WE ♥ DOCS
"I wanna go home." When the pandemic first hit, and we were all sent into lockdown, many parents had to start taking care of their kids - all day long. They had to become their own daily daycare, which isn't exactly an easy task. The Amateur, an amusing short film from Norway, presents a look at one father and his two-year-old twins in their new life at "hjemmebarnehagen" - the stay-at-home daycare. "A pandemic descends upon the world. Behind all the complex decisions and actions of the national and international society, what happens to the average man when society closes down?" The Amateur stars the adorable Agnes, Ella and Henry (who is also adorable). It offers us a little glimpse at their life as they venture outside to allow their mom some free time to work from home. I actually wish there was more of this! Three minutes isn't enough.
"Any artist that gets to create something that changes anyone's life, has made it." Cranked Up Films has released a new main trailer for Bleeding Audio, a rock documentary about the band called The Matches. If you know them, then this is a must watch. If you've never heard of them, you can learn all about their story in this film. Bleeding Audio is an intimate portrait detailing The Matches' promising career, defeating break up, and inspiring reunion as they reflect on what success truly means for musicians in today's digital industry. With interviews from some of music's biggest names like Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Nick Hexum (311) and Tom Higgenson (Plain White T’s), Bay Area filmmaker Chelsea Christer's uplifting tribute tracks The Matches' history and recent reunion to dig deeper into the challenges the average musician faces in the digital age of the industry—and the community that keeps our artists alive. After two years of touring on the film festival circuit, this documentary is coming out to watch on VOD later this month. Check it out below.
"He's The Beatles of comedy." HBO has revealed the first official trailer for George Carlin's American Dream, a two-part documentary coming to HBO Max later this month. Featuring interviews with Carlin's family and friends, material from his stand-up specials and footage from his own personal archive. George Carlin's American Dream, directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, chronicles the life and work of the legendary comedian who passed away in 2008. "He dared to wake us up." There's also interviews with Carlin & Brenda's daughter, Kelly Carlin, offerring unique insight into her family’s story and her parents enduring love and partnership. Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr, Bette Midler, W. Kamau Bell, Sam Jay, Judy Gold and Jon Stewart are among those interviewed for the doc. I've been waiting for someone to make a "definitive" doc about Carlin, and in the hands of these two filmmakers it's going to be gold. He's a comedy genius, and he often just spoke the truth. Can't wait to watch this soon.
"There is only one law of the jungle: don't mess with Mother Nature." The Roku Channel has unveiled an official trailer for Mamas, an animal documentary show available for streaming this May for everyone to enjoy. The nature series will feature 14, short-form episodes ranging from 6-8 minutes - each one follows a different species of mother protecting its young. "Mamas dives into the enchanting and challenging lives of mothers in the wild, and the powerful relationships these animals have with their children." The animals featured in the series include potter wasps, grizzly bears, hummingbirds, yellow baboons, cheetahs, lions, wildebeests, black-backed jackals, strawberry dart frogs, praying mantis, African elephants, hyenas, toque macaques, meerkats, and Tomson's gazelles. With breathtaking scenery including beautiful landscapes from the forests of Sri Lanka to deserts in Africa. Featuring narration by Connie Britton (in English) and Zoë Saldaña (in Spanish). Very short trailer below - this looks entirely as adorable as you'd expect it should.
"A remarkable documentary about this family's resilience and cinema's ability to be a means of escape." Film Movement has revealed an official US trailer for a documentary film titled The Earth is Blue as an Orange, made by the Ukrainian filmmaker Iryna Tsilyk. This was shot and made entirely before the current war in Ukraine, focusing on one family living in Eastern Ukraine in a region that was already occupied a few years earlier. Krasnohorivka: a town on the front lines. A single mother Anna and her four children are managing to keep their home as a safe haven, full of life and full of light. Every member of the family has a passion for cinema, it feels natural for them to shoot a film during this time. The creative process questions what kind of impact cinema might have during times of disaster, and how to picture war through a camera. For Anna and the children, transforming trauma into a work of art is the ultimate way to stay human. This premiered at Sundance 2020 and played at Hot Docs, Berlinale, MoMA, and lots of fests. It's worth a watch.
"We laughed at him, but everyone wanted to meet him." Apple has revealed the trailer for an intriguing new true crime documentary series called The Big Conn, the next project from the creators / directors of the McMillions about the McDonald's Monopoly game fraud scheme. This time they're focusing on a different kind of fraud, but with just as much trickery and deception. The new four-part series tells the unbelievable true story of larger-than-life attorney, Eric C. Conn, who defrauded the government and taxpayers over half a billion dollars in the largest Social Security fraud case in United States history. All four parts of the series will premiere alongside an "Apple TV+ Original" companion podcast that will explore Conn’s con and outrageous lifestyle further with additional interviews & behind-the-scenes details. This sounds wild! It seems to be more proof that it's always the ones hiding in plaint sight pulling the biggest crimes, living large – until they get caught. I really hope they caught this greedy bastard - I guess we have to watch to find out.
