First Position to Open Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
American director Bess Kargman's First Position will open the 15th Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, taking place March 15 – 24. The film goes inside the world of professional ballet dancing through the stories of six charismatic young dancers from different social and ethnic backgrounds as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix competition, often fighting physical pain and mental exhaustion. The festival will screen over 200 films including five world, nine international and four European premieres.
Big Shot to Open Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival
The world premiere of the feature, directed by Kevin Connolly, will screen as the gala premiere of the festival that runs parallel to the Tribeca Film Festival. The film chronicles John Spano's fraudulent purchase of the New York Islanders, going behind the scenes in the biggest fraud in hockey history. Other titles include Bill Siegel's The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Steve Winter's McConkey about ski trailblazer Shane McConkey and Adam Bhala Lough's The Motivation, which looks inside the training regimes of eight of the world's “gutsiest professional skateboarders.”
Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei to Release Heavy Metal Album
The dissident artist, who was the topic of last year's documentary, Ai Weiwei Never Sorry, announced plans to release a debut album influenced by heavy metal music. The album will have nine tracks which the artist said will be “more punish” and some as “more pop.” Ai said he became interested in music during his 81 days in detention without charge in 2011, BBC reports.
Brazil's It's All True – International Documentary Film Festival Unveils Program
The event, taking place April 16 – 21 in Brasília and April 23 – 28 in Campinas, includes its competition with seven feature-length documentaries that are all world premieres. Features in competition include Helena Solberg and David Meyer's Our Stories, Ourselves, Evaldo Mocarzel's Antarctica, and Cristiano Burlan's They Killed My Brother. The full lineup can be found here .
Music Doc Muscle Shoals Heads to U.S. Theaters
The Sundance and SXSW premiere spotlights the legendary Muscle Shoals recording studio in Alabama that spawned some of the greatest records of all time. Directed by Greg 'Freddy' Camalier, and produced by Stephen Badger and Camalier, the film features interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Alicia Keys, Bono and many others. A release date by distributor Magnolia Pictures (which announced it picked up U.S. rights to the film) has not been disclosed. Independent Lens will handle its television release.