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What’s Up Doc?: Wiseman Rises to New “Heights” & Rivers Shooting “The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers” in Morocco

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What’s Up Doc?: Wiseman Rises to New “Heights” & Rivers Shooting “The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers” in Morocco

It’s been a surprisingly interesting month of moving and shaking in terms of doc development. Just a month after making his first public funding pitch at Toronto’s Hot Docs Forum, legendary doc filmmaker Frederick Wiseman took to Kickstarter to help cover the remaining expenses for his 40th feature film In Jackson Heights (see the film’s first trailer below). Unrelentingly rigorous in his determination to capture the American institutional landscape on film, his latest continues down this thematic rabbit hole, taking on the immensely diverse New York City neighborhood of Jackson Heights as his latest subject. According to the Kickstarter page, Wiseman is currently editing the 120 hours of rushes he shot with hopes of having the film ready for a fall festival premiere (my guess would be TIFF, where both National Gallery and At Berkeley made their North American debut), though he’s currently quite a ways away from his $75,000 goal.

https://vimeo.com/126135695

Just a couple weeks prior, director John Walter launched his own Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising funds for his new film The Earth Moves, which looks to tell the story of “Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Einstein on the Beach, and the connection between physics, opera, and human imagination”. Seemingly as dense and mysterious as his heady subjects, Walter was still able to raise over a hundred grand, surpassing his funding goals. Like Wiseman, he hopes to have the film ready for a fall festival premiere later this year. An Indiegogo campaign was also launched around the same time by Jacqueline Olive in hopes of garnering cash to finish her film Always in Season. The film “explores the impact of the racial terrorism of more than a century of lynching African Americans”. Originally backed by the Southern Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures and the Catapult Film Fund, Olive needs additional funding to cover the expenses of additional shoots with with activist and scholar Angela Davis and Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Two years ago, Ted Griswold and Chris Valdes raised $40,000 for a project titled The Sound of Sangre about a young accordionist who makes a living performing for drug cartels in Honduras via their own Kickstarter. Since then, they’ve renamed the film Olancho, released a pair of trailers (one of which can be seen below), and taken part in various funding forums like the Big Sky Pitch, the Hot Docs Forum (their pitch can be seen here) and most recently the National Association of Latino Independent Producers Media Market 2015 where they were given an award for 2015 NALIP Official Selection after the film’s trailer as shown. From the sound of their increasingly frequent updates, the film is nearing completion and could make for an interesting pairing with Shaul Schwarz‘s Narco Cultura.

https://vimeo.com/104630488

More mysteriously, a pair of Lithuanian multimedia artists by the name of Berta Tilmantaitė (whose Mermology project was recently part of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Crossover Market) and Artūras Morozovas (whose photographic work has been featured in The Guardian, News Week and more) released a teaser trailer for Monotone Days (see below), their first documentary project under the banner of their new production venture, Nanook Multimedia. Through intimate interviews and intricate observation the film looks at the lives of various women currently living in a correctional facility in Lithuania. No word yet on further details.

One of the most intriguing developments of the last month was Sight & Sound’s photographic report on Ben Rivers’ latest film, The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (see still of Rivers shooting at top). While his other mysteriously titled in-the-making project Rose floats up and down this list, he’s apparently been hard at work in Morocco on another non-fiction/fiction blending film that “encompasses an adaptation of Paul Bowles’s 1947 brutal short story A Distant Episode, about the atrocities befalling a Western linguist wandering North Africa, along with elements from the life and stories of Moroccan writer and artist Mohammed Mrabet and visits to the sets of Moroccan-based films by Spanish director Oliver Laxe and British artist Shezad Dawood”. The project sounds more ambitious than anything he’s attempted thus far and from the production photos shot by Yuki Yamamoto, it is shaping up to be quite a beautifully enigmatic project. It may be too early in the production, but fingers crossed for its inclusion in TIFF’s Wavelength’s program, like his miraculous collaboration with fellow filmmaker Ben Russell on A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness which played the festival a couple years back.

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 my most anticipated Top 100 docs in the pipeline.

