How the directors of “After Parkland” asked difficult questions of mass shooting survivors

How the directors of “After Parkland” asked difficult questions of mass shooting survivors

Source:  TheWrap

“After Parkland” directors Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman were already well versed in covering mass shootings around the country by the time they made it to Parkland, Florida.

But in talking with the students and the families who had lived through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting, they could tell the members of this community were ready to speak out about something more.

Taguchi and Lefferman are both producers on ABC’s “Nightline,” but for their documentary “After Parkland,” they went beyond the breaking news heartbreak and received intimate access to families at the center of the tragedy who were still there long after the other news crews had left.

Their film profiles survivors like David Hogg and Samuel Zeif, as well as the parents of victims like Andrew Pollack and Manuel Oliver, throughout the remainder of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school year as they fight for change and find a way to carry on.

Read the story at TheWrap.


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“Oliver Sacks: His Own Life” opens May 2020 in theaters

“Oliver Sacks: His Own Life” opens May 2020 in theaters

Source:  Deadline

Ric Burns’ “Oliver Sacks: His Own Life,” about the famed neurologist and author has been acquired by Zeitgeist Films in association with Kino Lorber.  As part of the U.S. rights deal, the documentary will open theatrically in New York City, followed by a national rollout.

The film, which counts American Masters Pictures among its producers, will have its exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere in 2021 on PBS’ American Masters series.

Burns explores Sacks’ life and work as the renowned doctor shares details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a medical establishment that accepted his work only decades after the fact.

The film features exclusive interviews with Sacks done just weeks after he received a terminal cancer diagnosis in January 2015 and prior to his death in August 2015.

Read the story at Deadline.


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“For Sama” named best feature documentary at IDA Awards

“For Sama” named best feature documentary at IDA Awards

Source:  TheWrap

“For Sama,” Waad al-Kateab’s wrenching story of raising a young daughter in war-torn Syria, was named best feature documentary of 2019 at the International Documentary Association’s 35th annual IDA Documentary Awards, which were handed out on Saturday night on the Paramount Pictures lot in Los Angeles.

Al-Kateab, who directed “For Sama” with Edward Watts, also received the IDA Courage Under Fire award at the ceremony.

Last week, the film also won the top award at the British Independent Film Awards, a rarity for a documentary.

See the complete list of winners and nominees of the IDA Awards at the International Documentary Association website.

Read the story at TheWrap.


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Veterans heal with the help of dogs in “To Be of Service”

Veterans heal with the help of dogs in “To Be of Service”

Source:  The New York Times

Many of the smiles mask deep sorrows in “To Be of Service.”  But hope still runs throughout much of the documentary.

Directed by Josh Aronson, the film looks at veterans of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam whose post-traumatic stress has devastated them.

One man mentions the more than 31 pills he takes daily to try to control his illness, while others have turned to alcohol and illegal drugs.

Yet some of the most successful treatments come from programs that provide veterans with specially trained service dogs.

“To Be of Service” is available now on Netflix.

Read the story at The New York Times.


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Apple TV+ acquires Billie Eilish documentary for $25 million

Apple TV+ acquires Billie Eilish documentary for $25 million

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

Billie Eilish’s big 2019 is culminating in a deal with Apple TV+ for a documentary that comes with a $25 million price tag, according to multiple sources.

The documentary, which has already been filmed, was directed by R. J. Cutler (“The September Issue,” “The World According to Dick Cheney”) and produced in collaboration with Eilish’s label, Interscope Records, for a budget that one source pegs as between $1 million and $2 million.

The film is expected to follow the 17-year-old singer-songwriter in the wake of the release of her album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” released in March 2019.  Cutler was allowed access to Eilish’s private moments with her family and to the behind-the-scenes of her public appearances.

The documentary will be available through Apple TV+ instead of Apple Music, which has previously released documentary projects such as Taylor Swift’s “The 1989 World Tour (Live)” and Ed Sheeran’s “Songwriter.”

The move signals a blurring of the lines between Apple’s $10 per-month music streaming service and its $5 per-month film and TV offering.

Apple TV+ has not announced a release date for the documentary.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.


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