- Doc Soup: Thinking About the Name Game and Documentaries
What’s in a name? I find myself approaching the new POV season the same way I used to love cracking the college course catalog, eating up the clever names teachers would give their courses, such as my comp-lit favorite, “Uncanny Tales.” What sounds good? Life. Support. Music., Hold me Tight, Let Me Go and Bronx […]
- Doc Soup: Fundraising Woes
Oh, the woe of the documentary filmmaker. Nothing strikes a filmmaker to the core more than that singularly sad, stress-inducing word: funding. My POV minders recently directed me to filmmaker Patrick O’Brien, who has sought out a creative way to get financing. O’Brien has joined forces with Skinny Corp, a progressive, community-based company that backs […]
- Doc Soup: The Last Word on “Dear Zachary”
I’ve always been a little bothered by what I perceive as the different standards with which film critics (and audiences) approach docs, basically giving greater leniency toward a film because of its noble subject matter. That’s partly why I’ve been talking about Dear Zachary here at Doc Soup. Well, I think it’s time to put […]
- Doc Soup: A Review of “Dear Zachary”
Last October, I wrote a post about the documentary Dear Zachary because I was so impressed by the trailer and the intensely (and perhaps suspiciously) hyperbolic raves it was getting from critics. That entry garnered quite a bit of traffic here on this blog; and I was intrigued by the slew of negative comments that […]
- Doc Soup: Best Documentary Characters of All Time
As promised, it’s time for my “Best Documentary Characters of All Time” list. You may be wondering: How does one go about compiling a list of best characters from nonfiction films? These “characters” aren’t the products of imagination and craft, after all; they are real people. But, wait, don’t we have the expression, “He/she is […]
- Doc Soup: Revisiting the New York City of “Style Wars”
Last week, as promised in a previous post, I finally sat down and watched the 1982 doc Style Wars, directed by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant. I was really impressed by the film, and two days later, I was pleased to see the New York Times film critic A.O. Scott giving it a rave review […]
- Doc Soup: Is “Tyson” Still a Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine?
The role of art, film, and journalism — in short, the documentary — is to help the viewer better appreciate the world around him or her, right? Well, putting this very fundamental notion to the test is the doc Tyson, which hit theaters this weekend. It’s an unapologetically positive presentation of boxer Mike Tyson’s life […]
- Doc Soup: Coincidence or Codes in Nature Docs?
First, there was March of the Penguins, that outrageously successful 2005 nature doc about the life and times of penguins. Because the film’s only stars are penguins, it occurred to me that only human being who shares the, er, bill with them is the film’s narrator, Morgan Freeman. And then that was that. And then […]
- Doc Soup: Is “Bruno” a Documentary?
When is a doc a doc, and when is it not? If a film portrays real people in real situations without a script, then it’s a doc, right? But what if the film is about a fictional character interacting with real people in a real situation? These questions have been knocked around for a while […]
- Doc Soup: The 10 Greatest Moments in Documentary Film, Part 2
Finally — the post that you’ve all been waiting for: my top 5 greatest doc moments. You’ll note that POV’s Ruiyan wins an honorable mention for beating me to the punch in the comments section from last week, with her admiration for Harlan County, USA. What a moment, eh? I agree, and had ranked it […]
- Doc Soup: The 10 Greatest Moments in Documentary Film, Part 1
It’s been a while since I’ve done a list (see my 10 most lugubrious docs and the 10 sexiest) — and as an unabashed advocate of the genre, here’s another. What makes for a great moment in a documentary? That can sometimes be a complicated issue, because some of the “greatest” moments are also the […]
- Doc Soup: Remastered Vietnam War Doc “Hearts and Minds” Back in Theaters
What’s this?!?! A documentary film being remastered and restored and re-released to theaters like it were a regular
.classic film? Okay, so maybe this is not the first time, but it seems that Hearts and Minds, the 1974 Academy Award-winning doc about the Vietnam War, certainly got the royal treatment for its re-release to theaters on […]
- Doc Soup: The Music of Pulling John, Part 2
Last week, Tom interviewed Gary Meister, the composer behind the soundtrack for Pulling John, a film that opened at SXSW over the weekend. This week, he talks to one of the film’s directors, Vassiliki Khonsari, about the vision behind the soundtrack and the collaborative process. What kind of music did you want for the film? […]
- Doc Soup: The Music of Pulling John, Part 1
The SXSW festival kicks off on Friday, March 13, with a slate of interesting docs. I figured this would be a good occasion to start a regular feature on Doc Soup where I highlight what the various behind-the-camera people “do” on a documentary. It ain’t always about the director, as we all know. This week, […]
- Doc Soup: Analyzing the Economic Meltdown
Last October, I railed about how there was a dearth of doc filmmakers tackling the current economic meltdown, pointing out that the usually on-the-ball PBS Frontline series wasn’t stepping into the void. Well, they finally answered the call a couple of weeks ago. And boy, did they present a grim picture. I found Frontline’s “Inside […]
- Handicapping the 2009 Best Doc Oscar Winner
Academy Award forecasting is such fun. I wish I could put together a chart with the various factors that I see determining the film with the best odds of winning the doc Oscar this year. Without a graphics department on my side, I’ll just mention the main variables: quality of film (yes, that matters!), popularity […]
- Doc Soup: Catching Up With Arthur Bradford, Director of 'How's Your News?'
As promised last week, I caught up with Arthur Bradford, the director of the new How’s Your News? doc series on MTV. The show is having a premiere party that includes a screening, a State Radio concert and plenty of partying on Monday night, February 16, at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, so get on […]
- Doc Soup: What's Your Take on 'How's Your News?'
Is it OK to laugh at people with disabilities? A new documentary series, How’s Your News?, that premiered this Sunday on MTV asks that uncomfortable question. It features a bus of people with disabilities who roam the country as reporters, asking folks confounding questions and eliciting laughter in many, and perhaps, horror in some. When […]