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‘Oj: Made in America’ Review: Injustice Everywhere – and Everyone Gets Away With It

‘Oj: Made in America’ Review: Injustice Everywhere – and Everyone Gets Away With It
In the second installment of ESPN’s excellent “Oj: Made in America,” we see O.J. Simpson sit for a softball interview with ESPN’s Roy Firestone.

It’s 1989 — five years before Simpson will be charged with his wife’s murder. He has pleaded no contest to beating her in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

Firestone just can’t believe it. “It got to such a point that you were portrayed in the press for a while there like a wife beater!” he says.

Also Read: 'People v Oj Simpson' Writers Explain 5 Things They Made Up

“Oj: Made in America” feels like ESPN’s way of documenting its past mistakes — and everyone else’s, too. The carnival grotesquerie around the Simpson case has enabled us all to ignore the most horrible truth of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman’s murders: They were achingly preventable.

Fantasy and
See full article at The Wrap »

ESPN Plans to Air Classic ‘WrestleMania’ Events (Exclusive)

  • Variety
ESPN Plans to Air Classic ‘WrestleMania’ Events (Exclusive)
Of all the sports ESPN has shown over the years, professional wrestling matches from WWE haven’t really been on the list. That will change this weekend.

For three Sundays, the Disney-owned sports-media giant will air classic WrestleMania events on its flagship cable network and stream them on its mobile app. The initiative commences this Sunday at 7 p.m. eastern, when ESPN airs WrestleMania 30 from April, 2014. The colorful headlocks, figure-four leglocks and sleeper holds mark the latest example of ESPN working to fill its schedule with unorthodox content in the wake of the nation’s coronavirus crisis, which has put a stranglehold on all kinds of communal gatherings, including sports events.

“This unique opportunity is a byproduct of the terrific working relationship we’ve enjoyed with WWE over the years and the unprecedented circumstances we all find ourselves in,” said Burke Magnus, executive vice president, programming, ESPN, in a prepared statement.
See full article at Variety »

What We’re Watching While Taking Covid-19 Precautions: ‘Roswell, N.M.’, MSNBC and … ‘The West Wing’

What We’re Watching While Taking Covid-19 Precautions: ‘Roswell, N.M.’, MSNBC and … ‘The West Wing’
Ok, let’s admit it, the Venn diagram of those of us who write about film and TV for a living and those of us who have a Vitamin D deficiency just looks like two big overlapping circles. But in our attempt to flatten the curve and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 in our communities, IndieWire’s team is spending even more time in front of our screens than usual.

Between advance screeners provided to press, huge libraries of TV content on DVD sitting on shelves, and our own fiscally irresponsible number of subscriptions to streaming services, what are we watching? Why? And should you watch it too? After all, it’s only considered self-isolation if you don’t consider TV your friend.

More from IndieWire'Black Widow' Release Postponed Over CoronavirusThe Show Must Go On: Here's What's Still Open for Business in Hollywood

We’ll be updating this throughout the
See full article at Indiewire »

Oscar Documentary Branch Proves Surprisingly Consistent

  • Variety
Oscar Documentary Branch Proves Surprisingly Consistent
It’s been said time and again that the Academy’s documentary branch is a consistently unpredictable bunch. But are they?

Given their Oscar nomination track record, it certainly doesn’t seem like it. The group has made their likes and dislikes perfectly clear in recent years. They enjoy recognizing international productions as well as newcomers. In the past two decades alone, 12 directors have taken home the Academy Award for their very first documentary theatrical feature. They include Bryan Fogel (“Icarus”), Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”), Louie Psihoyos (“The Cove”) and Malik Bendjelloul (“Searching for Sugarman”). Big box office numbers also don’t impress this nonfiction crowd. Examples include snubbing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” ($22.8 million) “Three Identical Strangers” ($13.4 million) and this year’s “Apollo 11” ($15.3 million). They also aren’t awed by archival footage. (Again: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “Apollo 11”.) And they especially
See full article at Variety »

‘Lance’: Film Review

  • Variety
‘Lance’: Film Review
Late in the film “Lance,” a documentary that depicts the ascent and the crash of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, the subject recalls the disappearance of his lucrative sponsorships. These deals — with a massive market value and a perhaps more important intangible value of keeping him in the public eye as a figure of rectitude and hard work — were in some sense his life’s work, and they vanished after his 2013 admission that he had used illegal doping throughout his cycling career. “All gone in 48 hours,” Armstrong recalls. “I wouldn’t change a thing. I work for myself now.” It’s a testament to the methodical, damning assembly of “Lance,” the new documentary in which Armstrong makes this admission, that you don’t believe him at all.

