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'Citizen K' Director Sees Film of Putin's Russia as "Cautionary Tale" for Trump's America

'Citizen K' Director Sees Film of Putin's Russia as
For Alex Gibney, looking at Russia is a way of understanding America.

The Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, of Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, has brought his latest feature doc, Citizen K, to Venice, where it premiered this weekend.

The film races the rise and fall of dissident exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky as a window into post-Soviet Russia's rapid and violent transition from Communism to a free-market economy to what Khodorkovsky calls a “mafia state” under the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of the richest men in Russia, Khodorkovsky spent a decade in ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

Venice Film Review: ‘Citizen K’

  • Variety
Venice Film Review: ‘Citizen K’
“He wants to be Jesus Christ, but he has a past.” So says one political commentator about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the mercurial political activist under scrutiny in “Citizen K,” and if the remark seems blandly unfair on the face of it — who doesn’t have a past? — it’s hard to imagine Jesus himself gaining much moral authority with this particular background. A self-made billionaire and former oil oligarch who at one point could claim to be the wealthiest man in Russia, he was liberalized by a ten-year spell in prison under the Putin regime, emerging as a power-challenging dissident, and founding the pro-democracy initiative Open Russia. Khodorkovsky’s is a political about-face that feels almost too good, too neat, to be true: In Alex Gibney’s chewy, engrossing documentary, it’s a reversal that unlocks many of the conflicts and contradictions ailing post-Soviet Russia’s capitalist democracy.

Authoritative and dense
See full article at Variety »

Alex Gibney on ‘The Inventor’ being ‘an opportunity to dig into the psychology of fraud’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

Alex Gibney on ‘The Inventor’ being ‘an opportunity to dig into the psychology of fraud’ [Exclusive Video Interview]
“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen,” declares acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney about his latest in a long line of films about controversial subjects, the Emmy-nominated HBO film “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.” “I guess I am becoming a little bit more comfortable in the kitchen, but it comes with the territory,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Gibney above.

“The Inventor” explores the scandal surrounding the rise and fall of the blood-testing start-up Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes. A self-proclaimed visionary and “disruptor,” Holmes claimed to have found a way to revolutionize the healthcare industry by avoiding the time consuming and expensive process of taking blood and instead taking and testing a pin-prick of blood out of a patient’s finger using her technology. She became an overnight billionaire, following in the footsteps of idols like Steve Jobs,
See full article at Gold Derby »

Charlotte Mars, Philippa Bateman and Vera Hong named SheDoc recipients

Charlotte Mars, Vera Hong and Philippa Bateman.

Create Nsw, Documentary Australia Foundation and RØDE Microphones today announced Charlotte Mars, Philippa Bateman and Vera Hong as the recipients of this year’s SheDoc funding.

SheDoc is a targeted initiative to support female documentary filmmakers with up to $20,000, to be used as a grant to support their project’s travel, research, development, and/or other related expenses.

“The SheDoc program aims to make a pivotal intervention in a woman’s filmmaking career. By offering funding to facilitate opportunities that are self-directed and of benefit, our intention is to offer opportunities that would be difficult to undertake without our support,” said Documentary Australia Foundation CEO Mitzi Goldman.

“We’re very excited to bring SheDoc back this year. The selection of the final three recipients was a tough decision because there were many fantastic applicants. We encourage women to continuously seek opportunities to develop themselves professionally,
See full article at IF.com.au »

Alex Gibney to direct Boris Becker doc for 'Diego Maradona' backers Lorton (exclusive)

Alex Gibney to direct Boris Becker doc for 'Diego Maradona' backers Lorton (exclusive)
John Battsek of Passion Pictures producing doc.

Alex Gibney, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Taxi To The Dark Side and Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison Of Belief, is making a documentary about former tennis star Boris Becker.

Lorton Entertainment, the London-based company which financed 2019 Cannes title Diego Maradona, is executive producing and fully-financing Becker (working title). The company also holds the project’s global rights and will be introducing it to potential partners in Cannes.

John Battsek of Passion Pictures is producing the documentary with Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions.

