Review: From scholarships to scandal, Dan Chen’s ‘ACCEPTED’ is explosive.

ACCEPTED

Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of Ivy League college admissions and the true cost of getting that first foothold into elite American society. In his first documentary feature, director Dan Chen grounds a broader look at the inequities in the American education system with unbelievable access to T.M. Landry and the deeply personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome countless obstacles to achieve their dreams.


TM Landry was a beacon of hope for the underserved community of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. In Dan Chen‘s ACCEPTED, the incoming senior class of 2019 gears up for the admissions process, chasing that elusive stat; 30% of Landry students who receive acceptance to an Ivy League school. But, that’s not all this documentary catches during the school year. An explosive New York Times expose sends shockwaves through the student body. ACCEPTED delves deep into the subsequent chaos. 

 There is a Montessori feeling to the day. Children of all ages break out in small groups in a nondescript warehouse/office building, tackling complex arithmetic and socially relevant discussion. Founder Mike Landry‘s enthusiasm and passion are infectious. He’s the ultimate hype man for his students. He takes calls from them after hours, assisting them with homework. As a former teacher, I am captivated by his fiery pep talks. 

When emotions run high and the stress piles on, our kids start to push back against Mike’s methods. They realize something is incredibly wrong. When media becomes more important than being in the classroom, everything backfires. Going into Accepted knowing nothing, you’d think he was the high school Messiah. Mike Landry is no Wizard. He is the man behind the curtain. 

Adia is an avid animal lover whose spirit almost collapses under Mike Landry. But, her spirit outshines the negativity, and she’s a soul that will undoubtedly achieve greatness. Isaac’s dream school is Stanford. His levelheaded approach to life and learning is something we should all aspire to be. Alicia is the new girl, admittedly baffled by the school’s structure when she arrived halfway through Junior year. When you hear her college essay, you’ll gasp in awe of her eloquence. Cathy would be the first member of her family to attend college. With two disabled older sisters and a widowed mother, a car accident payout allowed her to prepay for two years at Landry. Cathy is a powerful young woman, flipping the script on her narrative. For her, truth and integrity reign supreme. 

The deteriorating mental health of these kids is palpable. Their bravery cost them their potential future. Fear and shame should not be the motivating factor to succeed. You cannot help but walk from the film filled with anger and questions about the socioeconomics of higher education. ACCEPTED is an unexpected emotional rollercoaster. 

 

GREENWICH ENTERTAINMENT is releasing the timely documentary Accepted, from director Dan Chen in theaters and VOD on July 1st!


DIRECTOR:
Dan Chen
PRODUCERS:
Jason Y. Lee
Dan Chen
Jesse Einstein
Mark Monroe
GENRE:
Documentary
RUNTIME:

91m


FESTIVALS & AWARDS:
Tribeca Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Sidewalk Film Festival 2021
Winner Audience Choice Award Best Black Lens Film
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection
Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Cleveland International Film Festival 2022

Nominee Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award


  Original New York Times article as referenced in the film linked HERE.


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Of Medicine and Miracles’ provides a balanced look at the potential and problems of modern medicine.

OF MEDICINE AND MIRACLES

You cannot help but be moved by Of Medicine and Miracles. This is an in-depth documentary of a thrilling achievement: an attempt to cure cancer by using cutting-edge medical science.  This story is told through the prism of one patient, young Emily Whitehead, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only 6 years old. When the standard course of treatment fails Emily, her health quickly worsens. Out of options, she is given the chance to enroll in a promising, but risky clinical trial.

The documentary benefits from direct interviews with Emily’s parents. Their emotional re-telling of events is incredibly moving. Their urgency and desperation are palpable. The audience also peers behind the curtain at the vast medical infrastructure supporting Emily’s treatment – the researchers, physicians, nurses, regulators, and the extended care team. The expression “it takes a village” will truly resonate differently for you after viewing this documentary.

You will be inspired, yes, but also frustrated. Of Medicine and Miracles also provides a clear-eyed perspective on the dysfunction plaguing the medical system. While the documentary takes great pains to showcase the innovation at the core of Emily’s treatment, it is equally clear that her life was often in the balance due to incredibly frustrating circumstances. Emily’s local care center does not recommend she seek out a clinical trial – it is only because her family shows the courage to solicit a second opinion from a leading pediatric facility (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) that Emily is even offered a chance at a new treatment. Not everyone has the luxury of such a facility within driving distance. A critical last-minute care decision is shown to be possible only because members of Emily’s care team have read the right medical journal articles. This documentary shows us a miracle, yes, but also demonstrates that this miracle finds the light thanks to a foundation of privilege and luck.

Ross Kauffman’s documentary is an impressively balanced effort. It provides an incredibly intimate look at a family undergoing an incredible challenge, and the way this family is at times equally supported and challenged by our country’s medical structure.  I left it both inspired and enraged.


Available Starting

Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM

At Home

DIRECTOR
Ross Kauffman
PRODUCER
Robin Honan, Nicole Galovski
CINEMATOGRAPHERS
Ross Kauffman, Henry Roosevelt, Naiti Gamez
COMPOSER
Amie Doherty
EDITOR
Hypatia Porter
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Sean Parker, Lessing Stern, Babbie Lester, Pam Williams, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Randall Gebhardt, Christopher Gebhardt, Eric Esrailian, Regina Scully, Jamie Wolf, Rusty Robertson
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS
Gabriela Figueredo, Minoo Allen, Zada Clarke

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 reviews from Unseen Films: ‘It Ain’t Over’ & ‘Of Medicine and Miracles’

Of Medicine and Miracles (2022) Tribeca 2022

This is the story of young Emily Whitehead’s battle with cancer through the battles of her doctors to cure her and others.

This is a good look at the battle to cure cancer for everyone. There is a great story here about how thinking outside of the box has opened the door to curing numerous cancers and possibly other diseases as well. Watching the film you will be filled with a great deal of hope for tomorrow.

As good as the film is the film isn’t perfect. The film is very dense with a lot of material, some of which doesn’t need to be here. Points are hammered home several times and more than once I wished bits had been removed. The film also is a bit too manipulative. This film is structured from the start to be a tearjerker in an obvious way. We are not given the choice to feel, the editors took care of it for us. I felt manipulated.

And yet this film has haunted me. The hope for a cure the film highlights can’t help but make you smile.

