The Manor Woodstock Film Festival – Oct. 5, 2013 DOC NYC, New York City Premiere – Nov. 15, 2013 GAT PR Press Summary
Woodstock Film Festival Robin Hood Radio WHDD 91.9 (NPR Affiliate) Interviewed: Shawney Cohen WKZE Radio Interviewed: Shawney Cohen DOC NYC The Jewish Daily Forward Interviewed: Shawney Cohen
Filmmaker Magazine (Reprint of May 25 Hot Docs interview) Interviewed: Shawney Cohen
Woodstock Film Festival Preview Indie Nirvana http://www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/woodstock-film-festivalpreview/Content?oid=2197872 "Often I'm asked, 'Is there a theme to the festival?' and I reply, 'No, never,'—because I don't want to have any preconceived notions. I want the filmmakers to tell us what the themes should be," Blaustein explains. One new genre is the "diary film," a documentary in which the filmmaker is a character, often including her personal life as a subplot in the larger narrative. Audiences are suspicious of the myth of objectivity that once characterized nonfiction films—as are filmmakers. Also, technology has made filmmaking much easier. Magical Universe (see sidebar) was shot for $10,000 over 10 years. Other "diary films" this year are Sick Birds Die Easy, The Manor, American Commune, and The Longest Game.
What Makes a Regional Film Festival Worth Attending? For Woodstock, It's the Casual Vibes Jacqueline Gurgui http://www.indiewire.com/article/what-makes-a-regional-film-festival-worth-attending-for-woodstock-its-thecasual-vibes?page=2
James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE DOCUMENTARY was presented to The Manor, directed by Shawney Cohen and edited by Seth Poulin
Festival Highlight: 2013 Woodstock Film Festival award winners revealed Jacqueline Gurgui http://www.examiner.com/article/festival-highlight-2013-woodstock-film-festival-award-winners-revealed
A wise mentor once said to Maverick Lifetime Achievement Award honoree and celebrated industry talent Peter Bogdanovich that the movies should ‘“begin with a bang and end with a snap.”’ As the 14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival celebrated its second-to-last day with their Maverick Awards Gala hosted at BSP Lounge in Kingston, NY, the applause echoed through the room as winners were announced. Tying the cozy Hudson Valley event of professionals and guests together under the light of rich, ‘fiercely independent’ cinema, the local and film community praised the projects up for recognition. As executive director and co-founder Meira Blaustein said of the works: “Each film has its own unique story and unique way of telling that story.” Keeping to their Woodstock roots in an area where fall rolls in as colorfully as the cinema and people, the Woodstock Film Festival “brings us back to nature,” exclaimed animation juror Signe Baumane. The final screening of the festival will be Jim Mickle’s locally shot rendition of ‘We Are What We Are,’ a story of an exclusively traditional family with a dark and bloody secret, being held late evening October 6 at the Woodstock Playhouse. Here are the winners of the 2013 Woodstock Film Festival: - BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE: ‘The Forgotten Kingdom’ (director Andrew Mudge) - BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: ‘American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs’ (director Grace Lee) - BEST SHORT NARRATIVE: ‘The Earth, the Way I Left It’ (director Jeff Pinilla) - BEST STUDENT SHORT FILM: ‘Above The Sea’ (director Keola Racela) - BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY: ‘Poustinia’ (director Kristian Berg) - BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: ‘The Forgotten Kingston’ (cinematographer Carlos Carvalho) -BEST EDITING of a FEATURE NARRATIVE: ‘The Forgotten Kingdom’ (director and editor Andrew Mudge) - BEST ANIMATION: ‘Feral’ (director Daniel Sousa) - BEST EDITING of a FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: ‘The Manor’ (director Shawney Cohen and editor Seth Poulin)
Visit the festival at www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.