"They're either lying to us, or they don't know what they're doing." Netflix has revealed an official trailer for a documentary series arriving in May telling the story of America's worst nuclear accident - Meltdown: Three Mile Island. Most of us know about this place, and what happened in March of 1979, but do you know the true story? This gripping four-part documentary series tackles the near catastrophe at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania through the lens of chief engineer and whistleblower, Richard Parks, as well as the local community it impacted. Insiders recount the events, controversies and lingering effects of the worst nuclear incident in U.S. history. The series director explains: "I believe the lessons of Meltdown resonate far beyond the events of 1979. Even as we expose the complex web of corporate greed which nearly led to our radioactive ruin, we find the small acts of bravery that changed the course of history. We need to learn from the Three Mile Island disaster as we face the current climate and energy crisis." I just hope documentaries like this can actually make a difference and start changing our society's love of greed.
"This is about food, this is about health, this is about the soil, this is about environment." An official trailer has arrived for a documentary film titled Into The Weeds, about the uber despicable, disgusting Monsanto corporation and their evil ways. I really hate this company - and you should, too. Monsanto has been in so much trouble, and has been in so many films already, but this looks like one of the worst. Dewayne Johnson is a Bay Area groundskeeper who suffered from rashes and wondered if they were caused by the herbicide he'd been using for the past couple years. Johnson became the face of a legal battle to hold a corporation accountable for a product, yet they still fought him. "This is bigger than me." Adding to her award-winning body of work often centered on our strained relationship with the natural world, docu director Jennifer Baichwal follows Johnson through his battle, setting his personal journey against a global environmental crisis. This looks so frustrating but hopefully telling this story makes a difference in some way. Take a look.
"This is not one person's act. The people in that chat room did it together." Netflix has revealed an official trailer for a chilling true crime documentary from South Korea titled Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror, uncovering the 2019 chat room atrocities that shocked the country. The doc film will be streaming worldwide starting in May - as this is the kind of story that the whole world needs to hear about. "This was nothing short of abuse." Anonymous and exploitative, a network of online chat rooms ran rampant with sex crimes. The hunt to take down its operators required guts and tenacity. Netflix adds: "This is the story of one of the most devastating digital crimes that gripped the region, the age of digital anonymity that allowed it to thrive, and the victims who spoke out to help bring it down." This is not a story that many people in America will be familiar with, which makes it even more fascinating and frightening to learn about in a film.
"If you want to get some kind of message out there, you can use this platform." An early teaser trailer has arrived for the next new documentary from filmmaker Alex Winter (Downloaded, Deep Web, The Panama Papers, Trust Machine, Showbiz Kids, and Zappa most recently), this one titled The YouTube Effect. He continues is outstanding series of docs about the internet with a focus this time on the power of YouTube - both the good and bad. Winter's The YouTube Effect doc is the story of YouTube, its rise to dominance as the most widely viewed media platform in the world, and the implications of that power for both YouTube and its parent company, Google. "It is an inspirational and cautionary tale as it examines how YouTube has made our lives easier and more enriched, while also presenting dangers that make the world a more perilous place." Coming soon from Olive Hill Media, Trouper, Valhalla Ent. Zipper Bros Films. This is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be out later this year. I'm a big fan of Alex Winter's films - always so good.
"Join us for a story you've never heard… on a scale you've never witnessed." This looks awesome!! Apple has debuted the full-length official trailer for their series Prehistoric Planet, made by BBC Studios and the team at BBC Studios Natural History Unit. Prehistoric Planet presents little-known and surprising facts of dinosaur life set against the backdrop of the environments of Cretaceous times, including coasts, deserts, freshwater, ice worlds and forests. From revealing eye-opening parenting techniques of Tyrannosaurus Rex to exploring the mysterious depths of the oceans and dangers in the sky, this series brings Earth's history to life like never before. Amazing set of people involved: it's narrated by Sir David Attenborough with an original score by multiple Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer, and it's executive produced by Jon Favreau. This "enthralling exploration of ancient earth" will premiere with five episodes during a week-long event on May 23rd to 27th at the start of the summer. This looks like the kind of cinematic experience I've been waiting for my whole life - a photo-realistic depiction at what life on Earth was really like during the dinosaur era.
"I never thought that music would be my destiny." Ennio! The maestro! Dogwoof has released an official trailer for the documentary film titled Ennio, a biopic doc about the legendary Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. This was in the works for years already, but it was only finished after Ennio passed away in late 2020. The film premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival, and also played at IDFA in the fall. A portrait of one of the most popular and prolific film composers of the twentieth century, Ennio celebrates the life and legacy of Ennio Morricone, featuring never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with renowned filmmakers and musicians including Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Quentin Tarantino and Clint Eastwood. They gave it a different title in English - The Glance of Music - which just sounds weird and doesn't quite capture the magic of Morricone. He's a genius! I saw this at Venice last year in its original 3-hour form, and it's packed with interviews, conversations, insight into what made Ennio so special, and candid moments with him during interviews. It's an absolute must watch film if you love Morricone and his iconic music.