Documentary Insider

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February 28th, 2008

LA Times talks to top sales agents about selling Sundance movies…

January 22nd, 2008

Agents seek homes for small films
As this year’s festival is proving dozens of Sundance movies can go home with no buyer.
By John Horn, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 22, 2008

80th Oscar noms announced…

January 22nd, 2008

The Academy announced their nominations in all categories this morning. Extra special congrats to short doc FREEHELD which I worked on as a theatrical consultant.

You can view the full list of nominees here.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

    NO END IN SIGHT
    Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

    OPERATION HOMECOMING: WRITING THE WARTIME EXPERIENCE
    Richard E. Robbins

    SICKO
    Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara

    TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE
    Alex Gibney and Eva Orner

    WAR/DANCE
    Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

    FREEHELD
    Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth

    LA CORONA (THE CROWN)
    Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega

    SALIM BABA
    Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello

    SARI’S MOTHER
    James Longley

No camp for cookie…

January 16th, 2008

In this instance I’m cookie.

I feel a little funny today because I’m in Los Angeles and not Park City. This is the first January since 2001 that I will not ascend the peaks of the Wasatch Mountains to attend the Sundance Film Festival. Last year on this eve before the festival began I was having dinner with my friend Harriette and discussing the herbal remedies and organic snacks we had brought to defend our bodies from the 10 day boot camp we were about the embark on. Now I’m at my home computer drinking tea and checking the weather in Park City to see what I’m missing.

The Sundance 08 program boasts many docs by people we know like Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney and Nanette Burstein and some newcomers too. I haven’t investigated what has distribution or not, I’ll wait for indieWIRE’s report on that and save myself a couple of hours of research. I caught a press screening this week of Trouble the Water, but I’ll respect the press holdback and wait to talk about it during the festival.

The Sundance Institute is making some announcements like their new DocSource program.

I’m also interested in the announcement of the nominees of the Inaugural Awards for Nonfiction Film.

Starting January 18th and running all 10 days of the Festival you can view one short
film each day of the Festival for free for 24 hours at www.sundance.org/watch.

It’s quiet here and while I’ll miss seeing friends and movies and maybe catching the premiere of something important I won’t miss the hub bub of Main Street that I have often complained about in the past, the snowy cold weather and regular meal times. Sundance Channel will be airing their Festival Updates and looks like you can watch it online too. Of course the myriad of bloggers and press and everyone else will be talking about what’s new and hot in the world of independent (dare I say) cinema. And me, I’ll be in Independent Spirit Awards screenings just 5 minutes from my house catching up on 2007s movies.

Admittedly, I still saved all my party invitations in a folder labeled “Sundance 08” in my email box just in case I decide to hop a Delta flight to Salt Lake City.

Los Angeles: Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? Nov 7

November 5th, 2007

Come to a FREE screening of Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Linwood Dunn Theatre. All info here!

Wednesday, November 7th
7:00 pm

Director Frank Popper will be in attendance.

Screens with An Unreasonable Man.

FREE parking in the back.

    The 26th annual Contemporary Documentaries series is a showcase for feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the 2006 Academy Award® nominations, including the winners, as well as other important and innovative films considered by the Academy that year.

    All films in the series, except for the November 28 titles, screen at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The filmmakers will be present at screenings whenever possible. Admission for all screenings is free. Tickets are not required for entry.

Tonight at Oscar’s Docs…What a Feelin’!

October 23rd, 2007

What can I say…this makes it all worth it!

Take Irene Cara, an Oscar winning song from Flashdance and the kids from Oscar winning doc He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’ and you’ve got magic.

There are 4 more weeks of Oscar’s Docs Series 3. Tickets are still available.

2007 IDA Awards are out too…

October 11th, 2007

    2007 International Documentary Association Award Nominees

    IDA FEATURE FILM NOMINEES

    CRAZY LOVE
    Dan Klores, director/producer
    Fisher Stevens, producer
    Shoot the Moon Productions, Greenstreet Productions, Magnolia Pictures

    OPERATION HOMECOMING: WRITING THE WARTIME EXPERIENCE
    Richard E. Robbins, director/producer
    Tom Yellin, executive producer
    The Documentary Group, PBS

    SICKO
    Michael Moore, director
    Michael Moore, Meghan O’Hara, producers
    Dog Eat Dog Films, Lionsgate Films, The Weinstein Company

    TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE
    Alex Gibney, director/producer
    Eva Orner, Susannah Shipman, producer s
    X-Ray Productions, THINKFilm, Discovery Channel

    A WALK TO BEAUTIFUL
    Mary Olive Smith, director/producer
    Steve Engel, executive producer
    Engel Entertainment, Inc., PBS/WGBH International/NOVA

    IDA SHORT FILM NOMINEES

    BLACK AND WHITE
    Zam Salim, director
    John Archer, producer
    Hopscotch Films

    BODY & SOUL: DIANA & KATHY
    Alice Elliott, director/producer
    Simone Pero Audi, producer
    Welcome Change Productions, Laverne Berry, Esq.

