By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire July 16, 2010 at 10:04AM
Now in its second year, SnagFilms Summer Fest 2010 will give online audiences the chance to watch award-winning and world premiere documentary films from July 16 through September 2. Each of Summer Fest's six highlighted films will be available for two weeks on SnagFilms as well as on the SnagFilms network, on sites like AOL.com, Hulu.com, and Fancast.com. After the SummerFest debuts, many of the films will go on to theatrical or TV releases.
[Editor's Note: SnagFilms is the parent company of indieWIRE.]
"Summer is a time for long days, cookouts, surfing, – and watching some of the best non-fiction films for free via SnagFilms," noted SnagFilms CEO Rick Allen. "Our SummerFest 2010 lineup promises to entertain and educate viewers, and inspire their action. Now some of the best new films are reaching their broadest audience first and free on the web. Since our launch two years ago, SnagFilms’ more than 1,500 documentaries have been seen tens of millions of times by online audiences.”
The SummerFest lineup, with synopses provided by SnagFilms, is listed below:
"The Age of Stupid," Franny Armstrong (runs on SnagFilms July 16-29, 2010)
Runaway climate change has ravaged the planet by 2055. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite plays the founder of The Global Archive, a storage facility located in the (now melted) Arctic, preserving all of humanity's achievements in the hope that the planet might one day be habitable again. Pulling together clips of archive news and documentaries from 1950-2008 to build a message showing what went wrong and why, Pete's exploration surfaces compelling footage and complex issues facing us in our world today. He asks: Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?
"Shooting Robert King," Richard Parry (runs on SnagFilms July 23-August 5, 2010)
Sarajevo, 1993, Robert King is 23-years-old, fresh out of Art College and prepared to dodge bullets on the front line with dreams of a Pulitzer Prize. His dreams prove elusive. Occasionally comic, frequently touching, often dark, Shooting Robert King, is the tale of war photographer Robert King, a unique and personal journey which follows him over 15 years and through three wars. It is a story, which forces Robert to inevitably question why he chose a profession, which involves an endless trail of death and destruction.
"Disco and Atomic War," Jaak Kilmi (runs on SnagFilms July 30-August 12, 2010)
Did disco cause the collapse of the Soviet Union? According to this lighthearted and informative film, nighttime soap operas and disco-dancing footage had as much to do with the Soviet’s demise as did any political movement. Disco and Atomic War tells the story of a strange kind of information war, where a totalitarian regime stands face to face with the heroes of popular culture. Praised by indieWIRE, as “a deadpan-comic document of how filmmaker Jaak Kilmi and other grade schoolers in early-80s Estonia had their lives altered by illegally-intercepted Finnish TV broadcasts of Western hallmarks like Dallas, disco dance shows and the original Emmanuelle, Disco’s great gift is a total deconstruction of the notion of “soft power” — essentially, a nation’s attempt to assert and maintain its dominance through not violent but viral means, including media and public relations.”
"Videocracy," Erik Gandini (runs on SnagFilms August 6-19, 2010)
In Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy, if you’re not on television, you’re nobody. In Videocracy, director Erik Gandini reveals the seedy underbelly of the country’s high-glitz, lowbrow, celebrity-obsessed culture promulgated by the near-monopoly of Berlusconi’s media empire. Gandini gains unparalleled access to the halls of power, following a fascistic TV agent, narcissistic paparazzi, glassy-eyed reality “stars”, and the young men and scantily-clad women auditioning to debase themselves on camera. All yearn to be FOB (friends of Berlusconi), from the “Italian Van Damme” to white-suited billionaires, eager to please the president by actively shaping public opinion to his financial and political benefit. Utilizing a wide variety of damning footage, including a trivia show striptease, local TV girl auditions (they dance but are not allowed to talk), and a garish election campaign video (“Thank God for Silvio”), Gandini proves that Italy invests new meaning into the term “boob tube.”
"A Fighting Chance," Takashi Doscher & Alex Shofner (runs on SnagFilms August 13-26, 2010)
A Fighting Chance is the vivid, character-driven story of Kyle Maynard, born a quadruple amputee, who becomes a nationally-ranked wrestler, strength record-holder, ESPY award-winner, motivational speaker and best-selling author. When Kyle seeks an official Mixed Martial Arts match against an able-bodied fighter – a highly controversial and life-threatening goal - the film raises questions of the nature of disability and the limits of physical achievement. Whether fighting in the MMA cage or extending his No Excuses philosophy to the rehabilitation of severely wounded military veterans, Kyle Maynard proves that warriors come in all sizes. No chance? No limits. No Excuses.
"The Socalled Movie," Garry Beitel (runs on SnagFilms August 20-September 2, 2010)
Socalled is the supreme klezmer hip hop artist in the world. A pianist, singer, rapper, accordion player, and magician, he is a demented Renaissance man and a multi-cultural mixmaster. The Socalled Movie is a kaleidoscopic portrait that compiles 18 short films that display his electrifying craft and deep-rooted sense of history. Combining klezmer, funk, rap and everything in between, his tunes are densely layered tapestries of dizzying complexity. His encounters with legendary trombonist Fred Wesley (a key member of James Brown’s bands) and klezmer hero David Krakauer are revelatory meetings of the mind, while his re-discovery of pianist Irving Fields turns the elder statesman into a YouTube phenomenon. With offbeat wit, intimacy and virtuoso performances, The Socalled Movie is an enthralling documentary that shows how music can break down the boundaries that divide our world.