WE ♥ DOCS
"This is a classic tale of identity… It's going to be tough to tell them apart." 1091 Media has released their official US trailer for an indie documentary titled And Two If By Sea, which is a twist on the classic "Paul Revere's Ride" poem ("one, if by land, and two, if by sea"). The doc film is not really a sports doc, not really a family doc - perhaps a mix of both, and then some. It's about two brothers who happen to be professional surfers, CJ & Damien Hobgood, and their experiences in life being competitive siblings. "A cinematic tale of adventure, destiny, and family. The story of iconic professional surfers and identical twins CJ & Damien Hobgood. Their sibling rivalry and struggle to each to establish their own identity fueled their careers, but ripped their personal and peripheral relationships apart." Damn, now I need to watch to see what happened.
"Stop it!" "I'm not doing anything!" Ohhhhhh, brothers. Oscilliscope Labs has debuted an official US trailer for an indie documentary titled Don't Be a Dick About It, which originally premiered at the IDFA Film Festival in Amsterdam last year. It also stopped by numerous other doc festivals last fall, including DocPoint Helsinki and Docs Against Gravity. Ben Mullinkosson's doc film is a hilarious and beautiful portrait of two brothers growing up in Maryland. He follows the brothers – Peter and Matthew – around for one summer capturing the nuances of pissing each other off. A film about brotherly love, and brotherly hate. Anyone with siblings definitely knows these mixed feelings. As odd as this doc sounds, it's been picking up rave reviews from multiple critics - calling it "an absolute charmer from start to finish." You just need to see for yourself.
"Suddenly all the doors open, and everything I'd known I could record." Greenwich Ent. has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary called The Times of Bill Cunningham, which first premiered at the New York Film Festival last year. This is yet another great documentary about an iconic photographer - Bill Cunningham. He sadly passed away in 2016 at the age 87, but this film is based on an extensive interview he gave in 1994 discussing his entire life history and multitude of remarkable experiences around the world. Not to mention his work as a photographer and his eye as an observer of humanity. This doc is described in reviews as, "a snapshot of a life that leaves you grateful for having encountered it." There was also a biopic doc film from 2011 about him, Bill Cunningham: New York, which is a bit different from this. Have a look.
"Heavy Metal is…" 1091 has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Queens of Botswana, marking the debut of filmmaker Sarah Vianney. The film runs a total of 43 minutes and will be available on VOD services later in December, for those curious to watch. Queens of Botswana is about three different women from Botswana (a land-locked country in southern Africa) whose lives have all been touched by their love for Heavy Metal. Yes… indeed! We follow them for a week on their way to a festival in Gaborone, but the show is not the main event. Its all about Queen Ludo, Queen Florah and Queen Gloria. "That's what the women of the Marok are called – Queens." This looks fun and kooky and entirely unexpected - have a look.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" (–Fred Rogers) The people who give everything to help others when things are bad are the true heroes of this world. By now, most people are familiar with the war in Syria and the atrocities occurring there. Yet it's still important, for the sake of history above all, that we document what's happening in the Middle East and show how regular people are trying to survive. Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad is without a doubt the best Syrian filmmaker working today, and his latest is an extraordinary work of cinema. The Cave is Fayyad's follow-up to his Academy Award-nominated doc film Last Men in Aleppo, and it's an unforgettable, affecting documentary that deserves our time and attention.
Wow wow wow. What a film…! I don't know too much about Australia's history nor do I follow the country's current events, so going into this film I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know anything about the story it was telling. And there's nothing like hearing a story for the first time: learning about all that has happened, the ups and downs, and the truths about what is really going on. The Australian Dream is a wonderful doc that focuses on an Australian sportsman named Adam Goodes. He plays the rugby-meets-cricket sport called "Australian rules football", run by the AFL (the "Australian Football League"), and he is descendant from Aboriginal natives. The film tells his story and in doing so confronts latent Australian racism head on. And man oh man is it an absolutely fantastic film. I was moved to tears by this, multiple times near the end.