Reservations aside the film is worth a look.


It Ain’t Over (2022) Tribeca 2022

When Major League Baseball had the four greatest living baseball players show up at the  All-Star Game, they made a major mistake in forgetting Yogi Berra. While he is best known for his Yogi-isms, most people forget how good a player he really was. How good was he? He has 13 World Series rings, 10 as a player, which is more than the four players the shuttled out combined. When Berra’s granddaughter saw the “mistake” she took steps to correct it.

Containing a who’s who of admirers, both in baseball and out, IT’ AIN’T OVER is a moving film that fixes the record regarding Yogi Berra. One of the greatest that ever played, this film makes it clear that he was in many ways more amazing than Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. The trouble is he was a lovable guy who said things that sounded goofy (When you see a fork in the road take it).  He let the media create a character for him and he went with it, which endeared him to generations while hiding his real achievements.

Everything seems to be here, from his friendship with Jackie Robinson to his support of LGBT rights to a long laundry list of amazing things. Berra never stopped doing and doing the right thing.

I really liked this film a great deal. This is a superb film that is full of laughs and tears and more nostalgia than you can shake a stick at.

That said the film has one big problem and that is the film relies a bit too much on Berra’s granddaughter. While what she tells us is golden, having so much come from her and not other baseball players kind of lessens things. Why is she telling us this and not some of the other people who are interviewed? While I’m a long-time Berra fan and understand how good he was, I know people coming in blind may not be convinced.

Slight reservation aside, this film is an absolute must, more so if you love baseball.


For more of Steve’s insights on Tribeca 22, head over to Unseen Films!


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 reviews from Unseen Films: ‘Bowery’ & ‘The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks’

Brief thoughts on Bowery (2022) Tribeca 2022

BOWERY is a wonderful film. A deeply moving portrait of people living on the street in the Bowery section of New York City, it is warts and all portrait of some good people in a bad circumstance. I was moved.

One of the biggest head-scratching moments to come out of Tribeca is why BOWERY didn’t play in person at the festival (it played online). The Bowery is down the street across  Manhattan from the area that gives the festival its title. It’s a film that is rooted deeply in New York City and the festival should have put it up on the big screen.

I really liked this film a great deal. Being someone who frequented the areas in the film I felt at home. I loved that the film didn’t judge anyone. It simply let everyone be, with the result being is a documentary of great power.

A must-see.


The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (2022) Tribeca 2022

The life and times of Rosa Parks, best known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in the segregated south. The truth is there is a hell of a lot more to the small woman than most people know. She was politically active from an early age and never stopped trying to change the world.

This is a really good look at a woman who was revered by millions around the world. She was a woman who shook the pillars of heaven and influenced unexpected people. For example, when Nelson Mandela came to the US  he was going along a receiving line shaking hands until he caught sight of Mrs. Parks and he then bolted to her and snatched her up and gave her a bear hug. This is a film that is going to go a long way toward enhancing her reputation simply because it lets everyone know how special she was.

If I have any problem with the film it’s that the film drops the linear structure a couple of times to jump ahead for various reasons. While I understand why it was done, thematically the flash-forward tied into the moment at hand, the problem was that we didn’t have a setup for them. For example, The Republic of New Afrika is mentioned but fully explained.

Minor quibbles aside this film is a must-see simply because odds are you don’t know the full story of what Mrs. Parks did, and you really need to.

Recommended


See more of Steve’s insane amount of Tribeca 22 coverage at Unseen Films


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘BODY PARTS’ is a cinematic sex education.

BODY PARTS

I remember the buzz when Halle Berry reportedly got a half-million-dollar payday when she bared her naked breasts in Swordfish. I thought she was a total badass for demanding more money. It was as if a shift in the patriarchal Hollywood structure had been unlocked. Berry has since denied the payment, explaining that she was taking ownership of her body. Until then, audiences had become desensitized to women’s bodies as public currency. Tribeca 2022 audiences got a revelatory education in Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s documentary, BODY PARTS.

The list of things I learned watching the doc is endless. Intimacy coordinators should be on every single set. I didn’t even know this occupation existed. I believe I audibly exclaimed, “Oh! Huh,” as I discovered the art of simulating oral sex. The technical aspects of intimate scenes are paramount to understanding how actresses should feel on a set. These scenes were enthralling for a performer and a writer like myself.

The power of female leads in the 20s and 30s got squashed by the introduction of the Hollywood Censors. These scenes shaped our perceptions of ourselves for decades and told us what intimacy “should” look like. That warped perspective has created generations of unhealthy relationships, unreported assaults, and continued abuse. This is not merely a film industry issue. We see men continue to be indoctrinated into believing they are entitled to women’s bodies. The social commentary on each era in relation to what was acceptable in cinema is ceaselessly fascinating. “Penises are pornography. Tits are art,” might be one of the most relevant comments in the entire film. The male gaze has dominated cinema since the very beginning. #MeToo and the prosecution of Harvey Weinstein ignited a shift in culture.

BODY PARTS is one of the Tribeca 2022’s best documentaries. The editing is a triumph. As figureheads speak, recreations and famous scenes throughout history play out, making the doc incredibly accessible to a wide audience, cinephiles and casual film fans alike. BODY PARTS is such a conversation starter. It’s nothing short of a Wow.


DIRECTOR
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
PRODUCER
Helen Hood Scheer
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Frazer Bradshaw, Jason Joseffer
EDITOR
Liz Kaar, Anne Alvergue
COMPOSER
Nainita Desai
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Ruth Ann Harnisch, Abigail Disney, Daniel Chalfen, Adrienne Becker, Roger Clark
CAST
Jane Fonda, Joey Soloway, Angela Robinson, Karyn Kusama, Rose McGowan, David Simon.


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Carol & Johnny’ – a dark fairy tale of love and bank robbery.

CAROL AND JOHNNY

Tribeca 2022 documentary CAROL & JOHNNY tells the wild tale of crime and devoted love. How do one seemingly mundane husband and wife become the most notorious bank robbers of the early 90s? It’s one hell of a story.

