WE ♥ DOCS
"I don't know what my future will be." PBS has unveiled an official trailer for an acclaimed documentary film titled Fruits of Labor, which is airing on PBS's POV series on TV today. This doc originally premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, and also played at the Seattle, Hot Docs, and IFF Boston Film Festivals throughout the year. Ashley, a Mexican-American teenager living in California, dreams of graduating high school and going to college. But when ICE raids threaten her family and her plans for the future, Ashley is forced to become the breadwinner, working days in the strawberry fields and nights at a food processing company. "Director Emily Cohen Ibáñez documents Ashley's life guided by the spirit world through her hardships and joys in modern America." This film highlights two important topics: where your food comes from, who grows & collects it; and the struggles of immigrants trying to make a life in America.
"You can not predict what's going to be a hit." Shudder has unveiled an official trailer for a new docu-series called Behind the Monsters, which we're featuring because it's all about famous movie monsters! Now that it's October, the month of horror, Shudder is dropping all kinds of new films & series on their streaming service all month long. Each episode will focus on a single horror character, featuring interviews with the writers, directors, designers, and actors that made them famous. The first season of six episodes will focus on these famous horror icons: Freddy Krueger from the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th film series, Michael Myers from the Halloween film series, Chucky from the Child's Play film series, Candyman from the Candyman films, and Pinhead from the Hellraiser film series. Behind the Monsters will premiere just in time for Halloween at the end of this month. Each episode features interviews with all the original creators, writers & directors, along with other film critics, historians, and experts who talk about each one of these icons. Which of these six is your favorite monster?
"Who are these Ghostbusters? I mean, come on?" Screen Media has debuted a new trailer for the "theatrical cut" of the nostalgia documentary Cleanin' Up The Town: Remembering Ghostbusters, which first premiered in 2019 at the Calgary Underground Film Festival and it's on Blu-ray already. With another new Ghostbusters sequel out in theaters later this year, they're re-releasing this doc to go along with the return of the 'Busters. This definitive full length documentary charts the making of the record setting comedy that changed the film industry forever. Exclusive interviews with Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and more accompany never-before-seen archive material. The documentary demonstrates how the filmmakers collectively defied adverse time constraints and all manner of technical challenges to make Ghostbusters, the movie that inadvertently changed the film industry forever. And yes, for those wondering, the filmmaker is also already working on Too Hot to Handle: Remembering Ghostbusters II to follow-up this one. Enjoy.
"Put your hands in the air, and you will not be harmed." "But that was bullsh*t." Showtime has unveiled an official trailer for a superb new documentary film titled Attica, which just premiered at the 2021 Toronto Film Festival earlier this month. This is the definitive true story film about the 1971 prison riot at the facility known as Attica, which was already made into a feature film in 1980 also called Attica. In the fall of 1971, tensions between inmates & guards at the Attica Correctional Facility are at an all-time high. The morning of September 9th, it all comes to a head when inmates erupt into one of the largest U.S. prison riots ever witnessed. The documentary interviews a number of the prisoners who were directly involved in the riot, not only telling their story but also telling us about what really happened; along with a few police and lawyers and other people directly involved. It will change everything to hear about what really went down. This is a must watch. I caught this during TIFF and it's riveting and horrifying, but so very necessary to tell the truth.
"Isn't this place just magical?" Gravitas Ventures has unveiled an official trailer for an indie film titled The Shuroo Process, marking the feature directorial debut of English actor Emrhys Cooper. This is premiering at the Woodstock Film Festival this month, before opening on VOD starting in November. When a young NYC based freelance magazine writer, frustrated with the pressures of a failing publishing world and a less than promising romantic life, becomes infatuated by a wildly charismatic self-help guru it sends her on a journey of self improvement with catastrophic consequences. The Shuroo Process "explores the dangers of the cultish self-help industry and what it's like to fall prey to its promises of transformation." From this trailer, I was almost expecting it to say the scam is "part of the process" and even if it's fake, at least it helps her somehow. Maybe? Starring Fiona Dourif, Donal Brophy, Tommy Dorfman, Emrhys Cooper, Rainey Qualley, Olivia Sui, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, with Brad Dourif and Eric Roberts. Guru time.
"If I just keep doing what I need to do… there's no limit to the possibilities of what my life could become." FS is proud to debut the first official trailer for a power documentary titled Our American Family, which is premiering at the 2021 Woodstock Film Festival coming up this month (tickets here). Co-directed by one of the executive producers of the outstanding acclaimed docs Us Kids, The Social Dilemma, Writing with Fire. Addiction is an all-encompassing force, in not only the lives of the afflicted, but also those around them. Our American Family provides an honest, unfiltered look at a close-knit Philadelphia family dealing with generational substance abuse. The tagline: "No Experts. No Drug Use. No Melodrama." Though they often falter, their familial loyalty is powerful, demonstrating how through love & dedication we can pull each other out of the deepest of depths. It's described as a "touching, eye-opening look into one of America's most pressing crises." An important film for the times, and an example of doc filmmaking at its best. Take a look.
