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Entries in documentaries (329)

Thursday
Jan042018

WGA Nominations: Logan, Lady Bird, Mudbound, etc...

by Nathaniel R

The WGA nominations are out as as always they must be taken both seriously and not at all when considering Oscar predictions. Due to the WGA's very strict rules they often deem films ineligible that Oscar has no such aversion to (for instance, the WGA never honors animated films... not that any of them are really in the Oscar running this year).

This year's nominees with commentary are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec262017

Doc Corner: Documentary Hits of 2017

Each day a new year-in-review / recap list of sorts. Here's Glenn Dunks

Nathaniel has already looked at the foreign language hits of the year and a the top-grossers for films by or about women, people of colour, LGBTQ and more. Now it's my turn to chime in with a look at what non-fiction movies were doing at the box office. It ain't exactly pretty - but, then, the figures below don't always paint an accurate picture for the world of documentary.

Much like the rest of the independent and arthouse scenes, festivals and VOD/streaming are becoming the primary way for audiences to see documentaries. Some of the most buzzed and most discussed of the year, for instance, are Strong Island, Icarus, Voyeur and Chasing Coral, which never received a theatrical release beyond minimal Oscar-qualifying runs. Meanwhile, other significant 2017 titles like LA 92, Oklahoma City, Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds aired on TV.

TOP 40 DOCUMENTARIES FOR 2017
Listed by US Box Office Gross only. Linked titles leads to reviews.
Oscar finalists are in bold 
🔺 = still in theaters (Note: Figures are as of 01/21/2018)

1. BORN IN CHINA $13.8 (April 21st)
As is often the case these days, a Disneynature title tops the chart. However, the figures for these Earth Day releases are diminishing. This one about pandas is the lowest-grossing of the seven Disneynature docs to be theatrically released since Earth in 2009 (so, not including The Crimson Wing: Mysteries of the Flamingo which went curiously unreleased in America). Still, this is a great figure for a nature documentary and as long as they keep churning them out hopefully people keep going in at least these modest numbers.

2. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO $7.1 (February 3rd)
One of the lone bright spots among the first half of the year for arthouses was this Oscar-nominated James Baldwin doc. We may grimace when distributors keep films from the general public, but Magnolia were smart to see they not only had a very likely Oscar contender on their hands (it should have won, but that's not what we're here to discuss), but that there's no way for these films to thrive among the end-of-year prestige glut...

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Tuesday
Dec122017

Doc Corner: 'Jane' is Our Oscar Frontrunner

by Glenn Dunks

We are informed at the beginning of Jane that the footage we are about to see had been previously lost. While it is absolutely astonishing that such incredible footage could have somehow just vanished and nobody thought to look for it before now, let's be thankful. It means we get Jane, a compelling and often awe-inspiring documentary from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen.

Jane is gorgeously composed documentary. An exciting play of form that that swings among the vines thanks to the prowess of contemporary rhythms of structure and construction, yet hums to the classic, even nostalgia-inducing visions at its heart...

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Friday
Dec082017

Streamable doc short finalists: "Kayayo" and "Ten Meter Tower"

by Nathaniel R

TEN METER TOWER

This week the Academy announced the ten finalists for documentary short and the ten finalists for animated short.  The Oscar charts are updated. At least 5 of those 20 are available to watch online. You've probably already seen the wonderful animated coming-out short "In a Heartbeat" that was so popular online earlier this year but it won't be the only tiny Oscar-seeker with big value. That's why the short categories are wonderful, quite often you get much artistic bang for little buck.

Will get to the animated docs later but of the ten doc short Oscar options there are four you can watch online...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec082017

Oscar Narrows the Documentary Feature Field

Chris here, with more Oscar bake off lists. Today we have the 15 films advancing in the Documentary Feature race, many of which we have covered here at The Film Experience in Glenn's column Doc Corner. The eventual lineup could include two recent Honorary Oscar winners: Frederick Wiseman (Ex Libris: New York Public Library) and Agnès Varda (Faces Places, with JR), neither of who had ever been nominated in the category. Al Gore could be returning to the Oscars, as the follow-up to winning climate change doc An Inconvenient Truth has also advanced. Take a look at the rest of the list:

Some beloved players that missed the lineup include Kedi, Whose Streets?, Dawson City: Frozen Time, and Casting JonBenet to just name a few. Jane, featuring recently rediscovered footage from Jane Goodall's study of apes, might be the early frontrunner thanks to a few wins with NBR and Critics Choice. Oscar Chart here!

Tuesday
Dec052017

Doc Corner: 'LA 92' and 'Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992' 

by Glenn Dunks

It’s not surprising that the spectre of the Los Angeles riots of 1992 has loomed large over documentary filmmaking this year. Emerging out from shadow of O.J. Simpson, whose story was everywhere in 2016, the 25th anniversary of this monumental moment in American history has been the focus of not just (by my count) five feature documentaries, but has also felt like an integral part of more contemporary films like Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ Whose Streets, Yance Ford’s Strong Island, and Peter Nicks’ The Force.

It would make sense then that these films, which largely pull from many of the same archival footage sources, might be in danger of working against one another. Dampening their urgency and their power simply by being too numerous.

However, at least in the case of Dan Lindsay and TJ Miller’s LA 92 and John Ridley’s Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992, that is certainly not what has occurred...

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