Doc ‘Clarence Clemons: Who Do I think I Am?’ Coming to Disc and Digital Aug. 13 From MVD and Virgil

The Virgil Films documentary Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am?, about one of the most famous saxophone players in the world, is coming Aug. 13 in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from MVD Entertainment Group. The film will also be released on Digital HD Aug. 13 from Virgil.

After Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s marathon “Rising Tour” came to an end in 2003, Clemons felt like he needed a break. Though the world knew him as The Big Man and a lifetime member of the E Street Band, there was also a deeply spiritual side to Clemons, so he packed up his saxophone and journeyed to China, where he could be more or less a nameless traveler in a foreign land. Following him was director, friend and photographer Nick Mead, who documented the musician’s transcendent awakening overseas. Once Clemons returned to the States, Mead decided to keep the cameras rolling, which is when tragedy struck. While in Florida, Clemons suffered a stroke and passed away.

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With the help of producer Joe Amodei, the film became more than just a document of the musician’s spiritual journey, it became a biography of his life and a love letter and farewell from those who knew him best.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work with Nick Mead on this project. Clarence was a true Big Man! His spirituality rose to the top of every interview we conducted.” said producer Amodei in a statement.

Featuring interviews with President Bill Clinton, Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Jake Clemons, and former band mates, friends and close family members, Who Do I Think I Am? documents Clemons’s life as a musician and member of the E Street band while also presenting another side of the man not many knew offstage.

Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am? (OFFICIAL THEATRICAL TRAILER) from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

Doc ‘Hot Doug’s: The Movie’ Due on DVD, Digital and VOD June 25 From Random Media

The documentary Hot Doug’s: The Movie is coming to DVD, digital and VOD June 25 from Random Media and Markos Films.

The film follows chef Doug Sohn, who has a love of “encased meats” and a desire to create a sausage superstore. Hot Doug’s opened in 2001 and quickly became a phenomenon, ushering in the era of gourmet-casual dining and attracting fans from around the world, including Anthony Bourdain, who included it as “one of the 13 places to eat before you die.’’  Love for Doug and his crew, who operated like family, made the restaurant an institution, with fans waiting in line for hours to try culinary delicacies that transcended the average hot dog, made with ingredients including foie gras, venison, curry pork and escargot and bearing names such as The Joe Strummer, The Anna Kendrick and The Elvis.

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The film follows Sohn from being at the top of his game to a decision to close his restaurant at the height of its popularity, after 13 years in business.

Hot Doug’s: the Movie – Trailer from Christopher Markos on Vimeo.

 

Documentary ‘Brave Girls’ Coming to DVD and Digital June 4 From Virgil

Brave Girls, a documentary about Indian women trying to break free from cultural traditions, is coming to DVD, Digital HD and VOD June 4 from Virgil Films.

Directed by Ellie Walton and Yashaswi Desai, the film portrays three young Indian women in a conservative Muslim town seeking to change their futures through education and self-determination. For Karishma, Apsana and Samira, going back to school to complete their secondary education represented a seismic shift in worldview and a reappraisal of what their lives could become.

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But as final exams approached, their families began preparations for their weddings. Immediately, they were forced to choose between their evolving dreams and their obligations to their community. Apsana broke her arranged engagement the day before her wedding to continue her education; Karishma made an unthinkable choice by running away and marrying a forbidden love; Samira accepted her fate and married as was expected of her, leaving her family behind. These stories combined show the complexity that emerges on the path to self-determination within a conservative, Muslim town in Gujarat, India.

Documentary ‘Billion Dollar Bully’ Due on DVD, EST and VOD May 21 From Virgil

The documentary Billion Dollar Bully is coming to DVD, EST and VOD May 21 from Virgil Films.

The film is an expose about Yelp, the business rating online service on which consumers can see ratings of everything from restaurants to dentists, plumbers to surgeons. Some small businesses see Yelp’s sales tactic as extortion. Does Yelp genuinely have an interest in helping people support the best local businesses, or are they a pay-to-play advertising platform?

The DVD retails at $19.99.

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‘Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970’ Coming to DVD June 7 From MVD

A previously unreleased benefit concert, Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970 is coming to DVD June 7 From MVD Entertainment Group.

Featuring Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Country Joe McDonald and other luminaries, the tribute concert celebrates the life and work of the legendary folk singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie, whose songs have become part of the bedrock of American life. Three years after Guthrie died of Huntington’s disease in 1967, the California chapter of the Committee to Combat Huntington’s Disease, now known as the Hereditary Disease Foundation, helped stage this concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles to raise funds for Huntington’s research.

