WE ♥ DOCS
"They misread him. They misread everything that they were trying to do." As most people usually tend to do. 1091 Media has unveiled the official trailer for a documentary titled The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World, about the world famous black power salute at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. This seems to be a bit of an opportunistic release, considering the #BlackLivesMatter revolution happening now in the US, but it's also an incredible story to tell anyway. The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World explores the motives behind Tommie Smith and John Carlos' gesture of defiance during the 1968 Olympics and the consequences. To date, they still have not received an apology from the Olympics committee, who took their medals away. There's also a thread going ’round recently (here) about the third place guy, Australian athlete Peter Norman, who also faced harsh consequences simply for standing in solidarity with them. I'm glad that this gesture is still so powerful, and after all this time it's just as iconic as it first was 52 years ago.
"It's something that parents need to see." HBO has unveiled the first official trailer for a documentary film titled Showbiz Kids, which is premiering in July. Showbiz Kids is written & directed by former child actor Alex Winter (best known as "Bill S. Preston, Esq."), who relies on the perspectives of many of his peers to explore the complexities of growing up under the glare of Hollywood's spotlight, refusing to shy away from the more difficult truths about the industry. That is important. "Winter's commitment to creating an honest representation of a complicated industry stems from his own childhood in show business, beginning as a child actor on Broadway at the age of ten." He's now an experienced doc filmmaker. "This is a story I've been wanting to tell for many years… Having grown up in the business I've never seen the experiences of a child actor, from their early career through to the transition into adulthood, told from the perspective of those involved. I'm honored that these talented actors trusted me with their very personal stories." Watch below.
"I think it took a degree of stupidity to do that – it worked." Gravitas has debuted an official US trailer for a biopic documentary called Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story, which originally premiered at last year's Slamdance Film Festival. As the title indicates, the film tells the story of legendary ski filmmaker Warren Miller, featuring his last interview before he passed away in 2018. For those who don't know, Miller used to make a new non-fiction film every single year that would play in sold-out auditoriums around the country right at the start of the ski season. His films are one-of-a-kind creations, and those who know them know his voice is iconic, and they're celebrations of the sport of skiing and all its glory. This is truly the definitive film about him, and his entire career, the good and the bad, and all the legacy he leaves behind. A celebration of his originality and spunk, as much as it is a celebration of a love for skiing. As someone who grew up going to see Warren Miller films ever year, I loved this doc - it covers his entire life and it's so fascinating to watch.
"You're fighting for your life." ESPN Films has debuted a trailer for a short documentary called Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible, which is premiering on the ESPN channel later this month (June 30th). The 30-minute short doc film most recently screened at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival earlier in the year. Blackfeet Boxing, co-directed by Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi, follows a group of women practicing and training in self-defense at this gym as the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women continues to threaten lives within their community. It also won the Audience Award for Best Short at AFI Docs. "Frank Kipp opened the Blackfeet Boxing Club in 2003. Since then, he's trained more than 500 boxers on the reservation. Its most important fighters are the young women who come in search of more than a heavy bag." This looks like a very important and powerful film about making change with positive encouragement.
"An astounding work… as honest as it is raw." Oscilloscope Labs has debuted the official trailer for a doc titled All I Can Say, which first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. The autobiographical rock doc is a film about the band Blind Melon, made by and filmed by the members of the band (all four of them are credited as directors). An archive of '90s culture and a philosophical study of fame via the intimate video-diary of Shannon Hoon, the late lead singer of alt-rock band Blind Melon. Hoon died in 1995 from a drug overdose while on a tour with Blind Melon. This is his final project. "He filmed his daughter's birth, and archived the politics and culture of the 90s, an era right before the internet changed the world. Created with his own footage, voice and music, this intimate autobiography is a prescient exploration of experience and memory in the age of video." This looks very cool, not just a film about a band but about life in the 90s.
"All I've ever known how to do is fight, and so we just keep fighting. It's what we do." Magnolia Pictures has released the first official trailer for a documentary called The Fight, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year playing in competition - where it won the Special Jury Award for "Social Impact Filmmaking". It also won Best Documentary at the Miami Film Festival this year. The Fight is an inside look at the legal battles that lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are facing during the Trump administration. Sundance adds: "The Fight is an inspiring, emotional insider look at how these important battles are fought and the legal gladiators on the front lines fighting them… [it] celebrates the unsung heroes who fiercely work to protect our freedoms." An important and timely documentary film that can help change the future. Focusing on four specific stories that'll encourage all of us to keep fighting.
