WE ♥ DOCS
"Success is a life where I'm surrounded by people who I love and people who love me." Level 33 Ent. has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Most Likely to Succeed, available to watch starting in December. This ambitious, fascinating film follows four teens from disparate backgrounds who are voted "Most Likely To Succeed" during their senior year of high school in 2007. Award-winning photographer and now filmmaker Pamela Littky follows them for a decade, filming their ups and downs as they discover the true meaning of "success" out in the real world after school. Borrows a bit from the Up series, and Boyhood, but with its own unique take on success. I wasn't expecting much from this, but it really looks fantatic once it gets into it. Get through the first half and once they start looking back it gets real interesting. Have a look.
"How do you make sense of the senseless?" Kino Lorber & ABC Docs have debuted an official trailer for the documentary film After Parkland, which first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. In the aftermath of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead, filmmakers Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman traveled to Parkland and began filming with students who endured gunfire and the parents who lost their children in the crosshairs. After Parkland is an intimate chronicle of various families as they navigate their way through the unthinkable; reckoning with unexpected loss, journeying through grief, and searching for new meaning. Follows in the footsteps of the documentary Newtown, taking a raw, heartfelt, truthful look at how a community moves on after such horrible tragedies.
"Bikram was so good at getting inside our brains." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary titled Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, the latest feature made by Oscar-winning filmmaker Eva Orner (The Network, Chasing Asylum, Out of Iraq). The film tells the controversial story of the famous founder of "hot yoga" named Bikram Choudhury, who immigrated to Los Angeles in the early 70s and made tons of money with his fitness empire. The doc traces his rise to glory in the 1970s to his disgrace in accusations of rape and sexual harassment in more recent years. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, a Netflix original, shines a light on the stories of the women who took him down and explores the contradiction of how this healing discipline could simultaneously help and hurt so many. This doc definitely fits into the Netflix canon with all their other searing, jaw-dropping, fascinating films about crazy minds of manipulative men. Yoga madness.
"There is energy in abundance everywhere on the planet." Vision Films has unveiled an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Teslafy Me, made my Slovenian filmmaker Janja Glogovac. The film takes a closer look at the iconic inventor / technological mastermind Nikola Tesla, born in in 1856 and raised in the Austrian Empire before coming to America. A vision for a world free of pollution and climate problems, with energy available in abundance - are we ready to take up legacy of ingenious inventor Nikola Tesla? By now (thanks to The Prestige and Elon Musk's car company) we all know about Tesla and his legacy, despite the fact that the history books don't spend much time on him. The film features William Terbo (a NASA Engineer, Tesla's great-nephew), Branko Terzič (Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center), Leonardo DiCaprio (actor, environmentalist), Marina Abramovic (artist, writer, filmmaker) and also Gramatik (composer, DJ).
"Why can't we talk about not having children?" Helpman Productions has debuted an official trailer for an indie documentary titled To Kid or Not To Kid, made by director Maxine Trump (no relation). The very personal film is about Maxine's own investigations and considerations about her life and whether or not to have children, then expanding the discussion to provoke conversation. It comes as quite a surprise that in the 21st century we still live in a world where you're criticized for speaking openly about living childfree. To Kid or Not To Kid goes deep into the lives of two women as they search for ways to support each other in living without having children. The film premiered at DOC NYC last year, and it will be getting a web series along with the theatrical release later this month. I'm always interested in films that ask us tough questions.
"Imagine how they felt, being photographed." Cohen Media Group has unveiled an official US trailer for the acclaimed documentary called Shooting the Mafia, which first premiered at both the Sundance & Berlin Film Festivals earlier this year. The doc film is a profile of famed Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, the first woman to ever be employed as a photographer at a newspaper in Italy in the 1960s. She went on to take iconic photos of the Mafia and their many violent crimes during their worst era, receiving death threats and getting entangled in their world. She fought back by showing the public just how bad they were, never letting any pressure stop her from using her camera to tell the truth. This was one of my favorite films at the Berlin Film Festival this year, explaining that it's "a fantastic, powerful doc that is both about a remarkable woman, and also a historical examination of how the Mafia lost its power over the years." A must catch doc.
