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(2014)

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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 »

‘Free Solo’ Team Reflects on Oscar Win as Documentaries Get More Competitive

  • Variety
‘Free Solo’ Team Reflects on Oscar Win as Documentaries Get More Competitive
On a bustling post-Oscar Monday, “Free Solo” co-directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin arrive for their photo shoot looking like they’ve barely taken a breath since climbing the stage at the Dolby Theatre the night before to accept the award for documentary feature.

The win for the filmmaking couple represents not only their technical triumph for capturing the wire-free climb of Alex Honnold up the sheer granite face of Yosemite’s El Capitan but also the serious feat of edging out stiff competition in a year of such quality contenders in the doc category.

“This year is about connection for most people,” Vasarhelyi tells Variety, sipping hot water and gazing at her two children, Marina, 5, and James, 3, who have tagged along with their parents to Hollywood’s Milk Studios.

“From ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ to ‘Rbg’ to our film, these are communal experiences,” Vasarhelyi adds. “People
See full article at Variety »

Wamg Checks Out The Red Carpet For The 91st Oscars

“We Are Movie Geeks?..Aren’t we all” the young gentleman taking the photo for the Oscars badge said, and how correct he was. The stage is set for tomorrow nights awards; red carpet out, lighting set, roads closed, and security up. The crowds are even larger than usual in Hollywood, with movie fans out in force to see the pageantry. Temperatures are cooler than usual, but by this time tomorrow night the town will be hot!

Want to watch the 91st Academy Awards on Oscar Sunday?

It’s Oscar-viewing made easy. Find out where to watch the show on Sunday,

starting at 8 Pm Et/5Pm Pt –https://www.oscars.org/how-to-watch/index.html

The 91st Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 8 p.m. Et/5 p.m. Pt.

The Oscar Week
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

‘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 »

Aidc 2019: A global focus

Aidc CEO and conference director Alice Burgin.

The 2018 Australian International Documentary Conference (Aidc), with the theme ‘Southern Exposure’, had a local slant. So when preparing this year’s event, conference director and CEO Alice Burgin thought it was appropriate to turn the focus to how the Australian documentary and factual sector fits in internationally: the theme for 2019 is ‘The Bigger Picture’.

In preparing this event, Burgin has put focus on the positive. Rather than looking at threats in the market, she wants to explore the new opportunities that have come about now that the dust has somewhat settled on digital disruption. With that, the conference will put a spotlight on international co-production and co-financing.

“Last year I went to a lot of international markets and had a lot of conversations with buyers who are hungry for Australian content. A lot of this r] is about how do we take Australian stories
See full article at IF.com.au »

Oscar Documentary Nominees Break the Mold

  • Variety
Oscar Documentary Nominees Break the Mold
Known as a notoriously unpredictable bunch, the Academy’s documentary branch has become rather predictable in the past two years.

The evidence lies in the films they choose not to recognize come Oscar time: Films such as Brett Morgen’s 2017 Jane Goodall docu, “Jane,” and two of last year’s biggest nonfiction box office successes — Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and Tim Wardle’s “Three Identical Strangers.” Both Neville’s Mr. Rogers doc and Wardle’s film about identical triplets separated at birth premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. Both films also went on to do the seemingly impossible and strike a chord with audiences all over the country. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” grossed $22.8 million domestically, making it the 12th-highest-grossing doc of all time. Meanwhile, “Strangers” also defied documentary theatrical odds when it drew in $12.3 million.

Morgen’s “Jane” grossed just
See full article at Variety »

The myth and the dream by Anne-Katrin Titze

Hale County This Morning, This Evening director RaMell Ross on Apichatpong Weerasethakul: "His editing consultation was more about grand emotional feeling or the way in which the film could be distilled into certain ideas, you know." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

At the Cinema Eye Awards last week, Yance Ford, the director of the last year's Oscar-nominated Strong Island, presented to RaMell Ross the Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking Award for his Oscar-shortlisted film Hale County This Morning, This Evening.