"As we became more visible, we also became a target." The first official trailer has just debuted for an indie documentary titled Ahead of the Curve, premiering at the Frameline Film Festival taking place online later this month. From its start in 1990, Curve magazine (their website) was a visionary and unapologetic celebration of lesbian life from cover to cover. Facing the magazine’s possible demise in 2019, director Jen Rainin and Curve founder Franco Stevens explore current questions of lesbian visibility and legacy through interviews with contemporary LGBTQ+ individuals. The doc film looks to be not only a celebration of this magazine and all those linked to it, but a celebration of lesbian culture and all of its amazingness. "Ahead of the Curve is a new feature documentary about the extraordinary woman who started Curve magazine, and by doing so helped accelerate the political and social evolution of the nation." Check out the first look below.
"I think what he taught me: was how to, physically, be alive. Really alive." First Run Film has debuted an official trailer for a performing arts world documentary titled Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy, which marks the feature directorial debut of documentary filmmaker Rauzar Alexander. As the title of the doc indicates, the film is a loving portrait of and examination of the beloved Israeli-American drama teacher Moni Yakim, who was one of the original founders of Julliard's Drama Division and still works there today teaching actors how to "create a character". Includes interview with Laura Linney, Jessica Chastain, Anthony Mackie, Oscar Isaac, Kevin Kline, and many others, discussing his legacy and his skill in "freeing" talented actors. If you have ever wondered - who teaches the greatest actors to be as great as they are? Well – this guy. Learn the story of Moni Yakim and what truly makes him one-of-a-kind with this doc.
"She's original, she's not like anybody else." Abramorama recently debuted the first official trailer for Kaye Ballard: The Show Goes On!, a documentary film about the famed actress Kaye Ballard. This originally premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival last year, and debuts virtually next month. Their description explains: "This charming documentary showcases the career of musical-comedy sensation Kaye Ballard, whose ability to sing and tell jokes was ubiquitous in the late 20th century. Delightful moments are captured in rare archival footage and interviews with Ann-Margret, Michael Feinstein and Ballard herself." After an extraordinary career in the arts, Ballard unfortunately passed away early last year at the age of 93. "The film sparkles with the energy of the era of entertainers whose skills had to bridge vaudeville to theater, radio to film, and television variety shows to sit coms." If you're interested in a fascinating actress, give this a watch.
"Our target was USA Gymnastics." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a damning new doc film titled Athlete A, looking into the frightening gymnastics controversy that was first reported in 2016. An article in the IndyStar reported on how USA Gymnastics protected abusive coaches for almost two decades, allowing them to thrive in the gymnastics world as abusers. Disgusting. The film follows the journalists as well as the attorneys out to finally take these people down and put them in prison where they most certainly belong. This was supposed to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, which would've helped because this is a story more need to hear. All too often powerful people are protected doing terrible things, and the more we start to shake them down and tell the truth, the more we can make a positive change. A scary but important film.
"David knows exactly what he's looking for. That's his whole thing: he knows what he wants." Melbar Ent. has released a new official trailer for the documentary titled David Foster: Off the Record, a profile of the award-winning entertainment icon, musician, and composer / producer. Not to be confused with David Foster Wallace. This premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, because the director is Canadian and because David Foster is Canadian as well. The documentary offers unprecedented access into David Foster's private life and stories from his incomparable career. This intimate portrait of the Grammy Award-winning David Foster features candid interviews with Foster himself and an all-star cast including: Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, President Bill Clinton, Peter Cetera, Katharine McPhee, Erin Foster, Sara Foster, Clive Davis, Andrea Bocelli. This one's for music nerds.
"It was a rock magazine with a capitol 'R.'" Greenwich Entertainment has unveiled the official trailer for a look-back documentary film titled Creem: America's Only Rock 'N' Roll Magazine, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival last year. The title is self-explanatory - this rock doc is about the music magazine known as Creem, exploring its "humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse - spotlighting iconic features, interviews, and anecdotes along the way - then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later." The mag has been around for almost 50 years, and the film celebrates how "America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine" remains a seditious spirit in music and culture. This doc looks like a wild and crazy story of rock.