WE ♥ DOCS
"He'd smoke some pot, and he would work all night." Oscilloscope Labs has unveiled an official full-length trailer for a documentary titled Hal, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Amy Scott's first feature doc is about the iconic director Hal Ashby, "the '70s grooviest master filmmaker", who directed hit films like Harold and Maude, Being There, The Last Detail, Shampoo, and Coming Home. The film is made up of rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings. And examines Hel's clash with Hollywood: "His uncompromising nature pitted him against studio meddling, particularly in the 1980s, when a string of flops tarnished his legacy, but Scott conjures the special quality Ashby's films possess—an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity." This looks so groovy & inspiring.
"Every lore or myth has some truth to it…" Small Town Monsters has debuted the new official trailer for a documentary film titled The Bray Road Beast, about werewolf sightings in Wisconsin. This is the latest film made by Ohio-based filmmaker Seth Breedlove, and his Small Town Monsters label: "A production company dedicated to documenting unusual events around the country." So the story goes - in the early 90s, a rural Wisconsin community called Elkhorn was at the center of a series of real-life werewolf sightings. In their seventh film (and third feature-length documentary), Small Town Monsters takes you on an in-depth exploration of the "dogman" phenomenon. This seems like a must-see doc for horror fans and conspiracy nuts, perhaps because it makes it look like this could all be real. Werewolves really do exist! Right? Right!?
"I come up with new ideas so quickly. My canvas can't keep up with me." Magnolia Pictures has debuted the first official trailer for Heather Lenz's fascinating artist documentary Kusama - Infinity, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Lenz's Kusama - Infinity profiles world-renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, now 89 years old and still creating. The film "traces Kusama’s trajectory from a conservative upbringing in Japan to battling sexism and racism in 1960s NYC to her unstoppable rise to international fame." She has re-established her prominence with the highly successful "Infinity Room" and other recent art projects and global exhibitions. I saw this at Sundance and it's a wonderful, intriguing, inspiring doc film about a truly masterful artist, spanning her entire life and career. Highly recommended.
"Not all heroes walk on two legs." IMAX has launched the first teaser trailer for a special "IMAX Original Film" from Cosmic Pictures titled Superpower Dogs, playing on the big (big!) screen in March of 2019. This teaser is playing in front of showings of Pandas, the other IMAX nature documentary now in theaters. This looks wonderful!! I love dogs so much. They're the best. Superpower Dogs is a 55-minute IMAX film that "takes audiences on a journey around the world to meet incredible dogs and showcase the extraordinary real-life 'superpowers' they use to protect endangered species, save lives in avalanches and earthquakes and make the world a better place." We'll meet: Halo, a puppy training with a fire captain; Henry, an avalanche rescue expert; Reef, an Italian lifeguard dog; Ricochet, a surf legend in California; Tipper and Tony, the Bloodhound brothers leading the fight to save endangered species in Africa. I'm so watching this in theaters.
"Yeah, that's a metaphor for tuning in to what's already here." A stunning official trailer has debuted for a documentary film titled Living in the Future's Past, made by filmmaker Susan Kucera (For the Love of Tango), who partners with Jeff Bridges (who produced and features in the film), to ask: "What kind of future to we want to live in?" This doc is actually a beautifully photographed 4K "tour de force of original thinking on who we are and the life challenges we face." Sounds like a film that will massage your mind. The doc "upends our way of thinking and provides original insights into our subconscious motivations, the unintended consequences, and how our fundamental nature influences our future as Humankind." It will be showing only one night on the big screen, then available on VOD after that. This is a gorgeous trailer, I love the juxtaposition of all the footage and the kind of thoughts it already inspires. I really do want to see this.
"We have to tell the truth about what has happened to us." Netflix has debuted a new trailer for an indie documentary titled City of Joy, which will be available for streaming starting in September. In 2011, the "City of Joy" opened its doors in Eastern Congo with the goal of building a peaceful and transformational community for women survivors of violence. The film follows the first class of students at this remarkable leadership center in a place often referred to as "the worst place in the world to be a woman." These women have been through unspeakable violence spurred on by a 20 year war driven by colonialism and greed. They band together with the three founders of this center: Dr. Denis Mukwege, radical playwright and activist Eve Ensler ("The Vagina Monolgoues") and human rights activist, Christine Schuler-Deschryver, to find a way to create meaning in their lives even when all that was meaningful to them has been stripped away. See below.
