Meet Ulf. He lives north of the Arctic Circle and makes boat. He swims daily (brief male buttock shot), does household chores, and relaxes. Ulf is content. [10 minutes, Vimeo]
One Year Lease is an 11 minute film that was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival documenting almost entirely through voice mail messages, One Year Lease documents the travails of Brian, Thomas, and Casper as they endure a year-long sentence with Rita, the cat-loving landlady. "
The following conversation took place in 2005 in front of an audience at the Telluride film festival in Colorado, after a screening of Martin Scorsese’s documentary, Bob Dylan: No Direction Home.
Cowspiracy is a crowdfunded documentary now being screened that examines the environmental impact of animal agriculture and seeks to examine why prominent environmental groups have apparently not made it a focus of their efforts. David Robinson Simon, the author of Meatonomics who appears in the film, interviews filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. [more inside]
The New York Review of Books recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding (previously), growing out of an alliance between Harpers editor Robert Silvers and writer Elizabeth Hardwick to find a place for what she called "the unusual, the difficult, the lengthy, the intransigent, and above all, the interesting." Known as the New York Review or the NYRB, it is also known to fans as the best magazine in the world. Next Monday, HBO will air The 50-Year Argument, a documentary by Martin Scorsese about the history of the magazine and what makes it special. [more inside]
In This Horror Film, Blood Is All Too Real [New York Times] ‘Terror at the Mall’ on HBO documents an Attack in Kenya.
One year ago, gunmen from the Shabab militant group in Somalia laid siege to the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Armed with AK-47s and grenades, they stalked their victims from a gourmet burger restaurant at the entrance to the vegetable aisle of a grocery store at the back. The British filmmaker Dan Reed assembled thousands of hours of footage gleaned from more than 100 security cameras inside the mall, video from television crews and modest cellphones, as well as still photographs. Then he and his team tracked down more than 200 people and interviewed 82 of them on camera, many survivors or their rescuers.[more inside]
Dancehall in Japan. A short mini documentary from the Scene Unseen project at #ListenForYourself. [more inside]
Teddy Gray's Sweet Factory is a short and sweet documentary by Martin Parr about a traditionally owned and run confectionery factory in the British Midlands. [via kottke]
Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
Life Itself. The documentary based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, by Hoop Dreams’ director Steve James, premiered at Sundance in January and is now rolling out in theaters and on demand.
Les Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride is a collection of found photographs by film-maker Sébastien Lifshitz showing (mostly anonymous) gay couples together in the early years of the 20th century. 'He found most of his collection in the US and western Europe, but none in the UK: “Maybe the British think such photographs have no value, or are too private to sell.”'. In 2012, Lifshitz released Les Invisibles, a related documentary exploring the lives of 11 gay and lesbian individuals over the age of 70. [more inside]
On May 13th, the film world was shocked and saddened by the tragic death of documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who had won an Oscar just last year for the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man". In the month that has passed since then, more details have emerged of the months and days that led up to his suicide. The Hollywood Reporter profiles the life and death of Bendjelloul and takes a look at how sudden success can bring about even more sudden depression.
Since his death from cancer at age 32, comedian Bill Hicks's (very previously) legend and stature have only grown; American: The Bill Hicks Story (previously) fills in the details of a life cut tragically short, blending live footage and animation, and is narrated by the 10 people who knew Bill best. A comic's comic and unflagging critic of hypocrisy and cultural emptiness, American: The Bill Hicks Story is now streaming for free on Snag Films.
You've heard of dog and horse shows, but are you familiar with rabbit shows? Rabbit Fever is a coming-of-age story that follows six competitors as they strive to win the top title at the National American Rabbit Convention - an event that draws more than 20,000 rabbits in one building, the largest mass of rabbits in the world. While adult members of the rabbit habit compete for BEST IN SHOW, the teenage enthusiasts quest for an even more coveted honor in the rabbit community - Rabbit King and Queen!
