New Ted Bundy documentary based on deeply creepy unheard jailhouse recordings

If you're into the dark fringes of true crime media... The forthcoming documentary "Conversations With A Killer," about serial killer Ted Bundy, is based on 100 hours of two journalists' unheard audio interviews conducted on death row before Bundy was executed in 1989. From Rolling Stone:

The series also explores how Bundy was able to avert capture as he didn’t adhere to the serial killer stereotype; women flocked to Bundy’s trial despite the serial killer’s gruesome “sex crime slayings of more than 30 women.” “He was charming, good-looking, smart... Are you sure you got the right guy,” one woman says of Bundy in voiceover.

“I’m not an animal, I’m not crazy, I don’t have a split personality,” Bundy said in one recording. “I mean I’m just a normal individual.”

"Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" premieres on Netflix on January 24, the anniversary of Bundy's execution. Read the rest

Watch this trailer for the new Fyre Festival documentary!

The Fyre Festival documentary premieres on Netflix on January 18 and I can't wait. If you remember the Fyre Festival, you definitely weren't there... because, y'know, it didn't happen. And I'm glad, because if it did, we wouldn't have this fantastically ridiculous story. From NetFlix:

Created by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, Fyre Festival was promoted as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas featuring bikini-clad supermodels, A-List musical performances and posh amenities. Guests arrived to discover the reality was far from the promises.

Chris Smith, the director behind the Emmy Award Nominated documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, gives a first-hand look into disastrous crash of Fyre as told by the organizers themselves.

Read more Boing Boing posts about the Fyre Festival. Read the rest

Ask Dr. Ruth: Watch the trailer for the new documentary about the iconic sex therapist

Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a German-born Jewish Holocaust survivor who emigrated to the United States in 1956 and eventually became arguably the world's best known sex therapist. She's hosted multiple radio and TV shows and written dozens of books about sex. Now, the 90-year-old is the subject of a new documentary titled Ask Dr. Ruth that will premier at the Sundance Film Festival in a few weeks. Directed by Ryan White with distribution by Hulu, the film will be in theaters later this year and presumably streaming after that.

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Watch Mr. Rogers' wonderful show for adults from 1978

In 1978, Mr. Rogers hosted a television show for adults called "Old Friends...New Friends" in which he interviewed interesting musicians, artists, athletes, teachers, and others "about their search for meaning in life." A clip of the show appeared in last year's documentary about Fred Rogers, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?." Above is that complete episode, titled "Inner Rhythms" and featuring classical pianist Lorin Hollander. There are 19 other episodes profiling the likes of composer Hoagy Carmichael, barrio teacher Nancy Acosta, comedian Milton Berle, and psychoanalyst Helen Ross.

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Documentary about Moby-Dick devotees

David Shaerf, a professor of English and cinema studies at Michigan's Oakland University, is fanatical about Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. He's so fanatical that he made a documentary about Moby Dick fanaticism. The film is titled "Call Us Ishmael" and in it, Shaerf joins the devotees who gather annually in New Bedford, Massachusetts to read Moby-Dick aloud, without stopping. He interviews the likes of Frank Stella who spent 15 years making a piece of art for each of the book's chapters. He talks with the likes of Laurie Anderson who developed an entire live performance and tour titled "Songs and Stories from Moby-Dick" and Matt Kish, the librarian/illustrator who drew "Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page." Now, Shaerf is seeking help via Kickstarter to get Call Me Ishmael ready for release by clearing the music, legal fees, and insurance before he can hand it off to the film's distributor.

It sounds like a whale of a project and I look forward to seeing the film!

"Support "Call Us Ishmael" via Kickstarter!" (Thanks Ora Pescovitz!)

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The Bleeding Edge: a terrifying, enraging look at the corrupt, deadly world of medical implants

Prior to 1976, the FDA did not regulate medical implants, and so shoddy and even deadly devices proliferated, inserted into Americans' body. Read the rest

Meet the proprietor of the last chess supply store in New York City

Imad Khachan is proprietor of Chess Forum, the last chess shop in New York City.