The film will explore the life of Becker, who became a
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘The Clinton Affair’ Filmmakers Alex Gibney & Blair Foster Look Back From #MeToo Vantage Point – The Contenders Emmys

  • Deadline
‘The Clinton Affair’ Filmmakers Alex Gibney & Blair Foster Look Back From #MeToo Vantage Point – The Contenders Emmys
Emmy-winning documentary specialists Alex Gibney and Blair Foster say their A&E series The Clinton Affair delved into a political scandal that seems just as timely and topical on ts 20-year anniversary as it did in real time in 1998. Moreover, the #metoo movement is an essential context for revisiting the scandal and it was an active factor in the project’s making and message, Gibney said on Sunday.at The Clinton Affair panel at Deadline’s Contenders Emmys on the Paramount Pictures lot.

The Clinton Affair chronicles the events leading up to the impeachment trial of the 42nd President of the United States and examines them through the prisms of media, feminism, and politics. The sordid scandal bundled up many of Washington’s favorite fascinations: sex, power, ideological warfare, and mudslinging. The series was constructed from archival footage as well as comprehensive new interviews with more than four dozen subjects, among them Monica Lewinsky.
See full article at Deadline »

Review: HBO's The Inventor Asks If Elizabeth Holmes Conned Silicon Valley or Had Good Intentions

HBO’s The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is an excellent film is about a defunct biotech start-up, Theranos, and founder Elizabeth Holmes.

Her company, its peak valued at $9 billion, promised investors a device, the Edison, that could diagnose nearly 200 conditions through a pinprick of blood.

The prototype turned out to be inoperative bunkum, but here’s the question: Was Holmes trying to pull off a con or bluffing until she worked out the kinks?

The documentary, directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief), airs on HBO March 19 at 9 p.
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Sundance: "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley"

The Film Experience has two contributors at Sundance this year, Murtada and Abe. So here's your first of several reports. -Editor

Alex Gibney discussing his new doc on opening night of Sundance 2019

by Abe Fried-Tanzer

One of the first films to premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival comes from renowned documentarian Alex Gibney, who has previously taken on the Catholic Church, Scientology, Enron, and Lance Armstrong. He won an Oscar for his exposé on torture practices in the disturbing Taxi to the Dark Side (2007). It’s fair, at this point in his filmography, to assume that whatever Gibney wants to spotlight is going to be interesting.

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley tells the recent story of young entrepeneur Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos, which launched with the promise of performing over 200 medical tests using just a tiny drop of blood...
See full article at FilmExperience »

Mark Urman, Veteran Independent Film Distributor, Dies at 66

  • Variety
Mark Urman, Veteran Independent Film Distributor, Dies at 66
Mark Urman, a veteran independent film distributor who headed Paladin Films for the past decade, died on Saturday after a short illness. He was 66.

Urman executive produced “Monster’s Ball” and “Murderball,” and was involved in campaigns for Oscar contenders “Half Nelson,” “Affliction,” and “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.” He broke into the entertainment business in the 1980s by working in publicity at United Artists in New York, followed by Columbia PicturesTriumph Films and Dennis Davidson Associates.

In 1997, he became a distribution executive at Cinepix Film Properties, which became Lionsgate. He moved to ThinkFilm in 2001 to head theatrical distribution and oversaw the release of “Half Nelson,” for which Ryan Gosling received a best actor Academy Award nomination; Oscar-winning documentaries “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Born Into Brothels”; and docs “Spellbound,” “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” “Murderball,” and “War/Dance.”

After a brief stint at Senator,
See full article at Variety »

Mark Urman, Indie Film Mainstay, Dies At 66

  • Deadline
Mark Urman, Indie Film Mainstay, Dies At 66
Updated with reaction. Mark Urman, a prominent figure in the independent film business who headed Paladin Film for the past decade, has died at age 66 after battling cancer.

Word of his passing circulated over the weekend, especially among the many film and media professionals who live (as did Urman) in Montclair, N.J. Urman’s family has so far declined to make a statement. We will update all this as more information comes in.

Early on, Urman worked in publicity for Columbia Pictures and United Artists before joining PR firm Dennis Davidson Associates in the 1980s, where he got some of his first tastes of championing specialty film titles. He spearheaded several publicity campaigns for Miramax and other indie outfits, and later told a few memorable tales about Bob and Harvey Weinstein in Peter Biskind’s 2004 book Down and Dirty Pictures.