Carol Hawkins Williams and Johnny Madison Williams meticulously planned each robbery like an honest-to-goodness business deal. Johnny’s role was to go inside, and Carol was the getaway driver. After each job, the nonchalant behavior they exhibited will make you smirk. Heading to Vegas to wash the stolen bills, they fined like kings and queens and had a good time. The film uses archival footage, personal photographs, courtroom drawings, and intimate sit-down interviews with Carol and Johnny in the flesh. Twenty-seven years after their conviction, these two lovely humans still love madly in love with one another. But don’t be fooled by the charming retelling of their shenanigans. The story evolves as director Colin Barnicle spends time with the pair individually. 

The doc genuinely delves into the why. Carol and Johnny’s childhoods informed their adult lives from start to finish. It’s easy to feel connected to our protagonists, hearing the physical and emotional abuse they endured. The film explores all the complex emotions involved. The darkness and messy parts of lovers torn apart for so long are on display. Coming to terms with reality is heartbreaking for the audience to witness. The slick and deliberate storytelling makes a ceaselessly intriguing watch. Go into the film without any preconceived notions. CAROL & JOHNNY is a different approach to the true crime genre. 


DIRECTOR
Colin Barnicle
PRODUCER
Barnicle Brothers with Words and Pictures
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Colin Barnicle
EDITOR
Colin Barnicle
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Nick Barnicle, Colin Barnicle, Connor Schell, Libby Geist, Aaron Cohen
CO-PRODUCER
Cora Atkinson
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Julie Schapiro Thorman
CAST
Johnny Madison Williams, Carol Hawkins Williams


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Naked Gardens’ is an insightful look at an alternative lifestyle.

NAKED GARDENS

Everyone arrives for a different reason, but collectively their goal is the same. Leave your judgment at home because at Sunsport Gardens in Florida, “nudity is expected.” It says so on the sign in the office. The naturist property operates similarly to a co-op. Residents own shares in the corporation and a board that makes decisions for the entirety of the community. But, there also appears to be a rental office. This option proves to be a challenge to some of the residents’ way of life. Tribeca 2022 delivers a unique doc with Naked Gardens.

The fact that these residents allowed cameras into the community communicates how comfortable they are in their skin. Here’s what audiences need to understand; society has decided what the rules are. Clothing didn’t always exist. Men have sexualized the naked body. This programming proved inherently true as I found myself staring while watching the film. The residents are not always nude. You sporadically see everyone dressed at one time or another. Christmas is one of those occasions. The tween-aged residents always appear clothed. One of their main goals is protecting the children.

The style of the doc is observational cinema. There are no sit-down interviews, just simple daily interactions between residents within the months leading up to their annual festival. What filmmakers Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan catch on camera is undoubtedly intriguing. They are intimate moments and mundane moments. Naked Gardens showcases a group of earnest people trying to live a harmonious and simple way of life. If nothing else, you have to respect that.


CAST & CREDITS

Directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan

Using precise and illustrative cinematic images, Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan make verité stories that counter the mythic concepts of America. Their short films have premiered at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and Locarno. Their first feature film Pahokee premiered in competition at Sundance and was released in the United States and France.

DIRECTOR
Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan
PRODUCER
Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas, Tabs Breese, Julia Nottingham, Roberto Minervini and Denise Ping Lee
SCREENWRITER
Ivete Lucas
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Patrick Bresnan
EDITOR
Ivete Lucas
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Matthew Perniciaro, Jimmy Goodmon, Shelly Leslie, John W Copeland
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Shakira Refos
CO-PRODUCER
Laurence Reymond, Emanuela Righi, Kelsey Oluk
CAST
Jeremy, McKayla, Jamie, Gretchen, Deedee, Serenity, Morley


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘DREAMING WALLS: Inside The Chelsea Hotel’

DREAMING WALLS: Inside The Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel was a bohemian enclave in New York City. Artists, movie stars, and musicians passed through the halls during the height of avant-garde Manhattan. Now, the remaining long-term residents of the hotel mingle within the current renovations, attempting to coexist amongst the chaos. 

The residents are an eclectic group of creators. Each possesses a unique story and a timeless aura about them. It just so happens that I know one of the artists and have a few of his pieces. A few years ago, Skye Ferrante (AKA Man Of Wire) recreated selected quotes sculpted from wire for each member of my family. They are one-of-a-kind creations. To watch him is to witness magic. Ferrante provides original and poetic voice-over passages of his own writing as we watch the chemistry between him and his models and his daughter. He is a snapshot, and one of the youngest, of the creative beings left behind.

Filmmakers Maya Duverdier and Amélie van Elmbt watch them maneuver within the halls and their respective spaces, listening to them recall their glory days and how long they think they can survive until renovations are complete. Their emotional attachments vary from apartment to apartment. Haunting footage of dark, cavernous hallways creates an eerie effect, while archival footage and audio layer on top of one another. It’s entrancing and a little rock ‘n roll. Tribeca 2022 audiences are in for a love letter and a history lesson in the form of a breathing time capsule. 


CAST & CREDITS

Directed by Amélie van Elmbt and Maya Duverdier

Amélie van Elmbt studied at the IAD Film School. In 2011, she directed her first feature film, Headfirst. Her second feature The Elephant & The Butterfly premiered at Tribeca. Maya Duverdier holds a master’s degree in film from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne. Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel is her first feature-length documentary.

DIRECTOR
Amélie van Elmbt, Maya Duverdier
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (MAIN CREDIT)
Martin Scorsese
PRODUCER
Hanne Phlypo, Quentin Laurent
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Joachim Philippe, Virginie Surdej
COMPOSER
Michael Andrews
EDITOR
Alain Dessauvage, Julie Naas
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Lori Cheatle
CO-PRODUCER
Frédéric de Goldschmidt, Simone van den Broek, David Herdies
US DISTRIBUTOR

Magnolia Pictures


To learn more about Tribeca 2022 click here!

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘LIFT’ is an education and a celebration.

