Author Archives: admin

The Apollo has been nominated for for a Motion Picture Sound Editor award for Non-Theatrical Documentary

Non-Theatrical Nominees:

Non-Theatrical Feature

Deadwood: The Movie 

Supervising Sound Editors:  Mandell Winter, MPSE, Daniel Colman
Sound Designer: Ben Cook
Dialogue Editors: Brian Armstrong, Bernard Weiser, Shane Hayes
ADR Editors: Rob Chen, Dhyana Carlton-Tims
Foley Editor: Eryne Prine 
Music Editors: Micha Liberman, Jillinda Palmer, Stephanie Gangel

Escape Plan: Extractors

Supervising Sound Editor: David Barber, MPSE 
Sound Designer: Roland Thai 
Sound Effects Editors: George Haddad, MPSE, Ben Zarai
ADR Editor: Michael Kreple
Foley Editor: David Kitchens, MPSE 
Foley Artist: Gonzalo “Bino” Espinoza
Music Editor: Steven Saltzman, MPSE

Guava Island

Supervising Sound Editor: Trevor Gates
Dialogue Editor: Jesse Kees 
Sound Effects Editors: Matt Hall, Paul Knox 
Supervising ADR Editor: Jason Dotts
Foley Editor: Walter Spencer  
Music Editor: Devaughn Watts
Foley Artists: Tim McKeown, Mike Hornton


Supervising Sound Editor: Mac Smith 
Sound Designers: Mac Smith, Brandon Proctor
Dialogue Editor: Brad Semenoff
Sound Effects Editors: 
ADR Editor: Chris Gridley 
Foley Editor: Richard Gould  
Foley Artist: Heikki Kossi, MPSE 

Music Editor: Felipe Pacheco

Lady and the Tramp

Supervising Sound Editors: Andrew DeCristofaro, MPSE, Darren “Sunny” Warkentin MPSE
Sound Designer: David Esparza 
Dialogue Editor: Kelly Oxford 
Sound Effects Editors: Michael Payne MPSE, Matthew Wilson
ADR Editor: David Stanke
Supervising Foley Editor: Geordy Sincavage  

Foley Editor: Alex Jongbloed
Supervising Music Editor: Bryan Lawson
Music Editor: Erica Weis


Supervising Sound Editor: David Barber, MPSE 
Dialogue Editor: Karol Urban, MPSE 
Sound Effects Editors: George Haddad, MPSE, Roland Thai, Steve Urban, MPSE, Ben Zarai
ADR Editor: Michael Kreple
Foley Artist: Gonzalo “Bino” Espinoza  
Foley Editor: David Kitchens, MPSE

Music Editor: Steven Saltzman, MPSE


Supervising Sound Editors: Frederic Dubois, MPSE, Dror Mohar

Sound Editor: Bryan Parker, MPSE
Foley Artist: Tapio Liukkonen 


Supervising Sound Editors: Odin Benitez, MPSE, Todd Toon, MPSE
Sound Designer: Martyn Zub, MPSE
Dialogue Editor: John C. Stuver, MPSE 
Sound Effects Editors: Jason King, Adam Kopald, MPSE, Luke Gibleon, Christopher Bonis
ADR Editor: Dave McMoyler
Supervising Music Editor: Peter “Oso” Snell, MPSE
Foley Artists: Mike Horton, Tim McKeown 
Supervising Foley Editor: Walter Spencer

Non-Theatrical Animation

Batman: Hush 

Supervising Sound Editor:  Rob McIntyre, D.J. Lynch
Sound Designer:  Evan Dockter  
Sound Effects Editors: Lawrence Reyes, Derek Swanson
Foley Editor:  Aran Tanchum, Alfredo Douglas 
Foley Artists: Vincent Guisetti

Batman vs Teenage Mutant Turtles

Supervising Sound Editor:  Jeff Shiffman, MPSE
Dialogue Editor:  Kelly Foley Downs, Patrick J. Foley, Michael Garcia
Sound Effects Editors: Jessey Drake, MPSE, Mitchell Lestner, Kevin Hart
Supervising ADR Editor: Mark A. Keatts
Foley Editor: Tess Fournier, MPSE

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus

Supervising Sound Editor:  Kate Finan, MPSE, Jeff Shiffman, MPSE
Dialogue Editor:  Johnathan Hylander
Sound Effects Editors: Jessey Drake, MPSE, Tess Fournier, MPSE, Ben Gieschen, Mitchell Lestner, Greg Rubin

Foley Editor: Carol Ma

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters

Supervising Sound Editor: Rob McIntyre, D.J. Lynch
Sound Designer: Lawrence Reyes 
Sound Effects Editors: Ezra Walker
ADR Editor: George Peters 
Foley Editor: Aran Tanchum, Derek Swanson
Foley Artists:  Vincent Guisetti 


Supervising Sound Editor:  Jeff Shiffman, MPSE 
Dialogue Editor:  Michael Wessner
Sound Effects Editors: Tess Fournier, MPSE, Brad Meyer, MPSE 
Foley Editor: Carol Ma

Reign of the Supermen

Supervising Sound Editor:  Rob McIntyre, D.J. Lynch
Sound Designer:  Evan Dockter  
Sound Effects Editors: Ezra Walker 
Foley Editor:  Aran Tanchum, Alfredo Douglas 
Foley Artists: Vincent Guisetti

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines

Supervising Sound Editor:  Rob McIntyre, D.J. Lynch
Sound Designer:  Evan Dockter 
Sound Effects Editors: Ezra Walker  
Foley Editor: Aran Tanchum, Alfredo Douglas 
Foley Artists: Vincent Guisetti

Non-Theatrical Documentary


Supervising Sound Editor: Paul Cowgill
Foley Editor: Peter Davies 
Music Editor: Alessandro Baldessari
Foley Artists: Paul Ackerman 

