WE ♥ DOCS
"Racism is as American as apple pie. And that's why I don't understand why so many people are shocked." The first official trailer has been unveiled for a powerful documentary titled Emanuel, made by filmmaker Brian Ivie. The doc film profiles the horrible tragedy and aftermath of the shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina back in 2015, when nine innocent people were murdered by a white supremacist. Producers Viola Davis and Julius Tennon explain why they helped make this: “We, along with the country, grieved each family's loss. Yet, miraculously, from this devastation we witnessed tremendous benchmarks of humanity. The survivors found courage to love in the face of hate." The doc focuses less on the shooter, more on the victims and the neighborhood, showing "how faith, hope and forgiveness healed a community after the church shooting." What a stunning, moving trailer - that song makes all the difference.
"Tell the truth. To yourself first, and to the children." Netflix has debuted the trailer for the documentary Homecoming, in full titled Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé, which is exactly what that title says it is. Homecoming is a behind-the-scenes look at Beyonce's life leading up to her iconic performance at Coachella in April of last year. There's a great deal of home footage shot by Beyonce and her crew, "interspersed with candid footage and interviews detailing the preparation and powerful intent behind her vision." This big collaboration between Netflix and Beyonce gives us a candid look at the life of this superstar and how she pulled off such a spectacular show. For those who might've forgotten: "The historic sets — the first of which lasted two hours broke and records as the most-live-streamed performance of all time — were praised for their unapologetic celebration of black culture and history in a predominately white cultural space." Enjoy.
"I've heard announcers say I get stronger as the fight goes on." Dark Star Pictures has revealed another new, official US trailer for the sports documentary Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story, from director Geordie Day. We already featured the Canadian trailer for this late last year, but now there's another US one to promote its release in theaters this month. Tough Guy is an intimate portrait of legendary NHL "tough guy" player Bob Probert, one half of the "Bruise Brothers", told through exclusive interviews with family, friends, teammates and rivals. The full-length documentary features game footage, news reports, and never-before-seen home movies from Probert's life. He played for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks during the late 1980s through the 1990s, getting into all kinds of trouble both on and off the ice. See below.
"This is madness! Total madness." Kino Lorber has debuted the trailer for the documentary Walking on Water, about legendary maverick artist Christo. With uncensored access to Christo and his team, the doc film is a "cinema vérité look at the celebrated artist and his process, from inception to completion of 2016’s most visited art event—The Floating Piers, a stretched 2-mile dahlia-yellow walkway that allowed over 1.2 million visitors to safely walk across stretches of Italy’s Lake Iseo to experience the sensation of floating and walking on water." You may have seen photos of this remarkable large-scale work of art, but there's also a remarkable story about how it came together - and almost fell apart. "The film takes the viewer on a journey into Christo's world, unmediated by interviews, voice-overs or reenactments, drawing a portrait of an artist who deliberately places visceral experience over demagogy." It's also described as an intimate look at "a man chasing (and eventually realizing) a larger-than-life dream. Must watch doc for art nerds of all ages. Enjoy.
"You want to talk about rights?!" Yes, yes we do. Passion River has debuted an official trailer for the indie doc The Most Dangerous Year, which played at the Seattle Film Festival and Atlanta Documentary Film Festival last year. Made by Seattle-based filmmaker Vlada Knowlton, The Most Dangerous Year is about the fight for rights for trans people, profiling an event in 2016 when a small group of families with transgender kids joined together the fight against a wave of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation that swept the nation and their home state - the "bathroom bills". With the help of a coalition of civil rights activists and ally lawmakers, these families embarked on an uncharted journey of fighting for their children's lives and futures in this present-day civil rights story. A vitally important topic that deserves our attention. See below.
"You guys ready to go to the 60s?" Greenwich Entertainment has debuted an official trailer for indie music documentary Echo In the Canyon, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year. Featuring Jakob Dylan, the film explores the beginnings of the Laurel Canyon music scene in L.A. "Dylan uncovers never-before-heard personal details behind the bands and their songs and how that music continues to inspire today. Echo In the Canyon contains candid conversations and performances with Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Michelle Phillips, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Roger McGuinn and Jackson Browne as well as contemporary musicians they influenced such as Tom Petty (in his last film interview), Beck, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, and Norah Jones." Yet another new music doc connecting an iconic location with iconic musicians. Seems like a good time, with plenty to look back upon.
