The film about the 2018 “Velvet Revolution” announces LA, NYC, DC, and Boston release
LOS ANGELES—“I Am Not Alone,” the award-winning film about the 2018 “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia released its official trailer on Wednesday and announced its United States theatrical release.
After sweeping awards at the Toronto International Film Festival, AFI Fest, and Doc NYC, the thrilling documentary will now open in theaters across the country: from April 10 in Los Angeles, April 17 in New York and Fresno, and April 24 in Washington, DC, Boston, and more.
With unprecedented access to both the leader of the movement (and Armenia’s current prime minister) Nikol Pashinyan and the toppled ruler Serzh Sarkisian, the film follows the incredible true story of the revolution that rocked Armenia in the spring of 2018. The film has been praised as “masterful” by Vice and “an inspiring portrait of democratic self-determination” by The Hollywood Reporter, clocking in a 100% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 9.3 audience rating on IMDb.
We are excited to announce that TRUTH TO POWER, a film edited by our own Michael Vollmann, will be premiering at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.
In 2001, the band System Of A Down partnered with music producer Rick Rubin to record their sophomore album. Against all odds, and during one of the most painful and precarious months in American history, the album Toxicityskyrocketed up the Billboard chart and catapulted to Number One. But just as System Of A Down achieved their commercial triumph, in a post-9/11 world their politically-charged lyrics were suddenly the subject of scrutiny; they were thrust into headlines, and their songs were pulled off the radio. The band’s global fanbase saw in frontman Serj Tankian a spokesperson for their disillusionment. Tankian had always been outspoken and political, both on stage and off, but when he found his message inspiring a popular movement on the other side of the world, he began to realize that his music was more revolutionary than even he could imagine.
The film follows Tankian down an unexpected path as his passion for human rights and activism led him to become a social justice organizer in Armenia. Fueled by interviews with the band, their producers, and fellow rock icons, Truth To Power is both an energizing rockumentary and an inspiring call to action for our turbulent times.—Lucy Mukerjee
After the movie, a special performance by System of a Down’s Serj Tankian will be accompanied by the NYU Symphony Orchestra.
Congrats to BOYS STATE for winning the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, and WHIRLYBIRD producers Diane Becker & Melanie Miller who won the Producers Award for Documentary Features.
The full list of winners appears below:
Grand Jury Prize: “Minari”
Audience Award: “Minari”
Directing: Radha Blank, “The 40-Year-Old Version”
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Edson Oda, “Nine Days.”
Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast: “Charm City Kings”
Special Jury Auteur Award: Josephine Decker, “Shirley”
Special Jury Award for Neorealism: Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Grand Jury Prize: “Boys State”
Audience Award: “Crip Camp”
Directing: Garrett Bradley, “Time”
Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker: Arthur Jones, “Feels Good Man”
Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking: Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres, “The Fight”
Special Jury Award for Editing: Tyler H. Walk, “Welcome to Chechnya”
Special Jury Award for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling: Kirsten Johnson, “Dick Johnson Is Dead”
Grand Jury Prize: “Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness”
Audience Award: “Identifying Features”
Directing Award: Maïmouna Doucouré, “Cuties”
Special Jury Award for Acting: Ben Whishaw, “Surge”
Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, “This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection”
Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay: Fernanda Valadez & Astrid Rondero. “Identifying Features”
Grand Jury Prize: “Epicentro”
Audience Award: “The Reason I Jump”
Directing Award: Iryna Tsilyk, “The Earth is Blue as an Orange”
Special Jury Award for Editing: Mila Aung Thwin, Sam Soko, Ryan Mullins, “Softie”
Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Micrea Topoleanu, Radu Ciorniciuc, “Acasa, My Home”
Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling: Benjamin Ree, “The Painter and the Thief”
NEXT Audience Award: “I Carry You With Me”
NEXT Innovator Award: “I Carry You With Me”
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: “Tesla”
Sundance Institute NHK Award: Kirsten Tan, “Higher”
Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Narrative Features: Huriyyah Muhammad, “Farewell Amor”
Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Documentary Features: Diane Becker & Melanie Miller of Fishbowl Films, “Whirlybird”
Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Documentary: Carla Gutierrez
Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Narrative: Affonso Gonçalves
Apple and A24 have acquired worldwide rights to the documentary Boys State, a political coming-of-age story which examines the health of American democracy. A source pegged the deal at $12 million, which marks the largest sale for a documentary ever at a festival. A24 will release the film theatrically.
