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Official Trailer for Award-Winning Documentary 'Last Men in Aleppo'

Last Men in Aleppo Trailer

"It's not about us. The dilemma is our children." Grasshopper Films has unveiled an official trailer for the acclaimed, award-winning documentary Last Men in Aleppo, taking us deep inside the war in Syria. The film profiles and follows three different founding members of the humanitarian group known as "The White Helmets" (official website), who have stayed behind in Aleppo while the city is still under siege in an effort to save lives. This trailer cuts right down to it, and is a heartrending, harrowing look at how bad the war in Syria has become, and what it's doing to that country. I missed this at Sundance, where it won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, but I'm planning to catch it as soon as it's released. This should be on your radar.

 Posted April 19 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Activism Fights Back in Trailer for 'Citizen Jane: Battle for the City' Doc

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City Doc Trailer

"She believed the city is not about buildings, the city is about people." Need a good doc to rile you up and inspire you to get out there and fight back? Try this one. Sundance Selects has debuted a trailer for a documentary titled Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, profiling the activism work of Jane Jacobs. Jacobs fought to save historic New York City during the ruthless redevelopment era of urban planner Robert Moses in the 1960s. The doc focuses on construction kingpin Robert Moses' plan to raze lower Manhattan to make way for a highway. This seems like the perfect doc for the times, showing how passionate activism can actually make a difference. This also reminds me of another great battle of wits doc - Best of Enemies, which I also highly recommend seeing. Citizen Jane opens in NYC later this week, then LA next week. Take a look.

 Posted April 18 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Watch: Vimeo's Wacky Doc About Sundance 'Escape From Park City'

Escape From Park City Doc

"The cheapest way to survive is to subsist entirely on appetizers. If you're luck enough to get access to free parties throughout the day…" We've been covering the Sundance Film Festival for 11 years, and I adore the festival, but it's not always the most inviting place especially if you don't have proper access. This year, Vimeo hired "self-described 'struggling' Staff Picked documentarian" John Wilson to make a video about his experience at the festival - without any access. Suffice it to say, he makes an amusing doc that mocks the festival and the absurdity of everything, yet also finds the good in it. "Wandering up and down Main Street, remarking on the blend of commercialism and exclusivity, he paints a pretty pallid picture of festival life and the forces that dominate it." It's worth watching for a good life and a totally different look at Sundance.

 Posted April 14 in Documentaries, Short Film, To Watch | Comments

First Trailer for Docu-Art Hybrid 'Flames' Follows a Filmmaking Couple

Flames Trailer

"Where you're making art, and you're making life, and it feels like anything is possible." Now this might be something worth watching. An official trailer has debuted for a film titled Flames, a "docu-art hybrid" that was filmed over five years. The story follows a couple, filmmakers/artists Zefrey Throwell & Josephine Decker, who documented their own romance over the course of these five years. It's apparently a very real romance and real story, but doesn't end well. The two "simmer in the white hot apocalypse of first love until the throw of a dart finds them on a spontaneous trip to the Maldives and cracks open the question -- is their love true or just a performance?" Even after breaking up, the two of them still came together to finish this film and present it as a remarkable inside look at real romance, including the bad side of what can happen.

 Posted April 14 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Must Watch: Trailer for Inspiring, Energetic 'Step' Dance Documentary

Step Documentary Trailer

"We makin' music with our bodies!" Fox Searchlight has revealed the first official trailer for an outstanding documentary titled Step, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year where it received rave reviews from critics and audiences. The film follows a few different teenage women at a special high school in Baltimore, Maryland who are part of the prestigious step dance program. The school is designed to help them get into college, many of them being the first in their family to attend, and it shows how step dancing is a way for them to come together and focus on what maters - expressing themselves creatively. I caught this film at Sundance and really, really loved it. It's exciting, and energetic, and inspiring, and moving, with just the right balance of heart and honesty. I will be strongly supporting it throughout this year. See below.

 Posted April 12 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

First Trailer for Laura Poitras' New Doc 'Risk' Examining Julian Assange

Risk Documentary Trailer

Showtime has debuted an official trailer for the new documentary made by Laura Poitras, who won the Academy Award a few years back for her doc CitizenFour about Edward Snowden. Risk follows a different whistleblower, the infamous Julian Assange, who founded WikiLeaks and has gotten himself in all kinds of trouble over the last few years. Similar to CitizenFour, this doc follows Assange very closely, with Poitras taking us on an intimate journey into the life of Assange and the situations he has put himself in. The film already premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in Director's Fortnight last year as a work-in-progress titled Asylum. I saw the film there and was not a big fan, it's nowhere near as good as CitizenFour, and I much prefer the other Assange doc titled We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks made by Alex Gibney. But after the election of Trump, she seems to have added much more footage and given this doc an entirely new focus.

