WE ♥ DOCS
"All the ladies look the same to me." Gravitas has released an official trailer for a documentary titled The Mole Agent, made by Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi. This originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and it will next stop by the San Sebastian Film Festival this fall. Described as a "charming, poignant senior spy doc", the Chilean film is about a family that hires a private investigator with concerns about their mother. This private investigator then hires someone to work as mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse. But, of course, he "struggles to balance his assignment with becoming increasingly involved in the lives of several residents." This almost looks like a mockumentary, or more of a docu-drama, about what happens when this guy goes into the retirement home. I'm intrigued, a worthy discovery! All the quotes from this trailer make me even more curious. Take a look.
"There isn't anything else in the world that can bring you back from the darkest places than sport." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary titled Phoenix Rising, telling the story of the Paralympic Games. Elite athletes and insiders reflect on the Paralympic Games and examine how they impact a global understanding of disability, diversity and excellence. The first organized athletic event for disabled athletes that coincided with the Olympic Games took place on the day of the opening of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. A Jewish-German doctor who escaped Germany hosted a sports competition for British veteran patients with spinal cord injuries. The first games were called the 1948 International Wheelchair Games, and were intended to coincide with the 1948 Olympics. Dr. Guttman's intention was to create an elite sports competition for people with disabilities that would be equivalent to the Olympic Games. The rest is history.
"More breakdowns. More problems." A new trailer has debuted for a documentary titled Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity, from director Scott Petersen (Out of the Loop, Scrabylon). The film tells the story of two friends who had an incredible life-changing experience traveling in the 1970s. "Shaken loose from their Kansas roots by the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, the new age of psychedelic drugs and the incipient revolutions challenging America, Dick Russell and Steve Ewert embarked on their own challenge: hitchhiking 4,000 miles across the Algerian Sahara into the heart of emptiness… The discovery at the end of their journey: all politics are personal." It's what it is. Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity recalls their story of adventure, disillusionment, curiosity, breakdowns and, ultimately, friendship. This makes me think of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but with different kinds of drugs, and with the Sahara Desert instead of Vegas.
"This fight is the most important moment in gay liberation history." An official trailer has debuted for a documentary film titled Cured, from filmmakers Patrick Sammon & Bennett Singer. This is set to premiere at the Outfest Los Angeles Film Festival later this month, with this trailer designed to build buzz. Cured tells the story of the activists who brought about a pivotal but little-known victory in the movement for LGBTQ equality: the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its manual of mental illnesses. The film illuminates the strategy and tactics that led to this pivotal yet largely unknown moment in the movement for LGBTQ equality. Following the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, the campaign that culminated in the APA’s 1973 decision marks the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. In addition to this year's outstanding historical documentary film Crip Camp, also about activists successfully fighting for change in America, this film seems to be just as inspiring and empowering.
"How did it come to this." Amirani Media has released a teaser trailer (which basically plays as a full trailer) for an acclaimed documentary titled Coup 53, which first premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year. While making a documentary about the Anglo-American coup in Iran in 1953, director Taghi Amirani and editor Walter Murch (of Apocalypse Now, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Particle Fever) discovered a lot of extraordinary, never-before-seen archival material that had been hidden for decades. The 16mm footage & documents they uncovered not only allow them to tell the story of the overthrow of the Iranian government in unprecedented detail, but it also led to revelations about dark secrets buried for 67 years. Working with Ralph Fiennes to help bring the lost material to life, what begins as a historical documentary about four days in August 1953 turns into a live investigation, taking the filmmakers into uncharted cinematic waters. This docu is the result of all their hard work. And it looks like a seriously eye-opening investigative drama.
"If the passion is there, and you're motivated, anything's possible… Anything's possible!" 1091 Films and Frozen Ambrosia have released an official trailer for a documentary titled Tanner Hall Forever, made by filmmaker Constantine Papanicolaou. Tanner Hall is a skiing icon. He grew up skiing at Big Mountain in Montana, got into the X Games world winning gold medals from 2001-2008 in the SlopeStyle competition. After more than a decade apart, Hall reunites with Papanicolaou, a man responsible for some of Tanner’s most acclaimed films (Believe, Show and Prove, The Massive), to present Tanner Hall Forever. The two-year project documents Tanner's journey on the Freeride World Tour, the battle against an aging body, and the passion that keeps him motivated. Hall is now 36 years old and struggling to keep at it, but doesn't want to give up competing in skiing yet. This is a very serious, somber trailer and as a skier myself, I'm curious.
