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.

Receive the day’s documentary news every morning. Sign up for DocumentaryNews Daily.

Five misconceptions about Errol Morris’s “American Dharma” and why it’s still without distribution

Five misconceptions about Errol Morris’s “American Dharma” and why it’s still without distribution

Source:  Filmmaker Magazine

This past fall, the stage was perfectly set for the release of Errol Morris’s latest documentary, “American Dharma.” An Oscar-winning director takes on Steve Bannon, perhaps the most controversial figure of the Trump presidency. The film nabs Oscar-season festival premieres at Venice and Toronto, and it’s an acquisition title launching during one of the hottest documentary markets in a decade.

On Twitter, excited fans declare, “Can’t wait!” while the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and several other major press outlets all publish interviews with Morris where he sets up the project as a portrait of Bannon’s “bullshit,” “incoherent” ideology.

Yet despite all the buzz, “American Dharma” remains without distribution three months after its premiere. After the film was warmly embraced at IDFA in the Netherlands, Morris told Filmmaker Magazine, “Still nothing, although there are a few post-midterm nibbles.”

While it sounds like a distribution deal will be announced by early next year, with both interest in the U.S. and especially in international markets, what happened to one of the season’s most anticipated documentaries?

Read the story at Filmmaker Magazine.

Receive the day’s documentary news every morning. Sign up for DocumentaryNews Daily.

5 Documentaries Among IndieWire’s 10 Best Undistributed Movies of 2018

5 Documentaries Among IndieWire’s 10 Best Undistributed Movies of 2018

Source:  IndieWire

Black Mother – Khalik Allah’s latest feature, “Black Mother,” is a challenging and profound deep-dive into Jamaican identity that rewards repeat viewings and confirms the aesthetic of a visionary filmmaker. The three trimesters of a woman’s pregnancy provide a loose framing device as Allah careens through an 87-minute collage of Jamaican faces from multiple generations, as voiceovers share tidbits of history, racial struggles, and personal philosophies, fusing them together with spiritual fervor.

Amazing Grace – Aretha Franklin hardly says a word in “Amazing Grace,” but she sings with an energy and conviction that has powerful resonance nearly 50 years later. As a record of the church music from Franklin’s youth, cascading off the walls of the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, the film is soulful ear candy. Left unfinished for decades due to technical glitches, the lively concert documentary about Franklin’s landmark 1972 gospel recording provides the full picture of her largest commercial hit in real time.

American Dharma – Errol Morris excels at interrogating morally complicated men, from Robert McNamara to Donald Rumsfeld, but he’s never ventured as far to the dark side as he does with “American Dharma.” Confronting former media executive and presidential advisor Steve Bannon in a cold, empty room for the duration of this unsettling portrait, Morris presses the alt-right icon to justify the racist ideology behind the machinations that propelled Donald Trump to the White House.

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael – Robert Garver’s portrait of Pauline Kael is the ideal introduction to the most significant American film critic of the 20th century, and long overdue. Years in the making, the movie provides a sweeping overview of Kael’s impact, how her riveting and often quite personal prose evoked both fervent admirers and terror among filmmakers in her crosshairs. The documentary balances testimonials from Kael’s peers with tributes from major directors such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.

Evelyn – Oscar-winning director Orland von Einsiedel (“The White Helmets,” “Virunga”) has excelled at exploring international conflicts around the world, but this project has a far more intimate focus. The movie revolves around von Einsiedel and his family reeling from his brother’s suicide and hiking across the United Kingdom as they work through their collective devastation. Equal parts personal essay and group therapy session, “Evelyn” is also an effective window into exploring the reverberations of suicide and the capacity for a family to recover from immeasurable grief on a universal scale.

See the rest of the list at IndieWire.

Receive the day’s documentary news every morning. Sign up for DocumentaryNews Daily.

166 titles submitted to Academy for Best Documentary Feature Oscar

166 titles submitted to Academy for Best Documentary Feature Oscar

Source:  IndieWire

Last year, the Academy documentary branch had to grapple with a record 170 documentary feature submissions for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. This year, it’s not so bad; only 166 were entered. The short list of 15 will be announced on December 17.

The Academy warns that several films have not yet fulfilled their required Los Angeles and New York qualifying runs, and all films must meet theatrical release requirements and qualifying rules in order to advance in the voting process.

This year, for the first time, films that have won a qualifying award at an Academy-approved film festival or have been submitted in the Foreign Language Film category as their country’s official selection, are also eligible in the category.

Films submitted in the Documentary Feature category may also qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture.

Read the story at IndieWire.

Receive the day’s documentary news every morning. Sign up for DocumentaryNews Daily.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” tops Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” tops Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” topped the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, handed out Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York.

The critically acclaimed film and box-office hit about late children’s TV host Fred Rogers won for best documentary, director (Morgan Neville), and editing.

“Free Solo” also won three honors for best sports documentary, innovative documentary, and cinematography.

Well-received “RBG,” which profiles Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was named best political documentary, while the Quincy Jones doc, “Quincy,” won the prize for best music documentary.

See the complete list of winners at The Hollywood Reporter.

Receive all of the day’s news every morning. Sign up for DocumentaryNews Daily.

Kanopy signs licensing agreement with HBO Documentary Films

Kanopy signs licensing agreement with HBO Documentary Films

Source:  Business Wire

Kanopy, a free-to-use streaming platform bringing in-demand films and documentaries, world cinema, and exclusive collections to an ever-growing fanbase, has announced a licensing agreement with HBO Documentary Films® which includes 43 documentaries from the studio’s highly regarded library.

Now available for free to members of Kanopy’s partnered educational institutions across the U.S. and Canada, the collection features films such as “King in the Wilderness,” “Gloria: In Her Own Words,” Academy Award® nominated “Traffic Stop,” “The Final Year” and more.

“Acquiring such rich titles from HBO supports our continued effort to appeal to our audience’s wide range of needs and interests,” said Kanopy founder and CEO Olivia Humphrey, “Students and faculty at our partnered academic institutions now have access to riveting documentaries, allowing them to further expand their knowledge and love for thought-provoking content.”

Read the story at Business Wire

Receive all of the day’s news every morning. Sign up for DocumentaryNews Daily.