"An underground art form that decent church-going folks stayed well-away from." Film Movement has debuted an official trailer for Deep Blues, a music documentary from 1992 that has been fully restored and is getting an official re-release this year. This originally premiered at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, and opened later that year giving a chance for all of these artist's to be re-discovered. "In 1990, commissioned by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, veteran music film director Robert Mugge and the music scholar Robert Palmer ventured deep into the heart of the North Mississippi Hill Country and Mississippi Delta to seek out the best rural blues acts currently working." The film follows music critic Robert Palmer and director Robert Mugge as they travel around and tell the insightful story of Delta blues and North Mississippi hill country blues. This new restoration opens at the Metrograph cinema in NYC and will be available in virtual cinemas this October for anyone looking to enjoy this classic doc. Looks and sounds like it's a must see film.
"A lot of things go through your head when you're sitting here going through stuff." Would you go hunting for diamonds in the dirt if you knew you could actually find one worth some good money? The Diamond is a clever, fascinating short documentary film made by filmmaker Caitlyn Greene. The film is about a place in Arkansas called the Crater of Diamonds State Park (find it on Google Maps) where anyone can freely search for and/or mine diamonds, as well as other rocks and minerals located in an ancient volcanic crater. Greene set out to make a film about people who go there and try to dig for them. She explains: "Some people find substantial diamonds, some don't, and either way, it takes a lot of digging in the dirt. I was immediately hooked." Adding that, "I was interested in the hope of treasure, the grittiness of searching, and what people there were actually looking for in their lives." Deep. This is such a mesmerizing doc to watch, so damn good.
"They are one of us." Silva Screen Records has released an official trailer for a UK documentary titled The Beatles and India, made by filmmakers Ajoy Bose & Peter Compton. This already premiered in the UK Asian Film Festival earlier this year, and is opening soon on VOD in the UK; with no US release details yet. In February of 1968, The Beatles went to India to take part in Transcendental Meditation training at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This is "the first serious exploration of how India shaped the evolution of the greatest ever rock band and their own pioneering role bridging two vastly different cultures across the universe." Rare archival footage along with location shoots across India, bring alive the fascinating journey of George, John, Paul, and Ringo from their high-octane celebrity lives in the West to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss - a time that inspired an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting. I've always wanted to know more about this trip! Looking forward to watching this doc and learning everything.
"It's a crisis. But opportunities are born from crisis." Netflix has debuted the trailer for a documentary film titled Convergence: Courage in a Crisis, created by Academy Award-winning doc filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel (We Ride, Virunga, Evelyn). Debuting on Netflix this October. While Covid-19 exacerbates vulnerabilities across the world, unsung heroes in all levels of society help the tide turn toward a brighter future. The film examines the pandemic-related crises occurring around the world and how communities are coming together to solve major problems and make a difference - from a Syrian refugee fighting the UK government to include hospital cleaners and porters in bereavement pay to a doctor committed to serving Miami's homeless community. "Activists and volunteers work through the darkest days of 2020, galvanizing social change amidst chaos as governments start to fail local communities. This epic, globally spanning and deeply passionate documentary serves as a clarion call that great change can be born of crisis." Take a look.
"I'm beginning to think that I might be missing something." Disney+ has revealed an official trailer for a new adventure doc series called Welcome to Earth, from National Geographic and executive produced by Darren Aronofsky and his company Protozoa. The visually stunning series follows actor Will Smith on an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world to explore Earth's greatest wonders and reveal its most hidden secrets. "It might seem humans have mapped every inch of our planet's surface, but look closer and you'll discover that there is still so much more to uncover — the age of exploration is far from over!" Will is guided by elite explorers on an awe-inspiring journey, getting up close and personal with some of the most thrilling spectacles on the planet: from volcanoes to deserts that move to animal swarms with minds of their own. Combining breathtaking cinematography with Will Smith's boundless curiosity and enthusiasm, the blockbuster new series is an exciting, multisensory ride through Earth's most mind-bending portals. Looks like fun! And I'm surprised Smith hasn't done any of things for real before making this. Huh.
"His job is to scare you out of your whits!" Wild Eye Releasing has debuted a new official trailer for a horror icon documentary titled in full Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini. A legendary make-up and special effects artist, the film covers his early days in Pittsburgh, and his rise to stardom as Hollywood's most sought after special effects wizard. This premiered back in 2015 at Sitges, but is only now ready for an official release. Tom Savini is known for his work on many films directed by George A. Romero, including Martin, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and Monkey Shines; he also created the special effects & makeup for many cult classics like Friday the 13th (I-IV), Maniac, The Burning, The Prowler, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The doc features Savini, Danny McBride, Robert Rodriguez, Danny Trejo, Alice Cooper, Greg Nicotero, Tom Atkins, Corey Feldman, and others. Making movies is so much fun! Enjoy.