MUNICH: “Rescue the Fire” is a devastating remembrance of a Berlin ravaged by AIDS and the photographer who captured it

MUNICH: “Rescue the Fire” is a devastating remembrance of a Berlin ravaged by AIDS and the photographer who captured it

Source:  Screen Daily

The personal is also the political in debut filmmaker Jasco Viefhues’s intimate documentary, “Rescue The Fire.”

Ostensibly a portrait of late German photographer and artist Jürgen Baldiga, it’s also a poignant snapshot of Berlin’s LGBTQ+ scene during the 1980s and 1990s at a time when the AIDS epidemic appeared to be an unstoppable force.

The film is also something of a celebration, both of the way in which artists are shaped by the world around them, and of the ties that bind us even after death.

“Rescue The Fire” is currently screening at the Munich International Film Festival.

Read the story at Screen Daily.

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“Midnight Family” and “Earth” take top honors at Sheffield Doc/Fest

“Midnight Family” and “Earth” take top honors at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Source:  Deadline and Realscreen

“Midnight Family” and “Earth” took home the two top awards at the 26th annual Sheffield Doc/Fest last week.

Luke Lorentzen’s “Midnight Family” won the Grand Jury award.  The film follows a family trying to make a living by operating a private ambulance service in Mexico City.  The jury praised the film for providing a “timely warning to the dangers of privatized healthcare.”

The respected UK documentary festival awarded its inaugural International Award to Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s “Earth,” which charts the environmental destruction wrought by large-scale mining.

See the complete list of winners at the Sheffield Doc/Fest website.

Read the story at Deadline and Realscreen.

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“For Sama” wins top documentary award at Cannes Film Festival

“For Sama” wins top documentary award at Cannes Film Festival

Sources:  FRONTLINE and The Hollywood Reporter

“For Sama” — a documentary telling the story of one woman’s journey through love, motherhood, war, and survival over five years of the Syrian conflict — was awarded the Golden Eye for Best Documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival yesterday.

A special prize went to Patricio Guzman’s “The Cordillera of Dreams,” about the landscape and mysteries of his homeland Chile.

Both winners are automatically eligible for Oscar submission in the Best Documentary category.

Directed by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, “For Sama” chronicles the experiences of 26-year-old Syrian filmmaker al-Kateab — who filmed her life in the rebel-held city of Aleppo over a five-year period.

It’s the first time that a FRONTLINE documentary has been honored with the top documentary prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Following a theatrical release this summer, a broadcast version of “For Sama” is slated to premiere on PBS later this year.

Read the story at FRONTLINE and The Hollywood Reporter.

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“Hope Frozen” and “For Sama” win top prizes at Hot Docs

“Hope Frozen” and “For Sama” win top prizes at Hot Docs

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival, named director Pailin Wedel’s “Hope Frozen” the winner of its best international feature prize.

Hope Frozen” follows a Ph.D. in laser science who loses his two-year-old daughter to cancer in 2015.  Unable to cope with her death, he and his wife make the difficult decision to make her the youngest person in the world to be cryopreserved.

The Toronto-based film festival awarded its top jury prize to “For Sama,” directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts.  The film is about a young mother creating a video diary for her baby daughter during the Syrian civil war.

The emerging international filmmaker award was given to Nuno Escudeiro for “The Valley,” a film about immigrants trying to cross the French-Italian border on foot through treacherous mountain routes.

See the complete list of winners at the Hot Docs website.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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“Scheme Birds” and “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” win at Tribeca Film Festival

“Scheme Birds” and “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” win at Tribeca Film Festival

The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday announced the winners in its competition categories.

This year’s awards ceremony took place at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

“Scheme Birds,” directed and written by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin, won in the Best Documentary Feature category while “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” directed by Carol Dysinger, was the winner in the Best Documentary Short category.

The complete list of documentary film winners is below.

Best Documentary Feature Film

“Scheme Birds” (Scotland, Sweden), directed and written by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature Film

Yang Sun and Shuang Liang for “Our Time Machine” (China)

Best Editing in a Documentary Feature Film

Jennifer Tiexiera for “17 Blocks” (USA)

Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award

“Scheme Birds” (Scotland, Sweden), directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin

Best Documentary Short Film

“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” (UK), directed by Carol Dysinger

See the complete list of winners at the Tribeca Film Festival website.

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The 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival opens in Harlem with “The Apollo”

The 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival opens in Harlem with “The Apollo”

Source:  Variety

You should never take for granted a documentary that fills in the basics with flair and feeling.  Especially when the basics consist of great big amounts of some of the most revolutionary and exhilarating popular art ever created in this country.

Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo,” which kicked off this year’s Tribeca Film Festival on a note of soulful celebration (at a premiere held, of course, at the Apollo Theater), fills in the 85-year history of the 1,506-seat show palace on 125th St. in Harlem that changed black culture and changed American culture.  No, it was more than that — the Apollo Theater changed black life and changed American life.

The film pulls off that feat in a bracing and moving way: by flowing back and forth between past and present, performance and political activism, so that by the end we know in our bones how false it would be to separate them.

Read the story at Variety.

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