Documentary

 

Altman

CANADA – 2014 – 95 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY RON MANN

Ron Mann's new documentary ALTMAN is an in-depth look at the life and times of filmmaker Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, The Player, Gosford Park, and many more.) While refusing to bow down to Hollywood's conventions, or its executives, Altman's unique style of filmmaking won him friends and enemies, earned him world-wide praise and occasionally scathing criticism, and proved that it IS possible to make truly independent films.

 

BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK

USA – 2010 – 84 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY RICHARD PRESS

“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Anna Wintour about Bill Cunningham, the 80-year-old New York Times photographer and unlikely man-about-town. Cunningham has two weekly columns in the Style section of The New York Times: “On The Street,” in which he identifies fashion trends as he spots them emerging on the street; and “Evening Hours,” his ongoing coverage of the social whirl of charities that benefit the cultural life of the city. The result is far from simple picture taking — it is cultural anthropology.

Still, no one knows a thing about Bill Cunningham, the man himself. Intensely private and averse to any kind of attention, it took filmmaker Richard Press and producer Philip Gefter years to convince Bill to be filmed. Using only small consumer cameras and no crew, BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK has the intimacy and immediacy of a home movie.

BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing — the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. Bill has lived in the same small studio above Carnegie Hall for fifty years, never eats in restaurants and gets around on a worn-out bicycle — his sole means of transportation. The contradiction of his monk-like existence and the extravagance of his photographic subject matter is one aspect of his private life revealed in the movie.
The film’s cast of characters ranges from the downtown New York eccentrics Bill has photographed over the years to the uptown fixtures of New York culture (Tom Wolfe, Anna Wintour, etc) and pillars of “New York Society” who have never before appeared in a movie but who agreed because of their regard for Bill (David Rockefeller, Brooke Astor, Annette De La Renta, among others). The range of people reveals something of the delirious and delicious romp through New York that composes Bill’s world.

A sartorial Weegee, habitually dressed in a blue work jacket, Bill Cunningham has tried to live his life as an unencumbered man. He wants only his independence to be able to point his camera when beauty crosses his path. With this singular goal, he has managed to create a poignant and ongoing chronicle of the intersection of fashion and society in New York over fifty years — in effect, a portrait of New York City itself

 

BURDEN

USA – 2016 - 86 MINUTES - DOCUMENTARY
A FILM BY TIM MARRINAN, RICHARD DEWEY

A probing portrait of Chris Burden, an artist who pushed the limits of creative expression and risked his life in the name of art.

For more than 45 years, Chris Burden’s work has consistently challenged ideas about the limits and nature of modern art. His pioneering and often dangerous performance works of the 1970s earned Burden a place in the art history books while still in his early 20s. He had himself shot (Shoot, 1971), locked up (Five Day Locker Piece, 1971), electrocuted, (Doorway to Heaven, 1973), cut (Through the Night Softly, 1973), crucified (Trans-fixed, 1974), and advertised on television (4 TV Ads, 1973–77). But as the 70s progressed Burden became disillusioned with the expectations and misconceptions based on his early works and as the pressure grew, the line between his life and his art blurred.

Burden quit performance in the late 70s and had to artistically reinvent himself, going on to create a multitude of assemblages, installations, kinetic and static sculptures and scientific models. His work has influenced a generation of artists and been exhibited around the world, but the provocative nature of his art coupled with his sense of privacy mean that most people know the myth rather than the man. Now, having followed Burden creating new works in his studio and with access to his personal archive of images, video and audio recordings, CHRIS BURDEN: A LIFE IN ART will be the first feature documentary to fully explore the life and work of this seminal artist.

 

THE CASE AGAINST 8

USA – 2013 – 112 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY BEN COTNER AND RYAN WHITE

Battles are won because we fight them. 

A behind-the-scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. The high-profile trial first makes headlines with the unlikely pairing of Ted Olson and David Boies, political foes who last faced off as opposing attorneys in Bush v. Gore. The film also follows the plaintiffs, two gay couples who find their families at the center of the same-sex marriage controversy. Five years in the making, this is the story of how they took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Casting By

USA – 2012 – 89 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY TOM DONAHUE

FEATURING: MARTIN SCORSESE, WOODY ALLEN, CLINT EASTWOOD, GLENN CLOSE, ROBERT DUVALL, JEFF BRIDGES, AL PACINO, ROBERT DE NIRO, DIANE LANE, JON VOIGHT, BETTE MIDLER AND JOHN TRAVOLTA

Putting the spotlight on filmmaking’s unsung heroes – the casting director – CASTING BY takes us on a fast-paced journey through the last half century of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective. Pioneers like Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster were iconoclasts whose exquisite taste and gut instincts helped to put the final nail in the coffin of the old studio system and usher in the New Hollywood. Afforded the unprecedented freedom and power of the new medium of television, they broke away from the traditional typecasting of Hollywood and brought actors like James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler, Robert Duvall, and Gene Hackman to the screen.

