WE ♥ DOCS
"You have a story that deserves to be heard." National Geographic + Disney have debuted an official trailer for an inspiring new documentary film titled Own the Room, debuting streaming on Disney+ in March for everyone to watch. This is the second feature from the award-winning filmmakers behind the doc Science Fair, which premiered at Sundance in 2018. National Geographic Documentary Films' Own the Room doc follows five young star students on their journey to win one of the world’s most prestigious competitions for student entrepreneurs. Santosh is from a small farming town in Nepal; Alondra works the register at her family’s bakery in Puerto Rico; Henry is a programming wiz from Nairobi; Jason is a marketing machine from Greece; and Daniela, an immigrant fleeing the crisis in Venezuela. This looks like a very uplifting and encouraging portrait of perseverance, passion, and hard work as these people take on the world. Take a look.
"Who on Earth could believe that of Woody Allen?" HBO has unveiled the teaser trailer for a documentary mini-series titled Allen v. Farrow, and we just have to post it anyway (breaking our no-TV rule). This is a new doc from the award-winning filmmakers Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering, who last made the outstanding On the Record doc last year. This time they turn their attention towards Woody Allen, examining his scandals and legal troubles over decades. This four-part documentary series for HBO delves into the Allen v. Farrow controversy ("what you think you know is just the tip of the iceberg"): the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then seven-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow; their subsequent custody trial, the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi; and the controversial aftermath in the years that followed. I am sure this is just going to end up showing how insanely complex and intricate it all is, and that we'll never really know the truth, but at least they're trying to find it anyway.
"The only clue we have is when some alteration in our reality occurs." Magnolia Pictures has released one final full-length trailer for A Glitch in the Matrix, the latest film from conspiracy doc filmmaker Rodney Ascher - of Room 237, The Nightmare, and The El Duce Tapes. A Glitch in the Matrix tackles this question "are we living in a simulation?" with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in his for the answer. The feature film "traces the idea's genesis over the years, from philosophical engagements by the ancient Greeks to modern discussions by Philip K. Dick, the Wachowskis, and leading scholars and game theorists. Ascher deftly parallels conversations with people who believe we're living in a computer with the purely digital nature of the film itself; all interviews were conducted via Skype, all reenactments were digitally animated, and archives are largely drawn from ’90s-era cyber thrillers and video games." This just premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and it opens on VOD today for anyone to watch. I highly recommend it if you're into mindfuck, conspiracy theory cinema! It is a wild and wacky trip into crazyland.
"It's always a great story about the person behind the mask." Disney has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary titled Marvel's Behind the Mask, which will be available for streaming on Disney+ starting next week. This brand new "documentary special" is directed by Michael Jacobs and features insider access to a lot of the major names from Marvel Comics. Discover the inspiration behind Marvel's greatest heroes, meeting the writers and creators and artists. And learn about the start of the Marvel Age of Comics in the early 1960s; they were called "Timely Publications" or "Atlas Comics" before they became Marvel. The film will feature guests from across Marvel’s 80-year legacy, including the writers and artists behind the rise of characters like Black Panther, Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Luke Cage, the X-Men, Captain Marvel, and many other characters, highlighting Marvel's impact on pop culture. This looks super nerdy and super fascinating.
"I want them to grow up in a world that's kind." YouTube Originals has debuted a second trailer for their documentary sequel Life in a Day 2020, a follow-up to the original Life in a Day film from 2010. This just premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and debuts streaming this weekend. YouTube and the filmmakers asked people all over the world to record their lives to tell the story of a single day on Earth. The filmmakers received more than 300,000 submissions, nearly 4x the number of submissions to the previous film, which includes thousands of hours of footage from 192 different countries, in more than 65 languages. This second trailer (watch the first here) includes the song "Strangers," a new recording of The Kinks classic by Black Pumas and Lucius. This looks like the kind of film to experience with family or friends, to remind you of all the beautiful life on this planet and all that we love to do and dream about doing. It looks lovely.
"At that moment, I didn't want to be Pelé." Netflix has revealed an official trailer for the documentary film Pelé, a brand new sports profile doc about the legendary football player known around the world simply as Pelé. There was also a narrative film called Pele: Birth of a Legend a few years ago, but that one's different from this film. Pelé, the new Netflix documentary, chronicles the life of the Brazilian football player, Edson Arantes do Nascimento - better known as Pelé. The documentary looks back at the extraordinary period when Pelé, the only player to win three World Cup titles, went from a young superstar in 1958 to a national hero, amidst a radical and turbulent era in Brazilian history - telling a story of Brazil's political history as connected to Pele. The film features tons of interviews and old footage, as well as testimonials from family members, journalists, artists, and others who witnessed the golden age of Brazilian football. Give this a look.
