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What’s Up Doc?: Moore Docu Surprises, Locarno Begins, Telluride, Venice & TIFF Loom

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What’s Up Doc?: Moore Docu Surprises, Locarno Begins, Telluride, Venice & TIFF Loom

The fall festival rush is upon us. Locarno is currently ramping up. Venice has released their line-up and Thom Powers and the Toronto International Film Festival team have dropped a bomb with a previously unannounced new feature from powerhouse docu-provocateur Michael Moore. It is truly a miracle that the production of a film such as Moore’s upcoming Where To Invade Next (see still above) managed to go completely undetected by the filmmaking community until it was literally announced to world premiere at one of the largest film festivals in the world. Programmed as a one of the key films in the Special Presentations section at TIFF, the film sees Moore telling “the Pentagon to ‘stand down’ — he will do the invading for America from now on.” Also announced to premiere at TIFF was Avi Lewis’ This Changes Everything, which has slowly been rising up this list, as well as Geneviève Dulude-De Celles’ Welcome to F.L. and Mina Shum’s Ninth Floor (see trailer below), amongst others.

Earlier last month Locarno announced they would be premiering not only Chantal Akerman’s long in the works and newly renamed No Home Movie (see clip here), which, according to The New York Times, is “an intimate extended visit with her mother, who died at the age of 86, in April 2014.” The film marks Akerman’s first doc feature since 2006’s Là-bas (be sure to check out Chrysanthi Nigianni’s superb analysis of that film here). Also premiering at the famed Swiss fest so known for taking on nontraditional, often bold cinematic statements is Ben Rivers’ hybrid feature length companion piece to his expansive BBC installation The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers. His gaudily named film The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers follows his exquisite full length collaboration with Ben Russell, A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness. Completely new to this list and additionally debuting in Locarno is a beautifully lensed debut doc titled Dead Slow Ahead (see trailer below) by Spanish director and cinematographer Mauro Herce. Word on the street is its “a revealing and hypnotic trip on board the freighter ‘Fair Lady’, whose sailors are overwhelmed by an industrialized world in which they seem to be mere gears.”

Moving up the ranks this month with the debut of a funny, yet deeply touching new trailer is director Vaishali Sinha and her film Ask The Sexpert (see trailer below). Back in 2013 Sinha received a Catapult Grant to kickstart production on the film after completing the short doc My Kashmir, while last year she received funds from the MacArthur Foundation to continue working on the project, it seems Sinha is nearing completion of what looks to be quite a fun, culturally inquisitive film about how “a longtime sex advice columnist gains popularity against the backdrop of a ban on comprehensive sex-education in schools in several Indian states.”

Robert Zemeckis’ zeitgeist capturing Back to the Future series continues to be celebrated as a monumental touchstone of 80s pop-culture. Back in March, director Jason Aron launched a massively successful Kickstarter campaign to fund his nostalgic documentary Back In Time, which looks to essentially be a feature length reflection of the cultural impact of the series featuring interviews from all the essential cast and crew members such as Zemeckis and Marty McFly himself. According to an update from the Kickstarter page, the film has moved into post-production and a trailer (see below) has been released on the film’s website. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pop up as a late, high profile addition to TIFF or possibly DOC NYC.

Coming out of seemingly nowhere with a brand new film premiering this Sunday on BBC, the tireless Mark Cousins has collaborated with Mogwai to present Storyville: Atomic – Living In Dread And Promise (see trailer below). While he’s been hard at work on a revisionist docu history film titled Dear John Grierson: A Postscript to The Story of Film and recently premiered the Christopher Doyle shot I Am Belfast at the Belfast Film Festival and subsequently Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, this latest work, according to indieWIRE, “explores life in the atomic age, from the death and destruction of the bombs, to the improvements in quality of life provided by X-Rays and MRIs, all done featuring only archive film and a brand new score by Scottish rockers Mogwai.” In a month full of cinematic surprises, this one ranks high.

As mentioned previously, 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. Here is our most anticipated Top 100 docs in the pipeline.