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Although the concert took place one night only, four-time Emmy award winner Jim Brown filmed the historic event. Other featured artists include Odetta, Richie Havens, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Earl Robinson and The Band, along with narration by actors Will Geer and Peter Fonda.

Extras include three not previously recorded songs performed by Joan Baez, Odetta and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, as well as concert rehearsal footage and audio interviews with Arlo Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

‘Space Station’ Circulating to 4K UHD From Mill Creek

Space Station, the first cinematic journey to the International Space Station, is soaring to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital combo pack July 9 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

Audiences can experience life in zero gravity aboard the space station in this top-grossing Imax documentary narrated by Tom Cruise that explores the orbiting laboratory where astronauts develop technologies to make possible future voyages to Mars and provide solutions to earthbound problems.

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The release includes one hour of bonus footage, including interviews with Tom Cruise, director Toni Myers and the astronauts aboard and two tours of the station.

 

‘Reinventing Rosalee’ Director Found a Captivating Subject in Her Centenarian Mother

Author and media commentator Lillian Glass didn’t have to look far for the subject of her first film. She had a captivating story in her own family, the life of her centenarian mother, whose experiences and positive attitude offered as much drama and inspiration as a fictional saga.

Her documentary Reinventing Rosalee, about Rosalee Glass, who lives life to the fullest, will come out on digital, VOD and DVD May 7 from Random Media in time for Mother’s Day.

Despite having lost family in the Holocaust and labor camps, among other tragedies, Rosalee started taking piano lessons in her 80s, become a successful actress with a Super Bowl commercial in her 90s and, for her 100th birthday, released a book 100 Years of Wisdom and started an online life advice service. She celebrated her 102nd birthday on Jan. 28, 2019, with recognition by the mayor of Los Angeles and city council.

“It’s a lesson that it’s never too late to live your dream,” said the director of her film.

The documentary recounts both good times and bad in the life of Rosalee, who was sent to a Siberian gulag during World War II and lost her family in the Warsaw ghetto. She also lost two children in those early years, one to starvation and one to tuberculosis.

“I didn’t really realize the impact that the children that she lost had on her,” said her daughter. “It was quite severe.”

The director also found out about other struggles, including how Rosalee survived when her husband had tuberculosis and had to be taken to a hospital in Germany.

“She didn’t have money to see him,” her daughter said. “She took off her bra and made a pattern and started selling brassieres to people and was able to have the fare to go back and forth to see her husband. It’s inspiring, the kind of ingenuity that she had, just amazing strength and fortitude.”

For the documentary, Lillian Glass did extensive research on the fate of her mother’s family. In the Russian archives, she found out that Rosalee’s brother was pulled off a train, sentenced to hard labor and then sent into the Russian Army. That’s where the trail stops.

The rest of the family died in the Warsaw ghetto. The director and her mother visited the location of Rosalee’s former home for the film.

“We went to Poland and gave her relatives, her mother, her father, her sisters, who died in the Warsaw ghetto, an honorable burial, taking their photographs and burying them where they had lived,” the director said. “Her home was no longer there, but the area is, so we kind of buried it where the home would have been…. It was very emotional for her because this was the first time that she was able to grieve the loss of that family that she had.”

To recount Rosalee’s early life, the director had to get creative. “There’s no footage from back then, so one of the fun things I did was that Rosalee’s husband Abraham looked just like Cary Grant when he was younger, so I took a lot of public domain footage of Cary Grant movies and applied them appropriately and then I looked at 1926 Russian films where we got the gulags,” the director recalled.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum also helped her locate some of the footage.

“It was just really a lot of research and having been a professor and a researcher early in my life, I really see that those skill sets are very valuable as a film producer and director,” she said.

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Further tragedy in Rosalee’s senior years, the death of her son in a medical malpractice incident after losing her husband of 60 years, almost broke her spirit.

“She became severely, severely, severely depressed,” her daughter recalled. “Then one day kind of like a miracle happened. She woke up and said, ‘I’m going to live life to the fullest,’ and what she did was like amazing. She started taking tango dancing lessons, piano lessons, tai chi, all these kinds of things she never did before, even an acting class and the acting teacher said she was so good that she should get an agent, which she did, and then she became an actress at 86. At 94, she won a beauty pageant, a senior beauty pageant, won Miss Congeniality in the Senior California Pageant. She then at 97 starred in a Super Bowl commercial, and at 99 wrote this book and at 100, she rode the dogsled in Alaska. At 101, she went to the Cannes Film Festival, and now she’s going to premieres and everything regarding her film.”