Director Marina Zenovich has built a work that moves unhurriedly through the Armstrong story, shifting from his present-day life as a pariah to the
See full article at Variety »

ESPN Marks ‘30 For 30’ Anniversary With New Slate; Michael Vick Story Gets Premiere Date – Update

  • Deadline
Updated, 2:38 Pm: ESPN said today that Vick, the two-part 30 for 30 documentary about former NFL star Michael Vick, will premiere at 9 p.m. Thursday, January 30. The second installment will bow a week later, at 9 p.m. February 6.

Previously, October 28: The past decade for ESPN has been an eventful one, to put it mildly.

The Disney-owned sports powerhouse has broadcast some of the highest-rated games in its history, re-upped with the NBA and NFL, launched new networks and entered the streaming race. But it has also coped with industrywide pay-tv subscriber declines, management changes and intense scrutiny of its relationships with league partners and the political views of its talent.

Over that stretch, arguably ESPN’s biggest creative triumph has been its 30 for 30 franchise, which is marking its 10th anniversary this month. Crowned by the Oscar-winning breakthrough of O.J.: Made in America in 2016, the banner has been attached to more than 100 feature films,
See full article at Deadline »

International Documentary Association winners announce

By Glenn Dunks

The International Documentary Association announced their winners this past weekend with the Syrian-uk For Sama taking the top prize among a field of ten nominees. Ida aren’t the best gauge of where the winds are going to blow for the Academy Awards – the last three years alone, the Best Feature prize has gone to Minding the Gap (Oscar nominated), O.J.: Made in America (Oscar winner) and Dina (not nominated). So, make of these results what you will.

Nevertheless, this win when combined with its recent Bifa win for Best British Independent Film and a swag of other nominations does position it nicely for a slot on the short list and inching closer to a nomination (although I am less a fan of it than most).
See full article at FilmExperience »

Documentaries Made in the Aftermath of Crime Tread a Careful Path

  • Variety
Documentaries Made in the Aftermath of Crime Tread a Careful Path
Every year, documentaries that examine crimes are made. Some, such as Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America,” Joshua Rofe’s “Lorena” and most recently Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s “The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park,” study a single crime decades after the fact in hopes of establishing a greater clarity and understanding of traumatic events.

But some crimes against humanity deserve immediate dissection and magnification, including mass shootings, sexual abuse and data-mining manipulation. Each is an offense that has directly and indirectly affected millions of Americans in recent years and each is an offense that continues to play out in our society. In these cases, documentarians take on crimes that need immediate absorption and contemplation.

Just four days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman traveled to Parkland, Fla., on assignment for ABC’s “Nightline.” Initially the duo
See full article at Variety »

‘Apollo 11’, ‘One Child Nation’ among PGA documentary feature nominees

‘Apollo 11’, ‘One Child Nation’ among PGA documentary feature nominees
Awards body regarded as Oscar bellwether.

Apollo 11, One Child Nation and American Factory are among the seven documentary feature nominees that will battle for top honours at the 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards.

The Producers Guild Of America (PGA) unveiled the nominees for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures on Tuesday (19). They are in alphabetical order: Advocate, American Factory, Apollo 11, The Cave, For Sama, Honeyland, and One Child Nation.

All nominees are in the process of being vetted for individual producer eligibility.

In the last seven years, three PGA winners have gone on to claim the best documentary
See full article at ScreenDaily »

A ‘Free Solo’ win would make Nat Geo scale to new Emmy heights

Fresh off its Oscar victory for Best Documentary, “Free Solo” could add an Emmy to its trophy haul in September, which would make it the second film to snag the E and the O. But it’d also make some history for Nat Geo as well if it takes home the Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking statuette: Nat Geo would be the first non-HBO and non-PBS network to win the category more than once.

Established in 2005, the Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking category has been dominated by HBO and PBS, two of the biggest heavy-hitters and stalwarts in documentary film. Between 2005 and 2015, the only winners were HBO and PBS — sometimes they were the only nominees as well — and they even tied in 2006 and ’07; HBO won eight during that time period to five for PBS.

But things have been changing in the past few years as more and more
See full article at Gold Derby »

Clint Eastwood May Direct ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’

  • Variety
Clint Eastwood May Direct ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’
Clint Eastwood may direct “The Ballad of Richard Jewell,” a look at a security guard whose life gets turned upside down after media reports identified him as a possible suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.

