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Posts from the Writing Category

I’m now a regular columnist for PopMatters. Here’s my first piece in this new role: a review of Travis Wilkerson’s latest essay film, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Big thanks to my most excellent editor Karen Zarker, and my sister Anna for giving me feedback on an early draft.

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got a chapter about Laura Poitras’s excellent documentary Risk (2016) in Christian Cotton and Robert Arp’s new anthology WikiLeaking: The Ethics of Secrecy and Exposure. The publisher is Open Court Publishing, the imprint behind the well-known “Pop Culture and Philosophy” series.

Starting this week, the book is available everywhere. If you want to pick one up, though, I do hope you will buy it through IndieBound or by visiting your local independent bookstore.

I’ve got a new review of Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nick de Pencier’s new documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch over at PopMatters. It’s the third film in a trilogy that includes Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013).

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got a new article over at New Politics magazine, the title of which is “The Unbearable Centrism of Mainstream Documentaries”. In it, I write about about how Former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s multi-year production deal with Netflix could be understood as the culmination of a worrisome turn in contemporary documentary.

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got a new interview with Rodney Ascher, director of the documentaries Room 237 and The Nightmare, over at Nonfics. Rodney is one of my very favorite filmmakers, and it was both an honor and a pleasure to get to speak to him at some length.

His most recent project, Primal Screen, debuted on the horror-themed streaming service Shudder last year. The short, which “asks real people to look back at pop-culture artifacts that traumatized them in their youth and describe the effect they had on their lives,” can currently be streamed for free and without a login at the site.

I recommend you take a look at this underpraised little gem, and then check out our conversation here.

I’ve got a new article, my first for PopMatters, at their website. The title is “In Defense of Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure. In it, I use the occasion of the film’s tenth anniversary to write about the great director’s oft-misunderstood masterpiece, which centers around the photos that emerged from Abu Ghraib prison.

You can read the whole thing here.

[UPDATE, 5/22/2018: I’m completely amazed to report that Errol Morris himself recently retweeted this piece. See below.]

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I’ve got a new article, my first for the venerable New Politics magazine, at their website. The title is “The ‘Inescapable Need and Possibility’ of Third Cinema”. In it, I talk about the radical, global filmmaking movement known as “Third Cinema”; its adherents in the United States; and what might be learned from their work at this particular moment in time. If you’re actively thinking about film as a form of cultural resistance, you might just be interested in this.

You can read the whole thing here.

As a contributor to Nonfics, I participated in their year-end poll. The results are in, and you can check them out right here.

Individual ballots aren’t included, and I won’t share mine. However, I will say that documentary fans should make it a point to see Karl Marx City, The Work, and Starless Dreams. The 2017 docs that you’ve heard about are very fine indeed, but it was this year’s comparatively less ballyhooed titles that really stayed with me.