrilling exposé of the Japanese fishing industry. By then, he had stepped away from GreeneStreet Films, the independent production company he started in 1996 with John Penotti. That same year, Stevens launched Insurgent Media with Andrew Kirsch and Erik Gordon
See full article at Indiewire »

The Green Me Global Festival for Sustainability

The Green Me Global Festival for Sustainability
Film Congress Marketplace to take place in Los Angeles, USA | Berlin, Germany | Lagos, Nigeria | Teheran, Iran | Cannes, France

Ocean, Life, Water: The 9th Green Me Global Festival for Sustainability is rolling out the red green carpet in Los Angeles, CA October 17th to 23 at the Landmark Regent Theater in Westwood.

An expert jury under the patronage of Ralf Möller will award the greenest movies around the topic Ocean/Life/Water.- More than 20 Films will be screened, 10 green presentations, 5 panel discussions, a Film Workshop for Film Schools and an Award Gala will shine in a green light.

An impressive number of films have been submitted for the Green Me Award 2016.

Under the patronage of Dr. Auma Obama, President Barack Obama’s half-sister, and in cooperation with the actor Ralf Möller, a selected expert jury will award the greenest movies 2016.

The question of how we, humanity, will survive the coming years
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Movie Review: Tickled

Tickled is a very smart documentary investigating our collective failures at the macro level. The legal system, the school system and our community ecosystem have “leakages.” Our failure has been forgetting we are linked and responsible for each other’s well-being, as the Dalai Lama and other spiritual leaders teach. We haven’t tried hard enough nor succeeded enough, and we know this because individuals responsible for causing damage continue to hoodwink and exploit others and perpetuate cycles of violence. In other words, Tickled, debuting at Sundance this year, explores narratives that stain our global conscience today. At onset it might seem a film about tickling does not merit this mature provocation, but New Zealander documentarians David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, filming in New Zealand and the U.S., present the “tickling game” as an exposé of our failures in keeping each other safe.

The narrative is conveyed with Charlie
See full article at CinemaNerdz »

Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards by Anne-Katrin Titze

Dr Richard Leakey, Chair of the Kenya Wildlife Service and Turkana Basin Institute Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The 2016 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, hosted by Perri Peltz and introduced by Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff (with Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal), holds an impressive list of activists: Brent Stapelkamp, 14 Minutes from Earth's Alan Eustace (featured in the film by Jerry Kolber, Adam "Tex" Davis, Trey Nelson and Erich Sturm);The Birth Of A Nation director Nate Parker who was also an actor in Mia Hansen-Løve's Eden and Amy Berg's Every Secret Thing; The Suskind family in Roger Ross Williams' Life, Animated; Louie Psihoyos,director of Racing Extinction and The Cove; Jennifer Jacquet and Dr. Richard Leakey. From Foo Fighters Learn To Fly to a remembrance of Prince and David Bowie, and past honorees that include Twyla Tharp, David Lynch, Rick Rubin, Kanye West and Keith Richards - creativity,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Nate Parker among Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards honourees

  • ScreenDaily
The director, producer and star of Sundance sensation The Birth Of A Nation is among honourees at the pioneers showcase set for April 22.

The Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards are held in collaboration with Harvard professor and father of the theory of disruptive innovation Clay Christensen and the Disruptor Foundation.

Festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff is the chief curator of the awards, designed to honour pioneers whose work has had a significant impact on such areas as media, healthcare, social justice, education, politics, sports, and philanthropy.

Past honourees have included Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Kanye West, Uber, and Kickstarter.

The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards will go to British architect and designer of The Rolling Bridge, Thomas Heatherwick, and Kenya Wildlife Service chair and conservationist, Dr. Richard Leakey.

The 2016 honourees include: film-maker Nate Parker for the Theodore Parker Prize; Charity Water founder and CEO Scott Harrison; American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony D. Romero; The Cove director Louie Psihoyos; and environmental
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Refugee crisis highlighted at Thessaloniki doc festival

  • ScreenDaily
The refugee crisis, the departure of festival director Dimitri Eipides and the appointment of a new general director dominated the 18th Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival.Scroll down for full list of winners

The Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival (March 11-20) will be largely remembered for three important events: the resignation of its director ahead of the festival, the refugee crisis dominating the programme and the appointment of a new general director.

This was the last year director Dimitri Eipides was at the helm of the event he founded 18 years ago. The executive had simultaneously held the post of general and artistic director of the March documentary event and the November Thessaloniki international film festival (Tiff) now in its 57th year.

The decision of the festival board to attribute the post of general director to French producer Elise Jalladeau, pending her confirmation by the Culture Ministry, was welcome by the local cinema community.

Previous to her
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Racing Extinction documentary review: the asteroid this time is humanity

A horror flick about the blundering of humanity on a scale so enormous that global warming is only a small part of it. But its monster is not unconquerable. I’m “biast” (pro): worried about what we’re doing to the planet

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

The whole world is singing, but we’ve stopped listening.” So says a scientist who has deployed recording buoys across the oceans of planet Earth to record whalesong, while the whales are still there. And then we meet a guy who — in one of the most pitiable things you will ever see onscreen — introduces us to the last surviving individual of a bird species that mates for life, a male singing for a female who will never respond. Oh, and welcome to the sushi restaurant that sells the meat of endangered whales,
See full article at FlickFilosopher »
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