LIFT

Director David Petersen takes audiences on a journey that spans ten years. In his documentary LIFT, he tells the world about the brilliant and titular program here in New York City that revolves around the art of dance. “New York Theatre Ballet’s LIFT Community Service Program provides scholarships for talented at-risk and underserved children at the School of NYTB, as well as programs that champion dance for the greater good.” Housing insecure youth have the opportunity to break free from the circumstances they cannot control. Steven Melendez once lived in a shelter. As a professional dancer and former student of the program, he returns to introduce ballet to other housing insecure children. The discipline and structure that comes along with ballet transcend the stage. It is vital for kids in school or home environments that would otherwise make them victims of socioeconomic circumstances. The purpose of LIFT is to provide a safe place for them to learn and grow. It is a beautiful safety net, but they have to be willing to commit. These kids have so many obstacles in their paths, and Steven does everything he can to push past his own trauma to better the lives of kids just like him.The documentary follows a small group of kids that Steven nurtured over ten years of ballet. Tough love is necessary as these kids get into trouble. Steven does not have time to mince words. It is the honesty they need to survive and a place to put all their unbridled emotions. The culmination of the film arrives with one special performance. Steven creates a new piece of choreography based on his experiences and those of his handpicked students, and my god, it is a revelatory dance. This choreography is therapy. This choreography is healing. This choreography is lifesaving. Steven knows it, and as the credits roll on LIFT, Tribeca 2022 audiences will know it, too.


Available Starting

Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM

At Home

Only available in New York state

BUY NOW

DIRECTOR
David Petersen
PRODUCER
Mary Recine, David Petersen
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Gary Griffin, Alan Jacobsen, David Petersen
COMPOSER
Kathryn Bostic
EDITOR
M. Watanabe Milmore, David Petersen
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Jody Allen, Sam Pollard, Jannat Gargi, Ruth Johnson, Rocky Collins
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Laura Pilloni
CO-PRODUCER
Martha Southgate, Laura Pilloni
PRINCIPAL ADVISOR
Misty Copeland
ADVISOR
Lourdes Lopez, Wendall Harrington, David Lansky, Nan Roman
CAST
Steven Melendez, Diana Byer, Victor Abreu, Yolanssie Cardona, Sharia Blockwood



Tribeca 2022 review: Sex sells in new documentary ‘All Man: The International Male Story,’ how one “It” catalog introduced lifestyle branding for men.

ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY

More than outrageous fashions, hunky models, and scandalous undies, ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY is a journey across three decades of the International Male catalog’s lasting impact on fashion, masculinity, and gay rights. With revenues at its peak of $120 million and circulation of over 3 million, the catalog successfully appealed to both gay and straight audiences, and helped transform conservative notions of American masculinity towards a more carefree, cosmopolitan, and confident expression. Written and produced by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jones and narrated by Matt Bomer (MAGIC MIKE, THE BOYS IN THE BAND, etc…), ALL MAN is a character-driven portrait of a band of outsiders who changed the way men looked and how the world looked at them. This is their story – a modern-day fairy tale that really did come true.


The impact of men’s fashion takes center stage in Tribeca 2022 doc ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY. One innovative catalog gave men the freedom to be themselves. Its global and cultural influence spans generations like no other men’s fashion publication. In building International Male, Gene Burkard’s emphasis wasn’t on sex, even if the catalog featured chiseled men in high fashion. He and his creative team broke the mold of selling menswear while pushing a lifestyle brand. In the same way men ogle Victoria’s Secret, International Male became a household object to covet for innumerable reasons. 

Matt Bomer‘s narration adds a brilliant touch of nostalgia in a way that is hard to describe until you experience it for yourself. The film uses archival footage and photography, sit-down interviews, and creative transitional animation. The catalog was bright, smart, sexy, and gave men something to aspire to be. It challenged the idea of masculinity with its European-inspired fashion and copy, written by Gene. He was meticulous in his work ethic, taking customer feedback and recognizing that 75% of their shoppers were women. Watching the images from the catalogs made me want to order (almost) every single article of clothing for my husband. Gene clearly understood the broad appeal. If International Male existed today, I’d be begging them to take my money. 

Everything shifted for International Male once the AIDS epidemic touched the employees and the world. Gene sold the catalog, and the new creative directors were more hesitant to hire queer staff, in fact, firing a huge percentage of them. In the 90s, the positive changes came in the form of more models of color. But with the loss of gay buyers and department stores filled with men’s retail, International Male was no longer a cash cow. But it’s easy to see how the catalog catapulted our current influencers in pop culture with the freedom to express themselves on a gender spectrum now celebrated across the globe. So, thank you, International Male. You made a difference while allowing us to drool.


Written and Produced by
Peter Jones
Directed and Produced by
Bryan Darling
Jesse Finley Reed
Executive Producer
Peter Jones


World Premiere: June 12 2022, 8:30pm (ET) at
Village East Cinema
Run Time: 83 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Language: English


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Butterfly In The Sky’ is a warm hug of nostalgia.

BUTTERFLY IN THE SKY

Like toddlers and the Cocomelon theme song, the iconic and space-aged first notes of Reading Rainbow had me running around a corner with eyes wide in anticipation of LeVar Burton telling me about a new book my Mom needed to find me at the library. With a wink and a promise, a group of former educators, a young producing couple, and a newly minted TV star would change the relationship between children and reading. 

When LeVar Burton became a household name following the breakout success of ROOTS, no one would have guessed that his second job, a PBS television show, would have had such an enduring impact on education. Pairing television and reading into a series seemed a daunting, if not impossible, task. But there was something about Burton’s ability to connect with children through the screen. Having kids do book reviews alongside the onsite exploration of story-related subjects engaged viewers in a way that made them feel they were along for the journey. 

Representation was key. With the rotating cast of diverse child reviewers and seeing a loving and tender black man as the host, kids at home garnered self-esteem that they perhaps had not felt before. The film interviews Burton, the creators, and now adult viewers. We learn how the books were selected and how that iconic theme song came to fruition. Reading Rainbow will live in the memories of innumerable individuals. Butterfly In The Sky has the potential to light new sparks of fire for young and old readers alike. It’s a nostalgic warm hug and a brilliant highlight in Tribeca 2022.


To find out more about Tribeca and Butterfly In The Sky, click here!


