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The Documentary Craft
Hector Galán: The Texas Documentary Tour
Screens Story  October 3, 1997, by Marc Savlov
"...photograph by Kenny Braun At age 44, Hector Galán may not yet fall under the "Elder Statesman of Documentary Filmmaking" heading, but he's on the verge. Since 1972, when he joined the San Angelo CBS affiliate straight out of high school, this inspired and inspiring Texan has created some of the best documentaries around..."

2015 Academy Award-Nominated Documentary Short Films: Program A
Program A consists of the two longest doc shorts, and they’re among the best of the batch.
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Film Review  January 30, 2015, by Kimberley Jones
"...Owing to their longer running times, the five films nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject have been divided into two programs for this limited theatrical run. Both programs are punishing, as the collected films examine suffering from different angles...."

Demagoguery Disguised as Documentary
What is the difference between Dinesh D'Souza and Michael Moore?
DAILY Screens  July 8, 2014, by Louis Black
"...The following was originally written as a 500-word introduction to my review of Dinesh D'Souza’s new movie America: Imagine the World Without Her. With no space to run my intro in the print issue, we excised it from the review and are running it as a stand-alone meditation on the state of documentary filmmaking...."

Who Did the Animation for Keith Maitland’s Documentary Tower?
Minnow Mountain’s Craig Staggs talks art & drama & Austin & Earp
DAILY Arts  March 25, 2016, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...The Tower documentary itself focuses, as Richard Whittaker points out in his recent review, on the victims and survivors and not the gunman who killed 14 people on the UT campus in 1966...."

2015 Academy Award-Nominated Documentary Short Films: Program B
The collected films in Program B examine suffering from different angles
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Film Review  January 30, 2015, by Kimberley Jones
"...Owing to their longer running times, the five films nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject have been divided into two programs for this limited theatrical run. Both programs are punishing, as the collected films examine suffering from different angles...."

Get Your Documentary Skills on
Where else can the public learn the ropes of doc film making on the cheap?
DAILY Screens  April 20, 2011, by Belinda Acosta
"...channelAustin—one of the nation's few remaining, and Austin's only public access TV station—is offering a chance for the public to learn key aspects of how to make a documentary film in a rare, and possibly one-time course...."

Austin Film Society Documentary Tour: 'Nanking'
... and DocuWeek at the Arbor
Screens Story  October 5, 2007, by Anne S. Lewis
"...Some of the people we hired in Japan actually quit the project, citing pressure from family members who disapproved of the subject matter. One of our Japanese associate producers quit because she said she feared for her safety," says Sturman, adding that "two days after our premiere at Sundance [it won the Documentary Editing award there], a group of conservative politicians and activists in Japan held a press conference announcing plans to rebut our 'fictitious' film with a $2 million documentary entitled The Truth of Nanking."..."

Academy Award-Nominated Documentary Shorts 2005
A rare opportunity to see what's considered the best in the field of short docs; plus all four nominees have a socio-political bent.
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Film Review  April 7, 2006, by Steve Davis
"...The average moviegoer rarely has a point of reference when the Oscar winners in the short film categories are announced each year. Who but members of the Academy have the opportunity to see these nominees prior to the big night? Although this compilation of the four short documentary films nominated this year will permit you only to pronounce ex-post-facto the nominee that should have won the Oscar, it nevertheless provides you the limited opportunity to see a type of film rarely available for public viewing..."

Documentary Reviews
Screens Story  October 25, 2013
"...With her books Workjobs and Mathematics Their Way, Baratta-Lorton forged the ideas of education trailblazers like Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget and "New Math" pioneer Robert Davis into a hands-on system for teaching mathematics – replacing staid curriculums based on rote memorization. If Take Away One, a documentary about Baratta-Lorton directed by her nephew William Lorton, ended with her efforts to influence the American educational system, it wouldn't garner much interest outside of education conferences..."

Do Not Miss This Deeply Inspiring Documentary
'Half the Sky' circles the globe to look at women's rights
DAILY Screens  October 2, 2012, by Jessi Cape
"...The book tackles the shockingly common and horrific topics of sex trafficking, rape, extreme poverty, and maternal mortality in a way that speaks to both hearts and minds. Monday night I sat riveted watching the first half of the documentary based on the book during its world premiere on PBS...."

Splice of Life: The Super-Eight Documentary Festival
Splice of Life: The Super-8 Documentary Festival is the Co-op’s first venture into the Super 8 documentary format. Presented will be a dozen films that seek to capture a detail...
Film Review  August 16, 2000, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Splice of Life: The Super-8 Documentary Festival is the Co-op’s first venture into the Super 8 documentary format. Presented will be a dozen films that seek to capture a detail or a “splice” of life on Super-8..."

