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What’s Up Doc?: Louie Psihoyos Tops Our *New* Monthly Top 50 Most Anticipated Docs Guide

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What’s Up Doc?: Louie Psihoyos Tops Our *New* Monthly Top 50 Most Anticipated Docs Guide

They often get quite a bit less attention than their fictional brethren, and it doesn’t help that many films fly under the radar while development and filming is underway. To chart this course with a little more precision, I’m launching IONCINEMA.com’s latest feature, What’s Up Doc?, our monthly Top 50 Most Anticipated films, a sort of hitlist and/or snapshot of the most alluring, the most promising documentary film projects from the established documentarian guard, the new crop of future voices or the fiction filmmakers who on occasion dip their toes in the form. Curated by me, Jordan M. Smith, you’ll find docu items that are in their beginning stages to being moments away from their film festival berth. Like any such list, we can expect film items to fluctuate in ranking, with the cut-off being publicly items — such recent examples include Laura Poitras’s white hot Edward Snowden project, Citizenfour, which recently made tidal waves at the New York Film Festival, or A.J. Schnack’s recently premiered Al Jazeera America aired election project, Midterms.

Near the top of our initial run is the the latest project from documentary legends Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker with Unlocking the Cage, which “documents Steve’s (renowned animal rights attorney Steven Wise) unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans.” Despite being co-produced by the BBC and having received funding from the Tribeca Film Institute last year, the filmmaking couple took to Kickstarter back in May and successfully raised over $75,000 towards production costs (maybe you saw some of the ridiculously awesome rewards on offer for pitching in). On the brink of summer they still had a lengthy list of film shoots left, including scientific discussions around the world and on going New York court cases, so despite its high rank, it’s likely a candidate for a late 2015 release, best case scenario.

Much closer to release are Alex Gibney’s Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, which premieres on HBO next Monday (October 27th), and An Open Secret, one of four films by Amy Berg stacked throughout this list. The latter marks Berg’s second film to call attention to sexual abuse (the first being the devastating Deliver Us From Evil), stating in it’s official synopsis that “Every year, thousands of children swarm Hollywood in search of fame, but what they often find under the surface is a deep and disturbing underbelly of manipulation and abuse.” Earlier this week Elle released the first clip from the film, which is slated to make its world premiere next month at DOC NYC along with a lengthy list of others, including Dan Rybicky & Aaron Wickenden’s Almost There, Althea by Rex Miller, and the Tom Roberts directed Every Last Child.

Looking down the pipeline once again, Kent Jones, director of the New York Film Festival, as well as the director of programming for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is hard at work on his first solo doc since Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (both Lady by the Sea: The Statue of Liberty and A Letter to Elia were co-directed with Martin Scorsese). Taking its namesake from Francois Truffaut’s monumental 1966 book “Cinema According to Hitchcock”, Hitchcock/Truffaut, Jones seems to have rounded up just about every working auteur one can dream of to reflect on the text that made an impact on generations of filmmakers in its wake. The list includes names like Spielberg, Linklater, Fincher, W. Anderson, Assayas, Scorsese, Gray and on and on. Given cinema history subject and the pedigree involved, I might wager for a rare docu premiere at Cannes à la Jodorowsky’s Dune or Ain’t Misbehavin’.

P.S: For those attached to any of the docs mentioned below — please feel free to share any updates on the status of your projects. I can be reached at jordan [at] ioncinema dot com.

