WE ♥ DOCS
"I wasn't prepared for the entire world picking your body apart." Quiver Distribution has just released an official trailer for an indie documentary called Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies, from Time Warp filmmaker Danny Wolf. The film, which hasn't played at any festivals, is described as the "definitive documentary on the history of nudity in feature films from the early silent days to the present." It features revealing interviews with actors including Pam Grier (Jackie Brown, Foxy Brown) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Caligula) as well as directors like Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon), Kevin Smith (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Clerks) and Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless). This almost sounds like a doc version of that cringey, creeper site Mr. Skin, but thankfully it's not that bad. Seems to be a way to discuss and examine the evolution of nudity in cinema. Worth a look.
"It's complete chaos." Universal Pictures has unveiled an official trailer for a wild new documentary called Red Penguins, the latest doc film from the director of the Red Army doc about the Cold War-era Russian hockey team. Red Penguins tells a story of capitalism and opportunism run amok - complete with gangsters, strippers and live bears serving beer on a hockey rink in Moscow. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the famed Red Army hockey team formed a joint-venture that showed anything was possible in the new Russia. Eccentric marketing whiz, Steve Warshaw, is sent to Russia and tasked to transform team into the greatest show in Moscow. Festival reviews say the film is "utterly stuffed with memorable stories and unforgettable people." This looks amusing and unbelievably crazy, and I can't wait to watch. Polsky makes such fascinating docs telling incredible stories from the other side of the world.
"You can have your story. You can tell your own story however you want." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a short documentary film titled The Claudia Kishi Club, premiering on Netflix this week. This 17-min film is about the fictional Claudia Kishi, a main character in the best-selling "Baby-Sitters Club" books, who was one of the only Asian American characters in 80s/90s culture. "As a blossoming artist, [she] was a special role model for aspiring young creators—many of whom are now making groundbreaking work of their own." This short features a charismatic cast of Asian American artists and writers including Yumi Sakugawa, Sarah Kuhn, and Phil Yu. The film includes "nostalgic readings, personal recollections, and DIY-style stop motion collages, [making it] a timely and unique exploration of the importance of representation in media." A film about the power of being seen and of being represented as a person in pop culture stories.
"I'm determined to get change." After her son, Dontre Hamilton, is shot 14 times and killed by a Milwaukee Police Officer in a popular downtown park, Maria rallies grieving mothers from across the country to join her in a cross country trip to demand justice on behalf of their sons. Mothers For Justice is a short film about Maria Hamilton and the founding of the Mother for Justice United organization. It's a condensed 15-minute short version of filmmaker Erik Ljung's full documentary The Blood is at the Doorstep. "Maria's dream is to unite with other mothers who have lost children to state and vigilante violence, to make their voices heard in the halls of government, to demand justice for their murdered children, and to put an end to the race-based policies of police and vigilante violence in minority communities." It's moving and inspiring.
"We can resist. It's important to know that we are strong, and we can control our narrative…" A powerful and inspiring short film to celebrate the 4th of July weekend. Revolution is a 7-minute short film featuring 7 vignettes where individuals discuss how being Black has impacted them and what the word "revolution" means to them. It's one of the latest presentations in the ongoing Black History Untold identity series (visit the website) created by journalist Sofiya Ballin. "Here we share stories of Black global resistance. What it looked like then and what it looks like now. We delve into the cost that comes with revolution but also the immense love it requires. This is our history told with our own voices." It's invigorating to see how powerful something as simple as putting people in front of a camera and asking them to talk about revolution can be. I hope everyone is moved by this short and the Black History Untold project. Learn their stories right here.
"We're not sure his injuries were worth it all." Netflix has debuted the official trailer for a feature-length documentary film titled Father Soldier Son, made by NY Times reporters / filmmakers Catrin Einhorn and Leslye Davis. When Sgt. First Class Brian Eisch is critically wounded in Afghanistan, it sets him and his sons on a journey of love, loss, redemption and legacy. The project originally started following a battalion's yearlong deployment in Afghanistan, but it evolved into something much deeper and complex over years. "At once a verité portrait of ordinary people living in the shadow of active duty and a longitudinal survey of the intergenerational cycles of military service, [the film] is a profound and deeply personal exploration of the meaning of sacrifice, purpose, duty and American manhood in the aftermath of war." It's worth a watch.
