WE ♥ DOCS
"This is the music you don't want your parents to hear." Rolling Stone has debuted the first trailer for an indie rock doc titled Murder in the Front Row. Or rather, in full: Murder In The Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story. The doc is, as the title indicates, about the rise of the thrash metal scene and the bands that played to wild crowds. "These are just good stories, and they are very human stories," says director Adam Dubin. MITFR follows the story of a group of young kids in Northern California with a shared passion for heavy rock bands like UFO, Iron Maiden and Motorhead. "All these bands were mainly from England, and they never really toured the West Coast… So these young people started creating their own music, starting their own fanzines, booking clubs and trading tapes. These were people who were adamant about music and the bands, but also each other." Featuring interviews with Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, and many others. With narration by Brian Posehn. Rock out below.
"He was a mythic figure." Cinetic has debuted an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Hesburgh, which premiered at a film festival last year and is hitting select theaters in late April this spring. The film is about Father Theodore Hesburgh, a beloved, outspoken priest who was also the president of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years during the 60s and 70s. In addition to his career as an educator and an author, he was a public servant and an activist fighting for civil rights. "One ordinary man. One extraordinary life. Watch 50 years of American history unfold through the eyes of country's most well-known Catholic priest." I've heard this is an unexpectedly great doc, and that really seems to be the case. It's certainly worth a look.
"We've got a plane, we've got a pilot, and we've got a plan." Netflix has debuted the trailer for a fascinating true-crime documentary titled The Legend of Cocaine Island, the latest by filmmaker Theo Love (Little Hope Was Arson). This premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and at a few other small fests, with a global Netflix release later this month. The story goes that Rodney Hyden, a small business owner from Florida (of course, where else?), desperate for salvation after losing his fortune in the recession decides to go on a search for a (possibly) mythical $2 million stash of cocaine buried on an island in the Caribbean. The docudrama features a lot of key recreations, with Rodney playing himself in these vividly shot scenes. The big surprise is that, as dumb as this story sounds, it doesn't play out the way you're expecting. Dive in.
"Your films are sketchbooks; you thought with lines and shapes." Janus Films + Criterion have debuted an official US trailer for the release of Mark Cousins' latest cinema documentary called The Eyes of Orson Welles, opening in select US theaters this week. This first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Cousins dives deep into the visual world of legendary director and actor Orson Welles to reveal a portrait of the artist as he's never been seen before. He examines Welles' drawings and paintings, and walks us through his entire life to try and present a portrait of an artist. We see through his eyes how he created the work he created, and what inspired him - the places he visited, and the people he met. The "engaging, insightful and wide-ranging" doc is a must-watch for any/all cinephiles, and an inspiring film for visual artists of all kinds.
"At no point did I think that we weren't going to get him back." Dogwoof has unveiled an official trailer for a thrilling underwater survival documentary titled Last Breath, the feature debut of filmmakers Richard da Costa & Alex Parkinson. This "docudrama" hybrid tells the story of commercial diver Chris Lemons, who went to work one day for a routine inspection of a drilling structure at the Huntington oil field, some 115 miles east of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. He was 262ft underwater when his umbilical line got snagged and severed, leaving him with only an emergency air tank - with only 5 minutes of air to breath, and a rescue 30 minutes away. The film utilizes extensive recreations to tell the story, along with amazing archival and black box footage from the actual incident. Looks chilling and remarkable, another intense survival doc to watch.
"As long as I was able to hold my foot down longer than the guy next door to me… That's what anybody looked at." The Orchard has released an official trailer for the documentary Hurley, from producer Derek Dodge making his directorial debut, arriving on VOD later this month. Hurley is about the "secret" personal life of legendary racecar driver Hurley Haywood - a five-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner, three-time Le Mans winner and Trans-Am champion. In the 1970's, Haywood was the dominant force in motor racing, but his personal life remained a mystery. Hurley chronicles a remarkable life, revealing a greater insight into the tightrope walk between career and personal life and asking the question: will motor racing ever be ready for openly LGBT racers? This doc is executive produced by Patrick Dempsey, who also speaks in the film.
