WE ♥ DOCS
"This is my history. This is my culture. Whatever the situation, we're gonna roll." HBO has released a new trailer for the documentary United Skates, a look at the subculture of roller skating and the few beloved roller rinks that still remain around the country. From filmmakers Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler, this first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and won the Audience Award there, with a debut on HBO coming up this February. The feature-length doc follows three skaters (Phelicia from Los Angeles, Reggie from North Carolina, and Buddy from Chicago) fighting to save their respective community roller rinks as most of them have closed down. Even though roller skating originated in the 1930s (and became popular again in the 60s/70s), there's a new subculture thriving but all these rinks need to stay open. Check this out.
"Here we are!" Neon has released the official trailer for an indie documentary titled The Biggest Little Farm, which premiered at the Toronto & Telluride Film Festivals last year. It's also playing at the Sundance Film Festival this month, and arriving in theaters this spring. I LOVE this film so much - it all started with a promise they made to their dog. And that hooked me right away (I adore dogs). The Biggest Little Farm is about two dreamers from Los Angeles who decide to give up their city life and invest everything in a farm, challenging themselves to build and maintain a biodynamic farm (meaning it's entirely organic and self-sustaining). This doc chronicles their 7-year journey to build, seed, grow, manage, and maintain the farm, with all kinds of problems arising, and solutions presenting themselves in natural ways. I'm quoted in this trailer which makes me happy because it's the best - read my review. This is a must watch for animal lovers.
"The enormity of this event is something that only history will be able to judge." Neon and CNN Films have debuted the full-length official trailer for the documentary Apollo 11, from director Todd Douglas Miller (Gahanna Bill, Dinosaur 13). This feature film is made up entirely of never-before-seen large-format film footage of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. It just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to quite a bit of acclaim - and it needs to be seen on the big screen for the full experience. Neon is releasing this film in connection with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 landing on the Moon (they landed on July 20th, 1969) by mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin. I am quoted in this new trailer (and on the full poster) from a review I wrote last weekend at Sundance, where I said it's "a stunning, gorgeously cinematic documentary made up entirely of footage from NASA's archives." Fellow space nerds - you can't miss this.
"The real me isn't photographable." With the 2019 Sundance Film Festival now underway, we're proud to debut an official promo trailer for the documentary The Disappearance of My Mother. From Italian filmmaker Beniamino Barrese, the film will receive its World Premiere at Sundance on Friday, January 25th in the World Cinema Documentary Competition section. The film is about a once-iconic Italian fashion model who now strives to escape the world of images and disappear for good, but her son's determination to make a final film about her sparks an unexpected collaboration and confrontation with the camera's gaze. Described by Sundance as a "radical documentary born out of a series of confrontations between a mother eager to set herself free and a son desperate to use the medium of film to keep her close." This looks like a fascinating, emotional film that examines society's obsession with beauty in a more intimate, personal way.
"I didn't want a real job, I wanted adventure." Sony Pictures Classics has debuted an official trailer for the documentary Maiden, which first premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year. This outstanding doc is playing at the Sundance Film Festival next this month, which is why this trailer is debuting just in time to help build some extra buzz. This is really worth a watch - it's a moving, inspiring, remarkable story of how one young woman organized the first ever all-women sailing team to compete in the Whitbread Round the World race in the 1980s. The film is about Tracy Edwards, who put her entire life savings and every last ounce of effort into finding, training, commanding, and sailing with a team of women - the first ever in this world famous sail boat race. The film features jaw-dropping footage of their race, and interviews with the entire sailing team, telling us all the brutally honest stories of what went down and how they pulled this off.
"Sure, he has written three good crime novels. But Stieg was also something completely different…" The Match Factory has debuted an international / festival promo trailer for the documentary Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire, which is premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival coming up. The doc film tells the life story of Swedish journalist and writer Stieg Larsson, renowned as the author of the internationally acclaimed "Millennium" series of novels - best known as the "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" trilogy. The film profiles Larsson's upbringing in Sweden, his years as a journalist, and involvement in fighting right wing extremists and neo-Nazis in the 1980s & 1990s. This fascinating film is much more than just another biopic doc, it's also a story about how journalism and putting a spotlight on the truth is the strongest way to fight fascism and neo-Nazi movements. I highly recommend keeping an eye on this one.