DIRECTOR
Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb
PRODUCER
Bryan Storkel, Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Tony Hardmon, Brett Whitcomb
EDITOR
Bradford Thomason
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Leonardis, Bryn Mooser, Justin Lacob, Kathryn Everett, Tony Hsieh, Andy Hsieh, John Brooks Pounders, Dava Whisenant


Review: ‘DR. DELIRIUM & THE EDGEWOOD EXPERIMENTS’ Premieres Exclusively on discovery+ June 9th

SYNOPSIS: From 1955 to 1975, the United States Army Chemical Corps conducted classified human subject research on thousands of soldiers at the Edgewood Arsenal facility in Maryland. The purpose was to evaluate the impact of potent, mind-altering chemical warfare agents on military personnel as an alternative to traditional mortal combat. Today, many of those soldiers believe that the military broke the law and engaged in a decades-long cover-up to hide the truth about what really happened to them at Edgewood Arsenal. Through shocking, never-before-seen footage of the drug experiments, along with exclusive, first-hand accounts from both the mastermind behind the research and the soldiers who participated in it, DR. DELIRIUM & THE EDGEWOOD EXPERIMENTS will uncover the true story of one of the most bizarre and controversial chapters in recent American history.


What if scientists could discover a non-lethal method to neutralize or prevent an enemy attack? And what if the answer to these questions was just one more highly experimental test away? Over several decades during the Cold War, military scientists explored these questions while frequently pushing the boundaries of medical ethics and military codes of conduct.  

 In “Dr. Delirium & the Edgewood Experiments,” investigative journalist Tara Palemeri and her team of expert researchers explore how far the military went to bring a compelling idea to fruition– and the complicated ethics they used to get there. With stirring, heart-felt testimonies from the veteran survivors of these experiments and exclusive never-before-seen interviews with the lead research director of the psychochemical program, the documentary pull back the curtain on a secret government program that until very recently was entirely classified. 

 History buffs, Cold War enthusiasts, and truthers of all kinds will enjoy this nuanced exploration of a chilling government operation complex enough for a spy novel and still shrouded in mystery.


DR. DELIRIUM & THE EDGEWOOD EXPERIMENTS | Premieres Exclusively on discovery+ June 9th


Review: ‘A SEXPLANATION’ is the single most sex positive lesson of my entire life.

Just your typical queer, Asian American, comedic sex education documentary about the universal search for love, connection, and family acceptance.


Gloriously raw and unapologetic, A Sexplanation was the most informative lesson on sex I’ve ever seen. Like director Alex Liu, my parents never had “The Talk” with me. My Catholic school elementary sex-ed class was in 5th grade. Separating the boys and girls, we got the basics on menstrual health and body parts. That was it. I think I got that same lesson in my high school health class. Why are those classes always taught by gym teachers, anyway? Seriously, why don’t schools bring in experts? In A Sexplanation, Alex Liu does all the groundwork for those left to their own devices at slumber parties, sleep-away camps, and dial-up internet. 

Liu sits down with folks across the sexuality information spectrum; doctors, scientists, therapists, activists, a politician, and a priest! Some of the most intriguing moments happen when Alex speaks with his parents. They are honest, unfiltered, and make the viewer feel the need to talk to their parental figures to clear some shit up. The film also introduces us to programs like INclued, an LGBTQ-centered evidence-based sexual health education program for youth ages 14-19. I wish that existed when I was a teen!

Along with the interviews, visual gags featuring phallic objects and vibrant cartoon animation from Woodenmarker serves as quirky transitions. The biggest challenge in watching the film will be the same for everyone, and Liu understands this. Getting past our ingrained biases, owning each cringe at an image or word, and diving deep into the reasons those reactions occur in the first place. Tackling family dynamics, “The Talk” is so important and how we learn to talk about sex. Statistics do not lie. States teaching abstinence-only have higher teen pregnancy and STI rates. Families need to normalize open lines of communication. We need to step out of our comfort zones and embrace our own sex positivity to better the world. 

 Liu makes himself the guinea pig in a project that could actually save lives. The amount of information in the doc is mind-blowing. The lack of shame makes A Sexplanation a glorious watch and an honest-to-goodness celebration of sexual literacy.


Available on Digital Download from 6th June

Director’s Statement

Alex Liu, writer and director: “A Sexplanation follows my quest to confront my sex education — by finally getting a real one.

Growing up, sex felt shameful. My parents never brought it up. School focused on disease, pregnancy, and abstinence. By my 30s, I was surprised by how much shame I still carried. After talking with friends, I realized I wasn’t alone.

  The film documents my attempt to strip away this shame, no matter how awkward it might get — even masturbating in an MRI machine (for science!).

Through honest conversations with scientists, educators, and even my parents, I try to uncover some naked truths and hard facts that will get us to a healthier, sexier future.”

asexplanation.com

A Sexplanation will be available on Digital Download from 6th June on iTunes on GooglePlay.


Review: Drag superstar Bebe Zahara Benet gets real in Emily Branham’s documentary ‘Being Bebe’

BEING BEBE

BEING BEBE intimately charts 15 years of drag performer Marshall Ngwa (aka BeBe Zahara Benet): An immigrant to America from homophobic Cameroon, first champion on now-iconic LGBTQ+ reality show phenomenon RuPaul’s Drag Race. Grounded by Marshall’s present-day narration, the film features vérité, interviews and performances illustrating his journey to Queer Black Excellence.


A cultural icon in the world of female illusion, BeBe Zahara Benet rose to international fame as the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But Marshal Kudi Ngwa‘s career was years in the making before the reality series. Director Emily Branham uses archival footage mixed with sit-down interviews during COVID. How does a star slowed down by a global pandemic remain relevant without a live audience’s love and energy? Being BeBe is a heartfelt and honest look at the artist pushing boundaries without pause.

The film addresses the criminality of queerness in Cameroon. Branham respectfully blurs the faces of the participants not only for their physical safety but to give them the freedom to express themselves fully on camera. These young men explain the constant fear of being discovered by family or friends. The isolation takes a toll. The slip of a gesture could mean putting their existence at risk. BeBe has become a role model for those in Cameroon. She uses her platform to support the queer community and give a face to black excellence.

Marshall has a personable and glorious nature. You long to be in his presence as he radiates kindness, humor, grace, and an intensely inspiring work ethic. The film is an unfiltered look at the industry’s ups and downs. That unpredictability causes Marshall to push his ego aside, emotional breakthroughs, and unapologetic admissions. Being BeBe is infectious. If you weren’t a fan before, get ready for newfound respect and adoration for BeBe Zahara Benet because, honey, she continues giving us Face, Face, Face, no matter what.


BEING BEBE // Festival Teaser from Emily Branham on Vimeo.

