Documentary Insider

Watch this great little short…

August 20th, 2007

Rich Hoffman, (Fridays at the Farm) made a little film about his hometown Media, PA. Watch it and VOTE so Media wins a makeover from IKEA! I watched it and as usual…Rich made me cry (in a good way).

Oh…and if you haven’t seen Fridays at the Farm, you can buy it right from Rich at Coyopa. It’s got tons of extra features as is only $15.

Fridays at the Farm airs on Sundance Channel this Tuesday…

July 22nd, 2007

Watch the Sundance Channel‘s GREEN programming this Tuesday to see At Risk Films’ Fridays at the Farm.

Check your local listings.

2007 Los Angeles Film Festival…I can still find parking in Westwood…

June 24th, 2007

I took my first venture over to Westwood yesterday for the LA Film Festival. It seems….uh…festive. As with 2006 Film Independent has taken over many of the theatres in Westwood Village for their annual celebration of film. I would say “independent” film…but that’s not totally the case. There are however a lot of films and I think you can make a discovery if you dig through the catalog a little bit.

Yesterday I saw two films, Resolved and Join Us. It was a good combo as both films made me happy as to where I am in my life (not in high school or a cult! yay me!).

Today is the World Premiere of JUMP! I am super-excited to meet the jumpers I’ve been watching do tricks on screen. As a consultant, I was not on shoots or around when filmmaker Helen Hood Scheer was meeting these kids. So today is the day. Jumpers are coming out from all over the place to be at the festival. And if you come to the screening today at 4:30, come early! From 2:00 – 4:00 at the Festival Promenade (Westwood Blvd at Broxton Ave) the jumpers will be doing their thing. The outdoor event is free and gets you to the screening early so you have plenty of time to buy your ticket for JUMP! See you there!

JUMP! in LA Weekly today…

June 21st, 2007

From today’s LA Weekly – it’s a GO pick!:

    GO JUMP! (USA) The ever-growing documentary subgenre that could be called “Schoolkids Do the Damnedest Things!” (Spellbound, Mad Hot Ballroom, et al.) has now given rise to Jump!, which details the up-and-coming school sport of competitive jump rope. Anyone who has seen a Rocky movie knows that it’s not just for girls anymore, but apparently things have reached a new level — this is jump rope in the style of You Got Served, with crazy flips, breakdance moves, and one frighteningly intense preteen named Tori who seems to know more inspirational homilies than Mike Ditka. The first big-studio producer to take this idea, cast older and sexier youths, and add a bumping soundtrack will make a bundle. Meanwhile, marvel at what the kids these days can do. (Mann Festival, Sun., June 24, 4:30 p.m., and Tues., June 26, 5 p.m.; Majestic Crest, Sat., June 30, noon) (Luke Y. Thompson)

Read about all the LA Weekly picks here.

Get yer tix here!

Oscar rule puzzle…

June 19th, 2007

Is anyone reading all this Academy rule coverage? Docs are trying to qualify and the Academy wants what it wants. Doc Insider pal AJ Schnack was on a panel at Silverdocs . You can listen here.

I’m a teacher!

June 13th, 2007

I am teaching a class on documentary and indie film distribution in July at Stephen’s College. They are still accepting applications for enrollment. Join us in Columbia, MO and learn about filmstuff.

Countdown to LAFF…

June 11th, 2007

Silverdocs is happening and I’m not there. The past two years I made my way across the country for AFI/Discovery Channel’s celebration of documentary film – but this year I just couldn’t make it. They’ve got a terrific slate, program and conference including screenings of The Fighting Cholitas!

I’m in LA surviving the noise of helicopters hovering over Paris Hilton’s house (okay, that was last week, but I’m still complaining about it) and getting ready for the Los Angeles Film Festival. It looks like a goody. The programming is well-rounded with plenty of activities, guest artist and outdoor screenings. Plus their special Family Day programming. Two At Risk Films snuck their way into the fest, The Fighting Cholitas and JUMP!, the brand spanking new doc about competitive jumprope will have its World Premiere in competition at the fest. The filmmaker, Helen Hood Scheer is an LA native and a whole slew of the jumping kids are coming out. It’s sure to be a good time.

I’m going to build a schedule and I’m hoping I have time to see some stuff. How to Cook Your Life is a biodoc about Edward Espe Brown, a Zen master and best selling cookbook author. Julien Temple’s new music doc Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten is playing outdoors at the Ford Amphitheatre. Most of the competition docs are World Premieres, so there’s a lot to see and do.

Festival tickets went on sale last Friday. Get yours while they last. LA Film Festival runs Jule 21 – July 1.

