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Pure Nonfiction: Inside Documentary Film

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If you love documentary films, hear from the top storytellers on Pure Nonfiction. Past guests include Werner Herzog, Ava DuVernay, Errol Morris, Raoul Peck, Laura Poitras, Alex Gibney and more. Host Thom Powers leads conversations that are frank, funny and revealing. He has deep experience as a festival curator at TIFF and DOC NYC. He also hosts WNYC’s Documentary of the Week podcast.

If you love documentary films, hear from the top storytellers on Pure Nonfiction. Past guests include Werner Herzog, Ava DuVernay, Errol Morris, Raoul Peck, Laura Poitras, Alex Gibney and more. Host Thom Powers leads conversations that are frank, funny and revealing. He has deep experience as a festival curator at TIFF and DOC NYC. He also hosts WNYC’s Documentary of the Week podcast.
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United States

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If you love documentary films, hear from the top storytellers on Pure Nonfiction. Past guests include Werner Herzog, Ava DuVernay, Errol Morris, Raoul Peck, Laura Poitras, Alex Gibney and more. Host Thom Powers leads conversations that are frank, funny and revealing. He has deep experience as a festival curator at TIFF and DOC NYC. He also hosts WNYC’s Documentary of the Week podcast.

Language:

English


Episodes

111: Profiling Toni Morrison

8/26/2019
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Toni Morrison, who passed away in August at age 88, is the subject of a new documentary currently in theaters “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.” Filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders had known Morrison since the early 1980s when he began photographing her. In 2006, she gave him the inspiration to create the documentary trilogy “The Black […] The post 111: Profiling Toni Morrison appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:17:55

110: Joshua Wong on Hong Kong

7/21/2019
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“Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower” on Netflix follows the Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong who started leading protests at the age of 14. His actions helped give rise to a democracy movement that brought over a million people to the streets this summer. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Joshua and the film’s director Joe Piscatella […] The post 110: Joshua Wong on Hong Kong appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:22:50

109: Running with Beto

5/30/2019
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Beto O’Rourke rose from obscurity to political stardom in 2018 when he ran for the Texas Senate seat against incumbent Ted Cruz. Filmmaker David Modigliani follows that journey in “Running with Beto,” now playing on HBO. On this podcast, Modigliani is joined by three Beto volunteers who are prominently featured in the film: Shannon Gay, […] The post 109: Running with Beto appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:29:02

108: Asif Kapadia on Ayrton Senna, Amy Winehouse & Diego Maradona

5/16/2019
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“Diego Maradona”, making its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, is the latest from director Asif Kapadia. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Asif about that film along with his previous documentaries “Senna” (about Formula One race car driver Ayrton Senna) and the Oscar-winning “Amy” (about singer Amy Winehouse). Their conversation took place […] The post 108: Asif Kapadia on Ayrton Senna, Amy Winehouse & Diego Maradona appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:39:29

107: Rachel Lears on filming Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

5/2/2019
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“Knock Down the House” captures four working class candidates running for Congress in West Virginia, Nevada, Missouri and New York City. That last one is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who overcame enormous odds to become the youngest woman elected to Congress at age 29. Director/producer/cinematographer Rachel Lears and her husband producer/editor Robin Blotnick follow AOC early on […] The post 107: Rachel Lears on filming Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:27:26

106: Werner Herzog on “Meeting Gorbachev”

4/25/2019
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Werner Herzog talks about the history of Germany, the Soviet Union and dispenses marital advice on this episode. His latest film “Meeting Gorbachev” is based on interviews he conducted with the former Soviet leader over 2017-18. The film was co-directed by his longtime producer André Singer.Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Herzog at TIFF Doc […] The post 106: Werner Herzog on “Meeting Gorbachev” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:47:47

105: Sam Green & David Harrington on Kronos Quartet

4/18/2019
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Kronos Quartet performs live for the documentary “A Thousand Thoughts” about the group’s history. The film is directed by Sam Green, who narrates the live performances, and Joe Bini. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Green and Kronos founder David Harrington about this unique act of live cinema. On Twitter: @kronosquartet @PureNonfiction @thompowers The post 105: Sam Green & David Harrington on Kronos Quartet appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:49:27

104: Penny Lane on “Hail Satan?”

4/11/2019
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“Hail Satan?” looks at the Satanic Temple that started six years ago as political provocation and grew into an international movement. Director Penny Lane (“Our Nixon,” ‘Nuts!”) and producer Gabriel Sedgwick got drawn into the topic by a Village Voice article by Anna Merlan. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Lane about key members of […] The post 104: Penny Lane on “Hail Satan?” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:27:21

103: Alison Klayman on Steve Bannon in “The Brink”

4/4/2019
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Director Alison Klayman (“Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry”) spent a year on the road with Steve Bannon as he met with European right wing leaders to spread his nationalist ideology. That journey is captured in “The Brink.” The film’s producer Marie Therese Guirgis started the project with a Bannon connection from outside politics. Fifteen years […] The post 103: Alison Klayman on Steve Bannon in “The Brink” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:34:23

