Friday, April 30, 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

Dirty Hands: The Art & Crimes of David Choe - (no rating provided) Director Harry Kim spent eight tumultuous years following a young near-schizophrenic street artist, David Choe, who devises numerous criminal schemes that make it possible for him to hitchhike across the globe. Choe skirts the legal constraints of society to “freely” create his art. His nonchalant law-breaking style lands him in jail several times, leading to his eventual demise in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison cell. He resurfaces with a radically religious agenda and returns home with hope to overcome his criminal temptations and repair his severed relationships. The filmmaker (who has been friends with Choe since they met at the Korean-American teenage summer camp in 1990) captures the complexity of David’s life though a collage work of archived childhood home videos, still photographs, intimate artwork, animation, and eight years of footage shot on the road with the artist. (

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ESPN 30 for 30 Refresh

All you sports fans should already be engrossed in ESPNs 30 for 30 documentary film series, but in case you have been hiding under a rock, there is still time to catch plenty of films. The series is the brain child of Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, who wanted the sports network to start telling better stories.

If you are an ESPN fan, you know and love Simmons' writing and if you are a documentary fan you should be thrilled he appreciates the genre as much as anyone. Need proof? Simmons writes, "I love documentaries. The goal of a well-written piece and a well-done documentary is fundamentally the same: you pick a story that hasn’t been fully explored yet, you throw yourself into it and you make it sing."

Probably the best summary for how to make a great documentary and that's all I need to be excited for ESPN's 30 for 30 series- even before looking at the stories or directors hired. Make no mistake, ESPN went all out and recruited some of the best talent possible- not only because they are great filmmakers and storytellers, but because they are passionate about the stories they are developing.

Head over to to see which films have yet to premier as well as learn where you can buy previously aired stories. Make sure to read Simmons' article first. It'll remind you why you love documentaries.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hot Docs Film Festival Begins Tomorrow!

The documentary film festival circuit is in full swing and Canada's Hot Docs Festival is ready to add to our beloved genre starting tomorrow. Featuring nearly 200 documentaries from April 29th to May 9th, documentary fans will surely be impressed by this year's line-up.

Whether its new releases (Babies), classics (Fog of War, American Movie), or even great films you might have missed at previous festivals, if you love documentaries, this is a great festival to investigate.

Check out the list of films over at then purchase your plane ticket to Toronto so you can attend this delightful 11 day event.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trailer: 8: The Mormon Proposition

Reed Cowen's documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition has been making the film festival rounds and seems to have built up enough steam to turn out a theatrical run. There is now a trailer up over at and it's worth checking out, especially if you are interested in the subject.

8: The Mormon Proposition focuses on California's Proposition 8 and the battle the Mormon Church waged to block gay marriage in the state. Cowen takes an antagonistic approach to their campaign and uses interviews, recorded messages and news stories to prove his point.

The documentary will release on June 18th, so head over to to watch the trailer and learn more about the film and where it will be playing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking

Leave it to the Discovery Channel to play ball with the big boys. The network's most recent series Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking allows audiences to investigate the universe through the eyes of one of the smartest people in the world. Divided into three hour long segments, it will cover aliens, time travel and, well, everything else. So unless your Stephen Hawking himself, you'll probably come away learning something new.

The series has already garnered a relative amount of attention because of some of Hawking's comments, including his belief our world should not try and contact alien lifeforms that may treat us like a conquered colony. Of course even pro-alien audiences will appreciate hearing complex theories explained in a simpler manner (and with entertaining visuals to boot!).

Into the Universe has already been airing in the United States and will be premiering over in the UK early next month. So check your local listings to learn more!