Movies

doc talk | peter keough

Tough times for Captain Picard

Patrick Stewart, who portrayed Captain Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Patrick Stewart, who portrayed Captain Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Who would have suspected that behind the scenes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — with its sleek, disciplined Enterprise helmed by Patrick Stewart’s dome-pated, nerves-of-steel Captain Picard, with a crew including the whey-faced android Data (who probably has real nerves of steel) and the Klingon all macho Worf — turmoil raged. So claims “William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge,” a documentary about the making of the 1987-1994 TV series. Is this Captain Kirk’s sour grapes talking, or was it indeed a horror-show lorded over by a moribund, megalomaniacal Gene Roddenberry? See for yourself on Aug. 1 when the film will be available to rent or own on all major digital platforms.

Moving Images

This year the LEF Moving Image Fund has divided a total of $30,000 in development grants among six projects by lucky and talented filmmakers.

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They include “Life Without Basketball,” Tim O’Donnell and Jon Mercer’s portrait of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who broke records in high school and in the NCAA Women’s Division I, whose career ended because of a controversial ruling; “(The Empty Sign),” Kathryn Ramey’s cinema essay about the impact of a US air base in Puerto Rico; “Paternal Rites,” Jules Rosskam’s first-person account of a road trip intended to confront past family trauma; Benjamin Severance’s “The Fight to Run,” in which a disabled vet must travel to Mexico for necessary treatment; Nicole Teeny’s “Only Women,” in which the all-female Hasidic rock band Bullet Proof Stocking restricts its listeners to the title audience; and Christine Thompson and Jacqueline Goss’s “Hart’s Location,” about the tiny New Hampshire town that casts the first ballots in the New Hampshire primary.

Congratulations and the best of luck to all.

Go to www.lef-foundation.org.

Tough act to follow

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Take a break from the upcoming Newport Jazz Festival to watch “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” Liz Garbus’s highly praised documentary about the sui generis chanteuse, civil rights activist, and human train wreck. The director will introduce the film at 8:15 p.m. for this outdoor screening at Doris Duke’s Rough Point, 680 Bellevue Ave., Newport, R.I., and will be on hand afterward for a Q&A.

Go to www.newportfilm.com.

Singing the blues

Somewhere within a triangle bounded by the cartoony Abilify ads, Signe Baumane’s surreal black comic “Rocks in My Pockets” (2014), and the Pixar hit “Inside Out,” lies “My Depression (The Up and Down and Up of It).” Perhaps that’s not a bad place to be. Robert Marianetti and David Wachtenheim’s have adapted Elizabeth Swados’s autobiographical graphic novel about the title malady into a kind of an animated musical comedy documentary with allegorical overtones. Swados knows the subject well, having suffered from depression since childhood. Nonetheless, she’s managed a 30-year career as stage director, composer, and writer, creating such hits as “Runaways” and the 2015 premiere of “The Nomads,” while winning five Tony Award nominations, three Obie Awards, and a Guggenheim fellowship.

“My Depression” is available from HBO on demand until Aug. 9.

Go to www.hbo.com/documentaries/my-depression-the-up-and-down-and-up-of-it.html.

Peter Keough can be reached at petervkeough@gmail.com.
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