BEING BEBE, roars into Pride Month on June 7th on major Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) platforms via digital distributor Giant Pictures
(Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu – Pre-Order at https://geni.us/BeingBeBe).
The film will also make its Broadcast Premiere on Fuse on June 21st.


Netflix Review: ‘OUR FATHER’ is a disturbing and infuriating true story of one fertility doctor’s mission.

Synopsis: Jacoba Ballard was an only child, conceived via donor sperm, who always dreamed of having a brother or sister. An at-home DNA test led her to the discovery of not one but seven half-siblings – a number that defied best practices in fertility medicine. As the group set out to learn more about their curious family tree, they soon discovered the sickening truth: Their parents’ fertility doctor had been inseminating his patients with his own sperm – without their knowledge or consent. As Ballard and her newfound siblings realized they’ve barely begun to untangle his dark web of deceit, their pursuit of justice lies at the heart of this profoundly unsettling story about an unimaginable breach of trust.


Real audio, sit-down interviews, and recreations tell the shocking story of one fertility doctor’s sinister plans. Dr. Donald Cline assisted innumerable women in becoming mothers. What those mothers didn’t know would change lives forever. DNA test “23 and Me” blew this story wide open.

Having worked for Dr. Cline for 13 years, Jan Shore candidly speaks about the entire process. The initial moral ambiguity in the voice of Cline’s partner, Dr. Colver, is cringeworthy as he expresses gratitude and awe for Dr. Cline’s innovative science. And yet, as a woman who recalls the monthly tears and disappointment when I couldn’t get pregnant for months on end, listening to these women retell their experiences feels visceral. The most joyous gifts come with an unimaginable caveat.

The emotional trauma in each sibling is palpable, and as the number of newly discovered individuals involved climbs, a chill reruns down your spine. Led by Jacoba Ballard, this unique group of now adults goes through every high and low imaginable. Their strength is beyond admirable. The violation doesn’t end with the initial deception. When the identified siblings push back, a barrage of madness in the form of various threats rains down upon them.

OUR FATHER gets increasingly more disturbing by the minute. The religious aspect is simultaneously eerie and infuriating. Once expanded upon, it’s almost unsurprising. We’ve seen this time and time again. We’re experiencing it as we speak nationally. When the Supreme Court leak used the phrase, “domestic supply of infants,” make no mistake, this is a larger problem than we could possibly understand. OUR FATHER brings forth a string of white men telling women they have no body autonomy, over and over. Not only Dr. Cline but the Indiana Attorney General and even the lawyer for the siblings. While this documentary seems unique, the intent behind the actions, and the far-reaching legal ramifications, could haunt this country for literal generations. Get ready to be nauseated and enraged.


Releasing Globally on Netflix on May 11, 2022


The upcoming documentary feature, OUR FATHER tells the story of one of the most shocking and horrific cases of fertility fraud, catching nationwide attention with coverage in the New York Times and The Atlantic.

Directed by: Lucie Jourdan
Produced by: Jason Blum, Lucie Jourdan, Michael Petrella and Amanda Spain
Executive Produced by: Chris McCumber, Jeremy Gold and Mary Lisio


Review: ‘BALONEY’- Joshua Guerci’s documentary about San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe is magnetic, intimate, and hilarious.

Baloney follows San Francisco’s wildly popular Gay All-Male Burlesque show over 18 months as the group rehearses for New Year’s Eve 2020. Told through the eyes of the group’s co-founders, as well as the larger ensemble, the film contemplates the struggles that come with being a performing artist in San Francisco, the most expensive city in North America. Through a mix of interviews, rehearsal footage, and filmed performances, Baloney captures the group’s unique combination of humor, confession, and sex positivity in ways that directly reflect the private fantasies of people who come to the show. It’s also a story of the people who choose to perform in Baloney who, like their audience, find themselves in a world that constantly silences kinky, queer, and gender non-conforming people. Finally, it spotlights that real failure in life is often not doing that thing you know you need to do or being the person you know you need to be. Even if that thing is daring to be an artist!


Equal parts sincerity, sexuality, and soul – Baloney takes a deep look behind the scenes of San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe. Joshua Guerci’s documentary follows this scrappy team as they plan, practice, and perform. Led by co-creators and real-life partners Michael Phillis and Rory Davis, the troop crafts performances that delight their audiences while offering insights across the wide spectrum that is the gay and queer male experience.

I marveled at the editing of this documentary (75 minutes!) Guerci’s team seamlessly transitions from practice to performance in a way that energizes the audience while still giving a deep appreciation for the vision and artists involved.

This documentary leaves you asking a lot of questions. Some are likely to be practical and hilarious (like, how do you wash beans out of your hair, or, did you maybe miss all the queer innuendos in Star Trek?) But others are more serious. I left Baloney with one question at the forefront of my mind: what does it mean to really suffer for your art?

Nearly every member of Baloney has a substantial day job. Everyone talks about their passion for the arts and the power of this burlesque troupe and wishes that they could make Baloney their sole focus, if only they could afford it. Now, plenty of people want to quit their day jobs and take off for Broadway or the hills of Hollywood. The context here is important. Baloney’s performance venues are shown to be sold-out, sure, but always humble in size and scale. They even have a great song poking fun at themselves on this. The energy and community of the shows seem to draw the performers back, just as much as it does for the audience members. 

The performers making up the troupe are magnetic. Guerci’s candid style further breaks down walls and makes the interviews feel intimate and informal. He speaks with them as they prepare breakfast or while they lounge together in bed. I particularly loved Andrew Slade, who leverages his past education in animation and video game design to hilarious burlesque effect.

Michael and Rory, who on paper have captured that elusive dream-job as day-job balance, are still shown to wobble. They are, at once, a producer, casting expert, director, and performer. They even provide rehearsal space out of their San Francisco apartment. There is a tragic irony that San Francisco proudly celebrates its queer and artistic legacy while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for those communities to endure and thrive within its borders.

Watch Baloney, and you’ll see some flat-out great burlesque numbers. But there’s much more here that will keep you thinking long after the final curtain call.


Baloney (2021) – Official Trailer from Joshua Guerci on Vimeo.

Baloney debuts June 7 across North America and will be available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Spectrum, and inDemand.


