Hoop Dreams (1994) - News Poster

(1994)

News

Oscar Documentary Race Pits Youth vs. Experience

Oscar Documentary Race Pits Youth vs. Experience
The Academy’s documentary branch has proven once again that it is made up of a consistently unpredictable bunch, particularly keen on spreading the love.

After narrowing down a record-breaking 170 eligible features to a remarkably strong shortlist of 15 docs, the nonfiction branch whittled down that batch to five nominees: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Faces Places,” “Icarus,” “Last Men in Aleppo” and “Strong Island.”

It’s a quintuple of powerful films from six formidable helmers. It’s also a list that is notably missing two high-profile, high-pedigree critical favorites: Brett Morgen’s “Jane” and Matthew Heineman’s “City of Ghosts.” Both docus were preferred by critics, industry groups and nonfiction orgs who were alike in singing their praises.

Morgen’s “Jane” made a splash when it premiered last September at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. Before the shortlist was announced, Morgen had already taken top honors at the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. The [link=nm
See full article at Variety - Film News »

DGA Awards 2018: Matthew Heineman (‘City of Ghosts’) will beat documentary legends Ken Burns & Errol Morris despite Oscars snub

  • Gold Derby
DGA Awards 2018: Matthew Heineman (‘City of Ghosts’) will beat documentary legends Ken Burns & Errol Morris despite Oscars snub
Documentarian Matthew Heineman is the front-runner to win his second Directors Guild Award in three years thanks to his tense film “City of Ghosts.” That’s according to the combined predictions of more than 1,200 users who have entered their picks at Gold Derby in advance of the DGA ceremony on Saturday night, February 3. But for Heineman to win again he’ll have to get past a few legendary filmmakers: Steve James (“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”), Errol Morris (“Wormwood”) and Ken Burns (“The Vietnam War”).

Heineman previously won Best Documentary Director for “Cartel Land” (2015), in which he explored the tension between drug cartels, Mexican groups fighting back against cartel violence and border patrol agents monitoring the crossing between Mexico and the United States. Heineman’s latest film is also about a group resisting violence in their homeland: “City of Ghosts” profiles the Syrian citizen journalists who make up the group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.
See full article at Gold Derby »

‘Jane’: Why the Academy Dissed Brett Morgen’s Popular Goodall Documentary

‘Jane’: Why the Academy Dissed Brett Morgen’s Popular Goodall Documentary
“Jane,” Brett Morgen’s popular documentary about primatologist Jane Goodall, was so lauded and applauded that most Oscar experts predicted that it would land an Oscar nomination, if not win. Instead, it never made the cut.

This happens with the Academy documentary branch. While its voter ranks have expanded by more than 50 percent in the last three years, from 204 to 320 members, it’s still a relatively insular group with strong ideas about what makes a great documentary. They tend to be slow to recognize innovation. They long frowned on dramatic re-enactments, strong personalities, and rousing scores, overlooking early Michael Moore entry “Roger and Me” and Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line,” finally rewarding them with Oscars for anti-gun screed “Bowling for Columbine” and the Robert McNamara profile “The Fog of War,” respectively.

Moore returned to the Oscar fray for “Sicko,” but Morris was never nominated again. The doc branch nominated
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

‘Jane’: Why the Academy Dissed Brett Morgen’s Popular Goodall Documentary

  • Indiewire
‘Jane’: Why the Academy Dissed Brett Morgen’s Popular Goodall Documentary
“Jane,” Brett Morgen’s popular documentary about primatologist Jane Goodall, was so lauded and applauded that most Oscar experts predicted that it would land an Oscar nomination, if not win. Instead, it never made the cut.

This happens with the Academy documentary branch. While its voter ranks have expanded by more than 50 percent in the last three years, from 204 to 320 members, it’s still a relatively insular group with strong ideas about what makes a great documentary. They tend to be slow to recognize innovation. They long frowned on dramatic re-enactments, strong personalities, and rousing scores, overlooking early Michael Moore entry “Roger and Me” and Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line,” finally rewarding them with Oscars for anti-gun screed “Bowling for Columbine” and the Robert McNamara profile “The Fog of War,” respectively.

Read More:Is Errol Morris’s ‘Wormwood’ a Documentary? Netflix Says Yes, Oscars Say No

Moore returned to the Oscar fray for “Sicko,
See full article at Indiewire »

Steve James (‘Abacus’): After notorious Oscar snubs for ‘Hoop Dreams’ & ‘Life Itself,’ he’s finally nominated for Best Documentary

Steve James (‘Abacus’): After notorious Oscar snubs for ‘Hoop Dreams’ & ‘Life Itself,’ he’s finally nominated for Best Documentary
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” earned a shocking Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature despite being ranked 12th in our predictions with 100/1 odds. But despite relatively little fanfare it rights a wrong at the Oscars going back 23 years: filmmaker Steve James, the man behind the landmark movie “Hoop Dreams” (1994), is finally up for Best Documentary for the first time in his career.