“When no other place will welcome you, you have a seat [here],” Khachan says.

Khachan is the subject of King of the Night, a short documentary above by Molly Brass and Anne Hollowday.

(The Atlantic)

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Do you think that we're living in a simulation?

Do you believe that we're living in a simulation? Has that belief affected your life? My old pal Rodney Ascher, director of fantastically freaky documentaries like Room 237, about weird theories surrounding The Shining, and The Nightmare, a study on sleep paralysis, is starting on a new far-out film about people who are convinced that our world is a digital creation. If you're one of those people, Rodney would love to hear from you.

"The approach, like my other films, is to focus almost entirely on first-person accounts and present them as accurately as possible - closer to a non-fiction Twilight Zone than an episode of Cosmos," Rodney says.

"A Glitch in the Matrix" (Facebook) Read the rest

Aretha Franklin's "Amazing Grace" concert film will finally be released

In January 1972, Aretha Franklin performed at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. The LP of those performances is an absolutely breathtaking celebration of soul gospel. It won a Grammy, became the biggest selling live gospel record in history, and remains the highest selling record of Franklin's career. Filmmaker Sydney Pollack documented the performance and the plan was to release the concert movie as a double feature with Super Fly during the summer of 1972. The problem though is that Pollack hadn't used a clapper board during the filming that would enable him to sync the audio and footage from the five cameras. With no way to properly edit the film, the project was shelved until about ten years ago. And in a few months, the world will finally see it. From the New York Times:

(Alan) Elliott, who had been obsessed with the lost footage since working as a music executive in the mid-1980s, ultimately persuaded Warner to sell him the reels in 2007. (He mortgaged his house.) By 2010, digital technology had evolved to a point that syncing film and sound was finally possible....

As a planned release date approached in 2011, however, Ms. Franklin sued Mr. Elliott for using her likeness without her permission. That started years of legal wrangling, with Ms. Franklin and her lawyers blocking Mr. Elliott and the Telluride Film Festival from showing “Amazing Grace” in 2015 and 2016, even after deals for her compensation seemed to have been worked out.

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Werner Herzog is making a documentary about meteorites

Fireball is Werner Herzog's forthcoming documentary "about meteorites and comets and their influence on mythology and religion," according to Variety. He's once again collaborating with British geoscientist Clive Oppenheimer, his partner on the volcano documentary Into the Inferno. From Variety:

The producers of “Into the Inferno,” Andre Singer and Lucki Stipetic, are both on board “Fireball.” Herzog and Oppenheimer will co-direct. They will once more go globe-trotting, this time to visit sites that yield insight into comets and meteorites and help them understand what they can tell us about the origins of life on Earth.

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New David Bowie documentary in production at BBC

BBC Studios Production is completing a new feature documentary, David Bowie: The First Five Years, to air next year. Its the third in director Francis Whately's trilogy that has included "David Bowie: Five Years" (2013) and "David Bowie: The Last Five Years" (2017). The film will cover the Bowie's formative years as an artist, starting in 1966 up until the birth of Ziggy Stardust. According to the BBC, the 90-minute doc "traces his interest in everything from Holst to Pinky and Perky, from Anthony Newley to Tibetan Buddhism, and how he used all these influences to create not only Ziggy Stardust, but the material for his entire career."

The film also unearths a report, deep from the BBC Archives, following a BBC audition on Tuesday 2 November 1965 of a band called David Bowie and the Lower Third. Their audition material included Chim-Chim-Cheree as well as an original number called Baby That’s A Promise. The BBC’s ‘Talent Selection Group’ describe him as having “quite a different sound”, but also “no personality”, “not particularly exciting” and “will not improve with practice”. The BBC later appears to have changed its mind...