The previous record for the largest documentary sale at Sundance was 2019’s Knock Down the House, which sold for $10 million. Sources say Netflix and Hulu were also bidding at $12 million.
Whirlybird premieres at Sundance to rave reviews. From the Hollywood Reporter:
“Zoey Tur’s reign as Los Angeles’ preeminent eye-in-the-sky helicopter reporter preceded my own arrival here, but her presence in the semi-recent run of documentaries tied to the O.J. Simpson trial and to the L.A. riots made it clear that in addition to being a reporter of almost unfathomable influence, Tur had a fascinating history of her own.
That history gets respectful-yet-clear-eyed treatment in Matt Yoka’s Whirlybird, part of the U.S. Documentary Competition field at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival. Whirlybird is a bittersweet portrait of the personal journey that led to Tur coming out as trans in 2013, paired with a chronicle of the explosion of breaking-news TV coverage in Los Angeles in the ’80s and ’90s, and balances those things without sugar-coating, in largely impressive fashion.
Perhaps more than anything, Whirlybird is a complicated depiction of a marriage, hardly the first chronicle of a family’s disintegration, but not one you’ve ever seen recounted in exactly this way. One thing viewers will surely notice immediately is that Marika, Zoey and their children Jamie and Katy (the latter an MSNBC reporter following in the family business) aren’t being interviewed together. It’s equally unavoidable to notice that Marika, Jamie and Katy all refer to Zoey as “Bob” or “Dad,” and that they use “he/him” pronouns. This is a family that still has issues and you can sense some, but definitely not all, of them being worked through on-camera as the film progresses.
This is appropriate because all of the highs and lows of Zoey and Marika’s marriage were caught on-camera. These are home movies on broadcast-quality tape, as Marika puts it. That means the arguments, and some are vicious, are captured at that same high standard (and usually at elevated altitudes). This is not a movie intended to make Zoey look good, and her regret and introspection are palpable, ultimately dominating the film in perhaps the same way that her obsessions came to dominate the family.
Yoka has a good sense of what his story is here. The doc restricts interview subjects to the core Tur family and to helicopter collaborator Larry Welk, presumably on the grounds that you don’t need other talking heads to say things like, “Man, that was a death-defying thing they did!” or “Boy, that ended up being the dominant image of the L.A. riots” or “What they did with that helicopter was really important.” You just understand. And when Zoey’s own footage features her getting into physical altercations with police officers and getting threatened by Sean Penn’s entourage, nobody from outside of the situation would be able to offer more trenchant commentary than Zoey’s observation: “Well, back before the sex change and estrogen, I was infused with this wonder hormone called testosterone.”
Whirlybird is informative and thrilling. It’s also profound and sad. And maybe it’s got threads of inspiration and uplift as well. That’s a wide range of responses, and it’s as much as you could have hoped for if you watched those Los Angeles-set documentaries and knew Zoey had a great story of her own.”
Directed by Matt Yoka
Editor: Brian Palmer
Co-Editor: Matt Yoka
Story Supervisor: Barry Poltermann
Netflix has unveiled its most popular titles internationally with true-crime doc The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann topping the UK list.
In the United States, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann ranked as the seventh most popular documentary on Netflix.
As reported in DEADLINE, “The streamer hasn’t officially revealed the methodology, but the list is thought to have been based on the number of accounts in each country that have watched at least two minutes of a title during its first 28 days on Netflix this year. For series, only the most popular season is counted and for shows and movies that have been released recently, the rankings are based on 28-day projections derived from the initial sampling.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which told the story of the missing British child, who vanished from the seaside resort of Praia de Luz in Portugal, while on holiday with her family. launched in March. It was directed by Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened and Jim & Andy director Chris Smith, produced by Pulse Films and Paramount Television and exec produced by Emma Cooper and Thomas Benski.