Back to Sundance we go for another year of discovery. What's on the line-up this year? Out of the 110+ films showing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, I've chosen 10 that I'm looking forward to seeing the most. To keep things well balanced, I've chosen 5 feature films and 5 documentaries from the line-up. There are so many films playing at the fest, and so many I'll end up seeing (30+), that this is a quick list to get everyone acquainted with some of the work premiering in 2019 (I just want to go see everything). There are new films from filmmakers like Ritesh Batra and Lulu Wang, and incredible documentaries that are also worthy of our attention, plus many other films. You never really know what will good or bad, but here's my first few picks.
"It's a great time to be a con man in America." Well, this just got interesting. Hulu has debuted an official trailer for and already released their documentary Fyre Fraud, a feature-length film about the infamous Fyre Festival disaster. Netflix also released a trailer for their documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, just last week pitting these two films head-to-head. Which is even more peculiar because apparently this documentary calls out the other one for being biased. Hulu's Fyre Fraud is "a true-crime comedy exploring a failed music festival turned internet meme at the nexus of social media influence, late-stage capitalism, and morality in the post-truth era." Sounds like this is one damning doc. The directors add that, "Billy McFarland offers us a window into the mind of a con artist, the insidious charm of the fraudster and how they can capture our imaginations, our investment and our votes in the age of Trump." Take a look.
"We want to live." The first official festival trailer has debuted for a documentary titled Gaza, premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in a few weeks. This film is listed as an Ireland/Canada production, though it's actually about modern day Palestine and the Gaza strip in the Middle East. "This elegantly shot and masterfully crafted portrait of Palestinian life offers a rare chance to be immersed in the heart of Gaza, as we glimpse behind the walls of this misunderstood land to get to know real people who inhabit it." It's a film that takes us into the lives of regular people from there, showing us they're just like anyone else, and not the dangerous enemies the media makes them out to be (at least in western countries). The doc film reveals "a world rich with eloquent and resilient characters, offering us a cinematic and enriching portrait of a people attempting to lead meaningful lives." It's certainly worth a look, some very impressive footage in this trailer.
"The only option I have is to not give up." Freestyle Digital Media has debuted an official trailer for a new documentary titled Sharkwater Extinction, the latest doc by Canadian filmmaker / activist Rob Stewart. This follow-up to Stewart's 2006 doc Sharkwater is once again all about sharks, but this time it's about the billion dollar illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it. By exposing the truth behind all the illegal fishing, he also looks at how this industry that threatens the survival of the world's sharks. "Shark finning is still rampant, shark fin soup is still being consumed, and endangered sharks are now also being used to make products for human consumption. Stewart’s mission is to save the sharks before it’s too late." This looks like it's trying to be Blackfish but for sharks with the hope of actually causing real change.
"Closer to.. Lord of the Flies than Coachella." Netflix has unveiled an official full-length trailer for the new documentary Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a film about the infamous, disastrous music festival known as the "Fyre Festival". This documentary is the latest from filmmaker Chris Smith, who previously made the fantastic Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond also for Netflix. So the story goes that in 2017, Fyre Media found Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule tried to put together an exclusive music festival on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma set to take place over two weekends. But it was soon discovered that the whole thing was a scam, and McFarland was then arrested and found guilty of defrauding investors and defrauding ticket buyers. This is the story of what really happened. Yeah, I'm definitely curious, even though I think the whole thing was stupid to begin with. I just want to see them give us all the real dirt in this doc.
"Say the word 'sex' with more emotion!" Magnolia Pictures has released the first official trailer for Ask Dr. Ruth, a documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in just a few weeks. The film chronicles the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America's most famous sex therapist. "With her diminutive frame, thick German accent, and uninhibited approach to sex therapy and education, Dr. Ruth transformed the conversation around sexuality. As she approaches her 90th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, Dr. Ruth revisits her painful past and unlikely path to a career at the forefront of the sexual revolution." She seems so spunky and spry, and still as witty and wise as ever. Enjoy.