The film is currently set up at Disney/Fox and could reunite Eastwood with Alan Horn, the current Disney Studios chief who worked with the filmmaker when he was in charge of Warner Bros. motion picture division. Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio had originally been attached to star, but they will no longer appear in the movie. Their involvement will be limited to producing the film.

Eastwood’s involvement could change. He circled the project several years ago before opting to direct “Sully” with Tom Hanks. “O.J.: Made in America” director Ezra Edelman was last person to consider the project.

Eastwood had a box office success with last year’s drug runner drama “The Mule,
See full article at Variety »

Clint Eastwood Aims to Direct Film About 1996 Atlanta Olympics' Security Guard

Clint Eastwood Aims to Direct Film About 1996 Atlanta Olympics' Security Guard
Clint Eastwood is angling to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell, Fox’s long-gestating take on the security guard who went from hero to suspect at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

If Eastwood does board the Richard Jewell project, it would mark the first time since he helmed Changeling in 2008 that he has directed for another studio other than Warner Bros., his longtime home base.

Ezra Edelman, who directed the Oscar-winning documentary O.J.: Made in America, was earlier attached to direct Jonah Hill in the role of Jewell. Hill's Wolf of Wall Street cohort Leonardo ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

5 Things We Learned at TCA 2019: Day 8

  • Variety
ABC, along with its teen-focused corporate sibling Freeform, presented some of their upcoming slate at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour Tuesday. Panels for new series included Scott Foley’s return to ABC’s air with spy caper “Whiskey Cavalier,” Elizabeth Meriwether’s “New Girl” follow-up “Bless This Mess,” and two series with high-profile celebrities as producers — Marcia Clark’s legal drama “The Fix” and Eva Longoria’s Miami-set soap “Grand Hotel.”

This also represented ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke’s introduction to the press in her new role; she took over from former head Channing Dungey in November. Burke, who moved over from Freeform, was largely speaking about programming in which she hadn’t had an active hand: “That decision was made before I got here,” she remarked at one point. “I’m going to be saying that a lot today.”

But Burke stated vision for ABC includes,
See full article at Variety »

‘Jane’: Why It Didn’t Make the Oscar Cut, But Could Finally Land an Emmy

‘Jane’: Why It Didn’t Make the Oscar Cut, But Could Finally Land an Emmy
As the gap between great TV and great film narrows, so does the gap between their respective awards organizations. Can a project receive Oscars and Emmys? In some cases, the answer is a resounding “No”: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences changed its rules after Ezra Edelman’s acclaimed ESPN documentary “O.J.: Made in America” won the 2017 Oscar. Never again, said AMPAS, will a multi-part TV “series” cross our stage.

Still, many two-hour documentary films see theatrical debuts before they hit television, which makes them eligible for both Oscars and Emmys. This year’s Oscar winner, “Icarus,” came from Netflix, as did Oscar-nominee “Strong Island.” And they are among the five films in the Documentary Emmy race, along with “Jane” (National Geographic), Matt Heinemann’s “City of Ghosts” (A&E) and “What Haunts Us” (Starz).

“Jane” has a chance at seven Emmys, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, Directing,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

‘Jane’: Why It Didn’t Make the Oscar Cut, But Could Finally Land an Emmy

‘Jane’: Why It Didn’t Make the Oscar Cut, But Could Finally Land an Emmy
As the gap between great TV and great film narrows, so does the gap between their respective awards organizations. Can a project receive Oscars and Emmys? In some cases, the answer is a resounding “No”: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences changed its rules after Ezra Edelman’s acclaimed ESPN documentary “O.J.: Made in America” won the 2017 Oscar. Never again, said AMPAS, will a multi-part TV “series” cross our stage.

Still, many two-hour documentary films see theatrical debuts before they hit television, which makes them eligible for both Oscars and Emmys. This year’s Oscar winner, “Icarus,” came from Netflix, as did Oscar-nominee “Strong Island.” And they are among the five films in the Documentary Emmy race, along with “Jane” (National Geographic), Matt Heinemann’s “City of Ghosts” (A&E) and “What Haunts Us” (Starz).

“Jane” has a chance at seven Emmys, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, Directing,
See full article at Indiewire »

ESPN Lets Viewers Binge Watch ‘We the Fans’ Season 2 by Stacking Episodes Back-to-Back

  • The Wrap
ESPN is indulging in the nation’s obsession with the NFL by allowing viewers to binge-watch the sophomore season of “We the Fans,” which follows the devoted fans of America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. Last year, Season 1 of “We the Fans” featured the Chicago Bears.

