- 'Exit Through the Gift Shop': Is it a Doc Or Not?
To paraphrase: If it walks like a doc and it quacks like a doc, then it must be a doc. . . Right? Exit Through the Gift Shop has been running roughshod with this notion, tripping on it, but nevertheless catapulting forward, ever since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January. And after […]
- Doc Soup: Documentary Premieres, Sundance's New Category
No one of us is just one thing. But it’s tempting to think that when we get to know a particular filmmaker, he or she won’t stray too far from the expected. That’s typecasting, which can be a trap, but I think we all do it. Michael Moore makes Michael Moore movies, right? It’s the […]
- Doc Soup: The Documentary Channel: All Docs All the Time
Independent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup. You can also follow Tom on Twitter @DocSoupMan. I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. Do you? I’m talking about The Documentary Channel, which just about says it all right there: It’s a whole channel for people […]
- Doc Soup: Oscars 2010 Short List
The Oscar short list is here! The Oscar short list is here! Last week, to the joy of some and the consternation of others, the 15 films that the Academy documentary committee deemed worthy of a nomination were presented. From those, five films will be picked to be the nominees to win the Oscar. I […]
- Doc Soup: Let the Awards Season Begin
Leaves have fallen and there’s a nip in the air… which means, it must be movie awards season. Yes, in recent weeks, we’ve seen nomination lists released from three outlets: the International Documentary Association, the Gotham Awards and the Cinema Eye Honors. Here are their nominations for Best Doc Feature: Cinema Eye Honors Armadillo — […]
- Doc Soup: Filmmakers and Their Subjects
Documentary filmmakers use their subjects to make films. The subjects are sometimes unaware of how they are being used, so one could make the case that they are being exploited. One way to make up for that exploitation is for the filmmakers to compensate them as advocates or financially. Of course, if the filmmaker and […]
- Doc Soup: The Kids Grow Up
Some subjects just hit closer to home than others. I can’t fully imagine the perspective of a Holocaust survivor when watching The Sorrow and the Pity. And as a child of the 1970s, I got a real kick out of skateboarding doc Dogtown and Z-Boys. But when I heard that Doug Block was making a […]
- Doc Soup: Scary Soup
One day, I think POV should host a Halloween party in which everyone comes as their favorite documentary character or filmmaker. (I think I’d go as R. Crumb.) Until then, let’s celebrate Halloween by considering how the documentary and horror genres overlap. Hell House is the first doc that comes to mind; it’s about these […]
- Doc Soup: Fifteen Who Are Fortyish
I wanted to follow up last week’s list with another engaging list, so I recalled the New Yorker‘s 20 Under 40 list of writers that was released to much fanfare over the summer. And now there’s the newly announced Time Magazine‘s 40 under 40 most promising civic leaders. Well, why not a similar list of […]
- Doc Soup: Top 10 Doc Films with a Social Agenda
We’ve been talking a lot lately in the Doc Soup kitchen about really well made documentaries that actually effect change, so I’ve compiled a list of the Most Aesthetically Accomplished Documentary Films that Come with a Social Agenda. I’m not going to include war documentaries, although there happen to be several excellent ones (Operation Homecoming: […]
- Doc Soup: Is a Remarkable Story Enough?
Serves me right for giving the BBC’s Nick Fraser a hard time about his criticism of social activist documentaries last week. As soon as I put down my pen, I am led like a cow to water, to drink from the very same liberal industrial complex that Fraser decried. I was asked to look at […]
- Doc Soup: Something Rotten in the House of Docs?
There’s something rotten in the house of docs, or so it was declared at last week’s Independent Filmmaker Conference panel discussion entitled "Cage Match: Filmmaking or Social Activism?," expertly moderated by POV’s very own Yance Ford. Ford kicked things off with the question, "Is the medium in an identity crisis?" And panelist Nick Fraser, of […]
- Doc Soup: A Documentary Hoax Revealed
Joaquin Phoenix with David Letterman in 2009. This week, actor Joaquin Phoenix will go on the Late Show and he and David Letterman are going to share some laughs. They will wink and nudge and roll their eyes, indicating that they are being sincerely ironic about the sincerity of what they are talking about — […]
- Doc Soup: 'Kings of Pastry'
They took us into the heart of the Clinton campaign (The War Room). They brought us backstage to see Bob Dylan (Don’t Look Back). And they spent sleepless nights chronicling the dot-com boom (Startup.com). Now, directors Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker go into the depths of . . . pastry-making! What, am I missing […]
- Doc Soup: Doc Highlights at the Toronto International Film Festival
What a great film festival. Maybe it’s how lovely Toronto is in September. Maybe it’s the enthusiastic audiences. Maybe it’s the great restaurants. Or maybe it’s how the festival treats otherwise art-house fare like big blockbusters. These are just a few of the reasons I have always loved the Toronto International Film Festival over the […]
- Doc Soup: Adopting Parenthood
Normally with this blog, I like to approach the form, aesthetics, politics and/or cultural context of the documentaries I write about, but for this week’s POV airing of Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy, I find myself thinking about just the content. It’s no doubt because I recently experienced the birth of my second […]
- Doc Soup: Daydreaming About The Edge of Dreaming
I had a dream… A Hollywood agent was sitting on a yoga mat somewhere in Santa Monica and a studio executive was sitting next to him. They began to talk. Hollywood Agent: Look, last night I saw this reality show on PBS… Studio Executive: …I think they call them documentaries… HA: Yeah, maybe. Whatever. So, […]
- Doc Soup: 'The Tillman Story'
I’m back! I’ve been out of commission the last few weeks, because there’s a new baby in the Soup Man’s kitchen, and, well, new babies can be very demanding. But I had to take off my baby-bottle goggles to tell you about a great documentary that’s coming out this Friday, August 20. Pat Tillman, left, […]