Apollo: Missions to the Moon

Supervising Sound Editor: John Warrin 
Dialogue Editor: Nick Pavey
Sound Effects Editors: Christopher Pentecost, Brian Golub, Leandro Cassan 

Epic Yellowstone

Sound Designer: Brian Eimer
Sound Effects Editors: Michael Bonini, Robynne Trueman
Foley Editor: Michael Le
Foley Artists: Guy Francoeur

Hostile Planet: Oceans

Supervising Sound Editor: Kate Hopkins, Tim Owens
Sound Effects Editors: Jonny Crew, Hannah Gregory, Ben Peace
Foley Editor: Tom Mercer  
Foley Artists: Ben Jones

Our Planet: One Planet

Sound Effects Editors: Kate Hopkins, Tim Owens

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Bird of Prey

Supervising Sound Editor:  Nicholas Renbeck
Dialogue Editor:  Branka Mrkic-Tana
Foley Editor:  George Lara, Dow McKeeve 
Foley Artists: Marko Costanzo  

The Apollo

Supervising Sound Editor: Christopher Barnett, Al Nelson
Sound Effects Editor: Benny Burtt

This Is Football

Supervising Sound Editor: Greg Gettens 
Sound Effects Editor: Chad Orororo 
Foley Editor: Ciaran Smith, Philip Moroz  
Foley Artists: Paula Boram

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali

Supervising Sound Editor: Mandell Winter, David Esparza
Dialogue Editor:  Sang Kim, Micah Loken
Sound Effects Editors: Ryan Collins, Ando Johnson

View on the MPSE Website.

Oscars Shortlist: Academy Reveals Remaining Contenders in Nine Categories

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced shortlists in consideration for the Oscars in nine categories: documentary feature, documentary short subject, international feature film, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), music (original song), animated short film, live action short film and visual effects.

The full lists are below:


Fifteen films will advance in the documentary feature category after 159 films were submitted in the category. Members of the Documentary Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

“American Factory”
“The Apollo”
“Apollo 11”
“The Biggest Little Farm”
“The Cave”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“For Sama”
“The Great Hack”
“Knock Down the House”
“Midnight Family”
“One Child Nation”


Ten films will advance in the documentary short subject category. There were 69 films qualified in the category. Members of the Documentary Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

“After Maria”
“Fire in Paradise”
“Ghosts of Sugar Land”
“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“The Nightcrawlers”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Stay Close”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”


Ten films will advance to the next round of voting in the international feature film category (formerly known as foreign language film). Ninety-one films were eligible in the category.

Academy members from all branches were invited to participate in the preliminary round. They must have viewed the submitted films theatrically and met a minimum viewing requirement to be eligible to vote in the category. Their seven choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

In the nominations round, Academy members from all branches are invited to opt-in to participate and must view all 10 shortlisted films in order to cast a ballot.

Czech Republic, “The Painted Bird”
Estonia, “Truth and Justice”
France, “Les Misérables”
Hungary, “Those Who Remained”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”
Russia, “Beanpole”
Senegal, “Atlantics”
South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”


Ten films will advance in the makeup and hairstyling category. All members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will be invited to view seven-minute excerpts from each of the 10 shortlisted films on Saturday, January 4, 2020. Members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

“Dolemite Is My Name”
“Downton Abbey”
“Little Women”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“Once upon a Time…in Hollywood”


Fifteen scores will advance in the original score category. One hundred seventy scores were eligible in the category. Members of the Music Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Farewell”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Frozen II”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“The King”
“Little Women”
“Marriage Story”
“Motherless Brooklyn”
“Pain and Glory”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”


Fifteen songs will advance in the original song category. Seventy-five songs were eligible in the category. Members of the Music Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

“Speechless” from “Aladdin”
“Letter To My Godfather” from “The Black Godfather”
“I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough”
“Da Bronx” from “The Bronx USA”
“Into The Unknown” from “Frozen II”
“Stand Up” from “Harriet”
“Catchy Song” from “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”
“Never Too Late” from “The Lion King”
“Spirit” from “The Lion King”
“Daily Battles” from “Motherless Brooklyn”
“A Glass of Soju” from “Parasite”
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”
“High Above The Water” from “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am”
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4”
“Glasgow” from “Wild Rose”


Ten films will advance in the animated short film category. Ninety-two films qualified in the category. Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”
“He Can’t Live without Cosmos”
“Hors Piste”
“Mind My Mind”
“The Physics of Sorrow”
“Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days”


Ten films will advance in the live action short film category. One hundred ninety-one films qualified in the category. Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

“The Christmas Gift”
“Little Hands”
“Miller & Son”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”
“A Sister”
“Sometimes, I Think about Dying”


Ten films remain in the running in the visual effects category. The Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee determined the shortlist. All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the shortlisted films online or attend satellite bake-off screenings in January 2020. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

“Alita: Battle Angel”
“Avengers: Endgame”
“Captain Marvel”
“Gemini Man”
“The Irishman”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Terminator: Dark Fate”

Oscar nominations voting opens Jan. 2 and runs through Jan. 7. Nominations will be announced on Jan. 13. Final Oscar voting begins Jan. 30. Deadline for voting is Feb. 4. The Oscars will be handed out five days later on Feb. 9.

View article.

HBO’s ‘The Apollo’ Documentary Is a Rousing Showcase of Black Musical History

It’s just another pile of New York City bricks with a neon-lit marquee, technically. But if you’re in Harlem and walk down 125th street between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, the presence of The Apollo Theater is unmistakable. 

The Apollo documentary, premiering on HBO on Wednesday, November 6, attempts to illustrate its cultural significance in black history for the past 85 years. And considering the venue is famed for its amateur nights in which performers were either cheered or booed with zeal, it’s fitting that the film is a rousing success.

