Short Takes, November 2002
Sundance Announces International Doc Initiative
The 2003 Sundance Film Festival will introduce a new initiative designed to showcase documentary films from around the world. The World Cinema program, which highlights over 30 feature-length fiction films, will include a section of international documentary films.
Diane Weyermann, director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Program, and Geoffrey Gilmore, director of the Sundance Film Festival, will oversee the selection process. “The diversity of work from around the world in documentary film is astounding,” says Weyermann in a prepared statement. “It will be a pleasure to introduce these projects to American audiences through the Sundance Film Festival.”
Next Wave Closes Its Doors
Next Wave Films, the finishing fund company founded by the Independent Film Channel in 1996, was shut down in August. The company was founded on the belief that creativity, originality, and passion will prevail whatever the budget. Dedicated to showing the power of digital moviemaking, Next Wave both financed and finished digital movies that could not have been made on film, and helped filmmakers understand how new digital tools could empower them via presentations, articles and their website.
During its run, Next Wave was involved with such successes as the Academy Award-nominated documentary Sound and Fury, Judith Helfand’s award-winning Blue Vinyl, and David Shapiro and Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s documentary Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale.
In a farewell letter to the industry, the Next Wave team stated, “We created Next Wave Films to help exceptional filmmakers launch their careers. We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to provide vital support to a roster of remarkable filmmakers. They are well on their way and will be making amazing movies for years to come. We would like to thank the Independent Film Channel for financing Next Wave through five and a half exhilarating years…Though the company has closed, we believe the spirit of Next Wave will live on. Thank you for all of your incredible support, and keep on fighting to make extraordinary movies.”
Facets Releases Doc on The Greatest
Facets Video will be releasing Muhammad Ali The Greatest, “the best and truest film on Muhammad Ali,” on DVD in January 2003. Photographer/filmmaker William Klein projects his gritty, glamorous style onto Ali’s sheer awesome charisma, showing Ali at the height of his career from the 1964 Liston Fight to the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman.
Cinerama Plays Cinerama Dome
“And this is Cinerama!" Those four words, uttered on film by Lowell Thomas for the first time 50 years ago, have led to technological advancements in the presentation of film that are thrilling audiences to this day. Last month, Pacific Theatres and their new theater concept, ArcLight Cinemas, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the ground-breaking film This is Cinerama by presenting a completely reconstructed print in its original three-strip format, using three separate restored Cinerama projectors. This marks the first time a Cinerama film has ever been shown in its true format on the Los Angeles-based Cinerama Dome's vast curved screen, despite the venue being constructed in 1963 for that specific purpose.
Estela Bravo’s Latest: Fidel
As Fidel Castro nears 44 years as the leader of Cuba, there are many who see him as a champion of the poor and powerless and others who say he is a ruthless dictator. All agree that Fidel Castro is one of the most influential and controversial figures of our time. The new documentary film by Estela Bravo, Fidel, offers a unique opportunity to view the man through exclusive interviews with Castro himself, historians, public figures and close friends, with footage from the Cuban State archives. Rarely are Americans given a chance to see inside the world of this socialist leader.
Estela Bravo is an American documentary filmmaker who for the past 40 years has divided her time between the United States and Latin America. Her 30 award-winning films have focused on events throughout Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and the US and have been shown on many international television stations. At present, she is completing Operation Peter Pan, the story of 14,000 Cuban children whose parents sent them to the US in the early years of the Revolution. She is also working on The Found Children of Argentina, a sequel to her earlier film, The Missing Children.
Fidel was released last month in New York City by First Fun Features.
FESTIVAL WRAP UP
Anna Jones’ Sky High won the Saltire Society Grierson award for short documentary at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
The 11th Annual Heartland Film Festival gave Crystal Heart Awards to the following films: Documentary Feature—Beyond the Gates (USA; Bearing Fruit Communications; Prod.: Kevin McAfee; Dir/Wtr.: Jim Hanon); For Gold and Glory (USA; Todd Gould Productions, Inc.; Prod./Dir./Wtr.: Todd Gould); and OT: Our Town (USA; OT Films/Stressbox Inc.; Prod./Dir.: Scott Hamilton Kennedy). Documentary Short—A Final Journey: Tom Stoll (USA; CMC Media Group; Prod./Dir./Wtr.: John C. Commorato); and The Collector of Bedford Street (USA; Welcome Change Productions; Prods.: Alice Elliott, Vickie Kenny; Dir.: Alice Elliott). The Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Award was awarded to Nine (USA; Prods.: Jennifer Campbell, Ellen Harder; Dir.: Jennifer Campbell) and the President’s Choice for Documentary Feature was awarded to Uncertain Tomorrow (USA; Prods.: Tyler Stutzman, Preston Stutzman; Dir.: Tyler Stutzman).