"I'm just kinda sick of being a joke." SuperLTD has released an official trailer for a documentary titled You Cannot Kill David Arquette, which is about exactly what it sounds like it's about. Branded as the most hated man in wrestling after winning the highly controversial World Heavyweight Championship in 2000, actor David Arquette attempts a rocky return to the sport that stalled his promising Hollywood career. Dangerously determined to redeem his reputation and reclaim his self-respect, Arquette will stop at nothing to earn his place in professional wrestling. This was set to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, and it will also play at the Fantasia Film Festival this summer before it hits VOD later this month. "An unexpectedly emotional and heartfelt documentary directed by David Darg and Price James, this is a truly outrageous portrait of a dangerously determined former A-lister." This is a fantastic trailer! I'm totally sold.
"They didn't care about us… they were there to sink the ships." Abramorama has released an official trailer for a restored WWII footage documentary titled Apocalypse '45, the latest film directed by acclaimed doc filmmaker Erik Nelson (Dinotasia, A Gray State, The Cold Blue). Nelson found in archives and restored in 4K tons of old footage and news reels from World War II. Apocalypse '45 uses the pristine raw, color film footage to tell a chilling narrative of the last months of the War in the Pacific. It documents events from the flag raising at Iwo Jima to the harrowing kamikaze attacks and vicious ground combat at Okinawa in April to the first test of the atomic bomb in the remote deserts of New Mexico in July. In addition, we witness the air war over Japan the summer of '45, and perhaps most astonishingly, the still burning ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when a U.S. Army medical camera crew was sent to photograph the devastation to both the city and its inhabitants. A new entry in the subgenre of old footage restored to give us a new look at the past.
"The Golden Island… small but marvelous." Kino Lorber has released the official trailer for a documentary film titled Epicentro, the latest from acclaimed Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper. It won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It is described one way as a film "about the butterfly effect on geopolitics, the paradox of time, the (almost) end of the world, the cinematograph, sex, and sugar." Sauper's Epicentro offers a typically complex and frankly bracing consideration of the past, present, future, and mythology of Cuba. The Museum of the Moving Image also says that: "Sauper never floats a question without casting it upon himself, and never makes a picture without inviting us to scrutinize how and why it was made, making his cinema—and Epicentro especially—an invaluable, morally vital arena for reflections on the state of film, humanity, and the world. Shot and edited by the director himself, it is also a gorgeously handmade work of art." Definitely getting that vibe from the energetic, upbeat trailer. This is worth a look.
"He was blessed with what his heart was capable of." Vertical Ent. has released an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Robin's Wish, which will be releasing on VOD at the beginning of September for anyone interested. "An intimate portrait of Robin Williams and his invulnerable spirit, Robin's Wish is the story of what really happened to one of the greatest entertainers of all time - and what his mind was fighting." It's a profile of his final days in 2014 and his struggle at the end of his life. The director explains that Robin's wife, Susan Schneider-Williams, reached out to him about making a "science documentary about a neurological disease I’d never heard of — Lewy Body Dementia… She began telling me about herself and Robin, and what they went through in the last year and a half of his life. I told her if that was the film, I was in." This documentary is the result of years of patient work, and listening carefully and spending time trying to understand and accurately present his story. And his final wish. This looks like a remarkable film.
"There's a very personal quality to it… that isn't the norm." House of Gary has released an official trailer for an indie documentary called Morgana, profiling the life of an Australian housewife-turned-pornstar now known as Morgana Muses. This premiered at the Melbourne Film Festival last year, and is next playing at the Fantasia Film Festival (online) this summer. Morgana is a nuanced character portrait of a conventional suburban housewife who reinvents herself as a feminist erotic film auteur and star at the age of 50. Through its fascinating protagonist "Morgana Muses", we explore diverse themes such as ageing and sexuality, the importance of community and belonging, and the power of social and personal narratives to both define and confine us. This looks like a very honest, sensitive and understanding film about sexuality in modern times.
"I built this two-story high deep-space transmitter…" Netflix has released an official trailer for an award-winning short documentary film titled John Was Trying to Contact Aliens. That title and the image of this bearded fellow are more than enough to pique my interest. This 16-minute short doc premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where it also won a Short Film Jury Prize. The film profiles John Shepherd, who spent 30 years trying to contact extraterrestrials by broadcasting music millions of miles into space. After giving up the search in outer space, he tries to make a different connection here on Earth. This looks like an endearing story about a geeky, charming space-lover and his search to connect with who ever is out there. But now he's trying to find someone to share his time with on Earth? Check this out below.