Brett Ratner came to Winter TV Press Tour 2014 to talk about his ESPN soccer documentary and to remind TV critics the Hercules movie that just opened anemically at the box office is not his Dwayne Johnson-starring Hercules movie.
Ratner is among the directors for ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30 Soccer Stories premiering in April, including a mix of feature length and shorter 30-minute documentaries.
“I honestly feel ESPN is one of the greatest brands” enthused Ratner, who shared the stage with documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney and ESPN Films director of development Libby Geist.
Related: Between ‘Hercules’ Set-Ups, Brett Ratner Becomes Media Mogul With Eye On China
Ratner said he’s been obsessed with the sports network’s 30 for 30 documentary franchise and had been trying to find a way to get involved when someone at his company hit on an idea. “One of my passions and one of the opportunities that I’ve never gotten is to make a film that has Nazis in them. All my contemporaries, from Quentin Tarantino to, you know, obviously Spielberg, and all these guys have made their Nazi film, and I haven’t been able to tackle it yet.” Read More »
Not a bad week for Jehane Noujaim’s film about Egyptian activists battling the establishment. The Square scored the Best Feature trophy tonight at the 29th annual IDA Documentary Awards, three days after it made the Oscar shortlist. The film, which also is up for a Spirit Award, is the first documentary picked up by Netflix. Other winners announced at the ceremony hosted by Paul Provenza at DGA headquarters in Los Angeles included Slomo for Best Short, PBS’ Independent Lens for Best Continuing Series and CNN’s Morgan Spurlock-hosted Inside Man for Best Limited Series. Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for Taxi To The Dark Side and was nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, received a Career Achievement Award. Here is the full list of winners at the 2013 IDA Documentary Awards, presented by the International Documentary Association:
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Sony Classics has unveiled a trailer for Oscar-winner Alex Gibney‘s The Armstrong Lie, about cyclist Lance Armstrong’s comeback from cancer and subsequent doping scandal. Gibney inserts his own unusual perspective into the docu by chronicling the fibs Armstrong told him as he interviewed the … Read More »
Jonathan Demme’s ‘Fear Of Falling’ To Premiere At Rome Fest
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme‘s Fear Of Falling will have its world premiere at the eighth annual Rome Film Festival in November. The film is based on a theater production — performed only a few times to friends — created for the stage by the actor-filmaker André Gregory, based on Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, translated and adapted by actor-playwright Wallace Shawn. Gregory and Shawn also star in the film. Fear of Falling is produced by Rocco Caruso. The Rome fest runs November 8-17.
TrustNordisk Sells ‘We Are The Best!’ In Australia, Italy, Taiwan
TrustNordisk has closed multiple deals on Lukas Moodysson’s We Are The Best!, which premiered at Venice premiere and screened at Toronto. The Swedish teen punk film has sold to Australia (NewVision Films), Italy (Bim Distribuzione) and Taiwan (Maison Motion), with talks ongoing for other territories. We Are The Best! revolves around three young outsiders in 1980s Stockholm who find unity in music and form a punk band without having any instruments. Lars Jönsson for Memfis Film produced the film, which bows October 11 in Sweden.
