Friday, October 23, 2009

Theatrical Releases 10/23

Every Friday we will update you all with the week's theatrical documentary releases. 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

Act of God - (no rating available) This documentary from Manufactured Landscapes director Jennifer Baichwal examines the effects of lightning strikes beyond just the physical. Act of God incorporates interviews with individuals who have been struck by lightning--including writer Paul Auster and musical improviser Fred Frith--and have had their perception changed by the event. (

Killing Kasztner- (60% rating) - To an even greater degree than Oskar Schindler, Dr. Israel Kasztner played a key role in saving the lives of well over 1,000 Jews from the Holocaust. However, a fascinating and deeply sad irony lies buried in the differences between the men's stories: Schindler was a Nazi party member who manipulated the Gestapo to save individuals, and he died a veritable hero. Meanwhile, Kasztner was a Jew who bargained with Adolf Eichmann for the salvation of the 1,600 (whom he shuttled off to Switzerland on a train), and was not ultimately laurelled as a hero, but branded a traitor by his own people. This occurred largely because the notion of bargaining with the Nazis struck many as morally unacceptable. (

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CNN's Latino in America Series

If you missed it, CNN premiered half of it's two part documentary titled Latino in America last night. This is the third installment in a series of documentaries of which the first two were titled Black in America. The previous two were highly regarded so it shouldn't come as a shock that this latest installment is quite engaging as well.

If you happened to miss it, don't fear, CNN is known for re-airing specials multiple times so check your local listings to see when it airs next. You can also head to the documentary's website for exclusive clips, open forums and other extra tidbits you might miss otherwise.

And if you are a Fox News, MSNBC, BBC or other 24 hour news network lover... my apologies for promoting another network.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ten9Eight: Shoot For the Moon Trailer

Let's face it, if you don't know it by now, you should realize I'm a sucker for inspirational stories. There's something about seeing someone overcome all odds to achieve success that just warms my soul.

With that in mind, coming across Maggie Mazzio's latest documentary Ten9Eight: Shoot For the Moon definitely falls into that category of overcoming obstacles. And it's not just one person either, it's several students rising up to grab the success they believe they deserve. The film follows several inner city teens (of different backgrounds, religion and ethnicity) from across the United States as they compete in an annual business plan competition run by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

So if you want your day to feel a little brighter, head on over to the film's website to watch the trailer. Ten9Eight: Shoot For the Moon will hit theaters starting in mid November.

Monday, October 19, 2009

'Schmatta' Turns Recession into a History Lesson

The recent worldwide recession has numerous filmmakers turning their cameras towards the economic systems that may or may not have contributed to our current dire straits. But while many are covering the 'why', documentarian Marc Levin is using the crisis as a starting point, not a destination. His most recent film, Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags, investigates New York's once-powerful garment trade before economics shifted production of 95% of U.S.-sold apparel overseas.

Admittedly, Levin's film sounds a little boring. But learning that the garment industry back in the 1950s was New York City's biggest employer makes you wonder how things changed so drastically. More importantly (for non-New York natives), it stands as a potential reflection as to why most of the U.S.' major industries now find themselves outsourced to foreign countries.

No, it most likely won't be the scathing investigation Michael Moore would desire, but considering Levin lost a relative to a major sweatshop fire, I doubt it will be all sunshine and roses either. Plus, with the powerful HBO Films helping develop the feature, it's sure to keep you engaged.

If you are interested, Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags airs tonight on HBO.