The Texas Documentary Tour: A Hymn for Alvin Ailey and Malcolm X: Make it Plain
The two films by Orlando Bagwell featured in this series displayhis documentary focus on African-American history and culture. Previousefforts include his collaborative work on the groundbreaking Eyes on thePrize. Orlando...
Film Review  September 30, 1999, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Orlando Bagwell. The two films by Orlando Bagwell featured in this series displayhis documentary focus on African-American history and culture..."

'Ike: A Documentary' Screens in Austin Tonight
Here come Galveston's Hurricane Story Tellers telling the tales of their island, post-Ike.
DAILY Screens  June 12, 2009, by Kate X Messer
"...Last week's cover story, When the Sun Rises told the tale of a group of Galveston high school students who made a documentary about their post-Ike community and its struggle to recover...."

Austin Film Society Documentary Tour
Fish Kill Flea
Screens Story  April 6, 2007, by Anne S. Lewis
"...By the end of shooting, we ended up with full access to just about everyone and every place we wanted, so our major challenges were in shaping some sort of linear framework to our narrative. It's extremely difficult to make a compelling documentary with no voiceover, titling, or animation, plus one that utilizes a kind of patient camerawork that you'd sooner find in an arthouse film...."

AFS Texas Documentary Tour
The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose
Screens Story  January 12, 2007, by Anne S. Lewis
"...Another challenge was finding archival footage that hadn't been seen a hundred times before in every other documentary that chronicles the counterculture in New York's Greenwich Village in the Sixties. Thankfully, my co-director, Paul, had a friend at the Anthology Film Archives in New York who uncovered reels and reels of Super-8 film shot all over NYC by a jazz photographer named Bob Parent..."

That Darn Documentary
Director Zev Asher on 'Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat'
Screens Story  June 24, 2005, by Marc Savlov
"...When is a snuff film not a snuff film? Does a documentary film recounting horrific acts of brutality against animals count as exploitation of those acts and animals, or is it a valid and necessary arrow in the quiver of rationality and a thoroughly sane attempt to explore and explain acts that appear to be insane? And while we're at it, what the hell is Art, anyway?..."

More Propaganda Than Documentary
Postmarks  February 4, 2004
"... Experts of the film industry and witnesses of the events have already discussed worldwide the inaccuracy and distortions of this film. It cannot be ethically classified as a documentary when there are some re-enacted scenes, images of Chavez's followers two years dated, wrong time references, scenes recorded three months later, images of events that do not correspond to what they are referred, among many other distortions..."

Venezuelans Question Documentary
Postmarks  October 30, 2003
"...[Re: "The Camera Is Mightier Than the ..." March 7, 2003, about the documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised] We, as Venezuelans, have some questions and comments about this film: About the presence of tanks: Q. Why, if this is an alleged coup, are there tanks present at the beginning of the film? Q..."

The Texas Documentary Tour: Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins & Gap-Toothed Women
Noted for his ethnic and regional explorations of everyday life, Les Blank's films have become cultural treasures. Often focusing on food and music, Blank tends to film things he feels...
Film Review  June 17, 1999, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"... Les Blank will conduct a Q&A after each screening. (See the related story) The Texas Documentary Tour is co-sponsored by the Austin Film Society, the UT Department of RTF, The Austin Chronicle, and SXSW Film...."

AISD Documentary Captures Spirit of Recent Initiative
SEL improves grades, reduces absenteeism, and more.
DAILY News  June 4, 2014, by R.U. Steinberg
"...This spring, the Austin Independent School District (AISD) was the subject of a 7-minute documentary called Austin ISD: A District Embracing SEL...."

'Farm-City, State' Documentary Film in Progress
Local filmmaker explores Austin's sustainable food movement
DAILY Food  January 8, 2013, by Carla Crownover
"...What if an entire city could feed itself with healthy, organic produce from local farms? Local filmmaker David Barrow poses this question in a documentary focusing on Austin's vibrant and expanding urban farms, farmers' markets, and sustainability minded community...."

Austin Film Society Documentary Tour
White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Screens Story  September 14, 2007, by Anne S. Lewis


Check Out This Documentary
Postmarks  August 1, 2007
"...Dear Editor, I'd just like to encourage Chronicle readers to check out the documentary Meeting Face to Face about a tour of Iraqi labor union leaders in the U.S. President Bush kept in place Saddam Hussein's law outlawing unions in Iraq..."

Austin Film Society Documentary Tour
Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes
Screens Story  February 9, 2007, by Anne S. Lewis


Watada Documentary Tonight
A documentary screening tonight in support of the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq.
DAILY News  February 5, 2007, by Lee Nichols
"...Watada speaking out against the war in Iraq. We will also screen the documentary The Ground Truth."..."

