WE ♥ DOCS
"Follow me this way…" If you've followed the Cannes Film Festival in the last decade, you know the name Sergei Loznitsa - a Ukrainian filmmaker who has premiered numerous films at the festival in the past few years. His latest work is a documentary called Austerlitz, which examines the baffling yet common idea of visiting the grounds of former Nazi concentration camps. "One of the biggest mysteries of such places is the motive that induces thousands of people to spend their summer weekends in former concentration camps looking at ovens in a crematorium. To try to come to grips with this, I made this film," Loznitsa explains. This trailer is a very bleak introduction that instantly asks: why are these places so popular with tourists?
"A transcendent documentary experience…" Janus Films has debuted the official trailer for an outstanding documentary called Cameraperson, a very unique cinematic experience compiling the 25-year career of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Johnson has been working as a cinematographer for documentaries for a long time, working on projects including Citizenfour, Where to Invade Next, The Invisible War, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Fahrenheit 9/11 and many others. To make this film, she compiled various bits and pieces of footage from all of her projects and edited them together with a very vague narrative. I luckily had the chance to see this doc and it's incredible - a deeply visceral experience. I felt every emotion watching it, from happiness to fear to sadness to joy to disgust, and was amazed by the film she created. Don't miss this.
"Shame is trending." Netflix has debuted the trailer for a documentary titled Audrie & Daisy, which first premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The doc examines the lives of two different women, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, who never met each other but were brought together by tragic circumstances. Both teens were sexually assaulted while intoxicated, and subsequently bullied online by their classmates, which resulted in one suicide. The doc examines the rape culture in America and shaming which is, sadly, fueled by the internet. I saw the doc at Sundance and I'm not a fan of it, but it does discuss a very important topic.
Uncork'd Entertainment has released an official trailer for the documentary Doomed!: The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four, directed by Marty Langford, which is actually getting released on VOD + DVD later this year. As the title explains, the film examines the curious case of the 1994 version of The Fantastic Four, which was made by Roger Corman and distributed by New Horizons, but it was never actually released. The film has since ended up online as a bootleg, but this doc goes back and tells the complete story of how it all fell apart. "The average moviegoer doesn’t know that, ten years before releasing Tim Story's version, Roger Corman was asked to produce a Fantastic Four movie. Unbeknownst to cast and crew, the film was never going to be released though - and for a variety of reasons." Find out why in the film.
"The past… the present… the future… A journey from the birth of the stars through the origin of humanity." Whoa. I can't wait for this, it looks so enchanting. Empire has released a trailer for the alternate full-length version of Terrence Malick's long-awaited documentary Voyage of Time. This version is called Voyage of Time: Life's Journey, a 90-minute feature extended from the separate Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience which runs 45 minutes (see the trailer for that one) and is narrated by Brad Pitt. This version is narrated by Cate Blanchett, who you can hear in this trailer, and features all of the same footage with even more shots of the stars forming, and Earth being created, and life starting and evolving over millions of years of time. The score is by Simon Franglen & Hanan Townshend. You need to see this for yourself.
"We are at war - and you are the front-line troops in this war." Vanish Films has released an official trailer for the "chilling" documentary Do Not Resist, a powerful look at the current state of policing in America. Directed by cinematographer Craig Atkinson, this doc begins on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri and progresses through a number of different situations and key moments in history. It also includes views from both sides of the battle – the public and the police – with a SWAT ride-along and police training seminar profiled. This is obviously a very major topic in America at this time in history, and it's fascinating to see this kind of documentary arriving right in the thick of it, when there is no real solution to any problems just yet. This is a fantastic trailer - it let's all the footage speak for itself without trying to explain too much else.
"'Above and beyond the call of duty' - that's what it says…" Gravitas Ventures has unveiled a trailer for a documentary called Beyond Glory, capturing the story of actor Stephen Lang as he performs his own play titled "Beyond Glory". He first started performing "Beyond Glory" in 2004 - a one-man show where he tells eight different stories of Medal of Honor recipients. You'll see a glimpse of some of his performances in this trailer and he looks tremendous, truly bringing powerful emotions to these stories of brave men fighting in wars. This shows how remarkably talented Stephen Lang is, and it's worth watching for that reason alone.
