Oscars 2019: Academy unveils shortlists for documentary categories

Oscars 2019: Academy unveils shortlists for documentary categories

Source:  Variety

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday announced its shortlists in the Documentary Feature and Documentary Short Subject categories.

The shortlists pare down the list of Oscar hopefuls from which Academy members will choose nominees in each category.

Documentary Feature

“Charm City”
“Communion”
“Crime + Punishment”
“Dark Money”
“The Distant Barking of Dogs”
“Free Solo”
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
“Minding the Gap”
“Of Fathers and Sons”
“On Her Shoulders”
“RBG”
“Shirkers”
“The Silence of Others”
“Three Identical Strangers”
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”

Documentary – Short Subject

“Black Sheep”
“End Game”
“Lifeboat”
“Los Comandos”
“My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes”
“A Night at the Garden”
“Period. End of Sentence.”
“’63 Boycott”
“Women of the Gulag”
“Zion”

The Oscar nominees will be announced Jan. 22, while the 91st Annual Academy Awards ceremony is set for Sunday, Feb. 24, and will air live on ABC.

Read the story at Variety.

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A Ted Bundy true crime docuseries is coming to Netflix

A Ted Bundy true crime docuseries is coming to Netflix

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

Netflix is adding another true crime docuseries to its roster, this time focusing on notorious serial killer Ted Bundy.

The streaming service, home to “Making a Murderer,” “The Keepers,” and numerous other crime docuseries, will premiere “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” on Jan. 24.

The date is exactly 30 years after Bundy was executed for the 1978 murder of Kimberly Leach.

“Conversations With a Killer,” from Emmy winner Joe Berlinger (“Paradise Lost”), will feature previously unheard audio of interviews with Bundy while he was on death row in Florida.

The four-episode series will also detail Bundy’s crimes — he was convicted of or confessed to murdering more than 30 women in the 1970s — and the media frenzy around his trials.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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“Dead Souls” explores a long suppressed and utterly horrific chapter in China’s history

“Dead Souls” explores a long suppressed and utterly horrific chapter in China’s history

Source:  Brooklyn Rail

Mao Zedong launched the Anti-Rightist Movement in 1957 as a reaction to the critical statements that emerged from the Hundred Flowers Movement, during which intellectuals were encouraged to express their honest views of the Communist Party.

As a result of this brutal campaign, hundreds of thousands of intellectuals were sent to hard labor camps for re-education.

In his latest documentary, “Dead Souls,” Wang Bing addresses the forgotten history of Jiabiangou, one of the most brutal camps, located in the northwestern region of Gansu province.

Clocking in at over eight hours, the film marks a new installment in Wang’s ongoing investigation of the history of Jiabiangou. The camp was also the subject of his lone fiction film, “The Ditch” (2010).

With “Dead Souls,” Wang delves deeper into the survivors’ recollections to record an oral history of Jiabiangou, the result of 120 interviews conducted between 2005 and 2014 and over 600 hours of footage.

Read the story at Brooklyn Rail.

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The 10 Best Documentaries of 2018 – Rolling Stone

The 10 Best Documentaries of 2018 – Rolling Stone

Source:  Rolling Stone

1.  Amazing Grace – It only took 46 years to see it, but this legendary concert film chronicling Aretha Franklin’s two-night stand at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles — the same 1972 shows that gave her the best-selling album of her career — was more than worth the wait. You will witness the Queen of Soul perform stellar gospel songs and work the audience, from everyday churchgoers to Mick Jagger, into a divine frenzy.

 
2.  Bisbee ’17 – On July 12th, 1917, the residents of Bisbee, Arizona rounded up dozens of miners, loaded them onto a train, and left the men to die in the desert. It became known as “the Bisbee Deportation,” a euphemism for what was essentially a slaughter of pro-union agitators, Mexican workers, and European immigrants. No other movie in 2018 gave us such a haunting meditation on collective memory, social injustice, the connection between labor and communal livelihood, and that much-quoted maxim about us being done with the past but the past not being done with us.

 
3.  Hale County This Morning, This Evening – Working as a coach for a youth basketball league in Hale County, Alabama, filmmaker RaMell Ross brought his camera along to document what he saw: births, burials, babies running around, teens looking to the future, people going to games and church on Sunday; a community going about their business. The result is a free-form exploration of life in the region’s Black Belt, in which snippets of small everyday moments and occasional callbacks to the past create a mosaic of Southern life that feels quietly revelatory.

 
4.  Minding the Gap – Bing Liu was just another skateboarding kid in Rockford, Illinois, schlepping his camera along to parks and house parties to film his buddies. Soon, he started capturing more intimate moments of his friends’ lives off their boards, from troubles at home to the responsibilities of unexpected fatherhood. A stunning, penetrating look at growing up that effortlessly doubles as a snapshot of American life; you feel like it’s a privilege to ride shotgun on this boys-to-men ride, even as you worry about what comes next for each of them.

 
5.  McQueen – Chubby child prodigy, up-and-coming Saville Row-style tailor, haute couture’s agent provocateur, four-time British Designer of the Year, conflicted celebrity casualty: Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui’s portrait of an artist as a kilt-wearing controversy magnet gives you a 360-degree view of Alexander McQueen. It also puts the U.K. fashion maverick’s life and work in context, highlighting his rise one jaw-dropping collection at a time while never losing sight of the human being behind the runway horror shows.

 
See the rest of the list at Rolling Stone.

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How a little-known documentary is helping push criminal justice reform in Congress

How a little-known documentary is helping push criminal justice reform in Congress

Source:  The Washington Post

Movies and Capitol Hill tend to mix mostly in throwback work, like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” or in token scenes in popcorn fests, such as “Mission: Impossible,” in which lawmakers try to rein in renegade heroes. Otherwise? Policy and protagonists tend to stay pretty far apart.

But a prison reform bill in the Senate improbably owes at least some of its momentum to a movie — not a widely seen Hollywood release but a little-known documentary that has quietly been marshaled by the bill’s backers to sway skeptical lawmakers.

As the much-covered First Step Act stands on the brink of passage, “The Sentence,” an emotional look at a family caught up in the federal prison system, appears to have helped get it there.

The First Step Act aims to, among other goals, reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders in federal prisons and to allow some people to be incarcerated closer to their homes, which would reduce the burden on their families.

While many reform activists say the bill calls for a modest action that will affect only a small number of inmates, they also note its importance in making the punishment for nonviolent offenders more proportional.

Read the story at The Washington Post. 

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