The reality-style series launches with all four hour-long episodes airing back-to-back Thursday night from 7 p.m. Et. After each episode airs, they are then instantly available digitally on the ESPN app and ESPN Video on Demand.

“We’re trying a lot of different ways to get our content out to consumers on different platforms. This is one I personally like because I love to binge,” Libby Geist, vice president and executive producer of ESPN Films and Original Content, told TheWrap.

Also Read: ESPN's Sage Steele Says Tiger Woods' Return to the Masters Proves 'He Came Back Different'

While the Oscar-winning reality documentary “O.J.: Made in America” aired on back-to-back nights in 2016, this is the first time ESPN has stacked episodes for an original series in this way.

“We’re aware of changing habits and know people sit down and binge things, and I’m lucky enough to work at a part of the company where we are able to provide content like that,” Geist continued. “As a fan myself, part of me craves that too as I still stay up at night binge-watching other shows.

“It is important for us to bring storylines that uplift and support the ESPN live events,” she continued, and with the 2018 NFL Draft in Dallas airing live on ESPN at the end of this month, the timing for the launch of “We the Fans” is no coincidence. “There will be a lot of excitement around the Cowboys in general … I think people in Dallas are going to go crazy over it,” Geist predicted. “We were able to find some very dedicated fans and very different story lines around them,” she said of the Cowboys’ diehards who they followed during the 2017 season.

Also Read: ESPN's Mike Greenberg Tells Us Why His New Show 'Get Up!' Has the Right Chemistry

One who really stood out to producers was a man named Kevin Martinez, whose home in Houston was badly damaged in Hurricane Harvey last September. “It just showed that although he was at the Cowboys’ games and tailgating with his friends, going home for these fans is very different for every person. We were able to tell a pretty unrelated story to Dallas but his heart was there while he was going through something else, and this football team helped him get through that tough time.”

Other colorful characters featured on Season 2 include a 73-year-old season ticket-holder who is a motherly figure to Cowboys players; a gay couple from Arlington, Texas; and a family from Massachusetts that travels to Dallas for most home games.

Thursday marks another landmark event for ESPN with the launch of streaming service ESPN+, as the network best known for traditional sports programming cements its foot firmly in the digital landscape.

“With ESPN+ on the horizon, original series are more and more attractive because we can really hook people on different platforms — so that has been a game-changer,” Geist said.

The very first project to debut on ESPN+ is new “30 for 30” documentary “The Last Days of Knight,” which tells the story of a young basketball coach named Bob Knight, who first came to Indiana University in 1971. The film, directed by Robert Abbott, follows Knight over multiple decades as he becomes not only a coaching god but also the subject of accusations, denials and dark discoveries.

“It is exciting for us [ESPN Films] to be seen as one of the shiny objects our bosses want to dangle to kick off ESPN+,” Geist told TheWrap of the doc that will be exclusive to the new direct-to-consumer sports streaming service the moment it launches. “Being involved with this brand has been such a gift, so I think having a ’30 for 30’ on ESPN+ for minute one is exciting and hopefully helps draw people to a really great product.”

As for why “Knight” is the launch project for ESPN+, again it was all about timing. “We looked at the films we had in development and production, and with March Madness just finishing, we knew we could get serious buzz about it.”

Also Read: ESPN's Latest '30 for 30' Film Spotlights Brilliant But Troubled Soccer Star George Best

The success of “Oj,” which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature last year, has opened multiple doors for the “30 for 30” team, which was founded in 2009 by Connor Schell (now ESPN’s executive vice president, content) and Bill Simmons.

“We are constantly surprised with who takes our phone calls now post-‘Oj.’ They know it is not another quick sports story or TV movie, but an in-depth, well-told film that we’re going to put on every platform that we can. We’re taken seriously now, which is nice, that’s for sure!

“‘Oj’ was such an experiment for us in terms of the length [at seven hours, 47 minutes], and questions of ‘how are we going to get it on TV?’ ‘How are we going to get people to binge it?'” Geist said. “We were obviously really pleased with how well that did and how wide it reached, so we’re more open to experiment — to do longer films, documentary series, podcasts or 10-minute films. We’re just looking for great stories.”

“We the Fans” premieres Thursday at 7 p.m. Et on ESPN.