#
Film Title 
Filmmaker(s)
Producer(s) 
Status
Last Month’s Ranking
1
He Named Me Malala
Davis Guggenheim
Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes
Completed
⬆#4
2
In Jackson Heights
Frederick Wiseman
Frederick Wiseman
Post Production
⬆#5
3
Unlocking The Cage
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hagedus
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hagedus
In Production
⬇#1
4
Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
Robert Weide & Don Argott
Robert Weide
In Production
⬇#2
5
Dear John Grierson: A Postscript to The Story of Film
Mark Cousins
TBD
Unknown
⬆#6
6
LoveTrue
Alma Har’el
Alma Har’el, Christopher Leggett, Rafael Marmor, Rhea Scott
In Production
⬆#7
7
Into The Inferno
Werner Herzog
TBD
In Production
⬆#9
8
Voyage of Time
Terrence Malick
Dede Gardner, Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green, Grant Hill, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad, Andreas Roald, Sophokles Tasioulis
Post Production
⬆#164
9
Ken Loach: Untitled
Louise Osmond
Rebecca O’Brien
In Production
⬆#15
10
Beatles Touring Doc
Ron Howard
Nigel Sinclair
In Production
⬆#21
11
Sarah
Tracy Droz Tragos
TBD
Unknown
#11
12
Diamond, Silver and Gold
Jason Kohn
Jared I. Goldman, Amanda Branson Gill
In Production
⬆#17
13
Untitled Grateful Dead Doc
Amir Bar-Lev
Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, Rick Yorn
Post Production
⬆#18
14
The Settlers
Shimon Dotan
TBD
In Production
⬆#20
15
Mixed Feelings
Guy Davidi
Anna Somershaf, Kristian Mosvold
Unknown
⬆#23
16
Be Natural: The untold story of Alice Guy-Blaché
Pamela Green & Jarik van Sluijs
EP: Robert Redford
In Production
⬆#25
17
The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers
Ben Rivers
TBD
In Production
⭑New!
18
Strong Island
Yance Ford
Esther Robinson
Post Production
⬆#26
19
A Better Man
Attiya Khan & Lawrence Jackman
Christine Kleckner
Post Production
⬆#27
20
untitled Iggy Pop doc
Jim Jarmusch
TBD
Unknown
⬆#28
21
Being George Clooney
Paul Mariano
Christine O’Malley, Rivkah Beth Medow
Completed
⬆#29
22
Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation
Gina Leibrecht
Harrod Blank
Unknown
⬆#30
23
Trapped
Dawn Porter
TBD
Unknown
⬆#41
24
Home Movie
Chantal Akerman
TBD
In Production
⬆#31
25
Uncle Andy: The Andy Warhol Family Film
Abby Warhola & Jesse Best
TBD
Unknown
⬆#33
26
David Millar Project
Finlay Pretsell
Iain Smith, Sonja Henrici
In Production
⬆#42
27
Rats NYC
Morgan Spurlock
EP: Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick
Pre-Production
⬆#34
28
The Reagan Years
Pacho Velez
Sierra Pettengill
Post Production
⭑ New!
29
The Island and the Whales
Mike Day
TBD
Post Production
⬆#35
30
Command and Control
Robert Kenner
Robert Kenner, Eric Schlosser, Melissa Robledo
In Production
⬆#36
31
The Brainwashing of My Dad
Jen Senko
Matthew Modine, Adam Rackoff, Jen Senko
Post Production
⬆#87
32
Untitled Missouri Doc
Rebecca Cammisa
TBD
Announced
⬆#38
33
Driving with Selvi
Elisa Paloschi
TBD
Post Production
⬆#43
34
The Lovers and the Despot
Robert Cannan & Ross Adam
TBD
Post Production
⬆#52
35
Mythical Creatures
David Charles
Lanette Philips
Post Production
⬆#39
36
Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer
Matt Tyrnauer
Josh Braun
Post Production
⬆#73
37
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes
Brett Story
TBD
In Production
⬆#48
38
Left on Purpose: The Disruptive Life of Mayer Vishner
Justin Schein
Eden Wurmfeld
Post Production
⬆#46
39
I Am Chris Farley
Brent Hodge, Derik Murray
Brent Hodge, Derik Murray
August VOD Release
⭑New!
40
Rose
Ben Rivers
TBD
In Production
⬇#32
41
Phantom Cowboys
Annie P. Waldman & Daniel Carbone
Ryan Scafuro
Post Production
⬆#67
42
Janis: Little Blue Girl
Amy Berg
TBD
In Production
⬆#44
43
Fixing Dad
Ian and Anthony Whitington
Ian and Anthony Whitington
Completed
⬆#151
44
Gun Runners
Anjali Nayar
Annette Clarke, Kat Baulu
Post Production
⬆#45
45
Ask the Sexpert
Vaishali Sinha
TBD
In Production
⬆#47
46
So Help You God
Ashley York
TBD
Post Production
⬆#49
47
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Deborah Esquenazi
TBD
Post Production
⬆#50
48
Logs of War
Anjali Nayar
Steven Markovitz, Anjali Nayar. EP: Jonathan Stack, Edward Zwick
In Production
⬆#55
49
Pieces of a Man
Orlando Bagwell
TBD
In Production
⬆#51
50
Ring Girls
Amy Berg
TBD
Post Production
⬆#37

Legend:

New to Chart
No Change
Position Increase
Position Drop

#
Film Title 
Filmmaker(s)
Producer(s) 
Status
Last Month’s Ranking
51
52: The Search for the Loneliest Whale in the World
Joshua Zeman
TBD
In Production
⬆#57
52
Buena Vista Social Club – Adios
Lucy Walker
Christine Cowin, Zak Kilberg
Announced
⬆#58
53
Night School
Andrew Cohn
Steve Bannatyne, Jason Orans, Zachary Shields, Louis Venezia
In Production
⬆#53
54
Cocaine Prison
Violeta Ayala
In Production
Post Production
⬆#59
55
Mudflow
Cynthia Wade, Sasha Friedlander
Cynthia Wade, Sasha Friedlander. CP: Tracie Holder
In Production
⬆#56
56
On the Outside: The Year After Prison
Matthew O’Neill
John Kennedy, Cynthia Farrar, Jon Alpert, Shannon Sonenstein Sonrouille, Reina Higashitani, Matthew O’Neill
Announced
⬆#56
57
The Marion Stokes Project
Matt Wolf
Kyle Martin
In Production
⬆#64
58
Hispaniola
Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster
Lea Marin
In Development
⬆#61
59
Unseen Enemy
Janet Tobia, Cesar Charlone
Janet Tobias, Michael Ehrenzweig, Peter W. Klein, Rogger Lopez
In Production
⬆#62
60
Big Sonia
Leah Warshawsk, Todd Soliday
TBD
Post Production
⬆#70
61
Block Seven
Jordie Montevecchi
TBD
In Production
⬆#68
62
The Murder and the Journalists
Francisco Bello
Rebecca Richman Cohen
Pre-Production
⬆#63
63
Dream Away
Marouan Omara, Johanna Domke
TBD
TBD
⬆#65
64
The Life, The Sea and The Space Viking
Nelly Ben Hayoun
Nelly Ben Hayoun
In Production
⬆#72
65
NIGHT/vision
Eva Weber
Elhum Shakerifar & Nicole Stott
TBD
⬆#66
66
For the Love of Spock
Adam Nimoy
David Zappone, Kevin Layne, Joseph Kornbrodt
Pre-Production
⭑New!
67
What Tomorrow Brings
Beth Murphy
TBD
Post Production
⬆#82
68
The New Missionaries
Yoav Shamir
TBD
TBD
⬆#69
69
The Oakland Police Project
Peter Nicks
TBD Producer 19
In Production
⬆#85
70
Olancho
Christopher Valdes, Theodore Griswold
Esther Anino
Post Production
⬆#165
71
Road to Home
Calvin Skaggs
Cal Skaggs. AP: Ashley Panzera
In Production
⬆#71
72
Back in Time
Jason Aron
Lee Leshen
Post Production
⬆#108
73
Out in Alabama
Bonnie Blue Edwards
Cynthia Wade
In Production
⬆#148
74
Count Me In
Ines Sommer
TBD
In Production
#74
75
To the Amazon
Clare Weiskopf
Nicolas Van Hemelryck
In Production
⬆#160
76
Survivors
Banker White & Arthur Pratt
TBD
In Production
⬆#75
77
Les habitants
Raymond Depardon
Raymond Depardon
In Production
⬆#84
78
The Earth Moves
John Walter
Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith
Announced
⭑New!
79
Always in Season
Jacqueline Olive
TBD
Post Production
⬆#163
80
Monotone Days
Berta Tilmantaite, Arturas Morozovas
TBD
Post Production
⭑New!
81
Now Playing
Gwen Gordon
Gwen Gordon. EP: Josh Rosen, Susanna Pollack
In Production
⬆#152
82
This Changes Everything
Avi Lewis
Avi Lewis
Post Production
⬇#80
83
Like Ants for Sugar
Shirley Abraham, Amit Madheshiya
TBD
Post Production
⬆#128
84
Paris to Pyongyang
Helen Lee
Anita Lee
Pre-Production
⬇#76
85
Ronaldo
Anthony Wonke
Paul Martin. EP: James Gay-Rees, Asif Kapadia
In Production
⭑New!
86
Memories Of A Penitent Heart
Cecilia Aldarondo
TBD
Post Production
⭑New!
87
The Return
Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway
Ariella Ben-Dov
In Production
⬇#77
88
Death by Design
Sue Williams
Sue Williams, Hilary Steinman, Julie Goldman
Announced
⬇#78
89
Untitled Ennio Morricone doc
Giuseppe Tornatore
Bobby Păunescu, Dragoṣ Săvulescu, George Shu, Serena Menarini
Pre-Production
⬇#79
90
People from Nowhere
Jaak Kilmi
Antra Gaile
Post Production
⬇#81
91
Brick
Jessica Dimmock, Christopher LaMarca
TBD
Post Production
⭑New!
92
Cheer The F**k Up
Christy Garland
Liisa Juntunen
TBD
⬇#83
93
Swing Low
Javid Soriana
TBD
Post Production
⭑ New!
44
Unarmed Verses
Charles Officer
Lea Marin
In Production
⬆#110
95
The Arrivals
Heidi Ewing
TBD
Announced
⭑New!
96
Holy Cow
Imam Hasanov
Veronika Janatkova/Andra Popescu
In Production
⬆#157
97
What is Democracy?
Astra Taylor
Lea Marin
In Production
⬆#140
98
The Bad Kids
Keith Fulton & Lou Pepe
Keith Fulton & Lou Pepe
Post Production
⭑New!
99
A Musical Species
Andrea Lamount
Stephanie von Lukowicz
TBD
⬆#174
100
Untitled Math & Science doc
Kip & Kern Konwiser
Kip & Kern Konwiser, Thomas Tull
Announced
⭑New!

 

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