"She wanted to be out there. She wanted her songs to be sung." The Orchard has debuted an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Madonna and the Breakfast Club, which is already available to watch on VOD as of this week. The film tells the "incredible untold story" of pop icon Madonna's struggling pre-fame years in New York, with her first band "Breakfast Club", leading up to her first solo record deal. The band was formed in 1979, and at one point featured Madonna as the drummer. Dan Gilroy, who sang lead vocals, was also briefly Madonna's boyfriend, and he eventually allowed her to sing. Madonna ultimately left to form a new band with avant garde artist Mark Frazier, Emmy and the Emmys. In this film, Jamie Auld stars as Madonna in extended recreation scenes. This looks like a VH1 special, but some fans might enjoy it.
"All I want is for people to understand the human implications." Some may known him as Bill S. Preston, Esq. Others may known him as the director of the acclaimed technology documentaries Downloaded, Deep Web, The Panama Papers, and Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain. His name is Alex Winter (you can follow him on Twitter @Winter), and he's an actor, a writer, a filmmaker, a producer, a journalist, and much more. I have become a big fan of Winter's documentaries over the years, he's one of a few filmmakers who actually understands the internet, and presents it in an intelligent and digestible way. Last year, two of his new documentaries premiered - The Panama Papers, about all the journalists who reported on the Panama Papers leak; and Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain, about the origins and implications of blockchain (aka encrypted digital distributed ledgers), the latest technology fad that's sweeping the world.
"It was such a revelation that I could surrender myself to him." Grasshopper Film has debuted an official US trailer for a documentary titled Buddy, the latest film made by renowned Dutch-Peruvian filmmaker Heddy Honigmann. The film is a poignant and carefully composed portrait of six service dogs and their owners. "Fascinating, multi-talented, indispensable dogs and their loving masters." Heddy spends time with six disabled (or elderly) individuals, many of them from the Netherlands, and shows us how important & connected each owner is with their respective service doggie. It's a very lovely, humble, heartwarming film about how much of a difference dogs make in this world. A must-see for any and every dog lover out there. And I'm glad that Grasshopper is bringing this film to US cinemas this spring. A worthwhile doc to discover.
"It's a global revolt." Magnolia Pictures has debuted the first trailer for the documentary The Brink, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and is playing at CPH:DOX next. From filmmaker Alison Klayman, director of the docs Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, 11/8/16, and Take Your Pills previously, this film is a "fly-on-the-wall chronicle" of embattled former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and his global mission to spread extreme nationalism. Veteran doc filmmaker Errol Morris also made a doc about Steve Bannon recently, his is titled American Dharma, but that has not been released yet. This one seems somewhat different, but still just as shocking and frightening. The Brink described as an "impeccably crafted verité ramble — an engaging and enraging, disturbing and highly revealing movie." Ugh. I personally despise spending any time with this madman, but perhaps these docs are important to share with the world.
"We both found it intensely exciting to be making music on the street." Cargo Films has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Satan & Adam, about two musicians & friends. This played at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and is opening in theaters this spring. Satan & Adam are two musicians from the opposite ends of life who met on the streets of Harlem in 1986. Against the backdrop of racial discord in the city, Adam Gussow, a young white Jewish harmonica player, and Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee, an older black Mississippi bluesman, joined forces to blaze a new musical trail - "bi-racial blues" or "po-mo blues." Whatever you want to call it, it changed their lives forever and contested longstanding notions of cultural appropriation. Shot over 30 years, Satan & Adam showcases a miraculous journey of friendship, heartbreak and the transformative power of music. It looks as entertaining and as uplifting as that description sounds.
"There's a chance that he's not going to walk again." Red Bull Media has unveiled a teaser trailer for a new documentary titled Any One of Us, which is premiering at the SXSW Film Festival this month. The film profiles a professional mountain biker named Paul Basagoitia, whose life changed in an instant when he crashed during a competition in 2015. Paul suffered a devastating spinal cord injury (SCI), which paralyzed most of his lower body. The film is actually about spinal cord injuries, and the challenges of survivors who are trying to cope with the limitations and struggles of this kind of debilitating injury. Much of the footage is shot by Paul himself, on his long road to recovery. "Any One of Us shows how lives can change forever in the blink of an eye— and the resilience, grit, and determination it takes to stay open to life's possibilities, even under the most trying of circumstances" This is a short teaser, a quick intro to Paul, his story, and this film.