APOLLO 11 – Review by Jennifer Merin

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mankind’s first landing on the Moon, Apollo 11 is being released theatrically and on line. The new documentary, a compilation comprised entirely of previously unseen archival footage, offers viewers an extraordinary ‘you are there’ experience of the moonshot, especially the film is seen on IMAX or other large screens.

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OFFICIAL SECRETS – Review by Jennifer Merin

If you like spy scenarios and courtroom dramas, and are interested in sorting out truthful reporting from fake news, Official Secrets, a truth-based narrative about English security whistleblower Katherine Gun, will surely satisfy. It’s entertaining and informative, and its release is quite timely.

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IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY FROM THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT – Review by Jennifer Merin

In presenting the story of Daniel McGowan, the former Earth Liberation Front (ELF) environmental activist who’s been sentenced to life imprisonment for environmental terrorism or, more specifically, for arson committed against northwest US lumber companies and national parks, filmmakers Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman raise questions and stir public debate about the definition of terrorism, especially in the post-9/11 security environment. The documentary, released in 2011, is newly available on OVID.tv.

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THREE PEAKS – Review by Jennifer Merin

German director Jan Zabeil’s beautifully crafted sophomore narrative feature, Three Peaks, is a truly disturbing film. It’s a horror story without gimmicks, ghosts, ghouls or goblins. There is no paranormality. In fact, the story revolves around a very normal modern threesome — two adults and a child — who take a family vacation in a relatively isolated cabin in a beautiful and pristine mountain setting.

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VERY YOUNG GIRLS – Review by Jennifer Merin

Documentaries like Born Into Brothels and Highway Courtesans have made us keenly aware of the evils of child prostitution. Very Young Girls, directed by David Schisgall, Nina Alvarez and Priya Swaminathan, brings the story home by following several New York City tween and teenage girls who’ve become prostitutes, and who are trying to cope with the consequences and redirect their lives.

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ROLL RED ROLL – Review by Jennifer Merin

Nancy Schwartzman’s harrowing documentary about the rape of a teenage girl by local high school football players in the ‘middle America’ community of Steubenville, Ohio, reveals the depth to which rape culture permeates our society. We’ve seen far too many other such true stories in documentaries chronicling the rape of girls on campus, of women in the military and in the workplace. It must be stopped. Roll Red Roll calls attention to this cultural crisis and should be mandatory viewing for every teenager, parent and educator in America.

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JOSEPH PULITZER: VOICE OF THE PEOPLE – Review by Jennifer Merin

If you consider the study of history to be a route towards informed interpretation of the present, Oren Rudavsky’s Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People is essential and timely viewing. The film is an investigative biodoc about the legendary publisher who changed the face and flow of modern journalism, and rewrote the rule book on using newspapers — the prime media outlet during his life time — to influence the political, social and economic milieu at the heart of the American Dream.

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2018 Critics Choice Documentary Awards Nominees Announced – Jennifer Merin reports

The official announcement of nonfiction nominees for the Third Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards (CCDA) kicks off this year’s race for nonfic recognition, and what a race it is. Throughout the year, documentary production and distribution have soared, making 2018 the year of trending nonfiction. This year, more than 300 qualifying documentaries were submitted for consideration by the CCDA nominating committees.

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