Hoop Dreams” spent years following a pair of black students from poor communities as they attempted to build their futures by playing high school basketball. Widely hailed as a classic — including by Roger Ebert, who was among the most vocal in championing the film — it won James a Directors Guild Award, an Ace Eddie Award, an Independent Spirit Award, an International Documentary Association Award and even an MTV Movie Award. But then it wasn’t even nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars, leading to such a protest
See full article at Gold Derby »

Doc Filmmaker Steve James on How Race, Privilege Affect Education

Steve James — the acclaimed documentary filmmaker behind Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters and current Oscar nominee Abacus: Small Enough to Jail — didn't need much of a travel budget for his latest project, America to Me.

James, who's lived in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park for over 30 years, usually requires $2.50 for the Cta Green Line into the city at least, but in 2015 he found a worthy subject within walking distance.

The director, along with three close collaborators dubbed "segment directors" in the credits — Bing Liu, Rebecca Parrish and Kevin Shaw — followed 12 diverse teenagers...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Oscar Nominations 2018 Snubs and Surprises: ‘Phantom Thread’ Rises, James Franco Falls, and More

Oscar Nominations 2018 Snubs and Surprises: ‘Phantom Thread’ Rises, James Franco Falls, and More
We all expected Guillermo del Toro’s Producers Guild Awards and Critics Choice winner “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight) to lead the field; with 13 nominations, it nabbed support across the Academy. However, this is an unpredictable year and Academy voters leaned into inclusion, turned away from James Franco, and delivered some surprise Oscar nominations.

The love for “The Shape of Water” included the dominant Actors branch, which nominated Sally Hawkins and Oscar perennial Octavia Spencer (her third nomination ties with Viola Davis for most for a black actress). Despite its lack of a SAG ensemble nod, this charming fairy-tale romance between an Amphibian Man and a mute cleaning woman should dominate the Oscars March 4 with a Best Picture win.

Searchlight had a good day with a total 20 nominations, as Film4’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” considered a Best Picture frontrunner after its SAG Ensemble win, scored seven nominations including Picture,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Oscar Nominations 2018 Snubs and Surprises: ‘Phantom Thread’ Rises, James Franco Falls, and More

Oscar Nominations 2018 Snubs and Surprises: ‘Phantom Thread’ Rises, James Franco Falls, and More
We all expected Guillermo del Toro’s Producers Guild Awards and Critics Choice winner “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight) to lead the field; with 13 nominations, it nabbed support across the Academy. However, this is an unpredictable year and Academy voters leaned into inclusion, turned away from James Franco, and delivered some surprise Oscar nominations.

The love for “The Shape of Water” included the dominant Actors branch, which nominated Sally Hawkins and Oscar perennial Octavia Spencer (her third nomination ties with Viola Davis for most for a black actress). Despite its lack of a SAG ensemble nod, this charming fairy-tale romance between an Amphibian Man and a mute cleaning woman should dominate the Oscars March 4 with a Best Picture win.

Searchlight had a good day with a total 20 nominations, as Film4’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” considered a Best Picture frontrunner after its SAG Ensemble win, scored seven nominations including Picture,
See full article at Indiewire »

Sundance 2018 Indie Episodic Preview: The Most Anticipated TV Pilots and Premieres at This Year’s Festival

Sundance 2018 Indie Episodic Preview: The Most Anticipated TV Pilots and Premieres at This Year’s Festival
Don’t let the title fool you: The Sundance Film Festival has been featuring television programs for years, be it the slew of documentaries that end up on HBO, Showtime, and Netflix or pilots that earn a special showcase like “Animals.” did in 2015.

But 2018 is special. This year, Sundance is dedicating an entire section to episodic programming, including short-form series, docu-series, traditional pilots, and more experimental premieres. It’s all coming together under the Indie Episodic banner, and it’s all designed with one clear mission:

“There is no clear path to series if you’re trying to do it independently — if you’re going to try and shoot your own pilot, and then try and get picked up,” Sundance programmer Charlie Sextro told IndieWire. “There’s a clear way [in] making an independent film: It gets picked up at Sundance, and then it gets out to the world. It’s
See full article at Indiewire »

DGA Documentary Awards Nominations Snubs and Surprises: Oscar Frontrunners ‘Jane’ and ‘Faces Places’ Don’t Make Cut

As usual the documentary awards race is all over the place. DGA nominations are either a sign of strength or a boost into a must-see before the Oscar balloting closes on Friday. The DGA combines hybrid long-form documentaries along with features, such as AFI special award-winner “The Vietnam War” from Ken Burns ands Lynn Novick, and Errol Morris’s groundbreaking Netflix series “Wormwood,” which was not deemed eligible for the documentary Oscar, to the filmmaker’s chagrin.

