New York Times: For 3 Filmmakers, Now Is the Best Time for a Coronavirus Documentary. “As the coronavirus raged out of control this spring, Alex Gibney, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker who has released two other movies this year, embarked on a secret project: a film that would ‘tell the origin story’ of the pandemic that has cost more than 215,000 Americans their lives. He wanted to know if the carnage could have been prevented.”
TheWrap: Facebook Criticizes Netflix Doc ‘The Social Dilemma’ for ‘Distorted View’ of Social Media Issues. “The tech giant, in an un-bylined company blog post, pushed back against several claims in the film, including that it’s built to incentivize users to spend more time on the platform. Facebook said that its algorithms are designed to improve the user experience and showcase content users may find interesting — something Netflix also does with its own recommendation algorithm, Facebook noted.”
Lifehacker: How to Curb Your Social Media Addiction, As Told By the Social Dilemma Doco. “There’s no question social media is addictive and a new documentary on Netflix, The Social Dilemma, delves into just how it was designed that way to keep you glued to the screen. Thankfully, some of former tech giant employees offer handy tips to try and escape this addiction.”
Hyperallergic: The Radical Collective of 20-Somethings Who Filmed the DNC and RNC of 1972. “One of the earliest and most important of these groups was Top Value Television (TVTV), a collective founded in San Francisco which was active from 1972 to 1979. During that time, they produced numerous independent documentaries, often by bringing their cameras to major events. TVTV’s vast catalog of raw footage and other materials has long been kept in the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). Now, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, BAMPFA has digitized hundreds of hours of the footage, and the archive is making it freely available through a new online database, Preserving Guerrilla Television.”
CNET: Baseball by Ken Burns streaming for free. “Welcome back to your guide to finding out what’s new online. Every week, we put together a podcast that lets you know what’s been added to services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now. The audio is about a minute or two long.” Unfortunately I could not find a transcript.
Wired: Locally Grown Is PBS for the Streaming Age. “This is what channel-surfing used to be, what it ought to be. Tune in and the first station is airing Pressure, Horace Ové’s tough-minded 1976 movie about London youth and racial disillusionment. It’s a somewhat obscure release, but also a pioneering one: Ové’s was the first feature by a black filmmaker made in the UK. Switch the channel and there’s an episode of the sci-fi anime Cowboy Bebop on; a few clicks past that, Janet Jackson’s 1998 Velvet Rope Tour performance at Madison Square Garden is playing. Keep flipping and it’s one rare and poignant find after another. That is the essence of Locally Grown, a streaming website with the vintage gloss of public access programming.”
Tubefilter: YouTube To Stream Coachella For 10th Year Running, Announces Doc About Festival. “YouTube, which has long streamed coverage of Coachella — the trendy music festival that has become a buzzy scene for influencers and marketers alike — has created a documentary about the event. Titled Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert, the YouTube Originals film is slated to premiere on March 31 — roughly a week ahead of the annual event, which kicks off on April 10. The film will discuss how the festival was shaped, with never-before-seen footage, artist interviews, and more. It will feature performances from Billie Eilish, Kanye West, Daft Punk, BlackPink, the Pixies, Bjork, Madonna, Radiohead, and more.”
Kinda surprised I missed this last week, but there you are. From the Washington Post: The indispensable Ken Burns has a new initiative: A one-stop online resource for teachers. “Burns — the maker of ‘The Civil War,’ ‘Baseball,’ ‘Jazz,’ ‘The War,’ ‘The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,’ ‘Prohibition,’ ‘The Roosevelts’ and ‘The Vietnam War’ — launched a new research site for educators on Tuesday called ‘Ken Burns in the Classroom’ on PBS LearningMedia — an online destination for free teaching and learning resources inspired by his documentaries.”
Philly Voice: Watch the first trailer for ‘Recorder’, about the Philly woman who recorded 30 years of TV news. “Marion Stokes was an activist and a librarian, and also a Philadelphia resident, who decided to record more than 30 years of American TV news from 1979 until her death in 2012. Filmmaker Matt Wolf is telling Stokes’ compelling story in a new documentary, called ‘Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project’, which has already made its way around film festivals ahead of a theatrical release in November.”
Go London: Ian McKellen interview footage will be used to create huge, free educational resource. “Sir Ian McKellen is a busy man – he’s starring in a one-man show to celebrate his 80th birthday, and now will be the focus of a new website designed to help students. The creators of documentary McKellen: Playing The Part will develop the interactive website to include hours of unseen interview footage that didn’t fit into the film.”
History News Network: JSTOR Interview Archive Help Preserve History. “The site is a fully-functioning prototype built by JSTOR Labs, a team at the digital library JSTOR that builds experimental tools for research and teaching. At this point, it contains the source interviews from a single documentary; enough, we think, to convey the concept and useful if you happen to be teaching or researching this specific topic. Our aim in releasing this prototype is to gauge interest in the idea.”
Havana Times: New Documentary Revives the Legacy of Cuban Feminists. “The documentary ‘En busca de un espacio’ (Searching for a space) forms part of a greater project, which includes the movie “Todas” and a project that shares the same name. As well as movies, it will also hold workshops, create an online archive and tours between artists and researchers.”
Fstoppers: New Documentary Exposes How People Cheat at Instagram. “A new 49-minute documentary has been released with the aim of exposing the ‘shocking’ goings-on that happen beneath the surface of Instagram. The film promises to delve into the ‘lawless economics’ of the social media site.” The documentary is free and available to watch online.
The Outline: The woman who recorded 70,000 VHS tapes of… news. “In December 2013, the Internet Archive, a non-profit in San Francisco committed to creating a free digital library, received 70,000 VHS tapes comprising a treasure trove of televised news. Apart from coverage of historical events like 9/11, the tapes contained quirky local stories that never commanded particular attention beyond the day they aired. They all came from a single source: Marion Stokes, a Philadelphia woman who began recording the news during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979, and didn’t stop until her death in 2012.”
CNET: The Cleaners documentary crawls into the scary side of Facebook. “If you’re reading this, you’re on the internet. And if you’re on the internet, you need to see The Cleaners. Directed by Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block, this incisive documentary shines a light on the most uncomfortable questions about social media and the online age. You might want to look away, but as the film shows, that’s a big part of the problem.”