› Filmmaker Shannon Murphy
› Doc Filmmaker Jeff Orlowski
› Cedric Cheung-Lau on Mtns
› Alex Winter on Making Docs
› Aust. Filmmaker Jennifer Kent
› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
Find more of our interviews ›››
Stay Safe 😷 Cinema + Streaming + VOD on the Schedule⇣
"I don't know where all the bad blood came from…" Circle & Square Films has released a promo trailer for The Letter, a doc from Kenya that is screening at film festivals this fall. This originally premiered at the IDFA Doc Festival last year, and is still looking for a release - but this trailer is to bring attention to its next fest stops (DOC NYC; Denver, Tallgrass, Sante Fe Film Festivals). A Kenyan family drama of Shakespearean proportions, The Letter is a tribute to the fearless spirit of 94-year old Margaret Kamango. Filmed with a gentle pace and incredible closeness, it is an intimate family portrait that ascends into a dramatic climax. Karisa's city-life is interrupted when his Grandma back home is called a witch and receives a death threat. Returning to his rural village to investigate, he finds a frenzied mixture of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, but her grandson Karisa and others soon rally around her.
"If we kidnap you, and forbid you to sleep, what happens with your mind?" Epic Pictures has released an official US trailer for a dark psychological thriller titled Sleepless Beauty, from Russian filmmaker Pavel Khvaleev. It just premiered at the Imagine Film Festival, and arrives on VOD in the US in November. A girl named Mila doesn't notice she is under surveillance 24/7. As she comes home one day, she is kidnapped. The unknown abductors keep her in an old garage, talk to her through a loudspeaker and set strict rules: she must not sleep but has to fulfill weird tasks that they've prepared for her. It all looks like someone's sick ideas and gloomy entertainment. Still, she doesn't suspect that she's part of a ruthless experiment. Sleepless Beauty stars Polina Davydova as Mila, with Evgeniy Gagarin and Sergey Topkov. This looks like Saw infused with VR, going even deeper into whether or not you can change someone and control them. Freaky.
"You can hear him, can't you? Squirming his way into your thoughts." Surprise! 20th Century Studios has released an official trailer for a supernatural horror movie The Empty Man, set for release next weekend (in one week). This is the first bit of marketing we've seen for this movie, which is still getting a nationwide theatrical release despite every other studio movie being pulled from (theatrical release) on the schedule. On the trail of a missing girl, an ex-cop comes across a secret group that's attempting to summon a terrifying supernatural entity. The locals believe it is the work of an urban legend known as "The Empty Man". The horror thriller film stars James Badge Dale, Marin Ireland, Stephen Root, Ron Canada, Robert Aramayo, Joel Courtney, and Sasha Frolova. This really does look super scary, not only with the kids on the bridge opener. But with the creepy skeleton in the room and whatever it's up to - he's coming for you.
"We got one option – we fight." Paramount has released a trailer for an emotional and gritty drama about brothers titled Jungleland, the latest from talented filmmaker Max Winkler (of Ceremony and Flower). A reluctant bare-knuckle boxer and his manager / brother must travel across the country for one last fight to pay off a debt to a mob boss, but an unexpected travel companion exposes the cracks in their bond along the way. Charlie Hunnam and Jack O'Connell star as the brothers Stan and Lion, with an exquisite cast featuring Jonathan Majors, Jessica Barden, Fran Kranz, John Cullum, Owen Burke, as well as Meredith Holzman. This is one hell of a trailer, also a showcase for the stunning cinematography by DP Damián García. A strong reminder that Winkler is a very good filmmaker and I hope he keeps making more.
"Amy! No!" Paramount has debuted one final promo trailer for the movie Love and Monsters, formerly known as Monster Problems, launching direct-to-VOD this weekend - skipping theaters entirely. This is directed by the South African filmmaker behind Five Fingers for Marseilles previously. Seven years after the Monsterpocalypse, Joel along with the rest of humanity, has been living underground ever since giant creatures took control of the land. After reconnecting over radio with his high school girlfriend Aimee, he realizes that there's nothing left for him underground, he decides against all logic to venture out to Aimee, despite all the dangerous monsters that stand in his way. Starring Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, Ariana Greenblatt, Ellen Hollman, and Melanie Zanetti. This is a very emotional trailer, and honestly I'm sold more by this than the first trailer. Looks like it might actually be pretty good.
"You rented a car?!" "Isn't it snazzy!" Amazon has released an official trailer for Alan Ball's new film Uncle Frank, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It also stopped by the Deauville, Atlanta, Mill Valley, and Savannah Film Festivals throughout this year. Writer-director Alan Ball's heartfelt and hilarious road movie travels from the bohemian scene of post-Stonewall New York City to rural South Carolina, following Frank's journey from hitting rock bottom to acceptance and forgiveness and, finally, reintegration into his family and into life itself. Paul Bettany reveals Frank's fragile core by peeling away the layers of Frank's sophisticated but guarded persona. Sophia Lillis plays Beth as a naive but observant young woman whose eyes are opened to a world she could never have imagined. Peter Macdissi also has a standout performance as Wally. The full cast includes Stephen Root, Margo Martindale, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, and Lois Smith. This looks really good! No surprise, with this superb cast giving us their all.