Quincy Bryant

RaMell Ross has an impressive producing team with Joslyn Barnes and Danny Glover of Louverture Films to Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) and Charlotte Cook of Field of Vision, Susan Rockefeller (Oceana), Tony Tabatznik, Lynda Weinman, Su Kim, and co-writer Maya Krinsky.

Ross's subjects Daniel Collins and Quincy Bryant, a scene with Bert Williams from Edwin Middleton and T. Hayes Hunter's Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913), the atmosphere of the local community in Hale County,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Let’s get real: Will ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ or ‘Rbg’ become the 6th bio doc to snag an Oscar this decade?

Let’s get real: Will ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ or ‘Rbg’ become the 6th bio doc to snag an Oscar this decade?
There’s seems to be an insatiable appetite lately for true-life stories about incredible people. It’s reflected in the film industry, especially when awards are handed out. Consider that since 2010, five out of the eight winners of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature were biographically driven: “Searching for Sugarman” (2012); “20 Feet From Stardom” (2013); “Citizenfour” (2014); “Amy” (2015); and “O.J.: Made in America” (2016).

Last year’s victor, “Icarus,” about a doping scandal in the world of cycling, went against the grain as an issue-driven entry. Many thought the upbeat “Faces Places,” about a journey shared by 90-year-old, Belgian-born French film-making legend Agnes Vardas and 30-something street art photography Jr as it focused on Vardas’ career and reflections on her life, would win.

SEEdirectors Julie Cohen and Betsy West discuss their doc ‘Rbg

But as admired as Vardas is, she is no Mr. Rogers or Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Both our
See full article at Gold Derby »

Women Directors Reap Rewards in Documentary World

  • Variety
Women Directors Reap Rewards in Documentary World
Women directors and producers are consistent winners and well-represented as nominees when it comes to documentaries in awards season. Barbara Kopple is a two-time Oscar-winning documentary director; Freida Lee Mock is an Oscar winner and was the Academy’s first documentary branch governor; Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”) and Zana Briski (“Born Into Brothels”) are the two women who’ve taken home the gold statuette as directors most recently. It’s a field in which women have made their mark in cinematography and editing, too, and are not outliers.

“Women have always been fiercely part of the documentary filmmaking movement,” says Diane Weyermann, Participant Media’s president of documentary film and TV. The barriers to entry are not as high when compared to scripted/narrative features, especially when it comes to financing. Production costs are less and crews are traditionally a fraction of the size. There’s also the longstanding tradition of
See full article at Variety »

‘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 »

First ‘Panama Papers’ Trailer Exposes Offshore Cash Scandal (Watch)

  • Variety
First ‘Panama Papers’ Trailer Exposes Offshore Cash Scandal (Watch)
The Panama Papers, an incendiary data leak of some 11.5 million documents, revealed world leaders, celebrities, and politicians involved in offshore tax evasion and money laundering in 2015.

Former actor and filmmaker Alex Winter gets to the heart of the scandal in “The Panama Papers,” a documentary that played the festival circuit, which will have a limited theatrical run before hitting Epix on Nov. 26.

Narrated by Elijah Wood and executive produced by Academy Award winner Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”), the doc examines a “river” of off-the-books money dating back to the 1970s that has benefited the wealthiest among us.

See Winter’s efforts in the exclusive first trailer. The film was produced by Glen Zipper, Bungalow Media, and Poitras’ Field of Vision.

Read the full synopsis:

Leaked by an anonymous source to journalists in 2015, The Panama Papers were an explosive collection of 11.5 million documents, exposing the use of secretive offshore companies to enable
See full article at Variety »

Film Review: ‘The Panama Papers’

  • Variety
Film Review: ‘The Panama Papers’
Shell companies. Off-shore accounts. Hidden tax shelters. All in shady countries with lots of palm trees but not much in the way of legal inspection or surveyance. Over the years, many of us have become familiar, at least in theory, with the nuts and bolts of how wealthy corporations and individuals avoid paying taxes by rendering their profits invisible. But as you watch Alex Winter’s galvanizing documentary “The Panama Papers,” which deals with the revelations contained in one of the most important document dumps of the 21st century, the camera pulls back (metaphorically speaking) to show us what’s really going in with all that hide-your-assets-in-tropical-anonymity dirty business.

