11 Documentaries Coming to Theaters & DVD in Fall 2010

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A decade ago, this would have been a list of Documentaries Your Video Store Might Eventually Carry. But there are several anticipated documentaries getting a theatrical run this fall (plus a couple that will be released on DVD).

Last Train Home
Release Date: Sept. 3
Director: Lixin Fan
Subject matter: The world’s largest human migration. First-time filmmaker Lixin Fan looks at the generational and city/rural divides facing many Chinese families, as 130 million migrant workers venture to their home villages to celebrate the New Year.

I’m Still Here
Release Date: Sept. 10
Director: Casey Affleck 
Subject matter: MC Joaquin Phoenix, the rapper you may once remember from such roles as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, Commodus in Gladiator, Max in Space Camp or That Crazy Bearded Guy on Late Night with David Letterman. Casey Affleck will hopefully answer the question we’ve all been wondering: WTF?

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?
Release Date: Sept. 10
Director: John Scheinfeld
Subject matter: The singer/songwriter behind the ‘70s hit songs “Without You”, “Everybody’s Talkin’,” “Coconut” and “Jump into the Fire.” Scheinfeld collects new and archived interviews from Robin Williams, Yoko Ono, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, Ray Cooper, the Smothers Brothers, and Micky Dolenz, trying to understand the “fallen angel—heavenly and beatific and then just dirt and darkness.”

Catfish
Release Date: Sept. 17
Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Subject matter: Filmmaker Ariel Schulman’s brother Nev and his 2007 courtship of a mysterious girl via Facebook, phone and a trip to her farm. It’s a story of “love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.” Fake spoiler alert: she turns out to be a 57-year-old dude named Phil.

Salinger
Release Date: Sept. 24
Director: Shane Salerno
Subject matter: J.D. No trailer yet for this biopic of the late reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye, but the cast list includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Martin Sheen, Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal and Danny DeVito. Oh, and his toilet is for sale for $1 million.

Freakonomics
Release Date: Oct. 1
Directors: Heidi Ewing, Alex Gibney, Seth Gordon, Rachel Grady, Eugene Jarecki, Morgan Spurlock 
Subject matter: “The hidden side of everything” or at least as much of it as can be fitted into two hours. That includes the answer to the ancient question, “Can a ninth grader be bribed to succeed?” Five documentarians (the directors of Super Size Me, Jesus Camp, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Why We Fight and The King of Kong) tackle disparate chapters of the pop-econ book by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt.

Inside Job
Release Date: Oct. 8
Director: Charles Ferguson
Subject matter: The downturn, recession, meltdown or whatever you call the giant turd that is our economy. Matt Damon narrates this look at the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, as Ferguson traveled to Wall Street, Iceland, England, France, Singapore and China to ferret out the crooks, rogues and thieves that led or abused our financial systems.

Budrus
Release Date: Oct. 8
Director: Julia Bacha
Subject matter: The fence between Israel and Palestine and the people on both sides who came together to save a village from destruction. The non-violent protest of a 15-year-old girl helped start a movement uniting people from all sides.

Marwencol
Release Date: Oct. 8
Director: Jeff Malmberg
Subject matter: Artist Mark Hogencamp, a former alcoholic who came out of a coma remembering very little. He constructs an imaginary life in a fictional Belgian war-time town called Marwecol using dolls and elaborate sets.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Release Date: Nov. 5
Director: Alex Gibney
Subject matter: The governor with his brain in his pants. Eliot Spitzer was New York’s golden boy until he was caught paying for high-priced callgirls.

The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of José González
Release Date: Playing festivals in Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Holland this fall
Directors: Mikel Cee Karisson and Fredrik Egerstrand
Subject matter: A Swedish singer/songwriter that Paste has written about once or twice. “There is something absurd, fascinating and beautiful in our attempts to find meaning in our existence,” says Karisson. “We wanted to give form to the personal artistic process, how personal reflection and everyday fragments of life shapes our input and output.”

Reparando
Release Date: On DVD and at festivals this fall
Directors: Scott Owen Moore, Amelia J. Moore
Subject matter: Guatemalan slums. Guatemala’s Civil War sent many orphaned children to the streets. Some of those victims are now bringing hope to the slum of La Limonada. Reparando tells their story, and 80% of the proceeds will go to Guatemalan NGOs.

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