Friday, April 2, 2010

Theatrical Releases

Every Friday we update you all with the week's theatrical documentary releases. Now, this is not a perfect process as our beloved genre prefers the rolling/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 and we'll correct the mistake).

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


The Sun Behind the Clouds – (88% rating) updates the struggle for Tibetan independence, focusing upon the March 2008 demonstration against Chinese rule, the largest ever since the 1959 take-over of that nation. The Dalai Lama, living in exile in Northern India, is interviewed extensively and given the opportunity to explicate his “middle way,” a compromise position he has to date been unsuccessful in getting the Chinese to accept. Supporters of Tibetan independence who are devoted to the Dalai Lama, but who nonetheless feel “the middle way” is an ineffective solution, appear in the film, detailing their more militant position.(Rottentomatoes.com)

Breath Made Visible: Anna Halprin – (no rating provided) the first feature length film about the life and career of Anna Halprin, the American dance pioneer who has helped redefine our notion of modern art with her belief in dance's power to teach, heal, and transform at all ages of life. This cinematic portrait blends recent interviews with counterparts such as the late Merce Cunningham, archival footage, including her establishment of the first multiracial dance company in the U.S., and excerpts of current performances such as “Parades and Changes” at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, to weave a stunning, inspiring account of one of the most important cultural icons in modern dance. (Rottentomatoes.com)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Doc News Bits of the Day

There are a few short but sweet documentary news nuggets out there today so lets dive into them:

Part of the team behind Oscar winning sensation The Cove isn't wasting time getting back into the documentary genre in one of the broadest reaching projects I can recall. Fisher Stevens and Mark Monroe are partnering with former NBC Universal co-chairman Ben Silverman to develop a documentary on decision making. Sounds a bit to 'metaphysical' right? Well the idea actually might work as the group will send 20 cameras to follow 20 people across the globe (from a man on death row to a wealthy home buying couple) who are all making life altering decisions in a single day. Sure it's a crazy idea, but crazy sometimes turns out awesome!

In the "more likely to be awesome than the previous story" news, the great/bizarre director Michel Gondry has taken time away from his Hollywood path to turn the camera on his own family in his documentary The Thorn in the Heart. If there is one thing the documentary genre needs, it's the inventiveness of Gondry and his imagination is in full effect in this personal narrative. There is a trailer posted on Youtube and I must say it just might be a 'must see' for film fans everywhere.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trailer: Babies

Probably the highlight of my day came with watching the trailer for the upcoming documentary Babies. The trailer for this delightful little film will just brighten your day as it is filled with baby images to warm the heart while Sufjan Stevens plays throughout.

If you want specifics, this visually impressive documentary from director Thomas Balm├Ęs follows four babies around the world for one year (from Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco and Tokyo). Babies captures the earliest stages (from birth on!) of life that are both unique and universal to us all.

Seriously, it's about babies. Check it out! Babies hits theaters in early May.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

8 Billion Lives worth watching

One of the coolest websites I've seen in the past several weeks is called 8 Billion Lives. It has an extremely simple but fascinating idea: "8 Billion Lives is a platform for short documentary films. Each film features a day in the life of a real person."

Better yet, they want everyone to be their filmmakers. How cool is that?!? Seriously, go grab a camera shoot your best friend Dave who you swear everyone should be friends with, slap together some cuts and dissolves and bam! Your work could be on this website. Sweet!

Of course, if you're not into film-making, just film-observing, you can always head to http://www.8billionlives.com and watch the shorts already posted. It's a great way to waste five minutes... an hour... a day... to be honest, the combination of films and director biographies makes this an addicting website for documentary fans everywhere.

So stop reading and head over to http://www.8billionlives.com then tell us what's your favorite film!



An unrelated but equally wonderful site: http://futurestates.tv/episodes/plastic-bag. It's a film about a plastic bag on a quest and it's narrated by Werner Herzog. Do I need to continue?

Monday, March 29, 2010

DirectTV signs the Documentary Channel

Sweet news for all you documentary fans with a satellite dish. The Documentary Channel, the first and only channel dedicated to airing documentaries 24 hours a day 7 days a week, will be added to DirectTV's channel line up. This more than doubles the number of potential viewers as the Documentary Channel is already on the smaller, but just as enjoyable Dish Network.

For those who don't know about this great channel, it's "the USA's first 24-hour television network exclusively devoted to documentary films and the independent documentary filmmaker, providing viewers with round-the-clock opportunities to see fascinating, eclectic and award-winning documentary films of all lengths and genres." In addition to films, the website is also a great resource for upcoming festivals and a great place to buy DVDs of the films you love.

See, that's pretty awesome! If you have DirectTV check out Channel 263 beginning March 31. Or if you want to learn more, head over to http://www.documentarychannel.com.