Inventor Tim Jenison seeks to understand the painting techniques used by Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer.
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Two families, abolitionist Northerners the Stonemans and Southern landowners the Camerons, intertwine in director D.W. Griffith’s controversial Civil War epic. When Confederate colonel Ben Cameron is captured in battle, nurse Elsie Stoneman petitions for his pardon. In Reconstruction-era South Carolina, Cameron founds the Ku Klux Klan, battling Elsie’s congressman father and his African-American protégé, Silas Lynch.
Ai Weiwei is known for many things – great architecture, subversive in-your-face art, and political activism. He has also called for greater transparency on the part of the Chinese state. Director Alison Klayman chronicles the complexities of Ai’s life for three years, beginning with his rise to public prominence via blog and Twitter after he questioned the deaths of more than 5,000 students in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The record continues through his widely publicized arrest in Beijing in April of 2011. As Ai prepares various works of art for major international exhibitions, his activism heats up, and his run-ins with China’s authorities become more and more frequent.
Truck mechanic, husband and father of two, Eddie Hall wants to be the World’s Strongest Man. This feature documentary vividly illustrates the sacrifices that this extremely driven man must make to chase his dream. He will stop at nothing. He trains, eats, sleeps and breathes strongman, competing all over the world and breaking records. He faces not only gargantuan competitors, but his own inner demons as he strives to leave behind the scars of his teenage years. This film gets under the skin of a man totally dedicated to becoming the greatest and offers an engrossing snapshot of an unforgettable character, Eddie – Strongman.
A documentary consisting of a series of travelogue vignettes providing glimpses into cultural practices throughout the world intended to shock or surprise, including an insect banquet and a memorable look at a practicing South Pacific cargo cult.
One man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves.
This essay film tells of the ocean as a place of yearning, of the world of giant container ships and their crews, and the women that wait for them in ports and drinking holes. The protagonists’ thoughts are rendered as inner monologues in voiceover, all set to striking documentary images. Sandy represents all the women willing to give themselves to strange men, the perfect complement for the desire of all those roaming restlessly from port to port. The film has an affectionate eye for this eccentric former prostitute, for her body marked by life, lust, and the men she’s met, as well as for her free, yet romantic idea of love. She is a siren and Penelope in equal measure.
The story of artist Edith Lake Wilkinson, a painter who was committed to an asylum in 1924 and never heard from again. All her worldly possessions were packed into trunks and shipped to a relative in West Virginia where they sat in an attic for 40 years. Edith’s great-niece, Emmy Award winning writer and director Jane Anderson, grew up surrounded by Edith’s paintings, thanks to her mother who had gone poking through that dusty attic and rescued Edith’s work. The film follows Jane in her decades-long journey to find the answers to the mystery of Edith’s buried life, return the work to Provincetown and have Edith’s contributions recognized by the larger art world.
DARK HORSE tells the larger than life true story of how a barmaid in a former mining village in South Wales bred a racehorse on her allotment that went on to become a champion. Jan had successfully bred dogs and birds and believed she could do the same with a different animal – though she knew nothing about racing and had never been on a horse. Convincing a handful of locals to part with ten pound a week for her scheme, she found a thoroughbred mare with a terrible racing record for £300, a stallion past his best, put them together and – against all the odds – bred a winner. It’s an audacious tale of luck and chance and beating the odds; a story of how a gaggle of working class folk from the Welsh Valleys took on the racing elite, broke through class and financial barriers, and brought hope and pride back to their depressed community.