Tom RostonIndependent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @DocSoupMan.

Doc Soup: Looking Forward to the Oscars

by |

Now that Sundance is over, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the Oscar nominees for Best Documentary:

No End In Sight
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Operation Homecoming: Writing The Wartime Experience
Richard E. Robbins
Sicko
Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
Taxi To The Dark Side
Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
War/Dance
Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

What a great list! I might be in the minority, but I’ll start the chant: Three cheers for the Academy! Hip, hip, hooray! You’ve heard me griping about the underappreciated War/Dance and Operation Homecoming, so I feel this is much-needed vindication for both films… but only if people get to see them, right? I suppose it’ll be helpful to market the DVDs, but I’d love to see these two back in theaters soon. So are there any plans for theatrical re-releases? Sadly, director Richard Robbins informs me that there is no such future for Homecoming. The film never landed a proper theatrical distributor and the movie is already out on DVD — so I’ll shill for the home team and say you should buy it at the PBS website. And hopefully, this’ll mean that Robbins gets some more clout to get his next film before a wider audience.

As for War/Dance, distributor ThinkFilm is bumping up their platform release of that wonderful movie. They’re actually re-releasing the film in New York City and LA this weekend. And they’ve added some cities as a result of the nod: Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City and Santa Fe will all get a chance to catch the film in theaters thanks to the wisdom of the Academy voters. The DVD comes out on April 15.

And onto other Oscar matters… It’s interesting to peruse the credits of the Documentary Shorts nominees:
Freeheld
Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
La Corona (The Crown)
Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
Salim Baba
Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
Sari’s Mother
James Longley

There’s Cyntha Wade, who’s been making docs for more than ten years. I haven’t seen any of her films, but I feel like I should have; Amanda Micheli was the cinematographer on Thin, the searing story about eating disorders directed by Lauren Greenfield; Francisco Bello was an editorial assistant on Fahrenheit 9/11; and James Longley directed the great Iraq in Fragments. A strong group, I’d say. I thought I’d try to provide links in case you’re interested in seeing these shorts, and I came up with two: here’s Freeheld, there’s and for Sari’s Mother.

And if you know how to track down the other two films, please drop a line in the soup.

Tom Roston
Tom Roston
Tom Roston is a guest columnist for POV's documentary blog. He comes to us as a ten-year veteran of Premiere magazine, where he was a Senior Editor, and where he wrote the column, Notes from the Dream Factory. Tom was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Brown University and started his career in journalism at The Nation and then Vanity Fair. Tom has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, New York, Elle and other publications. Tom's favorite documentaries are: 1. Koyanisqaatsi - Godfrey Reggio 2. Hoop Dreams - Steve James 3. The Up series - Michael Apted 4. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 5. Capturing the Friedmans - Andrew Jarecki