The Fifth Annual ARPA Foundation For Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) International Film Festival nominated the following film in the “Best Documentary – ARPA Category”: Cathy Berberian: Music is the Air I Breathe [(USA), Producer: VPRO-TV]; Dark Forest in the Mountains [(USA), Producer: Roger Kupelian]; Jews in Armenia: The Hidden Diaspora [(USA), Producer: Vartan Akchyan]; and The Naming [(USA), Producer: Eileen Claveloux]. Nominated in the “Best Documentary – World Category” were: Cockfight [(USA), Producers: Tiller Russel, Loren Mendel]; The Dark I Must Not Name [(India), Producer: Mamesh Mathai]; and The Last editor: The Jim Bellows Story [(USA), Producers: IDA Members Christopher Carson and Steven Latham]. AFFMA was founded in 1995 to provide support to filmmakers exploring subjects of social and cultural importance.
The Women’s Image Network created the WIN Awards to applaud those in film and television who "tell women’s stories well." This year’s doc recipients include Beneath The Veil (Prod./Journalist: Saira Shah) and Sheryl Crow: Behind The Music (Prods: Paul Gallagher, Justin Sturken, Mark Ford, Andrea Buchanan, Jill Modabber).
For his pioneering contributions as an Asian American in independent filmmaking and public television, Michael Chin was named the recipient of the 2002 Steve Tatsukawa Memorial Fund Award. The award was established to recognize those who carry on Tatsukawa’s legacy of community service and commitment to the advancement of the Asian Pacific American media arts. Chin’s numerous credits as a cinematographer include The Color of Honor, the story of the 100th/442/MIS; Eyes on the Prize, a landmark public television series on the Civil Rights movement; and The Great Depression, which chronicled a decisive era in American history. This past July, Chin was nominated for a Prime-Time Emmy Award, “Outstanding Cinematography for Non-Fiction Programming,” for his camera work on the PBS documentary Ansel Adams.
Blue Vinyl, a project of Working Films, is the recipient of the 2002 Environmental Messenger of the Year award. The award is presented by the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA). The film, directed by Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold, and co-produced with Julia D. Parker, was selected from nominations made by members of EGA, an organization of over 250 foundations with a common interest in protecting the natural environment. The award was developed to recognize innovative efforts to communicate environmental issues.
The Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) presented the James D. Phelan Art Award in Video to Torsten Zenas Burns and Douglas Rosenberg. The award honors California-born artists whose body of work merits recognition for its creativity, innovation and contribution to the language of video.
Following is the condensed list of the News and Documentary Emmy winners presented by the National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences in New York City: Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story - Long Form: “Against All Odds” (NBC – Dateline NBC; David Corvo, Ex. Prod.; John Hockenberry, Corr.) and “Twist Of Fate” (CBS - CBS News Sunday Morning; Rand Morrison, Ex. Prod.; Martha Teichner, Corr.); Outstanding Coverage Of A Continuing News Story – Long Form: “Romania: Children For Sale” (ABC – ABC News 20/20; David Sloan, Janice Tomlin, Ex. Prods; Tom Jerriel, Corr.); and “Unholy War” (CNN – CNN Presents; David Henshaw, Vivian Schiller, Ex. Prods.; Saira Shah, Reporter); Outstanding Feature Story – Long Form: “Her Lost World” (ABC - ABC News 20/20; David Sloan, Ex. Prod.; Deborah Roberts, Corr.); Outstanding Background/ Analysis of a Single Current Story – Long Form: “Bioterror” (PBS – NOVA; Paula S. Apsell, Lawrie Mifflin, Michael Oreskes, Charles Tremayne, Ex. Prods.; Matthew Collins, Kirk Wolfinger, prods.); Inside Flight 93 (TLC; Brett Alexander, Stephen H. Schwartz, Tom Seligson; Ex. Prods.; Todd