Los Angeles, CA – 13th Gen and Gravitas Ventures are proud to present Baloney, Joshua Guerci’s no-holds-barred documentary chronicling 18 months in the life of Baloney, a mostly male, mostly naked, very erotic San Francisco burlesque troupe. The clothing-optional documentary made its world premiere at Frameline and went on to inspire audiences at Outfest Los Angeles, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Cinema Diverse Palm Springs, Winnipeg Reel Pride Film Festival, TLVFest: Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival, Boston Wicked Queer LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. At RuPaul’s DragCon Los Angeles, the film is nominated for Best Documentary.


 

HOT DOCS 2022 review: ‘Images Of A Nordic Drama’ pits art lovers against the art world.

IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA

Who would have ever guessed that the discovery of paintings by an unknown Norwegian artist would cause such upheaval in the art world? When art collector Haakon Mehren was led to a barn filled with oversized canvases, his jaw immediately hit the floor. Who was this artist? After some sleuthing, Mehren introduces the world to Aksel Waldemar Johannessen, an unapologetic alcoholic who did the unthinkable. Johannessen painted the poor, often using his image mixed with dark and twisted imagery of inner turmoil.

Self-portrait painted by Aksel Waldemar Johannessen

Art is subjective, but there is undoubtedly a most elite shroud in curating. Norway’s most coveted paintings never before depicted the lower class. Their claim to fame was Edvard Munch. If you know even a sliver about art, you can immediately conjure the image of “The Scream.” The curatorial staff at the National Museum and gatekeepers of the Munch Museum immediately pushed back on adding the works to Norway’s collective narrative. Mehren made it his life’s mission to share Johannessen’s artistic contributions, scheduling exhibitions throughout Europe. The public’s reaction was overwhelmingly delightful. That only fueled the fire from Norway’s elite.

Director Nils Gaup uses a gorgeous score while repeatedly showcasing Johannessen’s paintings. This distinctive choice brings due awe to each piece. There’s no denying that some of the work is frightening, while others are simply breathtaking. The variety of subjects is astounding. You will find yourself lost in them. IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA is the perfect addition to this year’s HOT DOCS 2022 lineup. If you weren’t an art lover before, get ready for your world is about to change.

The painting “Man on a diving board” by Aksel Waldemar Johannessen. This painting was exhibited at The Met.


HOT DOCS 2022 Link to buy tickets:

https://hotdocs.ca/whats-on/hot-docs-festival/films/2022/images-of-a-nordic-drama

@hotdocs #HotDocs22


HOT DOCS 2022 FESTIVAL SCREENINGS:
PUBLIC SCREENINGS:

Saturday, April 30 at 11:30 am
Location: Varsity 8 (55 Bloor Street West)

Thursday, May 5 at 8:45 pm
Location: Varsity 8 (55 Bloor Street West)

Running Time: 71 minutes

Language: English, German, Norwegian

Country: Norway, Germany (Feature Documentary)


Review: HBO Documentary Film: ‘TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF’

TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF

Centering around intimate new interviews with Tony Hawk himself, the film is an all-encompassing look at the skateboarder’s life, legendary career, and relationship with the sport with which he’s been synonymous for decades. Hawk, a pioneer of modern vertical skating who is still pushing his limits at the age of 53, remains one of the most influential skateboarders of all time.


Tony Hawk kicks off his big HBO documentary by falling down. A lot. Like, 5 solid minutes of eating it all over the ramp. It’s a bold, remarkably human way to start a documentary about a 53-year-old icon who many in the non-skating community would still consider the most famous skateboarder of all time (this reviewer raises his hand). Heck, my wife knows more about Tony Hawk than I do.

The complete list of things I knew about Tony Hawk before watching this documentary:

  • He was (probably) the most prominent skater in the world
  • He was the first skater to land a 900 (a crazy trick where you shoot off a ramp and spin 2.5 times in the air before landing)  I also learned this from his video game series, Tony Hawk Pro Skater
  • He has a hilarious Twitter feed

And yet, I left Sam Jones’ Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off feeling pretty invested in skateboarding. Jones’ documentary benefits not only from extensive access to Hawk and his skating peers but also from a wealth of archival footage and clips that help these interview recollections resonate. Sure, you learn about Hawk’s upbringing in San Diego, and his dynamic with his strict father – but what really resonates is the sense of purpose uniting these passionate young skateboarders. You really get the spirit of the community. Tricks and success in this sport are the product of individual inspiration, yes, but also due to watching and learning from both your rivals and teammates. Hawks’ contemporaries are real unique characters, too. I particularly loved hearing from Rodney Mullen, who applies the principles of Nietzsche to the act of launching yourself off a skate ramp without a hint of irony.

I also appreciated the documentary’s balanced romanticism surrounding skateboarding. There are the obligatory skating montages, but there’s also a blunt assessment of the risks (and honestly, the near foolishness) of Hawk refusing to set aside his board at 53 years old. We’re talking about guys for whom broken bones and near-constant concussions seem to always be part of the deal – it takes a lot to make these folks nervous. Hawks’ peers speak frankly and graphically about the risks he’s taking on. Given Hawks’ prominent association with this documentary, I was surprised he didn’t push to edit some of those comments out of the final product. I appreciated that Jones included them.

Ultimately, this feels to be an honest portrait of a complicated legend who became a pro athlete before he had his learner’s permit. It strives to connect viewers to the deep connection skaters have with their art, it clues you in on Tony Hawk’s countless contributions to the sport, and acknowledges that most guys in their 50s shouldn’t be on fast-moving, narrow objects.

You see Tony Hawk falling down a lot. But he also executes tricks that seem to scratch the surface of immortality. Unless you’ve skated a mile in his shoes, can you really pass judgment? One thing’s for sure – after seeing this documentary, I’ll be firing up my wife’s copy of Pro Skater.


Debuts Tuesday, April 5 on HBO and will be available

to stream on HBO Max

Director: Sam Jones

Executive Producers: Mel Eslyn, Jay Duplass, and Mark Duplass


ABOUT SAM JONES
Sam Jones is a director of documentary films and narrative television. He most recently directed an episode of “Ted Lasso” and a film in post-production: “Running With Our Eyes Closed, A Film about Jason Isbell,” which is being co-produced by the Duplass Brothers and Jones.

