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What’s Up Doc? Top 100: Park City, Psihoyos, Greene & Greenfield Launch 2018 Doc Season

Psihoyos Greene Greenfield

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What’s Up Doc? Top 100: Park City, Psihoyos, Greene & Greenfield Launch 2018 Doc Season

What’s Up Doc? Top 100: Park City, Psihoyos, Greene & Greenfield Launch 2018 Doc Season

Documentary filmmaking commonly doesn’t afford much celebrity status to its creators that works of fiction benefit from, this, combined with the scarcity of info and unknown project status on upcoming docs means there is no better time to relaunch IONCINEMA.com’s feature, What’s Up Doc?, our bi-monthly, in the moment, top 100, most anticipated documentary films list of docu projects that are moments away from premiering at a festival, or at some creative germination phase. My name is Matthew Roe, I’ll be your guide to films that documentary film lovers, and community at large will want to keep tabs on.

I would be remiss if I didn’t laud a handful of films given us in 2017 before immediately moving on to those soon-to-be-released. Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana delivered Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (read review), a stylish dive into the turbulent history and significant role of Native Americans in popular music. Jennifer Brea made her bittersweet debut with Unrest (read review),  a fervid diary-turned-dissection of the facts and fictions surrounding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Rahul Jain scrutinized abject poverty in Machines (read review), a haunting immersion into the working conditions of textile workers in Gujarat, India. Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous are harshly candid and visually arresting with The Work (read review), an observation of a four-day intensive group therapy program in Folsom State Prison. Finally, Miguel Coyula blended the surreal and poetic in my favorite docu of the year Nadie; an impressionistic conversation with Rafael Alcides, a poet of the Cuban Revolution rushing to salvage his unpublished manuscripts as the ink is literally fading from their pages.

After the collective post-traumatic stress disorder and cinema riches of 2017, the new year appears to be no less lofty as the latest slate of high-profile documentaries are set to premiere at Sundance later this month. Academy Award-winning juggernaut Louie Psihoyos (The Cove, Racing Extinction) tops our list with The Game Changers, unique social and cultural leaders dispelling myths of veganism, as well as emphasizing its positive impact on the climate. It is produced by UFC fighter James Wilks (the originator of the project), and executive produced by James Cameron (all of whom are unsurprisingly vegan). This landed a spot in the Documentary Premieres section.

Robert Greene uses locals of the titular Arizona town to stage recreations of the controversial deportation of over a thousand immigrant miners in Bisbee ’17, rounding out his third collaboration with 4th Row Films and producers Susan Bedusa, Bennett Elliott, and Douglas Tirola (Actress, Kate Plays Christine). This isn’t to be confused with the 1999 historical fiction paperback by Robert Houston, which shares the same title, setting and time period. Lauren Greenfield is set to finally premiere Generation Wealth, a near decade-long project which will triple-up as “a museum exhibition, a photographic monograph, and a feature documentary film” dissecting our disturbing obsession with wealth. Produced by Greenfield and her husband Frank Evers as Evergreen Pictures, and distributed by Amazon Studios.

The eclectic Emmy Award-winner Peter Kunhardt returns to the director’s chair (after successfully directing Becoming Warren Buffett and producing The Newspaperman for HBO earlier in 2017) with King in the Wilderness, parsing the final years of Martin Luther King Jr. Produced by Kunhardt and his son Teddy as Kunhardt Productions.

After famously walking off the project in 2013 by stating he “would rather die than work on this” (only to return some months later), Stephen Loveridge will finally make his feature directorial debut with MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A. This long-gestating biography of the Sri Lankan/British rapper and record producer M.I.A. is built from a library of personal footage spanning decades. Produced by Lori Cheatle, Andrew Goldman, and Paul Mezey through Cinereach.

Other titles that we have our laser pointed towards include Amy Scott’s debut with Hal, examining director Hal Ashby’s life and work. Produced by Christine Beebe, Lisa Janssen, Jonathan Lynch, and Brian Morrow of Shark Pig. Maxim Pozdorovkin (Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer) explores the cult of President Trump through Russian state propaganda in Our New President. Produced by Pozdorovkin, Charlotte Cook, and Joe Bender of Third Party Films. Academy Award-nominee Christian Frei (War Photographer) and Maxim Arbugaev bring us Genesis 2.0, debating the ethics of resurrecting extinct species after well-preserved mammoths are discovered in the arctic.