The blur of archival images at the outset reminds us of the generational scope of the Apollo’s impact: Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Bo Diddley, Gregory Hines, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Redd Foxx, Chris Rock and Will Smith all took the stage at some point in their careers. When they played to the audience — 1506 patrons at full capacity — they knew in their bones this wasn’t just any gig. The Apollo represented a space where black audiences could gather under even the most trying of circumstances to witness and judge popular art by their own standards. Jeering aside, this was a safe haven. Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett and activist Herb Boyd are some of the luminaries that express how the top-notch entertainment at the Apollo has always been secondary to the rich communal spirit.

Director Roger Ross Williams (an Oscar winner for the short Music by Prudence) weaves through performance and politics, past and present. Resident historian, tour director and ambassador Billy “Mr. Apollo” Mitchell — he’s worked on the premises since 1965 — serves as our congenial guide (and frames the narrative), guiding curious pedestrians through the halls and delivering a more traditional overview to the camera. 

It was white entrepreneur and promoter Frank Schiffman who opened the theater in Harlem in 1934 as a talent showcase. The real estate became hallowed ground almost immediately thanks to the craftsmanship on stage and the business savvy behind the scenes. The hard-nosed Schiffman kept typed index cards of every artist and noted everything from temperament to ability. On Charlie Parker: “Excellent musician.” On Dizzy Gillespie: “Not prepared.” Dizzy Gillespie!     

The anecdotes that accompany some of these names are delicious in detail. In a remarkable account, a shy 17-year-old named Ella Fitzgerald originally planned to dance during the first year of Amateur Night in 1934. But after seeing the Edwards Sisters light up the stage with their synchronized steps, she decided to sing instead. She started scatting to Hoagy Carmichael’s “Judy” and took home first prize. A few years later, Ralph Cooper, who created and hosted Amateur Night, scouted Billie Holiday and convinced Schiffman to give her a shot. She performed the haunting protest song, “Strange Fruit.”

Several artists give their own first-hand recollections, and, mercifully, don’t do it wearing rose-colored glasses. Smokey Robinson waxes about how he and the Miracles had to share a cramped eighth-floor dressing room and work their way down based on success; actress Leslie Uggams recalls her first show there and says she was getting ready to leave when she was told she had to grind through four more that very day. (Performers typically did 29 shows a week!). Even Aretha Franklin, in an interview filmed just before her 2018 death, laments that she’s still waiting on the money that Schiffman owed her. 

Still, like most music-themed documentaries, the raw footage is the star of the show. And while it’s always amusing to gawk at acts before they hit it big, the videos here offer proper context to a specific time and place in our history. Consider that Richard Pryor elicits howls of laughter from the audience as he peppers the N-word throughout his stand-up material. Meanwhile, James Brown fearlessly declares, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud” amid the civil rights riots of 1968. (After he died in 2006, the funeral was held at the Apollo as a tribute to both the venue and the hardest-working man in showbiz.) Barack Obama was the first sitting president to visit; he promptly brought down the house by crooning a few bars of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” 

The performances weren’t all groundbreaking crowd-pleasers. Though pre-teen, pre-Fugees Lauryn Hill covering a Smokey Robinson classic could be viewed in hindsight as a sign of her prodigious talent, the audience boos her. Off-stage, The Apollo endured its own hardships. Williams breezes through its woeful chapter in the 1970s when the site had to close due to bankruptcy. Manhattan borough President Percy B. Sutton tried but failed to turn it around financially. It’s now a federal and city landmark run by the state of New York.  

Can this historical attraction remain mythical? After all, Harlem itself is now so gentrified that The Apollo is located across from, yikes, The Gap. The jazz greats that once breathed life inside that theater have given way to acts like Lady Gaga and Guns N’ Roses. These facts also go without mention. But Williams wisely culminates his film with a 2018 all-star on-stage reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” a manifesto to the experience of being black in America. No singing, no dancing, no jokes. It’s a strong statement on the social and political meaning behind every artistic performance: A community can indeed find healing through the power of art. 

The Apollo premieres on HBO on Wednesday, November 6.

View Article

Review: Harlem’s cathedral of culture ‘The Apollo’ stands the test of time

By Robert Abele

A space like the Apollo Theater, Harlem’s high church of American music, didn’t just play host to up-and-comers, storied legends and energetic wannabes — it amplified the sound and spirit of black entertainment in a way that reverberated far outside its walls.

Any movie tasked with celebrating its 85 years as a cultural landmark would have its work cut out for it, which makes Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams’ beautifully turned, rich and moving documentary “The Apollo” a true gift for these turbulent, who-are-we? times: essential history and quintessential performance expertly woven together to remind us what lasting, vibrant artistry and community looks like. From the heyday of jazz to the sweetness of soul and the power of hip-hop — with the reality of race ever present — Williams offers up a celebration worthy of the Apollo’s legacy.

With its blend of the archival, the interviewed, and modern-day footage, the first miracle of the film is that it never feels overstuffed with talking heads, or perfunctorily assembled, or rushed in covering its many glories across nearly a century. It’s a real beating-heart tribute, always streaked with feeling, whether joyous or poignant. That’s partly because the theater’s spirit, from its Depression-era launch as a mixed hot spot at a time when black people couldn’t patronize nightclubs in their own backyard, always intertwined excellence in black entertainment — launching the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Stevie Wonder, and cementing the live chops of countless others across music, dance and comedy — with the notion that simply being on that stage, in that audience, constituted not only a vital act of expression, but also a feeling of home. It’s why Williams always threads in footage old and new of the block’s streets and citizens among the glittering stories and stars, as if to stress that the Apollo was as much a good neighbor as a grand beacon.

Williams makes the potent choice to bracket this history with a verité glimpse of the Apollo’s behind-the-scenes preparation for a multimedia staging of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ galvanizing book, “Between the World and Me.” Coates’ words of ceaseless struggle and fierce belonging echo through the film as we see Holliday make the Apollo a safe space for protest music with “Strange Fruit” (which she was pressured not to perform), favorite son James Brown anthemize the civil rights era with “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud,” and truth-to-power rap artists flood the stage in the ’80s.

