BLOG

CATEGORY: Behind the Films

Paying Homage to UT Tower Mass Shooting Victims with Life Affirming Animation

Craig Staggs is the lead animator for the little animation studio that could, Minnow Mountain, based in Austin, Texas, also the home base of filmmaker Keith Maitland. Staggs’ company did the brilliantly layered animation for Maitland’s film TOWER. Of that film which tells the story of the heroes and victims who were on the University of … READ MORE

Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon Peel the Layers of Buckley and Vidal

It’s not often you’ll find a documentary filmmaking team who combined have won an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Grammy, but the multi-faceted duo of Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon have done just that. Neville’s 20 Feet from Stardom won the Oscar for Best Documentary and Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues took an Emmy; Gordon’s album notes for Keep an Eye on the Sky, … READ MORE

Dawn Porter Unlocks the Story of Laws Targeting Abortion Providers

Filmmaker Dawn Porter has shown a willingness to probe uncomfortable truths and untold stories in the past. LA Times critic Robert Lloyd called her acclaimed Independent Lens film Spies of Mississippi “eye-opening” for its look at the ways civil rights activists were spied on by the government in the ’50s and ’60s. For her new film, TRAPPED, Porter returns to the … READ MORE

Seven Years Filming the Homeless of Oakland

The filmmaking team of Amir Soltani and Chihiro Wimbush both come from incredibly varied backgrounds, and bring an abundance of talents and interests to the table for the first feature documentary film for both as directors: Dogtown Redemption, which won the Audience Favorite Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival. Among many other hats, Soltani … READ MORE

Abigail Disney Wields the Power of Dialogue with The Armor of Light

Abigail Disney (her grandfather was Roy O. Disney, Walt’s brother and co-founder of the Walt Disney Company, just to get that out of the way) has long been a producer of award-winning documentaries, including producing Pray the Devil Back to Hell, The Invisible War (Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated film for Independent Lens, 2013), and the five-part PBS special series Women, War … READ MORE

Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber Capture a Man on a Mission

Utah-based filmmakers Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber found a supremely compelling story right in their own backyard for their film Peace Officer. The film is several things at once: a personal journey with a man who experienced a tragedy, former sheriff “Dub” Lawrence who established and trained one of Utah’s first SWAT teams, only to see that … READ MORE

Human Rights Lawyer Philippe Sands Confronts Children of Nazis with Painful Past

While some might call Philippe Sands the on-screen host of My Nazi Legacy, the new film by David Evans that is based on Sands’ new book, he’s actually the probing, searching journalistic heart at the center of this powerful documentary. The book, East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, published … READ MORE

“Leith” Filmmakers Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker Capture a Town in a Powderkeg

Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker have produced eye-popping, gritty fare before, including an acclaimed film about street dancing, Flex Is Kings, and the HBO film Hard Times: Lost in Long Island (which Walker edited), but making Welcome to Leith was a different experience altogether. The award-winning directorial duo went from urban New York to remote, rural North Dakota to … READ MORE

Documentaries for Movie Geeks: Films About Films

Once you’ve watched a beloved movie two or three times, you start to crave a little more information about the film’s conception, production, and cultural impact, among other things. So you hit the internet to read a few articles or (hey!) check out the DVD audio commentary that you’d totally forgotten about. And then there … READ MORE

Nelson George Captures the Poise of Misty Copeland to Tell a Ballerina’s Tale

Author, filmmaker, television producer, and critic Nelson George may have worn a lot of hats in his long career, but his love for music has been  constant throughout. He’s published numerous non-fiction books on black music history as well as a series of novels using the music world as a backdrop, including The Lost Treasures of R&B. He recently … READ MORE