"Anita", a documentary by director Freida Mock, which opened in New York and Los Angeles last weekend, looks back on the journey of Anita Hill, who famously testified that her former boss and then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Trailer [more inside]
A short and sweet 10-minute documentary on musician and artist Daniel Johnston. [SLYT] [more inside]
"Everything is fine and the world is beautiful. It's raining, it's dark, I woke up at 5:30AM, I'm commuting in traffic. I would have had a headache, I would have been miserable, I would have wondered how my life took me to this point. This point I'm at right now. But no, no, everything is fine. Life is beautiful. The rain drops are just falling and in each one I see the reflection of every persons life around me. Humanity is beautiful. In this still frame shot of traffic on this crowded bus I just found love and peace. Heroin is a wonder drug. Heroin is better than everything else. Heroin makes me who I wish I was. Heroin makes life worth living. Heroin is better than everything else." [more inside]
This documentary pokes fun at the ways in which Inuit people have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects by turning the lens onto the strange behaviours of Qallunaat (the Inuit word for white people). The term refers less to skin colour than to a certain state of mind: Qallunaat greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain about being cold, and want to dominate the world. Their odd dating habits, unsuccessful attempts at Arctic exploration, overbearing bureaucrats and police, and obsession with owning property are curious indeed. A collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak, Qallunaat! brings the documentary form to an unexpected place in which oppression, history, and comedy collide.Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny
Blood Brother (2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
Thirty directors--Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, and others--create three minute short films about an innovator or world-changing idea. Warning: corporate sponsorship.
"The rise in popularity of television is credited with inciting the move to the widescreen systems that flourished throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This is only partially true. In the early 1950s, studios did begin to compose their movies so that the top and bottom of the picture could be chopped off and a wider screen would show the center of the old 1.37:1 frame. The aspect ratio used by the various studios varied from about 1.5:1 up to the common 1.85:1. But the real reason for the birth of a multitude of widescreen and large format systems was the 1952 opening of a movie made in a process that had its roots in a World War II aerial gunnery trainer. This Is Cinerama (modern YouTube trailer; Wikipedia) shook the industry to the core. The public and reviewers loved it. Its giant screen filled with three oversized 35mm images and an incredible new sound system called Stereophonic were a marvel to behold, and the studios immediately rushed to find something that could do what Cinerama did (Google books preview of the August 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics)." [more inside]
Whether or not all cultural historians agree with the premise that Rom people came to Europe originally from India, or whether or not the portrayals of Rom musicians in the film are always *accurate* or *authentic* ones (some have indicated they're not, or are too heavily draped in over-stylized Exotica), there is surely no denying that the film is a treasure trove of fantastic musical performances. You've probably guessed by now that we're talking about Latcho Drom, which you can see it in its entirety here.
Mia & Roman (1968) is a 23 minute-long behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Roman Polanski's film Rosemary's Baby.
Painters on Painting - 1972 documentary on the New York Art Scene 1940-1970, directed by Emile de Antonio. It spans American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art via conversations with artists in their studios. Including Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and others. (via Bibliokept) [more inside]
It all started with a mirror in the Casbah. Well, it re-started with that mirror, when Safinez Bousbia, who is of Algerian descent but had never visited the country, went to visit with a friend from Ireland. Bousbia commented on the artistry of a mirror. Mohamed Ferkioui, the shopkeeper and artist, told her that he also made music, but had lost contact with his former friends and band-mates, but he had so many memories and items from that past period of his life. As he showed them to Bousbia, she decided she wanted to get the band back together. Her short stay extended into a few years, and she documented the reunion of friends and the playing of a traditional Algerian music style called chaabi, which is a mix of North African polyrhythms, Andalusian classical music, jazz, flamenco and French cabaret. The result was El Gusto (auto-playing music). [more inside]
DEFCON is one of the world's largest hacker conventions, and for its 20th year, MeFite and technology documentarian jscott was asked to capture the event as best as he could. Almost 300 hours of footage was cut down to a two hour documentary, which has been recently released online in HD (YouTube, Vimeo, Archive.org, and an official torrent from DEFCON). More details on IMDb. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Joel Schroeder, with the help of Kickstarter, has finally finished a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. It's scheduled to be released on Nov. 15, 2013.
Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up - a rare ~50min film narrated by Spike Milligan and made during the filming of 'The Magic Christian'*via Cinephilia and Beyond. [NSFW - some nudity] [more inside]
Toute la mémoire du monde (1956: 21 minutes) is a remarkably lovely documentary short by Alain Resnais about the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the age of print. Via The Funambulist. [more inside]
The project centers on nine women in the feminist lesbian porn industry who are recorded for a 24-hour period, with 10-second blips of their everyday lives playing out in five-minute intervals. What’s revealed is an intimate portrait of a marginalized community opening up about sex, gender politics, depression, and their daily grind in a way that’s downright real.