Auslander, Linda Martin, Chris Weicher, Char Woods, Emily M. Bernstein, David Small, Mike Baluzy, Peter Stader, Kendrick Simmons; Prods.); and Promises (PBS/ITVS – P.O.V.; Janet Cole, Sally Jo Fifer, Cara Mertes, Ex. Prods.; B.Z. Goldberg, Justine Shapiro, Prods.); Outstanding Investigative Journalism – Long Form: Beneath The Veil (CNN – CNN Presents; David Henshaw, Vivian Schiller, Ex. Prods.; Saira Shah, Reporter); The Carpet Slaves: Stolen Children Of India (HBO - Cinemax Reel Life; Grant McKee, Sheila Nevins, Ex. Prods.; Kate Blewett, Brian Woods, Prods.); and Trade Secrets: A Moyers Report (PBS; Judy Doctoroff O'Neill, Judith Davidson Moyers, Ex. Prods.; Judith Davidson Moyers, Bill Moyers, Ex. Eds.); Outstanding Informational Programming – Long Form: “Forever Fourteen” (PBS - Life 360: A Place In Time; Tom Bettag, John Lindsay, Janet Tobias, Ex. Prods.; Dan Morris, Sen. Prod.); and She Says/Women In News (PBS; Joan Konner, Ex. Prod.; Barbara Rick, Prod.); Outstanding Science And Nature Programming – Long Form: The Natural History of the Chicken (PBS – PBS Special; Charles Furneaux, Gregory Diefenbach, Ex. Prods.; Mark Lewis, Prod.); Outstanding Historical Documentary - Long Form: Korean War Stories (PBS – PBS Special; Phylis Geller, Ex. Prod.; Robert Uth, Prod.); Best Report in a News Magazine In 2001: “No Greater Love: The Story Of Flight 93” (NBC – Dateline NBC; David Corvo, Ex. Prod.; Ellen Mason, Prod.); Best Documentary in 2001: Promises (PBS/ITVS – P.O.V. ; Janet Cole, Sally Jo Fifer, Cara Mertes, Ex. Prods.; B.Z. Goldberg, Justine Shapiro, Prods.); Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing: Life’s Greatest Miracle (PBS – NOVA; Julia Cort); Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Direction: Exodus From Africa With Sorious Samura (CNN – CNN Presents; Dollan Cannell); Of Civil Wrongs And Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story (PBS – P.O.V. Eric Paul Fournier); and The Natural History of the Chicken (PBS – PBS National Special; Charles Furneaux, Gregory Diefenbach, Ex. Prods.; Mark Lewis, Prod.); Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research: The Carpet Slaves: Stolen Children of India (HBO – Cinemax Reel Life; Kate Blewett, Brian Woods); Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Cinematography: Afghanistan Revealed (MSNBC – National Geographic Explorer; Stephen Cocklin, Charles Poe, Yusuf Jannesar); Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Editing: Of Civil Wrongs And Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story (PBS – P.O.V.; Eric Paul Fournier, Jean Kawahara); and Suicide (HBO – HBO: America Undercover; Patrick Gambuti, Jr.); Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Graphic and Artistic Design: Vermeer: Master Of Light (PBS; Carol Hilliard, Robert Grove); Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Music and Sound: Haunt Of The Hippo (MSNBC: National Geographic Explorer; Trevor Barber, Nelson Funk, Lenny Williams, Chris Biondi, Mark Deeble, Victoria Stone, Tim Owens, Mike Kelly).
The following are the Primetime Emmy Award winners in the nonfiction categories: Outstanding Non-Fiction Special (Informational): 9/11 (CBS; Goldfish Pictures; Silverstar Productions LLC in association with CBS; Jules Naudet, Gedeon Naudet, James Hanlon, Ex. Prods./Dirs.; Susan Zirinsky, Graydon Carter, David Friend, Ex. Prods.; Hal Gessner, Sup. Prod.; Tom Forman, Sen. Prod./Wtr.; Richard Barber, Michael J. Maloy, Bruce Spiegel, Mead Stone, Paul LaRosa, Prods.; Rob Klug, Dir.; Greg Kandra, Wtr. Outstanding Non-Fiction Series (Informational): Biography (A&E; Vanness Films for A&E Television; CarolAnne Dolan, Kevin Burns Ex. Prods.; Maryellen Cox, Kerry Jensen, Sup. Prods.; Jeanne Begley, Prod./Dir.; Gidion Phillips, Wtr. Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Reality): The Osbournes ( MTV; MTV Networks; Lois Curren, R. Greg Johnston, Jeff Stilson, Ex. Prods. Jonathan Taylor, Sup. Prod.; Sharon Osbourne, Rod Aissa, Prods.