‘The Crown’ Fails To Make Netflix’s Lists Of Its Most Popular Shows In The UK
Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019 (UK):
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Stranger Things 3
Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes: Limited Series
This just in — we are excited to have two films in the Sundance Documentary competition this year.
Dir: Matt Yoka; Editor, Brian Palmer; Story Supervisor, Barry Poltermann; Additional Editing, Erin Elders; Assistant Editor, Dan Black.
Soaring above the chaotic spectacle of ‘80s and ‘90s Los Angeles, a young couple revolutionised breaking news with their brazen helicopter reporting. Culled from this news duo’s sprawling video archive is a poignant L.A. story of a family in turbulence hovering over a city unhinged.
Dirs: Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine; Editor Jeff Gilbert; Co-Editor Michael Vollmann; Assistant Editors Sam Kirchoff and Michael Bourne. In an unusual experiment, a thousand 17-year-old boys from Texas join together to build a representative government from the ground up.
Good luck to everyone!
After it’s debut at the Austin Film Festival last month, this weekend our own Casey Suchan, Sasha Perry and Brian Palmer brought “The Animal People” to Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Film Festival. They were joined for the West Coast premiere by Executive Producer Joaquin Phoenix.
People seem to like this one.
“AFI Fest said Friday that I Am Not Alone, Garin Hovannisian’s documentary about the 2018 Armenian revolution, won this year’s feature film Audience Award, topping the list of prizes given for the annual festival that wrapped its run last night in Hollywood.
Audiences at the 10th annual DOC NYC documentary film festival have selected I Am Not Alone as the Audience Award winner, voted in from among all new features at the fest.
I Am Not Alone (pictured) is directed by Garin Hovannisian and follows former Armenian political prisoner turned Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan as he leads a peaceful protest to transform his country in 2018.
Premiering earlier this week, I AM NOT ALONE was a breakout film at the Toronto International Film Festival, winning first-runner up for the The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award and garnering rave reviews.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
“Had they unfolded in a work of fiction, the events of I Am Not Alone might be hard to buy. Over a mere 40 days, one man’s cross-country walk to protest political corruption draws a small following that blossoms into huge gatherings and acts of civil disobedience, ultimately taking down Armenia’s authoritarian regime. Not only that, but in what might otherwise be considered a heavy touch of Hollywood corn, this people’s power movement gains an adorable, loyal mascot in the form of a stray dog who joins the march on day one.
These recent events, not widely reported in the United States, are captured from the impassioned front lines as well as the more calmly considered aftereffects in Garin Hovannisian’s eye-opening documentary. Filming alongside the movement’s leader from the first days of the 2018 rebellion, and incorporating footage recorded by citizen journalists and phone-wielding protesters, the director manages to convey personal and national histories in succinct fashion. He’s less interested in political specifics, which aren’t always clear, than in a communal sense of awakening. In this heightened political moment, the film (whose executive producers include Joe Berlinger and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian) will likely find eager audiences on the fest circuit and beyond for its compelling vision of contemporary nonviolent revolution.”
From ROLLING STONE.
“Jawbreaker, the influential post-hardcore band who notched the Number Four album on Rolling Stone’s 40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time with 1995’s Dear You, are now the subject of a documentary that is finally getting a wide release.
Filmmakers first teased the picture, Don’t Break Down, two years ago but it hasn’t been available. That will change on August 6th when it goes up for sale on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes; it will also be streamable via Amazon Prime.”
Jimmy Fallon sat down with Rotten Tomatoes to make a list of his five favorite comedy movies ever.
This movie is called American Movie, and it’s a documentary comedy. Man, oh man, I remember seeing this film with Horatio Sanz: we were in the theater, and we were crying so hard from laughing, we were hugging each other and punching each other because we were laughing too hard. It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. It will make you cry laughing. If you love filmmaking, you will appreciate this. The two guys, the two stars of the movie, are true stars.
Editor Michael Vollmann was on hand at the Tribeca Film Festival yesterday for the world premiere of “Red, White & Wasted”.
Early review from FILM PULSE:
“Red, White & Wasted is an entertaining and, dare I say, fascinating look into this world that many of us simply aren’t a part of, and therein lies the need for slice-of life-documentaries like this. It may be almost as messy as the trucks heading back from the Yacht Club, but movies like this are a gateway into the nooks and crannies of our country and serve as a sociological time capsule of this time and place.”