I can be reached at matt [at] ioncinema dot com. Here is our most anticipated Top 100 docs in the pipeline.

#
Film Title
Filmmaker(s)
Status
Last Month’s Ranking
1
The Game Changers
Louie Psihoyos
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
2
Bisbee ’17
Robert Greene
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
3
Generation Wealth
Lauren Greenfield
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
4
King in the Wilderness
Peter Kunhardt
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
5
MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A.
Stephen Loveridge
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
6
Jane Fonda in Five Acts
Susan Lacy
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
7
Dark Money
Kimberly Reed
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
8
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Morgan Neville
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
9
Genesis 2.0
Christian Frei, Maxim Arbugaev
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
10
The Devil We Know
Stephanie Soechtig
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
11
Black Mother
Khalik Allah
Post Production
⭑ New!
12
306 Hollywood
Elan Bogarin, Jonathan Bogarin
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
13
Seeing Allred
Sophie Sartain, Roberta Grossman
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
14
Crime + Punishment
Stephen Maing
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
15
On Her Shoulders
Alexandria Bombach
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
16
Hal
Amy Scott
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
17
Kusama – Infinity
Heather Lenz
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
18
The Sentence
Rudy Valdez
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
19
Quiet Heroes
Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga, Amanda Stoddard
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
20
Inventing Tomorrow
Laura Nix
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
21
Our New President
Maxim Pozdorovkin
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
22
RBG
Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
23
Minding the Gap
Bing Liu
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
24
The Last Race
Michael Dweck
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
25
The Cleaners
Moritz Riesewieck, Hans Block
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
26
The Price of Everything
Nathaniel Kahn
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
27
Studio 54
Matt Tyrnauer
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
28
A Woman Captured
Bernadett Tuza-Ritter
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
29
Between Two Worlds
Janus Metz/Sine Plambech
Post Production
⭑ New!
30
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
RaMell Ross
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
31
Shirkers
Sandi Tan
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
32
Believer
Don Argott
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
33
This is Home
Alexandra Shiva
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
34
Half the Picture
Amy Adrion
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
35
The Oslo Diaries
Mor Loushy, Daniel Sivan
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
36
The Pain of Others
Penny Lane
Rotterdam Preem
⭑ New!
37
Three Identical Strangers
Tim Wardle
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
38
Of Fathers and Sons
Talal Derki
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
39
Kailash
Derek Doneen
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
40
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind
Marina Zenovich
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
41
Anote’s Ark
Matthieu Rytz
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
42
The Man Who Stole Banksy
Marco Proserpio
Completed
⭑ New!
43
Chef Flynn
Cameron Yates
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
44
Westwood
Lorna Tucker
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
45
A Polar Year
Samuel Collardey
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
46
Bad Reputation
Kevin Kerslake
Sundance Preem
⭑ New!
47
Charm City
Marilyn Ness
Post-Prod
⭑ New!
48
Impeachment
Petra Costa
Post-Production
⭑ New!
49
The Infiltrators
Cristina Ibarra, Alex Rivera
Post-Prod
⭑ New!
50
People’s Republic of Desire
Hao Wu
Completed
⭑ New!

Legend:

