“It Only Ends When They’re Dead.” David France on his chilling HBO documentary “Welcome to Chechnya”

“It Only Ends When They’re Dead.” David France on his chilling HBO documentary “Welcome to Chechnya”

Source:  TIME

Over the last several years, anti-LGBTQ “purges” have taken place in Chechnya, a conservative Russian republic.

Chechen officials, according to many reports and testimonies, have rounded up people they believe to be gay, tortured them and then released them to family members who were encouraged to commit “honor killings.”

Fearing for their lives, some young queer people have fled the predominantly Muslim region with the hopes of finding safety outside Russia.

“Welcome to Chechnya,” a documentary directed by David France available now on HBO, follows these refugees and the activists going to extraordinary lengths to help them escape.

TIME recently spoke with France about the extreme security measures he put in place for “Welcome to Chechnya,” what he thinks of the government’s denials, and why, despite the risk, Chechens were willing to tell their stories.

Read the David France interview at Time.


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“Lenox Hill” directors on making a Netflix documentary that honors doctors and patients alike

“Lenox Hill” directors on making a Netflix documentary that honors doctors and patients alike

Source:  IndieWire

Convincing someone to let you follow them around as you go about your day is hard enough.  Ruthie Shatz and Adi Barash, directors of the new Netflix documentary series “Lenox Hill,” had to persuade a quartet of doctors at the Greenwich Village hospital to allow them into some of the most intimate parts of their daily lives.

In order to gain the trust of not only them but the patients in their care, the key to was to be incredibly up front about what they were looking to do with what became an eight-part documentary.

“Trust is everything in what we do.  It’s trust and really conveying your intention.  It’s your intentions that make it meaningful at the end,” Barash told IndieWire.  “Trust is a very important commodity, especially with these characters.  They’re revealing themselves, their stories, and private lives, their connection to their patients.  Without that, you really can’t portray something that really captures a moment with them.”

“Lenox” Hill is available now on Netflix.

Read the story at IndieWire.


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Oscar-nominated “Edge of Democracy” director Petra Costa embarks on coronavirus documentary project

Oscar-nominated “Edge of Democracy” director Petra Costa embarks on coronavirus documentary project

Source:  Variety

Oscar-nominated director Petra Costa is turning her attention to the COVID-19 pandemic for her next project, “Dystopia.”

The director of Netflix documentary “The Edge of Democracy” fired off a series of tweets last month calling for the public to collaborate on the project by submitting video footage of their lives during the pandemic.

The project aims to reveal the societal problems and inequalities that the coronavirus crisis has put in sharp relief.

“We want to document this urgent moment in which the COVID-19 pandemic brings to surface our deepest structural problems and the inequality that defines our societies,” said Costa on her Twitter feed.

“We want to know what’s going on with your family, your community, your neighborhood and your city.  Film horizontally what you see, think, live and feel today.  We are not asking or encouraging anyone to leave the house!  But, if you really have to leave, please film.”

Costa added: “We want to make a mosaic with different views of the world, to try to make sense of this pandemic.”

Read the story at Variety.


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“The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir on the side of Michael Jordan that few get to see

“The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir on the side of Michael Jordan that few get to see

Source:  IndieWire

There’s likely a significant group of people tuning into “The Last Dance” hoping for a glimpse of the real Michael Jordan.

In some ways, the ten-part documentary series from ESPN and director Jason Hehir shows how that distinction may be difficult to make.

Try as Jordan may have during the height of his cultural ascension to put forward a version of himself to a hungry public, “The Last Dance” shows many of the ways that the idea of Michael Jordan was cultivated beyond his control.

Still, as Hehir told IndieWire earlier this month, the hours he spent with Jordan over the course of three separate interview sessions helped shine a light on a side of the global superstar that few others get the chance to see.

Read the story at IndieWire.


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“Tomboy” filmmakers on the power of female drummers, SXSW cancellation

“Tomboy” filmmakers on the power of female drummers, SXSW cancellation

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

Tomboy was one of the many independent documentary features scheduled to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this month, but the event’s abrupt cancellation because of the coronavirus pandemic led the filmmakers to scramble to figure out new plans to get their film onto screens.

Lindsay Lindenbaum’s documentary, an in-depth look at the experience of four professional female drummers, was slated to debut in the film festival’s 24 Beats Per Second category, which spotlights work about music and musicians.

With the traditional avenues taken by independent filmmakers no longer available amid the pandemic, Lindebaum and “Tomboy” producer Eleanor Emptage are working to figure out what comes next.

The Hollywood Reporter recently spoke with the filmmakers about the making of “Tomboy” and their hopes for the project.

Read the interview at The Hollywood Reporter.


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An interview with “The Social Dilemma” director Jeff Orlowski

An interview with “The Social Dilemma” director Jeff Orlowski

Source:  FirstShowing

We’re all addicted to technology – the internet, social media, messaging, news.

Jeff Orlowski’s “The Social Dilemma” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, is the latest to make a film about this dilemma.

For the past ten years, Orlowski has been making extraordinary films about climate change’s effects about the planet.  His feature documentary, “Chasing Ice,” landed him an Oscar nomination.  He then followed that up with “Chasing Coral.”

Orlowski’s new film isn’t about climate change this time.  Instead, it’s about how and why climate deniers still exist.  What’s fueling their belief and is technology helping spread misinformation that encourages more denialism?

FirstShowing caught up with Orlowski at the Sundance Film Festival and talked with him about his latest film.

Read the interview at FirstShowing.


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