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Thompson on Hollywood

Ro*co Films Founder Annie Roney Talks to Sundance About Changes in Documentary Distribution

Annie Roney of ro*co films is interviewed by Sundance contributing blogger Chris Dorr on Adapting to Changes in Distribution: "The most significant change is the cultural and mainstream embrace of the documentary genre ..."
  • By Chris Dorr
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  • March 30, 2013 6:40 AM
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Watch: 'Voice' Contestant Judith Hill Talks Singing with Michael Jackson in Sundance Hit 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'

Check out this clip from must-see Sundance documentary "Twenty Feet From Stardom," in which Judith Hill (a breakout from the most recent season of "The Voice") discusses her experience working onstage with Michael Jackson. Morgan Neville's film --which hits theaters 14 via June RadiusTWC-- spotlights the true stories of gifted talents who tried to build careers but stayed within arm's reach of the spotlight: backup singers.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • March 29, 2013 1:57 PM
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Tribeca Trailer Watch: 'Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia' Interviews the Iconic Writer, Essayist and Feisty Feuder

Check out the new trailer for documentary "Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia," set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival (April 17-28). Directed by Nicholas Wrathall, the film features candid interviews with the iconic American writer, essayist, intellectual and first-rate feuder. Also interviewed are David Mamet, Sting, Mikhail Gorbachev, William F. Buckley, Norman Mailer, Jodie Evans and Nina Straight. Commentary blends with footage from Vidal's legendary on-air career.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • March 29, 2013 12:50 PM
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Clint 'Eastwood Directs' Documentary to Premiere at Tribeca, Followed by Panel with Eastwood and Darren Aronofsky

WBHE's documentary "Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story" will have its premiere April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival (April 17-28), followed by a panel with Clint Eastwood, moderated by Darren Aronofsky.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • March 29, 2013 12:44 PM
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  • 4 Comments

"The Revolutionary Optimists" Avoids Perils of "Indian Poverty Porn"

Ever since the success of Oscar-winning films "Born into Brothels" and "Slumdog Millionaire," India's slums and impoverished children have been a popular topic for Western filmmakers. Accusations of "poverty porn" are inevitable, however, and, when it comes to this former British colony, there's always a question of whether these films perpetuate age-old stereotypes of some backward "Orientalist" land, plagued with dirt, poverty and illness, all wrapped in exotic colors and bouncing music.
  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 28, 2013 1:09 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscilloscope Nabs SXSW Documentary '12 O'Clock Boys' -- 'The Wire' Meets Cirque du Soleil

Oscilloscope Laboratories has picked up North American rights to Lofty Nathan's documentary "12 O'Clock Boys," which recently had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The Boys of the title are an infamous dirt bike gang in Baltimore who take over major city streets with flashy stunts at high speeds, alluding the cops' "no chase" rule due to public safety measures. Trailer below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 26, 2013 12:24 PM
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COL-COA Adds Docs and Shorts to French Program

City of Lights, City of Angels (running at the Directors Guild Theater in Hollywood from from April 15 to 22) has confirmed its 2013 program of documentary features and short films, whetting our palates with a few of its titles before the entire lineup is announced March 27. Three films will round out COL-COA’s French documentaries:
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • March 21, 2013 8:18 PM
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Film Independent Reveals Filmmakers for 2013 Documentary Lab

Film Independent has announced its chosen filmmakers for the 2013 Documentary Lab, an eight-week program designed to assist burgeoning directors currently in post-production.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • March 20, 2013 12:39 PM
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Right-Wing Unveils More Poorly Made Agit-Docs: Watch Out for D'Souza's 'America'

At CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, NPR reports that there were more than 20 new right-wing documentaries on display, from "Hating Breitbart" to "FrackNation," as well as a trailer for author Dinesh D’Souza's follow-up to his right-wing agit-doc “2016: Obama’s America," simply called "America," which reportedly extols the virtues of American exceptionalism.
  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 18, 2013 4:00 PM
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Now and Then: What Can We Demand of the Documentary--Subjects, Aesthetics, Goals and Business Models?

This year, if you held your ear to the Oscar keyhole and listened hard enough, you might have discerned a slight disquiet. "Very strong category," people were saying about the nominees for Best Documentary Feature. "I loved all of them," they usually added. "But..." The "but" concerned the eventual winner, director Malik Bendjelloul's "Searching for Sugar Man." A soulful mystery about the American musician Rodriguez, who rose to prominence in South Africa and Australia a generation ago before being relegated to obscurity, "Sugar Man" was never discussed as anything less than deserving. In certain quarters, though, "Sugar Man" could be seen as insubstantial when placed against the other nominees, all weighing heavy political subjects: the Israeli/Palestinian conflict ("The Gatekeepers," "5 Broken Cameras"), military sexual assault ("The Invisible War"), and the AIDS crisis ("How to Survive a Plague").
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 12, 2013 3:22 PM
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  • 3 Comments

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