 

EVA HESSE

2016 - USA/ GERMANY - 108 MINUTES - COLOUR
A FILM BY MARCIE BEGLEITER

Eva Hesse (1936-1970) is one of America’s foremost postwar artists.  Her pioneering sculptures, using latex, fiberglass, and plastics, helped establish the post-minimalist movement. Dying of a brain tumor at age 34, she had a mere decade-long career that, despite its brevity, is dense with complex, intriguing works that defy easy categorization. EVA HESSE, the first feature-length appreciation of her life and work, makes superb use of the artist’s voluminous journals, her correspondence with close friend and mentor Sol LeWitt, and contemporary as well as archival interviews with fellow artists (among them, Richard Serra, Robert Mangold, Dan Graham) who recall her passionate, ambitious, tenacious personality. Art critic Arthur Danto has written that her work is: “full of life, of eros, even of comedy… Each piece vibrates with originality and mischief.” The documentary captures these qualities, but also the psychic struggles of an artist who, in the downtown New York art scene of the 1960s, was one of the few women to make work that was taken seriously in a field dominated by male pop artists and minimalists. 

 

FIRE AT SEA

ITALY/ FRANCE – 2015 – 108 MIN - IN ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
A FILM BY GIANFRANCO ROSI
FEATURING: SAMUELE PUCILLO, MATTIAS CUCINA, SAMUELE CARUANA, PIETRO BARTOLO

Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival 2016, Gianfranco Rosi’s incisive, poignant and deeply moving portrait of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa - and the humanitarian crisis occurring in the seas around it - is both a masterly work of documentary filmmaking and a timely call for urgent action.

Situated 150 miles south of Sicily, Lampedusa has hit headlines as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees hoping to make a new life in Europe. After spending months living on the island and engaging with its inhabitants, Rosi accumulated an incredible array of footage, portraying the history, culture and daily lives of the islanders. Focusing on 12-year-old Samuele, as he explores the land and attempts to gain mastery of the sea, the film slowly builds a breathtakingly naturalistic portrait of the Lampedusan people and the events that surround them.

The result is a lyrical, poetic and searingly powerful documentary that casts neither judgement nor aspersions, but simply shows the world to the viewer - to utterly devastating effect.

Gianfranco Rosi’s observations of everyday life bring us closer to this place that is as real as it is symbolic, and to the emotional world of some of its inhabitants who are exposed to a permanent state of emergency. At the same time his film, which is commentary-free, describes how, even in the smallest of places, two worlds barely touch.

 

Here come the Videofreex

USA – 2015 – 79 MIN – COLOUR - DOCUMENTARY - COLOUR & B&W - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY JON NEALON & JENNY RASKIN

HERE COME THE VIDEOFREEX starts in 1969. America is undergoing cultural and political revolutions, but you’d never know it by watching TV. Young CBS executive Don West creates a secret project to tell the stories of the counterculture ignored by TV news. He hires a group of young people who have embraced a brand new medium – video. They name themselves the Videofreex and on CBS’s dime, they travel the country in an RV taping footage the networks could never get, including interviews with legendary activist Abbie Hoffman and Black Panther Fred Hampton just months before his murder. The pilot they produce proves to be decades ahead of its time. But when CBS executives see it, they fire the group and say they can keep the “worthless” equipment. The Videofreex decide to stick together, smuggling their videotapes out of CBS offices late one night in a guitar case.

 

KUMARE

USA – 2011 – 84 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY VIKRAM GANDHI

Kumaré is an enlightened guru from the East who builds a following of loyal disciples in the West. But Kumaré is not real. He is an American filmmaker named Vikram Gandhi, who has transformed himself into Kumaré as the centerpiece of a social experiment designed to explore and test one of the world's most sacred taboos.

Concealing his true identity from all he meets, Kumaré forges profound, spiritual connections with real people from all walks of life. At the same time, in the absurdity of living as an entirely different person, Vikram the filmmaker is forced to confront difficult questions about his own identity. At the height of his popularity he reveals his greatest teaching: his true self. A playful yet genuine and insightful look at belief and spirituality, the film crosses a line few have dared to cross, all to discover: from illusion comes truth.

 

MARINA ABRAMOVIC: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT

USA – 2011 – 106 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY MATTHEW AKERS

Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Marina Abramović has been redefining what art is for nearly forty years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits — and at times risking her life in the process — she creates performances that challenge, shock, and move us. Through her and with her, boundaries are crossed, consciousness expanded, and art as we know it is reborn. She is, quite simply, one of the most compelling artists of our time.

She is also a glamorous art-world icon, a lightning rod for controversy, and a myth of her own making. She is most certainly unlike anyone you have ever met before.

The feature-length documentary film MARINA ABRAMOVIC: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT takes us inside Marina’s world, following her as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major retrospective of her work, taking place at the museum of modern art in new york. To be given a retrospective at one of the world's premiere museums is, for any living artist, the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more: it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: "but why is this art?"