"One thing I don't like: is any kind of glitter." HBO has debuted a trailer for a documentary film titled Mel Brooks: Unwrapped, which is debuting streaming starting in December. This biopic doc is a look back at comedy icon Mel Brooks' legendary comedy career in film and television, a feature extension of a segment that British filmmaker Alan Yentob originally produced for the BBC. With Brooks bringing back the classic musical "Young Frankenstein" to the London stage again, Yentob went to talk to Brooks. He originally met Brooks 35 years before, also interviewing him for another segment titled "I Thought I Was Taller" and now they catch up again. We all know Mel Brooks is a certified genius, so spending any time with him and also hearing his stories (and his endless jokes) is always good for the soul. Looking forward to this watching this.
"The enemy is the occupation." Abramorama & 1091 have debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Afterward, marking the feature directorial debut of Israeli filmmaker Ofra Bloch. This deeply personal film is about the psychological barriers preventing peace in the Middle East. Bloch forces herself to confront her demons in a journey that takes her to Germany, Israel and Palestine. Set against the current wave of fascism and anti-Semitism sweeping the globe, Afterward delves into the secret wounds carried by victims as well as victimizers, through testimonies ranging from the horrifying to hopeful. Not just an examination of the complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but how traumatizing and disruptive the Holocaust was to everyone living there. "Movingly illustrates the myriad ways in which the past haunts the present and the healing power of communication." Looks like a compelling doc that digs quite deep into the power of guilt.
"Nobody spoke about the war. So I didn't either." Kino Lorber has unveiled the official trailer for an indie documentary titled Chichinette: The Accidental Spy, made by German doc filmmaker/cinematographer Nicolas Hens. She tells the story of how Marthe Cohn, a 99 year old Jewish woman born in France, became a spy in Nazi Germany. For decades after the war ended she never spoke about the experience, but now she travels the globe to share her story as "The Accidental Spy". This truly seems like a remarkably fascinating story, not your usual war story, with a few good insight about life and survival and everything else in France. She almost seems as spunky and outspoken as the late Agnes Varda. Another new doc that is worth a watch.
"Should we really be manipulating the hereditary of future generations given our lack of knowledge about so many things…?" Greenwich Entertainment has debuted an official US trailer for an indie documentary film titled Human Nature, which already premiered at the SXSW and CPH:DOX Film Festivals this year. The biggest tech revolution of the 21st Century isn't digital, it's biological. A breakthrough called CRISPR has given us unprecedented control over the "building blocks of life." It opens the door to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and even designing our own children. Human Nature is a provocative exploration of CRISPR's far-reaching implications. Featuring the top minds including Jennifer Doudna (UC Berkeley), Alta Charo (Max Planck Institute), David Baltimore (Cal Tech), George Church (Harvard University). This seems to be the definitive introduction to how it's changing the world, while also stoking ethical discussions.
"You'd better win." Chassy Media has debuted an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Shelby American, the latest from racing doc directors Nate Adams & Adam Carolla (of Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, and The 24 Hour War). The film profiles the life and times of notorious race car driver, engineer, designer, coach and expert Carroll Shelby - the same guy played by Matt Damon in the Ford v Ferrari movie this year. Carroll Shelby came from humble beginnings working as a chicken farmer in rural Texas. He exploded into the auto-racing scene by beating all the top-tier drivers of the era and winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959. All while still wearing his chicken-overalls. He launched his company Shelby American after that, which lead him to meet Henry Ford II. The rest is history. For any and all racing fans, this seems like a must see. Or for anyone who wants more after watching the excellent Ford v Ferrari film.
"Ten years of that was, uh, a fun party… You should've been there!" Cleopatra Entertainment has released an official trailer for a rock doc titled Melody Makers, which has been in the works for years premiering originally at the Whistler Film Festival in 2016. The film is about the legendary British rock n' roll magazine called "Melody Maker", which first launched in 1926. The documentary focuses on Melody Maker's Chief Contributing Photographer (from 1965-1975), Barrie Wentzell, who tells the story of the rise and fall of the magazine, which marked the end to a style of rock n' roll journalism that no longer exists today. Featuring appearances by Wentzell, Steve 'Abbo' Abbot, Ian Anderson, Eric Burdon, and others. Not just another rock doc, a rock doc with a specific focus on journalism and the rock fans who followed these bands for decades.