Beloved indy ethnographic documentarian Les Blank died yesterday. This interview gives a good overview of his background, and this post includes clips. Watch a couple of his public domain films here. Or do yourself a favor and find the complete version of Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers. [more inside]
My fellow Mefites, I implore you. Don't even think about clicking the more inside if you have anything pressing to do. [previously] [more inside]
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s documentary gets new installments. Previously. Eight years later, Michael Peterson went back to court and Lestrade filmed it again.
Makers: Women Who Make America is a sweeping 3-hour documentary of the movement for women's equality in the last half of the twentieth century. Airing this month on US public television, it's accompanied by an online archive of videos of interviews with individual women in leadership across a variety of fields. Leaders and activists, celebrities and pioneers, and everyday women retell the story of their awakening, organizing, and world-changing efforts.
IDEM PARIS is a new short documentary film by David Lynch on the art of lithography. Read Lynch's intro to the piece.
Gospel of Intolerance - Excerpts of "God Loves Uganda", a feature documentary directed and produced by filmmaker Roger Ross Williams is having its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film explains how money donated by American evangelicals directly finances the violent antigay movement in Uganda.
In 1990, Isaac Asimov was working on a TV series to bridge science fiction and science fact, "synthesizing his visionary ideas about where humanity is going." He passed away in 1992, and the series never progressed beyond the pilot, which was re-worked and released as the documentary Visions of the Future (YouTube playlist, via Brainpickings, which calls the video "essentially, the antithesis to the Future Shock [documentary] narrated by Orson Welles"). [more inside]
Keith Richards saw it fourteen times, albeit not for it all, which is what you get here:
Jazz On A Summer's Day [more inside]
Jazz On A Summer's Day [more inside]
Reportero (alternate link) - follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media. In Mexico, more than 50 journalists have been slain or have vanished since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country's powerful drug cartels and organized crime. As the drug war intensifies and the risks to journalists become greater, will the free press be silenced? [more inside]
Want to watch a film based on a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil? No, for that one you'll have to wait until Christmas. Until then: Martin Guerre: A Musical Journey.
Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987. Via The Iwebender Channel
Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987. Via The Iwebender Channel
Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
A simple, beautiful solution to clearing landmines in Afghanistan. From the public filmmaker competition section of Focus Forward, a series of documentaries about people who are changing the world.
What is it like to be a woman in the Pacific Northwest craft beer industry? The 2011 documentary The Love of Beer offers a look into the lives of several women who work with beer: Tonya Cornett, the brewmaster of Bend Brewing Company in Central Oregon; Teri Fahrendorf, who started the Pink Boots Society, the US's first professional society for female brewmasters; Sarah Pederson, a beer retailer who owns a Portland tavern; and Lisa Morrison, known as the Beer Goddess, who hosts a Portland radio show and writes about beer.
With a new baby and wife to support, out-of-work filmmaker Matt Gallagher tries his hand - and some would say “luck” - at playing poker for a living. Grinders is the director’s inside journey into the unconventional, often bizarre, underground world of illegal poker clubs.
Johnny Cash once called 1968 the happiest year of his life. It was the year his masterpiece At Folsom Prison came out, the year he was named the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, and the year he married the love of his life, June Carter. So it was a fortunate time for a young filmmaker named Robert Elfstrom to meet up with Cash for the making of a documentary. Elfstrom traveled with Cash for several months in late 1968 and early 1969. The resulting film, Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music, is a revealing look at Cash, his creative process and his ties to family. [via]
"I want to encourage mainstream journalists to speak up when they discover their companies are misleading the people, doing PR for corporations and governments and disguising it as journalism."
Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon is speaking out against the network after it decided for "editorial reasons" not to air its documentary iRevolution on CNN International. Lyon worked on a 13-minute segment interviewing democratic activists in Bahrain, who risked their own safety to be heard. Glenn Greenwald reveals that at the same time, CNN was being paid by the Bahrain Economic Development Board to produce pro-state coverage as part of its "Eye On" series. A senior producer complained to Lyon about the nature of her coverage: "We are dealing with blowback from Bahrain govt on how we violated our mission, etc."