Is The Invisible War invisible to Hollywood?

Kirby Dick at Sundance 2012

Documentary directors get no respect in Tinseltown. The majors will pay lip service to some of top talent, but they never seem to give them wide theatrical releases. The exception, of course, is Michael Moore.  Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is the high-grossing doc in history; with pulling power like that, the studios will overlook the politics to get a piece of the action.

But it is much more common for documentary directors to struggle for screens at the multiplexes. Kirby Dick, best known for exposing the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and their hypocritical rating system in This Film Is Not Yet Rated, recently won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival with his latest documentary The Invisible War.   This should make the film a sure bet, but the studios appear uninterested in distributing this one.  Perhaps Dick reddened too many important faces* with Not Yet Rated (Box Office Magazine calls him an “agit-provocateur “).  Or maybe it’s because of the subject matter of War.  From the website

THE INVISIBLE WAR is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military.

Read More

Will “Miss Representation” launch a new wave of feminist directors?


Jennifer Siebel Newsom

According to this story on IndieWire, Oprah Winfrey has been making moves and acquiring content for her new cable channel.  She was at Sundance picking up documentaries in particular for her Documentary Film Club.  One of the films, “Miss Representation” stands out in particular:

Also feeding the female demo is actress-documentarian Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s earnest feminist media critique Miss Representation, which lays out the argument about how the way women are portrayed in the media—as objects of beauty—impacts real girls and women. Siebel interviewed a wide range of women leaders including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem.

Read More