In 1964, director Michael Apted started documenting the lives of a group of 7-year-old British kids. Then, for every seven years since, he's returned to interview them as a way to learn "whether or not our adult lives are pre-determined by our earliest influences and the social class in which we are raised." Well, a new film in the Up Series has been made and the "children" are now 63 years old (Apted himself is now 78). 63 Up is making its way through U.S. based Landmark movie theaters now through March. Definitely worth catching!
7 Plus Seven Up (aka 14 Up)
Not available on YouTube
42 Up (trailer only)
49 Up (trailer only)
screenshot via 63 Up Read the rest
We're number one. In the racist, eugenicist, genocidal theft of infants, toddlers, and tender-age children from undocumented and mostly indigenous migrants who are fleeing violence in Guatemala and other Central American failed states. Read the rest
My mom always sewed my Halloween costumes when I was a kid, so I never got to wear one of the many licensed ones featured in the recently released documentary, "Halloween in a Box." I'm not really complaining but the plastic-masked ones you'd find at Woolworth did have a real charm to them. In any event, this film follows the history of these costumes and how its manufacturers had to work together to keep trick-or-treating alive after the Tylenol poisonings of the early eighties. Read the rest
Directed by Topper Carew, "Breakin 'n' Enterin'" (1983) documented the Los Angeles B-boy scene emerging at Venice Beach and MacArthur Park's Radio-Tron nightclub. Keep your eyes peeled for a young Ice-T, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, and Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones who all appeared the following year in Breakin'. The dancing in this documentary is much better than in the feature film though -- more complex, raw, and aggressive.
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You don't want to miss the technicolor "rainbow of love" that is Verasphere: A Love Story In Costume. This new KQED Truly CA short documentary film made me smile, laugh, tear up, and want to pull out my glue gun and start making costumes again, all in the span of 20 minutes.
[It] follows two San Francisco artists, David Faulk and Michael Johnstone, who fall in love at the height of the AIDS epidemic. While most of their community is overcome with grief and rage, David and Michael discover an unlikely joy through the creation of Mrs. Vera, an outrageous costumed character made from found materials. What began as an intimate art project and a way to pass the time while they faced an inevitable death, soon took on a life of its own. Now 25 years later, a large and diverse community has evolved around Mrs. Vera, all centered around one day of costumed celebration in the San Francisco Pride Parade.
For SF Pride this past weekend, Mrs. Vera and Michael Johnstone rode in the parade as Community Grand Marshals, followed by colorful members of the "Verasphere." Put on your sunglasses because the photos are super bright!:
Mrs. Vera and Michael Johnstone
Marcos Sorensen and Isabel Samaras
Andy Cowitt and Michael Wertz
Also, don't miss Mrs. Vera's Daybook, an ongoing series of photos by Michael of David as Mrs. Vera.
Thanks to Ruby Rieke for the SF Pride photos! Read the rest
A feature-length documentary about the making of the 1988 cult classic Beetlejuice is in the works. The film is being made and directed by French Beetlejuice superfan Fred China and produced by Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs) and Lee Leshen (Back in Time, Ghostheads).
Here's its trailer:
They're currently running a second crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of more interviews. (To note: For €25 you can get the doc's movie poster --shown above-- which was created by Kyle Lambert, the creator of Stranger Things art.)
(Cult of Weird) Read the rest
In anticipation of the brand new Tales of the City series (!!), Netflix is now playing the documentary about its creator, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.
THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN examines the life and work of one of the world's most beloved storytellers, following his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels have inspired millions to claim their own truth. Jennifer Kroot's documentary about the creator of TALES OF THE CITY moves nimbly between playful and poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. With help from his friends (including Neil Gaiman, Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Sir Ian McKellen and Amy Tan) Maupin offers a disarmingly frank look at the journey that took him from the jungles of Vietnam to the bathhouses of 70's San Francisco to the front line of the American culture war.
On Netflix: The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin Read the rest
The story of Santa Fe art collective Meow Wolf is being told in a new documentary. It's called Meow Wolf: Origin Story and it opens nationwide in theaters November 29th. Can't wait!
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When a group of young DIY artists in Santa Fe can’t find a door into the art world, they blow open an entirely new portal with their grit, passion, and tenacity. Within just a few short years – and with a little help from George R.R. Martin – this group called Meow Wolf ultimately hits a cultural nerve and garners massive, unexpected success with their exhibit, House of Eternal Return.
Banx sends us American Psychosis, a 15-minute short in which "Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, author and activist Chris Hedges (previously) discusses modern day consumerism, totalitarian corporate power and living in a culture dominated by pervasive illusion."
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The Making of "The Empire Strikes Back", the rare 1980 French TV movie documentary about the second film in the Star Wars trilogy, was considered lost until recently. Since clips surfaced a few years ago, it's been considered the "Holy Grail" for Star Wars fans. Directed by late director Michel Parbot, the hour-long film has now been found and posted on YouTube. Watch it while you can. Read the rest
PBS premieres Dark Money on Monday October 1. It's a sobering look at how the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC is trickling down to local politics. John S. Adams, a Montana-based reporter profiled in the film, says, "This is scary stuff, but I think this is the proving ground for the American experiment." Read the rest
Want to be buried in a giant wooden coffin that looks like a Coke bottle?
Coffin artist Paa Joe is the guy who can make that happen. He crafts fantasy wood "proverb coffins" (aka as abebuu adekai in his culture) out of his shop in Ghana. He's considered the grandfather of the fantasy coffin trade and his work is exhibited in museums worldwide. But hard times fell on his business.
Paa Joe & The Lion is the 2017 documentary that tells the story of how he and his son are rebuilding the family legacy together. It's now available to stream on Amazon (free with Prime). It's really inspiring!
Paa Joe dreams of his bygone days — bringing money home in briefcases and work being shipped to galleries the world over. Now, he sleeps as the cars hurtle passed. There are no customers, no tourists — there are no coffins to make. His son, Jacob, dreams too, he dreams of returning his father to his glory days and rebuilding the family legacy together. Over the next four years they stand side-by-side, conquering love and death and embracing a life changing opportunity to travel to the UK to undertake an artist residency. It is the start of their future together — master and son... Paa Joe & The Lion
Here's a look at some of his pieces:
via john nash
Cacao pod coffin image via akhenatenator
via Allison Meier
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Rhino fantasy coffin
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A mighty oak tree has broken leaving a legacy behind.
CALLING ALL EARTHLINGS, the new documentary from filmmaker Jonathan Berman ('Commune,' 'The Schvitz') has it all: UFOs, a mystical dome in the Joshua Tree desert, psychic experiences, time travel, Howard Hughes, Nikolai Tesla, communists, eternal life, murder-- oh yeah, and Nazis. Read the rest
Little Pyongyang made the festival rounds and his been picked up by The Guardian. It tells the story of how one soldier made his way to Europe's largest community of North Korean nationals after escaping the brutal regime.
Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe's biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.
Here's a nice Q&A with the filmmakers
• Little Pyongyang (YouTube / The Guardian) Read the rest
The Nick Hotel was Nickelodeon's failed attempt to license their brand as a resort hotel focused on fans of their shows. Defunctland does a detailed autopsy. Read the rest
Pathé shot this cool documentary of British artisans turning gold blocks into gold leaf. There's clearly a lot of remarkable skill involved, but there's also a remarkable lack or hearing protection around some very noisy machines. Read the rest
Through a mix of archival and current footage, this lovely documentary puts Milton Glaser's iconic I ❤ NY logo in historical context. Read the rest