The 25 Best Undistributed Films of 2013 http://www.film.com/movies/the-best-undistributed-films-of-2013
THE MANOR Directed by: Shawney Cohen Screened: Hot Docs Canadian Film Festival
Come for the shocking look at adult entertainment, stay for the insightful examination at lesser-discussed forms of self-destructive behavior. “The Manor” is a heartbreaking documentary about family dysfunction of the highest order. Shawney Cohen is yet another guy who picked up a video camera to shoot his nutty family. His initial peg – the “nice Jewish family” that owns a successful strip club off an Ontario highway – soon tangents into how body image can destroy multiple psyches in a single bound. Cohen’s mother suffers from intense anorexia. His father is morbidly obese. Nobody talks about any of this, even as bones shatter and arteries clog. Family meals are evenings of terror as Mom busies herself to stay away from food and Dad gorges himself. On the fringes are the drug dealers, strippers, mullet-wearing Quebecois and the interloping would-be sister-in-law. (Not only is she not Jewish, she’s a nutritionist!) “The Manor” is a bit of a freakshow, but at its center is a concerned son trying anything to keep his family together. – JH
THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM Among Winners of 2013 Woodstock Film Festival http://www.vimooz.com/woodstock-film-festival/2013-winners-the-forgotten-kingdom
James Lyons Award for Best Editing of a Feature Documentary was presented to THE MANOR, directed by Shawney Cohen and edited by Seth Poulin
Woodstock Film Festival 2013: 'The Forgotten Kingdom' the big winner (videos, schedule) http://www.dailyfreeman.com/article/DF/20131005/NEWS/310059952
"The Manor," directed by Shawney Cohen and edited by Seth Poulin won Best Editing of a Feature Documentary.
Report: 14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival Karen van Meenen http://vsw.org/afterimage/2013/11/05/report/
Woodstock, New York October 2–6, 2013 In The Manor (2013), director Shawney Cohen examines the vagaries of his family in relation to the family’s business, a strip club outside Toronto. In the tradition of such documentaries as Grey Gardens (1975, directed by Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, and David Maysles), Capturing the Friedmans (2003, directed by Andrew Jarecki), and most recently The Queen of Versailles (2012, directed by Lauren Greenfield), we see the raw interactions within Cohen’s family (his father, expanding in girth at four hundred pounds; his mother, contracting to the point of hospitalization at eighty-five pounds; his brother, finding satisfaction in monetary rewards and a girlfriend who dances at the club). Ultimately the story is not merely one of an uncommon family business but of the attendant perils of body image issues and the contradictions of drugs, alcohol, and sex being one’s bread and butter. It is also about universal issues of family strife, questions of loyalty, and the potential for understanding and forgiveness.
Your guide to the Woodstock Film Festival Timothy Malcom http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130927/ENTERTAIN/309270342
How do you measure a film festival? You can do it by the sheer number of films. You can do it by the number of celebrities who attend. If you're to do that for the Woodstock Film Festival, then you'd count more than 100 films, plus a handful of panels, concerts and parties. Then you'd note that Paul Rudd, Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, Stephen Dorff and Peter Bogdanovich are all set to arrive beginning Wednesday in Woodstock. But the true measure of a film festival, if you're talking to Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director Meira Blaustein, is in the community it creates. "I know that when I go to other film fesivals that are good, I then see how so focused ours is, and intimate," she says. "It's very inspiring." Beginning Wednesday the filmmakers and film industry professionals will flood the Town of Woodstock, plus Kingston, Rosendale, Rhinebeck and â€” new this year â€” Saugerties. And over the five days they're in the region, they'll get to know one another and the inviting area we call home. "There's something unique about the Woodstock Film Festival. It has something to do with where we are," says Blaustein. "It's the beauty of the area and it's where we are. The people are so engaged with the arts and so friendly and welcoming; they want to be inspired they want to learn." Learning will be in session with documentaries such as "God Loves Uganda" and "I Am a Visitor in Your World," serious looks at intense world issues. Then there are films such as "The Manor," which looks at a family that owns a strip club. "I find that the documentary filmmaking community is really intelligent," says Blaustein. "They have a really good spine; they care about the world." Care. That's a pretty important word for the Woodstock Film Festival. From the films and filmmakers to the relationships they harvest over five days in Woodstock, care usually rings pretty important.
FIERCELY INDEPENDENT! WFF 2013 MAVERICK AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED Peter Bogdanovich, Mira Nair, and remarkable independent filmmakers highlight night Chandra Knotts http://www.woodstockfilmfestival.com/press/releases/2013_10_maverick_awards.htm Woodstock, NY (Oct. 5, 2013) –The 14th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Gala was held tonight at the historic Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY. The festival, which began Wednesday, Oct. 2, will close on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, celebrating 14 years of exceptional independent film, panels, concerts, events and parties with the best of the indie film world.