Just as inspiring is the tradition surrounding the Apollo’s fabled amateur night — the world’s longest-running talent show, a lively format by which the untapped (who have included Ella Fitzgerald and Lauryn Hill over the years) can command the spotlight, and perhaps earn a famously boo-ready crowd’s hard-won love. But like a lot about the Apollo, it’s the opportunity to give voice to that which lies behind this beloved rite. Cincinnati student Bianca Graham traveled to New York by bus to perform a soaring rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” and when she tears up at the memory of a friend shot and killed by a cop, you can believe the theater’s soul must course through each and every respect-paying hopeful that hits its stage.

Singer James Brown being interviewed after he performed at the Apollo in 1968, from the documentary ‘The Apollo’

The anecdotes are like music too, with spirited tales of nerves, awe and camaraderie from Smokey Robinson, Leslie Uggams, Patti Labelle and Pharrell Williams, and necessary context from backstage overseers like former owner Bobby Schiffman, current President Jonelle Procope and historian/tour guide Billy Mitchell. From these reverent insiders, and Williams’ graceful stewardship, comes a lasting portrait of an artistic institution that’s seen ups and downs but continues to thrive by bringing people together and getting the most out of many of them. It’s hard not to forget an early clip of Ella Fitzgerald and what she heard way on that amateur night in 1934 when her then-unknown teenage self balked at following the crowd-slaying, legendary Edwards Sisters with her own meager dance routine.

A man yelled, “You’re out here, do something.” So she sang.

View Article

IDA Announces its 35th Annual Shortlists for Features and Shorts

As usual, the pack of docs is insane. It will be extremely hard to reduce them to 5. I half wonder, as I do every year, if the Academy ought to give docs a bigger presence at the Oscars – a whole Oscars for DOCS, even, that honor things like writing and directing, etc. Either way, here are the films selected for the shortlist.

Apollo 11, Amazing Grace, American Factory, For Sama, Cunningham, Sea of Shadows, the Biggest Little Farm are a few that have made some noise already.

The 2019 Awards will be presented during a ceremony at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles on Saturday, December 7. Tickets are on sale now.

IDA Documentary Awards 2019 Features Shortlist

Advocate (Israel, Canada, Switzerland. Directors and Producers: Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche. Producers: Paul Cadieux and Joelle Bertossa)

Amazing Grace (USA / NEON. Producers: Alan Elliot, Tirrell D. Whittley, Sabrina V. Owens, Joe Boyd, Rob Johnson, Chiemi Karasawa, Spike Lee, Angie Seegers and Joseph Woolf)

American Factory (USA / Netflix. Directors and Producers: Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. Producers: Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello)

Apollo 11 (USA / NEON and CNN Films. Director and Producer: Todd Douglas Miller. Producers: Thomas Petersen and Evan Strauss)

Aquarela (UK, Germany, Denmark / Sony Pictures Classics. Director: Victor Kossakovsky. Producers: Aimara Reques, Heino Deckert and Sigrid Dyekjær)

Black Mother (USA / Grasshopper Film. Director and Producer: Khalik Allah. Producer: Leah Giblin)

Cunningham (USA, Germany / Magnolia Pictures. Director and Producer: Alla Kovgan. Producers: Helge Albers, Ilann Girard, Elizabeth Delude-Dix, Kelly Gilpatrick and Derrick Tseng)

Dark Suns (Canada / Dogwoof. Director and Producer: Julien Elie)

Diego Maradona (UK / HBO. Director: Asif Kapadia. Producers: James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin)

EARTH (Austria / KimStim. Director and Producer: Nikolaus Geyrhalter. Producers: Michael Kitzberger, Markus Glaser and Wolfgang Widerhofer)

For Sama (UK, Syria / PBS Distribution, FRONTLINE. Director and Producer: Waad al-Kateab. Director: Edward Watts)

Hail Satan? (USA, Sweden / Magnolia Pictures. Director: Penny Lane. Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick)

Honeyland (Macedonia / NEON. Director: Tamara Kotevska. Director and Producer: Ljubomir Stefanov. Producer: Atanas Georgiev)

Kabul, City in the Wind (Netherlands, Afghanistan, Germany. Director: Aboozar Amini. Producer: Jia Zhao)

Lemebel (Chile, Colombia / Compañía de Cine. Director and Producer: Joanna Reposi Garibaldi. Producer: Paula Sáenz-Laguna)

Midnight Family (Mexico, USA / 1091. Director and Producer: Luke Lorentzen. Producers: Kellen Quinn, Daniela Alatorre and Elena Fortes)

Midnight Traveler (USA, UK, Qatar / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Director: Hassan Fazili. Producers: Su Kim and Emelie Coleman Mahdavian)

One Child Nation (USA / Amazon Studios. Directors and Producers: Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang. Producers: Christoph Jörg, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements and Carolyn Hepburn)

Our Time Machine (China / POV, Da Xiang. Directors and Producers: Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang)

Present.Perfect. (USA, Hong Kong / Burn The Film. Director: Shengze Zhu. Producer: Zhengfan Yang)

Roll Red Roll (USA / POV. Director and Producer: Nancy Schwartzman. Producers: Steven Lake and Jessica Devaney)

Sea of Shadows (USA, Austria / National Geographic. Director: Richard Ladkani. Producers: Walter Kohler and Wolfgang Knopfler)

The Apollo (USA / HBO. Director and Producer: Roger Ross Williams. Producers: Lisa Cortés, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann)

The Biggest Little Farm (USA / NEON, LD Entertainment. Director and Producer: John Chester. Producer: Sandra Keats)

The Cave (USA, Syria, Denmark / National Geographic. Director: Feras Fayyad. Producers: Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjaer) 

The Edge of Democracy (USA, Brazil / Netflix. Director and Producer: Petra Costa. Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan)

