In your lifetime, the history of photography has seen a seismic shift, the dramatic change from film to digital. Harvey Wang was mid-career when the tools of his craft were made nearly obsolete. He interviewed more than 20 photographers and prominent figures in the field, including Jerome Liebling, George Tice, David Goldblatt, Sally Mann, Eugene Richards, Ruud van Empel, John Cohen and Jeff Jacobson, as well as Steven Sasson, co-inventor of the digital camera, and Thomas Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop.
Through majestic cinematography, DamNation explores the history and controversy surrounding dam removal projects. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access.
"Directors Ben Knight and Travis Rummel have made a fleet movie with a convincing argument for systemic dam removal (some of which is caught thrillingly on film) and arresting nature-drenched cinematography." — Robert Abele, LA Times
Considered as one of the greatest American films, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest swept the top five major Academy Awards of its year. Based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey and set in a mental institution, it deals with a very 1970s issue: the struggle of the individual against the establishment. In two towering performances the battle of the wills is fought by minor criminal Murphy (Jack Nicholson) and domineering Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), the cold and efficient matron of McMurphy’s ward. Introduced by actress and singer Colleen Rennison.
Return of the River vividly portrays the epic story of the freeing of Olympic National Park’s mighty Elwha River from two salmon-blocking dams. It is a story of hope and possibility amid grim environmental news. It is a film for our time: an invitation to consider crazy ideas that could transform the world for the better.
The Elwha Klallam people, scientists, fishermen, politicians, enviros, and townsfolk all add their voices to a film that is visually dazzling, lyrically evocative, and fluid as mountain snowmelt.”
— Tim McNulty, poet, essayist, nature writer
One of the strangest and most twisted films of the silent era. Cheated and cuckolded, a brilliant scientist (played by Lon Chaney, "the man of a thousand faces") takes refuge behind the make up of a circus clown, where his shame can at least inspire laughter in others. He becomes famous, but his hapless love for a bareback rider sends the movie spinning towards revenge tragedy. This first feature produced by the famous studio MGM, He Who Gets Slapped blends naturalism and expressionism with high melodrama - all accentuated in the Alloy Orchestra’s extraordinary live score.
“A picture which defies one to write about it without indulging in superlatives … so beautifully told, so flawlessly directed that we imagine it will be held up as a model by all producers.” NY Times, 1924
In this dramatic, firsthand account of activists on the front line of the climate fight, one man risks it all to stop the tar sands of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from crossing his land. Shot in the forests, pastures, and living rooms of rural East Texas, Above All Else follows David Daniel, a retired stunt man and high-wire artist, as he rallies neighbors and activists to join him in a final act of brinkmanship: a tree-top blockade of the controversial pipeline. What begins as a stand against corporate encroachments on one man’s land becomes a rallying cry for climate protesters nationwide.
"An inspiring, dramatic, and very timely eco-doc." Hollywood Reporter
Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, legendary singer and guitarist Glen Campbell decided to allow actor-director James Keach access to follow him on what would become his farewell tour. It’s a doubly courageous gesture, and something that could have backfired easily - but backed by a band of family and friends, Campbell demonstrates he still has the musical chops to perform classics like Wichita Lineman and to carry the entire house with him. You will smile, you will cry, and you come away with a renewed appreciation for a remarkable man.
"Warm and moving."
“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” follows the country pop singer on what has to be one of the most amazing farewell concert tours in music history. In this splendid documentary, we see Campbell’s suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, yet we also share his triumph as he embarks on an ambitious series of performances across the country — his guitar and singing skills remarkably intact. The result is a film that’s exhilarating, wistful, inspiring and haunting. This is in no small part to the folksy presence of Glen Campbell, who has a down-to-earth sense of humor and an awareness of his affliction, even if he can’t remember much of anything."
— David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
A man of few words, Cosmo Vittelli (Ben Gazzara) loves everything about Crazy House West, the strip club that he owns and manages on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. He also has a gambling habit. When the loan sharks who drop in to collect a payment from Vitelli and make him an offer he would love to refuse, the tables turn. Director John Cassavetes didn’t care about the commercial concerns of Hollywood. The unconventional films he wrote and directed with unorthodox characters and troubled relationships made him the father of independent cinema,influencing Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch and Spike Lee, among others. Introduced by photographer Greg Girard.
Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney blows the lid off this secretive and sinister organization, a "religion" that incorporates the financial structure of pyramid scheme and bears all the hallmarks of a cult. Gibney talks to 8 former Scientologists, including Crash writer-director Paul Haggis and several senior officials now alienated from the organization. The film gives us the history of its bizarre founder L Ron Hubbard, and examines Scientology’s dubious dealings with the IRS and its disturbing exploitation of celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
"Jaw-dropping, scary, unnerving, even disturbingly funny." David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle
"The cult is right to be scared. Going Clear is spectacular stuff." Bilge Eberi, New York magazine
"A heat-seeking missile that doesn’t take long to find the heat." Verne Gay, Newsday
All magicians are actors, but not all actors can make magic. Orson Welles could: he’d dazzle us with his bag of tricks, defy gravity, mesmerize moviegoers, and reveal the human soul. He was a master illusionist, but also a sooth-sayer, one of those rare child prodigies who became an adult virtuoso, a showman and a genius. century from his birth in May 1915, this documentary runs through a glittering and troubled career, and celebrates an artist whom we’re still struggling to get the measure of,some three decades since his passing.
“A bouquet to cinematic history.” Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Fascinating… leaves you hungry for more." Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
Meet Iris Apfel, doyenne of New York fashion, and more importantly an indomitable and inspiring life force well into her ninth decade. Quick-witted and always flamboyantly dressed, Iris retains her enthusiasm for fashion, art and people. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. "I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows."
"A joyous celebration of creativity and razor-sharp wit sustained into old age, as evinced by outspoken nonagenarian fashion icon Iris Apfel." Variety
You’ll believe a man can fly… For sky-diving pioneer Carl Boenish, jumping out of airplanes just wasn’t exciting enough. He wanted to jump off tall buildings, bridges and cliffs too - including Yosemite’s mighty El Capitan. Boenish invented BASE jumping, and he filmed it all too. This may be Extreme documentary making, but Carl’s larger than life personality and his oddball marriage touch on emotions as well as adrenaline.
"Exhilarating." Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Immersive enough to induce panic." Ben Kenigsberg, AV Club
The Citizen Kane of surfer flicks, Bruce Brown’s late sixties opus Endless Summer never gets old. Brown and two surfer buddies set out to traverse the globe on their boards, and found the perfect wave at Cape St Francis, South Africa - a four-foot curl that gave rides of 15 minutes and came in so reliably it "looked like it was made by a machine." Their tour also took in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii… And if you can’t get there this summer, this languid ode to the ocean might just be the next best thing.
Presented in partnership with The Surfrider Foundation Vancouver.
"The most influential adventure sports documentary ever made." NPR
Try going a day without plastic. In this touching and often flat-out-funny film, we follow “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic’s effects on our oceans, environment, and bodies. We see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up to us… and what we can do about it.
Like 50 Feet From Stardom this is the story of unsung heroes, the session musicians who made the 60s swing. Guaranteed, you will never hear pop from that era the same way again. Touching on everyone from the Beach Boys to Elvis, Sinatra to Sonny & Cher, this is an astonishing glimpse behind the scenes at the hey day of American pop. "Wonderful, touching and hilarious." Elvis Costello
"A treasure trove of witness-at-creation anecdotes and enduringly potent ’60s pop classics, The Wrecking Crew is a well-nigh irresistible treat for aficionados of music from the era when acts like the Beach Boys, the Association and the Monkees were topping the charts. Pic celebrates a loose-knit group of largely unknown (except by industry insiders) session musicians, many of whom supplied the defining licks and backbeats — and in some cases, actually played instruments for band members — on legendary recordings." Joe Leydon, Variety
1942 was the year everything went wrong for Orson Welles. He couldn’t fight for The Magnificent Ambersons because he was in Brazil at the behest of Nelson Rockefeller, working on a pan-American propaganda piece, an anthology film mixing documentary and fiction to be called "It’s All True". That film was never finished, and Welles’ Hollywood career never recovered - but Bill Krohn’s reconstruction explains why it was such an important project, and recovers more footage than anyone could have imagined.
Welles and Joseph Cotten penned the screenplay (adapted from an Eric Ambler spy story), and while the Great Man didn’t take a directing credit - bowing to his friend and collaborator Norman Foster - the expressionist noir stylings are very much in line with what you would expect from the man who made The Lady from Shanghai, Mr Arkadin, and Touch of Evil. Almost inevitably, the film was butchered in post production, first by RKO (who cut out 20 minutes) and then by the censors. All the same it’s enormous fun, a B movie thriller with sly wit, invention and panache to spare.
Simpsons scribe Rob Cohen distills the essence of Canada like sap from a maple in this lighthearted odyssey across our great nation. He gets a little help from the likes of Seth Rogen, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Rush, Michael J Fox, Cobie Smulders and William Shatner (to name just a few).
Boyhood director Richard Linklater’s congenial tribute to Welles’ influence recreates the 22-year-old wunderkind’s first Broadway production, a modern dress production of Julius Caesar styled to comment on European fascism (this was 1937). Schoolboy Robert (Zac Efron) falls under the great man’s spell, as do we, thanks to Christian McKay’s rich, flamboyant performance.
"Too good to be true." AO Scott, New York Times
"One of the sweetest and most heartfelt movies ever made about a life in the theater." Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"Deft, affectionate, and unexpectedly enjoyable." J Hoberman, Village Voice