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Thompson on Hollywood

Producers Guild Doc Nominees Include Oscar Frontrunners 'Gatekeepers' & 'Searching for Sugar Man'

The Producers Guild of America has nominated five documentaries in their Documentary Motion Picture category. The documentary field is large and competitive this year, so any spotlight will help Oscar voters make tough choices. Never have so many worthy docs been produced and released into the indie marketplace. The Academy doc branch has already submitted their Oscar short list of 15 which should be announced shortly. The IDA awards will be announced on December 7 (stay tuned for our report).
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • November 30, 2012 3:54 PM
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Docs to Watch in 2013: IDFA Showcases Next Year's Crop -- 'I Am Breathing,' 'Winter Nomads,' 'Propaganda' & More

The International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, or IDFA, piles a selection of the year’s docs into a window in mid-November--this year during its recently-wrapped 25th edition. The films are not all new, but enough of them are being seen for the first time that IDFA becomes a showcase for next year. Here are some docs that you can expect to see in 2013.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • November 27, 2012 1:43 PM
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'Westerly' Documentary to Tell Story of Surf Icon Peter Drouyn's Journey into Becoming a Woman [Kickstarter Video]

"Westerly," a doc about transgender surfer Peter Drouyn's controversial journey toward becoming a woman, is in the works with producers Beau Willimon and Jordan Tappis. Alan White and Jamie Brisick will direct the film, with musicians Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Matt Sweeney also on board.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 26, 2012 4:05 PM
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Doc Feature Oscar Voters Face Rough Process This Year

Never have so many worthy docs been produced and released into the indie marketplace. There's a complex set of filtering systems that throw the docs at the Academy branch. Film festivals are one sort of gatekeeper for the plethora of terrific low-budget docs made these days, while awards groups are another, from the upcoming critics groups to DOC NYC, the International Documentary Association and the Cinema Eye Honors.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 21, 2012 4:18 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Hear 'Paul Williams Still Alive' Original Song (TRAILER)

Paul Williams' original song "Still Alive" from Stephen Kessler's new documentary "Paul Williams Still Alive" will touch any artist, especially someone past their prime. The movie and the song address Williams' past glories, which are gone, and the fantasy of chasing your dreams vs. the reality of living with day-to-day happiness.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 19, 2012 1:25 PM
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  • 4 Comments

DOC NYC Fest Announces Audience and Jury Awards; Winners Include 'Informant' & 'Rafea: Solar Mama'

New York's DOC NYC festival, which ran November 8-15, announces its jury and audience award winners. Included are Jamie Meltzer's "Informant," a portrait of radical activist-turned-FBI informant Brandon Darby, and Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief's "Rafea: Solar Mama," with follows an illiterate Jordanian woman who becomes a solar panel engineer.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 16, 2012 1:48 PM
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Hollywood Rites of Passage, from Redford and Smith to Siegal and Geffen

It was an odd day, bookended by two events that drew together an amazing swath of Hollywood's older generation. I saw CAA partner Bryan Lourd, DreamWorks' Marvin Levy, and Sundance's Michelle Satter at both events, and while the Lois Smith memorial in the morning and Peggy Siegal-wrangled PBS documentary "Inventing David Geffen" in the evening were very different affairs, they both marked rites of passage.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 14, 2012 3:47 PM
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Oscilloscope is 'Dying To Do Letterman' for North American Audiences

Oscilloscope has acquired North American rights to Joke Fincioen’s and Biagio Messina’s "Dying to do Letterman." The documentary follows comedian Steve Mazan who was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer and decided to dedicate his life to fulfilling his dream of performing standup on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 13, 2012 5:31 PM
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Trailer Watch: Mel on Mel in HBO's 'Mel Brooks Strikes Back!'

Check out the new trailer for HBO's upcoming "Mel Brooks Strikes Back!," a lively extended interview between the legendary comedy writer-director and BBC creative director Alan Yentob. "What was it like growing up as a Jew in Brooklyn?" Yentob asks. Brooks' reply: "I don't think there was anybody but Jews in Brooklyn!"
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 9, 2012 11:45 AM
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DOC NYC Kicks Off with 'Artifact' & 'Venus and Serena'; High-Profile Oscar Hopefuls

DOC NYC, in its third year, runs November 8-15 and kicks off with two opening night films, "Artifact" and "Venus and Serena," which premiered amidst controversy at TIFF. Director Bartholomew Cubbins' "Artifact," making its US premiere, follows Jared Leto's band Thirty Seconds to Mars, while Maiken Baird and Michelle Major "Venus and Serena" grants audiences unprecedented access into the lives of the tennis world's famous Williams' sisters.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 7, 2012 3:37 PM
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