The Feeling of Being Watched (USA / POV. Director: Assia Boundaoui. Producer: Jessica Devaney)

The Hottest August (USA, Canada / Grasshopper Film. Director and Producer: Brett Story. Producer: Danielle Varga)

The Proposal (USA / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Director: Jill Magid. Producers: Charlotte Cook, Laura Coxson and Jarred Alterman)

This is Not a Movie (Germany, Canada / National Film Board of Canada. Director: Yung Chang. Producers: Anita Lee, Allyson Luchak, Nelofer Pazira and Ingmar Trost)

IDA Documentary Awards 2019 Shorts Shortlist

30 for 30 Shorts: Mack Wrestles (USA / ESPN. Directors and Producers: Taylor Hess and Erin Sanger. Producers: Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby)

A Love Song for Latasha (USA. Director and Producer: Sophia Nahli Allison. Producers: Janice Duncan and Fam Udeorji)

After Maria (USA / Netflix. Director: Nadia Hallgren. Producer: Lauren Cioffi)

All Inclusive (Switzerland / Some Shorts. Director: Corina Schwingruber Ilić. Producer: Stella Händler)

America (USA / Aubin Pictures. Director: Garrett Bradley. Producers: Lauren Domino and Catherine Gund)

Black to Techno (USA / Frieze. Director: Jenn Nkiru)

Easter Snap (USA. Director and Producer: RaMell Ross. Producers: Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim)

In the Absence (USA, Korea / Field of Vision. Director: Yi Seung-Jun. Producer: Gary Byung-Seok Kam)

La Bala de Sandoval (Ecuador / Vtape. Director and Producer: Jean-Jacques Martinod)

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl) (UK, USA, Afghanistan / Lifetime Films, A&E IndieFilms. Director: Carol Dysinger. Producer: Elena Andreicheva)

Lost and Found (USA, Myanmar / National Geographic. Director: Orlando von Einsiedel. Producers: Mark Bauch, Harri Grace and Dan Lin)

Marielle and Monica (Brazil, UK / The Guardian. Director: Fabio Erdos. Producer: Marina Costa)

Sam and the Plant Next Door (UK / The Guardian. Director and Producer: Omer Sami)

Scenes from a Dry City (USA / Field of Vision. Directors and Producers: Simon Wood and Francois Verster)

Show Me the Way (USA / Director and Producer: Kate Kunath)

St. Louis Superman (USA / MTV Documentary Films, Al Jazeera Witness and Meralta Films. Directors and Producers: Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan. Producer: Poh Si Teng)

The Love Bugs (USA. Directors and Producers: Allison Otto and Maria Clinton)

The Nightcrawlers (USA, Philippines / National Geographic. Director: Alexander Mora. Producers: Joanna Natasekura, Doireann Maddock and Abigail Anketell-Jones)

The Separated (USA / The Atlantic. Director and Producer: Jeremy Raff)

The Unconditional (USA. Director and Producer: Dave Adams. Producers: Adam Soltis, Renee Woodruff Adams, Josie Swantek Heitz and Chris Tuss)

Valley of the Rulers (Serbia, Israel. Director: Efim Graboy. Producer: Dejan Petrovic)

The 35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards honorees, were announced earlier this week. The honorees are:

Academy Award and Primetime Emmy-winning filmmaker (and five time Academy Award nominee) Freida Lee Mock (Maya Lin: A Strong Clear VisionAnita) who will receive the Career Achievement Award

Emmy nominated filmmaker Rachel Lears (Knock Down The HouseThe Hand That Feeds) who will receive the Emerging Doc Filmmaker Award

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which provides pro bono legal representation and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists, who will receive the Amicus Award

And the film foundation and production company Cinereach that will receive the Pioneer Award

View on

Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Partners With Reelin’ In The Years For Documentaries

EXCLUSIVE: White Horse Pictures chairman Nigel Sinclair and president Nicholas Ferrall have made a multi-picture partnership with Reelin’ In The Years Productions president David Peck to create more documentaries in the film and TV space.

The companies have worked piecemeal on films since 2006. Those collaborations include the Ron Howard-directed Pavarotti and The Beatles: Eight Days A Week — The Touring Years, as well as Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, George Harrison: Living In the Material World, the upcoming docu on The Bee Gees that Frank Marshall is directing, and The Apollo, the Roger Ross Williams-directed docu that opened at Tribeca and will be launched on HBO this fall celebrating the history of the iconic Harlem theater.

Reelin’ In The Years is a gatekeeper in licensing archival footage that feeds these documentaries, with over 30,000 hours of music footage and much more in interviews in its arsenal.

Sinclair, who leads the White Horse docu team with documentary head Jeanne Elfant Festa and TV head Cassidy Hartmann, said formalizing the partnership made sense.

“Of course, David runs this amazing library, but he also brings to the table the passion and commitment of a true archivist who cares deeply about the historical importance of footage and the need to preserve it. His invaluable advice to us on projects has gone way beyond just curating the footage he represents and this new partnership is a chance for us to utilize his extraordinary knowledge to create some very high-level, archive-driven projects on subjects we all love.”

Said Peck: “I have worked with Nigel and the White Horse partners on nearly a dozen projects over the last 13 years, and their almost fanatical commitment to excellence touches on my passion, which is finding, cataloging and preserving archival footage from around the globe and making it accessible to professionals in the film and television industry.”

View article

Nigel Sinclair and Nicoletta Mantovani on MSNBC’s Morning Joe

New York Screening Of ‘Pavarotti’ Documentary

Academy Award winner Ron Howard is directing a new documentary about the untold story of legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

View News Site.

