Documentaries

Tanya Tagaq Voices Inuit Womanhood in ‘Nanook of the North’

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Director Robert Flaherty not only framed Inuit womanhood according to his fantasies of casual sensuality, but according to Euro-American patriarchal fantasy. His portrait of Inuit life is neatly divided between the woman’s role, limited to cleaning igloos and nursing infants, apparently immune to the frustrations of Euro-American women in that role, and the man’s role, leading the band, educating older children, and hunting.

Abortion in America: Dawn Porter’s ‘Trapped’

Trapped

The perspectives many of us are unfamiliar with are the brave abortion providers, lawyers, and clinic workers who fight every single day to try and give (and protect) medical care to the people who need abortions, and the people most often impacted by lack of abortion access: women of color and poor women. This is the narrative that Dawn Porter provides as the backbone to ‘Trapped,’ and it’s astonishing.

The Women of the New York Film Festival 2016

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The New York Film Festival (NYFF) wraps up this weekend. Here are the best of films about women or directed by women (or both) that still have NYFF weekend screenings (including some “encore” shows on Sunday) or are streaming or open today in theaters: including Ava DuVernay’s ’13th,’ Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Certain Women,’ and Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Julieta.’

‘Best of Enemies’: When Politics Was All About Men

Best of Enemies

Out queer writer Gore Vidal was prescient in discussing the danger of self-labeled “conservative” Republicans (“reactionary” has always been a better term for them). In 1968, as part of network news coverage of the political conventions Vidal debated William F. Buckley, the loathsome “conservative” stalwart… In their debates, Vidal describes Buckley’s rhetoric as “always to the right and almost always in the wrong.” The debates are the focus of Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s documentary ‘Best of Enemies.’

Making a DVD for Your Independent Film: It’s Not What it Seems!

Jillian Corsie with Trichster

Making a DVD is fairly easy! I’ve done this loads of times before! All you need is a menu, a ProRes file, and DVD Studio Pro. Then you burn to your heart’s desire. Shouldn’t take me more than a few weeks to get these all finished, right? Wrong. I was so wrong! But now I’m a pro, and I’m going to tell you how to be one too.

‘Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten’: Rock ‘n’ Roll, the ’60s and Genocide

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Because no archival photos and footage of most of the Pol Pot era exists, films about the Cambodian genocide have had to use creative ways to tell what happened. The Oscar-nominated documentary ‘The Missing Picture’ from a couple of years ago used clay figurines as a visual complement to the narration. John Pirozzi’s ‘Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten’ uses the popular music of Cambodia in the ’60s and ’70s (and the artists who made it) to detail the country’s trajectory.

‘An Open Secret’ Many Don’t Want To Know

OpenSecretEvan

This time Berg focuses on sexual abuse of children in Hollywood, perpetrated specifically by managers and other adults in positions of authority over male child actors. The 13-year-old girl Polanski raped was an an aspiring model, who believed that he was going to put her photo in French ‘Vogue.’ The boys–now all grown men–interviewed in ‘Secret’ believed that their managers and other adults who abused them were key to their careers and would blackball them if they spoke up, so kept quiet.

‘One Cut, One Life’: Love, Death, and Jealousy

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First person documentary filmmakers Ed Pincus and Lucia Small are no strangers to letting an audience in on their family “secrets”: Small in ‘My Father, The Genius,’ a film about her own father and their ambivalent relationship, and Pincus in ‘Diaries,’ in which he filmed both his girlfriend and wife in 1970s Cambridge, the latter–in one scene that seems to sum up the post-hippie atmosphere of the time and place–nude and playing a flute.

A Portrait of Tragedy and Promise: ‘God Sleeps in Rwanda’

God Sleeps in Rwanda poster

Over a 100-day period between April and July 1994, the world stood by while Rwanda’s extremist Hutu government instructed its supporters to massacre 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Mariel Hemingway: ‘Running From Crazy’

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Most of us, to some extent, want to get away from the families we grew up in, to not be reminded of the people we were at 5, 10, or 15. Actress Mariel Hemingway had more reason than most: not only did her famous grandfather, Ernest, kill himself in his home, not too far from the house where she grew up, but her parents had their own problems, spending their nights drinking in the kitchen, then fighting, sometimes breaking glass and drawing blood, which Mariel, when she was still a child, would clean up.

The Gifted Girls of Bekoji: A Review of ‘Town of Runners’

Town of Runners

Directed by Jerry Rothwell, ‘Town of Runners’ is a 2012 documentary about promising young athletes from the highland town of Bekoji in Ethiopia. It’s a very special place, Bekoji. A remarkably high number of world-class runners have been trained there, including the great 10,000 and 5,000 meter Olympic champion, Tirunesh Dibaba, and 10,000 meter sporting pioneer, Derartu Tulu, the first African woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

Ten Documentaries About Political Women

In Her Own Words

A pioneering advocate for gender equality, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, and cultural icon, Gloria Steinem has played a prominent role in modern American history. The HBO-produced profile ‘In Her Own Words’ features thoughtful interviews with the woman herself as well as fascinating archival footage. Steinem comes across as sincere and engaging while clips of central moments in 70s women’s history capture the energy and spirit of feminist activism.