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If you love documentary films, hear from the top storytellers on Pure Nonfiction. Host Thom Powers is well-connected in this world as a documentary curator for DOC NYC, the Toronto International Film Festival and SundanceNow Doc Club. He leads conversations that are frank, funny and revealing. How did first time filmmakers pull off Making a Murderer? How did a producer from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart become the show runner for The New Yorker Presents? How did a lawyer become an award-winning Sundance director? Often the stories behind the scenes are as dramatic as what’s on the screen. Subscribe now.

If you love documentary films, hear from the top storytellers on Pure Nonfiction. Host Thom Powers is well-connected in this world as a documentary curator for DOC NYC, the Toronto International Film Festival and SundanceNow Doc Club. He leads conversations that are frank, funny and revealing. How did first time filmmakers pull off Making a Murderer? How did a producer from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart become the show runner for The New Yorker Presents? How did a lawyer become an award-winning Sundance director? Often the stories behind the scenes are as dramatic as what’s on the screen. Subscribe now.
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United States

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If you love documentary films, hear from the top storytellers on Pure Nonfiction. Host Thom Powers is well-connected in this world as a documentary curator for DOC NYC, the Toronto International Film Festival and SundanceNow Doc Club. He leads conversations that are frank, funny and revealing. How did first time filmmakers pull off Making a Murderer? How did a producer from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart become the show runner for The New Yorker Presents? How did a lawyer become an award-winning Sundance director? Often the stories behind the scenes are as dramatic as what’s on the screen. Subscribe now.

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English


Episodes

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

10/19/2017
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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 […] The post PN 56: Agnès Varda & JR on “Faces Places” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration: 00:42:26


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

9/6/2017
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“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...

Duration: 00:48:52


PN 54: TIFF 2017 Documentary Preview Part 2 of 2

9/1/2017
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Agnes Varda, Drake, and Cary Grant all get name-checked as Thom Powers and Dorota Lech continue their discussion of documentaries at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). They preview film clips being made public for the first time. The films discussed in order of mention are: Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (d. Matt Tyrnauer) Silas (d. Anjali Nayar & Hawa Essuman) The Legend of the Ugly King (d. Hüseyin Tabak) The Other Side of Everything (d. Mila...

Duration: 00:31:58


PN 53: TIFF 2017 Documentary Preview Part 1 of 2

8/30/2017
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The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place September 7-17, 2017. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers is the festival’s documentary programmer. On this episode, he’s joined by his colleague Dorota Lech to discuss the line-up and preview film clips being made public for the first time. The films discussed in this episode in order of their mention are: Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami (d. Sophie Fiennes) Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! (d. Morgan Spurlock) One of Us (d. Heidi...

Duration: 00:37:11


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

7/27/2017
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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...

Duration: 00:31:47


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

7/13/2017
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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...

Duration: 00:36:37


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

6/22/2017
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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...

Duration: 00:36:40


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

5/18/2017
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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...

Duration: 00:44:45


PN 48: HBO’s Sheila Nevins on Seductions, Heartbreaks & Her New Book

5/11/2017
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Meryl Streep, Audra McDonald and Glenn Close are among many esteemed performers who read stories on the audio version of Sheila Nevins' new quasi-memoir “You Don’t Look Your Age…And Other Fairy Tales.” Nevins has served for 35 years overseeing HBO Documentary Films. Now she reveals tales from her own life covering childhood, seduction, heartbreak, feminism, motherhood and aging. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Nevins on her 78th birthday (April 6). She speaks candidly about...

Duration: 00:44:13


PN 47: Jonathan Demme & Renée Shafransky on Spalding Gray

5/4/2017
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“Swimming to Cambodia,” the 1987 film directed by Jonathan Demme, had a rippling influence. It laid the path for a kind of first person storytelling that today is widespread from “This American Life” to “The Moth." The film is deceptively simple: monologuist Spalding Gray sits behind a desk and tells a stream of consciousness story about working as an actor on “The Killing Fields,” set against the back drop of America’s secret war in Cambodia. Gray had originated the project as a four-hour...

Duration: 00:29:09


PN 46: Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer & Ronna Gradus on “Hot Girls Wanted”

4/27/2017
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Sex and technology are the focus of the new Netflix series "Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On." Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews the series' creators Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus. They previously made the similarly titled feature documentary "Hot Girls Wanted" about young women entering the world of amateur porn. Bauer and Gradus also directed "Sexybaby" about changing sexual mores in the digital age. On Twitter: @iamrashidajones @hotgirlswanted @thompowers...