Contributors include Bowie’s first cousin and lifelong-friend Kristina Amadeus and former girlfriend and muse Hermione Farthingale - both of whom have never before been filmed talking about him; the late Lindsay Kemp in his last filmed interview, lifelong friend and producer Tony Visconti, former girlfriend and friend Dana Gillespie, lifelong friends Geoff MacCormak and George Underwood, Bowie's producer Mike Vernon, Bowie's early producer Tony Hatch, and Woody Woodmansey, the last remaining Spider from Mars.

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Cyberpunk: a 1990 documentary featuring William Gibson, Timothy Leary, and Brenda Laurel

Cyberpunk is Marianne Tranche's 1990 documentary about the early cyberpunk scene. It features interviews with the likes of William Gibson, Scott Fisher, and bOING bOING patron saint Timothy Leary. While the brilliant Brenda Laurel appears, the film unfortunately missed many of the other badass female cyberpunks of the day like St. Jude Milhon (Mondo 2000), Lisa Palac (Future Sex), Tiffany Lee Brown (FringeWare Review), Stacy Horn (Echo), and of course bOING bOING co-founder Carla Sinclair!

As Dr. Tim said back then, "Turn on, tune in, boot up!"

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Documentary gives you a taste of the excitement and anxiety of being in the The International Science and Engineering Fair

Science Fair opened in theaters this weekend. The National Geographic documentary received Sundance's "Festival Favorite Award" and I can see why. It follows the lives of nine brilliant and dedicated high school students from 78 countries, and I was rooting for every one of them to win. The International Science and Engineering Fair brings together 1,700 students from around the world, each of whom won a local award for their project, to compete for $4 million in prizes and recognition for being the best of the best.

Co-director Cristina Costantini said, "Science Fair is a love letter to the subculture that saved me. As a dweeby kid growing up in a sports-obsessed high school in Wisconsin, the international science fair became my lifeboat. It validated my passion for science, taught me how to dedicate myself to a goal and set my life on a trajectory that would have otherwise been totally impossible. But most important, science fair is where I found my tribe."

Here's a Q&A with directors Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster:

Why did you make this film?

From the beginning, Cristina’s own experience with science fair was our north star. As a two-time alumna of ISEF, she not only had firsthand insight into the scene, but with some distance she could also look back and see how it shaped her life. With that very personal perspective, we set out to make a movie about the science fair journey as she remembered it: one of the most stressful, exhilarating, sublime, terrible experiences a young person could go through. Read the rest

Why For-Profit Academic Publishers Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank

If you’re not an academic or scientist, then you probably have no idea how off kilter research scholarship has become.  Read the rest

To do in America, next Wednesday: See the "People's Premiere" of Michael Moore's Trump takedown, "Fahrenheit 11/9"

Michael Moore's latest documentary is a scorching Trump takedown called Fahrenheit 11/9; next Wednesday, all over the USA, theaters will screen a "People's Premiere" of the movie: just indicate your willingness to buy tickets for a nearby screening and once enough of your neighbors sign up, the screening will "tip" and get scheduled (Angelenos, help me get a screening in Alhambra!). The site for doing all this is creaking under the load at the moment, so keep hitting that reload button! Read the rest

Documentary about The Slenderman

The Slenderman is a boogeyman born from the Something Awful forums that manifested in the real world in 2014 when two pre-teen girls stabbed their friend 19 times to please The Slenderman. "A Self-Induced Hallucination" is director Dan Schoenbrun's documentary about The Slenderman that he made entirely from archival footage.

"The Slender Man. He exists because you thought of him. Now try and not think of him."

-Username "I," posted June 15th, 2009 on the Something Awful forums. (User was later banned for "post(ing) like a weird fucker.")

"Why I Spent Months Making An Archival Documentary about The Slenderman" (Filmmaker Magazine)

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Watch: Mini documentary about Interpol's "Turn On the Bright Lights" anniversary tour

Last year, Interpol set out on a reunion tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of their fantastic debut "Turn on the Bright Lights." Here is a mini-documentary about their post-punk revival revival. Sleep tight, dream right.

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