Patti Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, and Martha Stewart Joined Director Ron Howard for a Special Screening of Pavarotti

“I’d like to be remembered as the man who brought opera to the people,” says the late Luciano Pavarotti in the opening scene of Pavarotti, the new documentary film about his life and career. Acclaimed director Ron Howard (whose recent directorial hits include The Beatles: Eight Days a Week and Solo: A Star Wars Story) showcased the film last night with an intimate screening at New York’s iPic theater, cohosted by the Cinema Society. Admirers of the legendary Italian opera singer included Patti Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, and Martha Stewart, who all made their way to the waterside theater for a special first look.

“I’ve listened to Pavarotti thousands of times,” said Smith ahead of the screening. “I’ve learned from him, and so I’m very excited to see the film.”

True to Pavarotti’s ethos, the film captivates even those who aren’t the most well versed in classical music and opera (such as this Vogue writer). “It’s very clear from the movie that one of his most important aims was to spread the world of opera to everyone,” agreed Nicoletta Mantovani, one of the film’s producers and also Pavarotti’s widow. “Luciano really admired the fact that opera was sung in the streets by people in the old times, like pop music now. So he wanted to bring [it] back.” The movie focuses on Pavarotti’s desire to democratize the genre: During his American tours he made a point of bringing concerts to small towns in the heartland that notably lacked an opera house, and his 1977 performance of La Bohème at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House was the first opera performance to be televised live. The film also touches on Pavarotti’s famous friendship with Princess Diana and his ensuing benefit concerts. To much criticism at the time, Pavarotti’s benefits featured musical collaborations between the maestro and rock musicians like Sting and Bono.

After the film, not even an expected downpour of rain could dampen spirits as attendees dashed across the street to the after-party. Howard was in high spirits too. “It really begins with enough access and fresh material to be able to offer a new perspective,” he said, noting the support he received for the documentary’s materials from Pavarotti’s managers, colleagues, and family. “In this case, we had the cooperation of the family, which meant their interviews, which were so personal, raw, emotional, but also comprehensive in terms of helping us understand Pavarotti. We also had these amazing photographs, videos, and tapes from their archives that we could work with to give audiences a lot of moments they’d never seen before.”

R17, a rooftop lounge atop Pier 17, played host to the party, with guests abuzz in conversation about the film. Cozy fireplaces and refreshing pamplemousse spritz cocktails provided a delightful segue into the rest of the evening. Conversation and Prosecco flowed for the rest of the night, punctuated by circulating platters of bite-size avocado toast and crisped potatoes garnished with truffle aioli.

Pavarotti opens in select theaters on June 7.

View Article.

Mr. Apple Pie, Ron Howard Why this avatar of Americana decided to direct a documentary about the Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

Bette Davis patted him on the butt when she decided he was a good director. Henry Fonda gave him his first books on film theory. Lee Marvin got drunk and told him stories about John Ford’s sadistic side. Vincente Minnelli taught him to be a stickler for detail. Roger Corman advised him to pursue his own creative point of view in movies, but never forget the crowd pleasers like car crashes and naked women. Andy Griffith showed him, when he was just a young ’un, how to have fun while working hard. And Yul Brynner explained that when you take a shot of vodka and bite the glass, it had better be a prop glass made of sugar.

Ron Howard grew up in Hollywood working with the giants of the entertainment industry, and it gave him a fine appreciation for giants.

That is why, even though he’s more of a sports fan than an opera aficionado, he decided to make a documentary about opera’s Sultan of Swat: Luciano Pavarotti, the King of High Cs, a man of gargantuan talent and appetite, swathed in women and Hermès scarves, who died in 2007 and is perhaps inadequately immortalized on iTunes and YouTube.

“Seeing Michael Jordan take off at the free-throw line and slam dunk was mind-blowing,” Mr. Howard said. “In the same way, it’s hard to imagine that human beings can hit these notes.”

Peter Gelb, the head of the Metropolitan Opera, said the metaphor is apt: “Unlike pop singers who use microphones, an opera singer’s voice is produced by a purely physical effort, using his entire body like a vocal athlete and producing sounds from their diaphragms.”

Mr. Pavarotti was consumed with insecurity that he might not hit the high Cs, saying, “I go to die” as he walked onstage.

Over lunch at Patsy’s Italian restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, the 65-year-old Mr. Howard said he was fortunate with the quality of the archival footage he and the other filmmakers got. Those included a video clip of Mr. Pavarotti’s early triumph as Rodolfo in “La Bohème” in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 1961, with the audience gasping, and interviews with the singer’s first wife, Adua, his three older daughters and two of his “secretaries,” as the long-term loves who were part of Mr. Pavarotti’s entourage were known.

There are also home movies shot by Nicoletta Mantovani, the angelic-looking young assistant who became the singer’s second wife and the mother of his youngest daughter, Alice.

“Opera’s Golden Tenor,” as Time called Mr. Pavarotti in a 1979 cover story, was a volcanic life force whose voice could give you goose bumps and make your ears ring. His range of Bs, Cs and Ds, with a romantic, gleaming timbre, was “one of those freaks of nature” that came along only once in a century, as one conductor told Time.

The singer explained that his famous connection with the audience came from imagining his voice traveling along a separate thread to each member of the audience, with their applause sending back oxygen.

Mr. Pavarotti never learned to read music, relying on his own primitive sign system of arrows and other indicators that he would write into his scores.

He wasn’t a tormented artist. The rotund Italian tenor was joyous and generous, raising money for children in war-torn places including Bosnia and Kosovo, bringing opera to the people and traveling with his own prosciutto slicer, pots, pans and kilos of tortellini and cheese. 

The Met kept a buffet in the wings so he could snack between arias. His abrasive former manager, Herbert Breslin, wrote in “The King and I,” his dishy memoir written with Anne Midgette, that Mr. Pavarotti — whose weight swung between 240 and 350 — had to have gained and lost about 5,000 pounds during their years together.

“Opera singers are highly neurotic individuals who eat neurotically,” Mr. Gelb said. “It’s an impossible job. You try to hit notes, but you never know exactly what will come out.”

