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Thompson on Hollywood

Telluride Review: Errol Morris Goes for Laughs with Tabloid

Telluride Review: Errol Morris Goes for Laughs with Tabloid
Telluride critic Tim Appelo was surprised that documentarian (blogger/tweeter) Errol Morris's latest, Tabloid, is well, funny. Having spent some time with the man, he can be quite witty, as are his famous Oscar shorts. Dark humor informs all his films, even his dead-serious docs Fog of War and Standard Operating Procedure. I can't wait to see Tabloid in Toronto, where I'm scheduled to talk to Morris, and he is scheduled to dialogue with another seriously funny filmmaker, Werner Herzog.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 6, 2010 11:48 AM
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Venice: Joaquin Phoenix is Not Here

Venice: Joaquin Phoenix is Not Here
Rookie director Casey Affleck is playing out his hand on the bizarre Joaquin Phoenix documentary I'm Still Here, which debuted in Venice Monday to rousing applause, and is still inspiring huge debate. What the hell is Phoenix doing? Committing career suicide? Creating an indelibly accurate portrait of a miserable depressed self-medicating and deluded actor? Doing an Andy Kaufman-type performance piece, egged on by Affleck?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 6, 2010 6:53 AM
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  • 4 Comments

HBO Acquires Toronto Fest Doc Precious Life

HBO Acquires Toronto Fest Doc Precious Life
Israeli documentary Precious Life marks an early pre-Toronto Film Festival sale as HBO acquires U.S. rights. Directed by Israeli broadcaster Shlomi Eldar and produced by Ehud Bleiberg and Yoav Ze’evi, Precious Life tells the story of a four-month-old Palestinian boy from Gaza who lacks an immune system and requires a bone marrow transplant. This can only be done in an Israeli hospital.  As his doctor pleads for help, Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar decides to document this complex drama about Israeli and Palestinian doctors’ attempt to save the kid's life.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2010 10:13 AM
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SnagLearning Expands Classroom Boundaries

SnagFilms announces SnagLearning, a platform of 125 documentary films that will serve as engaging education tools for students in nearly every middle and high school classroom. CEO Rick Allen calls it a "natural extension" of SnagFilms, which launched two years ago; "teachers have championed our slate of films, which students can stream for free as a means of supplementing their learning. As classrooms stretch their boundaries, SnagLearning will be there – at home or in school – to serve our ever growing community of teachers, students and parents.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 26, 2010 7:44 AM
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New Orleans Films Louis and The Big Uneasy Screen on Katrina Anniversary

New Orleans Films Louis and The Big Uneasy Screen on Katrina Anniversary
It's unheard of for a movie to play one night in five cities before it's finished and before it has a distributor. But nothing about Louis--which inspired widely divergent reactions at a recent Beverly Hills screening--is what you'd call normal. Also marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, radio host/writer/actor Harry Shearer's searing expose The Big Uneasy hits theaters August 30 for one night only.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 25, 2010 11:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Future of Digital Distribution: A Mini Documentary

The Future of Digital Distribution, a mini-documentary from Game Industry TV, now available here (and below), goes deep into how the online availability of music, film, TV and video games are revolutionizing the way society digests its plethora of media. With commentary from reporters, analysts, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Disney Interacting Studios GM Graham Hopper (and others), the topics range from the growth of online purchasing, direct distribution channels changing the relationship between content creators and their consumers, and how social networking will continue to influence the entertainment world.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 25, 2010 1:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TCA: HBO Unveils New Material from Scorsese, Lee, Mann, Haynes and Milch

Saturday's HBO panel at TCA was full of news on much-anticipated projects from Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Michael Mann, Todd Haynes and David Milch. Amy Dawes reports:A new slate heavy on cross-over cinema talent and enlivened by the antics of wild card talents like Carrie Fisher and Spike Lee was presented late Saturday by HBO, clearly the big dog at the cable portion of the TCA press tour, to finish out the biannual event.
  • By Amy Dawes
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  • August 8, 2010 12:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment

TCA: Lennon Hearts New York in Upcoming PBS Doc

John Lennon’s passionate attachment to New York City during the last years of his life is among the themes of LENNONYC, a new PBS doc that will debut Nov. 22 as part of the public broadcaster’s American Masters series. Amy Dawes caught Yoko Ono's introduction at the television critics association press tour in Beverly Hills.
  • By Amy Dawes
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  • August 6, 2010 10:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Scott's Life in a Day Gets 80,000 Submissions, Final Film To Premiere Sundance 2011

Scott's Life in a Day Gets 80,000 Submissions, Final Film To Premiere Sundance 2011
The YouTube/Ridley Scott global film experiment, Life in a Day will result in a feature length film directed by Kevin Macdonald (State of Play, Last King of Scotland). He closed the door for submissions on July 31 for home videos of peoples' lives all recorded on the same day, July 24, 2010. The 80,000 submissions come from 197 different countries in 45 languages. Macdonald has a team of 20 editors to manage the laborious task of weeding through the footage to narrow it down to 100 hours. The final film is set to premiere at Sundance 2011 (and simultaneously on YouTube). Macdonald calls the task "a mountain, but we're eager to climb it.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 5, 2010 6:50 AM
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SnagFilms Expands Doc Distribution, indieWIRE Adds Mobile, Spout, Bogdanovich

Both indieWIRE, which celebrated its 14th birthday July 15, and its parent company, two-year-old doc distributor SnagFilms, are growing exponentially. SnagFilms, which offers 1500 films for free streaming on its distribution network including Hulu and Fancast.com, is adding new outlets. Here's a bit of Monday's NYT story:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 19, 2010 8:59 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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