Articles Tagged Documentary

A Loving Riff on Punk Life in Tokyo

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The first time Pamela Valente, 37, set foot in Tokyo, she was instantly swept away. The Brazilian-born filmmaker, who’d been living in France for more than a decade, loved Paris, but longed to return to live in a city where the pace was more frenetic. So in 2003, she up and moved to Tokyo. For… Read more »

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "Rock and a Heart Place"

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Case Study No. 2 Rock and a Heart Place, produced by Nancy Sabino and Michael Sodano Running time: 80 minutes Film Vitals Logline: Each Christmas, 400 volunteers band together to give the greatest gift: joy to the forgotten of society, the homeless, the seniors and the disabled of their neighborhood. Location: Shot in the metropolitan… Read more »

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "Kiran over Mongolia"

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About this new column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their… Read more »

"Begging Naked": Nine Years in the Making

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When artist and newbie filmmaker Karen Gehres turned her camera on her friend and fellow painter Elise Hill, she thought she’d capture a few cool stories about Hill’s past as a runaway, a heroin addict, a stripper, and a prostitute—all while learning how to use her shiny new film equipment. Then Hill lost her stripper… Read more »

Funny Women

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Sarah Silverman is the controversial comedian du jour. Her capacity to shock today’s audiences may be distinctly Silverman, yet her career stands on the shoulders of several comedic foremothers. Her routines echo the boldness of Fanny Brice, the sexuality of Sophie Tucker, and the brashness of Joan Rivers to name just a few. She shares… Read more »

Airing Your Dirty Laundry

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Doug Block wasn’t sure he had a film yet. His mother had passed away and he was videotaping his father’s move from the family home for posterity. Block had every reason to believe his parents’ 54-year marriage was happy. Then, riding next to his father one afternoon, he asked, “Do you miss mom?” “No, I… Read more »

A Conversation with Les Blank

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In his new film All In This Tea, director Les Blank operates at the far extremes of technology, using digital video to explore an old-world subject matter: artisan, handmade tea. Blank, who is best known for Burden of Dreams, Garlic is as Good as Good Mothers, and Chulas Fronteras, saw digital video as a way… Read more »

Blurring the Lines

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Ohio-based filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s 3-hour and 45-minute documentary A Lion in the House follows five families with economically and racially diverse backgrounds over six years during their fights against childhood cancer. The filmmakers (Reichert started New Day Films in 1971 and both are longtime members of AIVF) recount the fascinating process of… Read more »

AIVF: And What it Meant to Me

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I first became aware of AIVF when Martha Gever was editor of The Independent. I marveled at this national organization that put out each month a magazine chock full of weighty, intellectual and critical articles on film and video. The magazine wasn’t glossy and was not determined to be a general “industry rag.” At that… Read more »

Is documentary the new memoir?

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I am a sociologist who conducts historical research on race and social policy, so my work has something in common with a documentary filmmaker’s attempt to uncover some version of “the truth” (however defined). Maybe this is just my sociological training leaking out, but when I watch a documentary—especially a highly personal, idiosyncratic one—I want… Read more »