SpringHill Entertainment, a film company co-founded by Maverick Carter and his business partner, NBA megastar LeBron James, will produce a documentary about Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre (with no release date as of yet announced), according to KTUL. Salima Koroma, who pitched the project back in April, will direct the picture, tweeting that, “The Tulsa Race Massacre is not just a black story but American history. The fabric of this country is soaked in racism and today 99 years later, we’re still fighting for change.” This week marks the ninety-ninth anniversary of white rioters destroying the prosperous black community in Oklahoma.
Natasha Gregson Wagner, the filmmaker behind Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (2020), was eleven years old when her mother drowned off the coast of Catalina Island on Thanksgiving weekend, 1981, according to The Guardian. Natalie Wood died at forty-three years old, but the movie star, born 1938 in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents, began acting as a five-year-old before earning an Academy Award at fifteen for Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause (1955). While her daughter’s documentary does confront the suspicious circumstances surrounding Wood’s drowning, Wagner’s goal is to celebrate the life and career which have been overshadowed by it.
In a wide-ranging, hourlong phone interview with Howard Stern, Paul McCartney described his reaction to the early cut of Peter Jackson’s forthcoming The Beatles: Get Back (2020), according to Forbes. Edited together out of new footage from fifty-four hours of film shot in January 1969 as the Beatles were working on their last released album, Let It Be, Disney will distribute the Jackson film, but the release date is up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic. Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s own documentary, Let It Be (1970), depicts the group as a conflicted band in the middle of a breakup, but McCartney disputes this angle and hopes The Beatles: Get Back will set the record straight.
Kim Longinotto’s documentary, Shooting the Mafia (2019), biographizes Letizia Battaglia, a Palermo-born eighty-four-year-old woman who left behind her life as an unhappy housewife in her forties to photograph Mafia atrocities for L’Ora, according to the New Statesman. Battaglia was the first female photographer to work at a daily Italian newspaper, and she would go on to take six hundred thousand pictures of the Costa Nostra as well as the devastation they wrought on Sicilian communities, where eighty percent of businesses still pay protection money. The filmmaker, whose other feminist documentaries include Divorce Iranian Style (1998) and The Day I Will Never Forget (2002), hopes her latest release will counterbalance Hollywood’s popular Mafia narrative, which still inspires young Sicilian men to join the Cosa Nostra.
Werner Herzog’s Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (2019), a feature-length documentary which premiered at Tribeca before playing at Telluride, will be distributed by Music Box Films in select cities in the United States next spring, according to Variety. The picture represents the artistic as well as personal collaboration between the filmmaker and the adventurer and travel writer who authored In Patagonia, taking audiences from Patagonia to the Black Mountains of Wales to the Australian outback. William Schopf, the president of Music Box Films, says the movie reveals as much about Herzog as it does about Chatwin, and a home entertainment release is planned also.
Netflix will upload Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory (2019) on Wednesday, with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions picking up the documentary after its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, according to The New Yorker. The subject of the film is a General Motors plant in Ohio that closed in 2008 and reopened as Fuyao Glass America under a Chinese investor, and the culture clash between management and the employees. It marks the first release for the Obamas’ newly minted production company, which has also scheduled a Frederick Douglass biopic, a drama about women and people of color set in post-World War II New York, and an educational series teaching nutrition to preschoolers.