Paying Tribute to Albert Maysles, a Humanitarian and the Godfather of Documentary

By: Saturday March 7, 2015 8:00 am

The godfather of documentary filmmaking, Albert Maysles, has died at the age of 88. He directed the well-known documentary classics Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter and Salesman. Maysles and his brother, David, pioneered cinema vérité or what is commonly known as truthful cinema. As a cinematographer and director, he sought to produce films that put viewers [...]


Movie Review: “Braddock America”

By: Saturday November 22, 2014 7:00 pm

“Braddock, America” is a feature length documentary now in limited release set in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a former steel town now left to literally rust away to hell. Like so, so many other towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and throughout the Midwest, Braddock began life in the 19th century as just a place along a mighty river, surrounded by coal. Then Andrew Carnegie built a state-of-the-art steel mill. George Westinghouse followed suit and constructed his first plant in a valley adjacent to the Monongahela River. For the decades that followed, the Monongahela valley was the industrial pulse of a growing America. Most of the steel that made the United States the world’s leading industrial nation, steel for train tracks, cars, the girders of the then world’s tallest skyscrapers, was made in places like Braddock.

Movie Review: CitizenFour, Snowden for Lovers and Haters

By: Tuesday October 28, 2014 10:00 am

Two kinds of people are interested in Laura Pointras’ new documentary, CitizenFour, about Edward Snowden’s early contacts with journalists Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and herself. Let’s have a review of the film for each group, the Haters and Everyone Else.

The Unknown Known: Rumsfeld Documentary on Screens Now

By: Sunday April 6, 2014 2:55 pm

My most profound disappointment is the interview was not conducted at the USP Florence ADMAX.

Vessel: Former Greenpeace Doctor Offers Worldwide Abortion Access (#SXSW)

By: Wednesday March 26, 2014 4:50 pm

Every 10 minutes, a woman dies from a botched abortion. That’s 47,000 women every year. But what if there were an extremely safe way women could self-administer abortion, without needing the permission of the medical establishment or the state?

Vessel – the first documentary from filmmaker Diana Whitten — studies one woman’s efforts to get the abortion pill and the information needed to use it to women worldwide.

Above All Else: The Beauty & Tragedy of Tar Sands Blockade (#SXSW)

By: Friday March 7, 2014 5:00 pm

The most emotionally devastating and artistically gifted scene in Above All Else, John Fiege’s new climate change documentary, comes late in the film. Deep in the night, East Texas landowner David Daniel hikes through the darkness to an environmental activist encampment where he has to deliver bad news. The scene is lit only by the head lamps that Daniel and the others wear, highlighting or obscuring their grief-stricken faces. Around them is the hush and murmur of the forest. It’s a scene that may have occurred millions of times through history — a half dozen humans, alone among untouched wildness, sharing their pain.

Which Doc Should Win Tonight’s Oscar? Depends on What You Mean by “Best Doc”…

By: Sunday March 2, 2014 1:54 pm

The Oscars are upon us! Let the movie talk continue! The categories that evaluate feature length films are: Best Picture, Animated Feature Film, Foreign Language Film, and Best Documentary Feature. We began examining the documentaries previously with a look at Cutie and the Boxer. This category is unique in that all the nominees are currently accessible online. The Best Documentary Feature category is also interesting because of the additional expectations viewers frequently attach to its nominees.

Web Series Raises Questions About Death Penalty Convictions

By: Sunday January 26, 2014 2:10 pm

One For Ten is, a documentary web series about people who have been exonerated and released from death row. Each of the ten films in this series range from 5-6 minutes and focus on an individual exonerees’ story. One For Ten’s co-director Will Francome explains, “Many of these people left prison and thought there was going to be an investigation, or some ramifications for the fact that the state almost killed them and they spent 20 years of their life on death row. They thought people were going to care and something was going to change. But nothing changes. So what is that about? What do people gain from the death penalty politically to make this self-perpetuating thing keep going?”

Film Review: ‘These Birds Walk’ Immerses Viewers in Life of Runaway Boys in Pakistan

By: Sunday January 19, 2014 4:00 pm

The feature documentary centers on The Edhi Home and Ambulance Foundation in Pakistan, a highly respected philanthropic organization in Pakistan and part of a social welfare system pioneered by Abdul Sattar Edhi, sometimes called “Father Teresa of Pakistan.” Edhi has spent decades helping unwanted or runaway children.

“Nuclear Nation” Ignites Conversation About Fukushima’s Refugees

By: Monday January 6, 2014 12:10 pm

Nuclear Nation is director Atsushi Funahashi’s attempt to engage us in conversation. This documentary introduces viewers to the former residents of Futaba, the location of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and gives us a window into their lives after the disaster. The film follows the town’s residents, their lives as refugees, and everything that comes with that: communal living in an abandoned high school near Tokyo, coming to terms with the loss of family members, the loss of home, the lack of compensation, the questions about health from radiation exposure- the list goes on and on.

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