Urman would go on to become a noted tastemaker in the sector,
See full article at Deadline »

Us independent cinema champion Mark Urman dies at 66

Us independent cinema champion Mark Urman dies at 66
Distribution ace helped Ryan Gosling secure first Oscar nod for Half Nelson.

Mark Urman, the eloquent independent cinema champion who served as distribution president of THINKFilm and founded Paladin Films, has died. He was 66 and had been suffering from cancer.

Urman was a fixture of the circuit and could often be seen at the start of the year at Sundance Film Festival, huddled with friends or colleagues in a restaurant or theatre lobby, debating the merits of a premiere or pursuing an acquisition.

He began his film career as a publicist at United Artists in New York prior to stints
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Mark Urman, Veteran Indie Film Distributor, Dies at 66

  • The Wrap
Mark Urman, Veteran Indie Film Distributor, Dies at 66
Veteran indie film distributor Mark Urman, most recently president and CEO of New York-based Paladin Films, died Saturday following a bout with cancer, a rep for Paladin confirmed. He was 66.

Urman began his career in the international publicity department at United Artists, followed by publicity positions with Columbia Pictures and the studio’s Triumph Films. In 1997, he left the PR firm Dennis Davidson and Associates to join Cinepix Film Properties as its head of U.S. distribution.

While serving as distribution president at ThinkFilm in the early 2000s, Urman steered seven films to Oscar nominations in six years, with “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Born Into Brothels” both winning the gold for Best Documentary Feature.

Also Read: Verna Bloom, 'Animal House' and 'Last Temptation of Christ' Actress, Dies at 80

He also shepherded successful Oscar campaigns for the films “Monsters Ball,” “Affliction,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” and “Gods and Monsters,
See full article at The Wrap »

Mark Urman, Veteran Film Distributor, Dies at 66

Mark Urman, Veteran Film Distributor, Dies at 66
Veteran independent film executive Mark Urman died Saturday after a short bout with cancer, IndieWire has confirmed. He was 66. His family requests privacy, and advised a statement will be coming in the next few days.

The Union College graduate started out in the international publicity department at United Artists in New York, followed by publicity posts at Columbia Pictures and the studio’s Triumph Films, and PR firm Dennis Davidson and Associates. In 1997, he left Dda to join Cinepix Film Properties, then just acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., as the head of U.S. distribution.

That was the start of a passionate career in specialized film, including multiple Oscar contenders like “Monsters Ball,” “Affliction,” and “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”

As distribution president at New York indie distributor ThinkFilm, Urman delivered seven Academy Award nominations in six years. Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side” and
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Mark Urman, Veteran Film Distributor, Dies at 66

Mark Urman, Veteran Film Distributor, Dies at 66
Veteran independent film executive Mark Urman died Saturday after a short bout with cancer, IndieWire has confirmed. He was 66. His family requests privacy, and advised a statement will be coming in the next few days.

The Union College graduate started out in the international publicity department at United Artists in New York, followed by publicity posts at Columbia Pictures and the studio’s Triumph Films, and PR firm Dennis Davidson and Associates. In 1997, he left Dda to join Cinepix Film Properties, then just acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., as the head of U.S. distribution.

That was the start of a passionate career in specialized film, including multiple Oscar contenders like “Monsters Ball,” “Affliction,” and “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”

As distribution president at New York indie distributor ThinkFilm, Urman delivered seven Academy Award nominations in six years. Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side” and
See full article at Indiewire »

Alex Gibney Announces Documentary About Saudi-u.S. Relations

Alex Gibney Announces Documentary About Saudi-u.S. Relations
A new documentary with the working title of House of Saud, helmed by filmmaker Alex Gibney and author Lawrence Wright will examine the United States’ tenuous relationship with Saudi Arabia. Showtime announced Monday that the film was in development but did not announce a projected premiere date.

