WE ♥ DOCS
"I care about the ocean… I have to expose the truth." Discovery has launched the first official trailer for a new Eli Roth movie, and if that sounds a bit strange, don't worry as it's totally on brand (for both Roth and Discovery). Eli Roth's latest movie is called Fin, a documentary about sharks and saving them as they are being killed in larger and larger numbers. "Fin is the scariest film I've ever made, and certainly the most dangerous, but I wanted to send a message of hope to end this needless massacre of sharks. They keep our oceans clean to produce half our oxygen, and they deserve our respect and deserve to be saved, especially now when the shark fin sales ban is going before the House," Roth says. "I wanted to show the crisis from all sides and paired with an action campaign we can make the change necessary to protect them. Fifty years ago the world came together to save the whales, then we did it for dolphins, and recently for Orcas. It's time to do the same for sharks, and time is running out." This will make a great double feature with the other shark doc this year Playing with Sharks. Of course, Discovery is debuting this movie during Shark Week in July.
"There was an element of madness in him." The official trailer has debuted for an indie documentary film titled Searching for Mr. Rugoff, which may not seem that interesting from the title alone - but this is for anyone who loves cinema and cinemas. The film is about a cinema owner in NYC named Donald Rugoff. He was the "crazy genius" behind Cinema 5, the mid-century theater chain and film distribution company. But not that likeable. The story is told through the eyes of former employee Ira Deutchman, who sets out to find the truth about the man who had such a major impact on his life, and to also understand how such an important figure could have disappeared so completely. Deutchman on this finally releasing: "My original intention was to highlight the majesty of the theatrical experience in an entertaining way, but given where we are right now, the story has become all the more poignant. Independent art houses need our support to survive." This does indeed look like an enthralling film about a very peculiar part of cinema history in NYC.
"I admire anybody that would put their name in the arena - it takes a lot of courage." Gunpowder & Sky released this official trailer for a documentary film titled Kid Candidate, which originally premiered at the SXSW Film Festival earlier in the year. The film also won the "One In A Million Award" from the Sun Valley Film Festival this year. In a time when young Americans increasingly feel cut off from politics or traditional institutions, Hayden Pedigo, a 24 year-old artist and musician in Amarillo, TX makes an unorthodox run for city council. SVFF states: "This is a funny, irreverent and impactful doc about Hayden Pedigo, a 24-year-old experimental musician whose viral videos for fake City Council campaigns in Amarillo inspired him to take action and actually run, showing that young people are stepping up to make a difference in their communities." Sounds like a fascinating, inspiring story that was captured on camera at the right moment.
"He was an doting, loving, caring, ordinary father." Oscilliscope Labs in the US has revealed an official US trailer for a fascinating music history documentary called No Ordinary Man, from acclaimed filmmakers Aisling Chin-Yee & Chase Joynt. This premiered at TIFF last year and already opened in Canada (watch the first official trailer) with a theatrical release in the US set for this July. More than just a simple story about a musician many don't know… No Ordinary Man is an in-depth look at the life of musician & trans culture icon Billy Tipton. Complicated, beautiful, historically unrivaled, this uniquely groundbreaking film shows what's truly possible when a community collaborates to honor the legacy of an unlikely hero. For decades, the life of American Jazz musician, Billy Tipton, was framed as the story of an ambitious woman passing as a man in pursuit of a music career. But that's not the real truth – learn the full story in this uplifting doc.
Meet The Beatles of Zambia! Utopia has released an official trailer for a music history / rock documentary called We Intend To Cause Havoc, which originally premiered at festivals in 2019 and is finally getting a US release this summer. Directed by Gio Arlotta, We Intend To Cause Havoc highlights W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend to Cause Havoc), Zambia's most popular rock band of the 1970s led by the powerful vocalist, Jagari, whose name is an Africanisation of Mick Jagger's. Through the resurrection of a music that was forgotten by many and unheard by most, the film explores the life of a former African rockstar, and the excitement around the rediscovery of his music by a new generation of Western fans. It also captures the influence that the Anglo American Heavy Psychedelic Rock of the 70s had on popular Zambian bands. Their voyage leads to the reunion of W.I.T.C.H. and their first-ever European tour. "Apart from learning more about a beautiful country, its people and its music, what I'd like for the audience to take away is the inspiration to get up and follow their dreams, because you can never know when they will come true." Check out this rock doc below.
"Made me want to vomit." Same. Shark Dog Films has debuted an official US trailer for the documentary called The Boys in Red Hats, which initially premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival earlier this year. This isn't as bad as that title sounds, thank goodness, but it definitely is an attempt to soften the blow and shift the blame instead of actually confront any real problems. It film follows an "incident" in 2019 in which a student was caught on camera acting racist, then "instantly and unwittingly became a global headline." It's fair to show all sides of what happened and then examine the outrage and the ensuing media hoopla, which often does get out of hand, but at the same time this almost feels like an attempt to give this kid a chance to escape the blame. He should've never been there to begin with if he didn't want any of this attention. At least this doc admits it "will piss off both sides" though that thinking definitely won't achieve much anyway.
