WE ♥ DOCS
"All kids have the ability to be successful." Kandoo Films has debuted an official trailer for a documentary film titled Everybody Dance, which will be out to watch on VOD starting in October. This inspirational film showcases the power of dance and how it can inspire and change lives. It profiles a dance school and the teacher who runs a "Ballet For All Kids" course, focusing on teaching disabled children and allowing them to express themselves and build their confidence through ballet. This extremely touching film reveals the everyday lives of kids with different disabilities and how ballet has changed their lives. The film explores the lives of five kids, and their incredible dance teacher, as they prepare for an emotional end-of-year dance recital. This looks wonderful, the kind of feel-good story we need in this indifferent and harsh world right now. Even if it's not the best film ever, it'll still bring us all joy. Have a look below and watch at home soon.
It's time to take a voyage into the mind of the one-and-only David Bowie. Now playing in IMAX theaters worldwide is this incredible, mind-blowing documentary Moonage Daydream, the newest doc made by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen. The film first premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival this summer (where I first saw it and raved about it in my review), and it recently stopped by the Toronto Film Festival. After seeing it in Cannes, I immediately sent some emails about setting up a special screening of the film in Berlin. Anyone who knows Bowie knows he has a very intimate and important connection with Berlin - he lived in the city from 1976 to 1979 and produced a number of unique albums with Brian Eno there. For the special event, I conducted a video interview with director Brett Morgen on Zoom discussing the making of the film and Bowie's connection to the city and how it had an impact on his life. After initially playing on the IMAX screen that night, it's now available to watch online. I wanted to share it with everyone.
"We're so lucky that we're above the ground, making music, please feel this…" Gravitas has revealed the official trailer for a music doc titled The Last Band on Stage, which will be available to watch at the end of September. The latest doc about the band Chicago, made by the very same filmmaker behind the other doc Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago from 2016. The film is not only about the band, but also about the pandemic and the early days of COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. On March 14th, 2020 – Chicago is the last band on stage as all the worldwide pandemic lockdowns begin. The Last Band on Stage tells the incredible story of how the 55 year-old band survived a pandemic that stopped the world in its tracks. The Last Band on Stage is a celebration of the American musical institution known as Chicago, featuring candid interviews and footage that show the band in their humanity and musical genius. It also follows the band throughout 2021 as they wonder when they'll be able to play on stage again. A pandemic concert doc! Enjoy.
"Get yourself ready for this, because no one's walking away from it…" Greenwich Ent. has revealed the official trailer for a documentary film titled Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche, telling the story of the harrowing avalanche at the Alpine Meadows ski resort in March 1982. It premiered at festivals last year and is out this September in theaters. The film is described as a "stressed autopsy" of that fateful event in which key players dig through painful memories to relive what happens when nature overwhelms. In 1982, a massive avalanche descended on Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, CA that triggered a desperate five day search for eight missing people. Buried chronicles the third deadliest avalanche in US history, the miraculous rescue efforts and the traumas that still haunt many of the survivors today. Before the avalanche, the Ski Patrol at Alpine Meadows were known as "the undisputed gods of winter" until this event changed everything. Avalanches are scary!! This looks like a very tough story to retell and talk about.
"There's something bigger here - let's find out what's really going on here" Netflix has revealed the official trailer for a documentary mini-series premiering later this month called Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga, about the GameStop crypto mishap and the story of the Redditors who tried to take control of the stock. Once again, yet another dueling docs series - HBO debuted Gaming Wall Street earlier this year, now Netflix is ready to drop their own doc series on this GameStop debacle. (Paramount also made their own doc on this as well.) A look at the layers of intrigue, from the supercharged power of digital communities to the gamification of trading. From Academy Award-winning filmmakers Dan Cogan and Liz Garbus, and directed by Theo Love. This humorous documentary series follows a group of millennial misfits who banded together online to rescue their beloved GameStop from the clutches of Wall Street bigwigs, in an epic, viral David vs. Goliath story for the 21st century. I'm all for this story of these Reddit nerds, but at the same time they've turned this story into such cheesy entertainment it almost doesn't seem that exciting anymore. Have a look.
"Keep the runway open at all costs." HBO has revealed an official trailer for a documentary titled Escape From Kabul, made by investigative doc filmmaker Jamie Roberts (of Four Hours at the Capitol, The Fires That Foretold Grenfell). It's one of the first films about what happened in Kabul when American forces pulled out of the country as the Taliban took over. With never-before-seen archival footage of the historic confrontation at Kabul airport in August, from the US withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan through the subsequent evacuation of Afghan citizens. After 20 years of war between the Taliban, and NATO forces, a small force of U.S. Marines were deployed to Kabul in August 2021 intending to evacuate U.S. citizens and “at risk” Afghans who had cooperated with the Americans and Allied Forces during the conflict. But plans quickly changed. This looks utterly intense & harrowing, a remarkable look at how the world is destabilizing. And they even have interviews with a few Taliban leaders in this doc?! Wow. Looks like a must watch film.
