January 21, 2014 |
Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali is having a TV renaissance. HBO last year premiered "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight," a docudrama centered on the legal battle in 1967 that erupted when the heavyweight champion and newly converted Muslim refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War and was stripped of his title. That film, directed by Stephen Frears, focused primarlily on the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the case. Ali is seen in a few film clips but is largely absent from the film. But the athlete is front and center in "The Trials of Muhammad Ail," a documentary that will premiere April 14 on PBS' "Independent Lens.
February 24, 2013 |
The musical mystery “Searching for Sugar Man” won the Oscar for documentary on Sunday night. Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, the film about an obscure Detroit singer made a remarkable near-sweep of eligible awards since its premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film details how for years it was thought that the 1970s singer-songwriter known as Rodriguez had faded into obscurity or died. But through the passionate sleuthing of dedicated fans in South Africa, where he unexpectedly achieved a startling level of fame, he was discovered to be very much alive, living and working in Michigan.
December 27, 2012 |
Lady Gaga and famed photographer Terry Richardson are teaming up to make a documentary about her life and the making of her forthcoming album "Artpop," she said in a Christmas tweet. [Styleite] Also busy tweeting over Christmas was Jessica Simpson, who confirmed that, seven months after having a baby girl, she is pregnant again. It won't affect her gig as a Weight Watchers' spokeswoman, apparently, though she won't be dieting again until after the baby is born. [The Cut] The wetsuit that allows surfers to catch waves in frigid Pacific waters no matter the season was invented 60 years ago in California and has now grown into a $100 million a year industry.
November 20, 2013 |
"Life Itself," a documentary about the life of film critic Roger Ebert, launched a crowd-funding campaign Wednesday to raise $150,000 through the website Indiegogo. The film, which is directed by "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James and produced by Martin Scorsese, is based on Ebert's memoir of the same name. In exchange for a $25 donation, supporters will receive a link to view "Life Itself" in advance of its theatrical release, which is planned for early 2014 under the CNN Films banner.
November 22, 2012 |
The documentary "Saving America's Horses: A Nation Betrayed" unpacks the complex and, what may be for many, under-the-radar issue of the inhumane slaughter of wild and domestic horses (and burros) chiefly for human consumption abroad. Writer-director Katia Louise (the lifelong horsewoman also produced and narrated) has crafted a revealing, disturbing look at how political and corporate forces have seemingly undermined the freedom and safety of our nation's equine population. Tens of thousands of horses are said to be rounded up each year by the Bureau of Land Management, largely from public rangelands.
January 20, 2012 |
Dori Berinstein's documentary "Carol Channing: Larger Than Life" is a terrifically entertaining, smartly constructed trip down memory lane with one of the American stage's most legendary troupers. Although the 90-years-young Channing may be instantly recalled for her saucer-eyed, red-lipped, raspy-voiced loopiness — and as an affectionate target of comic impressionists and drag performers alike — this enlightening valentine to a game, devoted and ebullient talent deftly belies the caricature.
March 22, 2013 |
CAIRO - The battle between censors and filmmakers over "Jews of Egypt" ended this week when authorities granted permission for the documentary to be shown despite fears it may agitate Egypt's anti-Israeli hatred amid months of political unrest and nationwide protests. The film by director Amir Ramses raised a dilemma over security versus artistic freedom at a time when the rise of conservative Islamist voices has sharpened religious and cultural differences. The documentary explores the life of Egypt's Jewish community before the second Arab-Israeli war in 1956.
January 14, 2013 |
The Directors Guild of America nominated two female documentarians, Lauren Greenfield ("The Queen of Versailles") and Alison Klayman ("Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"), among three male directors for outstanding directorial achievement in documentaries for 2012. Both women were left off the Academy Awards' nomination list for feature documentaries. Greenfield, whose film about a billionaire couple who lose it all in the real estate crisis, and Klayman, who explores Chinese artist and activist Ai, will compete against Kirby Dick ("The Invisible War")
January 19, 2014 |
PARK CITY, Utah -- Mitt Romney may have a home in Park City, but he's not the kind of person you'd expect to attend a movie at the Sundance Film Festival, whose programming leans liberal, particularly among the documentaries. But the former presidential candidate dropped in to the first Sundance screening of “Mitt,” an unusually candid and largely flattering look at Romney shot over the course of his two presidential campaigns. Filmmaker Greg Whitely was given entree to Romney and his family, yet shut out from the campaign strategy meetings that are the staple of movies, books and articles about the political process.
June 12, 2012 |
Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei may be still under house arrest by Chinese authorities, but the march toward the film documenting his art and actions continues. A Sundance Jury Prize-winner at this year's festival, "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" opens in New York on July 27, and a recently released trailer showcases the movie's mix of fly-on-the-wall storytelling and talking head interviews under the direction of freelance journalist and first-time filmmaker Alison Klayman. The trailer opens on a viral-video-friendly note in featuring one of the artist's cats pulling off the exceptional trick of opening a closed door.