"This must end." First Run Features has debuted an official trailer for a powerful environmental activism documentary called When Two Worlds Collide, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and won a Special Jury Prize for Best Debut Feature. The doc is about the conflict between the Peruvian government and Peruvian activists trying to save the Amazon rainforest in Peru. The jury at Sundance gave the film an award stating that "this film impresses us because of the tenacity of the filmmakers in staying with the story of many years. This film was beautiful, raw and had incredible tension." From the trailer, you can get a glimpse at some of the remarkable footage they have of the violent fight between the politicians and the people. This looks like investigative doc filmmaking at its finest, and most powerful. Watch below.
Warner Bros is going all-out with the release of the Signature Edition of The Iron Giant on Blu-ray this fall. One of the Special Features included is this documentary - called The Giant's Dream, a comprehensive look at the Making of Brad Bird's animated classic The Iron Giant, which first hit theaters in 1999. This is directed by Anthony Giacchino, brother of composer Michael Giacchino, who has been making docs for years. It seems like much more than some 20 minute extra, diving deep into the production and process of creating this beloved animated film. They have tons of behind-the-scenes footage of Brad Bird riling up everyone trying to pull off something unique. But it ends on such an ominous note - "what could go wrong?"
Witness one girl's dream take flight. Sony Classics has unveiled the first trailer for The Eagle Huntress, directed by Otto Bell, one of my favorite documentaries out of the Sundance FIlm Festival this year. The film follows the story of a young teenage girl in Mongolia named Aisholpan, living in the mountains with her family, who becomes the first ever female "Eagle Hunter" in over 2,000 years male dominance in their culture. Beyond telling an inspiring and exhilarating story, the film features some beautiful cinematography of the Mongolian region where she lives. I was totally enamored by this documentary when I first saw it at Sundance, and I've been raving about it ever since. I hope it finds a big audience here in the US and inspires many others. Oh and to top it off, Daisy Ridley narrates the film and helped produce it as well. Don't miss.
"It's purely a love thing." Snowfort Pictures has revealed an outstanding treaser trailer for the upcoming documentary 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters, which explains what it's about right in the title. The film is having its world premiere at Fantastic Fest later this fall, the home of Mondo where many of the finest posters nowadays are being made. The documentary examines the love of movie posters old and new, discusses the sad decline of the studio poster today, as well as the rise of the new generation of poster artists and collectors. It features interviews with Roger Kastel, behind the classic Jaws poster, as well as William Stout, Jason Edmiston, Laurent Durieux, Gary Pullin, Orlando Arocena and others. Looks fantastic.
"Most of us don't want to change…" Another incredible peek inside the mind of Nick Cave! The first trailer has debuted for a documentary called One More Time With Feeling, made by The Assassination of Jesse James director Andrew Dominik, which follows Cave producing his new album titled "Skeleton Tree" (out in September). The trailer is entirely in black & white, but the feature-length doc has both color and B&W footage as well as 2D and 3D footage, showing Cave working in the studio and outside as well. The footage in this looks stunning, and I'm a huge fan of Andrew Dominik, so I'll probably catch this just to get a glimpse at his most recent work. The "other" Nick Cave doc was called 20,000 Days on Earth and played throughout festivals in 2014-2015, earning mostly positive reviews for being a unique creation. This one is also unique.
"There's no switching off… You're on 24 hours a day." Studiocanal in the UK has debuted another new trailer for the Ron Howard documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week, including the subtitle The Touring Years. The documentary features stunning never-before-seen footage of the legendary band The Beatles touring all over the world during their most wild & famous years. We featured a trailer for this a few months ago, and the glimpse of footage in that was impressive to see, with even more in this latest trailer below. The film will follow the band from their early days of The Cavern Club in Liverpool to their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966. As I said before, even though we all thought we've seen and heard enough of The Beatles, there's always more - and this looks like it's going to be so much fun.
Never give up! This is one of those short film discoveries that makes you smile and feel so happy you want to grab the nearest person and tell them to watch it with you. The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere is an ESPN 30 for 30 short documentary made by Mickey Duzyj profiling a Japanese racehorse named Haru Urara. This horse is special because she kept losing, she lost over 100 races in a row, and yet was turned into a national superstar. The doc explains that Haru Urara became a symbol of hope, of "never giving up", for the Japanese people during their depressing economic crisis in the 90s and 00s. She also helped save the racetrack where she was from in a small town in the south of Japan. It's a wonderful doc with some fantastic animation and great interviews. I highly recommend watching, even if you have no interest in horse racing.