Launching tomorrow on Netflix — we were honored to be brought in as part of the team of editors to help put this mammoth undertaking together.
From The Atlantic:
“Over eight episodes, available on Netflix on March 15, the series compiles a staggering amount of information, patching together archival news footage and hundreds of hours of new interviews with key figures in the case. It’s granular, but also gripping. In the show, as in real life, the answer to the question of what happened to Madeleine seems to be perpetually, tantalizingly just out of reach.”
The Blood is at the Doorstep has had an inspired festival run and is finally available streaming as of today on SundanceNow, and is available to rent on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, VuduFans, Xbox & PlayStation starting September 28th.
Here are some of the awards we’ve picked up over the last year for this amazing film.
The Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick from SXSW 2017
WINNER: 2018 Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) – Best Editing of a Feature Documentary
WINNER: 2018 Salem Film Festival – Michael Sullivan FRONTLINE Award for Best Journalism in a Documentary
WINNER: Audience Award for Best Feature Film, 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival
WINNER: Ron Tibbett Award for Excellence in Filmmaking – Indie Memphis Film Festival – 2017
WINNER: Golden Badger Award, 2018 Wisconsin Film Festival
WINNER: Best Documentary Feature – Monmouth Film Festival 2017
WINNER: Best Documentary Storytelling – Destiny City Film Festival 2017
We are excited to announce that Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond has just been nominated for an Emmy in the category of “Documentary or Nonfiction Special”. The competition is tough! The nominees are: Icarus Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like Spielberg The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling
From Variety: Netflix has bought worldwide rights to “Jim & Andy,” Chris Smith’s documentary about Jim Carrey’s portrayal of comedian Andy Kaufman. The deal was announced Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie uses approximately 100 hours of footage shot on the set of “Man on the Moon” documenting Carrey’s transformation into Kaufman for four months. The Vice Documentary Films production premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is produced by Spike Jonze, and Vice Films’ Danny Gabai and Brendan Fitzgerald. “For almost two decades this brilliant performance from Jim Carrey has resonated with audiences and fans of Kaufman’s, but the story behind the film – a true piece of entertainment history has remained largely unknown,” said Lisa Nishimura, VP of original documentaries for Netflix. “Chris Smith and Spike Jonze have masterfully unearthed and explored Jim’s complex and artful creative process, hurling audiences right into the mind of a genius.”
The complete title is “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton.” Executive producers are Eddy Moretti, Shane Smith, Tony Clifton, Michael Kronish, Jim Czarnecki, and Nicole Montez. “Vice is always focused on telling stories you can’t see anywhere else, and Chris’ film is an incredibly humanistic deep-dive into the mind of a brilliant artist,” said Danny Gabai, exeutive creative director of Vice. “Chris, Spike and Jim have made a film that makes us question what we really want in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited that Netflix is bringing it to the world.”
Yesterday Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Jim & Andy was edited by September Club working with Vice Documentary Films.From Variety: “Man on the Moon” remains one of the most misunderstood great movies of the ’90s (a lot of people just saw it as Carrey doing Kaufman’s greatest hits), because it’s really about how Andy Kaufman sacrificed his identity to showbiz — and, in doing so, became a herald for the age when entertainment would consume everything in its path, from our dreams to our identities. When Kaufman wrestled women, coming on like Bobby Riggs on steroids and taunting the redneck crowds who turned out to see him, was it a put-on or was it a deep-down reflection of “the real Andy”? Actually, it was the real Andy pretending to be what he hated, and realizing that he loved being that way, but mostly because of the reaction it provoked. Except that he cherished that reaction more than anything, so maybe it was the real him. Or maybe there was no real him. In one of the greatest scenes in “Man on the Moon,” Carrey, as Kaufman, as Tony Clifton gets up on stage and does his unspeakable rendition of “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” It’s bottom-of-the-barrel sentimental showbiz hooey, but it’s all built around a conundrum: Who, exactly, is me? “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond” shows you that the answer is a grand illusion.”
