Official Trailer for Award Winning Documentary on Police — ‘The Force’

The Force Trailer

«I don’t want bad cops here, period.» Kino Lorber has revealed the first official trailer for the documentary titled The Force, examining the police crisis in America at the moment. The film actually focuses on the police themselves, going inside an «embattled urban police department struggling to rebuild trust in one of America’s most violent yet promising cities.» The police they’re profiling is the Oakland Police Department, and the storyline in the doc follows three different threads — one about the young police chief, another about new recruits in the Academy, and another about officers in the field facing increased hostility. The Force won Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival, and won Best Bay Area Documentary at the San Francisco Film Festival. This is an excellent trailer for a doc, really pulls you in and makes you feel for what’s at stake. ›››

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Trailer for ‘California Typewriter’ Documentary Featuring Tom Hanks

California Typewriter Doc Trailer

«There’s a tactile satisfaction that, I think, is part of our humanity.» Gravitas has released an official trailer for a documentary titled California Typewriter, a «meditation on creativity and technology» focusing on the beloved typewriter. The titled «California Typewriter» is actually one of the most well-known typewriter stores, still surviving today as one of the only repair shops dedicated to the mechanical machines. Directed by Doug Nichol, the documentary is also a story about people whose lives are connected by typewriters. It features discussions / interviews with Tom Hanks, John Mayer, Sam Shepard, David McCullough and others. This doc first premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and it looks like a fascinating doc that goes beyond just the mechanics of these everlasting writing machines. I’m actually very excited to see this. ›››

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Trailer for Documentary ‘School Life’ Profiling Inspirational Teachers

School Life Documentary Trailer

«Well, go on… impress me.» Magnolia Pictures has debuted an official trailer for a fun documentary titled School Life, formerly known as In Loco Parentis when it premiered at film festivals last year/this year. From filmmakers Neasa Ní Chianáin & David Rane, the documentary profiles two inspirational teachers at Headfort, the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland. «Long careers are drawing to a close for John and Amanda, who teach Latin, English, and guitar at a stately home-turned-school, where they are legends with a mantra: ‘Reading. ‘Rithmetic. Rock ‘n’ roll!’ But leaving is the hardest lesson.» I haven’t seen this yet, but it seems like I need to catch it when it opens. This looks seriously charming and inspirational, indeed a «heartwarming look at youth» and the fearless teachers who help shape them into good people. Have a look. ›››

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First Trailer for Matt Heineman’s Syria Documentary ‘City of Ghosts’

City of Ghosts Trailer

«Our words are stronger than their weapons.» Amazon Studios has revealed the first official trailer for the documentary City of Ghosts, the follow-up to Cartel Land made by filmmaker Matthew Heineman. This doc takes a closer look at the Syrian war as told from the inside, following a group of anonymous journalists working to report on what’s really happening. Heineman is known for getting incredible footage and diving deep into the subject of his docs, and that’s definitely the case here. It’s describe as a «powerful cinematic experience that is sure to shake audiences to their core.» This premiered at Sundance this year, where I saw it, and it’s good but nowhere near as good as Cartel Land. This would also make a good double feature with the doc Last Men in Aleppo, as both films are important looks at the war in Syria. Watch the footage below. ›››

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First Trailer for New Hayao Miyazaki Documentary ‘Never-Ending Man’

Never-Ending Man Trailer

«I’m a weak, used-up old man.» Another Miyazaki documentary? Why not! More the better, I say. Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is another new documentary about the life and work of master animator & filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. A few years ago, we were treated to the wonderful documentary Kingdom of Dreams and Madness profiling Studio Ghibli and its founders. This new documentary focuses specifically on Miyazaki and also focuses on his return to animation and first experiments with CGI filmmaking. This one is also in Japanese with voice-over and subtitles in English, and will air on TV in Japan this summer, though we don’t know when it’ll show up elsewhere. Director Kaku Arakawa was asked what he had learned from Miyazaki and he said: «he made me realise that if your passions are aroused, you could do anything.» ›››

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‘Batman and Bill’ Trailer: The Truth About the Creation of Batman Explained in a New Documentary

Batman and Bill Trailer

Everyone thinks Bob Kane is the sole creator of Batman. What the new documentary Batman and Bill presupposes is, maybe he’s not.

Even though Bob Kane is frequently and historically associated with the creation of Batman, the more educated comic book fans now know that many of the signature elements of Batman’s long comic book history were created by another man named Bill Finger. But why is his name not nearly as synonymous with the creation of The Dark Knight? A new documentary explores why Finger was omitted from Batman’s history and only just recently started getting the credit that he’s due.

Watch the Batman and Bill trailer below.

As the trailer explains, though Bob Kane had the initial idea to create a superhero who was quite the opposite of DC Comics’ Big Blue Boy Scout known as Superman, all of the signature traits of Batman’s comic book adventures came from Bill Finger. Not only did Finger create Batman’s trademark design and draw his stories, he was responsible for creating some key pieces of The Caped Crusader’s mythology. Robin, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Commissioner Gordon, Gotham City and much more were all added into Batman’s universe by Bill Finger.

Thankfully, since 2015, Bill Finger has started receiving prominent credit for his pivotal contributions to the creation of Batman, even appearing in the credits for Gotham and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and presumably anything associated with Batman from here on out.

