My annual trip to the LA Film Festival generally coincides with my annual trip to downtown LA. That's about all I can handle in terms of driving across town. The metro line extension can't come soon enough.
This year's sojourn included two great docs: Our Nixon, an all-archival work compiled from hundreds of hours of Super 8 home movies filmed during Richard Nixon's administration by his close aides (and ultimately, Watergate fall guys) H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman and Dwight Chapin. The FBI seized them 40 years ago and they sat forgotten for decades. I'm a Watergate/'70s-era junkie and this film provides a fascinating, intimate record of a complex presidency with a real cast of characters.
The second doc, Casting By, profiles legendary casting pioneer Marion Dougherty and the struggles of the unsung heroes of the entertainment industry to gain well-deserved recognition. Having some small experience in this area, I really enjoyed learning about Dougherty's work and the tremendous, game-changing influence that she had on filmmaking, the casting process and the careers of actors including Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford and so many more. HBO will be airing it in August as part of its summer doc series, so catch it if you can.
Here's to a hot summer of cool docs!