Jones is the creator and host of the documentary series “Off Camera with Sam Jones,” which had a 219 episode run on DirecTV’s Audience Network from 2013-2020. Jones is also an acclaimed commercial director and recently wrote and directed a series of commercials for OnePlus featuring Robert Downey Jr. He directed the Showtime series “Roadies,” created by Cameron Crowe, and also directed and produced the feature-length Showtime documentary “Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued,” a film that reexamines Bob Dylan’s “The Basement Tapes.” In 2002, Jones started his documentary career with “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” which chronicles beloved indie-rock band Wilco’s tumultuous recording of their acclaimed fourth album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” Rolling Stone named “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” one of the best rock films of all time.

Jones began his career as a photographer and quickly gained acclaim for his seminal portraits of cultural icons. His work has appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Time, and many others, and he has had several books published. Jones lives in Los Angeles with his daughters and still loves to skateboard.


 

Festival review: Kelsey Peterson’s personal documentary ‘MOVE ME’ inspires.

MOVE ME

At 27, Kelsey Peterson dove into Lake Superior, off the shores of Wisconsin, and emerged paralyzed. Now, the former dancer struggles to redefine who she is while adapting to life with a disability. At the intersection of acceptance and hope, Kelsey unexpectedly finds herself facing an opportunity to dance again, showing her a new path toward acceptance, all the while grappling with a decision to participate in a cutting-edge clinical trial that could bring her much-desired change — forcing her to evaluate the possibilities of her recovery, body, and spirit.

In Move Me, a first-time filmmaker with a disability simultaneously takes the reins behind the scenes, while revealing her inner revolution through raw storytelling onscreen.


Dancer and choreographer Kelsey Peterson was paralyzed from the chest down after diving into shallow waters. In conjunction with a friend injured in the same manner, Kelsey decides to dance for the first time since her accident by creating a unique piece of choreography. Her documentary feature MOVE ME is a portrait of a woman attempting to reclaim her identity.

The combination of home movies, rehearsals, and scenes from her daily life create a raw picture of Kelsey’s existence. Kelsey explains that after the accident, she realized that the world does not accommodate her current state. This singular statement makes MOVE ME so much more profound for able-body viewers. When you see the rehearsal restroom, the irony is exhausting. 

MOVE ME doesn’t simply tell the tale of a single dance. Kelsey navigates her father’s declining health while simultaneously researching the possibility of joining an experimental trial. She speaks with other participants, discovering that it’s not all positive outcomes. Uncertainty looms large as Kelsey weighs her options. She holds nothing back, tackling everything from bowel function to sexual sensation.

“A Cripple’s Dance” bases pieces of its choreography on Kelsey and Gabe’s moments of impact and what followed in the water. The intimacy of the camera work is visceral. Gabe’s lyrics are profoundly beautiful and hit you in the heart like a dagger. The result will give you chills. 

This film was personal for me. I began dancing at the age of three. Since then, I have competed, choreographed, and expressed myself through movement. When I lost some of my abilities from an emergency appendectomy and then years later, a neck injury, I was devastated. I remember the grief of losing those lifelong skills, talents that came without thought as they were muscle memory. Let me be clear I am able-bodied. You would not know I was in pain by the way I move through the day. I cannot begin to fathom the strength Kelsey Peterson possesses daily. Her positive outlook and relentless optimism drive her film. To me, she’s fearless. She’s sort of my hero. MOVE ME makes me appreciate my body’s movement tenfold.


Co-Directors: Kelsey Peterson, Daniel Klein

Producers: Kelsey Peterson, Daniel Klein, Madeline Brown

Executive Producers: Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer, Joanna Rudnick

Cinematographer: Brennan Vance

Editor: Nico Bovat


Festival Screening Info:
Full Frame Documentary FF (World Premiere)
Streaming April 7 -10, 2022
 
Reel Abilities FF New York
Streaming April 7 -13, 2022
In-Person Screening Tues. April 12, 8:00pm
Film Info:

Review: ‘Inventions that Changed History’ is a Palette Cleansing Delight’ streaming on discovery+

Inventions that Changed HistoryInventions That Changed History reveals the wild and often unbelievable stories behind many of pop culture’s most impactful inventions. Historians, Scientists, Pop Culture Experts and Hollywood Celebrities take us on this wild ride full of information and incredible tales.


Ready to dominate at the next Trivia Night? “Inventions that Changed History” is a light, silly romp that is likely to help your team win a free round. With a mix of historical exposition on familiar inventions– Mr. Potato Head and waterbeds make silly and fascinating segments– it is the perfect palette cleansing alternative to more serious documentaries (or the news). 

Filled with surprising celebrity cameos from fan favorites like Guillermo from “What we do in the Shadows,” Meredith from “The Office,” and Amanda Seals from “Insecure” candidly riffing on a nostalgic parade of core memories for Gen X/ Millennials, the show is a good time all around. In particular, I was locked in learning the origins of the Easy-Bake Oven while simultaneously trying to remember if and how severely I  burned myself– not enough to stop it from being one of my favorite toys. Oh, the 90s! 

A fun concept with plenty of options to explore, this could quickly become a niche favorite. What a treat!


Episodes 1 & 2 Streaming on discovery+ on March 31st

Two episodes premiering weekly through April 14


Executive Producers: Tom Forman, Chuck Dalaklis, Jenny Daly, and Jon Beyer

For Discovery, Wyatt Channell and Howard Swartz serve as executive producers

Scores of Hollywood celebrities like Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Lance Reddick (“The Wire”), Nicole Sullivan (MADtv), Haskiri Velazquez (“Saved By The Bell”), Amanda Seales (“Insecure”), Flula Borg (Suicide Squad), Yeardly Smith (“The Simpsons”), Jeff Ross (Comedian), Eric Griffin (Actor/Comedian), Harvey Guillen (“What We Do in the Shadows”) and Rachael Harris (The Hangover), join in on the fun as they take a hysterical and insightful hands-on approach to the inventions that molded their youth and stayed with them into adulthood.


Episode 2 Inventions:

Mr. Potato Head 

Pop Rocks

Corn Cob Holders

Easy Bake Oven 

Box Wine

Rubber Chicken

Listerine

Vending Machines

 

Episode 1 Inventions:

Waterbeds

Barf Bags

Big Mouth Billy Bass

Flushing Toilet

Super Soaker 

Sea-Monkeys

Pool Noodle

Slip ‘N Slide