The film has won more than 40 awards throughout the world, the director said, and it has also inspired moviegoers.

“One person who saw the film hadn’t spoken to his mother in 10 years,” the director said. “He then picked up the phone and talked to her and immediately made a reservation and flew there the next day. Another brother and sister didn’t talk to both of their parents for many, many years and made up after seeing this film.”

Rosalee’s life is a lesson in hope and having a positive attitude, the director said, noting that her mother harbors no hate as she embarks on new experiences.

“It shows you that it’s never too late to just try things, take risks, live your dream and that bad times don’t last forever,” the director said.

‘Les Miserables,’ Seasons of ‘Finding Your Roots’ and ‘Unforgotten’ Among Disc and Digital Releases From PBS in May

The six-part miniseries Les Miserables, season five of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” and season three of “Masterpiece Mystery!: Unforgotten” are among the titles coming to digital, DVD and Blu-ray from PBS Distribution in May.

Based on Victor Hugo’s masterpiece novel, the drama Les Miserables streets May 21 on Blu-ray, DVD and digital. It stars Dominic West (The Affair, “The Wire”) as Jean Valjean, the most famous fugitive in literature. It also stars David Oyelowo (Selma, Queen of Katwe) as his relentless pursuer Javert; Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply; Love, Rosie) as the tragic seamstress Fantine; Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals) as Cosette; Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Adeel Akhtar (Unforgotten) as Cosette’s cruel overseers; and Josh O’Connor (The Durrells in Corfu) as the student and reluctant revolutionary Marius.

Season five of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” streets May 14 on DVD and digital. The season traces the families of Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei; Emmy and Golden Globe Award winners Laura Linney and S. Epatha Merkerson; actors Michael K. Williams, Chloë Sevigny and Kal Penn; author George R.R. Martin; journalists Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry, Joe Madison and Lisa Ling; bestselling author and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg; TV hosts Seth Meyers and Michael Strahan; artists Marina Abramović and Kehinde Wiley; politicians Marco Rubio, Tulsi Gabbard and Paul Ryan; Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alejandro G, Iñárritu and Michael Moore; and comedians Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman.

Due May 7 on DVD and digital is season three of “Masterpiece Mystery!: Unforgotten.” When human remains are found by a motorway near London, the crime-solving duo Cassie and Sunny are called to the scene. Dogged work leads the team to Hayley Reid, a 16-year-old girl who went missing on the eve of the millennium. The police’s failure to find out what happened to Hayley wrecked her family’s life. Cassie’s compassion makes her determined to correct the mistakes made by the original investigating team — whatever the cost is to herself.

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Coming May 21 on DVD and digital is the two-part docu-drama Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters. Since their brutal murders 100 years ago, the world has been fascinated by Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, the Empress Alexandra. Through the couple’s politically damning, sexually intimate and personally revealing letters, the docu-drama explores Nicholas and Alexandra’s complex love story and the couple’s role in the lead up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to their execution. From their total isolation to their political ineptitude and reliance on Rasputin, the letters chronicle their disastrous leadership in graphic detail.

Nova: Rise of the Rockets streets May 7 on DVD and digital. The show covers the explosion of private companies sparking the development of new technologies and lowering costs to bring space closer than ever. It also explores how NASA is returning to crewed spaceflight, building a rocket more powerful than Saturn V to take us far beyond earth.

Coming May 14 on DVD and digital is Nova: The Next Pompeii. The series joins investigators as they hunt for clues hidden beneath the surface of Italy’s lesser-known volcano, Campi Flegrei, and assess the risk of a new and potentially devastating eruption. The program also follows historians and geologists as they discover the latest evidence of Pompeii’s fiery destruction, unpacking the chain of events that led to the ancient world’s most notorious disaster.

Due May 28 on DVD and digital is Frontline: The Trial of Ratko Mladic. In the aftermath of the brutal wars that decimated Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic was accused of genocide and other war crimes — including the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in July 1995 — considered the worst crime perpetrated on European soil since World War II. After 16 years on the run, Mladic was apprehended and brought to The Hague to stand trial before the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal. The two-hour special goes inside the historic five-year trial, with unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the prosecution and defense teams, as well as to witnesses from both sides who came to present evidence.

Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files debuts May 14 on DVD and digital. The show uncovers the story of the Roman emperor Nero, considered one of history’s greatest criminals — a cruel, insane and brutal ruler. He stands accused of killing his step-brother, his wife and his mother, as well as burning Rome to the ground for his own artistic inspiration. Recent research, modern interpretations of historical sources and new discoveries cast a different light on the accusations levelled at the Roman emperor. The Nero Files investigates Nero’s reign with the help of criminal psychologist Thomas Müller, using “cold case” methodology, asking the question: Did history get it wrong?

Coming May 7 on DVD and digital is Henry IX: The Lost King. The program takes viewers on a journey to investigate the mysterious disappearance from history of a forgotten Scottish prince — Henry Fredrick Stuart. Not many of us know his name but Henry started the British Museum and the Royal Collection and was the first royal prince to back a permanent settlement on American soil in the early 17th century. In this documentary, host Paul Murton brings this forgotten figure from the shadows of history. It’s a detective story that reveals the tragedy of Henry’s lost potential.

The Best of the World’s Greatest, due May 7 on DVD and digital, is a six-part series going on a journey around the planet, revealing the world’s greatest ancient cities, natural wonders, extreme animal encounters, lost cities, journeys and adventures, monuments, and coral islands. Viewers get a chance to explore cities such as Venice, Rio, and Cairo; the islands of Galapagos; Hawaii; and the Maldives. Viewers also explore Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, Mt. Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Grand Canyon. In addition, viewers get up close and personal with killer whales, grizzlies, and silver-backed gorillas, among other animals in the wild.

Korea: The Never-ending War, coming May 14 on DVD and digital, is written and produced by John Maggio and narrated by Korean-American actor John Cho. The documentary sheds new light on the global upheaval that led to the Korean War in 1950, a moment when the Cold War turned hot, and how today that war’s brutal legacy has forced the world into a deadly nuclear showdown. With testimony from the soldiers on the frontlines, civilians caught in the crossfire, political leaders from then and now, journalists, and historians, the film is a comprehensive re-examination of a war that took the lives of tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Koreans.

Music Doc ‘Bachman: Special Edition’ Rolling to Blu-ray and DVD May 10 From MVD

The music documentary Bachman: Special Edition will come out on Blu-ray and DVD May 10 from MVD Entertainment Group and FilmRise.

As a member of The Guess Who, Randy Bachman was part of the first ever No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 by a Canadian band with “American Woman/No Sugar Tonight,” and then topped the Hot 100 again in 1974 with another band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, with “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” Among the other hits Bachman has written or co-written are “These Eyes,” “No Time,” “New Mother Nature,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Let It Ride” and “Roll on Down The Highway.”

The documentary chronicles the life of the 74-year-old rocker, who is still regularly making music and performing. The film follows Bachman as he looks to the past for inspiration from rarely seen footage, pictures and documents that have been stored at the National Archives in Ottawa. It also incorporates present-day interviews with family, management and fellow musicians, touching on everything from Bachman’s childhood to his various rock bands — The Guess Who, Brave Belt, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bachman-Turner — and solo work.

“He was like my biggest influence when I was a kid,” says Neil Young in the film. “Watching him play guitar, he had an amazing sense about the way he played. And the feeling that you got when you listened to him. It was more than just chops.”

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The documentary made its world premiere in Toronto at Hot Docs 2018 before a festival run, and eventual airing in Canada on CBC’s Documentary Channel.

Bonus materials include “Neil Young on Winnipeg,” “Randy’s Crazy Horse,” “Building a Reprise ‘Here Comes the Sun,’” “On Chords,” “Songwriting ‘When No One Knows’” and the theatrical trailer.

Documentary ‘This Is North Preston’ Due on Digital April 23 From Virgil

The documentary This Is North Preston will come out on digital HD April 23 from Virgil Films.

It documents a black community in Canada, which started as a safe haven for escaped slaves, but has more recently been painted as one of the biggest hubs of pimping and human trafficking in the nation. This Is North Preston explores how the town of 4,000 has dealt with generations of pimp culture, violence, economic struggle and constant systemic racism through the eyes of the pimps, trafficking victims, politicians, police and community members looking to change the narrative.

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The film also explores the decades of systemic racism that the town has experienced and continues to experience. While many think racism isn’t a major issue in Canada, it’s still ingrained in everyday life on the east coast from regular citizens to government officials.