Best Documentary Shortlist Announced; Includes THE ACT OF KILLING, STORIES WE TELL, and 20 FEET FROM STARDOM

by     Posted 332 days ago

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The Academy’s rules for Best Documentary are so arbitrary and asinine that I always hold my breath when it comes to their shortlist.  A list of final nominees is frustrating in any category, but it’s infuriating when a good film doesn’t even get a chance to compete.  Thankfully, there are plenty of good choices among this year’s shortlist.  The films eligible for a Best Documentary Oscar nomination include The Act of Killing (I’d be ballistic if this wasn’t in the running; my review), Cutie and the Boxer, God Loves Uganda, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, Stories We Tell (my review, although the movie didn’t hold up as well on a repeat viewing), and 20 Feet From Stardom (my review).  If you have HBO GO, you can check out Pussy Riot along with other shortlisted docs The Crash Reel, First Cousin Once Removed, and Life According to Sam.  As far as snubs go, I wish Casting By was in the running, but considering that it directly criticizes the Academy for not having an award for casting directors, I’m not surprised by its exclusion.

Hit the jump for the full shortlist.  Nominations for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced on January 16th.

FRUITVALE Wins 2013 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award

by     Posted 1 year, 277 days ago

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Ryan Coogler‘s Fruitvale made audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival weep with the true story of Oscar Grant, who was murdered by BART Station police in 2009.  At last night’s awards ceremony, Coogler’s debut feature was awarded with both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, which made it the first film to win in both categories since 2009′s Precious.  The Weinstein Company picked up the movie for $2 million after a heated bidding war, and I would expect a release sometime later this year.  Click here for my review.

Other winners included This Is Martin Bonner for “Best of NEXT” (voters must have connected with a movie where nothing happens), best screenwriting for Lake Bell for In a World… (click here for my review), and Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley for their tremendous performances in The Spectacular Now.  Hit the jump for the full list of winners.

Sundance 2013 Doc Acquisitions: TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, DIRTY WARS, PUSSY RIOT, THE BITTER BUDDAH, and WILD IN THE STREETS

by     Posted 1 year, 283 days ago

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Several Sundance documentaries found a distribution deal this weekend:

  • Radius-TWC picked up Twenty Feet from Stardom, a documentary about the back up singers to the world’s greatest industry legends.  Read Matt’s review here.
  • Sundance Selects acquired Dirty Wars, which “follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill on an unexpected journey as he chasesdown the truth behind America’s covert wars.”
  • HBO Documentary Films made a deal for Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, about the feminist band Pussy Riot, who was arrested after they performed a “punk prayer” inside Russia’s main cathedral.
  • Gravitas Ventures picked up two documentaries.  The Bitter Buddah centers on “comic’s comic” Eddie Pepitone and features original animation and interviews with admiring peers like Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and Zach Galifianakis.  Wild in the Streets chronicles Shrovetide Football, a truly unique 8-hour sports game that two small towns in England compete in each year.  Gravitas also acquired Michael Urie‘s comedy He’s Way More Famous Than You, about a struggling actress who sets out to make a movie that will revitalize her career.

Hit the jump for the press releases with all the details.

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