The band was on hand last night for the San Francisco premiere of Don’t Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker. Edited by Erin Elders and co-produced by Dan Didier. Don’t Break Down has been over a decade in the making, with the release of the film coinciding with the band’s 2017 reunion announcement. Upcoming screenings include Riot Fest (in Chicago) & The Alamo Drafthouse theaters. The Los Angeles premiere is at Hollywood’s Vista Theater on Wednesday, October 4. . Pitchfork dropped the trailer a couple of weeks ago.
Don’t Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker. The new September Club documentary about one of the most influential acts of the 1990’s new punk scene has been in the works for ten years. The film explores the trajectory of the band’s career. In addition to interviews with the band members and Albini, it will also feature interviews with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters, Josh Caterer of Smoking Popes, chef Graham Elliot, former Pitchfork editor Jessica Hopper, and more. With the recent announcement of the band’s reunion after 21 years we’re excited to share with you the first official clip from the project which premiered on Pitchfork today.
The new September Club feature length documentary three years in the making “The Blood is at The Doorstep” from Director Erik Ljung premiered at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas tonight. The film edited by Michael Vollmann and produced by Barry Poltermann chronicles the fatal police shooting of Dontre Hamilton and the tireless efforts of his family as they seek answers. The story follows his brother, mother and Milwaukee’s police and politicians as they struggle to come to terms with the lost of a son and a brother — and attempt to overcome a legacy of racism in a city that is arguably the most segregated in America.
In 1996 we made our first short documentary, when we were asked by John Pierson to do a piece for the pilot episode of IFC’s SPLIT SCREEN which later became a beloved series by cinephiles. Twenty years later and the entire series and all it’s glory has found a new home with The Criterion Channel on FilmStruck.
Zedd: True Colors is now available for your viewing pleasure. Ever since its June premiere, fans have been waiting for the chance to see Zedd‘s documentary True Colors, based on his album of the same name. Directed by Susan Bonds and Alex Lieu (and edited by our own Barry Poltermann), the film follows the professional and personal exploits experienced by Zedd during the creation of the 2015 album. True Colors was premiered at the Los Angeles film festival in June, where Zedd himself arrived for a Q&A and acoustic performance to follow its screening. Now, after six months, the film is finally available for fans to view for themselves. By visiting its iTunes page here, True Colors can be purchased for $12.99 and downloaded immediately. “TRUE COLORS is about more than the making of an album and an epic world tour, it’s a story about the unique relationship between a musician and his fans, and the journey of an artist finding his own voice.”
A documentary on the EDM superstar ZEDD, which we’ve been editing lately here at September Club, premiered last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Highlights included an acoustic performance by Zedd playing with special guests Kesha, Echosmith and Aloe Blacc. Pretty fun night! “The documentary, directed by Susan Bonds and Alex Lieu, chronicles the making of Zedd’s latest album True Colors, as well as the series of elaborate listening parties that the artist and his team put on for a small group of loyal fans ahead of the album’s release. Taking place in a series of exotic locations—from the Grand Canyon to the Empire State Building to Alcatraz Island—each event allowed fifty lucky fans to hear one of the album’s tracks for the very first time in a meticulously designed setting, and to have a meet-and-greet with Zedd afterward. Zedd’s personal investment in engaging directly with fans became the uniting theme of the evening, which certainly had the most exuberant and vocal audience I’ve ever seen at a documentary screening. (Screams of “I love you!” and “Marry me!” were not infrequent.)”
Raiders!: The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made will be hitting select theaters and home video on June 17, just in time for the 35th anniversary of Spielberg’s action-adventure classic. Two of the original filmmakers—Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala—will also be hitting the road to promote the doc on the Raiders: Follow Your Dreams Tour. Starting on June 2, the guys will be doing Q&As in several cities, leading up to ad just after the film’s wide release. A full list of tour dates is available on the Drafthouse Cinema website.
From Tulsa OK local news: Manny Marquez directed short documentary ‘OPERATION ALLIE’ is headed to the Gi Film Festival in Washington DC. It’s a touching portrait of his brother, Anthony, and dog, Allie. Whom were inseparable while deployed in Afghanistan. . Manny is clear that the documentary is not about PTSD or the war. “It’s just a story about a man being reunited with his dog,” explained Manny. “And I think it’s about the power of love and healing.” And those are two things more powerful than pain and suffering.