It started off as something that criminals did — like, for instance, drug kingpins, who have always needed a legitimate cover to clean and store their mountains of cash. In many ways, they pioneered and set the template for how to conceal profits in tax havens.
See full article at Variety »

Epix Sets ‘The Panama Papers’ Documentary From Alex Winter For November Premiere

  • Deadline
Epix is reteaming with Deep Web helmer Alex Winter for The Panama Papers, an investigative documentary feature from Bungalow Media + Entertainment, Trouper Productions and Zipper Bros. Films, for premiere Monday, November 26 at 9 Pm Et.

The Panama Papers details the unprecedented coordination of journalists from around the world working in secret, at great personal risk, to expose the largest data leak in history: a global corruption scandal involving corrupt power brokers, the uber rich, elected officials, dictators, cartel bosses, athletes and celebrities who had used the Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca to hide their money. The story cracked open a hidden network of tax evasion, fraud, cronyism, bribing government officials, rigging elections, and murder.

Produced by Robert Friedman, Winter and Glen Zipper, The Panama Papers strikes at the heart of the biggest themes of our times; income inequality, whistleblowers and corrupt power-brokers manipulating world governments and big business. Oscar
See full article at Deadline »

The Doc NYC and Oscar Documentary Feature Short Lists: How Close Will They Match Up?

The Doc NYC and Oscar Documentary Feature Short Lists: How Close Will They Match Up?
Doc NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, has revealed its seventh annual 15-film Short List of likely awards contenders along with its opening-night selection, Telluride and Toronto favorite “The Biggest Little Farm”, cinematographer John Chester’s poignant environmental portrait of life on a new California farm. The festival runs November 8 – 15.

Thom Powers, Doc NYC’s artistic director as well as documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film festival, oversees curation of the Short List of films that may be in the running for the Academy Award for Best Documentary feature. This year contains a spectrum of funders and distributors, including three from Netflix, three from his own Tiff selection and two from HBO.

Historically, most Doc NYC picks do land on the Academy’s official 15-film Oscar Short List. For the past five years, the Short List has had nine to 10 titles overlap, and four to five titles that were Oscar nominated.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

The Doc NYC and Oscar Documentary Feature Short Lists: How Close Will They Match Up?

  • Indiewire
The Doc NYC and Oscar Documentary Feature Short Lists: How Close Will They Match Up?
Doc NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, has revealed its seventh annual 15-film Short List of likely awards contenders along with its opening-night selection, Telluride and Toronto favorite “The Biggest Little Farm”, cinematographer John Chester’s poignant environmental portrait of life on a new California farm. The festival runs November 8 – 15.

Thom Powers, Doc NYC’s artistic director as well as documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film festival, oversees curation of the Short List of films that may be in the running for the Academy Award for Best Documentary feature. This year contains a spectrum of funders and distributors, including three from Netflix, three from his own Tiff selection and two from HBO.

Historically, most Doc NYC picks do land on the Academy’s official 15-film Oscar Short List. For the past five years, the Short List has had nine to 10 titles overlap, and four to five titles that were Oscar nominated.
See full article at Indiewire »

Toronto: Neon Lands Documentary ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Neon has harvested John Chester’s crowd-pleasing critical hit “The Biggest Little Farm,” a documentary feature following the director and his wife, Molly, as they attempt to develop a sustainable farm by reawakening the ecosystem on 200 acres just an hour north of Los Angeles.

After what some close to the film described as “insane competition” — with seller UTA Independent Film Group fielding multiple offers from studios, mini-majors, and streamers shortly after the film’s world premiere at Telluride — the $2-million deal for North America was reached last night at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film had its international premiere Friday.

