Sundance winner Russian Woodpecker also makes its theatrical debut
Misty Copeland has had to overcome more than most in her rise to the highest echelons of the dance world. She entered ballet relatively late (in her teens), and her muscular body is atypical. And then, of course, there is her race.
She made history, becoming the first African-American female principal dancer with the renowned American Ballet Theatre (ABT), surmounting not only the aforementioned obstacles but a potentially career-ending leg injury.
Her inspiring story is told in A Ballerina's Tale directed by Nelson George, one of the new documentaries available in theaters and on demand this weekend.
A Ballerina's Tale is now playing in New York at IFC Center and Lincoln Center and is available on iTunes. The film opens in Los Angeles next Friday. Watch the trailer here.
More titles out this weekend:
>Tab Hunter Confidential directed by Jeffrey Schwarz. In the 1950s movie star Tab Hunter embodied the American ideal -- athletic, handsome, blond-haired, blue-eyed. There was just one hitch -- he was gay. The sexual politics of the time dictated that he keep that a secret, but eventually he became one of the first actors of his generation to talk openly about his sexuality. This documentary explores his journey.
Tab Hunter Confidential includes the participation of director John Waters and contemporaries Clint Eastwood, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, George Takei and other Hollywood luminaries. It's now playing in New York and expands to more cities in the coming days and weeks [find screening locations here]. Watch the trailer here.
>All Things Must Pass directed by Colin Hanks. The actor (and son of Tom Hanks) turns his lens on Tower Records -- an institution beloved by record buyers (back when people bought records in stores). It went into bankruptcy in 2006, only a few years after making tremendous profits. Most people ascribed its doom to the rise of the internet, music file sharing and iTunes, but Hanks says the truth is more complicated.
All Things Must Pass is playing in select theaters and is available on VOD. Watch the trailer here.
>Russian Woodpecker directed by Chad Gracia. The film won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It focuses on Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovich who wanted to know more about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which befell his country when Alexandrovich was just four years old.
The Sundance programming team adds, "In seeking to learn more about what happened at the nuclear plant, Fedor becomes fascinated with the Duga—a massive, Soviet-constructed radio antenna near the Chernobyl site that remains shrouded in mystery."
Incidentally, this is definitely one of my favorite film posters of the year, along with the poster art for The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. Russian Woodpecker opens today at the AMC Empire in New York; opens in Los Angeles October 30th. Watch the trailer here.
>Watchers of the Sky directed by Edet Belzberg. A film that aspires to reacquaint the public with Raphael Lemkin, a forgotten legal expert (1900-1959) who coined the term "genocide" in the midst of World War II. According to the film's website, the film "takes you on a provocative journey from Nuremberg to The Hague, from Bosnia to Darfur, from criminality to justice, and from apathy to action."
Watchers of the Sky opens Saturday in New York at Lincoln Plaza, and on the same day in Los Angeles, Irvine and Encino, Calif., expanding to other cities in the coming weeks. List of theaters here. It is also available on DVD and VOD. Watch the trailer here.
>Evidence of Harm directed by Randall Moore. An exposé on the dental industry, which the film maintains is hiding the health hazards associated with mercury fillings.
The film is playing in New York at IFC Center for a one-week Oscar qualifying run. It opens in Los Angeles at Laemmle Music Hall for a one-week run beginning Oct. 23. Watch the trailer here.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.