102: Baseball on Drugs in “Screwball”

3/28/2019
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“Cocaine Cowboys” director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman talk to Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers about their new comic documentary “Screwball” covering the baseball drug scandal that disgraced Yankee Alex Rodriguez and other players. Hear their previous interview on episode 42 discussing “Cocaine Cowboys.” On Twitter: @billycorben @alfredspellman @thompowers @PureNonfiction The post 102: Baseball on Drugs in “Screwball” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:39:11

101: Alex Gibney on how Theranos fooled Silicon Valley

3/21/2019
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HBO’s documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” looks at the case of Elizabeth Holmes who created the company Theranos promising to revolutionize the field of blood-testing. The company swiftly rose to be valued at billions of dollars, but was eventually exposed as a fraud. Host Thom Powers interviews director Alex Gibney and […] The post 101: Alex Gibney on how Theranos fooled Silicon Valley appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:37:06

100: Inside “The Case Against Adnan Syed” on HBO

3/8/2019
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Serial, the podcast, won millions of listeners to the story of the 1999 Baltimore murder of Hae Min Lee that sent her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed to prison. Now the case is re-opened by private investigators in a new 4-part series “The Case Against Adnan Syed” on HBO. Episode one had its world premiere at Pure […] The post 100: Inside “The Case Against Adnan Syed” on HBO appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:29:17

99: D.A. Pennebaker, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney & more on Stephen Sondheim’s “Company”

2/28/2019
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D.A. Pennebaker’s1970 documentary “Original Cast Album: Company” captures the dramatic recording session of the Stephen Sondheim musical. The film is a cult classic among Broadway fans. Now it’s the target of a loving parody in the third season of Documentary Now!, the IFC TV series created by Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Rhys Thomas. Their […] The post 99: D.A. Pennebaker, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney & more on Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:38:12

98: Tim Wardle, Sandi Tan & RaMell Ross on “Pushing Boundaries”

2/21/2019
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“Three Identical Strangers,” “Shirkers” and the Oscar-nominated “Hale Country This Morning, This Evening” are the focus of this conversation about pushing stylistic boundaries in documentary. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed the filmmakers at DOC NYC in November 2018. This is the fourth and final installment of conversations from the DOC NYC Short List. Previous […] The post 98: Tim Wardle, Sandi Tan & RaMell Ross on “Pushing Boundaries” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:57:42

97: “United Skates” with Tina Brown & Reggie Brown

2/14/2019
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Tribeca Audience Prize winner “United Skates” treats you to a dazzling display of roller skating styles in black communities across America. For several generations, roller rinks provided a place for skaters to come together in harmonious movement. Now that tradition is threatened by rinks closing throughout the country. Cities are more likely to give tax […] The post 97: “United Skates” with Tina Brown & Reggie Brown appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:26:12

96: Talal Derki on filming in Syria

2/7/2019
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Syrian director Talal Derki has twice won the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Best Documentary Award for “Return to Homs” and “Of Fathers and Sons.” That first film traced the early years of Syria’s civil war. Derki working with a team of camera people followed two peaceful protestors – national soccer star Abdul Basset Sarout […] The post 96: Talal Derki on filming in Syria appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:43:21

95: Free Solo, Minding The Gap & Getting Personal

1/31/2019
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“Free Solo,” “Minding the Gap,” “On Her Shoulders” and “The Sentence” are four outstanding documentaries from the past year that test the boundaries of filmmakers to keep a critical distance. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed the filmmakers on a panel titled “Getting Personal” at the 2018 DOC NYC festival. Alexandria Bombach (“On Her Shoulders”) […] The post 95: Free Solo, Minding The Gap & Getting Personal appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:45:45

94: Sundance 2019 Preview

1/22/2019
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Steve Bannon, Miles Davis & Toni Morrison are among the prominent documentary subjects at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers got an early look at many of the year’s most anticipated films. In this third annual Sundance preview, he shares exclusive clips and insights on what to expect. Films […] The post 94: Sundance 2019 Preview appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:37:13

93: Astra Taylor on “What is Democracy?”

1/17/2019
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Cornel West, Wendy Brown and Rev William Barber are among the thinkers and activists captured in the new film “What is Democracy?”. Filmmaker Astra Taylor previously made two other documentaries on philosophers “Zizek!” and “Examined Life.” In addition to her work as a filmmaker, she’s also the author of “The People’s Platform” and the forthcoming “Democracy May […] The post 93: Astra Taylor on “What is Democracy?” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:40:52

92: Aretha Franklin in “Amazing Grace,” Lost and Found

12/6/2018
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In 1972, Aretha Franklin recorded her biggest selling album “Amazing Grace” as a live gospel performance over two nights at a Los Angeles church, under the direction of Reverend James Cleveland. The event was recorded by camera crews led by Sydney Pollack. Due to technical problems, the project was abandoned and the footage stored for […] The post 92: Aretha Franklin in “Amazing Grace,” Lost and Found appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:42:56