“Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” director Stanley Nelson talks about his early career

“Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” director Stanley Nelson talks about his early career

Source:  Variety

Stanley Nelson’s latest documentary “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” is playing in theaters after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.

But for the past 30 years, Nelson’s films, such “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” and “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” have detailed lesser-known stories of the African American experience.

He produced the 2017 short “Gavin Grimm vs.,” directed by Nadia Hallgren, about a trans boy who challenged his school board’s bathroom policy by filing a case that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nelson’s films expose injustices and pivotal moments in American history and have received multiple awards.

Read the interview at Variety.


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“It’s a choice to be a filmmaker or a human”: Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska discuss “Honeyland”

“It’s a choice to be a filmmaker or a human”: Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska discuss “Honeyland”

Source:  Filmmaker

The award-winning documentary “Honeyland” marks the second collaboration between directors Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska.

Set in Bekirlijia, a rural village in Macedonia, the film focuses on Hatidze Muratova, who follows ancient beekeeping traditions while caring for her ailing mother Nazife.

Despite her efforts to be self-sufficient, political and economic decisions have a profound effect on Muratova and her ability to survive.

Synopses of “Honeyland” can make it seem like a dull, self-righteous nature documentary.  Instead, it’s a film filled with contradictions and narrative reversals.

Characters make self-destructive, at times inexplicable choices, often under the guise of kindness and generosity.

Muratova, ostensibly a woman living on the edge of society, possesses a strong set of survivor skills and a wily grasp of cultural change.

Read the interview at Filmmaker.

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Barack and Michelle Obama talk storytelling in preview for Netflix doc “American Factory”

Barack and Michelle Obama talk storytelling in preview for Netflix doc “American Factory”

Source:  Rolling Stone

Barack and Michelle Obama discuss the craft and connectivity of storytelling with filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar in a teaser video promoting their new Netflix documentary “American Factory.”

The film, available on the streaming service and in select theaters, is the first title from the former president and first lady’s Higher Ground production company.

Watch “American Factory” on Netflix.

Read the story at Rolling Stone.

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“I was drawn to the pure mystery of it”: Liz Garbus discusses her new HBO doc “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?”

“I was drawn to the pure mystery of it”: Liz Garbus discusses her new HBO doc “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?”

Source:  Filmmaker

In 2011, the small town of Potsdam, New York was rocked by an inexplicable atrocity: 12-year-old Garrett Phillips was discovered murdered in his home.

The tragedy launcheded a manhunt, which led to an ex-boyfriend of Garrett’s mother being arrested for the crime.

The arrest only led to more questions as the man, Oral “Nick” Hillary, happened to be the beloved soccer coach at Clarkson University.  And also one of the few black men in Pottsdam.

Liz Garbus’s “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” follows the twists and turns that unfolded over the five years from Garrett’s death to Hillary’s trial.

Filmmaker magazine recently caught up with the acclaimed director to discuss her new documentary.

Read the interview at Filmmaker.

“Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” is available now on HBO.

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Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman revisit the making of their 1989 landmark AIDS doc “Common Threads”

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman revisit the making of their 1989 landmark AIDS doc “Common Threads”

Source:  Variety

It’s been 30 years since the release of the Oscar-winning documentary “Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt,” but directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman remember when they decided to make the film like it was yesterday.

The two were at the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights when they saw the massive quilt displayed on the National Mall.

“We were just stunned and awed by the scale of the quilt and the intimacy of it,” Epstein tells Variety.  “I’d never seen anything like that.  We were with our friend [fellow filmmaker] Peter Adair and he said, ‘Somebody has to make a film about this.’  Jeffrey and I ran with that and ran back to San Francisco and met with the Names Project folks and started delving into all the material.”

They began reading more than 2,000 letters that were written by panel makers to find stories to highlight in the film of five people memorialized in the quilt.

Read the story at Variety.

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How Cameron Crowe produced a David Crosby documentary and found his future

How Cameron Crowe produced a David Crosby documentary and found his future

Source:  IndieWire

David Crosby has shaped Cameron Crowe’s life.  The first time he interviewed the musician, it was 1976 and Crowe was an 18-year-old Rolling Stone wunderkind.  Now Crowe is 62, and he says that producing “David Crosby: Remember My Name” is the project that will determine his future.

When Crowe ran into the aging rocker in the hallway at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot offices, Crosby was with Jill Mazursky; she was producing A.J. Eaton’s documentary about him, and asked Crowe to do one interview with Crosby for the film.

Crowe was then immersed in production on his 2016 Showtime series “Roadies,” but agreed to do just one more deep dive with Crosby.

And, like Michael Corleone in “Godfather 3,” Crowe got pulled back in.

Read the story at IndieWire.

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