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Thompson on Hollywood

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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Griffin Dunne Talks Acting in 'The Discoverers,' Directing Joan Didion Doc, TV vs. Film, More (TRAILERS)

This week Griffin Dunne ably carries the new family comedy "The Discoverers," from politico and academic turned writer-director Justin Schwartz, who cast Dunne as a washed-up professor--natch--who drags his two reluctant teenagers on an unexpected Lewis & Clarke Oregon road trip. Dunne gets to use his chops as a slapstick comedian in "The Discoverers," which opens in Los Angeles this Friday. Multi-tasking comes naturally to the producer-director-actor: "It turns that being dyslexic and a Gemini kind of pays off in this case."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 30, 2014 7:09 AM
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RADiUS Goes Lego, Nabs 'Beyond the Brick: A Lego Brickumentary'

Apparently Lego is a hot property in both narrative and non-fiction filmmaking. RADiUS has clicked together worldwide rights for the first official, feature-length doc about the world of the Lego brick, “Beyond the Brick: A Lego Brickumentary.”
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 29, 2014 12:31 PM
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'Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia' Shows the Literary Lion's Intimate Side

Nicholas Wrathall met Gore Vidal for the first time at the Beverly Hills Hotel. They had brunch on an Easter Sunday while a life-size bunny gallivanted about the restaurant—a “surreal” experience, according to the director—but quickly connected over a discussion about the politics of Wrathall’s native Australia.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • May 22, 2014 12:02 PM
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EXCLUSIVE: New Trailer for Restored Classic Opera Doc 'Tosca's Kiss,' Presented by Dustin Hoffman

TOH! has scored a trailer exclusive to the 30th anniversary restoration of Daniel Schmid’s classic music documentary “Tosca’s Kiss,” which centers on the lives and passions of a group of retired opera singers living in the Casa Verdi home in Milan.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 21, 2014 2:00 PM
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Attention, Women Documentary Filmmakers: Chicken & Egg Pictures Grant Applications Open Soon

Chicken & Egg Pictures’ 2014 Open Call grant process will open June 1. The company has designed the grant to support women non-fiction filmmakers whose “diverse voices and dynamic storytelling have the power to catalyze change, at home and around the globe. [They are] looking for filmmakers with powerful stories, unique access to their subjects, a collaborative spirit, and the courage to take creative risks.”
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 20, 2014 1:24 PM
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AFI DOCS 2014 Unveils Opening and Closing Night Films

The American Film Institute’s documentary film festival, AFI DOCS, has revealed the opening and closing night films for its 2014 edition of the fest. The world premiere of Scott Teems’ “Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey” will kick off the festival, while Steve James’ portrait of Roger Ebert, “Life Itself,” is the closer.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 15, 2014 12:42 PM
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WATCH: Striking Trailer for Petra Costa's Doc 'Elena,' on the Haunting Disappearance of Her Sister

An arresting trailer has arrived for Petra Costa's stunning-looking personal documentary "Elena." The film touches on a very painful subject for Costa, who investigates the disappearance of her older sister, who made the big move to New York when the director was only seven years old, only then to disappear, as letters home became more infrequent and then eventually ceased entirely.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 9, 2014 3:53 PM
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Gibney's 'Finding Fela' Nabbed by Kino Lorber; Dino Doc 'Dinosaur 13' Gets Summer Release Date

News today for two hot docs out of this past Sundance: Alex Gibney's "Finding Fela," on the revolutionary creator of Afrobeat music, now has North American distribution from Kino Lorber, while Todd Miller's "Dinosaur 13," scooped up in Park City by CNN Films, has a theatrical day-and-date set from Lionsgate.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 7, 2014 2:11 PM
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