WE ♥ DOCS
"Her whole life became chaos and drug use…" A new UK trailer has debuted for a creative musical dance / art documentary titled Mansfield 66/67, which premiered at many higher profile film festivals last year. This film already opened very quietly in the US last fall, but we never wrote about it or featured it. Now that it has a new UK trailer for its upcoming release there, why not toss this out for anyone curious. Mansfield 66/67 is about the last two years of movie goddess Jayne Mansfield's life, and the rumours swirling around her untimely death. "5 kids, 3 ex-husbands, and the first top actress to go nude on film, Jayne Mansfield is Hollywood Babylon made flesh! Was her tragic end caused by a curse?" Find out in this film and learn more about Jayne than you probably ever wanted to know. This looks like a very wild trip into her life and death.
"He's looking for love." Disneynature has unveiled the first fun trailer for their next feature documentary, titled Penguins, arriving in theaters on Earth Day 2019. It's Disneynature's tradition to always preview their next film a year ahead of release on the Earth Day before, and they're doing that again with this one. Penguins is actually focused on mainly one little penguin, who stands out - an adorable little guy named Steve who joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family. This looks remarkably adorable and so much fun, but that's of course because these filmmakers are experts, by now, at crafting very clever narrative stories around cute animals from this beautiful Earth we live on. So much amazing footage! I just hope it makes us all care more about our planet.
"His work was a texture of the city around him." "He was into letting art be itself…" Magnolia Pictures has released an official trailer for a documentary titled Boom for Real, made by director Sara Driver; in full it's: Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat. That title pretty much explains it all - this is a look at famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's teenage years, living in New York City, when he shaped his vision before becoming big. Early on, he was known as the street artist "SAMO" (as this trailer explains nicely) living in a tough time in NYC in the 70's and 80's, before becoming the world-famous artist he is known as today, known now by his own original name: Jean-Michel Basquiat. This looks very good, and I think I'm especially fascinated because it has such a specific focus on an artist's early years and what influenced/shaped him into the person he would become. I like this more than showing his entire life story.
"Then the story went from being amazing, to incredible." Neon + CNN Films have debuted the first official trailer for an forgettable documentary called Three Identical Strangers, which won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. This gripping, jaw-dropping, shocking, mind-expanding film from director Tim Wardle was won of the most talked about docs at Sundance this year, because it's just so astounding. You just have to see it to believe it! The story goes that one day in the 1980s, three random strangers accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth. They they get famous, but it's what they discover after all of that which will leave you jaw on the floor. A must watch doc - check it out.
"Helping people live as well as possible for as long as possible." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an acclaimed new documentary titled End Game, made by filmmakers Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman (of Howl, Lovelace, The Times of Harvey Milk). This short doc (runs in total 40 minutes) already played at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year as an officially selected short film. End Game goes inside two San Francisco Bay Area medical facilities offering graceful death. Filmed and edited in intimate vérité style, this work follows visionary medical practitioners who are working on the cutting edge of life and death -- and dedicated to changing our thinking about both. This looks very intriguing and eye-opening, which is always good for a documentary. It seems like it's going to be a very tough watch, and a real punch to your emotions.
"I want to be up there, that's part of me!" Netflix has launched an official trailer for a documentary titled Mercury 13, made by filmmakers David Sington (In the Shadow of the Moon, The Fear of 13) & Heather Walsh. This doc profiles women who were tested in 1961 for spaceflight, but had their dreams dashed when only men were chosen to become astronauts. On April 9, 1959, NASA introduced their first astronaut class of all men, Mercury 7, to the world. This is the story of the 13 women who were just as deserving of their place in space. I'm sold already based on that pitch alone. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking, "I didn't know anything about these women?" Perhaps that's the way NASA wanted it to be, but now we get to learn their story. This looks like a great doc to watch when it's out. And I'm a big fan of the poster artwork below.