“Big P,” as his mentor and co-star Joan Sutherland called him, was irresistible, as the film shows. A radiant Princess Diana sat through a concert in the pouring rain for him. When Bono refused an invitation to write a song and record it with the tenor, Mr. Pavarotti made friends with Bono’s Italian housekeeper, who then pestered her boss until he succumbed. 

When Ms. Mantovani told Mr. Pavarotti that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and could probably not stay with him, he swept away her fears, announcing, “Until now I loved you. But from now on, I adore you.”

He was a regular guest on Johnny Carson, sang on the Grammy Awardsgave out an Oscar and collaborated with pop stars. He teamed up with Plácido Domingo and José Carreras to turn “the Three Tenors” into one of the top bands in the world. But as Mr. Breslin once told the author Manuela Hoelterhoff, one tenor was top dog: “Domingo would have to go pray in seventeen churches in Guadalajara to find that sound.” And “Seinfeld” had a running joke about forgetting who “the other guy” was.

Mr. Pavarotti’s first wife, Adua, says in the film that her former husband could be a diva: “He got used to having everything. If he had asked for chicken’s milk, they would have probably milked a chicken.”

Bono rages in the documentary against those who criticized the waning power of Mr. Pavarotti’s voice before the singer’s death: “The reason why he is great is because he has lived those songs,” adding that you can hear that “in every crack of his voice.”

Mr. Howard himself cannot sing, even though at age 7 he played the redheaded Winthrop Paroo in the movie version of “The Music Man,” warbling about the delights of Gary, Ind., and the Wells Fargo stagecoach.

“They put up with the fact that I could barely carry a tune,” he said. “I got the lisp down, my dad taught me the lisp, but the singing was always problematic.”

Despite his own pitchiness, Mr. Howard steeped himself in Mr. Pavarotti’s work and came up with a novel structure: to use the arias to fashion an opera about the tenor himself, with original remastered tracks at Abbey Road, the famous recording studio in London.

“We drew from 22 different operas, maybe 90 pieces of music,” the director said. “‘A Vucchella,’ about a woman being like a little flower, for when he rediscovered love. Pagliacci, the clown, when he was struggling to perform. ‘Tosca,’ when he knows he’s coming to the end.”

The film shows the opera star’s superstitious side. He kept a bent nail found in backstage scenery (or planted there by his assistants) in his pocket for luck. Mr. Breslin revealed that Mr. Pavarotti had two other superstitions: He banned the color purple and was skittish about the number 17, preferring to spend the 17th of any month in bed. 

Mr. Gelb recalled that once, in the 1980s, Mr. Pavarotti got out of the hospital and refused to take off his green plastic hospital bracelet because he thought it would be unlucky, even though Mr. Gelb, who was at the Met filming the singer’s performance for TV, told him the bracelet could be seen on camera.

“I used to have a lucky hat,” Mr. Howard recalled about a plaid newsboy cap a mentor gave him. But after he lost it, he stuck with one good luck charm:

“My wife”— Cheryl, a writer — “has been in everything I’ve ever done that’s not a documentary.” 

The Los Angeles Times once said that Ron Howard’s face reflected “mom and apple pie, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, a home run in the ninth and a basket at the buzzer.”

He is such an American icon that Andy Warhol asked to do twin portraits of him: one with the mustache he had in the mid-’80s and one after he shaved it off. He refused to shave off the ’stache for Mr. Warhol but did it spontaneously later, going into an airport restroom after he’d had a couple drinks to mourn the poor box office of “Cry-Baby,” the 1990 John Waters movie that his film company, Imagine Entertainment, produced.

If there was a phrenology skull mapping the cultural touchstones for baby boomers, Mr. Howard would be all over it, with “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,’’ “General Electric Theater” presented by Ronald Reagan, “The Twilight Zone,” “The Waltons,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Dr. Kildare,” “Gunsmoke,” “Gomer Pyle,” “I Spy” and “Happy Days.”

He might have been an even greater part of the cultural landscape if he had been more excited when George Lucas, who directed him in the 1973 classic “American Graffiti,” told him about his next idea.

“George tried to explain it as a kind of Flash Gordon movie but with better special effects,” Mr. Howard said. “And I thought it sounded like a pretty terrible idea. Sci-fi was really a B-minus genre. I liked ‘Planet of the Apes’ all right but I couldn’t possibly imagine what he was trying to do.”

By the time he realized “Star Wars” was a hot project, he couldn’t even get an audition.

Despite his unique résumé, he still identifies with the comment of his friend, the late, great writer William Goldman, who once confessed to Mr. Howard, “I feel like I got in on a pass.”

He has no hobbies and said if he had a free Saturday afternoon, he would work. Movies, he said, give you a Walter Mitty portal to step into wondrous worlds.

For “Splash,” he got to scuba dive to shoot underwater scenes with Daryl Hannah’s mermaid. For “Apollo 13,” he got to try a weightlessness exercise. For “Rush,” he explored the world of Formula One.

“I’m getting paid to have an adventure,” he said.

It seems impossible that Mr. Howard, the patriarch of a three-generation show business family, can be so nice and normal, especially because he started out-earning his father at age 8 and, by his own calculation, made more than the Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax by the time he was 11.

His father and mother fell in love as teenagers in Oklahoma. They got married in Kentucky, when they were working with a children’s theater troupe. His mother wore her Cinderella dress, and the dwarves from “Snow White” were the groomsmen. “There were only four dwarves,” Mr. Howard said. “It was a very low-budget production.”

His father, Rance, was a Depression-era Oklahoma farm boy. After Ron was born, he moved to Los Angeles to be a writer and actor. (He played the role of a farmer in “Chinatown,” and Ron Howard boasted that his dad once held the Guinness Book of World Records title for playing more men of the cloth than any other character actor.)

When Ron hit it big as Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show” and Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days” — Eddie Murphy called him “Opie Cunningham” on “Saturday Night Live” — Rance Howard continued to use his own paychecks to support the family, knowing that it could warp his son if he had the financial whip hand.

