Doc Club Also Recently Became the Exclusive Digital Home to Gibney’s 2008 Academy Award-Winner Taxi to the Dark Side
SundanceNow Doc Club, the advertising-free boutique SVOD service dedicated solely to documentaries, announced today that Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney is curating a collection of 12 documentaries for Doc Club. The collection is available to stream now. Gibney won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for Taxi To The Dark Side, which recently became available online for the first time, exclusively at SundanceNow Doc Club. In addition, Gibney’s most recent film Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief was just selected for the Academy Award’s shortlist to compete for this year’s Best Documentary Feature.
On Alex Gibney’s importance to the documentary world, Doc Club resident curator Thom Powers stated, “Alex Gibney is a consistently ground-breaking filmmaker who imbues his subjects with clarity and insight and brings them into the social consciousness. We are thrilled to have him join SundanceNow Doc Club as our latest guest curator and shed light on the documentaries that have both influenced and impressed him.”
The films featured in the collection, alongside Gibney’s personal comments on each film, are:
THE ATOMIC CAFÉ (1982)
A dark comedy in the truest sense, Kevin & Pierce Rafferty‘s The Atomic Café is a timeless classic that took the nation by storm when it first debuted in 1982. The film recounts a defining period of 20th century history and serves as a chilling and often hilarious reminder of cold-war era paranoia in the United States–artfully presented through a collage of newsreel footage, government archives, military training films, and fifties music. The film was regarded by critics as “A nuclear Reefer Madness” and likened to Stanley Kubrick‘s Dr. Strangelove.
“Hilarious and inventive.”
DEEP WATER (2006)
Louise Osmond & Jerry Rothwell‘s Deep Water is the stunning true story of the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world boat race, and the psychological toll it took on its competitors. Battling treacherous seas and his own demons, amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst almost immediately comes apart as he faces the isolation of nine months on the high seas. Part adventure yarn and part metaphysical mystery, DEEP WATER is an unforgettable journey into one man’s heart of darkness.
“A fantastic film about lying, cheating and self-deception. This is a gem that somehow disappeared beneath the surface charm of so many less worthy films. Put on your wet suit and take a dive into the mind of Donald Crowhurst.”
FELA KUTI: MUSIC IS THE WEAPON (2013)
Jean Jacque Flori & Stephane Tchal-Gadjieff’s Fela Kuti is to African music what Bob Marley is to reggae: its prophet. All contemporary forms of black music, from funk to electronic, owe something to the irresistible groove of the Afrobeat sound that he created. Shot in Lagos at the peak of his career in 1982, this documentary contains interviews with Fela detailing his thoughts on politics, Pan-Africanism, music and religion, alongside unpublished versions of songs like ITT, Army Arrangement and Power Show.
“Sometimes it’s a miracle that documentarians are in the right place at the right time with cameras willing to shoot. Such was the case with Laura Poitras in Hong Kong and such was the case with Stéphane Tchalgadjieff in Lagos, Nigeria. He arrived there in 1982, with a camera, a nagra and some 16mm film intending to do a short profile on a musician named Fela Kuti. He ended up staying for weeks and weeks, filming Fela and his 27 wives in Fela’s club, The Shrine, and in his ganja-filled commune, called The Kalakuta Republic, as if it were a separate country. Stéphane went broke shooting but we are the beneficiaries of the riches he captured: a portrait of one of the 20th century’s great musicians and bandleaders as well as a revolutionary political artist. I used outtakes and clips from this film in ‘Finding Fela!'”
FIVE BROKEN CAMERAS (2012)
Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary, Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi‘s critically-acclaimed 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements. As the years pass in front of the camera of a Palestinian farmer, we witness his son grow from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him with the astute powers of perception that only children possess.
“The most important thing about this film is the poignant way it shows the unjust and cruel occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces. It’s also an inspiration for impecunious filmmakers looking to make an impact. The filmmaker couldn’t afford fancy graphics packages or the latest 4K camera. Instead, he used five “point-and-shoot” consumer cameras – each one smashed by Israeli forces.”
GUERRILLA – THE TAKING OF PATTY HEARST (2004)
Robert Stone‘s unprecedented account of the Symbionese Liberation Army, arguably the most notorious and flamboyant domestic terrorist group in American history. Dedicated to the rights of black prisoners and the working class, the S.L.A. set forth in 1973 to incite the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, brilliantly manipulating the mass media to advance their message. Their audacious kidnapping of teenage newspaper heiress Patty Hearst inspired what might be described as the first true media “frenzy,” one that only exploded further when Patty transformed into “Tania” and joined the ranks of the S.L.A. Every detail of their descent into the surreal outer limits of political extremism was played out in public, a spectacle foreshadowing some of the worst excesses of modern TV journalism.
“Fantastic archival film with attitude.”
HELL & BACK AGAIN (2011)
From his embed with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris. The film seamlessly transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of one man’s personal struggle at home in North Carolina, where Harris confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life with the love and support of his wife, Ashley. Masterfully contrasting the intensity of the frontline with the unsettling normalcy of home, Hell And Back Again lays bare the true cost of war.
“Great first person cinema in a war zone.” Continue reading