News Stories about Documentary Films

The occasional news story about documentary films (and more) from a variety of sources. 

Episode #56

Called "harrowing" by NPR and listed as a new documentary to watch by CBS News, new WMM release BELLY OF THE BEAST will open at the Roxiein San Francisco on 10/14, the Laemmle Theather in LAthe O Cinema in MiamiAFI Silver in DC on 10/16, and venues in New Orleans, Seattle, and New York before going on to other theaters around the country.

This powerful film, made by Peabody and Emmy Award-winning and nominated filmmakers, has an original song from nine-time Grammy-winning singer Mary J. Blige. "I was moved by Erika Cohn’s important documentary," said Blige, "I immediately knew I wanted to be involved and was inspired to write a song that would amplify the voices of women in prison." Variety recently announced that Blige's song will be submitted for Oscar consideration for Best Original Song. Hear a portion of the song in the trailer.

With recent stories in the New York Times, NPR, and other outlets about unnecessary hysterectomies being performed in ICE detention centers, the release of BELLY OF THE BEAST, an investigation of forced sterilizations in California prisons, could not be more timely.

The film -- which has attracted the attention of celebrities such as Common, QTip, and Yvette Brown -- premiered as the opening night film at Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New York in June and has upcoming festival screenings at the Mill Valley Film Festival and the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival.

Now available for pre-order for sale and to book for virtual screenings

September 7, 2020

Profile of Netflix's Reed Hastings

from Vanity Fair

by Joy Press


August 29, 2020

NY Times story

on "Honeyland"

and what the filmmakers are still dealing with. 


July 29, 2020

New PBS Documentary channel on Amazon Prime

June 29, 2020

Jukin Media Surpasses $25 million in

Royalty payments to Video Creators

(See episode # 37)