AFS Texas Documentary Tour
Heather MacDonald's 'Been Rich All My Life
Screens Story  December 8, 2006, by Anne S. Lewis


Defending Russo's Documentary
Postmarks  August 3, 2006
"...Dear Chronicle Editor, I would like to comment on Marjorie Baumgarten's review of Aaron Russo's documentary America: From Freedom to Fascism [Film Listings, July 28]. Marjorie does a disservice to readers, as well as to the tax-honesty movement by mischaracterizing Russo's argument as being based on the lack of ratification of the 16th Amendment..."

Texas Documentary Tour
'Touch the Sound: A Sound Journey With Evelyn Glennie'
Screens Story  January 13, 2006, by Anne S. Lewis


Impressed by Roky Documentary
Postmarks  March 24, 2005
"...Dear Editor, As a mental health therapist and an avid music fan, I was truly impressed with Keven McAlester's film about Roky Erickson from the 13th Floor Elevators (You're Gonna Miss Me). This documentary contrasts the brilliance of Roky as an artist with the very realistic portrayal of a man diagnosed with schizophrenia..."

The Little Documentary That Could
How Morgan Spurlock's 'Super Size Me' took a giant bite out of the fast-food industry
Screens Story  May 14, 2004, by Peter Debruge
"...But Spurlock's documentary doesn't content itself with recording his rapid deterioration from a svelte thirtysomething to a doughy manic-depressive with a liver on red alert. When he's not stuffing his face with french fries and soda, Spurlock travels the country, taking a closer look at our nation's eating habits, from the kitchens of high-school cafeterias to the operating tables of gastric-bypass patients..."

Texas Documentary Tour
'Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea'
Screens Story  December 9, 2005, by Anne S. Lewis


'Bambi' Not a Documentary
Postmarks  August 24, 2005


Some Kind of Documentary
Music Story  September 3, 2004, by Marc Savlov


Smashing Pumpkins: A Documentary
A feature-length profile of the Chicago rock band....
Film Review  November 13, 2001, by Marjorie Baumgarten


Real Austin Stories
Austin's Exploding Documentary Scene
Screens Story  March 13, 1998, by Jerry Johnson
"...The film scene here in Austin is actually on fire and poised to go in any number of different directions - the possibilities are as broad as the elements in place: Super-8, independent features, cutting-edge video, a variety of film programming as diverse as any in the country, and, yes, large-budget feature films and television productions. But the area that really seems to be causing local eyes to spark with true excitement and genuine interest, as well as recognition of the limitless possibilities of our very potent film culture, is documentary..."

Stories That Tell Themselves
In town for the Texas Documentary Tour, Albert Maysles -- the man behind such famous documentaries as Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens -- talks about his fierce philosophy of direct cinema.
Screens Story  February 11, 2000, by Anne S. Lewis
"...Albert Maysles is one of the kahunas of cinéma vérité -- or, as he prefers, "direct cinema" -- documentary making. In 45 years behind the camera, he has made over 20 films, along with his brother David (until his death in 1987), including Salesman (1969), about a door-to-door Bible salesman (selected by the Library of Congress in 1992 as one of the 25 best American films ever made), Gimme Shelter (1970), about the violent turn of a Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway, and Grey Gardens (1975), about Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith B..."

The Real Deal
The Texas Documentary Tour
Screens Story  September 5, 1997, by Marc Savlov
"...Paul Stekler photograph by John Anderson Say what you will about Austin-at-large -- one thing the capital city will never lack is innovative film programming. Alongside the various festivals and competitions, and the screenings and premieres, cinephiles can expect to see a new series -- the Texas Documentary Tour -- curated by Paul Stekler, the award-winning producer of such documentaries as those instant PBS classics, Eyes on the Prize and Vote for Me...."

Chick Flick
Who amongst ye could have conjured Mainer Janet Bonney's true chicken story? Mark Lewis' documentary The Natural History of Chickens, playing on Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse as part of the Texas Documentary Tour, features real-life stories of fowl play so strange they must be true.
Screens Story  April 6, 2001, by Anne S. Lewis
"...AC: Your style of documentary -- narrative-driven, whimsical, making generous use of re-enactments -- is quite distinctive. Can you talk a bit about that?..."

American Dream
Kopple's Academy Award-winning documentary American Dream exposes the human cost of Reaganomics. The movie focuses on the mid-1980s labor strike at Hormel's Austin, Minnesota meat packing plant (Hormel produces Spam,...
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Film Review  May 15, 1992, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Barbara Kopple. Kopple's Academy Award-winning documentary American Dream exposes the human cost of Reaganomics..."

2016: Obama's America
Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative author, expounds on the president's past, and discusses what he thinks America would look like if Obama were to be re-elected.

Film Review  August 31, 2012, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...I paid $10 to see this documentary, which was not screened for the press. My ticket is now counted among the tens of thousands of others that, as of this writing, have made this reactionary work the sixth-highest-grossing political documentary in the United States since 1982, yielding only to Michael Moore and An Inconvenient Truth..."

