Doc Blog

Filtered by Topic: War & Conflict

Continuing our links to Real to Reel docs, Body of War has an impressive web site that includes a trailer and lots of background information. Here's an excerpt from the director's statemet by co-director Ellen Spiro (pictured here filming on location). Spiro writes:

It's June 2005. George Bush is on the radio. He's saying "My greatest responsibility as President is to protect the American people." I think, "Why do I feel more unsafe than ever?" The phone rings. It's Phil Donahue.

"Phil WHO?" I say. "Phil Donahue, I'm calling about...


In October of last year, I brought my dear wife and filmmaking partner, Lindalee Tracey to hospital. She was suffering through the last, painful stages of cancer. During each of Lindalee’s final days in palliative care, Ariel Dorfman sent me a poem which I read to her. Poems by the Persian poet, Rumi and by Ariel himself. So Lindalee slipped away with Ariel’s and Rumi’s lovely words swimming in her mind.

Ariel was traveling to Chile just a few weeks after Lindalee’s passing....


When GUNNER PALACE premiered at TIFF in 2004 we asked two soldiers from the unit featured in the film to come up to Toronto for a casual Q&A. One of them, Captain Jon Powers, later became involved with the publicity for the release of the film and spent six weeks on the road doing press, meeting audiences and attending events. Through that exposure, Jon decided to start an NGO to help Iraqi children and actually returned to Baghdad in 2005.

Last week I was in Chicago for the second annual Yearly Kos...


As I talked to reporters yesterday about the Real to Reel line-up, I heard a recurring sense of surprise that the co-director of BODY OF WAR was the same Phil Donahue well-known as the venerable talk show host. Indeed it is. He teamed up with veteran doc maker Ellen Spiro to tell the story of Tomas Young, an Iraq war veteran who became a vocal opponent of the Bush administration. In the film, Donahue stays strictly behind the camera. But here he's pictured with Young, Spiro...


Friday's premiere screening of The Prisoner: Or How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair and Sari’s Mother, presented together, shocked the audience both on screen and on stage during the Q&A. The Prisoner follows the story of Yunis, an Iraqi journalist who was wrongfully detained by the American military in an Iraqi compound for 9 months.

After the film, Prisoner Director Michael Tucker read an email he received from an American soldier who had befriended Yunis at Camp Ganci where he was detained. Tucker then called former US soldier Benjamin Thompson on stage...


In today's Toronto Star, writer Peter Howell looks at the TIFF films likely to stir the most controversy, including several documentary titles.

[Right: Tony Kaye's abortion documentary  Lake of Fire]

Howell quotes the Festival Co-Director and CEO Piers Handling:

"Filmmakers want to engage with the world by taking on tough subjects," Handling said in an interview yesterday. "That's for sure a theme this year. For whatever reason, there's a feeling by filmmakers that certain battles that had been fought in the past — like abortion, for example — need to be...


Todd McCarthy wrote a wrap-up of the Telluride Film Festival for Variety. Here's what he had to say about the sneak preview of a film that will have its official world premiere at TIFF...

"One docu ... that grabbed viewers by the throat and wouldn't let go: Asger Leth's Ghosts of Cité Soleil, a film whose very existence is amazing as it portrays up close and first-hand the lives of gun-waving Haitian gang leaders in the world's worst slum."
We just received word that one of the "stars" of our political documentary, a tireless grass roots campaigner for the Democrats by the name of Miles Gerety, will be attending the world premiere of our film, ".So Goes the Nation."  Miles actually drove all night from Connecticut to Ohio for those final crazy days of the campaign to try and tip the scales for the Democrats. We couldn't be happier to hear that Miles, as well his Republican counterpart Leslie Ghiz, will both be present at the World Premiere on Sept....


My Life As a Terrorist: The Story of Hans-Joachim Klein (left) will have its North American premiere at TIFF this year. In 1975, Klein joined the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal in a kidnapping of OPEC officials in Vienna. Klein came to regret his involvement, went into hiding for two decades and was eventually arrested. After getting out of prison, he told his life story to Dutch filmmaker Alexander Oey for this remarkable documentary.

The film was brought to my attention by...


Iraq in Focus

The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (right) is sure to make as many waves at TIFF this year as the directors’ previous film Gunner Palace did when it debuted here in 2004. In one memorable moment in Gunner Palace, director Michael Tucker filmed US forces making a house raid. One Iraqi prisoner looks up at the camera and says, “I’m a journalist too” before he gets led away. That moment haunted Tucker. He always wondered who the...


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