July 1, 2020

Deepfake Technology Enters the Documentary World

June 30, 2020

New Academy Members in the Documentary branch of the AMPAS

Shirley Abraham – “The Hour of Lynching,” “The Cinema Travellers”
Joelle Alexis – “The Green Prince,” “A Film Unfinished”
Cristina Amaral – “Um Filme de Verão (A Summer Film),” “Person”
Liran Atzmor – “King Bibi,” “The Law in These Parts”
Violeta Ayala – “Cocaine Prison,” “The Bolivian Case”
Julia Bacha – “Naila and the Uprising,” “Budrus”
Robert Bahar – “The Silence of Others,” “Made in L.A.”
Nels Bangerter – “Cameraperson,” “Let the Fire Burn”
Malek Bensmaïl – “The Battle of Algiers, a Film within History,” “La Chine Est Encore Loin (China Is Still Far)”
Sara Bernstein – “Rebuilding Paradise,” “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley”
Yael Bitton – “Advocate,” “Machines”
Garrett Bradley – “Time,” “Alone”
Salem Brahimi – “Abd El-Kader,” “Africa Is Back”
Vincent Carelli – “Martírio,” “Corumbiara: They Shoot Indians, Don’t They?”
Almudena Carracedo – “The Silence of Others,” “Made in L.A.”
Paola Castillo – “Beyond My Grandfather Allende,” “Genoveva”
Daniel Chalfen – “The Infiltrators,” “Silenced”
Chaowei Chang – “Chong Tian (The Rocking Sky),” “The Road to Fame”
Lisa Kleiner Chanoff – “Life Overtakes Me,” “Watchers of the Sky”
Alison Chernick – “Itzhak,” “Matthew Barney: No Restraint”
Kasper Collin – “I Called Him Morgan,” “My Name Is Albert Ayler”
Inadelso Cossa – “A Memory in Three Acts,” “Xilunguine, the Promised Land”
Laura Coxson – “The Proposal,” “Iris”
Maria Cuomo Cole – “Newtown,” “Living for 32”
Emma Davie – “Becoming Animal,” “I Am Breathing”
Adam Del Deo – “Quincy,” “Every Little Step”
Whitney Dow – “When the Drum Is Beating,” “Two Towns of Jasper”
Kelly Duane de La Vega – “The Return,” “Better This World”
Sandi Dubowski – “A Jihad for Love,” “Trembling before G-d”
Carol Dysinger – “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” “Camp Victory,Afghanistan”
Paz Encina – “Memory Exercises,” “Paraguayan Hammock”
Ali Essafi – “Sheikhates Blues,” “Général, Nous Voilà!”
Ina Fichman – “The Oslo Diaries,” “The Wanted 18”
David France – “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” “How to Survive a Plague”
Asako Fujioka – “Shukufuku (Blessed)”
Atanas Georgiev* – “Honeyland,” “Cash & Marry”
Linda Goldstein Knowlton – “We Are the Radical Monarchs,” “Somewhere Between”
Robert Greene – “Bisbee ’17,” “Kate Plays Christine”
Pernille Rose Grønkjær – “Hunting for Hedonia,” “The Monastery”
Tala Hadid – “House in the Fields,” “Windsleepers”
Amelia Hapsari – “Rising in Silence,” “Fight like Ahok”
John Haptas – “Life Overtakes Me,” “Tokyo Waka”
Jessica Hargrave – “Ask Dr. Ruth,” “Good Ol’ Freda”
Monica Weston Hellström – “The Distant Barking of Dogs,” “15 Min – The Massacre”
Sonja Henrici – “Donkeyote,” “I Am Breathing”
Jerry Henry – “City of Gold,” “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” Alice Henty – “The Dog Doc,” “The Work”
Robin Hessman – “Simple as Water,” “My Perestroika”
Nishtha Jain – “Gulabi Gang,” “Lakshmi and Me”
Rachel Leah Jones – “Advocate,” “Gypsy Davy”
Gary Byung-Seok Kam – “In the Absence,” “Planet of Snail”
Toni Kamau – “I Am Samuel,” “Softie”
Anne Köhncke – “Pervert Park,” “The Act of Killing”
Tamara Kotevska* – “Honeyland,” “Lake of Apples”
Hajooj Kuka – “Live from Mogadishu,” “Beats of the Antonov”
Richard Ladkani – “Sea of Shadows,” “The Ivory Game”
Véronique Lagoarde-Ségot – “Amal,” “5 Broken Cameras”
Peter Lataster – “Miss Kiet’s Children,” “Awake in a Bad Dream”
Petra Lataster-Czisch – “Miss Kiet’s Children,” “Awake in a Bad Dream”
Erez Laufer – “Rabin in His Own Words,” “One Day after Peace”
Monica Lazurean-Gorgan – “A Mere Breath,” “Chuck Norris vs. Communism”
Bo Li – “Our Time Machine,” “Plastic China”
Allyson Luchak – “This Is Not a Movie,” “One Nation under Dog”
Amit Madheshiya – “The Hour of Lynching,” “The Cinema Travellers”
Vinnie Malhotra – “16 Shots,” “Ivory Tower”
Jeffrey Malmberg – “Spettacolo,” “Marwencol”
Vitaly Mansky – “Putin’s Witnesses,” “Under the Sun”
Andrea Meditch – “Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops,” “Grizzly Man”
Thomas G. Miller – “Limited Partnership,” “One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story”

Todd Douglas Miller – “Apollo 11,” “Dinosaur 13”
Rima Mismar
Nicole Newnham – “Crip Camp,” “The Rape of Europa”
Bianca Oana – “Colectiv (Collective),” “Turn Off the Lights”
Jacki Ochs – “Out of My Head,” “Letters Not about Love”
Mariana Oliva – “The Edge of Democracy,” “Piripkura”
Göran Hugo Olsson – “That Summer,” “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975”
Deborah Oppenheimer – “Foster,” “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport”

