AUTHOR | Eric Althoff

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Sundance and Slamdance are behind us but two more related titles, THE CONDUCTOR and WHEN WE WERE BULLIES, are mentionworthy, still

If 2021 was a year of major documentaries, then 2022 is already shaping up to be even better for reality-based filmmaking. Sundance and Slamdance both had amazing documentaries to offer last month, but here are two other great documentaries to seek out post-haste. “The Conductor” Director: Bernadette Wegenstein Marin Alsop grew up admiring orchestral conductors and knew she had the chops to ... more >

SUNDANCE 2022, “Mija,” “What They’ve Been Taught,” “Stranger Than Rotterdam” and SLAMDANCE COVERAGE, TOO | WRAP-UP

Oh, how optimistic we all were this time a year ago, when Sundance went online—as we hoped, just that one time. Twelve months later, and omicron continues to run around ruining pretty much everything. Thus it forced Sundance online once again this year, and I had to enjoy whatever films I could from the comfort of my home rather than the chill and elevation of Park City. So be it, and the focus ... more >

“The Beauty President,” “Attica,” Alex Gibney’s “The Forever Prisoner” | DOC-WISE WHAT TO WATCH IN 2022

Shorts and full-length films on offer

In the wake of the recent DOC NYC 2002 is heating up with some amazing documentaries. Whether available on demand on one of the major players or otherwise, these docs do what the best of the genre do: observe and uncover truth. "Life of Crime 1984-2020" Director: Jon Alpert Jon Alpert has made the most extraordinary documentary of the year, which is only fitting considering he worked at it ... more >

“East of the Mountains” and “Supernova” among some of this year’s best films | ERIC ALTHOFF’S 2021 ROUND-UP

Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth gave Oscar-worthy performances in "Supernova"

Despite our most fervent hopes, 2021 was the second strange year for both cinema and the world. Festivals were either online or continued a hybrid format (Slamdance just announced that due to omicron, they will be online only in January), and that communal feeling we have missed being in theaters together has only partially returned. All this to say it was a most unusual twelve months—again. I saw ... more >

THIRTY YEARS OF ADDICTION AND JAIL : “Life of Crime, 1984-2020”

Interview with film director Jon Alpert
Freddie Rodriguez, Robert Steffey and Deliris Vasquez

Jon Alpert had been working on his documentary for so long, he had to transfer footage from videotape. Using a digital process known as “TerraNexing,” Alpert’s eighties and nineties footage was renewed on the 16:9 aspect ratio. What couldn’t be sanitized was the horror of the nation’s drug epidemic, which Alpert shows us in microcosm in “Life of Crime, 1984-2020,” now playing on HBO. Alpert ... more >

INTERVIEW | Peter Middleton and James Spinney; “The Real Charlie Chaplin”

Documentary is currently airing on SHOWTIME
Cast: Pearl Mackie, Jeff Rawle and Paul Ryan

Charles Chaplin was born in a tough area of London and came to America not only to reinvent himself but partially to invent the language of the then-new art of cinema itself. Through pluck, luck and sheer determination, Chaplin became a leading man and director—often playing the familiar “Little Tramp” character for decades, first in silent films and then, most famously, with a rousing closing ... more >

Forty years later, revisiting disco inferno with “Mr. Saturday Night” | THE DIRECTOR’S INTERVIEW

INTERVIEW / documentary
Starring Robert Stigwood and John Travolta

When “Saturday Night Fever” came out in 1977, the small film about an Italian kid from Brooklyn who moonlighted as a disco dancer became a force of nature. It rocketed star John Travolta into the stratosphere, and the soundtrack album, heavy on the Bee Gees, sold 25 million copies, many before the film was even out in theaters. Director John Maggio’s new documentary “Mr. Saturday Night” tells ... more >