Tag Archives | Documentaries

Amy Berg’s Hollywood Sex Abuse Documentary ‘An Open Secret’ Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes

‘An Open Secret’

Ryan Lattanzio writes at Thompson on Hollywood:

When “An Open Secret” premiered at DOC NYC, audiences and critics worried that no distributor would touch it. But the film has finally been picked up, by Rocky Mountain Pictures, for a 20-city US theatrical release beginning June 5. The film will also play exclusively at the Cannes Market in an invite-only screening on May 19.

The documentary, however, is not exactly in the wheelhouse of Rocky Mountain Pictures, which has so far specialized mainly in fundamentalist Christian and right-wing political films, from “Atlas Shrugged: Part One” (2011) to its highest grosser “2016: Obama’s America” (2012), for the middle American demo. How will the Utah-based distributor channel the film’s message to the right audience? This pickup suggests that “An Open Secret,” shut out of most high-profile festival play, didn’t elicit interest from the level of distributors who’ve handled Berg’s past films (including Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Classics).

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Our Caring Stream of Consciousness

Still from Bee People.

Still from Bee People.

Do you enjoy caring? Is it overwhelming? How do you do it when the onslaught of network, and even internet news is always ‘breaking’, and when daily life deals to you a seemingly never-ending flow of drama that results in your attention span being co-opted? Do you need two you’s?

One approach is to attempt to separate the personal and global issues within your caring stream of consciousness. Take the things you care about and break them down into two buckets for streaming purposes. The very personal ones that impact daily living go into one stream, and the broader global issues that you care about into another.

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For the former; what’s going on with your friends, family, job, health, neighborhood, etc. are very pertinent to daily life and must be thought of and cared about on the highest level. However, making room for more universal subjects is also important.… Read the rest

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Turning Passion into Achievement

How can film set a mission into motion and result in broadened awareness of something important?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “Activism” is “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.”

There are numerous approaches to being an activist. One could go door-to-door in support of an issue. With the internet and the likes of Twitter and Facebook(among other social media networks), getting your passion and mission position in front of eyeballs has become easier, though the clutter can be daunting. In a search on Twitter alone, if you search #getmoneyout (an activist hashtag devoted to getting big money out of politics and the election process), the number of Tweets is endless. On LinkedIn, if you search for groups related to Climate Change, the results are well more than 10 pages long. Yes… the clutter can be daunting.… Read the rest

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Can a documentary move a social issue agenda forward?

As a member of the film distribution community, most notably relating to documentaries, I have watched more than my fair share of non-fiction films, and studied over years the release patterning of even more. One thing I have learned is that there are no shortage of topics to choose from when it comes to a filmmaker selecting a theme to focus on. From a tour that guides you through Hermitage Masterpieces to a biography of Aleister Crowley (In Search of the Great Beast), films are created and released on a broad spectrum of non-fiction subjects. That was the case in 1984 when I first entered the industry, and that is the case now… 31 years later.

One area that I have seen great expansion is that of films addressing a social or political issue with the agenda of raising awareness or causing viewer perspectives to sway in one direction or another.… Read the rest

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Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of the Economy

Can central banks create booms and busts by manipulating the money supply? Do they do this in order to create a public consensus for economic, political, and social change? Professor Richard Werner, a monetary and development economist at the University of Southampton, says they can do this, and that they are doing this. This is what the Bank of Japan did in the 80s and 90s, and that is what the European Central Bank is doing at this very moment.

The documentary “Princes of the Yen” reveals how Japanese society was transformed to suit the agenda and desire of powerful interest groups, and how citizens were kept entirely in the dark about this. Professor Richard Werner was a visiting researcher at the Bank of Japan during the 90s crash, during which the stock market dropped by 80% and house prices by up to 84%. He experienced first hand how actors inside the Bank of Japan deliberately adopted policies to further an agenda contrary to the interest of the majority of Japanese society.… Read the rest

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John Waters Narrates a Documentary about the Salton Sea

Narrated by John Waters and featuring the Salvation Mountain art installation, Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea explores the economic, political and environmental issues that face the Salton Sea, a one-time vacation destination for the rich and famous that is now occupied by an eccentric and individualistic populace.

 

h/t Open Culture.

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Ondi Timoner Discusses ‘American Jesus’ With Aram Garriga

American Jesus was one of my favorite films of 2014 (if you haven’t heard of it, check it out here). Filmmaker Ondi Timoner (Dig!, We Live In Public) has her own talk show called Bring Your Own Doc on LipTV and she’s also a fan of American Jesus. She invited director Aram Garriga to join her for an in depth interview about the making of the film:

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Voices From The Ghosts of Vietnam Are Being Heard Again

It’s been nearly 40 years since what the American media called “The Fall of Saigon” and the Vietnamese referred to as the Liberation. I saw it then as the Fall of Washington.

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The ghosts of Vietnam are back, thanks to two filmmakers with very different takes. The first is Rory Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy’s youngest daughter. Her one-sided account has already been nominated for an Oscar. The second is Tiana, an American of South Vietnamese origin, who made the film, From Hollywood To Hanoi, years ago to promote reconciliation between our two countries.

Tiana is finishing a movie called The General and Me, on her unlikely conversations (for someone from a virulently anti-communist family) with North Vietnam’s legendary and late General Vo Nguyen Giap, a.k.a the “Red Napoleon,“ a.k.a the man whose military doctrines defeated the French Army and later the Pentagon’s brutal Vietnamization strategy.

Giap created the Vietnamese resistance Army at Ho Chi Minh’s request in 1944, and without training, became a military genius.… Read the rest

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