Now it’s My Space…

April 9th, 2007

I finally started a My Space. Wanna be my friend?

Hello April…

April 5th, 2007

Yes, I went to SXSW, I saw a few movies, and naturally, ate TexMex and BBQ too. But I think I was having festival burnout. I didn’t try to see 3 movies a day. I didn’t try to get into tons of parties. I just plain, hung out. And, Austin is a good place to do that. I enjoyed Cat Dancers and it was fun to see What Would Jesus Buy with such a great crowd.

There’s a ton of doc stuff coming up, Full Frame starts next weekend and Tribeca and Hot Docs have announced their line ups as well. Lots of good looking stuff out there.

Air Guitar Nation opened in theatres March 22nd. Good times. Go see it in your town!

indieWIRE did a cool piece about doc bloggers and the online doc community. It’s here. Thanks Jonny!

If you’re in the LA area Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? is finally going to air on the PBS affiliate KCET Saturday night at 9:00 pm on Independent Lens (check local listings).

Also, Mr. Smith picked up a couple of prizes at some fests in Europe.

The Fighting Cholitas is playing around festivals like mad right now. Check their myspace for updates.

Fridays at the Farm just played the Florida Film Festival and will be showing in Newport Beach coming soon.

And me, I’ll be in Kansas City for the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee. In KC? Be sure to look me up!

True/False ’07 – it goes by so quickly…

March 9th, 2007

After a 24-hour whirlwind food tour of St. Louis (frozen custard at Ted Drewes, gooey butter cakes at the Missouri Baking Company, toasted ravioli and the STL fave a Slinger at Courtesy Diner and the perfunctory search for real St. Louis ribs) and a visit with my guys from Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? I headed off to Columbia, MO for the 4th Annual True/False Film Festival. The fest isn’t joking around when they say they don’t tell people how far out they are. I’ll tell you. They’re a 2-hour drive from the St. Louis airport and a 3-hour drive from Kansas City. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

I  m not done slingin
Slinger is a must eat in STL.

The festival kicks off Thursday, but doesn’t really heat up until Friday. Overall I thought the programming this year was pretty great. Movies I’d missed on the circuit, new stuff and what are becoming their famous non-premieres. I can’t talk about those. And I can’t really remember what I can talk about or not.

March March
Give me a T! Give me an F!

Lunar landings are a hoax
This space man walks on concrete.

Fire dancers at Missouri Theatre
The March March concludes with fire in front of the Missouri Theatre.

Not a keeper
Brother’s Keeper doesn’t make it home to a dorm room.

Highlights for me include the short claymated doc about Swedish graffiti girls, Blue Karma Tiger, David Wilson watching Night Mail with live music from Gutbucket, daily breakfast at the Main Squeeze, a spirited panel “The Shock of the New” (see Docs That Inspire – Joel transcribed some of it!), and the best (only) parade I’ve seen at a film festival.

Gutbucket answers questions about their new score for classic Night Mail.

Co conspirators at work
Paul & David rile up the crowd.

And now a moment to talk about audiences in Columbia… They rock my socks! Standing ovations (The Devil Came on Horseback played to a packed house and everyone rose to their feet to salute Annie Sundberg), great question and answers (I thought David Kohn might upset the audience with his loose cursing, but they didn’t care), town pride (best place to see a film shot in Columbia!), love them! When Paul Sturtz calls it paradise this might be part of what he’s talking about. 2006 was my first T/F and the audiences came out for the big movies. We were thrilled that Homemade Hillbilly Jam was sold out in the 1200 seat Missouri Theatre. But this year, everything was sold out. 10:00 am screenings were full and industry is so incredibly outnumbered it’s like going to a real movie. I really get swept up in it and I think it’s so important to both the festival and just plain ole movie going experience.

I had a great time and despite the fact that I didn’t realize that Booche’s was world famous until Sunday (we’re closed, see you in church) when you can’t get a burger because like many Columbia businesses they’re not open, this festival will be a permanent date on my schedule for years to come. They treat filmmakers great, it’s got that right camp vibe and the festival co-conspirators David Wilson and Paul Sturtz give better intros for films than I have ever heard. I’m already looking forward to 2008 and it’s not just so I can finally get that Booche’s burger (the malt is supposed to be pretty good too).

My blogging buddies have talked up movies etc, etc, etc. See AJ Schnack, Agnes Varnum, Joel Heller and our Columbia Tribune man on the scene Pete Bland.

I feel like I’ve been away from home more than I’ve been home lately. I’ll be hitting the BBQ in Austin starting Sunday. Me and everyone else will be blogging from SXSW. Good movies abound!

T F camera on Broadway
Can you tell the day I had my camera?