"If anybody that looked like me tried anything like that we'd be shot dead." This captivating short doc film profiles the powerful movement to flip the vote in Atlanta, Georgia this January. Flipping Georgia Blue is a short doc made by i-D and filmmaker Issey Penwarden. The story they're focusing on is the youth movement in Atlanta surrounding in the election, doing their best to encourage voting for Democrats in this vitally important run-off election. It's impressive that they started filming this in November, and put it together in only two months of time, not only collecting some quality footage but editing it into something meaningful. We already know who won, this is a little story about how that happened. And it's good to see Stacey Abrams get some time in this - as she's largely responsible for the results. "Watch the video below to hear from local creative, Hawa Camara, and other young people who used their vote to make history."
"This is a story about many lives." Freestyle Digital Media has debuted the official trailer for a fascinating new documentary titled On Thin Ice, made by actor-turned-filmmaker Keli Price telling his own personal story in connection with a family member. Athletes who have struggled for acceptance due to race, religion, sexual orientation, and other prejudices, endure conflict in their quest to level the playing field. On Thin Ice introduces us to Jack Brooks (who is the filmmaker's great-grandfather), a Polish-Jewish speedskater who emigrated to America before WWII and lost his chances because of his religion. The doc goes on to profile other modern day athletes who are experiencing prejudice and other issues as they try to make a name for themselves. A story about and discussion on how athletes fight against this and continue on no matter what.
"We just have to have as much fun as they do." HBO has debuted an official trailer for a new documentary film from New Zealand called There's No "I" in Threesome, which is one of the best enticing titles in a while. As that title indicates, the film is about open relationships and threesomes and trying out more than just one partner. There is No "I" In Threesome follows Ollie and Zoe, a newly engaged couple who agree to try out an open relationship before they get married. Anyone who has ever considered this knows it's going to end up as a disaster, but lots of people love to try it out anyway hoping it will be exciting because they're "open-minded." Alas, it always ends with pain and suffering, but this film explores all the different sides of it. "Working closely with an intimacy co-ordinator made the (filmmaking) process safe for everyone and ultimately resulted in more freedom of expression, rather than restriction, because it was all about trust and everyone involved respected that," says producer Alex Reed. I am certainly curious to see how this plays out.
"Very clear that there's a contagion effect…" Global Digital Releasing has debuted an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Bullied, the latest doc film made by philosophy professor Dr. Thomas Keith. A really powerful film, Bullied traces bullying and the effects of bullying, but also the methods and programs that have proven efficacious in reducing bullying. This award-winning documentary discusses the reasons for, consequences of, and solutions to bullying taking place in schools, and across social media platforms where cyber-bullying is at an all time high. This looks like a compelling follow-up to the other key bullying doc called, of course, Bully from 2012. Sadly no matter how many films they make and how much they try to confront bullying, it rages on… But hopefully this film sheds some new light on how to deal with and stop it.
"The slightest bloody thing makes you hit the roof." Juno Films has released a promo trailer for a doc called The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, which is premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival soon. 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. 50 years later, Björn looks back on what it
is was like to be known as the "most beautiful boy in the world." The doc film is made 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." It's described by Sundance as "a thoughtful and quietly devastating meditation on obsession, trauma, and the cost of fame." It looks damn good, offering nuanced commentary.
"The Matrix was real." Bring on this cinematic mindfuck! Magnolia has debuted the full-length trailer for A Glitch in the Matrix, the latest film by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher - of Room 237, The Nightmare, and The El Duce Tapes. This is premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival this week, and will be released on VOD right away only a week later. A Glitch in the Matrix tackles this question "are we living in a simulation?" with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in his for the answer. The feature film "traces the idea's genesis over the years, from philosophical engagements by the ancient Greeks to modern discussions by Philip K. Dick, the Wachowskis, and leading scholars and game theorists. Ascher deftly parallels conversations with people who believe we're living in a computer with the purely digital nature of the film itself; all interviews were conducted via Skype, all reenactments were digitally animated, and archives are largely drawn from ’90s-era cyber thrillers and video games." Oh hell yes, this is so my kind of philosophical deep dive and all the footage looks awesome. Can't wait to watch.