Given filmmaker Bryan Fogel’s role in unveiling the high-profile Russian Olympic doping scandal, Netflix’s Oscar short-listed “Icarus” continues to move forward, while Matt Heineman’s “City of Ghosts” pulls ahead of other Syria documentaries. Two significant omissions here are Brett Morgen for Jane Goodall profile “Jane” and Agnes Varda and J.R.’s whimsical visual tour-de-force “Faces Places,” which are considered Oscar frontrunners.

Netflix and PBS scored two DGA slots each,
See full article at Indiewire »

DGA Documentary Awards Nominations Snubs and Surprises: Oscar Frontrunners ‘Jane’ and ‘Faces Places’ Don’t Make Cut

As usual the documentary awards race is all over the place. DGA nominations are either a sign of strength or a boost into a must-see before the Oscar balloting closes on Friday. The DGA combines hybrid long-form documentaries along with features, such as AFI special award-winner “The Vietnam War” from Ken Burns ands Lynn Novick, and Errol Morris’s groundbreaking Netflix series “Wormwood,” which was not deemed eligible for the documentary Oscar, to the filmmaker’s chagrin.

Given filmmaker Bryan Fogel’s role in unveiling the high-profile Russian Olympic doping scandal, Netflix’s Oscar short-listed “Icarus” continues to move forward, while Matt Heineman’s “City of Ghosts” pulls ahead of other Syria documentaries. Two significant omissions here are Brett Morgen for Jane Goodall profile “Jane” and Agnes Varda and J.R.’s whimsical visual tour-de-force “Faces Places,” which are considered Oscar frontrunners.

Netflix and PBS scored two DGA slots each,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

‘Abacus’ Director Weighs Impact Of Oscar Shortlisted Doc On Chinatown Bank Snared In Suspect Prosecution

‘Abacus’ Director Weighs Impact Of Oscar Shortlisted Doc On Chinatown Bank Snared In Suspect Prosecution
Acclaimed filmmaker Steve James has built his reputation primarily on the strength of Chicago-oriented documentaries, among them Hoop Dreams (1994), The Interrupters (2011) and Life Itself (2014). But he finds himself in the Oscar race this year with a story that took him from the Second City to the first. In Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, he explored the case of Abacus Federal Savings, a bank catering to New York's Chinese immigrant community that became the only U.S…
See full article at Deadline »

The Best Documentaries of 2017

Healing from past trauma, film preservation, Isis, libraries, chimps, rats, and cats — these were just a few of the subjects and stories that this year’s documentary offerings brought us. With 2017 wrapping up, we’ve selected 21 features in the field that left us most impressed, so check out our list below and, in the comments, let us know your favorites.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (Steve James)

Steve James’ filmography has long been about finding entry into larger conversations through intimate portraits. The director’s landmark debut, Hoop Dreams, and latter-day efforts like 2014’s monument to critic Roger Ebert, Life Itself, don’t have much in common on the surface, but they both use their central characters to tell larger stories about big picture topics like structural dysfunction and the purpose of film criticism. That double purpose is the quiet genius of James’ latest documentary, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.
See full article at The Film Stage »

'Quest' Review: Moving Doc on Philly Family Makes the Personal Political

'Quest' Review: Moving Doc on Philly Family Makes the Personal Political
His name is Christopher Rainey, but you can call him "Quest" – that's the nickname this North Philly resident is known by. Christine'a Rainey, his wife and a women's shelter employee, is sometimes called "Ma Quest," usually by the folks who drop by her spouse's recording studio for his "Freestyle Friday" open-houses. ("I always feel like someone's mother," she says, with both pride and weariness.) They each have kids from previous marriages – her son William has just become a father and discovered he had a cancerous brain tumor in quick succession – and one child together: P.
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Sundance 2018 Ushers In the Age of Independent TV With Indie Episodics Line-Up

  • Indiewire
Sundance 2018 Ushers In the Age of Independent TV With Indie Episodics Line-Up
At the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, TV is invading the schedule in a whole new way. The Park City film fest has previously dabbled in what’s possible on the small screen, but this year marks the launch of the Indie Episodics section — which will spotlight TV pilots that mostly lack mainstream distribution.

The selections include “America to Me,” a new docu-series by “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James; as well as “The Mortified Guide,” a screen adaptation of the popular stage show “Mortified,” spotlighting the most embarrassing true stories of adolescence. There’s also “This Close,” showcasing star/creators Josh Feldman and Shoshannah Stern (both of whom are deaf), and “Franchesca,” featuring digital star and “The Nightly Show” writer/contributor Franchesca Ramsey.