Finding a strong domestic theatrical partner for the film, which Variety’s Peter Debruge dubbed “fresh air for the soul,” was the filmmakers’ goal. Neon plans a major U.S. theatrical release in 2019, screenings at major festivals, and a robust marketing campaign and P&A support.

“Making this
See full article at Variety »

Imagine Plucks HBO Veteran Sara Bernstein as Documentaries Executive Vice President

  • The Wrap
Imagine Entertainment’s Documentaries president Justin Wilkes announced on Wednesday that the company has brought in Emmy and Peabody-winning producer Sara Bernstein to serve as the division’s new executive vice president.

Bernstein, previously an executive at HBO, joins Wilkes in leading the development and production of premium feature docs and non-scripted series while leveraging her longstanding relationships within the filmmaking community.

“I couldn’t possibly think of a better partner than Sara,” Wilkes said in a statement. “For years, I’ve admired her work as a producer, an executive and as someone who is beloved by talent across the board. I’m so excited that we get to work side-by-side and build this new venture together.”

Also Read: Imagine Entertainment Names Karen Lunder as Evp of Production

Bernstein spent 19 years at HBO as a senior vice president at HBO Documentary Films, responsible for overseeing various award-winning documentary films and nonfiction programming for the network.
See full article at The Wrap »

Emmy-Winning HBO Stalwart Sara Bernstein Joins Imagine Documentaries

  • Deadline
Emmy-Winning HBO Stalwart Sara Bernstein Joins Imagine Documentaries
Exclusive: Emmy and Peabody-winning producer Sara Bernstein has been set as executive vice president at Imagine Documentaries, the recently launched division of Imagine Entertainment that is headed by president Justin Wilkes. Bernstein is a 19-year HBO vet, integral in many of the payweb’s seminal documentary films. Bernstein joins Wilkes in leading the development and production of premium feature docs and non-scripted series, and she will leverage her longstanding relationships within that community.

“I couldn’t possibly think of a better partner than Sara,” Wilkes. “For years, I’ve admired her work as a producer, an executive and as someone who is beloved by talent across the board. I’m so excited that we get to work side-by-side and build this new venture together.”

At HBO, the docus that Bernstein has produced and overseen include Judd Apatow’s Emmy-nominated The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, Laura Poitras’ Oscar and Emmy winner Citizenfour,
See full article at Deadline »

Emmys Love Docs but There’s Confusion About the Categories

  • Variety
In 2005, when the public’s love affair with theatrical feature documentaries was at an all-time high, the Television Academy decided to create a juried Emmy award for nonfiction projects. The new kudo, called exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking, would not be part of the overall Primetime Emmy ballot. Instead the category’s nominated films, up to five, would be selected by a nominating and voting jury of “experienced filmmakers” selected from the TV Academy’s Nonfiction Peer Group.

That same group recommended the new award, which, according to the Academy “honors and encourages exceptional achievement in one or more of the traditional components of documentary filmmaking, including profound social impact, significant innovation of form and remarkable mastery of filmmaking technique.”

While the nonfiction community cheered the new award, others were puzzled: What distinguished it from the award already established, the documentary or nonfiction special?

According to the Academy, the juried
See full article at Variety »

Oscar-Winner Laura Poitras Helps Expose U.S. Military Hub in Sicily in Latest Work

Oscar-Winner Laura Poitras Helps Expose U.S. Military Hub in Sicily in Latest Work
Laura Poitras, who won an Oscar for her explosive 2014 Edward Snowden documentary CitizenFour that helped expose illegal Nsa spying, has taken aim at U.S. military activity in Italy in her latest project. 

Commissioned by Manifesta 12, this year's edition of the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Signal Flow sees Poitras collaborate with journalist Henrik Moltke and Italian filmmakers to addresses the central importance of the island of Sicily as a hub for the U.S. military's drone warfare and its next-generation communications network.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica and The Intercept, the media group set up by Poitras alongside journalists ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »
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