"If you're pushing the edge, eventually you find the edge." Yeah, this looks awesome. National Geographic Documentary Films has unveiled the first, full-length official trailer for a documentary titled Free Solo, following rock climber Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever "free solo" climb Yosemite's 3,000 ft high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history in June of 2017. This documentary captures his climb and the hype surrounding it, giving us an edge-of-the-seat, mind-blowing glimpse at the incredible talent and strength involved in pulling this off. The film is made by the filmmakers behind the acclaimed mountain climbing doc Meru, and features some stunning footage. As a big fan and life-long supporter of extreme sports, I really can't wait to see this.
"How do you deal with this? You're never going to be able to un-see what you saw." Uh oh. Briarcliff Ent. has unveiled the first trailer for the new documentary by Michael Moore, titled simply Fahrenheit 11/9, a spin on the title of his Oscar-winning documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 released in 2004. This time Moore digs deep into the American culture to ask two provocative questions about the "Trump era": How the f**k did we get here, and how the f**k do we get out? I'm honestly very curious to see how Moore tackles this, as he has been very vocal on Twitter the last few years, talking about how crazy everything has become. The film will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival first, then they've already set a late September release date in theaters nationwide for everyone to see this and get riled up. Not much is shown in the trailer, but get ready.
"I want to represent my country, but with science." An official trailer has finally debuted for the inspiring documentary titled Inventing Tomorrow, made by producer / filmmaker Laura Nix (The Light in Her Eyes, The Yes Men Are Revolting). Inventing Tomorrow initially premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, along with the other science fair documentary titled simply just Science Fair (watch that trailer). Both films follow students who end up at the same science fair - the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (or ISEF). This one focuses on following a few of the inspiring teens as they prepare their projects, taking us to their homes around the world as they attempt to solve great dilemmas in their country. This looks a bit kitschy and hammy, but it seems very fun and friendly and good for kids of all ages to enjoy.
"They say she was beautiful. A dream. But for all her good looks, she was also a killer." The story of the fighter plane and pilots that helped win the Battle of Britain in World War II. Spitfire is already playing in cinemas in the UK, but we haven't featured this trailer for it yet, so better late than never. David Fairhead & Ant Palmer's documentary Spitfire is an examination of the British fighter plane, that was used heavily by the British in WWII. It's also the plane that Tom Hardy flies in Dunkirk, for reference. Spitfire also explores how this extraordinary plane thrives today and how it has become an international icon. This film looks like much more than just a historical doc or an engineering doc, and there's some spectacular footage in this trailer alone. I'm really looking forward to catching up with this film, hopefully sometime soon. See below.
"Time is going by so fast." Kino Lorber has debuted an official US trailer for a documentary titled Makala, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year and played at the Toronto & London Film Festivals. I saw this in London and loved it, writing a rave review. It's still often on my mind and with this new trailer I want to bring some attention to it again. Made by French filmmaker Emmanuel Gras, Makala follows one man from Congo (aka Democratic Republic of the Congo) who makes charcoal on his own then carries it on a bike to a nearby city to sell. As I said in my review: "it is one of the most engaging looks at humanity you can find on screen all year." Makala is an eye-opening cinematic experience that I highly recommend to all.
"If you haven't got the bond and the trust, you haven't got anything." This one is for all the dog lovers out there! I discovered this little documentary from New Zealand because they started following me on Twitter, and the profile's description states: "A documentary film for those who prefer dogs to people." Yep, that's me! Old Dog is a feature documentary about a shepherd and sheep farmer in New Zealand who really loves dogs. He spends more time raising and taking care of his dogs than anything else, and has won awards for sheep herding because he trains his dogs with love and sensitivity, not anger and violence. This looks like a heartwarming, moving look at the bond between man and dog, as well as how dogs are really the best. And I love how much he emphasizes treating all dogs with respect and compassion, that's how it should always be.