Friday, March 25, 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

Queen of the Sun - (rating - 83%) In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist, philosopher & social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse. Now, beekeepers around the United States and all over the world are reporting an incredible loss of honeybees, a phenomenon deemed "Colony Collapse Disorder." This "pandemic" is indicated by bees disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear single explanation. The queen is there, honey is there, but the bees are gone. Queen of the Sun investigates the long-term causes behind the dire global bee crisis through the eyes of biodynamic beekeepers, commercial beekeepers, scientists and philosophers. Together they take us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and into the mysterious world of the beehive. The film unveils 10,000 years of beekeeping, illuminating the deep link between humans and bees and how that historic and sacred relationship has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices. (

My Perestroika - (rating - 83%) When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. An intimate epic about the extraordinary lives of this last Soviet generation, Robin Hessman's documentary tells the stories of five Moscow schoolmates who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain, witnessed the joy and confusion of glasnost, and reached adulthood right as the world changed around them. Through candid first-person testimony, revealing verité footage, and vintage home movies, Hessman reveals a Russia rarely ever seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country. Engaging, funny, and positively inspiring, in My Perestroika politics is personal, honesty overshadows ideology, and history progresses one day, one life at a time. (

Thunder Soul - (no rating provided) Straight out of a high school in Texas, the electrifying Kashmere Stage Band was the brainchild of gifted music teacher Conrad Johnson. Johnson's dynamic arrangements transformed the idea of the high school band, and brought his students worldwide recognition. That success changed not just their lives, but the fortune of their whole community. As one spectator remarked, "They were on fire." He was right -- they still are. (

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Documentary filmmaker Richard Leacock passes away

Richard Leacock, one of the forefathers of cinema verite, passed away Wednesday at the age of 89.

Leacock was known for his cinematography work on Primary, a documentary following John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign. But probably more importantly, he figured out a way to sync recorded audio and video - a key limitation to capturing quality audio outside studios. As a result, filmmakers were able to capture real life with all the wondrous sounds we are now so accustomed to in the documentary world.

Leacock may not be a household name, but he certainly influenced all the household names that came after him. Documentary film fans owe him a great deal of respect and this site in particular mourns the loss.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trailer: Greatest Movie Ever Sold

I love me some Morgan Spurlock, so the trailer for his most recent film has made me quite giddy. Already featured at Sundance and SXSW, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is primed to keep the Spurlock firmly in the spotlight as the documentary genre's most entertaining directors.

After you watch the trailer, head on over to the film's official website to learn more about the documentary. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold follows Spurlock as he investigates product placement in American culture by making a film funded solely by product placement and advertisements. It's set for a limited release April 22nd.