#
Film Title 
Filmmaker(s)
Producer(s) 
Status
PMR
1
Racing Extinction
Louie Psihoyos
Olivia Ahnemann & Fisher Stevens
Post Production
2
Unlocking The Cage
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hagedus
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hagedus
Filming
3
Crocodile Gennadiy
Steve Hoover
Danny Yourd
Post Production
4
Hitchcock/Truffaut
Kent Jones
TBD
Unknown
5
Western
Bill Ross and Turner Ross
TBD
Post Production
6
An Open Secret
Amy Berg
TBD
DOC NYC Preem
7
Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown
Alex Gibney
Mick Jagger, Peter Afterman, Blair Foster, Victoria Pearman
HBO Preem 10/27
8
Be Natural: The untold story of Alice Guy-Blaché
Pamela Green and Jarik van Sluijs
Robert Redford – exec producer
Post Production
9
Untitled Bill Clinton Documentary
Martin Scorsese
Steve Bing
Post Production
10
Unknown Wiseman Project
Frederick Wiseman
Frederick Wiseman
Editing
11
Diamond, Silver and Gold
Jason Kohn
Jared I. Goldman, Amanda Branson Gill
In Production
12
Untitled Frank Sinatra Portrait
Alex Gibney
Nancy Sinatra, Jeff Pollack
Pre-Production
13
(T)ERROR
Lyric Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
TBD
Editing
14
Beyond The Brick: A Lego Brickumentary
 Daniel Junge & Kief Davidson
TBD
 Filming
15
The Settlers
Shimon Dotan
TBD
Filming
16
Rose
Ben Rivers
TBD
 Unknown
17
Janis: Little Blue Girl
Amy Berg
TBD
Filming
18
Beatles Touring Doc
Ron Howard
Nigel Sinclair
Unknown
19
David Millar Project
 Finlay Pretsell
Iain Smith, Sonja Henrici
Filming
20
Driving with Selvi
Elisa Paloschi
TBD
Post-Production
21
Ring Girls
Amy Berg
TBD
Post Production
22
Mythical Creatures
David Charles
Lanette Philips
Filming
23
Hello, I Have Cancer
Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York
Huy Truong
Unknown
24
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Deborah Esquenazi
TBD
Post-Production
25
Catching the Sun (Chasing the Sun)
Shalini Kantayya
TBD
Unknown
26
Mudflow
Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander
 TBD
 In Production
27
Speed Sisters
Amber Fares
Jessica Devaney
Editing
28
Cocaine Prison
Violeta Ayala
TBD
Unknown
29
The Murder and the Journalists
Francisco Bello
Rebecca Richman Cohen
Unknown
30
Phantom Cowboys
Annie P. Waldman & Daniel Carbone
TBD
In Production
31
Containment
Robb Moss & Peter Galison
TBD
Editing
32
Bikes vs. Cars – We Are Many
Fredrik Gertten
TBD
Unknown
33
Being George Clooney
Paul Mariano
Christine O’Malley, Rivkah Beth Medow
In Production
34
3 1/2 Minutes
Marc Silver
TBD
Post-Production
35
Trapped
Dawn Porter
TBD
In Productiuon
36
The Babushkas of Chernobyl
Holly Morris and Anne Bogart
TBD
In Production
37
The Return
Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway
TBD
Filming
38
 Yula’s Dream
Hanna Polak
TBD
Filming
39
Ask the Sexpert
Vaishali Sinha
TBD
Unknown
40
Uncertain
Anna Sandilands & Ewan McNicol
TBD
Post-Production
41
The Brainwashing of My Dad
Jen Senko
TBD
Post-Production
42
Return to Timbuktu
Michael Meredith
Alex Gibney
Unknown
43
The Arrivals
Heidi Ewing
TBD
Unknown
44
A Flickering Truth
Pietra Brettkelly
TBD
Editing
45
Down By Law
George Amponsah
TBD
Editing
46
Out of Mind
Kristi Jacobson
TBD
Unknown
47
The Blind Cinema Club
Jennifer Redfearn
TBD
Unknown
48
This is America
Amy Berg
TBD
Filming
49
O.P.D.
Pete Nicks
TBD
Unknown
50
 Like Ants for Sugar
Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya
 TBD
 Editing

2 Comments
  • Joe

    Just about all these above listed films are as trashly made as Reality TV.

    Hooray for fictional films.

  • Joe

    Just about all these above listed films are as trashly made as Reality TV.

    Hooray for fictional films.

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