Friday, September 25, 2009

Theatrical Releases

Every Friday we now plan to start updating you all with each week's theatrical releases of documentaries. Now, this will not be a perfect process as our beloved genre prefers the limited release schedule instead of a big nationwide or international-wide release. So apologies if a film isn't out in your area, or if you are a filmmaker and we missed the boat on announcing your documentary's big day (if that is the case, please let us know as we try to refine and hone this weekly post).

Now, with that introduction out of the way, here's this weekend's releases with their current rating on the amazing website

Capitalism: A Love Story - (73% positive rating) - Plenty of excitement, and controversy, is sure to surround this film from decorated documentarian Michael Moore. This timely film addresses what caused the financial crisis that stopped the world in 2008. Capitalism: A Love Story finds Moore criticizing the government bailout of privately held businesses (

Providence Effect - (56% positive rating) - Paul J. Adams III, an African-American man with activist roots in the 1960’s civil rights movement moved to Chicago to form a not-for-profit independent school. That was over 30 years ago. Since then, 100% of Providence St. Mel graduates have been accepted to college, half of them, during the last seven years, to first tier and Ivy League colleges and universities. The Providence Effect traces the school’s development from a struggling shoe-string budget dream into a school and a method of teaching that produces not only inspired students, but parents, teachers and administrators dedicated to settling for nothing less than the highest expectations (

In Search Of Beethoven - (91% positive rating) - Award-winning filmmaker Phil Grabsky and Seventh Art Productions are back in theaters with a new feature-length biographical film about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven. In Search of Beethoven takes a comprehensive look at the composer’s life through historical research and Beethoven’s biography and letters, but with the emphasis always on the performance, and interpretation, of Beethoven’s music (

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Walt & El Grupo Trailer

What an awesome title.  Seriously.  Bravo.  Yes, I know if you read the summary the title basically writes itself, but be honest: how many of you found your interest piqued just by reading Walt & El Grupo?  Alas, it is not a buddy-cop movie in the vein of Turner and Hooch, but then again, I'm a firm believer in true stories out shining fictional ones.

But I digress... the film follows Walt Disney and a group of hand selected artists as they travel around South America on a good will tour for the United States way back in 1941.  It's a story I've never heard, though it does put a little perspective  on why those who don't see the U.S. in a favorable light generally use images of Mickey Mouse in their protests.  Either way, as long as Disney company avoided white-washing this documentary I believe it could actually be a quirky little film (and that's a good thing).

Don't believe me? Well check out the trailer for Walt & El Grupo over at Apple.  It's already out in theaters in very select cities, but keep an eye out for it as it spreads around the country in the coming weeks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Documentary Standards Needed?

With all the latest controversy surrounding documentary films (the Supreme Court case involving the anti-Hilary Clinton film, Dole suing a filmmaker for intentionally leaving out necessary findings, etc), there is definitely a growing buzz among the documentary world about the need for standards, or even regulations.

Now, obviously, regulating an industry that, at its core, is of a grassroots basis, could be a conflict of interest, but before you strike up the debate, you should read some interesting research done by American University’s Center for Social Media. It's rather long and perhaps even drab, but for those truly interested in the industry, it is definitely worth the read.

As the report says, "Documentary filmmakers identified themselves as creative artists for whom ethical behavior is at the core of their projects. At a time when there is unprecedented financial pressure on makers to lower costs and increase productivity, filmmakers reported that they routinely found themselves in situations where they needed to balance ethical responsibilities against practical considerations."

Whether your a filmmaker, producer, student, professor or just an avid fan of documentaries, I can easily say this is something to be read and definitely debated. I'd like to hear your thoughts too, so feel free to post your reactions.