› Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. Doc
› Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave
› Peter Segal's Second Act
› Korea's The Spy Gone North
› Ed Sheeran's Songwriter Doc
› Scott Speer's I Still See You
Watch more trailers here ›››
› S2BY Director Boots Riley
› Leigh Whannell of Upgrade
› The Rider Director Chloe Zhao
› Bing Liu of Minding the Gap
› Petra Volpe of Divine Order
› Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve
Find more of our interviews ›››
Listen to the Newest Episode of The First Word Podcast:
"Music was my medicine. It just blew up so quickly…" Abramorama has released the first official US trailer for a documentary titled Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., a profile of the badass Sri Lankan singer / songwriter / rapper / musician / artist / activist known as M.I.A. Her real name is Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, and this deeply personal film takes us into her life, her childhood, her upbringing, and her story as she becomes famous around the world, and encounters resistance when she starts speaking out against issues that are dear to her. This premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals this year, where I first saw it. I wrote in my glowing review: "this seems like a film that is another music documentary about a pop star and her rise to fame and fortune and glory. But it's anything but that. It's actually a much more personal, intimate story of a young woman who wants to bring attention to and raise awareness about very dire problems in the world, and injustices, and do so using the power of the microphone." This is definitely a worth watching doc.
"His influence in the North is unimaginable." CJ Entertainment has just released a new full-length official trailer for a political thriller titled The Spy Gone North, which first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Midnight section earlier this summer. If you're into political thrillers, this is definitely a must see. The latest from Korean filmmaker Yoon Jong-bin (The Unforgiven, Kundo: Age of the Rampant), the double agent film follows a South Korean spy who infiltrates the North to obtain intelligence on the country's nuclear weapons plans in the mid-1990s. This stars Hwang Jung-min, Lee Sung-min, Cho Jin-woong, and Ju Ji-hoon. The new trailer is as intense and compelling as the first teaser previously, but with even more clarity. This seems like such a sneaky, complex noir thriller and I'm very curious to check it out myself.
"When I first started writing songs they were terrible…" Abramorama & Apple Music have released the first official trailer for a documentary titled Songwriter, a film about the music of popular British musician Ed Sheeran. This film was a last minute addition to the line-up at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, but it played to dismal reviews and a very muted, forgettable response. "This personal portrait of the British singer-songwriter, filmed by his cousin Murray Cummings, follows this modest performer’s creative process as he writes a new song from scratch that will entrance millions. From an early-morning jam in the garden to the finished song, from the first chord to the honed lyrics." I don't know about everyone else, but it seems a bit too early to be making a doc about Sheeran, doesn't seem like there's too much of his story to share yet.
"Everyone remembers where they were that day – the day of the event." Lionsgate has debuted an official trailer for a strange new supernatural thriller titled I Still See You, adapted from a novel titled "Break My Heart 1,000 Times", which was the film's original title before this newer, simpler one. I Still See You is the latest from filmmaker Scott Speer (Status Update, Midnight Sun) and it has some intriguing things going on, kind of like ghosts but caused by some weird sci-fi event and then the second half of this throws in a few more twists. Bella Thorne stars as Veronica in I Still See You, along with Richard Harmon, Amy Price-Francis, Hugh Dillon, Shaun Benson, Dave Brown, Thomas Elms, Louis Herthum, and Dermot Mulroney. I will say this caught my attention, for sure, I like the sci-fi/horror mix. I'm curious to see more.
"I could seriously be on the verge of having a mental breakdown, but as long as I'm able to go skate, I'm completely fine." Hulu + Magnolia have released the first official trailer for a documentary titled Minding the Gap from director Bing Liu, one of the very best doc films this year. This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival year, where it won a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking; then it went on to play at tons of other film festivals, as shown in one of the title cards in this trailer. "The secret to growing up is that no one really knows what they’re doing. It's in the gap between childhood and adulthood that we find meaning for ourselves." Minding the Gap is about three kids from Illinois, growing up fast and figuring out adult life, all the while cherishing the great freedom of skateboarding. I interviewed Bing Liu at Sundance after seeing the film, and wrote a rave review as well, praising it as "one of the most refreshingly original, engaging docs about growing up in today's America." I cannot recommend this doc enough. Watch below.
"Hey, you don't want us…? We'll do our own thing!" Abramorama is releasing a documentary this summer titled 93Queen, an impressive and engaging profile of an all-female ambulance corps made up of Hasidic Jewish women from the Borough Park neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Director Paula Eiselt explains (via Women and Hollywood): "It is a universal story in a very particular setting about what happens when women feel empowered to make progress in their own communities, on their own terms, in order to move those communities forward." Featuring Rachel "Ruchie" Freier and "The Women of Ezras Nashim". They decided to band together and create their own volunteer EMT corps, and this doc tells their inspiring story.
"I used to be like you when I was a kid." Film Movement has debuted a new US trailer for the Zambian film I Am Not a Witch, the second feature from Zambian filmmaker Rungano Nyoni (Nordic Factory). This premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in Directors' Fortnight last year, and went on to play at numerous other festivals including TIFF, Helsinki, London, Mumbai, Busan, Stockholm, and even the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. I Am Not a Witch is about a young girl who is accused of being a witch, and she ends up stuck with a group of other outcast women working in the desert. But as the title says, of course she is not a witch. The film stars Maggie Mulubwa as Shula, along with a vibrant cast of local actors. If you've been hearing about this one, now is your chance to finally catch it when it opens in theaters this September.
"This Christmas, to dream is to heal." Universal has released the second official trailer for the new Robert Zemeckis movie, titled Welcome to Marwen, starring Steve Carell as a man who finds solace in WWII miniatures. This is a true story, and many of you may have seen the documentary about Mark Hogancamp already. Carell plays Mark, a victim of an attack who finds a unique and beautiful therapeutic outlet to help him through his recovery process. The cast includes Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González, Gwendolyn Christie, Leslie Zemeckis, and Neil Jackson. This new trailer is much better than the first trailer, playing up the emotional side of it, as well as the awkward but lovable charm that Carell brings to this role. This looks like it'll play best with audiences and not for awards.
"Just give me this one chance…" A24 has released a second official trailer for a film titled A Prayer Before Dawn, shot by a French filmmaker in a real Thai prison starring real inmates. This played at the Cannes Film Festival last year, but has been awaiting release from A24 ever since, finally in theaters next month. Based on a true story, the film is about a young English boxer who is thrown into prisons in Thailand, where he fights back and trains to be a competitor in a vicious Muay Thai boxing tournament. Joe Cole stars as Billy Moore, the one white man in this Thai world, who has nothing but boxing. The cast includes Vithaya Pansringarm, Panya Yimmumphai, Nicolas Shake, Pornchanok Mabklang, plus the real Billy Moore in a cameo role. This looks intense and riveting, looking forward to checking it out sometime soon.
"A thousand year army…" Paramount has dropped the first official trailer for a movie called Overlord, a secret project from Bad Robot made by Australian filmmaker Julius Avery (Son of a Gun). This project was first rumored to be the "new Cloverfield movie", that could be altered in post-production to fit into that universe. But Paramount has decided to release it as its own movie, sticking to the original script that was filmed. Overlord is about a group of WWII soldiers who end up stuck behind enemy lines after D-Day. They discover the Nazi's secret plans to create more powerful soldiers using supernatural forces. Starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk, John Magaro, and Mathilde Ollivier. I'm way, way in for this - especially considering it's coming from Bad Robot, they've been cookin' up something gnarly for us to enjoy.