"The battle began with first to see a woman's ass…" Passion River Films has debuted an official trailer for Sickies Making Films, a documentary about censorship looking back at America's history with censoring films. Yes, it's an entire documentary examining why America loves to censor films, but surprisingly it's not about the MPAA. The film focuses on the Maryland Board of Censors, the nation's longest lasting censor board (from 1916 to 1981). Featuring interviews and footage with John Waters, Pat Moran, Liam Hughes, and many others - including some of the members of the Maryland Board. The doc is described as a "love letter to film history" that "looks at our urge to censor movies and asks, Why?" I don't know if we want to know the answer! This look incredibly fascinating, and it's heading straight to VOD soon. Take a look below.
"He loved being a mystery." The Ciesla Foundation has debuted an official trailer for an indie documentary titled The Spy Behind Home Plate, which is opening in limited theaters starting this May and expanding to more theaters nationwide throughout June + July. The biopic doc tells the story of Moe Berg, a Jewish baseball player from New York City turned WWII spy. Berg's life story was also turned into a feature film recently, with Paul Rudd playing him in The Catcher Was a Spy. The Spy Behind Home Plate reveals the life of this unknown Jewish hero through rare historical footage and photographs as well as interviews with an All-Star roster of celebrities and other individuals from the worlds of sports, spycraft, and history. Berg may have had only a .243 batting average during his 15-year major league career, but it was the stats he collected for the OSS that made him a most valuable player to his country during WWII. Looks like a fascinating doc.
"You got any guitars for sale?" Abramorama has debuted an official trailer for an indie music documentary titled Carmine Street Guitars, made by Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann, profiling the iconic guitar store in NYC where Rick Kelly makes custom guitars. Kelly has been making guitars at his Greenwich Village shop for decades, "using preserved and repurposed wood scavenged from historic New York buildings. His list of customers is legendary, and many — Patti Smith Group co-founder Lenny Kaye, Eleanor Friedberger, Charlie Sexton, Bill Frisell, director and part-time guitarist Jim Jarmusch — show up to perform, talk gear, and tell stories about everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Bob Dylan." The doc shows us five days in the life of the iconic Greenwich Village store, examining an all-too-quickly vanishing way of life. Looks quite inspiring.
"There's never been anything like it in history…" The Orchard has debuted an official trailer for the doc Meeting Gorbachev, opening in US theaters in a few months. This premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and also played at the Telluride and Luxembourg City Film Festivals. Meeting Gorbachev is the latest documentary from Werner Herzog, co-directed by André Singer, and it seems to be a provocative, eye-opening look at an iconic politician. Herzog sat down for a total of three interviews over six months with Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final President of the Soviet Union. Herzog's candid conversations with the former Soviet head of state form the backbone of this illuminating film, which tries to show that America and Russia are much similar than we all think. Herzog tells Indiewire in an interview: "I wish I can be part of creating a climate that would appeal to the best moments between America and Russia." Perhaps he can.
"A poetic look at nature, nurture, opportunity and struggle." Flies Collective + Film Sales have debuted the official trailer for a documentary titled Phantom Cowboys, which premiered last year at the Tribeca Film Festival and stopped by a few other small fests. From filmmaker Daniel Patrick Carbone, Phantom Cowboys follows three teens from small towns in America - revisiting them eight years later after first meeting them. Giving us a look at their lives as they grow up and approach adulthood, and how it's always a struggle for many. The film "captures the consistent threads of responsibility, parenthood, and manhood that weigh on each of these small-town teenagers, regardless of the community that raised him." Carbone is also credited as cinematographer on the film, making this a very personal project for him. Looks like a very moving doc.
"It's all worth the grind." The Orchard has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary titled Baristas, a sequel to the 2015 cult favorite doc Barista. Both films are about the world's best baristas - the people who make coffee and serve it perfectly to you. In this follow-up to the first film, four National Barista champions from around the globe will represent their countries and their craft in an attempt to win the World Barista Championship in Seoul, South Korea. From director Rock Baijnauth, it's a potent and lively look at "the surreal world of coffee competitions and the passionate baristas who compete in them." Aside from that guy explaining what's going on, this seems like a fun and inspiring profile of people who live and breath coffee.