Read original story ESPN Lets Viewers Binge Watch ‘We the Fans’ Season 2 by Stacking Episodes Back-to-Back At TheWrap
See full article at The Wrap »

Watch the 2018 Film Independent Spirits Awards Nominations Live, Hosted by Tessa Thompson and Lily Collins

Watch the 2018 Film Independent Spirits Awards Nominations Live, Hosted by Tessa Thompson and Lily Collins
Awards season is seemingly already at a full sprint, hence this morning’s very exciting — and very live — announcement of the 2018 Film Independent Spirits Awards nominations, hosted by Tessa Thompson and Lily Collins. The live event will kick off at 1:00Pm Et / 10:00Am Pt, live from The Jeremy in West Hollywood.

Nominations will be announced for categories including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Male Lead, and Best Female Lead, along with supporting nods and technical categories like Best Editing and Best Cinematography. The Indie Spirits also honor Best First Feature and Best International Film, and offer a number of speciality awards, including the Robert Altman Award, the John Cassavetes Award, and the Someone to Watch Award.

Read More:Save the Dates: Here’s the 2017-2018 Awards Calendar

Last year’s ceremony saw lots of love doled out for filmmaker Barry Jenkins and the cast and crew of his “Moonlight,
See full article at Indiewire »

Producers Guild of America Documentary Nominations Don’t Foreshadow the Oscars

Producers Guild of America Documentary Nominations Don’t Foreshadow the Oscars
With a wide field of potential contenders, the Producers Guild of America made some surprise picks and snubs for its seven nominees for Best Feature Documentary on Monday. The films nominated for the Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures are listed below in alphabetical order:

Chasing Coral” (Jeff Orlowski, Netflix)

City of Ghosts” (Mattew Heineman, Amazon)

Cries from Syria” (Evgeny Afineevsky, HBO)

Earth: One Amazing Day” (Peter Webber, Lixin Fan, Richard Dale, BBC Earth)

Jane” (Brett Morgen, NatGeo)

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” (Joe Piscatella, Netflix)

The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” (John Maggio, HBO)

Among the lauded documentaries left off the 2017 PGA nominations were Cannes documentary winner “Faces Places,” directed by Agnes Varda and Jr, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s portrait of Brooklyn Hassidim, “One of Us,” and popular Turkish cat documentary “Kedi.”

While the PGA’s feature nominees often align with Oscar contenders,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Producers Guild of America Documentary Nominations Don’t Foreshadow the Oscars

  • Indiewire
Producers Guild of America Documentary Nominations Don’t Foreshadow the Oscars
With a wide field of potential contenders, the Producers Guild of America made some surprise picks and snubs for its seven nominees for Best Feature Documentary on Monday. The films nominated for the Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures are listed below in alphabetical order:

Chasing Coral” (Jeff Orlowski, Netflix)

City of Ghosts” (Mattew Heineman, Amazon)

Cries from Syria” (Evgeny Afineevsky, HBO)

Earth: One Amazing Day” (Peter Webber, Lixin Fan, Richard Dale, BBC Earth)

Jane” (Brett Morgen, NatGeo)

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” (Joe Piscatella, Netflix)

“The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” (John Maggio, HBO)

Among the lauded documentaries left off the 2017 PGA nominations were Cannes documentary winner “Faces Places,” directed by Agnes Varda and Jr, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s portrait of Brooklyn Hassidim, “One of Us,” and popular Turkish cat documentary “Kedi.”

While the PGA’s feature nominees often align with Oscar contenders,
See full article at Indiewire »

Is Errol Morris’s ‘Wormwood’ a Documentary? Netflix Says Yes, Oscars Say No

Errol Morris has been ahead of the curve ever since he broke out with pet cemetery documentary “Gates of Heaven” in 1978. A decade later, “The Thin Blue Line” wowed critics but alienated the hidebound documentary community with its use of “reenactments” and a rousing Philip Glass score. Decades before Netflix created “Making a Murderer,” “The Keepers,” and “Witness,” Morris’ film actually solved a murder mystery and freed an innocent Death Row convict in a Texas prison.

Since then, Glass became a go-to movie composer, earning three Oscar nominations — and could score a fourth for this year’s Oscar documentary frontrunner “Jane.” Reenactments have become standard issue for nonfiction films, filling the void between talking heads, archival footage, cinéma vérité observation, and what isn’t visually available. And Morris isn’t the only filmmaker who is a presence in his films, yelling at his subjects from behind his invention, the Interrotron.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »
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