Steve McQueen Highlights Necessary Histories with New Documentaries

Director Steve McQueen’s newest Prime Video documentaries on West Indian and Caribbean life in 20th century London are necessary viewing. In a style similar to Ava DuVernay’s 13th, the Academy Award-winning director stitches together archival footage and thoughtful interviews that spotlight the violent history of some of London’s most vulnerable communities. Subnormal: A British Scandal, Black Power: A British Story of Resistance, and Uprising document the racially motivated atrocities that plagued black and brown neighborhoods across London in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and captures the delicate maneuverings of McQueen’s cinematic eye.

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NOC Interview: Matt Dillon on His Documentary Film, ‘El Gran Fellove’

Matt Dillon’s film career has spanned over three decades. The actor has starred in over 50 films such as The Outsiders, Drugstore Cowboy, There’s Something about Mary, Crash, and The House that Jack Built. In 2003, he co-wrote and made his directorial film debut with City of Ghosts. Dillon’s new documentary El Gran Fellove recently had its North American Premiere Screening at the Telluride Film Festival.

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Why this ‘American Sikh’ Cosplays as Captain America

Animator and cosplayer Vishavjit Singh has experienced tremendous trauma in his life. He survived a genocide against Sikh people in India as a young boy, and after he and his family fled to the US, he’s constantly experienced racism and Islamophobia (despite not being Muslim) in the pre- and post-9/11 era. Despite all of this, he remains an optimist for people to treat each other better, and found through his regular cosplaying as Captain America that he could somehow achieve that. But what drew him to this initially?

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A Beautiful Presidential Conversation w/ Whitney Skauge and Terence Smith

In The Beauty President, Terence Smith retells his ’92 presidential campaign as his drag queen persona Ms. Joan Black in a conversational documentary short film by Whitney Skauge. Smith didn’t realize at the time it would be such a historic moment in political art, and this film captures his surprise and delight at being a part of history. 

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Academy Award-Winning Director Steve McQueen’s New Documentaries

The masterful work of Academy Award winning director Steve McQueen spans an impressive set of genres, from films to anthology series, and now the 12 Years a Slave director has three new documentaries coming to Amazon Prime. Last year, we spoke to the talented leads in McQueen’s anthology Small Axe that examined the real-life experiences of West Indians living in mid-20th century London.

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‘Unapologetic’ is an Unflinching Exploration of Activism

“What is this helping?” is one of the first sentences uttered by a white restaurant patron unsettled in Unapologetic’s first scene, where protestors express the reality of the recent deaths of Black residents in their community to unsuspecting people eating brunch at restaurants. The scene perfectly encompasses the themes and motives of this documentary: a large and triumphant call to arms to make a more honest and equal world while people sit quietly trying to ignore not only the performance, but the actual knowledge of those who are destroyed and subjugated by these injustices.

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‘The Beauty President’ is a Beauty to Behold

As I watched the Pride flag waving as the credits ran at the end of The Beauty President, I remembered growing up in the early 2000s and how I knew nothing about what that flag meant then. That 20 years later, I can see it at my city’s town hall flying next to the United States flag. Director Whitney Skauge and the film’s subject, Terrance Alan Smith, bring a beautiful historical moment in LGBTQ+ history to the forefront with an air of grace and love that I hope everyone could see. 

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‘Bring Your Own Brigade’ Burns Bright

Two cites, two fires, and rising temperatures flare up in Bring Your Own Brigade, an American documentary film by Lucy Walker, following the aftermath of the 2018 California Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire that destroyed Paradise and Malibu, California.

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Grammy Award-Winning Artist Common to Narrate USA Men’s Basketball Docuseries

I told myself I wouldn’t begin this news about the dope new docuseries coming to Peacock mentioning LeBron James and I’ve clearly already failed. While James’ absence from the USA Men’s National Basketball team isn’t new, the real highlights of the highs and lows of the Olympics have been shouldered by the NBA’s new elite squad, specifically younger players like Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, and Bam Adebayo.

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Megastars Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert’s ‘We Got Love’ Arrives This September

This September, we’ll get an inside look at the life journey and goings on of power couple Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert with their new docu-series We Got Love Teyana & Iman on the E! network. The dynamic duo embark on the ultimate life journey, navigating the many realities of married life, raising children, and creating work as career artists. We Got Love Teyana & Iman takes an authentic and unfiltered inside look at the life of Teyana, Iman, and their daughters Junie B, Baby Rue, as well as their tight-knit entourage of family and friends.

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U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Fights for Equal Pay in ‘LFG’ Documentary Trailer

CNN Films & HBO Max has released the official trailer for LFG, an upcoming documentary about the U.S. Women’s soccer team’s fight to for equal pay. It’s hard to believe after winning four Olympic Gold medals and four World Cups over the past 30 years, the women’s soccer team are being underpaid compared to their U.S. Men’s Soccer team, who have zero championships to their name. In 2019, just three months before the Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women’s team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation over this pay discrepancy.

