WE ♥ DOCS
"A revealing exhibition of triumph and tragedy." Exhibition On Screen has unveiled an official trailer for their latest art documentary offering, titled simply Sunflowers. The Exhibition On Screen series is about taking us closer into the art world and sharing new details with everyone watching these films in cinemas, without having to go a museum or gallery. This time they focus on the Sunflowers paitnings by the iconic Vincent Van Gogh. Director David Bickerstaff explains: "This cinematic journey brought the sunflowers series into sharper focus for me and revealed a new insight to the tragic circumstances that followed. […] Drama, struggle and a passion for life can be seen in every dash of paint in the Sunflower paintings. In my opinion, each one shows an honesty and a virtuosity that speaks to the enduring power of an extraordinary artist, who lived an extraordinary life." It features five of the famous Arles Sunflowers from collections in London, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Munich and Amsterdam. This looks mesmerizing and incredibly fascinating.
"I'm an actor, I'm a dancer, I'm a singer and also, a painter. This film is about me. This is my story of my story." ABCG Film has released a trailer for My Name is Gulpilil, a feature film about the extraordinary life of Indigenous actor, dancer, artist, and screen legend, David Gulpilil. You definitely know who he is! The only actor to appear in both of the two highest grossing Australian films of all time, Crocodile Dundee (1986) and Australia (2008), Gulpilil is known throughout the world for his unforgettable performances - from his breakthrough in Walkabout (1971) to films including Storm Boy (1976), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), Peter Weir's The Last Wave (1977), The Tracker (2002), Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), The Proposition (2005) and his Cannes Best Actor award winning role in Rolf de Heer's Charlie's Country (2013). Integral to the telling of so many legendary screen stories, Gulpilil, now nearing the end of his life, generously shares his own story in My Name is Gulpilil. The actor, dancer, singer and painter takes us boldly on the journey that is his most extraordinary, culture-clashing life. It looks amazing!! Can't wait to see this doc about him.
"Life is a battle… and I generally only pick the fights I can win." Flat-Out Films has released the official trailer for a biopic documentary titled Mosley: It's Complicated, chronicling the life and times of former FIA president Max Mosley, who was the head of F1's governing body from 1993 to 2005. Over fifty years, Mosley achieved great things, making the family name well respected, until a hidden camera from a BDSM "party" exposed his colorful sex life in the British tabloids. Some colleagues and friends turned against him. Most public figures would have hidden away, but not Max, who argued his personal affairs are nobody else's business. He sued the News of the World, and won, and was a driving force in the Leveson phone-hacking inquiry. He then went after the lawmakers to implement greater press regulation and data protection laws. Featuring appearances by Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone, Hugh Grant, and Gerhard Berger. This one seems primarily for F1 fans, but there should also be some fascinating life lessons in here for everyone to consider.
"If you don't know your history, it will repeat itself. Well, it's repeating itself…" PBS has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten, an extensive look at the infamous Tulsa race riot of 1921. This terrible event gained extra attention when featured in the excellent "Watchmen" HBO series, and has since then become required teaching when it comes to US history. Learn more about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, on the 100th anniversary of the crime, and how the community of Tulsa is coming to terms with its past, present, and future. This 90-minute documentary film, narrated by Emmy-winning journalist Michel Martin, also chronicles present-day public efforts to memorialize the Tulsa Race Massacre and other racial violence around the country, and how Black and white communities view such efforts. "This spring, the City of Tulsa plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacre, as descendants of survivors demand reparations for what was lost and protest against current oppression and racism." As this is a PBS-produced doc it still has that PBS feel, but also looks informative and eye-opening.
"I'm afraid. I hope to God they won't catch and deport me." Optimist Films has released a trailer for the documentary Five Years North, which originally premiered at last year's Full Frame Film Festival. It also played at last year's San Antonio Film Festival; the film opens first at the Film Forum cinema in NYC at the end of this month. Five Years North is the coming-of-age story of Luis, an undocumented Guatemalan boy who just arrived alone in New York City. He struggles to work, study, and evade Judy - the Cuban-American ICE officer patrolling his neighborhood. The directors say they "didn’t set out to make an immigration film," but after meeting Luis while working on another project, and followed him as he made his way up to NYC. It also took a while for them to get approval to film ICE. And the result is this moving film showing both sides.
"Music was still so alive in her." Gravitas Ventures has released the official trailer for a documentary titled Miss Angela, telling the incredible true story of Angela Alvarez. This hasn't premiered at any festivals, but it looks like it's worth a watch anyway. From directors Paul Toogood & Lloyd Stanton (Dying Laughing), their film Miss Angela tells the remarkable story of 91 year old Cuban-American singer-songwriter Angela Alvarez, who's lifetime of songs were nearly lost to the world. An inspiring tale of love, loss, struggle but ultimately triumph, Miss Angela is a story 75 years in the making. Growing up in Cuba, she was forbidden to sing. It wasn't until decades later, after raising a family in the United States, that she finally got a chance to sing on stage, culminating in a concert at the historic Avalon in Hollywood, hosted by Oscar winner Andy Garcia. She is "a stunning example of overcoming adversity, defying the odds, and pursuing the American Dream." Much more than just another story of a talented singer, this is about an entire life of perseverance.
