Category Archives for Latest Episodes

PN 58: Brett Morgen on Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is the subject of the new documentary “Jane” that draws upon rediscovered footage from the 1960s capturing her early work with chimpanzees. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to “Jane” director Brett Morgen at TIFF Doc Conference about the challenges of making the film and working with composer Philip Glass.

Brett Morgen’s films discussed in this episode
“On the Ropes” (1999)
“The Kid Stays in the Picture” (2002)
“Chicago 10” (2007)
“Crossfire Hurricane” (2012)
“Cobain: Montage of Heck” (2015)
“Jane” (2017)

Also discussed: “For All Mankind,” directed by Al Reinert with a score by Brian Eno.

On Twitter: @BrettMorgen @thompowers @PureNonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

PN 57: DOC NYC Preview

Eric Clapton, Susan Sarandon, Dan Rather are among over 300 special guests coming to the 8th annual DOC NYC festival, running from November 9-16. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers is the festival’s artistic director. On his episode, he interviews his colleagues Raphaela Neihausen and Basil Tsiokos to guide listeners through the bounty of films and guests. Even if you won’t be in New York City for the festival, this conversation is full of film tips and discoveries.
FILMS DISCUSSED IN THE INTRO HIGHLIGHTING SPECIAL GUESTS AT DOC NYC

Streetlight Harmonies (with Doo Wop singers from The Crystals, The Drifters, The Chantels)

Soufra (with Susan Sarandon)
Fail State (with Dan Rather)
Metropolis Competition (on New York stories)
Itzhak (with Itzhak Perlman)
Hello Hello Hello : Lee Ranaldo : Electric Trim (with Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo)
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars (with Eric Clapton)
Short List section
Risk (with Laura Poitras)
Faces Places (with Agnès Varda)
Wormwood (with Errol Morris)

FILMS & FESTIVAL SECTIONS DISCUSSED

The Final Year (opening night)
Eurotrump (US premiere)
Sky & Ground (world premiere)
Sonic Cinema section
Father’s Kingdom (world premiere)
Repeat Attenders (world premiere)
Centerstage section
A Murder in Mansfield (world premiere)
True Crime section

VIEWFINDERS COMPETITION FILMS 

Mole Man (world premiere)
The Stranger (US premiere)
Naila and the Uprising (world premiere)
The Judge (also discussed on PN 54)
Silas (also discussed on PN 54)
Love Means Zero (also discussed on PN 53)

Coming up on Pure Nonfiction ep 58: a discussion of DOC NYC PRO 8-day conference.

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

This episode was recorded at SVA’s MFA SocDoc department.

PN 56: Agnès Varda & JR on “Faces Places”

Winner of the Cannes Golden Eye Documentary Award, “Faces Places” is a wondrous collaboration between the 89-year-old Agnès Varda and the 34-year-old street artist known as JR. In the film, they visit small towns in France, creating mural projects that celebrate workers on farms, docks and factory grounds. We also witness the deepening of their friendship across generations. The film, now in theaters, was selected for the DOC NYC Short List that highlights 15 of the year’s standout documentaries. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers (who served on the Cannes Golden Eye jury) interviews Varda and JR about their journey.
 

You can find Varda’s past work on Sundance Now and Filmstruck.

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

PN 55: Frederick Wiseman – From “Titicut Follies” to “Ex Libris”

“Ex Libris – The New York Public Library” is that latest film from documentary master Frederick Wiseman. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of his first film “Titicut Follies” set at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to Wiseman about both those films and others in his long career.

“Ex Libris” will have its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival; and opens on September 13 at New York’s Film Forum.

Zipporah Films website: http://www.zipporah.com.

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

PN 52: Playwright Dominique Morisseau on “Detroit ’67,” “Pipeline,” “Shameless” & more

While Detroit is in the headlines for the 50th anniversary of its darkest days, we focus on one of its brightest new storytellers, playwright Dominique Morisseau. Pure Nonfiction host (and Detroit native) Thom Powers talks to Morisseau about her breakthrough play “Detroit ’67,” her new work “Pipeline” at Lincoln Center, writing for Showtime’s “Shameless” and her upcoming musical about The Temptations called “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” coming to Berkeley Repertory Theater. Next episode, we return to our normal concentration on documentary film.
Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

PN 51: Errol Morris & Elsa Dorfman on “The B-Side”

Portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman has worked for several decades on Polaroid’s rare 20″ x 24” format camera. She had a loyal clientele in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but was hardly known outside. Now she is the subject of Errol Morris’ new film “The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography.” Morris and his wife Julia are longtime friends of Dorfman and her husband Harvey Silverglate (a criminal defense lawyer who comes up in Morris’ book “A Wilderness of Error”).

Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Morris and Dorfman together. Morris discusses his new film in the context of his past work including “Gates of Heaven,” “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control,” and the Oscar-winner “The Fog of War.”

On Twitter: @errolmorris @thompowers @purenonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

PN 50: D.A. Pennebaker on “Monterey Pop” at 50

Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and The Who are among the classic acts captured by D.A. Pennebaker in “Monterey Pop.” Now for the 50th anniversary of the concert, the film is being released in a new 4k restoration by The Criterion Collection and Janus Films. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Pennebaker along with two of the film’s cameramen Jim Desmond and Nick Proferes on June 14, 2017 at the IFC Center in front of a live audience.

For more on Pennebaker, listen to his interview with Chris Hegedus, discussing their films “Town Bloody Hall,” “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” “The War Room,” and “Unlocking the Cage” on Pure Nonfiction episode 9.

On Twitter: @DAPennebaker @PHFilms @Criterion @thompowers @PureNonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

Our podcast will take a break for the summer and resume with Season 4 in the fall. Stay tuned to @PureNonfiction on Twitter for updates.

PN 49: Steve James From “Hoop Dreams” to “Abacus”

New York’s Chinatown is the backdrop for Steve James’ latest documentary “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” He follows a David vs Goliath legal tale about the Chinese-American family behind a small bank defending themselves against an aggressive prosecution.

In Part 1 of this episode, Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to James about his breakthrough film “Hoop Dreams” and the development of his career that included a stint directing fiction films.

In Part 2, Powers interviews three of the key figures in “Abacus” – the sisters Jill, Vera and Chanterelle Sung. They discuss what it was like being filmed by James during this tense period of their lives.

James was interviewed before a live audience at the Montclair Film Festival. The Sungs were interviewed as part of the Stranger Than Fiction series at the IFC Center.

For more, hear episode 19 when James discussed “Abacus” before its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

On Twitter:  @AbacusMovie @ThomPowers @PureNonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

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