Duration: 00:26:17


PN 45: Matt Tyrnauer on “Citizen Jane”

4/20/2017
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Jane Jacobs, author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," changed the way we think of urban planning. Matt a Tyrnauer's new documentary "Citizen Jane" tells the story of her epic battles with New York power broker Robert Moses. On this episode, Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Tyrnauer about the film and his previous documentary "Valentino: The Last Emperor," about the Italian fashion designer. On Twitter: mtyrnauer @janejacobsdoc @thompowers @purenonfiction This...

Duration: 00:44:04


PN 44: From Indiana Jones to Guatemala’s Civil War – Frank Marshall & Ryan Suffern

4/13/2017
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"Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Jurassic World" and “Sully” are among Frank Marshall’s stellar producing credits. Now his company Kennedy/Marshall has a documentary division. Their latest film is “Finding Oscar” about the search for a boy who survived an infamous 1982 massacre in Guatemala’s civil war in the jungle hamlet of Dos Erres. The film’s director Ryan Suffern started his career as Steven Spielberg’s assistant and rose up to run the documentary division at Kennedy/Marshall. On this...

Duration: 00:26:33


PN 43: Laurent Bouzereau & Mark Harris on “Five Came Back”

4/6/2017
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Steven Spielberg is the executive producer for the new 3-part Netflix series “Five Came Back” about the Hollywood directors who put their fiction careers on hold during World War II as they went to make propaganda documentaries for the U.S. government. The five were Frank Capra, John Ford, William Wyler, George Stevens and John Huston. On this episode, Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers speaks with the key creators of the series, writer Mark Harris and director Laurent Bouzereau. The series...

Duration: 00:41:49


PN 42: Made in Miami – Billy Corben & Alfred Spellman on “Cocaine Cowboys”

3/30/2017
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“Cocaine Cowboys” is a cult classic exploring the 1980s drug trade in Miami. Packaged like a gangster film, the documentary links the criminal underworld to the city’s real estate boom. On this episode of Pure Nonfiction, host Thom Powers interviews “Cocaine Cowboys” director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman during the 2017 Miami Film Festival. Both natives of south Florida, Corben and Spellman formed the production company Rakontur (along with editor David Cypkin) with a...

Duration: 00:31:08


PN 41: Danae Elon on “P.S. Jerusalem”

3/23/2017
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Danae Elon’s latest film “P.S. Jerusalem” is a first person account of moving back to the city of her childhood after living abroad for 17 years. A key presence in the film is her late father Amos Elon who was a widely read author of books and essays on Israel. Before his death in 2009, he had become so disillusioned with the country that he moved to Italy and cautioned Danae not to move back. But she couldn’t resist the pull. She moves with her husband Philip and their three sons,...

Duration: 00:34:44


PN 40: “True South” Jon Else on Henry Hampton & “Eyes on the Prize”

3/16/2017
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“Eyes on the Prize” is a landmark documentary series chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. Debuting on public television in 1987, it remains just as riveting 30 years later. Now the making of the series is covered in a new book called “True South” by the filmmaker-turned-author Jon Else. He gives a vivid portrait of the pioneering black filmmaker Henry Hampton and the Boston-based company Blackside that created “Eyes." Else has deep roots in this story. As a student in the...

Duration: 00:35:05


PN 39: Marina Zenovich on Roman Polanski & California’s water crisis

3/2/2017
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“Chinatown” created a mythology out of California's water politics. Now Marina Zenovich investigates a modern version of that story in her documentary “Water & Power: A California Heist” airing on National Geographic. Her film, executive produced by Alex Gibney, draws upon the reportage of journalist Mark Arax, questioning the collusion between California politicians and Big Agriculture to transfer water rights into private hands. The film throws a spotlight on the deal-making of Stewart...

Duration: 00:39:37


PN 38: Clay Tweel on “Gleason”

2/23/2017
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New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason became a sports hero one year after Hurricane Katrina when he blocked a kick that became a symbol of the city’s comeback. In 2011, he announced he had ALS - known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease - that typically causes death in two to five years. The documentary “Gleason” follows the athlete as he copes with the disease, supported by his wife Michel Varisco. The film has a strong theme about the meaning of fatherhood as we watch Gleason leave a...

Duration: 00:34:12


PN 37: Oscar Nominees for Documentary Feature

2/16/2017
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Hear the five Oscar nominated directors for Documentary Feature. We present highlights from our past interviews with filmmakers Roger Ross Williams ("Life, Animated"), Gianfranco Rosi ("Fire at Sea"), Ava DuVernay (“13th"), Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”), and Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”). Want to hear even more? Listen to these episodes: Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”) ep. 10 Roger Ross Williams ("Life, Animated”) ep. 13 Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”) ep....

Duration: 00:51:25

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