The film will attempt to make sense of how the White House works with the Saudi royal family, beginning with the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the way the Trump administration seemed to walked on eggshells when it came to implicating Saudis.
See full article at Rolling Stone »

‘Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’: The political ‘genius’ and ‘paranoid’ monster enters whole new campaign [Watch]

  • Gold Derby
‘Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’: The political ‘genius’ and ‘paranoid’ monster enters whole new campaign [Watch]
Roger Ailes was the chairman and CEO of Fox News from 1996 until stepping down in 2016 amid sexual harassment scandals. As the man behind TV’s Republican messaging machine and behind many Republican politicians themselves, he reshaped American politics throughout the last half-century. Now he’s entering a whole other kind of campaign: “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes,” the documentary that examines his life’s work, is a contender for an Oscar during a politically fraught year were he may actually end up facing an ideological opponent, the notorious “Rbg.” Watch the trailer for the film above.

Ailes died in May 2017 at age 77 after having advised Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Donald Trump. The film explores that legacy in addition to his paranoia, his manipulation and his predatory treatment of women — according to Kellie Boyle, former Republican National Committee adviser, “He said, ‘If
See full article at Gold Derby »

Oscar-Winning Director Alex Gibney On The Revelatory Documentary That Could Land Him In Jail – Deadline Q&A

  • Deadline
Exclusive: On a late summer morning in Belfast just over a month ago, more than 100 police officers raided the homes and an office of journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, both of whom had worked with the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney on 2017’s No Stone Unturned, a revelatory, deeply unsettling film about a June 18 1994 mass shooting in a Northern Ireland village pub. Two men, their identities hidden beneath balaclavas, had opened fire, killing six patrons and wounding more. The paramilitary loyalist group Ulster Volunteer Force was immediately suspected, but until Gibney’s film, grounded in his own investigation and that of producer Birney and former Irish News reporter McCaffrey, the terrorists, including the primary gunman, had not been named.

No Stone Unturned, which debuted at last year’s New York Film Festival, didn’t stop with the shooters, though, and outlined collusion
See full article at Deadline »

A+E Indie Unveils ‘Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’ Documentary

  • Variety
A+E Indie Unveils ‘Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’ Documentary
A&E IndieFilms has unveiled documentary feature film “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes” from Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions.

The project is directed and produced by Alexis Bloom (“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”) and described as “origin story” told through the triumph and downfall of the late Roger Ailes, founder of Fox News. He launched the careers of TV news figures including Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Megyn Kelly, then resigned in 2016 amid multiple accusations of sexual harassment. He died in May, 2017, at the age of 77.

“’Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’ is a fascinating look at a man who was at times brilliant and at times divisive, but whose impact on American politics and media will be felt for generations to come,” said Molly Thompson of A+E Networks. “This film is highly relevant for the times we are living in and
See full article at Variety »

Showtime Greenlights Alex Gibney Docuseries ‘Enemies: The President, Justice & FBI’ Based On Book – TCA

  • Deadline
Showtime Greenlights Alex Gibney Docuseries ‘Enemies: The President, Justice & FBI’ Based On Book – TCA
As the ongoing clashes between the Donald Trump administration, the Justice Department and FBI continue to make daily headlines, Showtime has ordered the timely Enemies: The President, Justice & The FBI (working title) a new documentary series from Oscar and Emmy-winning director Alex Gibney, inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner’s book, Enemies: A History of the FBI. The four-part docuseries, which provides an in-depth look into the long history of conflict between American presidents and the FBI, will premiere its first installment Sunday, November 18 at 8 Pm Et/Pt. The docuseries was announced today by David Nevins, President and CEO of Showtime Networks at the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour.

Enemies the series tells the long, complex history of presidents testing the rule of law and the FBI’s job to enforce it, as well as an abuse of power from with the bureau. According to Showtime, From
See full article at Deadline »

‘The Looming Tower’ interviews: Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, Bill Camp and more exclusive chats [Watch]

After making history last year by becoming the first streaming service to win Best Drama Series for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu has its sights set on another first: a Best Limited Series victory for “The Looming Tower.” Based on Lawrence Wright‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction book, the show recounts the events leading up to the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Gold Derby spoke with stars Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, Bill Camp, and Tahar Rahim, showrunner Dan Futterman, composer Will Bates, visual effects supervisor Aaron Raff, and visual effects producer Steven Weigle. Scroll down and click on any name below to be taken to their full interviews.

Daniels plays John O’Neill, the real-life FBI agent who investigated al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the years leading up to the attacks. The actor hadn’t read the book and didn’t know the specific historical details before taking part in the series,
See full article at Gold Derby »
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