But how does a man who is so integral to the creation of one of the most revered superheroes of all time get shoved to the side and almost forgotten by comic book history? That’s the story that Batman and Bill is setting out to tell, inspired by author Marc Tyler Nobleman‘s endeavor to make sure Bill Finger got credit for his work, which he chronicled in the book Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman.

In addition to Nobleman, plenty of comic book historians, artists, Batman experts (like comic writer and filmmaker Kevin Smith) and more appear in the documentary to talk about this tragic tale of ignorance in the creation of Batman that went on for far too long.

Everyone thinks that Bob Kane created Batman, but that’s not the whole truth. One author makes it his crusade to seek justice for Bill Finger, a struggling writer who was the key figure in creating the iconic superhero, from concept to costume to the very character we all know and love. Bruce Wayne may be Batman’s secret identity, but his creator was always a true mystery.

Batman and Bill will be available to watch on Hulu on May 6.

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Celebrate Composers in Trailer for ‘Score: A Film Music Documentary’

Score: A Film Music Documentary

«Music is the one thing that we all understand, that we don’t understand.» Gravitas Ventures has revealed a trailer for a documentary about the work of composers, titled Score: A Film Music Documentary. This played at film festivals all last year and is opening in theaters this June, which is great news because I’ve been waiting to see this. The doc profiles the work of composers and also examines how important music is to movies. Featuring interviews with composers including Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Trent Reznor, Rachel Portman, Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg), Brian Tyler, Thomas Newman, Bear McCreary, Moby, Garry Marshall, Jerry Goldsmith, and lots more. Hoping this goes deep into the art beyond just some chats. ›››

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Official Trailer for Award-Winning Documentary ‘Last Men in Aleppo’

Last Men in Aleppo Trailer

«It’s not about us. The dilemma is our children.» Grasshopper Films has unveiled an official trailer for the acclaimed, award-winning documentary Last Men in Aleppo, taking us deep inside the war in Syria. The film profiles and follows three different founding members of the humanitarian group known as «The White Helmets» (official website), who have stayed behind in Aleppo while the city is still under siege in an effort to save lives. This trailer cuts right down to it, and is a heartrending, harrowing look at how bad the war in Syria has become, and what it’s doing to that country. I missed this at Sundance, where it won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, but I’m planning to catch it as soon as it’s released. This should be on your radar. ›››

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Must Watch: Trailer for Inspiring, Energetic ‘Step’ Dance Documentary

Step Documentary Trailer

«We makin’ music with our bodies!» Fox Searchlight has revealed the first official trailer for an outstanding documentary titled Step, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year where it received rave reviews from critics and audiences. The film follows a few different teenage women at a special high school in Baltimore, Maryland who are part of the prestigious step dance program. The school is designed to help them get into college, many of them being the first in their family to attend, and it shows how step dancing is a way for them to come together and focus on what maters — expressing themselves creatively. I caught this film at Sundance and really, really loved it. It’s exciting, and energetic, and inspiring, and moving, with just the right balance of heart and honesty. I will be strongly supporting it throughout this year. See below. ›››

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‘Risk’ Trailer: Showtime Debuts Julian Assange and WikiLeaks Documentary

risk documentary trailer

Showtime has picked up Risk, a documentary about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by Citizenfour director Laura Poitras that debuted at Cannes last year.

The news of Showtime debuting Risk came along with a trailer teasing the documentary’s connection to the 2016 elections and the hacked Democratic National Committee emails — a facet that Poitras has added to Risk‘s plot even after the documentary was initially shown to audiences.

Laura Poitras, who won an Academy Award for her 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, was given “unprecedented access” to Julian Assange, the infamous founder of WikiLeaks, for six years.

But Poitras still finds herself updating her documentary with aspects relating to Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia’s involvement in the election results, and the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. Even after it was initially shown to audiences at Cannes last year, Risk is a documentary in progress, growing more timely by the second as probes into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election are ongoing.

“It is an exciting time to be working with SHOWTIME and NEON,” Poitras said in a press release. “Both organizations are thinking outside the box about how to bring complex stories to a wide audience. I am thrilled to team up with them on RISK.”

Here’s the official synopsis of Risk provided below:

“Filmed over six years including through the 2016 presidential election and up to the present moment, RISK takes viewers closer than they have ever been before to Julian Assange and those who surround him. With unprecedented access, Poitras give us the WikiLeaks story from the inside, allowing viewers to understand our current era of massive leaks, headline-grabbing news, and the revolutionary impact of the internet on global politics. RISK is a portrait of power, principles, betrayal, and sacrifice when the stakes could not be any higher. It is a first-person geopolitical thriller told from the perspective of a filmmaker immersed in the worlds of state surveillance and the cypherpunk movement. RISK confirms Poitras’ directorial ability to record history as it unfolds on camera, and craft narratives at the highest level.”

The trailer is an intriguing look into Assange, who is a highly controversial figure, especially after WikiLeaks’ release of illegally hacked emails arguably played a huge part in the outcome of the election. It’s unclear whether the documentary will take a sympathetic or harsh view toward Assange, who seems equal parts malicious and righteous in the trailer.

This wouldn’t be the first time Assange is the subject of a film, having been played by Benedict Cumberbatch in 2013’s The Fifth Estate, a dramatization of the founding of WikiLeaks.

Showtime is partnering with Neon for a theatrical run of Risk followed by a TV premiere in the summer.

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