Six documentary projects have been selected to receive funding from the AFI Docs/NBCUniversal Impact Grants. They include Almost Sunrise by Michael Collins, Care by Dierdre Fishel, Check It by Toby Oppenheimer and Dana Flor, Newtown by Kim A. Snyder, Raising Bertie by Margaret Byrne, and They Call Us Monsters by Ben Lear.
The just released short film, The Refuge, focuses on the Gwich’in people of Alaska and Northern Canada and their more than three decade fight to protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling and other threats. Filming in such a remote location was severely challenging. As there are no cars in Arctic Village, bulky film equipment had to be transported by ATV or carried on foot. Electricity was also at a premium. Directors Kahlil Hudson and Alex Jablonski had access to just one electrical outlet for use in charging camera equipment and computers.
Created by former 60 Minutes producers Joel Bach and David Gelber, the National Geographic Channel’s documentary series Years of Living Dangerously won a 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. The series has earned wide praise for its thought-provoking stories on the human and environmental costs of climate change. It is also notable for its outstanding production value from the epic imagery captured by production teams operating around the globe to the detailed color treatments applied during post.
Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music provides a fascinating portrait of the melding of art and technology in the development of popular music. The eight-part PBS documentary finished at Technicolor PostWorks New York. Produced by Show of Force and directed by Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre, the series reaches back to the 1920s, when music was first committed to vinyl, but focuses in particular on the period from the 1960s to the present and the revolution that was set in motion by the late Sir George Martin and the Beatles through their innovative use of multi-tracking.
In the late winter of 2014, Leonardo DiCaprio called actor and documentarian Fisher Stevens with an idea: he wanted to collaborate on a documentary that would explore the causes and effects of climate change around the world, and the urgent need to transition away from using fossil fuels — and he wanted to get started right away. They chose Antonio Rossi to be their director of photography.
Sony is expanding its FS Series Super 35mm professional family with the addition of the FS7 II camcorder, which adds advanced features including Electronic Variable ND technology, a lever lock type E-mount, and a new mechanical design for faster and easier set-up. The new FS7 II camcorder is designed for long-form shooting and production applications, especially documentaries and independent filmmaking.
A fan-funded documentary, which examines the legacy of one of Hollywood’s best-loved action movie franchises is being made by a University of Northampton, United Kingdom, graduate. Filmmaker Christopher Griffiths, who graduated from the Media Production degree course in 2013, raised £34,000 on the Kickstarter funding platform to make RoboDoc, which explores the making and legacy of the RoboCop franchise.
Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War, the latest Ken Burns film, recounts the story of Unitarian minister Waitstill Sharp (voiced by Tom Hanks) and his wife Martha, who left the safety of their Wellesley, Massachusetts home and family to rescue hundreds of political dissidents and Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. Defying the Nazis will be shown at select theaters in New York and Los Angeles, with a special screening at the White House as part of the administration's discussion of the Syrian refugee crisis. The documentary won a special jury prize at the Amsterdam Film Festival in 2012. Editor Erik Angra will be hosting a Q&A session for the film on September 10 at LA's Laemmle Theater.
Glitter Tribe is an entertaining new documentary that follows a wide variety of burlesque dancers as they perform at their home theater in Portland Oregon. Directed by Jon Manning and produced by Manning and Julie Livingston, co-produced by Miriam Garcia, the film seeks to give the viewer an in depth look into the lives of these modern neo burlesque dancers and the motivation behind their lurid, exciting, and occasionally dangerous acts.
Independent distributor Abramorama has announced the theatrical release of Made In Venice, a documentary about the inside story of the street-wise skateboarders of Venice, California, and their endless struggle to make the dream of a skate park come true.