 

PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT

USA - 2015 - 97 MINUTES - 5.1
A FILM BY LISA IMMORDINO VREELAND

Lisa Immordino Vreeland follows up her acclaimed debut "Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel" with PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT.

A colourful character who was not only ahead of her time but helped to define it, Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to her family fortune who became a central figure in the modern art movement. As she moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century,she collected not only art, but artists. 

Her colourful personal history included such figures as Samuel Beckett, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp as well as countless others. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo. 

Featuring: Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Arshile Gorky, Vasil Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, Fernand Leger, Rene Magritte, Man Ray, Jean Miro, Piet Mondrian, Henry Moore, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Kurt Schwitters, Gino Severini, Clyfford Still and Yves Tanguy

 

THE OVERNIGHTERS

USA – 2013 – 100 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY JESSE MOSS

has arrived on my doorstep.” – Pastor Jay Reinke

Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.

In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota, tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck under the lure of the oil boom. However, busloads of newcomers chasing a broken American Dream step into the stark reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. The town lacks the infrastructure to house the overflow of migrants, even for those who do find gainful employment.

Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is driven to deliver the migrants some dignity. Night after night, he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to allow the “Overnighters” (as he calls them) to stay for a night, a week or longer. They sleep on the floor, in the pews and in their cars in the church parking lot. Many who take shelter with Reinke are living on society’s fringes and with checkered pasts, and their presence starts affecting the dynamics of the small community. The congregants begin slinging criticism and the City Council threatens to shut the controversial Overnighters program down, forcing the pastor to make a decision which leads to profound consequences that he never imagined.

A modern-day Grapes of Wrath, award-winning documentary THE OVERNIGHTERS engages and dramatizes a set of universal societal and economic themes: the promise and limits of re-invention, redemption and compassion, as well as the tension between the moral imperative to “love thy neighbor” and the resistance that one small community feels when confronted by a surging river of desperate, job-seeking strangers.

 

TINY: A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL

USA – 2013 – 62 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY MERETE MUELLER & CHRISTOPHER SMITH

 

After a decade of travel, Christopher Smith approaches his 30th birthday and decides it’s time to plant some roots. He impulsively buys a 5-acre plot of land in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong dream of building a home in the mountains of Colorado. With the support of his girlfriend, Merete, he sets out to build a Tiny House from scratch despite having no construction experience.

From 1970 to 2010, the average size of a new house in America has almost doubled. Yet in recent years, many are redefining their American Dream to focus on flexibility, financial freedom, and quality of life over quantity of space. These self-proclaimed “Tiny Housers” live in homes smaller than the average parking space, often built on wheels to bypass building codes and zoning laws. TINY takes us inside six of these homes stripped to their essentials, exploring the owners’ stories and the design innovations that make them work.

When Christopher decides to build his own Tiny House, he dives into the tension between settling down and staying adrift, between preserving a parcel of land that he loves and developing it. Merete begins to ask her own questions about settling down, and both walk away with unexpected lessons about the meaning of home, the importance of place, and the personal impact of sticking with a project that became bigger than they’d ever imagined.

TINY is a coming-of-age story for a generation that is more connected, yet less tied- down than ever, and for a society redefining its priorities in the face of a changing financial and environmental climate. More than anything, TINY invites its viewers to dream big and imagine living small.

 

TROUBLEMAKERS: THE STORY OF LAND ART

USA – 2015 – 72 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY JAMES CRUMP
AFEATURING GERMANO CELANT, WALTER DE MARIA, MICHAEL HEIZER, DENNIS OPPENHEIM, ROBERT SMITHSON, NANCY HOLT, VITO ACCONCI, VIRGINIA DWAN, CHARLES ROSS, PAULA COOPER, WILLOUGHBY SHARP, PAMELA SHARP, LAWRENCE WEINER, CARL ANDRE, GIANFRANCO GORGONI, HARALD SZEEMANN

Troublemakers unearths the history of land art in the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s. The film features a cadre of renegade New York artists that sought to transcend the limitations of paint- ing and sculpture by producing earthworks on a monumental scale in the desolate desert spaces of the American southwest. Today these works remain impressive not only for the sheer audacity of their makers but also for their out-sized ambitions to break free from traditional norms. The film casts these artists in a heroic light, which is exactly how they saw themselves. Iconoclasts who changed the landscape of art forever, these revolutionary, antagonistic creatives risked their careers on radical artistic change and experimentation, and took on the establishment to produce art on their own terms. The film includes rare footage and interviews which unveil the enigmatic lives and careers of storied artists Robert Smithson (Spiral Jetty), Walter De Maria (The Lightning Field) and Michael Heizer (Double Negative); a headstrong troika that established the genre. As the film makes clear, in making works that can never be possessed as an object in a gallery, these trouble- makers stand in marked contrast to the hyper-speculative contemporary art world of today.