 Posted April 10 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Official Trailer for 'Obit' Documentary Profiling Writers of Obituaries

Obit Documentary Trailer

"It's the once, only chance to make the dead live again." Kino Lorber has released an official trailer for the documentary titled Obit., about the lives and work of obituary writers. The description explains that this is supposedly the first ever doc about obituary writers, which is likely true. However, it makes me think of the film The Last Word, which is not a doc but an indie comedy about an obituary writer (played by Amanda Seyfried). From the description: "Going beyond the byline and into the minds of those chronicling life after death on the freshly inked front lines of history, the film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory, and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies?" This already played at doc festivals all over and opens in very limited theaters later this month.

 Posted April 10 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Official Trailer for 'I Am Heath Ledger' Documentary About the Actor

I Am Heath Ledger Doc Trailer

"He was always a director, acting was just a way to get there." Spike has premiered a trailer for their new feature-length documentary titled I Am Heath Ledger, examining the short, tragic, yet still triumphant, joyous life of Australian actor Heath Ledger. Today (April 4th) is also Ledger's birthday, he would've been 38; he died from accidental intoxication of drugs in early 2008. Despite his tragic death, Ledger's legacy still remains strong and all of his cinematic work will live on to prove his talent. This looks like an intimate and heartfelt inside look at his life, with tons of home video footage and interviews with friends and the people he worked with. Even folks who aren't the biggest fans of Ledger may find something meaningful in this doc.

 Posted April 4 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Official Trailer for 'Chasing Trane' Doc About Jazz Legend John Coltrane

Chasing Trane Doc Trailer

"John Coltrane's sound rearranges molecular structure." Abramorama has released an official US trailer for the documentary titled Chasing Trane, an extensive look at the life of jazz legend John Coltrane. This doc first premiered at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals last year, and is a must-see for any die-hard jazz fans. It features tons of rare footage and photographs of Coltrane practicing and performing, including a never-before-seen studio tape found in a garage during the making of the film. Even if you're not that familiar with Coltrane, this doc spends plenty of time telling us who he is and why he was so passionate about music. The film is produced with the full participation of the Coltrane family and the support of the record labels that collectively own the Coltrane catalog. It's not the best doc, but it is a nice look at a legend.

 Posted March 29 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

First Trailer for Al Gore's Doc 'An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power'

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Trailer

"Send a message of truth to power." Paramount and Participant Media have debuted the first official trailer for the highly anticipated (right?) sequel to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, titled An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. You've no doubt already heard about this, as the film premiered opening night at the Sundance Film Festival in January to mostly positive reviews. Al Gore returns, a decade after the original film, to tell us all about how things have only gotten worse and that we must do something now. An Inconvenient Sequel features a clearly angry Al Gore speaking even louder, with more impatience, about the truly worrisome issue of climate change and the man-made pollution causing it. I much prefer the other doc Chasing Coral, but this one is still worth watching. More than anything I hope it helps makes a difference.

 Posted March 28 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Teaser Trailer for 'The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds' Documentary

The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds

"It's totally different to anything that was going on at that time. It was the leader, and everybody followed that." Showtime has debuted a teaser trailer for their new documentary The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds, telling the story of The Beach Boys iconic album. The film features exclusive interviews with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks, and will explore "the story of the creation of the record that cemented The Beach Boys reputation as a leading force to rival The Beatles." The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds was released in May of 1966, and the film chronicles their time in and out of the studio creating the songs. This first aired on BBC, but Showtime has added new footage for the US premiere. This might be a good companion to the Brian Wilson film Love & Mercy from a few years ago. Take a look/listen.

 Posted March 27 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Official Trailer for 'Fight for Space' - A Documentary on the Space Race

Fight for Space Doc Trailer

"When I look at the present direction of our space program, I feel kind of disappointed." Gravitas Ventures has unveiled a trailer for an inspiring new documentary titled Fight for Space, about the Space Race and how things have changed since the 1960s. The doc spends time exploring the "Space Race" of the 1960s/70s that drove us to put a man on the moon, then jumps into modern times and asks tough questions: why did we stop, we aren't we trying again, and what is preventing us from exploring even further? As expected, the doc explains that the "Space Race" was fueled by American's desire to beat the Russians, along with JFK's insistence on making it the moon. I wish we had a space program as active as we did back then, and the only way we can ramp things up is to keep bringing attention to the importance of NASA and space exploration.

 Posted March 27 in Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

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