"People would freak out when we played." Showtime has unveiled the first official trailer for another music history, rock doc titled The Go-Go's, a film entirely about the history of the all-women punk band The Go-Go's. It takes a look into the success of the Go-Go's. The Go-Go's were formed in Los Angeles in 1978, but they only hit it big in the 80s. Except for short periods when other musicians joined briefly, the band has had a relatively stable line-up consisting of Charlotte Caffey on lead guitar & keyboards, Belinda Carlisle on vocals, Gina Schock on drums, Kathy Valentine on bass guitar, Jane Wiedlin on rhythm guitar. They were the first, and to date only, all-female band that wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the album charts. The Go-Go's will also release their first new recording in nearly 20 years, "Club Zero," starting on July 31st just before the doc premieres on Showtime this summer. This film looks rad! Rock on.
"Between two friends there can only be one champion." Netflix has debuted a trailer for a documentary film titled The Speed Cubers, marking the directorial debut of filmmaker Sue Kim. The 40-minute short doc is premiering directly on Netflix later in July. The film focuses on two competitors in the world of competitive speedcubing — solving Rubik's cubes and other puzzles as quickly as possible. The two top "speed cubers" are Feliks Zemdegs from Australia, who had reigned as king of the cubers for nearly a decade, and Max Park from California, who originally emerged onto the scene in 2017, beating Zemdegs' 3×3 world record. Discover the special bond — and uncommon competitive spirit — that has connected these two as they battle over Rubik's cubes. This looks really good! An inspiring, uplifting story about two competitors and friends.
"Anything from the New World has to match up to the original classics." Samuel Goldwyn has released an official trailer for a wine documentary titled A Seat at the Table, which premiered at the New Zealand Film Festival last year and now arrives on VOD this July. "When Frenchman Daniel Le Brun moved to New Zealand in the 1970s, he decided the wine was 'nothing short of garbage'. Nearly 40 years later, Kiwi vino has gained respect and prestige around the globe; especially Marlborough's sauvignon blanc. A Seat at the Table asks whether Aotearoa wine truly deserves its top table status." For over a century France has reigned supreme over the wine world. Has New Zealand earned a seat at the table? This fascinating and provocative doc film examines the New Zealand wine industry and its recent rise to glory, spending time in both France and New Zealand, and asking experts if it's time to finally admit their wine is worthy of accolades. I want to try some, too! The best part of this trailer is when it cuts between the wine growing locales in each country.
"Being on the field just makes me feel alive. I feel that's where I'm supposed to be." ESPN has unveiled the first trailer for a documentary film called Born to Play, which is initially premiering on TV airing on ESPN coming up this weekend. Directed by Viridiana Lieberman, the film is a love letter to the game, written by people who you never knew played. Until now. Born to Play highlights the badass athletes of the Boston Renegades women's tackle football team. "With heart, hustle, and hope, the Renegades are on the path to redemption after losing in their championship game the previous year. These unpaid athletes put their bodies on the line while maintaining full-time careers that support their lifelong dream." These women just love playing football and won't let anyone or anything get in the way of their game nights. Looks damn good.
"Our masculinity shall not be infringed." A24 + Apple have unveiled an official trailer for the documentary film Boys State, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year where it won the top Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary Competition. The film also won the Lone Star Special Jury Award at the SXSW Film Festival. This modern horror film presents a vérité look at the political divide in America by focusing on the kids. From Sundance: "Boys State is a political coming-of-age story, examining the health of American democracy through an unusual experiment: a thousand 17-year-old boys from across the state of Texas gather together to build a representative government from the ground up. High-minded ideals collide with low-down dirty tricks as four boys of diverse backgrounds and political views navigate the challenges of organizing political parties, shaping consensus, and campaigning for the highest office at Texas Boys State—governor." As scary as this debacle is to watch, it's a seriously impressive doc - highly recommend this one.
"What kind of a party is it, if an Australian guy doesn't take his pants off?" Utopia has released the full-length official trailer for a documentary film called Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, the latest feature from the Ross Brothers. This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and stopped by the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. The sort-of-faux documentary follows customers and staff at a dive bar in Las Vegas known as the "Roaring 20s" on their very last day in business. But it's not exactly that. The filmmakers brought the same customers and staff to another bar in New Orleans to film this, and asked them to act like themselves in the same way they did for real in the real bar. "Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a mosaic of disparate lives, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future, and singing as their ship goes down." With the help of some alcohol. The first teaser trailer is a bit more creative than this trailer, but this still provides a good look at what this dive bar film offers: lots of drunken banter.