Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Yes Men, Con Men and a Trans Man: What to See at DOC NYC

DOC NYC, “America’s largest documentary festival,” certainly lives up to its billing. With a whopping 153 films and events, there’s quite a bit to navigate, from critically acclaimed historic revivals to Toronto darlings to fresh premieres. For this fifth edition several sections have been broadened, and a few themes even added. There’s now “Centerstage” (performance focused films), “Jock Docs” (sports-centric flicks), “Fight the Power” (activist docs) and, perhaps most stimulating for nonfiction geeks, “Docs Redux.” That would be a sidebar of seven oldies but goodies, most with their legendary directors – Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker and Albert Maysles, all three receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards – in attendance. Though you can’t go wrong catching any of this section’s foolproof films, this might be an especially apropos time to revisit the Oscar-snubbed Hoop Dreams. Director Steve James will be presenting his unlikely cult hit, which marks its 20th anniversary this year and has been making celebratory doc fest rounds.

To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

“Homme Less” in DOC NYC: An Interview with Director Thomas Wirthensohn and Subject Mark Reay

Making its North American debut in the Metropolis section at DOC NYC, Thomas Wirthensohn’s beautifully crafted “Homme Less” follows the quintessentially eccentric New Yorker Mark Reay. At 52, the still dashing and debonair, former international model now strives to make a living as a fashion photographer and bit actor (the “Men in Black” franchise is just one of his gigs). When not working out at the gym or editing photos at Starbucks, Reay attends Fashion Week and all the right downtown parties. Then he goes home. Not to the Chelsea loft he maintained for years, but to his friend’s rooftop (unbeknownst to the friend), where he sleeps under a tarp.

I spoke with Austrian director Wirthensohn and “homme less” subject Reay prior to the film’s DOC NYC premiere at the IFC Center on November 15th. To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Amazing Randi & Me!

And James Randi’s husband Deyvi Peña. And An Honest Liar co-director Tyler Measom. And a packed house at this year’s Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. What a trip!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Ethics of Documentary Filmmaking

At this year’s Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Indiewire’s Casey Cipriani spoke with some of our guests – including legendary Kartemquin Films co-founder Gordon Quinn – about where to draw the line (or not!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What It's Like to Be the Subject of a Documentary Film

Indiewire's Casey Cipriani sat down with some of our guests at this year's Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Being Barack: An Interview with “Bronx Obama” Director Ryan Murdock

Originally titled “The Audacity of Louis Ortiz,” Ryan Murdock’s “Bronx Obama” is a study of the American Dream gone wacky. In 2008 a former Verizon worker of Puerto Rican descent shaved off his goatee – unmasking a dead ringer for the 44th president of the United States. Filmmaker Murdock doggedly followed the humble Ortiz over the course of three years, documenting the Bronx resident’s physical and spiritual transformation from unemployed single dad to highly sought after impersonator.

And now the film Stephen Colbert considers “So good it almost made me like Chicago Obama,” releases just in time for the midterm elections (digitally on October 7th and through Showtime on October 28th). For more information visit

To read my interview visit: Global Comment.