    THE FIGHTING CHOLITAS
    Mariam Jobrani, director/producer
    Kenny Krauss, producer
    Moto Films, At Risk Films/Sarah Jo Marks

    FREEHELD
    Cynthia Wade, director
    Vanessa Roth, Matthew Syrett, producers
    Lieutenant Films Inc.

    A SON’S SACRIFICE
    Yoni Brook, director
    Musa Sheed, producer
    Marco Williams, executive producer
    Foment Films, ITVS/PBS

    IDA LIMITED SERIES NOMINEES

    ADDICTION
    Jon Alpert, Joe Berlinger, Kate Davis, Susan Froemke, Liz Garbus, Chris Hegedus, David
    Heilbroner, Eugene Jarecki, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Barbara Kopple, Albert Maysles, D.A.
    Pennebaker, Alan Raymond, Susan Raymond, Bruce Sinofsky, Jessica Yu, directors John Hoffman, Susan Froemke, producers Sheila Nevins, executive producer
    HBO Documentary Films, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, HBO

    COMING OUT STORIES
    Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon, directors/producers
    Lauren Lazin, Eileen Opatut, executive producers
    Simon & Goodman Picture Company, LOGO, a Viacom company

    THE HILL
    Ivy Meeropol, director/producer
    Elizabeth Holder, Xan Parker, producers
    Lynne Kirby, executive producer
    Roland Park Films, Sundance Channel

    THE SUPREME COURT
    Thomas Lennon, director
    Mark Zwoniter, series producer
    Jody Sheff, executive producer
    Hidden Hill Productions for Thirteen/WNET New York, PBS

    IDA CONTINUING SERIES NOMINEES

    30 DAYS
    Morgan Spurlock, RJ Cutler, Ben Silverman, H.T. Owens, executive producers
    Keith Hoffman, Max Swedlow, supervising producers
    Actual Reality, Reveille, FX Networks
    Episodes Submitted: “Atheist/Christian,” “Immigration,” “Jail,”
    “Outsourcing”

    AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
    Mark Samels, executive producer
    Sharon Grimberg, series producer
    PBS
    Episodes Submitted: “Alexander Hamilton” (Muffie Meyer, dir.), “The Gold
    Rush” (Randall MacLowry, dir.), “New Orleans” (Stephen Ives, dir.), “Summer
    of Love” (Gail Dolgin, Vicente Franco, dirs.)

    AMERICAN MASTERS
    Susan Lacy, executive producer
    Prudence Glass, series producer
    Julie Sacks, series supervising producer
    Thirteen/WNET New York, PBS
    Episodes Submitted: “Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film” (Ric Burns,
    dir./prod., Donald Rosenfeld, Daniel Wolf, prods.), “John Ford/John Wayne:
    The Filmmaker and the Legend” (Sam Pollard, dir., Ken Browser, prod.),
    “Novel Reflections on the American Dream” (Michael Epstein, dir./prod.,
    Julie Sacks, prod.), “Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home” (Peter Frumkin,
    dir./prod., Susan Levene, prod.)

    THIS AMERICAN LIFE
    Created By Ira Glass/Chicago Public Radio
    Chris Wilcha, director
    Diane Cooke, Jane Feltes, Sarah Koenig, Lisa Pollak, Alissa Shipp, Nancy Updike, producers Julie Snyder, Alex Blumberg, Ira Glass, Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman, Christine Vachon, Jocelyn Hayes, executive producers
    Left/Right, Killer Films, Chicago Public Radio, Showtime
    Episodes Submitted: “Reality Check,” “Growth Spurt,” “The Cameraman,”
    “God’s Close-Up”

    WIDE ANGLE: SEASON FIVE
    Pamela Hogan, Andy Halper, series producers
    Stephen Segaller, executive producer
    Thirteen/WNET New York, PBS
    Episodes Submitted: “18 with a Bullet” (Ricardo Pollack, dir./prod.), “Back
    to School” (Judy Katz, prod./writer), “Class of 2006” (Gini Reticker,
    dir./prod./writer.; Charlotte Mangin, prod.), “Democracy in the Rough” (Fred
    de Sam Lazaro, prod./writer)

    IDA ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE AWARD

    AMERICAN/SANDINISTA
    Jason Blalock, director/producer
    University of California at Berkeley

    HALF-LIFE: A JOURNEY TO CHERNOBYL
    Phil Grabsky, David Bickerstaff, directors
    Phil Grabsky, producer
    Seventh Art Productions