"Is that not political?" World of Wonder has unveiled an early trailer for the documentary Wojnarowicz, with a much more provocative full title: Wojnarowicz: F--k You F-ggot F--ker. The film is premiering at the DOC NYC Film Festival next month. Their full description: "Emerging as a distinctive voice in the East Village art scene of the 1980s, David Wojnarowicz combined a variety of disciplines, from painting and photography to music and writing, in his artistic practice. Fiercely and unapologetically embracing his queer identity, he rebelled against the growing conservatism of the times, epitomized by the establishment's callous indifference to the AIDS epidemic, which would claim him in 1992 at the age of 37. Filmmaker Chris McKim has constructed a powerful elegy that recaptures the urgency and passion of Wojnarowicz’s life and art." From the looks of it, this definitely will be a provocative and compelling look at a genuinely bold artist.
"Closure is the most detestable word…" Legacy Distribution has released the official trailer for The World Without You, an emotionally-charged indie familial drama marking the feature directorial debut of writer / director Damon Shalit. It first premiered at the Dances With Films Festival last year, and is finally getting a VOD release this fall. A family is brought together for the one-year anniversary of the death of their son Leo, a journalist killed while on assignment in Iraq. Old hurts and dark secrets emerge, threatening to tear the fragile threads that are holding the family together. Starring Radha Mitchell, Perrey Reeves, P.J. Byrne, Chris Mulkey, James Tupper, Suzanne C. Johnson, Annika Marks, Lyndie Greenwood, Joel Reitsma, and Lynn Cohen. This film looks like it has some brutally honest things to discuss at least.
"We have to stop them." "Stop them how?" Monument Releasing has debuted an official trailer for the film Black in Minneapolis, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker David J. Buchanan, who grew up in Minneapolis. This hasn't premiered at any festivals, but will be out on VOD by the end of this month to watch anyway. A Black man witnesses a police officer murder his brother during a routine traffic stop and responds by igniting a movement to fight against police violence. Shot in Minneapolis before George Floyd's murder, it's described as a "modern-day Malcolm X story." Buchanan explains his idea: "This is the first time I've made a politically charged film, and I wanted to ground the fiction of the story in reality. I have a strong background in documentary… so I took that knowledge and used it to interview real people about their experiences with law enforcement. The film is made up of interviews spliced between the narrative portions of the film." Starring Toussaint Morrison, Geoff Briley, and Malick Ceesay. It's worth a look.
"I'm in the middle of a 45-year conversation with these men and women I'm surrounded by." Apple TV+ has debuted the full trailer for the music documentary Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You, yet another Bruce Springsteen doc about makin' music and makin' memories. Springsteen's Letter to You captures Springsteen recording "Letter To You" live with the full E Street Band, and includes final take performances of ten originals from the new record. Written by Springsteen and directed by his frequent collaborator Thom Zimny (Western Stars, Springsteen on Broadway), the film is a tribute to the E Street Band, to rock music itself and to the role it has played in Springsteen's life. Throughout the film, Springsteen shares his thoughts and feelings behind "Letter To You" and puts the music into the context of his entire body of work, part of the trio of his films from Springsteen on Broadway and his most recent doc Western Stars. I think the B&W suits this doc well, giving it a rustic and profound vibe. It's not just about music, he's speaking directly to us.
"Women lovvvvveeee a good bocce toss." Samuel Goldwyn Films has released an official trailer for an indie comedy titled Team Marco, which originally premiered at the Mill Valley, Red Rocks, and Lone Star Film Festivals last fall. Marco is obsessed with his iPad and hardly leaves the house. But when his grandmother dies and his grandfather moves in, Marco's life is turned upside-down and he's forced… to go play outside. "Nonno" introduces him to bocce ball and to the neighborhood crew of old Italian men who play daily at the local court. With sport, laughter and love, Marco finds connection to other people and rounds up a team of neighborhood kids to take on Marco's grandfather and his pals. The sweet comedy stars Owen Vaccaro, Anthony Patellis, Louis Cancelmi, and Anastasia Ganias-Gellin. Most Americans have no idea what bocce ball is, or how to play, which is probably the funniest part of this film. Learn a new sport! Check it out.
"Racism is becoming mechanized." The official trailer has debuted for a documentary titled Coded Bias, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Made by journalist / filmmaker Shalini Kantayya, the doc film takes a hard look at how racism is still in technology today even though we all love to pretend it's bias-free. Coded Bias reveals the groundbreaking research of MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini, proving that facial recognition algorithms have the power to disseminate racial bias at scale. In June 2020, IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft said they would pause the sale of facial recognition to police. In a pivotal moment for racial equality, and a decisive moment for how big tech will yield power, Coded Bias is a trailblazing film for public understanding and engagement with the algorithms that impact us all. Another important doc film that might just change the world if enough people see it. Arriving in theaters next month.