This marks a major change for Sundance, and a renewed commitment to independent television. While Sundance has featured TV programming since the premiere of “Top of the Lake” in
See full article at Indiewire »

IFP’s Gotham Awards Give Indie Films a Boost

IFP’s Gotham Awards Give Indie Films a Boost
On Sept. 30, 1991, John Turturro and the late Jonathan Demme were the first of seven New Yorkers to garner a Gotham Award. Trophies were handed out at the Roseland Ballroom without much fanfare. The celebratory dinner, a fundraiser for the Independent Filmmaker Project, was a small, low-key, quirky event that didn’t draw mainstream media.

“It didn’t have that big huge red carpet thing that happens nowadays,” says former Ifp exec director Catherine Tait, who oversaw the creation of the Gotham Awards. “It was really intimate because the interest in indie filmmaking was not very heightened at the time.”

Cut to the same awards show at the same venue four years later. “Reservoir Dogs,” “Kids” and “Hoop Dreams” were officially part of the zeitgeist and Madonna was posing for photographers along with fellow Gotham Award guests Ted Turner and Jane Fonda. The Gotham Awards were officially a hot ticket.

“We were riding a wave of sudden consumer
See full article at Variety - Film News »

In Oscar Documentary Race, First Time Can Be the Charm

In Oscar Documentary Race, First Time Can Be the Charm
It’s never easy being green, but if you’re a documentary filmmaker it can have its advantages. Especially come Oscar season.

In the past two decades, 12 directors have taken home the Academy Award for their very first documentary theatrical feature. They include Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”), Louie Psihoyos (“The Cove”) and Malik Bendjelloul (“Searching for Sugarman”). Those films beat out docus made by veteran nonfiction helmers like Kirby Dick (“The Invisible War”), Wim Wenders (“Pina”) and Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams (“Life Animated”).

When it comes to receiving a nomination in the documentary feature category, the odds are even better. In the last decade more than 20 first time feature docu helmers have nabbed an Oscar nod. They include Ellen Kuras (“The Betrayal — Nerakhoon”), Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington (“Restrepo”), Charles Ferguson (“No End in Sight”) and John Maloof and Charlie Siskel (“Finding Vivian Maier”).

Comparatively, in the last 10 years,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Sliff 2017 Interview: Donald Rosenfeld – Producer of Cradle Of Champions

Cradle Of Champions screens Sunday, November 5th at 4:00pm at The .Zack (3224 Locust St.) as part of this year’s St. Louis International Film Festival. Producer Donald Rosenfeld will be in attendance. Ticket information can be found Here

Made with a dream team of documentary talent — the crew’s past films include “Citizenfour,” “Cameraperson,” “Queen of Versailles,” “Racing Dreams,” and “Cartel Land” — “Cradle of Champions” captures the epic story of three young people fighting for their lives in the oldest, biggest, and most important amateur boxing tournament in the world: the New York’s Daily News Golden Gloves. “Cradle of Champions” follows three inspiring individuals on an urban odyssey through the 10-week Golden Gloves. Though boxing has come under increasing criticism in the past few decades, the tournament — which has produced more professional world champions than the Olympic Games — has taken legions of at-risk kids off the streets and given them discipline,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

First Person: Sexual Harassers Are Poisonous, and So Are the Companies That Protect Them

First Person: Sexual Harassers Are Poisonous, and So Are the Companies That Protect Them
The day The New York Times broke the Harvey Weinstein story, I found myself choking back bile all day.

In the weeks since, it has become resoundingly clear that Weinstein is a virulent serial predator, and has earned whatever hell rains down on him. But Harvey Weinstein isn’t the problem, and bringing him down — while satisfying, necessary, and just — will be far from sufficient if we don’t simultaneously tear down our rotten corporate culture and reckon with our own complicity in propping it up.

As democracy derives its consent from the governed, tyranny derives its consent from the tyrannized. And while it’s long overdue, I no longer consent to being tyrannized.

I wasn’t sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein. I worked with him briefly, consulting on “sex, lies, and videotape,” the film that changed the independent film business, Sundance, and Harvey forever; the film whose prescient title
See full article at Indiewire »

Can We Stop with the Damn ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ Outrage?!

Oh, for the love of God, why am I still reading about this? Seems like every godd**n week, I see a new article from somebody trying to figure out the ‘Rotten Tomatoes‘ phenomenon or whatever new phenomenon or faux-outrage or whatever bullsh*t about it there is… Here’s one from Vox.com a few days ago. Here’s one from Wired.com a couple months ago. Here’s one from TVOvermind.com. Here’s one from TheRinger.com. Here’s one from the god**nn New York F**king Times! Here’s an episode of “What the Flick” doing a whole Youtube segment on the New York Times article! And here’s another one from Variety, yes that Variety, about how Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t influence box office. (Sigh) Some of those are from last week; here’s an infamous one that I wrote last year!!!!!!!

Which amazes
See full article at Age of the Nerd »
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Showtimes | External Sites