"Do you want to be the talk of the town again?" Sony Pictures Classics has revealed a main official trailer for the country music doc film The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile. This will be opening in theaters in October if anyone is interested. It first premiered at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival and also played at Telluride & TIFF this fall. Decades after Tanya Tucker slipped from the spotlight, music star Brandi Carlile takes it upon herself to write an entire album for her hero based on Tanya's extraordinary life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history. Watch as the collaborate on a new album together. Taking stock of the past while remaining vitally alive in the present and also keeping an eye on the future, The Return of Tanya Tucker is a rousing exploration of an unexpected friendship built on the joy of a perfectly timed creative collaboration. This sounds like a unique moment to capture in a doc film, showing how music will always connect and inspire us across all time and space. If you're curious, take a look below.
"We had to figure out how to become a team." Netflix has revealed an official trailer for an inspiring sports documentary film titled The Redeem Team, telling the remarkable story of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball team. From the filmmakers behind the acclaimed doc series The Last Dance comes this new look at how the "The Redeem Team" set a new standard for American basketball. With an all-star team by Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony + LeBron James, the 2008 US men's Olympic basketball team had everything to lose. And everything to prove. The rest is history!! We already know the result, but this is the story of how they got that Gold. The doc includes Wade, LeBron, Carmelo, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Mike "Coach K" Krzyzewski, and archival interviews with the late Kobe. This seems similar to the Miracle hockey story but for basketball in 2008. Looks like a stellar doc.
"Even though he ran an airline, he would get the kids to school. We were a happy five-some…" MTV Doc Films has revealed an official trailer for the indie doc film Last Flight Home, a very personal story from acclaimed doc filmmaker Ondi Timoner (We Live in Public, Cool It, Brand: A Second Coming). This first premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and just stopped by the prestigious Telluride Film Festival this month. In his final few days, we discover Eli Timoner and an extraordinary life of wild achievements, tragic loss and most of all, enduring love. Last Flight Home shares a stunning verité account of a courageous family confronting life and death. The film is about a man who decides to terminate his own life and in the 15-day waiting period recounts his stories, which Ondi has turned into this doc. "As they open up their lives to offer an enlightening view of a universal experience, they demonstrate the grace that can emerge from embracing death." It reminds me of Dick Johnson Is Dead - this looks sad but also wholesome.
The most important question of our times is: how do we solve climate change? It's a tough one to answer. How do we stop destroying our planet, how do we transition to better / safer energy without using fossil fuels anymore? Can society actually transition smoothly? What can we do as an individual to help? Everyone seems to be thinking about this and one person who has been thinking about it quite intently is filmmaker Oliver Stone. Stone has stepped back from making narrative features, but is still making documentaries as he gets older. His latest doc film is called Nuclear, and it just premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival as an important climate change feature at the end of the fest. Half of the film is about global warming and how we let this happen and what's going on with the world. The other half offers a viable answer: nuclear power. It's as persuasive as any film can be - nuclear power truly IS the best immediate solution for climate change mitigation and ending fossil fuel use. If you aren't yet convinced, just watch this film when it's out.
"Instability. War. Unemployment. I believe everyone is a slave in this life. But I don't want to live in fear." Oscilloscope Labs has revealed an official US trailer for Sirens, an acclaimed documentary from the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Opening in select US theaters (starting in NY & LA) this September for anyone to catch up with. Sirens is a documentary about a metal band from Lebanon and how the rockers deal with changes in their lives. Lilas and Shery, co-founders and guitarists of the Middle East's first all-female metal band called "Slave to Sirens", wrestle with friendship, sexuality and destruction in their own pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars. They're based in Beirut, where there are still rules and laws they must carefully navigate, but they do their best to rock out anyway. Despite their obvious challenges, the members of Slave to Sirens persist in trying to create a revolution of their own: living their truth. Rock on!!
National Geographic has revealed a first look teaser trailer for the new documentary film Retrograde, the latest from award-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, City of Ghosts, The First Wave). This initially premiered at the 2022 Telluride Film Festival over the weekend, hence the new teaser, and will be showing up later this year though an exact date isn't set yet. The film is about one of the most upsetting topics of 2021 – it captures the final nine months of America's 20-year war in Afghanistan from multiple perspectives. Focusing on the intimate relationship between American Green Berets and the Afghan officers they trained. From the Oscar-nominated & Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Retrograde offers a cinematic and historic window onto the end of America’s longest war, and the costs endured for those most intimately involved. With everything in Afghanistan in 2021 being a major political topic, this doc should interest many viewers as it's as close as one can get to learning about this war from the soldiers who were there. Get a look.