#
Film Title 
Filmmaker(s)
Producer(s) 
Status
Last Month’s Ranking
1
Where To Invade Next
Michael Moore
Michael Moore, Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
TIFF Preem
⭑ New!
2
In Jackson Heights
Frederick Wiseman
Frederick Wiseman
Venice Preem
⬇#1
3
No Home Movie
Chantal Akerman
TBD
Locarno Preem
⬆#24
4
He Named Me Malala
Davis Guggenheim
Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes
Completed
⬇#1
5
Unlocking The Cage
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hagedus
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hagedus
Announced, Pre-Production, Production, Post Production Completed INSERT Preem
⬇#11
6
The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers
Ben Rivers
TBD
Locarno Preem
⬆#17
7
Storyville: Atomic – Living In Dread And Promise
Mark Cousins
TBD
BBC Preem
⭑New!
8
Afternoon
Tsai Ming-liang
TBD
Venice Preem
⭑New!
9
Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
Robert Weide & Don Argott
Robert Weide
Production
⬇#4
10
Janis
Amy Berg
TBD
Venice Preem
⬆#42
11
LoveTrue
Alma Har’el
Alma Har’el, Christopher Leggett, Rafael Marmor, Rhea Scott
Post Production
⬇#6
12
Dear John Grierson: A Postscript to The Story of Film
Mark Cousins
Mark Cousins
Production
⬇#5
13
Into The Inferno
Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
Production
⬇#7
14
Voyage of Time
Terrence Malick
Dede Gardner, Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green, Grant Hill, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad, Andreas Roald, Sophokles Tasioulis
Announced, Pre-Production, Production, Post Production Completed INSERT Preem
⬇#8
15
De Palma
Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow
TBD
Venice Preem
⭑New!
16
Ken Loach: Untitled
Louise Osmond
Rebecca O’Brien
Production
⬇#9
17
Beatles Touring Doc
Ron Howard
Nigel Sinclair
Production
 ⬇#10
18
Untitled Grateful Dead Doc
Amir Bar-Lev
Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, Rick Yorn
Post Production
⬆#13
19
Human
Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Venice Preem
Venice Preem
⭑New!
20
Untitled Iggy Pop doc
Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch
Unknown
⬇#20
21
The Return
Kelly Duane de la Vega & Katie Galloway
Ariella Ben-Dov
Production
⬆#87
22
Keith Richards: Under the Influence
Morgan Neville
Morgan Neville, Justin Wilkes, Jane Rose
Netflix Preem 9/18
⭑New!
23
The Event
Sergei Loznitsa
TBD
Venice Preem
⭑New!
24
Mixed Feelings
Guy Davidi
Anna Somershaf, Kristian Mosvold
Production
⬇#15
25
This Changes Everything
Avi Lewis
TBD
TIFF Preem
⬆#82
26
Sarah
Tracy Droz Tragos
TBD
Production
⬇#11
27
Be Natural: The untold story of Alice Guy-Blaché
Pamela Green & Jarik van Sluijs
EP: Robert Redford
Post Production
⬇#16
28
Strong Island
Yance Ford
Esther Robinson
Post Production
⬇#18
29
L’esercito piu piccolo del mondo
Gianfranco Pannone
TBD
Venice Preem
⭑New!
30
A Better Man
Attiya Khan & Lawrence Jackman
Christine Kleckner. EP: Sarah Polley
Post Production
⬇#19
31
Winter on Fire
Evgeny Afineevsky
TBD
Venice Preem
⭑New!
32
Diamond, Silver and Gold
Jason Kohn
Jared I. Goldman, Amanda Branson Gill
Production
⬇#12
33
Being George Clooney
Paul Mariano
Christine O’Malley, Rivkah Beth Medow
Completed
⬇#21
34
Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation
Gina Leibrecht
Harrod Blank
Production
⬇#22
35
Gli uomini di questa città io non li conosco
Franco Maresco
TBD
Venice Preem
⭑New!
36
Ninth Floor
Mina Shum
TBD
TIFF Preem
⭑New!
37
The Settlers
Shimon Dotan
TBD
Production
⬇#14
38
Quay
Christopher Nolan
TBD
Production
⭑New!
39
Trapped
Dawn Porter
TBD
Production
⬇#23
40
Contre-Pouvoirs
Malek Bensmaïl
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
41
Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr
Patrick Reed, Michelle Shephard
Patrick Reed, Michelle Shephard, Peter Raymont
TIFF Preem
⭑New!
42
Getting Personal
Doug Block
TBD
Pre-Production
⭑New!
43
Uncle Andy: The Andy Warhol Family Film
Abby Warhola & Jesse Best
TBD
Production
⬇#25
44
I Sogni del Lago Salato
Andrea Segre
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
45
David Millar Project
Finlay Pretsell
Iain Smith, Sonja Henrici
Production
⬇#27
46
Rats NYC
Morgan Spurlock
EP: Morgan Spurlock & Jeremy Chilnick
Pre-Production
⬇#27
47
Driving with Selvi
Elisa Paloschi
TBD
Edmonton Preem
⬇#33
48
Vivere alla Grande
Fabio Leli
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
49
Ask the Sexpert
Vaishali Sinha
Production
Production
⬇#45
50
The Reagan Years
Pacho Velez
Sierra Pettengill
Post Production
⬇#28

Legend:

New to Chart
No Change
Position Increase
Position Drop

#
Film Title 
Filmmaker(s)
Producer(s) 
Status
Last Month’s Ranking
51
Back in Time
Jason Aron
Lee Leshen
Post Production
⬆#72
52
Dead Slow Ahead
Mauro Herce
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
53
The Island and the Whales
Mike Day
TBD
Post Production
⬆#29
54
Welcome to F.L.
Geneviève Dulude-De Celles
Fanny Drew, Sarah Mannering
TIFF Preem
⭑New!
55
Big Sonia
Leah Warshawski & Todd Soliday
TBD
Post Production
⬆#60
56
Command and Control
Robert Kenner
Robert Kenner, Eric Schlosser, Melissa Robledo
Production
⬇#30
57
I Am Chris Farley
Brent Hodge and Derik Murray
Aug VOD Preem
⬇#39
58
The Corridors of Power
Dror Moreh
TBD
Production
⭑New!
59
Al Purdy Was Here
Brian D. Johnson
Brian D. Johnson, Jake Yanowski
TIFF Preem
⭑New!
60
L’Infinita Fabbrica del Duomo
Massimo D’anolfi
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
61
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Deborah Esquenazi
TBD
Post Production
⬇#47
62
The Reflektor Tapes
Kahlil Joseph
TBD
Theatrical Release 9/24
⭑New!
63
Kiev/Moscow. Part 1.
Elena Khoreva
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
64
Untitled Missouri Doc
Rebecca Cammisa
TBD
Production
⬇#32
65
The Lovers and the Despot
Robert Cannan & Ross Adam
TBD
Post Production
⬇#34
66
Untitled Frank Zappa Doc
Alex Winter
Alex Winter, Glen Zipper
Announced
⭑New!
67
Fixing Dad
Ian and Anthony Whitington
TBD
Completed
 ⬇#43
68
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes
Brett Story
TBD
Production
⬇#37
69
Gun Runners
Anjali Nayar
Annette Clarke, Kat Baulu
Post Production
⬇#44
70
The Marion Stokes Project
Matt Wolf
Kyle Martin
Production
⬇#57
71
Mythical Creatures
David Charles
Lanette Philips
Post Production
⬇#35
72
What Tomorrow Brings
Beth Murphy
TBD
Post Production
⬇#67
73
Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer
Matt Tyrnauer
Josh Braun
Post Production
⬇#36
74
Left on Purpose: The Disruptive Life of Mayer Vishner
Justin Schein
Eden Wurmfeld
Post Production
⬇#38
75
Notfilm
Ross Lipman
Amy Heller, Dennis Doros
Post Production
⭑New!
76
Genitori
Alberto Fasulo
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
77
Rose
Ben Rivers
TBD
Production
⬇#40
78
Buena Vistasocial Club: Adios
Lucy Walker
Christine Cowin, Zak Kilberg
Announced
⬇#52
79
Night School
Andrew Cohn
Steve Bannatyne, Jason Orans, Zachary Shields, Louis Venezia
Production
⬇#53
80
Phantom Cowboys
Annie P. Waldman & Daniel Carbone
Ryan Scafuro
Post Production
⬇#41
81
Kate Plays Christine
Robert Greene
Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa
Production
⭑New!
82
So Help You God
Ashley York
TBD
Post Production
⬇#46
83
Logs of War
Anjali Nayar
Steven Markovitz, Anjali Nayar. EP: Jonathan Stack, Edward Zwick
Production
⬇#48
84
Mudflow
Cynthia Wade, Sasha Friedlander
Cynthia Wade, Sasha Friedlander, CP: Tracie Holder
Production
⬇#55
85
Hispaniola
Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster
Lea Marin
Production
⬇#58
86
Untitled U2 doc
Davis Guggenheim
Shannon Dill
Pre-Production
⬇#87
87
Pieces of a Man
Orlando Bagwell
TBD
Production
⬇#49
88
Ring Girls
Amy Berg
TBD
Post Production
⬇#55
89
Brothers
Wojciech Staroń
TBD
Locarno Preem
⭑New!
90
52: The Search for the Loneliest Whale in the World
Joshua Zeman
TBD
Production
⬇#51
91
The Bill Nye Film
David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg
Seth Gordon, Nick Pampenella
Production
⭑New!
92
Cocaine Prison
Violeta Ayala
TBD
Post Production
⬇#54
93
Les habitants
Raymond Depardon
TBD
Post Production
⬇#77
94
On the Outside: The Year After Prison
Matthew O’Neill
John Kennedy, Cynthia Farrar, Jon Alpert, Shannon Sonenstein Sonrouille, Reina Higashitani, Matthew O’Neill
Production
⬇#56
95
For the Love of Spock
Adam Nimoy
David Zappone, Kevin Layne, Joseph Kornbrodt
Pre-Production
⬇#66
96
Phosphorescence: Words Into Shining Light
TBD
Solon Papadopoulos, Roy Boulter
Production
⭑New!
97
Unseen Enemy
Janet Tobias & Cesar Charlone
Janet Tobias, Michael Ehrenzweig, Peter W. Klein, Rogger Lopez
Production
⬇#59
98
Out in Alabama
Bonnie Blue Edwards
Cynthia Wade
Production
⬇#73
99
Block Seven
Jordie Montevecchi
TBD
Production
⬇#61
100
Untitled Life After Prison doc
Debra Granik
TBD
Production
⭑New!

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