"Pretty much all of ’em have been James Bond at one point or another." BritBox UK has debuted an official trailer for the documentary called Hollywood Bulldogs, telling the rough-and-tumble story of the small community of British stunt performers who went on to dominate Hollywood in the 1970s and 80s. The full title is Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman, from director Jon Spira. They created and performed the iconic action sequences of 007, Indiana Jones, Superman, Rambo, Star Wars, Conan, the Alien films and pretty much everything since. These guys are badass! They crashed cars, jumped from burning buildings, shot, stabbed, kicked and punched their way into cinema history. This is the first feature documentary to unite this legendary community in telling their story and as you will see, there's life in the old dogs yet. I just loveee seeing a whole doc film about stuntmen / stuntwomen, more of this please. And one day they'll be in the Oscars, too. Featuring narration by Ray Winstone. Check it out.
"A haunting exploration…" Dogwoof in the UK has unveiled a new official UK trailer for a doc called The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, which initially premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year (watch the first trailer from then) and also played at the Hong Kong & Cleveland Film Festivals. In 1971, at the world premiere of Death in Venice in London, Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti proclaimed Björn Andrésen, the teen star of his latest film, "The most beautiful boy in the world." This is the story of a boy who was thrust to international stardom for his iconic looks and lived a life of glamour. A shadow that today, 50 years later, weighs Björn Andresen's life. The film is by Swedish filmmakers Kristina Lindström & Kristian Petri. "Being immortalized as an iconic boy meant that Andrésen spent most of his adult life trying to be invisible, refusing to have his identity shaped by a shallow fantasy about who he was." Indeed. This is a remarkable and awe-inspiring doc about just how bad it is to be proclaimed "the most beautiful boy in the world" and how it has been so hard for him ever since. I saw this during Sundance and highly recommend it.
"I felt good in my head… I had nothing to lose." Metrograph is re-releasing this iconic sports documentary through Metrograph Pictures online starting this week in June. The French is a 1982 sports doc film, one of the first times any film crew was allowed to film on the iconic Roland Garros courts in France. Follow this up with the excellent tennis doc In the Realm of Perfection, also made from Roland Garros footage. For the very first time, a documentary team is allowed to shoot sequences in the backstage of the French Open. The film is also being presented by filmmaker Wes Anderson, who has featured tennis in plenty of his films. He provided this quote for the re-release: "For me, this film encapsulates everything I loved and love about the tennis of that moment; and in the hands of the great and singular William Klein, it is at once a gripping sports page, a fascinating piece of reportage, and a work of art." I find these films so utterly fascinating, taking us deep into a world we're normally not allowed to examine this closely. Even if you don't like tennis.
"That couldn't be further from the truth." Tribeca Studios has debuted a trailer for the eye-opening doc film titled The Price of Freedom, premiering at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival this week. It will then open in select US theaters starting this July - and hopefully it will have an impact. The Price of Freedom exposes the hidden past of the American gun debate and reveals how the outsized political and cultural influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA) divided a nation and changed the course of American history, costing countless lives along the way. Featuring passionate pleas from President William J. Clinton, Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT); NRA Board Member and former NRA President David Keene, and activists on all sides of the issue, The Price of Freedom presents a compelling case for those brave enough to take a stand against the NRA in defense of our communities and collective future. We need to do more to stop this so called "freedom" and recognize that the health & safety of all citizens is more important. And I'm glad there's a film like this that strips away the propaganda and lies to tell us the truth.
"We wanted progress. We're Black people and we should be proud of this…!" Time to get your groove on! Searchlight Pictures has dropped the full-length official trailer for the music history documentary Summer of Soul, the feature directorial debut of DJ / musician Questlove - who MC'd the Academy Awards show this year. Summer of Soul initially premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. Now it's set to rock cinemas this July!! This film won over critics and audiences with audacious, joyful, uplifting look back at this remarkable music event. Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a doc feature about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity. The documentary feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more. One of the best docs of the year so far, and the perfect film to watch in theaters with a lively audience.
"Careful what you ask for…" Gravitas Ventures has released a trailer for a supernatural documentary titled The Sleepless Unrest, from filmmakers Kendall & Vera Whelpton. The world-famous haunted house that inspired The Conjuring films has recently been sold to new owners and is now (re-)open for paranormal investigations. With special access and 14 cameras rolling 24/7, a small team of filmmakers and paranormal investigators move into the house to document the real-life paranormal activity for two weeks. Is the real-life Conjuring home still haunted? Or is there something else more sinister going on? This seems like a mix between The Blair Witch Project and an actual "hey look, this is a real house that inspired horror." Though it seems much more like a setup than an actual doc, but it's not the first time we've seen a horror film try it.