“Horror Noire” director Xavier Burgin on “Blacula,” blackness, and film school

“Horror Noire” director Xavier Burgin on “Blacula,” blackness, and film school

Source:  Capital Public Radio

The streaming horror platform Shudder, a part of AMC Networks, recently released its first original documentary, “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.”

Based on the book of the same name by Robin R. Means Coleman, the film examines the historical portrayal of black people (and caricatures) in horror.  It opens with the beginnings of American cinema itself in films like “The Birth of a Nation” and “Night of the Living Dead,” follows its story through the rise of the blaxploitation era, and continues through the present day.

With interviews by African-American directors, actors and writers, “Horror Noire” offers a behind-the-scenes look at how difficult it can be not just to make films that break stereotypes, but to get them in front of audiences.

“Horror Noire” director Xavier Burgin is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.  He’s directed episodes of the Emmy-nominated Web series “Giants” and won multiple awards for his screenplays and short films.

Burgin spoke to critic Carolyn Hinds about his history with horror, the entwined threads of race and fear, and what he didn’t learn in film school.

Read the interview at Capital Public Radio. 

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Filmmaker Kim Longinotto’s views about organized crime changed while filiming “Shooting the Mafia”

Filmmaker Kim Longinotto’s views about organized crime changed while filiming “Shooting the Mafia”

Source:  Park Record

FIlmmaker Kim Longinotto found her perception of organized crime challenged while filming “Shooting the Mafia,” a documentary that recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film centers on the career of award-winning Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia and reveals the cruel reality of the Sicilian Costa Nostra.

“Because we’ve all seen ‘The Godfather’ and other mafia films, I thought, ‘how could (Francis Ford) Coppola and (Martin) Scorsese and the others have made the films if they knew what the Mafia was really like?,'” Longinotto said. “In their films, we don’t see the fact that they kill children or that they kill women in the street.”

Longinotto referred to the various photos by Battaglia that show women laying in a pool of blood in their stocking feet and men who were shot at their job washing cars – victims of the Sicilian mafia.

Read the story at Park Record.

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Elizabeth Holmes joins filmmaker Alex Gibney’s parade of rogues

Elizabeth Holmes joins filmmaker Alex Gibney’s parade of rogues

Source:  Deadline

Long before the documentary became the hot film category, Alex Gibney directed one after another about a parade of flawed, scandalous people who go down in flames and disgrace.

From New York governor Eliot Spitzer to the architects of the Enron scandal, to Lance Armstrong, Julian Assange, to the recently indicted Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone, Gibney has covered them all.

His documentary brand is booming.  His Netflix series “Dirty Money,” he reveals, just got renewed for a second season.

Gibney’s latest addition to his rogues’ gallery is Theranos’ architect Elizabeth Holmes, whose simple blood testing system made her a favorite of venture capitalists and briefly one of the world’s richest women, until the whole thing came crumbling down and left her facing prison.

The result is “The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley,” a new film for HBO that he unveiled at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

In this Deadline interview, he tells great stories about these hypocrites and describes the connective tissue between his scandal scarred subjects and disgraced figures like Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves.

Read the interview at Deadline.

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“Get Me Roger Stone” co-director surprised by what Stone allegedly put in writing

“Get Me Roger Stone” co-director surprised by what Stone allegedly put in writing

Source:  CBS News

Before Roger Stone made headlines Friday for becoming the sixth adviser or aide to Donald Trump to be indicted since special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe began, the long-time Republican political operative’s exploits during the 2016 presidential campaign were chronicled in the Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone.”

The documentary seeks to demonstrate how Stone fashioned Donald Trump’s entire approach to politics over their decades-long relationship, and examines Stone’s political philosophies which are laid out as “Stone’s rules.”

The documentary’s directors, Morgan Pehme, Daniel DiMauro, and Dylan Bank, spent years following and interviewing Stone in the run-up to the 2016 election and the hack of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Stone is accused of lying about his alleged attempts to get emails hacked from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

“I think it was a long time coming.  Mueller had been encircling Roger for some time, and Roger had even anticipated that he would be indicted at some point and yet it stretched on for so long, it seemed like it might be another addition to the legend of Roger Stone. That he could even escape the Mueller probe,” the documentary’s co-director, Morgan Pehme, told “CBS This Morning: Saturday.”

Read the story at CBS News.

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“On Her Shoulders” director spotlights Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad’s fight for global justice

“On Her Shoulders” director spotlights Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad’s fight for global justice

Source:  Los Angeles Times

In “On Her Shoulders,” director Alexandria Bombach showcases the herculean efforts of Yazidi-born Islamic State sex slave survivor and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, Nadia Murad, as she pleads with global governments to assist her people.

The behind-the-scenes energy and persistence such an undertaking requires is rarely covered by the media.

Even Bombach was surprised by what she saw: “I’d never seen behind the curtain of advocacy or what it takes at this kind of global level,” she says. “The pageantry that abounds, the agendas everyone has, the sheer marketing of it all. My responsibility was to show that side, because that’s the side we don’t get to see.

“And I realized Nadia did change in the time we filmed — how she’d become very disillusioned with the process. So throughout I reflected a lot on our role: whether it’s as a journalist or documentary filmmaker — what are we really doing here? What’s the job? Hers and ours.”

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.

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Why “Rams” director Gary Hustwit doesn’t want studios to buy his films

Why “Rams” director Gary Hustwit doesn’t want studios to buy his films

Source:  Variety

Most filmmakers dream of scoring a big studio deal, but not Gary Hustwit. The “Helvetica” director applies a “do it yourself” model to the release of his movies.

“Rams,” his recent documentary about German industrial designer Dieter Rams, is Hustwit’s latest venture into self-distribution.

“I don’t want to be paying someone else’s overhead,” said Hustwit. “I can reach our core audience better than anyone else can, and I don’t have to share the profits. A lot of filmmakers have this illusion that if you sign with a distributor they’ll do all the work, and that’s just not the case.”

Instead, Hustwit serves as his own marketer and booker. He rents the theaters that play his films (“Rams,” for instance, screened in 75 cities around the world), and the filmmaker often shows up in person to do a Q&A following a screening.

Read the story at Variety.

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