Saturday, January 8, 2011

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

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune - (Rottentomatoes rating - 100%) Fiercely devoted to championing peace and social justice, folk singer Phil Ochs rose to fame at the height of the 1960s protest movements, yet his incisive lyrics and resonant melodies remain relevant for audiences today. This film tells his story. Through performance footage and interviews with Ochs's contemporaries and admirers -- including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Sean Penn -- the documentary paints a portrait of a uniquely American artist. (NetFlix)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


You love Facebook. We love Facebook. Heck, millions of people love, nay obsess over, Facebook. The question is 'why'? With the hit fictional film 'The Social Network' and numerous public lawsuits against its founder, its no surprise a few documentary filmmakers want to explore every detail surrounding the massive Mark Zuckerberg creation.

CNBC's The Facebook Obsession may be the most broad reaching of documentaries on the subject to date. Correspondent Lester Holt anchors the film as it covers both the history of the website and its impact (good and bad) on individuals.

The documentary premiers tonight, so stop 'poking' your friends and head on over to CNBC's website to get more info, watch a trailer and see other Facebook related clips.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WGA Nominees for Best Documentary Screenplay

A new year, a new award season and to start things off, the Writers Guild of America announced their nominees for 2010 film season. Surprisingly, the WGA has a category titled "Documentary Screen Play" so naturally we jumped at the chance to cover the announcement.

Now, because it is the Writers Guild, there are certain regulations that prevent non-union documentaries from being considered, so don't fret if your favorite documentary didn't get the nod. Alright, enough babbling here are the nominees:

1) Enemies of the People, Written, Directed, Filmed and Produced by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath; International Film Circuit

2) Freedom Riders, Written, Produced and Directed by Stanley Nelson; International Film Circuit

3) Gasland, Written and Directed by Josh Fox; HBO Documentary Films and International WOW Company

4) Inside Job, Produced, Written and Directed by Charles Ferguson; Co-written by Chad Beck, Adam Bolt; Sony Pictures Classics

5) The Two Escobars, Written by Michael Zimbalist, Jeff Zimbalist; ESPN Films

6) Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, Written and Directed by John Scheinfeld; Lorber Films

So there's the list? What are your thoughts? Are you as surprised as we are about Enemies of the People receiving such praise (check are review out to understand our thoughts).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Documentaries rock!... but nobody cares?

The New York Times wrote an interesting, but semi-depressing article over the weekend discussing the current state of documentaries. Indeed, it's clear that after several years of 'blockbuster' hits and rising ticket sales, the documentary genre took a hit this year, receiving little to no attention from theater audiences.

If you've been able to see the Oscar Nominee's shortlist, you'll know there are some excellent films out this year, so clearly the product isn't suffering. So why the low attendance? Well, I'm no New York Times writer so you'll have to check it out for yourself but my personal thoughts- despite growing interest from distribution companies in picking up the rights to films, there isn't the same marketing push previous successful doc's enjoyed, nor are there major theatrical runs outside of the usual art house options.

But tell us your thoughts?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Michael Jackson Special Postponed

New Years is about starting over and getting a fresh start and The Discovery Channel is trying to do just that. Last week, the network decided to "postpone indefinitely" their re-enactment of the 2009 Michael Jackson autopsy. Apparently friends and family of the late pop-music star didn't appreciate a network displaying the (fake) dead body of Jackson and mustered up enough complaints to force the network to reconsider.

“Michael Jackson’s Autopsy: What Really Killed Michael Jackson” was scheduled to air on on Jan. 13 in several countries around Europe (sorry Americans, the U.S. was not in the original release plans).