If you can't get to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, or secretly hate crowds, take your celebratory joy in watching Tchoupitoulas, a wonderful documentary in which three young New Orleans lads experience all the wonders and mysteries of a first night out on the town in the Crescent City. Read my full review.
(PHOTO: 'Tchoupitoulas' Poster Art. Courtesy Oscilloscope Pictures)
Salem Film Fest is arguably one of the nation's finest documentaries-only film festivals, with an emphasis on presenting a program of fine and varied nonfiction films to a devoted (and growing) regional audience. consistently excellent programming of films, a manageable schedule, inventive panel discussions and friendly filmmaker meet ups.
The 2014 festival, taking place from March 6 to 13, kicks off with an opening night screening of A Fragile Trust, followed by a Q&A with director Samantha Grant.
This year's program is choc-a-bloc with superb films covering a wide variety of subjects and representing diverse origins. From India comes Powerless, directed by Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa, about how local people deal with an insufficient supply of electricity, and Kiss The Water, made in Scotland and directed by Eric Steel, profiles the woman who makes the word's most coveted fishing flies. The Galapagos Affair, directed by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, is about the lingering murder mystery that shrouds the Island of Floreana, while Lukas Korver's The Medicine Game looks at the game of lacrosse as a traditional expression of the Onondaga Nation's beliefs and follows one family's goals regarding the popular sport. Cozette Russell's Brookford Almanac follows New Hampshire family farmers who are striving to maintain their land and preserve their traditional farming life, and Suzan Beraza's Uranium Drive-In shows how citizens in a small Colorado town are divided in their opinion about whether a the opening of a uranium processing plant will help their flagging economy or negatively impact their health and way of life.
Panel discussions include a forum with local filmmakers talking about documentary making in Massachusetts, an exploration of how documentary filmmakers, build trust in their subjects and how nonfiction filmmakers deal with the possibility that their work might change the realities and circumstances they're documenting.
For the full program, visit Salem Film Festival's Official Website. .
(PHOTO: Salem Film Fest logo. Courtesy Salem Film Fest).
DISCLOSURE: The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which I am president, presents EDA Awards annually at Salem Film Festival, and I am scheduled to moderate filmmaker panels at this year's festival.)
The sixth annual ReelAbilities Film Festival kicks off its New York City season (March 6 to 11, 2014) with a special red carpet screening of The Current, a film that focuses on the power of water sports as form of therapy for people with disabilities.
Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton, who appears in the film, along with London Paralympics swimming gold medalist Mallory Weggemann will attend the event, which takes place on March 5th at the New York Times Center in Manhattan.
ReelAbilities Film Festival, organized by the JCC in Manhattan's Center for Special Needs, features documentary and narrative films that shed light on the wide range of stories arising from the disabled community, as well as the challenges and issues with which they're most concerned.
In addition to its New York City screenings, ReelAbilities makes its programming widely accessible to nation's largest minority group by presenting screenings and events at venues in fourteen cities nationwide. Read more...
Knowledge and inspiration are the key to positive change, and these stirring documentaries provide both. They are about courageous women who've made a difference for the better -- in their own lives and in the wider world.
The women represent different eras and come from very varied circumstances, and they've devoted themselves to diverse causes.
The documentaries show each woman to be fearless in confronting repressive social trends and dangerous political realities.
Watch these inspiring documentaries and honor these valiant women on International Women's Day on March 8, 2014. Here's the list.
(PHOTO: 'Bhutto' Poster Art. Courtesy First Run Features)
If this overly long Academy Awards season has rendered you brain weary on the subject of the movies, stress not. The season is almost over.
On March 2, we will all know which documentary has ascended into the Oscars' nonfiction annals.
While you're waiting for all that Oscars (gold) dust to settle, why not refresh your weary movie mind with some fascinating nonfiction films about the movies, movie makers and the movie business?
Here's my list of ten sure to please documentaries about diverse film-related reel stories. Enjoy!
The festival features narrative and documentary films in which women are central figures. Most of the programmed films are also directed by women.
Directed by Mona Eldaief and Oscar-nominee Jehane Noujaim, Rafea: Solar Mama follows a strong-minded Bedouin woman who struggles against tradition and society --and a domineering husband -- to gain financial independence by becoming her country's first solar engineer. Rafea travels from her home in rural Jordan to India to attend a school where she learns to construct and install solar panels. Her journey is a fascinating and inspiring one.
Rafea: Solar Mama is the only feature length documentary being screened at this year's Arab Women's Film Festival. Two short documentaries will also be screened. Life by Her Hand directed by Sally Abu Basha, is Egyptian, and This is the Law!, directed by Fadya Salah Al-Deen, is Palestinian.
(PHOTO: Still of Rafea in 'Rafea: Solar Mama.' Courtesy Noujaim Films)
Personal stories that reveal black history, culture and lifestyle are on this list of documentaries to be viewed during week three of Black History Month. Meet Public Defenders, a high school band of champions, reggae artists and teen poets, and more, who exemplify accomplishment and inspire other to achieve. Read more...
(PHOTO: Teen poets take to the stage in 'Louder Than A Bomb.' Courtesy Balcony Releasing)
Filmmaker Nancy Buirski's thrilling dance documentary is laced with all of the glamour, romance and tragedy that shaped prima balllerina Tanaquil Le Clercq's life and short but brilliant career. And it gives you the wonderful and unforgettable experience of seeing Tanny dance. Read my full review.
(PHOTO: Still of Tanaquil Le Clercq from 'Afternoon of A Faun.' Courtesy Kino Lorber Films.)
Because the Oscars don't want to compete with the Olympics, this year's awards season will sustain prolonged jockeying for the winning spot while The Games take place from February 7 to 23.
The golden statuettes will be presented on March 2, 2014, after all the gold medalists have gone home in glory.
Of course, that gives nonfiction fans more time to see the five nominated documentaries, all of which can currently be accessed in theaters, through DVD releases and/or via online services.
By all means, see them all. And, when you do, let us know by voting here which you think is best. Even if you're not a member of the Academy, your opinion counts. Express it here, anonymously. Or, feel free to identify yourself with comments about the film or films you like best or least.
Happy viewing. And happy voting!!!
Week two's selection of documentaries for Black History Month 2014 will take you on a cultural and political tour that touches down in NYC's Harlem, Los Angeles, South Carolina and Utah, as well as far away South Africa and Kenya. Honor accomplishments and consider issues by seeing these brilliant documentaries that illuminate Black History Month 2014. Read more...
(PHOTO: In 'Good Hair,' comendian Chris Rock shows serious concern about how the pressure to have straight hair will impact his young daughters. Courtesy Chris Rock).