Sad to hear about the passing of our old friend Tom Spanic. Our sympathy goes out to Ian and all of his family. This music video was done by us (as Purple Onion) in 1991. Budget: $5,000. Chris Barry drove down from Minneapolis to be the DP. The lovely and talented Lori Minetti (whom you may know as the hostess of the WI Lottery Money Game) and her sister Lisa provide support. Shot in Chicago and Milwaukee. And here is another deep cut… a video our friend Frank Anderson did for the Spanics a few years later. Spanic Boys WHATS IN THOSE EYES from The Purple Onion Archives on Vimeo.
Our friends at Smart Studios finally get their due in a new documentary by Wendy Schneider, which just appeared at SXSW to great reviews. In this clip, we see our friends Donita Sparks (L7) and the September Club’s own Frank Anderson… who worked together on the score of our film “The Life of Reilly” in 2005. And here’s a deep cut… one of several original music videos we did for Smart Studios back in the early 90’s, for the punk band Cosmic Psychos: Cosmic Psychos | Dead Roo from Purple Onion Inc. on Vimeo.
From Pitchfork: Sam Beam of Iron & Wine recently announced that he and singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop are releasing an LP of duets titled Love Letter for Fire. Today, they share the video for “Valley Clouds,” which appears on the album. In the video, directed by Erin Elders, Beam and Hoop bartend while an enthusiastic couple belt karaoke to a less-than-enthusiastic crowd. Love Letter for Fire is out April 15 via Sub Pop.
Interesting. Influential ’90s bay area punk band Jawbreaker is in the news. Rolling Stone named the band’s 1995 album ‘Dear You’ the #4 emo album of all time. Why is that news at September Club? Because a feature documentary about the band — working title ‘Don’t Break Down’ — is being produced by Rocket Fuel Films and September Club, on track for a 2017 premiere. But what was even more interesting… check out the #3 album on the list — The Promise Ring’s ‘Nothing Feels Good’… featuring September Club’s own master editor, Dan Didier on drums. Dan is supervising the edit on “Don’t Break Down”, working with Erin Elders (editor). Coincidence?
September Club founding director Manny Marquez‘s very personal short documentary “Operation Allie” is screening this week at the prestigious Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The film features Manny’s own brother Anthony, a vet of the war in Afghanistan, on a quest to find one of his best friends from his days in combat – his bomb-sniffing dog partner, Allie. The documentary provides intimate access into the life of a returned war vet, and a heart-warming story of old friends and their unlikely reunion stateside.
Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner (1999) “American Movie” today received the Cinema Eye Legacy Award. The film was edited by our own Barry Poltermann, working with co-editor Jun Diaz. At an awards lunch in Manhattan, Chris Smith (director/producer) accepted the award. There will also be a screening of the film at Hot Docs in Toronto with a special Q&A with Smith afterwards. Previous Legacy Award honorees have been “Sherman’s March” (2010), “Grey Gardens” (2011), “Titicut Follies” (2012), “The War Room” (2013), “Harlan County, USA” (2014) and “Paris is Burning” (2015). For more about Cinema Eye, see its website. A small excerpt follows here:
The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking were founded in late 2007 to recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film. Cinema Eye’s mission is to advocate for, recognize and promote the highest commitment to rigor and artistry in the nonfiction field.
“Raiders!: The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made”, a documentary by Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen and edited by September Club, has sold to indie powerhouse Drafthouse Films. See the full story in Variety, but here’s a telling excerpt on future plans:
Drafthouse plans a limited theatrical release across North America in the summer alongside a variety of VOD and digital platforms, with a Blu-ray/DVD release later in the year.