"What is the point of continuing to sell our bodies without any quality or talent." Kino Lorber has debuted a new official US trailer for the indie documentary titled The Disappearance of My Mother, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. We originally featured a trailer in January before the festival, now we have another trailer for the film's opening in December. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, Benedetta Barzini became a muse to Warhol, Dali, Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. But at the age of 75, she is fed up with all the roles that life has imposed upon her and decides to leave everything and everybody behind, to disappear to a place as far as possible from the gaze of the camera. Only her son Beniamino, the director, is permitted to witness her journey. This is a remarkably beautiful, one-of-a-kind doc film that I hope people will discover.
"What you don't control is a potential threat." Greenwich Entertainment has unveiled an official trailer for the new Alex Gibney documentary titled Citizen K, which first premiered at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year and it also played at TIFF. Citizen K is a reference to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian citizen who now lives in London after being put in jail as an outspoken opponent of Putin. He only got out because he's a billionaire. The film tells the complete story of the strange case of Khodorkovsky, once believed to be the wealthiest man in Russia, who rocketed to prosperity and prominence in the 1990s, served a decade in prison, and became an unlikely martyr for the anti-Putin movement. Expertly researched, Alex Gibney uses Khodorkovsky’s story as a way to explore the complex interplay between oligarchy and government and its destructive effect on democracy, in Russia and beyond. The film covers all of Russia's modern history and how it became the dangerous power it is now, and how Khodorkovsky fights back, even while living abroad.
"Your son is going to be OK." "And if I can't pay?" 1091 Media has debuted an official trailer for the indie documentary called Midnight Family, which first premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to some rave reviews. The film has gone on to play at numerous other festivals all over the world, picking up awards including the Grand Jury Award at the Sheffield Doc Festival, and the "Bravery Award" at the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. In Mexico City's wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help. It's a remarkably thrilling, and powerfully honest look at the chllaneges of Mexico's infrastructure, following this family as they pick up the pieces (literally) trying to earn a living saving the lives of citizens. Don't skip this.
"I am less invisible than most people, because I'm a baron." Dogwoof has unveiled the first official trailer for an interesting new documentary titled King of The Cruise, set to premiere at the IDFA documentary festival in Amsterdam next month with no other release yet. A peek into the decadent and bizarre world of luxurious cruise ships, starring an attention-seeking Scottish Baron on a mission to be seen. Baron Ronald Busch Reisinger of Inneryne spends his time on outrageous cruise ships amongst romantic couples, wealthy families, hardworking staff and retired elderly. But, of course, beneath his heft is a lonely man, expressing his desire for recognition and validation. This seems like a fascinating look at how much people will build themselves up and put on a performance just to connect in the simplest way with other people. Have a look.
"There will always be blood, brilliance and controversy." Wood Ent. has debuted an official trailer for the documentary QT8: The First Eight, a film about Quentin Tarantino's career and the first eight films he made - starting with Reservoir Dogs in 1992. This is made by the same filmmaker who bought us 21 Years: Richard Linklater about, obviously, Linklater's career. With Tarantino's newest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood arriving to praise and controversy, filmmaker Tara Wood takes us on a journey through the first 8 wildly divergent films that Tarantino has helmed, narrated by the actors & collaborators who have worked with him. Featuring interviews with: Zoe Bell, Louis Black, Bruce Dern, Robert Forster, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gladstein, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Kruger, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Eli Roth, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Stacey Sher, Scott Spiegel, and Christoph Waltz. Quite a line-up. Enjoy the trailer below.
"Better to kill the poacher and spare the elephant." Oscilloscope Labs has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled When Lambs Become Lions, a film made over three years of time by filmmaker Jon Kasbe. This premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and also played at the Zurich, San Diego, Budapest, and Docs Against Gravity Film Festivals. Set in the Kenyan bush, a small-time ivory dealer fights to stay on top while forces mobilize to destroy his trade. When he turns to his younger cousin, a conflicted wildlife ranger who hasn't been paid in months, they both see a possible lifeline. It took Kasbe three years filming to make this doc. The result is a rare and visually arresting look at the perspectives and motives of the people at the epicenter of this conservation crisis. When Lambs Become Lions is committed to showcasing the plight of elephants however it does NOT depict animals of any kind being harmed. This looks incredible - a must see.