New to Chart
No Change
Position Increase
Position Drop

#
Film Title
Filmmaker(s)
Status
Last Month’s Ranking
51
Fahrenheit 11/9
Michael Moore
Filming
⭑ New!
52
Deadpan (fka as Lord of Obstacles?)
Kirsten Johnson
Filming
⭑ New!
53
The Blue Wall
Richard Rowley
Filming
⭑ New!
54
They Fight
Andrew Renzi
Completed
⭑ New!
55
Born in China
Nanfu Wang, Lynn Zhang
Filming
⭑ New!
56
The Pervert’s Guide To XXIst Century
Sophie Fiennes
Unknown
⭑ New!
57
SK13
Tony Zierra
Post-Production
⭑ New!
58
DeLorean
Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce
Post-Prod
⭑ New!
59
Epicentro
Hubert Sauper
Filming
⭑ New!
60
Weinstein
Ursula MacFarlane
In Development
⭑ New!
61
Alt-Right
Adam Bhala Lough
Unknown
⭑ New!
62
Nordic Trips
Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard
Unknown
⭑ New!
63
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Bill Ross, Turner Ross
In Development
⭑ New!
64
Nobody in This World is Better Than Us
Roberto Minervini
Post-Production
⭑ New!
65
Oh Moscow
Sally Potter
Unknown
⭑ New!
66
I Walk
Jørgen Leth
Unknown
⭑ New!
67
Prophets of Rage
Karim Amer
Unknown
⭑ New!
68
Ingmar Bergman – Legacy of a Defining Genius
Margarethe von Trotta, Felix Moeller
Filming
⭑ New!
69
Ken Burns
Ken Burns
Filming
⭑ New!
70
The Acali Experiment
Marcus Lindeen
Unknown
⭑ New!
71
Aleph
Iva Radivojevic
Filming
⭑ New!
72
Blackout
Alexander Porter, James George, Yasmin Elayat
Filming
⭑ New!
73
Mudflow
Cynthia Wade, Sasha Friedlander
Completed
⭑ New!
74
Always in Season
Jacqueline Olive
Filming
⭑ New!
75
Facing the Dragon
Sedika Mojadidi
Filming
⭑ New!
76
Freedom Fields
Naziha Arebi
Post-Prod
⭑ New!
77
Warrior Women
Christina D. King, Elizabeth Castle
Post-Production
⭑ New!
78
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word
Wim Wenders
Completed
⭑ New!
79
Untitled Religious Activism Documentary
Penny Lane
Filming
⭑ New!
80
Stray
Elizabeth Lo
Filming
⭑ New!
81
All Light, Everywhere
Theo Anthony
Announced
⭑ New!
82
Taste of Sky
Michael Lei
Completed
⭑ New!
83
Forgiveness
Elizabeth Stopford
Filming
⭑ New!
84
United Skates
Dyana Winkler, Tina Brown
Post-Prod
⭑ New!
85
Untitled Jennifer Laude Project
PJ Raval
Post-Prod
⭑ New!
86
United Nations – The End of the Beginning
Lea Glob, Andreas Koefoed
In Development
⭑ New!
87
The Second Israel
Michale Boganim
In Development
⭑ New!
88
The Island
Anca Damian
Unknown
⭑ New!
89
The Scar
Noor Afshan Mirza, Brad Butler
Complete
⭑ New!
90
Cain, Abel & The Cowgirl
Dina Amer
Unknown
⭑ New!
91
Maradona
Asif Kapadia
Filming
⭑ New!
92
Staring Through the Glass
Seamus Murphy
In Development
⭑ New!
93
La Société de Spectacle
Göran Hugo Olsson, Sophie Vuković
Unknown
⭑ New!
94
I Die
Erik Pope
Unknown
⭑ New!
95
Hello Ladies
Deborah Stratman
Unknown
⭑ New!
96
XY Chelsea
Tim Travers Hawkins
Filming
⭑ New!
97
Untitled Marion Stokes Project
Matt Wolf
Post-Prod
⭑ New!
98
Golden Dawn Girls
Havard Bustnes
Complete
⭑ New!
99
Untitled Hollywood Sexual Assault Project
Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
Filming
⭑ New!
100
A Comedian In A Syrian Tragedy
Rami Farah
Post-Production
⭑ New!

New to Chart
No Change
Position Increase
Position Drop

Matthew Roe is a Baltimore-based film critic and theorist, and award-winning founder of the independent production company Heaven’s Fire Films. He writes the dedicated horror film column "Psycho Pompous" for Under the Radar, the film theory column "Anarchic Cinema" for Film Inquiry, and movie reviews for The Critical Movie Critics and Film Threat. He also writes the bi-monthly What's Up Doc? for IONCINEMA.com. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Ramsay (Ratcatcher), Herzog (Fitzcarraldo), Miike (Audition), Haneke (Funny Games), Lynch (Mulholland Dr.), DuVernay (Selma), Clark (Kids), Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream), Hosoda (Summer Wars), Anderson (There Will Be Blood), Coyula (Nadie).

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