Laura Gabbert directed 2016 film about LA native who preferred street food and neighborhood joints to tony restaurants: 'I can't imagine the city without him'
Jonathan Gold, the only food critic to have won the Pulitzer Prize, died Saturday at age 57, according to the Los Angeles Times where he had been employed since 2012. The cause was pancreatic cancer, the Times reported, noting that Gold was diagnosed with the disease less than three weeks ago.
The LA native, who took an ecumenical approach to the city's cuisine -- favoring taco stands and pupserias over posh Beverly Hills establishments -- was the subject of the 2016 documentary City of Gold, directed by Laura Gabbert. It documented his attempts to remain incognito while writing reviews -- originally for the LA Weekly before he joined the Times -- and how his culinary explorations served to elucidate the city's identity.
He really got that food was a gateway into the people, and that food could really define a community.
"I can’t imagine the city without him. It just feels wrong. I feel like we won’t have our guide, we won't have our soul,” Gabbert told the Times. “It’s such a loss. I can’t wrap my head around it.”
Those feelings were echoed on Twitter. Actor Ike Barinholtz wrote, "Loved Jonathan Gold’s writing and spirit. Watch his documentary City of Gold, most uncynical movie about LA. RIP."
Elijah Wood and BJ Novak were among the other actors expressing their shock. Novak tweeted, "When I first moved to Los Angeles, Jonathan Gold's book 'Counter Intelligence' is what taught me to see it as a city of neighborhoods and people. If you are interested to learn why he meant so much to people, the documentary "City of Gold" beautifully captures his spirit."
Phil Rosenthal, creator of the television series Everybody Loves Raymond, tweeted, "Our greatest food writer, and a personal hero, friend and inspiration, has passed way too soon."
Dancers featured in Jamal Sims' documentary entertain audience at Ford Amphitheatre
The Cahuenga Pass often reverberates with the sound of live entertainment, but it's usually coming from the Hollywood Bowl. Thursday night it was the nearby John Anson Ford Amphitheatre that hosted a wildly energetic live exhibition of "bucking," a mostly underground form of dance popularized by African-American gay men.
The performance came after the Outfest screening of When the Beat Drops, a documentary directed by noted choreographer Jamal Sims that focuses on members of some of the top bucking squads in the country.
The film is set to premiere on the Logo network August 9. Take a look at the video below of the dancers in action, beginning with big man Tony Davis -- who founded and runs the Phi Phi team.
Opening today: 'Far From the Tree' -- doc on reality of families where kids turn out very different from parents
Director Rachel Dretzin based documentary on Andrew Solomon's acclaimed book: 'It's a film that turns your assumptions about difference on their head'
We live in a world in which scientific advances make it increasingly possible to reduce humankind from colorfully varied to homogenous. Genetic testing already allows prospective parents to avoid producing children with conditions they may consider undesirable, and in the future pre-birth interventions may allow specialists to correct any number of "abnormalities."
But a documentary opening today questions whether a world of increasing uniformity is what we should be seeking. Rachel Dretzin directed Far From the Tree, based on the prize-winning work of nonfiction by Andrew Solomon, who wrote about families with children that manifest considerable differences from their parents. Chapters explored dynamics involving children with deafness, autism, dwarfism, gender nonconformity, Down Syndrome, as well as prodigies and families with kids who committed serious crimes.
It was definitely a rigorous process, convincing him I was the one to make the film.
Far From the Tree opens today (July 20) in New York. Dretzin and Solomon will appear at IFC Center for Q&As following screenings at 5:05pm, 7:25pm and 8:15pm shows both today and Saturday (info here). Director and author likewise will appear on Sunday at Manhattan's JCC for Q&As following the 2pm and 4:30pm screenings (info here). Far From the Tree opens in Los Angeles July 27 and becomes available on streaming platforms that same day.
"Andrew asks in the book, and he asks in the film -- how do we know what to cure and what to celebrate?" Dretzin told Nonfictionfilm.com. "How do we know if being a dwarf is something we should be fixing or something that we should be thrilled about? And it's all a matter of perspective."
She added, "I describe the documentary as a film that turns your assumptions about difference on their head, and makes you realize just how many walls we all put up to people that look and act, behave differently."
Opening today: 'Love, Cecil,' doc on brilliant photographer, painter, set and costume designer Cecil Beaton
Lisa Immordino Vreeland's film explores artistic, personal highs and lows of one of the 20th century's most remarkable talents
Fans of the Netflix series The Crown will recall moments from season 2 when a certain Royal photographer appears on the scene, camera at the ready, sometimes quoting Wordsworth.
The man was Cecil Beaton and like most of the characters on the series, he was a real person. For those unfamiliar with Beaton The Crown can serve as an introduction, but for a full portrait of the artist in fascinating detail there is the new documentary Love, Cecil.
The film directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland reveals Beaton to be the quintessential multi-hyphenate -- not only a photographer, but a painter, costume designer, interior and set designer, author and diarist.
He didn't care about cricket. He was thinking about Lily Elsie's eyelashes.
"A lot of people don't know enough about him. And this is why it's fun to make a movie like this because you can really show the texture of a person," the director said over iced tea in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel. "He's touched upon so many different things in the 20th century."
Love, Cecil opens today (July 20) at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles (the director will appear for a Q&A tonight following the 7:15pm showing). It likewise opens in Cambridge, Mass. today, and expands in the coming days and weeks to New Orleans, San Francisco, New York's Symphony Space, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Diego and many other cities. (Details here).
Steve Loveridge directed film on artist alternately praised for activism, derided for 'radical chic' persona
A new trailer has dropped for the much-anticipated documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A, about the polarizing British-Sri Lankan rapper and pop star.
The film directed by Steve Loveridge debuted at Sundance last January where it won a Special Jury Award for World Cinema - Documentary. It has also earned prizes and nominations from a variety of other festivals, including the Seattle International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival and IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival.
This is a candid portrait of one of the most thoughtful and provocative artists of our time.
Loveridge made use of extensive video diaries the recording artist -- born Mathangi Arulpragasam -- shot over the course of decades. The film captures her early life in Sri Lanka and immigration to Britain as a child (a move necessitated by her father's central role in the Tamil Tigers, a militant Sri Lankan separatist group).
M.I.A., as she is best known, has won praise for her music -- she earned an Oscar nomination for a song in the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire. But critics have accused her of condoning terrorism and draping herself in a radical chic mantle. The documentary makes a strong defense of her earnestness as an artist and the right of immigrants to embrace the culture of their native countries.
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. is set to be released in the U.S. and U.K. in September. Watch the trailer here:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.