Brand Upon the Brain
Art and advertising collide in the burgeoning genre of branded documentary
Screens Story  July 29, 2011, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...Recognizing an opportunity when they saw one, executives at Proctor & Gamble hired Flow Nonfiction, an Austin-based creative agency/production company, to make a film about the company's efforts in Haiti to draw attention to the program and, by extension, the Tide brand. Not a commercial, really, and not some scripted burst of self-congratulation, but a real documentary about the program and the people affected by it..."

American Filmmaker
Chris Smith's American Movie depicts one man's passionate struggle to make a film.
Screens Story  October 15, 1999, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Chris Smith didn't set out to become a documentary filmmaker. But he's willing to do whatever his subjects require..."

Tackling Texas Truisms
Filmmaker Don Howard and the Texas Documentary Tour
Screens Story  December 5, 1997, by Marc Savlov
"...photograph byMarlene Hanlin Local documentary filmmaker Don Howard doesn't look like the sort of guy to challenge existing stereotypes and subvert accepted knowledge, but then he doesn't look too much like an ex-high school quarterback either, though he is. His documentary Letter From Waco (which aired nationally on PBS in September) took preconceived notions of one of Texas' more notorious cities and peeled them away to reveal something far more interesting and unique than just botched ATF raids and Southern Baptists...."

Babies
Although these documentary images of human babies from around the world are beguiling, the film's lack of conclusions is frustrating.
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Film Review  May 7, 2010, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Thomas Balmes. What could possibly be more lovable than a documentary about emperor penguins marching through the Antarctic fulfilling their biological imperative? How about a documentary about human babies around the world fulfilling their biological imperative? Babies are cute and fairly irresistible: the equivalent of onscreen catnip, even for those who consider themselves indifferent to an infant’s coo..."

Brothers of the Head
An astonishing twinning of wild imagination and drop-dead realism, Brothers of the Head is simply the most poignant and exciting mockumentary about (conjoined) sibling rivalry, revelry, and reversal of fortunes ever made.
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Film Review  September 8, 2006, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Harry Treadaway, Luke Treadaway, Bryan Dick, Sean Harris, Howard Attfield, Ken Russell, Tom Bower, Tania Emery, Diana Kent and Jonathan Pryce. An astonishing twinning of wild imagination and drop-dead realism, Brothers of the Head is simply the most poignant and exciting documentary about sibling rivalry, revelry, and reversal of fortunes ever made..."

Winged Migration
Aviary rapture.
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Film Review  July 4, 2003, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Jacques Perrin. Winged Migration, a French documentary about the flight of birds, is as magnificent as it is perplexing..."

Short and Sweet
The Texas Documentary Tour showcases the work of three MFA students from the University of Texas' Radio-Television-Film Department, whose documentary program faculty member Paul Stekler calls, completely without bias of course, the "best in the country, bar none."
Screens Story  November 30, 2001, by Anne S. Lewis
"...The next stop on the Austin Film Society's Texas Documentary Tour is UT's Radio-Television-Film Department, where the short works of three MFA students -- Shu-Chun Lee, Mireille Fornengo, and Ken Galen York -- will be shown. Recent RTF production head, Doc Tour programming committee member, and award-winning filmmaker Paul Stekler has been champing at the bit to showcase the work recently coming out of his department, the documentary program that he considers, with all due impartiality, to be the "best in the country, bar none."..."

One Day in September
Recipient of the 2000 Oscar for Best Documentary, this film unfolds the gripping drama that occurred on September 5, 1972, during the Munich Olympics, when eight armed Palestinian terrorists took 11 members of the Israeli delegation hostage.
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Film Review  February 16, 2001, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Kevin Macdonald. Recipient of the 2000 Oscar for Best Documentary -- a category most people assumed the popular Cuban music doc The Buena Vista Social Club would nail -- 1999's One Day in September is just now having a limited theatrical release, following its debut on HBO this past fall..."

Sex: The Annabel Chong Story
Some say, “Ouch”; some say, “Wow.” Your response to the following proposition will most probably color the reaction you have to the documentary Sex: The Annabel Chong Story. In 1995,...
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Film Review  June 2, 2000, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Gough Lewis. Some say, “Ouch”; some say, “Wow.” Your response to the following proposition will most probably color the reaction you have to the documentary Sex: The Annabel Chong Story..."

Cowboys and Controversy
Kyle Henry and the Texas Documentary Tour
Screens Story  May 8, 1998, by Marc Savlov
"...photograph by Todd V. Wolfson Austin filmmaker Kyle Henry's hour-long documentary American Cowboy - which screens next Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse as part of the ongoing Texas Documentary Tour - takes a look into the world of gay rodeo competitions, and in particular the trials of rider Gene Mikulenka, a Houston-based, semi-closeted rodeo star with more on his mind than just busting broncs..."

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