Following his parents’ lead, Ron Howard fell in love with his wife of 44 years, Cheryl, when he was a teenager. They live in a bucolic part of Connecticut and have four grown children, including two daughters who have followed him into acting.

At a Directors Guild of America gala a few years ago, Bryce Dallas Howard said that her father had been underestimated at times because he was dorky and earnest, “not the typical example of the edgy auteur filmmakers who earn instant cool cred in this business.”

How did he never rebel?

“You know, my version of rebellion, as I think about it, was this,” Mr. Howard said. “Early on, I could see what people’s expectations for my behavior would be and I did not want to fulfill their cliché sense of what a kid actor or a teen actor would be. And also, I’m an introvert.

“Kids would taunt me. Burbank is a working-class town. I got bullied and stuff in school because I was ‘Dopey Opie.’ I went to public school when I wasn’t doing the show. And it was pretty tough. I became very good at wrestling.”

As he grew older, he would get teased in bars and clubs. Guys would demand to know if he was going to buy a Corvette. “I got a white Volkswagen Beetle,” he said. “It was my way of saying, ‘Don’t put me in that other box.’” He said that the “very rooted, earthy, common sense approach” of his father kept him “sane and solid.”

Brian Grazer, who has what he calls “the longest partnership in Hollywood history” with Mr. Howard, met him in 1979 and later formed Imagine. In 1982, they produced the movie “Night Shift” with Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton about a proper, introverted guy who teams up with a jangly, extroverted guy. It echoes their own odd-couple relationship.

Mr. Grazer soon discovered Mr. Howard’s stubborn streak. He would beg Mr. Howard to talk at meetings with studio chiefs to no avail. But Mr. Howard had “a sixth sense,” Mr. Grazer said, about “what was transpiring” in a deal and who was “a scumbag.”

Mr. Grazer said that going full-bore into documentaries makes perfect sense for Imagine given that many of their company’s critical successes — “Apollo 13,” “Frost/Nixon,” “8 Mile,” “Friday Night Lights,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “Rush” — were true stories or inspired by true stories.

When Mr. Howard directed “Apollo 13,” he said that there was only one negative card written by an audience member after a test screening.

“Horrible!’’ a man wrote. “They would never survive!!!!”

“Of course, he didn’t know it was a true story,” Mr. Howard said, laughing. “So he thought it was sentimental crap. Well, I realized then and there, that’s one of the reasons you do a true story. Because often the behaviors and outcomes are more remarkable.”

Mr. Howard has already directed two music documentaries. The first, “Made in America,” about Jay-Z’s festival in 2012 in Philadelphia, he agreed to do on a whim because his family was out of town. Then he made “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” in 2016.

“I was talking to Paul,” the director recalled, “and he said, ‘Look, I know you have final cut. The only thing is, so much has been made about the difficulties that we had later and they still resonate with me. But it’s only been in the last couple of years that, when I see a photograph of John and I, I just think, man, we were a great team. And we were great friends.’”

Mr. Howard, who is just as interested in ordinary people as extraordinary ones, is making a movie of J.D. Vance’s best seller, “Hillbilly Elegy,” for Netflix. It will star Amy Adams and Glenn Close, and filming is to begin this month in Georgia.

Shortly after our interview, Mr. Howard went to Atlanta to scout locations and the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, spurring outrage. Mr. Howard and Mr. Grazer said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that they plan to go ahead with “Hillbilly Elegy” but will “boycott the state as a production center” if the law goes into effect in January.

“We see Governor Kemp’s bill as a direct attack on women’s rights,” their statement read in part.

About his interest in Mr. Vance’s book, Mr. Howard told me, “I am very concerned about this huge schism and mistrust in the country.”

As the director of the 1999 satire “EDtv,” with Matthew McConaughey as a guy who has a TV camera on him 24/7, Mr. Howard must see some parallels with the former reality star in the White House.

“I just feel that moving down this road where demagogy keeps succeeding is a real threat to our stability, our footing,” he said. “You don’t want the highest office in the land to be a great financial opportunity.”

He also fears we may now be addicted to operatic presidents.

“I don’t like the idea of celebrity presidents,” he said. “If I could wave a wand, there’d be two new rules: First, you’d have to have served in elected office to be eligible. The other thing is all campaign ads should be reduced to one thing: the candidate in front of a flag in a close-up talking to the camera. No music, no cut-aways, no sad kids, no angry moms.”

He got Fox News’s attention last year when he tweeted: “Honest question to #MAGA minders. When was America at its greatest? Can you tell me an era that reflects the ‘Again’ that you hope we return to?”

But the man who does not like to be typecast in his career is the same way about politics. He is excited by some of the new Democratic faces but said, “Mostly what I want is a common-sense problem solver who has some experience. I don’t care what party they’re from. I’d vote for a Republican if it was the right person.

“I keep wishing there was a third party, I keep calling it a militant middle.”

Mr. Howard is also working on a documentary about the aftermath of the wildfire that consumed Paradise, Calif.

“My mother-in-law used to live in Paradise and I have a lot of relatives and in-laws in Redding, California, nearby,” he said. “And suddenly there was this fire that wiped out a town. It’s a survival story. Will the town make it? Will the individuals within the town choose to keep the community together? What does that kind of devastation really feel like?”

Sara Bernstein, an executive vice president in Imagine’s new documentary unit, said that she and Mr. Howard went to film in Paradise soon after the fire.

“People were walking through the rubble of their burned-down homes, their lives destroyed, and yet they were so excited to see Ron Howard in their town,” she said. “They would shout out, ‘Hi, Opie!’ and then pour their hearts out to him on camera. And it really hit me that for the people of Paradise, who have lost every tangible memory of their life, Ron represents a living memory to them. They were not just talking to a world-famous director, but they were opening up to an old friend. And that’s the magic of Ron Howard.”

View Article