WE ♥ DOCS
"Am I a good guy or a bad guy?" GKids has released the official trailer for an animated documentary titled Approved for Adoption, telling the story of Korean filmmaker/animator Jung Henin, who was adopted by a Belgium family after the end of the Korean War. The doc, using some bits of archival family footage, is mostly animated by hand by Jung and tells his life story growing up in Europe and eventually returning to Seoul for his first time since he was abandoned. The film first premiered in 2012 and played at the Annecy Animation Film Festival. This doc looks very sweet and, as one of the quotes in the trailer says, impossible not to be charmed by it. Even if you've never heard of this, it's admirable for the animation and story alone.
"Safety wasn't even an issue." Today's trailer is for a documentary that is a perfect follow-up to the Formula One racing move Rush, directed by Ron Howard, which will be hitting theaters on September 20th (watch that trailer). The doc is titled simply 1 (or 1 The Movie) and tells the story of the golden age of the sport when it "became terrifyingly dangerous." There's tons of impressive archival footage, lots of interviews, and a story of gladiators and adventurers in this. It's the perfect double feature with Rush. If anything, it should convince those who do not care for racing to respect the drivers and crews dedicated to this high risk sport.
At the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the mountains of Park City paled in comparison to that of The Summit, a documentary chronicling the worst climbing disaster in the history of K2, the most dangerous mountain on the planet. At the heart of the film is a mystery about one man: Ger McDonnell. By all accounts, he was faced with the heart-breaking dilemma of risking his life to save three climbers tangled up in ropes in the death zone, above 8,000 metres, where the body is literally dying with each passing second. When a climber falls or wanders off the trail, the unwritten code of the mountain is to leave them for dead. Had McDonnell stuck to the climbers' code, he might still be alive to this day. Watch the trailer!
Most documentaries focused on comedians that hit the big screen are shaped as concert films, featuring a live performance recorded during a nationwide tour. Eddie Murhpy, Kevin Hart, Sarah Silverman, The Blue Collar Comedy Tour and The Original Kings of Comedy are just some of the successful examples, but there are plenty of stand-up specials out there that don't make it to movie theaters. Well, actor and comedian Kevin Pollak (A Few Good Men, The Usual Suspects) is looking to bring a taste of the comedian's lifestyle to the big screen with a documentary called Misery Loves Comedy, which he'll direct himself. Read on!
Both directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron are responsible for two of the greatest sci-fi films of all time with Alien and the sequel Aliens respectively. The films are favorites amongst cinephiles for their originality, amazing special effects, creature design and more. Now fans can dive deeper into the franchise with a total of five hours of documentary footage for each film. The Beast Within: The Making of Alien was produced back in 2003, which is also when Superior Firepower: The Making of ‘Aliens' was included on the 2003 DVD release of the sequel, and now both are available online in full for your pleasure.
Can I man who has never painted before duplicate one of the most famous Johannes Vermeer paintings? That's the mystery, the great challenge presented to Tim Jenison, the titular "Tim" of the documentary Tim's Vermeer. Produced by Penn Jillette and directed by Teller of Penn & Teller, Tim's Vermeer is a doc following Tim as he invents and attempts to paint and recreate the "The Music Lesson" painting from the 17th Century in the same way Vermeer did. The big problem is that no one knows how Vermeer painted such immaculate art, but this documentary might just solve the 350 year old mystery. And it's utterly fascinating.
The world of "Breaking Bad" is indeed fictional, but many elements of the show have more than a fleeting basis in reality. For example, there are more than a handful of musicians in Latin America who use their songs to glorify the criminals behind the drug cartels that run rampant in Mexico. Now a new documentary sheds some light on the culture with Narco Cultura, which translates to Drug Culture. The film focuses on the surprising influence that these cartels have on pop culture both in Mexico and within our own borders. It's a fascinating and somewhat disturbing picture of how the corrupt parts of our society become staples.
"Each man's body will represent years of focus and concentration." An official trailer has debuted for a documentary titled Generation Iron examining the lives of the top seven bodybuilders and the highly competitive sport of bodybuilding that they compete in. Or rather, the sport they've dedicated their entire lives to. Despite the hardcore, no-excuses nature of bodybuilding this documentary seems to have a softer side, touching upon the drugs, mental challenges and emotional struggles they experience. Mickey Rourke narrates the doc (but not the trailer) and Arnold Schwarzenegger appears briefly as Mr. Olympia. See below.
The Weinstein Company has already started the hype machine for their documentary Salinger, about the reclusive and iconic author J.D. Salinger who famously wrote the classic novel The Catcher in the Rye. The documentary and accompanying book reveals tons of unknown secrets and facts about the author included an unprecedented amount of unseen footage, photographs, and biographical information on the author who went almost completely off the radar for years. Now TWC has revealed a poster calling for some tight-lipped secrecy about some of the secrets within, but one of the revelations just couldn't stay contained.
The remarkable story of a beautiful mind. One of the many documentaries this year profiling one of the remarkable minds of this world is titled simply Hawking, about the planet's most famous living scientist Stephen Hawking. This first premiered at the SXSW Film Festival earlier in the year and has a September release date in the UK, but no US release set yet, unfortunately. Our friends from the UK recently got their hands on the new quad poster for Hawking, promoting the upcoming theatrical release on the other side of the Atlantic. It's a cool poster for a doc I'm already anxious to see. Hopefully it's as good as the quotes claim.
"How does a radical activist end up working for the FBI as an informant?" Today's trailer is for a doc that premiered last year and is just now being released by Music Box. It's called Informant and profiles radical left-wing activist turned FBI informant Brandon Darby. The doc won top prize at the DOC NYC Festival and also played the San Francisco & Austin Film Festivals. Not to be confused with Steven Soderbergh's The Informant! or the doc The Imposter, Informant dives into the mysterious story of an activist who turned out to be an FBI informant. Was he duping all of his friends? What's the real story? This looks quite fascinating.
Welcome back to another edition of Kickstart This, FirstShowing's weekly column dedicated to spreading the word about cool and interesting crowdfunded projects that need your help to become a reality. Today, we're heading back into the world of documentaries and shining a light on Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler. It tells the story of the video game called Nibbler, the first billion-point video game score, and the man who remarkably reached that milestone who's named Tim McVey (no, not that one). Take a look at the pitch below, leave us a comment with your thoughts, and don't forget to donate.
"Each time a person went to Muscle Shoals, they came outta there with a hit." Though this writer was particularly enamored with Dave Grohl's stellar documentary Sound City at the Sundance Film Festival, another music documentary missed my gaze. Muscle Shoals is a small town alongside the Tennessee River in Alabama and the home of Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios, responsible for what became known as the "Muscle Shoals sound." It's also the name of this documentary which features musicians like Mick Jagger, Bono, Aretha Franklin and more discussing the magic of the studio that delivered hits. Watch!
Disney has been dedicated to nature documentaries through their Disneynature banner since 2008. Last year, Chimpanzee took the spotlight, and in just over a year, audiences will head to the forest and mountains with Bears. The first trailer showed up this spring, but mostly highlighted Disney's previous ventures to support the environment and various nature conservations and more. But now a full trailer showing off their newest documentary and the adorable but fierce grizzly bears in Alaska's mountains and shores. The footage in these kind of docs is gorgeous and breathtaking, and this one is no different. Watch!