Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Monk with a Camera" trailer

It's not often you can say "check out this monk's photographs!" But that's not the only unique twist to the upcoming documentary "Monk with a Camera."

Directors Tina Mascara and Guido Santi (who last collaborated on 2007's "Chris & Don: A Love Story") follow Nicholas Vreeland who left a privileged life to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk more than 40 years ago. Vreeland is the grandson of Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, so the word "privileged" is an apt description of his earlier life.  Though he tried to give up his love of photography during his time away from Western culture, it was this gift that he could never shake that helped his fellow monks rebuild their monastery.

Vreeland's story doesn't end there. According to the film's website, "The Dalai Lama appointed Nicholas as Abbot of the monastery, making him the first Westerner in Tibetan Buddhist history to attain such a highly regarded position."

Mascara and Santi's film currently has a significantly limited theatrical release, but I'm expecting this documentary to gain some appeal and branch out to other cities in the near future. In the meantime, check out the trailer and appreciate one man's crazy life trajectory:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Documentary will feature footage from the comet probe Philae

According to, the European Space Agency isn't the only group celebrating the successful comet landing by the Philae probe. Moonlake Entertainment has announced that their soon to be released documentary "In Space" will feature footage from the ground breaking Rosetta mission- including the landing and its 10-year journey to get there.

Of course, the film isn't just about one single mission. In fact, it's quite encompassing! According to the director's site: "'In Space' shows 50 years of Space Exploration of ESA and NASA, where we are today and where we aim to go." Though, I'm sure Philae's recent success can ensure more focus will be paid to the Rosetta mission.

"In Space" is directed by Hannes Michael Schalle, whose background is more in composing musical scores but has knocked out five documentaries in the past four years. I won't lie, I kind of like the idea of a composer helming a movie about space- it almost guarantees the film will have some beautiful moments.

With a 2014 release date, we won't have to wait long to see this potentially amazing documentary.

Monday, November 10, 2014

DOC NYC starts this weekend

It has been awhile so we'll try to ease back into this whole "daily news" thing. And what better way to begin then to preview DOC NYC. The festival begins this Thursday and runs for a full week and if you live in New York you should go celebrate this rising star in the film festival world.

It's only four years old but it's already the largest documentary festival in the US and is a Academy-qualifying festival. Per DOC NYC’s website:  "[The] winning short film will qualify for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules."

Now if you're still not convinced that you should attend at least one of the 150+ screenings (or if you already purchased a pass but can't figure out what to see), The Huffington Post has created a quick guide of the 16 "must watch" documentaries to see at this year's festival. It's chock full of summaries, screen times and trailers so it's a handy guide for those unsure of what to see.

Of course, you could always branch out on your own and scan the schedule yourself- in which case, God speed.