    MY KID COULD PAINT THAT
    Amir Bar-Lev, director/producer
    John Battsek, executive producer
    Axis Films, Passion Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, A&E IndieFilms

    NANKING
    Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman, directors
    Ted Leonsis, Michael Jacobs, producers
    Agape Multimedia Partners, LLC; THINKFilm; HBO

    RAPSODIA DO ABSURDO
    Cláudia Nunes, director/executive producer

    SPUTNIK MANIA
    David Hoffman, director
    Eric Reid, producer
    Jay Walker, executive producer
    Varied Directions International

    STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME
    Michele Ohayon, director/producer
    Theo Van De Sande, producer
    Diamond Lane Films Inc., Red Envelope Entertainment

    WHITE LIGHT/ BLACK RAIN
    Steven Okazaki, director/producer
    Farallon Films/ HBO Documentary Films, HBO

    IDA PARE LORENTZ NOMINEES

    AMERICAN/SANDINISTA
    Jason Blalock, director/producer
    University of California at Berkeley

    GOOD MORNING DANGME
    Takaya Kawasaki, director/producer
    New York University, Takaya Kawasaki

    MADE IN LA
    Almudena Carracedo, director/producer
    Robert Bahar, producer
    Semilla Verde Productions, PBS/P.O.V.

    OPERATION HOMECOMING: WRITING THE WARTIME EXPERIENCE
    Richard E. Robbins, director/producer
    Tom Yellin, executive producer
    The Documentary Group, PBS

    RAPSODIA DO ABSURDO
    Cláudia Nunes, director/executive producer

    RIBBON OF SAND
    John Grabowska, director/producer
    Harpers Ferry Center, PBS

    STANDING SILENT NATION
    Suree Towfighnia, director
    Courtney Herman, producer
    Prairie Dust Films, PBS/P.O.V.

    A WALK TO BEAUTIFUL
    Mary Olive Smith, director/producer
    Steve Engel, executive producer
    Engel Entertainment, Inc., PBS/WGBH International/NOVA

    WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS
    Spike Lee, director/producer
    Sam Pollard, producer
    40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks/HBO Documentary Films, HBO

    WHITE LIGHT/ BLACK RAIN
    Steven Okazaki, director/producer
    Farallon Films/ HBO Documentary Films, HBO

    IDA DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY AWARD NOMINEES

    ALAGADOS: SI, NAO MAU CONDUOT
    Sylvia Johnson, director/producer
    Joselito Crispim, producer
    Ondina Filmes, Santaluzia Filmes
    American University

    BISMILLAH: IN THE NAME OF ALLAH
    Jolene Pinder, Sarah Zaman, directors/producers
    Zeppelin Films
    University of Florida

    BULLET PROOF VEST
    May Lin Au Yong, director/producer
    Steadfast Films
    Stanford University
    PBS/P.O.V.

    GOOD MORNING, DANGME
    Takaya Kawasaki, director/producer
    New York University

    LONG HAUL
    Erin Hudson, director
    Rotation Films
    Stanford University

    TIJUANA NADA MAS
    Yolanda Pividal, director/producer
    Masood Maque, co-producer
    Placer Prodicciones
    City College of New York
    PBS/P.O.V.

Academy newses it up…

October 11th, 2007

In the wake of yesterday’s Academy rule change for 2008 (check out AJ’s blog for the scoop) the Academy released the short list for short docs for this year!

I’m so happy for filmmaker Cynthia Wade, who’s film FREEHELD truly touched me when I saw it for the first time at an early morning screening at Sundance in January.

    October 11, 2007
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    8 Doc Shorts Shortlisted for 2007 Oscars® Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that the field of Documentary Short Subject entries for the 80th Academy Awards® has narrowed to eight films, from which three to five will earn Oscar® nominations. Voters from the Academy’s Documentary Branch viewed this year’s 23 eligible contenders and submitted their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The eight films are listed below in alphabetical order:

    “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy” “Freeheld” “If It Happens” “La Corona” (“The Crown”) “Ochberg’s Orphans” “Portraits of a Lady” “Salim Baba” “Sari’s Mother” The 80th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2007 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. # # # ©A.M.P.A.S.®

My favorite thing is coming…

September 12th, 2007

The Academy of Arts and Sciences is gearing up for the third installment of their Oscar’s Docs series. Starting September 17 and Monday nights through November 19 the Academy will screen the Academy Award winning documentaries of 1977-1988. Many if not all evenings will include question and answer with special guests.

Tickets $5 or $3 students

Click for more info or to buy tickets.

I’ll miss the first night since I’ll be at IFP with Girls on the Wall. But after that you can find me there every Monday night!

Mr. Smith on Netflix…

August 21st, 2007

I’m proud to say that Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? is available NOW through Netflix! Go put it in your queue and give it 5 stars!

Smith poster 01