Iván Osnovikoff – “Los Reyes,” “La Muerte de Pinochet (The Death of Pinochet)”
Tiago Pavan – “The Edge of Democracy,” “Olmo and the Seagull”
Bettina Perut – “Los Reyes,” “La Muerte de Pinochet (The Death of Pinochet)”
Nicolas Philibert – “To Be and to Have,” “In the Land of the Deaf”
Diane Quon – “The Dilemma of Desire,” “Minding the Gap”
Claudia Raschke – “RBG,” “Mad Hot Ballroom”
Marina Razbezhkina – “Optical Axis,” “Winter, Go Away!”
Jeff Reichert – “American Factory,” “Remote Area Medical”
Lisa Remington – “Foster,” “Feminists: What Were They Thinking?”
Yoruba Richen – “The New Black,” “Promised Land”
Jihan Robinson – “Pahokee,” “Traveling While Black”
Marta Rodriguez – “Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future,” “Campesinos (Peasants)”
Erich Roland – “The Final Year,” “Waiting for “Superman””
Maureen A. Ryan – “1971,” “Wisconsin Death Trip”
Sophie Sartain – “Seeing Allred,” “Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh”

Elhum Shakerifar – “Of Love & Law,” “Even When I Fall”
Karin Slater – “Sisters of the Wilderness,” “The Meaning of the Buffalo”
Jason Spingarn-Koff – “The White Helmets,” “Life 2.0”
Ljubo Stefanov* – “Honeyland,” “Lake of Apples”
Michèle Stephenson – “American Promise,” “Slaying Goliath”
David Tedeschi – “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese,” “George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
Douglas Tirola – “Bisbee ’17,” “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead”
Mila Turajlic – “The Other Side of Everything,” “Cinema Komunisto”
Noland Walker – “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story,” “Citizen King”
Yvonne Welbon – “The New Black,” “Sisters in Cinema”
Chris White – “Midnight Traveler,” “Quest”
Yi Seung-Jun – “In the Absence,” “Planet of Snail”
Donald Young – “Daze of Justice,” “Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings”
Miranda Yousef – “Misconception,” “Troubadours”
Yolande Zauberman – “M,” “Classified People”
Zhou Hao – “The Chinese Mayor,” “Cotton”
Michel Zongo – “No Gold for Kalsaka,” “The Siren of Faso Fani”

June 10, 2020

Peabody Awards announced today include;

"For Sama," Westdoc Online episode # 35 and

"Hale County, This Morning, This Evening" ep # 21


May 14, 2020

New Oscar® Eligibility Rules

from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 

for this year's Documentaries.

Scott Feinberg Hollywood Reporter story here

May 7, 2020.  Director Matt Wolf, who we interviewed in episode 48, just released his latest documentary, "SPACESHIP EARTH." From the LA Times review; For two years, from 1991 to 1993, eight men and women sealed themselves inside this eight-story, three-acre terrarium and made it their research laboratory and their home. It was a scientific experiment and a domestic one, a test of how humankind might endure in a self-enclosed environment on this planet or the next. Watch the trailer here

May 8, 2020  Hollywood film on hold, but documentary producers keep on shooting. NY Times story here.



Netfllix puts 10 documentaries on

Youtube free. See the story here.

Here is part of an email just received (May 7, 2020) from the Television Academy Documentary Peer Group;

Today, the Television Academy announced its support for the recent decision of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to allow feature films, originally intended for theatrical distribution but made available via streaming or video on demand during the current pandemic crisis, to compete at the 2021 Oscars. Further, the Television Academy noted its recent March ruling: that effective in 2021, any program that has been nominated for an Oscar will no longer be eligible for the Emmys competition.

Scott Feinberg (Westdoc episode # 1) of the Hollywood Reporter doesn't think the Television Academy has gone far enough. See the story here

The New York Times just ran a story about the latest film featured on Westdoc Online; "Made You Look" by BARRY AVRICH. Take a look here.

Quibi launched April 6th. Here is the first review I found;


The Academy Award noms & winners 
Feature Docs:

"American Factory" Oscar winner
"The Cave"
"The Edge of Democracy"
"For Sama" (Westdoc episode # 35)
"Honeyland" (Westdoc episode # 36)

Documentary Shorts:
“In the Absence” 
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone

(If You’re a Girl)” Oscar winner
“Life Overtakes Me” 
“St. Louis Superman" (Westdoc episode # 46)
“Walk Run Cha-Cha” 

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