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Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Accepted’ Filmmaker, Dan Chen

Hoyyy! It’s Kuya P back again with an interview covering one of the great films coming out of the Tribeca Film Festival! I recently sat down for a conversation with Director, Dan Chen to discuss his documentary film, Accepted that will make its world premiere at the Festival! Check out our conversation and then head over to the Tribeca Film Festival website to find out how you can view the film from wherever you may be!

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Culture House’s Raeshem Nijhon Talks About the Importance of Representation

The last several years have seen numerous fallouts from Hollywood industry titans with regard to representation and the arts. NBC cancelling the 2022 Golden Globes amid the problems the HFPA essentially created for itself is a reminder of the strides still to be had for the industry. Enter Raeshem Nijhon, executive producer and founder at Culture House, a black, brown, and women-owned premium film and TV production company.

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Watch the Trailer for Roadside Attractions’ ‘Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It’

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It comes out in theaters on June 18. The documentary about the acting legend, which has a total runtime of 89 minutes, features George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Karen Olivo.

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‘My Love’ Filmmaker Jin Moyoung Hopes to Inspire Change Through Love

Netflix recently released a six-episode documentary series all about romantic love called My Love: Six Stories of True Love. The series follows six couples from Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the U.S. for over a course of a year, pre-pandemic. A local director in that country follows each couple, who have been together from anywhere from 40 to 60 years, on their daily routines and showcases the sparks that still light their relationships. It’s not an easy task to put all of these stories together. That’s where executive producer Jin Moyoung comes in.

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Executive Producer Shelly Leslie Talks James Jordan Docuseries ‘Moment of Truth’

Moment of Truth tells the never-before-seen story behind the murder of James Jordan, NBA star Michael Jordan’s father, and captures the history of the social injustice in Robeson County, North Carolina, where two teenagers, Larry Demery and Daniel Green, were charged and convicted of the crime. IMDb TV announced the April 2  premiere date for the original true-crime docuseries, directed by Matthew Perniciaro and Clay Johnson. The five-part series analyzes and presents new compelling information on the 1993 murder of James Jordan, the crime that shocked the nation, creating a media frenzy and countless speculations and baseless conspiracy theories.

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NOC Review: ‘They Call Me Babu’ Visualizes an Untold Story

The archival documentary filmmaking style is able to take us to times long past that can’t necessarily be recreated with the same sensitivity and grace through mere recreation — as opposed to just seeing footage of the actual subject matter in question. Unlike casting an actor to portray someone else’s experience or reinterpreting events through animation, using archival footage helps to see the real faces that once lived in spaces that no longer exist, to actual haunting, horrifying scenes of war in places where peace now exists. This synthesizes both the preservation of both art and history, because beyond just pinning names to a person on a list, archival footage can help better visualize untold stories and those who lived through them. 

They Call Me Babu is an documentary that composites archival footage to tell the story of Alima, a nanny who worked for a Dutch family in the former Dutch East Indies — Indonesia — during the 1940s. It originally premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) to audiences within the Netherlands. It was also slated to debut and tour in other regions in 2020, if not for the disruption of many events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Southern Fried Asian: ‘First Vote’

With less than three weeks to go for the 2020 Presidential Election, Keith sits down with filmmaker and subjects from the new documentary, First Vote: director Yi Chen, podcaster Kaiser Kuo, and professor Dr. Jennifer Ho on this special election edition of Southern Fried Asian.

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‘Song Exploder’ Host Hrishikesh Hirway Breaks Down the Making of the New Netflix Series

Song Exploder is a new documentary series from Netflix where a variety of music artists discuss the making of and story behind their songs. From conversations with host and executive producer Hrishikesh Hirway, to archival footage of the artists at work, each episode dives deep into how songs like R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” and Alicia Keys’ “3 Hour Drive” came into existence. Continue reading “‘Song Exploder’ Host Hrishikesh Hirway Breaks Down the Making of the New Netflix Series”

Southern Fried Asian: ‘Far East Deep South’

On June 5, the Oxford Film Festival will host the virtual world premiere of the documentary feature, Far East Deep South, a film about a Chinese American family discovering its unexpected history in Mississippi. Before its premiere, the filmmakers, Larissa Lam and Baldwin Chiu, sit down for this month’s episode of Southern Fried Asian.

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Kickstart This: ‘Radical: The Savior Faire of French Hip-Hop’

First, I’m hoping that all you NOCers (and your loved ones) are as safe and as healthy as you can be. We are in some strange and uncharted territories, but hopefully this little slice of community can keep us connected.

I am fully aware that many of us are in dire financial straits. Many of us have lost jobs, lost other sources of income — many of us may find ourselves in new and unfamiliar caretaking roles. #LifeInTheTimeOfCOVID19

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The Middle Geeks Episode 9: ‘For Sama’ and the Human Cost of War

This month on The Middle Geeks, we discuss Waad Al-Kateab’s stunning documentary For Sama, which provides visceral insight into the Syrian Civil War and the experiences of citizens under siege. The film has been nominated for numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In much lighter topics, we discuss the upcoming return of Zari (Tala Ashe) on Legends of Tomorrow, and the news that Iranian and other people of color will be leads in Middle Earth on Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings series!

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