"If you're staying here, you feel like you made it." Good Deed Entertainment has released an official trailer for a documentary titled Always at The Carlyle, the latest from director Matthew Miele (of Harry Benson: Shoot First, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's). The film profiles the famous hotel known as The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, located in NYC's Upper East Side at 76th Street near Central Park. This iconic, vintage hotel palace caters to the most prestigious guests from around the world, and it's a rare look inside with what looks like unprecedented access. There are also tons of famous people featured in the doc being interviewed about the hotel - George Clooney, Wes Anderson, Anjelica Huston, Vera Wang, Anthony Bourdain, Roger Federer, Sofia Coppola, and Jon Hamm. This does look very entertaining and very fascinating, I'm curious to check it out. It's cool that a documentary about a hotel can potentially be this good, but that's why I love discovering new doc films. "This hotel is so much bigger than all of us."
"This is not the story of who, this is the story of why." The first great trailer has debuted for a new sports documentary titled In Search of Greatness, described as a "groundbreaking" film about the true nature and nurture of the greatest athletes of all time. What makes these people so great, how do they become champions, is it in their blood or something else? In Search of Greatness is the next doc made by filmmaker Gabe Polsky, who made the fantastic hockey doc Red Army (which I still recommend). Polsky describes his intent here: "That the systems meant to cultivate us often stifle us instead, discouraging qualities that typically define those who leave a mark on the world: imagination, instinct and individuality. In a culture at risk of losing its soul to systems of all varieties, these ideas seem more vital than ever. How can a society so obsessed with success fail to understand its essence?" This looks very, very good - can't wait to see it myself.
"I noticed that know matter how much people had - they still wanted more." Amazon has debuted a trailer for the superb documentary Generation Wealth, from photographer / filmmaker Lauren Greenfield (also of The Queen of Versailles). This first premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, and it's an outstanding doc about how our obsession with money has actually gotten worse, and destroyed more lives, than anything positive. Greenfield takes a long-form look at her photography work, by examining a series of shots she took of wealthy kids in Los Angeles and following up with them today to see where they are. In addition, she profiles other wealthy (and formerly wealthy) people and asks them what it means to them. I adore this doc because it perfectly posits how greed will be America's downfall, with endlessly compelling examples of people good and bad. If you aren't actually aware just yet, maybe this film will open your eyes.
"A journey to the world's highest peaks." Greenwich Entertainment has debuted an official US trailer for the documentary Mountain, from Sherpa director Jennifer Peedom. This was first conceived as a live experience with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, where you watch and listen to them play the score live. It is also being released as a feature documentary, stopping by the London and Helsinki Film Festivals. And it's finally arriving in US theaters this May. Peedom collected the most mesmerizing and incredible footage of mountains and mountain climbing you've ever seen, and put it all together in this poetic doc about these majestic, monumental beauties of Earth. In addition, there's a narration by Willem Dafoe and a stunning orchestral score. I had a chance to see this last year and it's truly spectacular, packed with amazing footage.
"Some call them perverted. Others, revolutionary." What do we have here? The first trailer has debuted for a new documentary titled The Artist & The Pervert, from filmmakers Beatrice Behn (who also is editor-in-chief of German film website Kino-Zeit.de) & René Gebhardt. This edgy, provocative film profiles the relationship between George, a famous Austrian composer, and his wife Mollena, a renowned American kink educator. After 40 years of looking for the right person, they finally found each other, and live happily in a BDSM slave/master relationship. This film documents their lives between perversion, art, love and radical self-determination, challenging our pre-conceived feelings towards this kind of relationship. This is just a teaser trailer, our first glimpse, but I'm very curious about it. I like docs that challenge me to be more open.
"If we want to protect them, we have to do it right now." Abramorama has debuted an official trailer for the documentary film Love & Bananas, made by actress Ashley Bell - who directs and stars in the film. The full Star Wars title for this is Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story, and it is indeed a story about rescuers finding and rescuing a 70-year-old blind elephant. After waiting for 2 and 1/2 years for the chance, actor / director Ashley Bell and a team of elephant rescuers led by world renowned Asian elephant conservationist and TIME Magazine's Hero of Asia, Lek Chailert, embark on a daring mission 480 miles across Thailand to rescue Noi Na, a 70-year old partially blind trekking elephant and bring her to freedom. That's what this is about and it looks totally wonderful, and life-affirming, because elephants are the coolest. And sadly they need to be saved as fast as possible. This looks like it's going to be frightening and enlightening all at once.