"Suddenly the forces of Civil Rights had allies." Shout Factory has unveiled the official US trailer for an acclaimed documentary film titled A Crime on the Bayou, which first premiered at last year's DOC NYC and New Orleans Film Festivals. Directed by doc filmmaker Nancy Buirski, A Crime on the Bayou is the third film in director's trilogy (after the films The Loving Story & The Rape of Recy Taylor) profiling brave individuals who fought for justice in and around the Civil Rights era. A Black teenager bravely challenges the most powerful white supremacist in 1960s Louisiana with the help of a young Jewish attorney. Systemic racism meets its match in decisive courtroom battles, including eventually the U.S. Supreme Court, and a lifelong friendship is born. A poignant yet inspiring story about allyship, justice and how groups of activists from disparate backgrounds have worked together in the quest to dismantle institutional racism. This looks like a very moving film about fighting for what's right, no matter the cost. "I'm gonna die defending myself."
"I know he always there for me." An official trailer has debuted for an acclaimed indie documentary called Two Gods, marking the feature directorial debut of Brooklyn-based filmmaker Zeshawn Ali. This initially premiered at last year's Hot Docs Film Festival, and it also stopped by the Camden & Montclair Film Fests. Two Gods is a documentary film that tells the story of Hanif, a Muslim casket maker and ritual body washer in Newark who takes two young men from the neighborhood – Furquan and Naz – under his wing to teach them how to live better lives. "Shot in exquisite black and white, Zeshawn Ali's auspicious feature debut is a lyrical meditation on the importance of community and passing down generational knowledge through faith, brotherhood and redemption." One of the many quotes in this trailer says it is a "masterpiece waiting to be discovered" and from the looks of it, that might just be true. This doc is worth your time. Take a look below.
"Let's roll again! I'm on!" Marvel + Disney have revealed a fun official trailer for their next episode in their behind-the-scenes doc series called Marvel Studios' Assembled. This "making of" series ties in with the new Disney+ Marvel shows that have been debuting this year - including WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Loki coming up soon. This one is for the latest ep about The Making of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which takes a closer look at what went into creating this series. Not only does it cover production, but it seems to also talk about story details, and how the new characters transitioned from Chris Evans' Cap to Anthony Mackie's Falcon. "Go beyond the shield and behind the scenes." I always love seeing behind-the-scenes featurettes because we get a glimpse at how massive and complex filmmaking is - big sound stages, thousands of people, enormous sets, cameras, and more. This launches today on Disney+.
"There is a cost to convenience." Dogwoof has revealed a promo teaser trailer for the indie documentary titled The Gig Is Up, the latest from award-winning Canadian filmmaker Shannon Walsh. Her new doc about the gig economy is premiering at both Hot Docs and the CPH:DOX Film Festivals this spring, which is why this first trailer is dropping now to build buzz in the doc marketplace. App developers lured a massive labor force by promising flexible hours with no offices or bosses-but with gig workers from Uber, Amazon, Lyft and more in front of the camera, the human cost of disruption runs deep. "A very human tech doc, The Gig Is Up uncovers the real costs of the platform economy through the lives of workers from around the world for companies including Uber, Amazon and Deliveroo." The film tells the stories of the workers giving up everything just to make a living. I'm not expecting this doc to make anyone change, but I'm glad they're starting to focus on what's really going on with corporations taking advantage of the gig workers worldwide.
"The place you're born… is the place that half-buries you." The Cinema Guild has debuted a new official US trailer for the acclaimed Chinese documentary Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, made by the prolific director Jia Zhang-Ke (aka Jia Zhangke), of A Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart, and Ash Is Purest White previously. This originally premiered at last year's Berlin Film Festival as one of the opening day films. Filmmaker Jia Zhangke chronicles his local literature festival in Shanxi, China which includes a multi-generational roster of the country's most esteemed writers. He speaks with three prominent authors from different eras, who discuss life growing up and the changes over time as the country (and their region) evolves and adapts to difficult times. Reviews describe the film as a "quietly moving" piece, paying "tribute to writers who connect modern urban culture to its provincial roots, and the current era to one that's quickly being lost to living memory." Highly recommend this one to any & all documentary lovers - it's worth a look.
"A diploma cannot compare to the future of Hong Kong." Dogwoof has released an official promo trailer for the documentary film Faceless, the first film from journalist / filmmaker Jennifer Ngo. This is premiering at the Hot Docs Film Festival this week, hence the new trailer to drum up some early buzz and interest. Not to be confused with two other horror films also titled Faceless. Ngo's doc Faceless is an intimate portrayal of four young protestors in Hong Kong struggling to protect their freedom and way of life under the shadow of authoritarianism. The film takes us to the front lines of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong to meet four brave young people. "As protests morph into a greater city-wide movement calling for democracy and justice against police brutality, each of them are forced to re-examine their motives, their values and personal relationships." This doc goes hand-in-hand with the Oscar-nominated short doc Do Not Split, also about the Hong Kong protests and the people involved in them. This looks outstanding - I will be watching.