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Oscar winner Alex Gibney followed Lance Armstrong for four years chronicling his return to cycling after retirement as he tried to win his eighth Tour de France. Unexpectedly, the documentary filmmaker was also there last year when Armstrong admitted … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney just returned the serve the United States Tennis Association made on Friday when it sued the makers of a documentary about Venus and Serena Williams. The USTA told the U.S. District Court in New York that Venus And Serena uses film footage that infringed the organization’s copyrights including scenes — presumably Serena’s tirade at the 2009 U.S. Open — that are “not in the best interests of the sport.” Gibney, the film’s executive producer, says the USTA is trying to “censor this film about America’s most inspiring female athletes.” His colleagues “were entirely within their legal rights to use a small amount of widely seen footage” citing the ”fair use” doctrine, which enables filmmakers and others to use copyrighted material without permission when it serves the public interest. The concept “is vital to filmmakers trying to tell truthful stories and embodies the essence of the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution,” he says. “Indeed, without the fair use doctrine, copyright itself would be unconstitutional. By its actions, the USTA is assaulting the very principle of free speech.” Read More »
Alcon Television Group, the television division of Alcon Entertainment, and Frank Sinatra Enterprises are teaming to produce an as yet untitled documentary about the life and music of Frank Sinatra to premiere on HBO. Oscar-winning … Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The scope of the devastation wrought by abusive members of the clergy took center stage at TCA this afternoon during a panel on the HBO documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God, which premieres on the network February 4. The doc from writer-director Alex Gibney examines the abuse of power in the Catholic Church through the stories of four deaf men who were involved in one of the first cases of young sexual abuse victims exposing their abusing priest. One of those interviewed in the piece, a former Benedictine monk and mental health counselor named Richard Sipe, has spent most of his life researching and serving as a crusader in the field. Now 80, he discussed how his piercing the denial of abuse in the United States was initially wildly unpopular. The first indicators were studies conducted of the 1966 and 1972 graduating classes of the major seminary of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. “Thirty percent of the two classes (had engaged) in the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church”, Sipe said. “It was just so unique to find this among a group of men whom we say are entirely sexually safe, who do not practice sex in any form at any time. And that is the myth that I have had to be faced with in my life”.
Related: Q&A: Director Alex Gibney On ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’, Sex Abuse & Taking The Film To Italy Read More »
Alex Gibney won an Oscar for his 2007 documentary Taxi To The Dark Side about U.S. policy on torture and interrogation. He was also nominated for 2005’s Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room. His latest film, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God, taps into a subject that has, in various forms, increasingly made headlines this year. As allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by trusted figures have continued to surface — think the Penn State scandal and the ongoing crisis over BBC kids’ show host Jimmy Savile — Gibney’s film is a damning investigation into pedophilia in the Catholic Church. Shining a light on what it calls “an international conspiracy of silence” that reaches all the way to the Vatican, the documentary “teaches us that we must recognize that the worst predators often consciously use their own personal charisma and the prestige of their institutions to commit and cover up their crimes,” Gibney says.
At the outset, the story is told from the point of view of four deaf men who attended a Milwaukee Catholic boys school in the 1950s and ’60s where Father Lawrence Murphy abused them as well as what is believed to be over 200 others over time. Interweaving the boys’ saga, which the now-adult men recount in sign language voiced over by actors Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Jamey Sheridan and John Slattery, the story travels to two of the world’s most Catholic countries: Ireland and Italy. There, stories of similar sex abuse cases are revealed as well as the actions of members and friends of the Holy See. Mea Maxima Culpa debuted in Toronto and won the documentary feature prize at the recent London Film Festival. It was released in NY and LA on Friday for its Oscar-qualifying run and will air on HBO on February 4. It was also, surprisingly given the subject matter, picked up for distribution in both Ireland (Element Pictures) and Italy (Feltrinelli), although it was refused by recent Italian festivals. I recently had the chance to catch up with Gibney and our conversation follows: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Former Universal co-chairman Marc Shmuger next month opens the doors on his new producing venture. Global Produce will be the name of his new Universal-based company, and I’m told that Shmuger has hired Tom McNulty to be his top … Read More »
Magnolia Pictures acquired North American rights to Magic Trip, a look back at the psychedelic 60s cross-country bus tour taken by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. The feature documentary was co-directed and co-written by Alex Gibney and Allison Ellwood, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal and Management 360 have partnered with financier/producer Megan Ellison to option The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, an article about WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in The New York Times Magazine written by the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning documentary director Alex Gibney has found his next hot-button film subject. Universal Pictures has just acquired a documentary that Gibney will direct about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The film will be the first project involving Marc Shmuger since … Read More »