Surge soda — a caffeinated drink from Coca Cola that had a cult following while it was produced between 1996 and 2003, is returning to the shelves. Why do we care? Because we (Barry Poltermann & Steve Farr) directed most of the SURGE commercials back in the late 90’s! (watch for the most inside of inside moments in “American Movie”, where Mike tells Uncle Bill “It’s a brand new soda form Coca-Cola, it’s called SURGE.”) In 2014, Coca-Cola began selling limited supplies of the drink on Amazon. Sales were strong, but it wasn’t until three hyperfans—Evan Carr, Sean Sheridan, and Matt Winans—began a viral social media campaign that the so-called Surge Movement really got off the ground. The campaign’s shining moment occurred when thousands of people donated to buy a billboard in 2013 about a half mile from Coca-Cola’s Atlanta headquarters that read “Dear Coke, we couldn’t buy Surge so we bought this billboard instead.” Some other Surge spots we directed, circa 1997: Surge | Snow Way Surge | Hose
(Documentary Short Series, Native Advertising) WFD is a sporting event that challenges speed drummers and employs an instrument called the Drumometer that counts drum strokes. The Drumometer is accepted by both the Guinness World Records organization and the WFD Extreme Sport Drumming competition as the official device used to determine the World’s Fastest Drummer. The primary goal of the competition is to determine who can play the most single strokes in sixty seconds. There are a variety of categories and World Records involved in WFD. After experimenting with various WFD competition formats in the United States, the event achieved international prominence as contestants began traveling from around the globe to compete at WFD World Finals. We were hired to create this piece by Church’s Chicken, who is an official sponsor of the competition as well as this short film that tracks the lives of select WFD competitors from across the globe and their journey to the championships. Director: Jack Davidson Editor: Michael Vollmann
(Music Video, MARITIME, 2015) “Satellite Love” from Maritime’s upcoming album “Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones” available now on Dangerbird Records.
Vice says: “Maritime’s sound is aging beautifully” and “all killer no filler”. The AV Club gives the album a very strong B+. And Paste Magazine says Maritime has a “musical identity that’s been evolving on its own for a dozen years, centered on a passionate and skillful songcraft”. Congratulations to Dan and bandmates Davey von Bohlen, Dan Hinz, and Justin Klug. For other music videos and odds and ends, explore the Attic.
“Fast Company” from director Jack Davidson premiered this Friday at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. More than 300 drummers from across the world faced off in the 2015 World’s Fastest Drummer (WFD) World Finals. Braxton Burke, twenty-one, from Langley, KY, took home the title as the Hands Champion, with a 953 strokes-in-one-minute performance. Joshua Robinson, from Washington, DC, was named Foot Champion, registering 899 strokes in one minute. Church’s Chicken celebrated the world finals by hosting several drumming-themed events, including the premiere of Fast Company. The film features the lives of some of the people who make World’s Fastest Drummer possible, including former champions and the founding members of the competition. Festival Talk says:
“Fast Company is a fun short documentary film with a unique flavor. World’s Fastest Drummer is a competition that calls itself “extreme sport drumming” for good reason, how many drum beats per minute can a person bang out? If you think 100 or 150, you’d be way off. It can run into a thousand. Fast Company is a quick glimpse into the competition created by legendary musician and world record holder Boo McAfee. In 1981, Boo drummed for 738 hours. That’s not a typo, the man actually did that. With short blasts of interviews with contestants and past contestants, we see inside this crazy fascinating competition. One that is growing each year in size and popularity. The whole thing was made possible by the “Drumometer” a cool piece of tech I quickly became fascinated with. Folks of all ages enjoy competing and revisit the competition each year. There’s a strong competitiveness with the contestants, you find yourself rooting for one or the other. The film, brought to us by About Face Media and sponsored by Church’s Chicken (because who else knows drumsticks better?) played at this year’s Milwaukee Show at the MKE Film Festival. It was met by rousing applause, especially when Boo himself took the stage with his fellow film makers for a quick Q&A afterward. We had a chance to meet Boo and asked him a few questions. He is a genuinely kind man who was grateful for the positive reception of the film. I did ask about the possibility of a WFD competition here in Milwaukee, Boo said its possible so start brushing up your skills, I know I am. I really enjoyed Fast Company, if you see it coming to your area, be sure to catch a screening.”
In “ONCE UPON A TIME IN NASHVILLE: THE DEATH OF HANK WILLIAMS” musician Don Helms recounts the death of Hank Williams. It is a short clip of a longer experimental documentary project that Frank Anderson is directing.