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Thompson on Hollywood

Attention, Documentary Filmmakers: New York Times Op-Docs Set to Host First Live Pitch Competition (EXCLUSIVE)

The New York Times' Op-Docs -- the publication's Emmy-nominated video channel for independently minded filmmakers and artists -- is set to host its first-ever live pitch competition at a private event held at The Times' headquarters. Five filmmakers will pitch their Op-Doc ideas to an exclusive audience of industry professionals, and to a jury of Times staff and veteran Op-Docs contributors.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • July 17, 2014 12:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Ron Howard Rocks Beatles Concert Tour Doc (TRAILERS)

If The Beatles have never been anything less than ubiquitous, their role in the film world still seems to be growing larger with each passing month. Variety report that Ron Howard, under a partnership between Imagine Entertainment, Apple Corps. Ltd., and White Horse Pictures, will direct a currently untitled documentary.
  • By Anne Thompson and Nick Newman
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  • July 16, 2014 12:48 PM
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'Life Itself' Director Steve James Gets Up Close with Roger Ebert at the End of His Life (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW)

Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz enthusiastically embraced the idea of a documentary of his bestselling memoir "Life Itself," and wanted Chicago filmmaker Steve James, whose "Hoop Dreams" Ebert had discovered at Sundance 20 years ago, to direct it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 2, 2014 5:25 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Must-See E.R. Doc 'Code Black' Hits NY and LA (TRAILER)

A buzzy title that scooped up the Best Documentary prize at both last year’s Los Angeles and Hamptons International film fests, “Code Black” hit New York’s IFC Center on June 20 and opens Los Angeles's Landmark Theatre on June 27. Watch the trailer for this intense doctor's eye view of our medical system in crisis below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 27, 2014 8:04 PM
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Why Sebastian Junger Made and Self-Released 'Restrepo' Sequel 'Korengal,' New HBO Doc (VIDEO)

Vanity Fair writer Sebastian Junger is well-known not only for "The Perfect Storm" (which was made into a George Clooney action movie) and his intrepid war reporting--which he ended after the untimely death in Libya of his long-time partner, British Vanity Fair photographer and cinematographer Tim Hetherington--but the Oscar-nominated documentary "Restrepo." I interviewed Junger and Hetherington for that movie (see video below), and talked to Junger again recently about the sequel "Korengal," which is in current release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 20, 2014 4:40 PM
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'Central Park Five' Win $40 Million Settlement in Suit Against City of New York (UPDATE)

The subjects of Ken and Sarah Burns and David MacMahon's "Central Park Five" have settled their law suit against the City of New York's mishandling of their case. The searing documentary examined the racially charged 1989 case of a Central Park jogger's rape and brutal assault.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 19, 2014 9:31 PM
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  • 10 Comments

Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna Hit Kickstarter to Bring Ambulante Project to California

Mexican actors Gael Garcíá Bernal and Diego Luna are seeking to bring their traveling documentary festival, Ambulante, to the U.S.--and they're crowd-sourcing funds on Kickstarter to help them do so.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • June 18, 2014 3:04 PM
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Robert De Niro Steps Out, for His Festival, His Father and the Friars Club's Top Award

We all know that Robert De Niro is a far better screen actor than he is public figure. Journalists dread interviews with the famously monosyllabic star. But this year De Niro is suddenly everywhere: at Tribeca, his New York film festival, hawking the Tribeca-produced Sundance documentary about his artist father, "Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr.," which is airing on HBO, and accepting a rare honor from The Friars Club in New York.
  • By Anne Thompson and Jacob Combs
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  • June 17, 2014 2:01 PM
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Debra Granik Goes Rogue with First Doc 'Stray Dog' (LAFF World Premiere)

Filmmaker Debra Granik earned an impressive four Oscar nominations for 2010's "Winter's Bone," including best picture, actress (Jennifer Lawrence), supporting actor (John Hawkes) and adapted screenplay. Clearly all the talent on display in 2004's "Down to the Bone," which boosted the career of Vera Farmiga, was not a flash in the pan. What was the deliberate New York filmmaker, who works closely with producer-writer Anne Rossellini, do next?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2014 2:19 PM
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San Francisco Film Society Adds to Board for Documentary Film Fund (EXCLUSIVE)

Documentary veterans Julie Parker Benello and Lisa Kleiner Chanoff join the San Francisco Film Society Board of Directors, as SFFS's Doc Film Fund cash grants are extended for three years.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 12, 2014 6:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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