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Documentaries

“They realize later that this is the future.” An official trailer has debuted for a new documentary titled And We Go Green, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, and directed by his collaborator on Before the Flood, Fisher Stevens (and co-directed by Malcolm Venville). The doc film is a look at the creation of Formula E, and all-electric version of the world famous Formula 1 races, which uses all the same tracks and similar vehicles that are quiet because of no gas. The film features footage from Jean-Eric Vergne’s championship-winning season. “The documentary encapsulates the true mission and purpose of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, to show how competition drives technological development and how the excitement of sport can have a meaningful social impact and alter perceptions of electric vehicles.” This is one of two new green docs that DiCaprio produced, including Ice on Fire, premiering at Cannes. Looks pretty good – check it out. Here’s the first official trailer for Fisher …

“It is such a fundamental change in the way the Earth is behaving that we need to communicate that as powerfully as possible.” Kino Lorber has debuted the first US trailer for the documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, which has been playing at every major film festival since it premiered at TIFF last fall. It has also played at Sundance, Berlinale, Vancouver, Calgary, Santa Barbara, Boulder, Portland, Hong Kong, CPH:DOX, and the Seattle Film Festival most recently. Three experienced doc filmmakers travel to six continents and 20 countries to document the impact humans have made on the planet. And it doesn’t look good. “A stunning sensory experience and cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch is a years-in-the-making feature documentary.” Scientists now argue that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century as a result of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth. The footage in this looks …

“Do you ever wonder why you are still alive?” Sony Pictures Classics has debuted an official trailer for an indie documentary titled David Crosby: Remember My Name, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. This unconventional rock doc profiles the life and times and music of David Crosby. Sundance explains: “From frame one, David Crosby—of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash (and sometimes Young) fame—ushers us into depths of brutal honesty and self-examination that are almost never revealed on-screen… Crosby’s willingness to bare shattering personal struggles powerfully combines with producer Cameron Crowe’s disarming interview style to unlock profound truths about our human ego and imperfection.” This is, essentially, the film telling the story of what inspired Cameron Crowe to make Almost Famous, and the rest is (pretty much) history. This doc looks very fascinating and insightful – check it out. First trailer (+ poster) for A.J. Eaton’s doc David Crosby: Remember My Name, direct from YouTube: Meet …

“Basketball is all I’ve ever had.” Fox Sports Films has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Q Ball, which premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival earlier this year and will next play at the Seattle Film Festival this month. The feature-length documentary film will show on Fox Sports TV later this month after playing in select theaters in NY and LA. Q Ball explores the San Quentin Prison basketball squad – teammates and inmates at “the Q” – along their journey of rehabilitation and possible redemption. Director Michael Tolajian chronicles the lives of incarcerated basketball players; the film is executive produced by Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Media, in conjunction with HEIST and Hunting Lane Films. This looks like much more than just a TV documentary, bringing us close to these inmates and learning more about them as they strive for freedom and purpose through basketball. This looks damn good. Here’s the official trailer (+ …

“Sama – I’ve made this film for you. I need you to understand what we were fighting for…” Wow, this looks phenomenal. PBS Distribution has debuted the first official trailer for a documentary titled For Sama, which won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. The film is made by a young Syrian woman named Waad al-Kateab, married to a doctor, who films her life while they have a baby and war erupts around them. “Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice–whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.” It was shot over five years and looks remarkable, capturing the struggles of innocent people with a different eye than most filmmakers. I really, really want to see this doc – even the …

“We have to learn to dance with the storm.” Yeah, you read that right. This doc film is the first ever “Airbnb Production”. There is a teaser trailer available for the documentary Gay Chorus Deep South, made by filmmaker David Charles Rodrigues. It just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last month, and should be released later this year. Vanity Fair spoke with Airbnb’s “head of creative” James Goode and he explained their involvement: “As a community, Airbnb is rooted in the power of people to people connections to drive belonging and this film tells that story.” Gay Chorus Deep South is about, as the title says, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus following them as they embark upon a tour of the American Deep South. Many members will be going back to the communities they once fled, confronting prejudices and pain from their past. As expected, this looks triumphantly moving and inspiring, which is the whole point of their …

“One day I will go back to my island.” Netflix has debuted an official trailer for a short documentary titled After Maria, made by cinematographer / filmmaker Nadia Hallgren. The 37-minute doc film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last month, and will be available on Netflix by the end of this month. It profiles three Puerto Rican women and their families as they work to recover following the devastating Hurricane Maria. “Strong Puerto Rican women forced to flee the island have bonded like family in a FEMA hotel in the Bronx. They seek stability in their new life as forces try to pull them apart.” These authentic, important journalism docs are vital for society nowadays and I am glad Netflix will be releasing this soon for all to see. Here’s the official trailer (+ poster) for Nadia Hallgren’s After Maria, direct from Netflix’s YouTube: In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s catastrophic destruction in 2017, three Puerto Rican women and their families …

“I simply want to be Maradona.” Film4 has debuted the first official trailer for an indie documentary titled Diego Maradona, which is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next week, included in the Official Selection. The doc film is the latest film acclaimed filmmaker Asif Kapadia, who won the Best Doc Oscar in 2016 for Amy, and should’ve won an Oscar for his doc film Senna. This time he has crafted a film about the career of celebrated Buenos Aires-born football player Diego Maradona, who played for SSC Napoli in the 1980s. Constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, this documentary centers on his life and fame and involvement with the Italian mafia. Many in the sport, including football writers, players, and fans, regard him as the greatest football player of all time. He was joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century with Pelé. This looks awesome! Especially as another doc made by Kapadia – really looking …

“If something looks like a religion, people say it is a religion… it should be recognized as such.” Step aside Satan, it’s time for the Pastafarians to get their moment in the spotlight. An official trailer is available for an indie documentary titled I, Pastafari, the first feature-length documentary about The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Most people have probably heard of the Pastafarians and their religion, but what’s the real story behind the Flying Spaghetti Monster and what’s happening today? The film profiles followers who fight for freedom to access religious privileges in law granted to other “real” religions. It looks like a perfect double-feature with Penny Lane’s outstanding doc Hail Satan? profiling the Satanic Temple, which is quite similar to this one with aims to counter mono-religious culture by legally fighting for equal representation. Here’s the first official trailer for Mike Weeks’ doc I, Pastafari, direct from YouTube (found via Kottke): With millions of believers worldwide, The Church of …

Will anyone disprove Einstein? “You don’t need a PhD in rocket science to let yourself be carried away by this fascinating film [about] the hunt to answer one of the greatest open questions about our universe.” Ignite Channel has unveiled an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Chasing Einstein, which just premiered at the CPH:DOX Film Festival last month. The film asks scientists and astrophysicists to re-examine Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, challenging it, pushing it, and further exploring our understanding of our universe. “Following leading scientists including Nobel Laureates on the brink of paradigm-shifting discoveries, Chasing Einstein travels behind the scenes of some of the most extraordinary experiments ever created to probe the mysteries of the dark universe (LIGO, CERN, XENON 1T). Will Einstein stand the test of time, or will a controversial new theory change the way that we see the universe?” This does indeed seem fascinating, and as a big-time space nerd, I’m definitely planning to watch …