James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE DOCUMENTARY was presented to The Manor, directed by Shawney Cohen and edited by Seth Poulin
The Best Little (Dysfunctional Jewish) Strip Club in Toronto Filmmaker Shawney Cohen Turns His Camera on His Family By Sheerly Avni http://forward.com/articles/187606/the-best-little-dysfunctional-jewish-strip-club-in/
It’s one of the most instantly recognizable Jewish narratives of the 20th century: Two high schoolers – one an impoverished immigrant with an Old World accent that 50 years in the New World will be unable to fade, and the other the child of holocaust survivors — meet in the 1970s and fall in love. They marry, they struggle, and eventually they move forward, determined to give their children something bigger and better than what they knew. The Mother cooks and takes care of the house, the Father starts a successful business. One of their two sons seems destined to take it over, while the other seems destined to rebel. And sure enough, it is the rebellious, questioning son who confronts the dark histories that both bind his family together and threaten to tear them apart. Except in this case, the Father’s business is a strip club. And the Son’s bar mitzvah present was a lapdance. Toronto-based filmmaker Shawney Cohen, now 38, has made a sensitive, thoughtful
documentary about his very unusual childhood growing as a child of the Manor, the ‘gentleman’s club’ his father bought when Cohen was just 6 years old. Although the film abounds with colorful characters – an ex-con bar manager, a retired stripper with faded blond hair and an addiction to pills, and the expected coterie of struggling dancers who can’t seem to keep the peace or make it in for their shifts – the two most compelling characters by far are Cohen’s parents, Brenda and Roger. Their house is haunted by something far more scandalous than some naked flesh or battered overnight guests, the scandal of 20th century anti-Semitism. Roger, an obese Israeli/Egyptian immigrant with thick glasses and the charisma of a late-career Oliver Reed, eats almost nonstop as a protest against the hunger he remembers from childhood. Brenda, large-eyed and frail, cooks lavish meals for the family, but weighs only 85 pounds. Both parents have a life of abundance that they don’t know how to enjoy – and two sons who know something is wrong but are not sure what to do about it. “The Manor” will open DOCNYC this Friday night. Shawney Cohen spoke with The Forward by phone a few days ago in Toronto, while preparing for his night shift at managing the bar at the strip club. He spoke candidly about his mother’s illness, his father’s weight, and the complexities of his parents’ 40 year marriage. The Forward: Even now, you work at the club? It’s funny, that’s the most common question I get – are you still working there? People love the fact that I do. I am working on a new film now, and I still do my Sunday and Monday shift and I think it’s great. I’ve never been closer with my family, and yeah absolutely I think the film has really brought us close together. How did your family respond to seeing themselves exposed on the big screen? I didn’t show them anything until a month before it opened at HotDocs, and yeah, that was the longest 80 minutes of my life. But the first thing my mother said to my father immediately after the screening – she looked over at my father and said Roger that’s exactly you. Was it difficult for your mother to see such a private struggle – her anorexia – become public? Growing up, we all knew she wasn’t eating, but that was just Brenda. And then she spent hours talking about it to the camera – how she felt about the club, about her family, about our lives. it was kind of a therapeutic process for her. My grandmother spent five years in Auschwitz, it’s pretty obvious to me that that had a relationship with my mother’s other neuroses and her eating disorder. They say that historical trauma gets passed down from generation to generation. Do you think it was passed down to your mom? Sure, I mean my grandmother spoke about it all quite openly. Once she was just walking down the street in the ghetto with her sister who was the same age, and a Nazi officer saw them – they were walking a poodle. The officers said “I want this dog for my daughter.” He pulled out a gun and shot my grandmother’s sister in the head, and pulled the dog away. I don’t know in what capacity, but yes I think in some ways the Holocaust is related to her condition. And the Manor. You even suggest in the film that your mother got sick because of the strip club. I remember all these ridiculous discussions about it when I was young. It wasn’t easy for my mother, it took some time for her to digest. And she eventually accepted it when the money started pouring in. Suddenly she had a Cadillac and a bigger house and I guess that really helped mask the issue.
Money became an issue in a different way, though. One of the most charged moments in the film is one in which you ask your father to help pay her therapy, and he refuses. What was that about? That’s a harsh scene, and it’s the turning point where you get to not like my father. I almost didn’t put it in. But this idea that you have to help yourself and be the one willing to make the first move is I think very much a part of his fabric, even with my mother. And I will say this: You don’t run a strip club for 30 years without having that sort of hard-nosed pull yourself up from your bootstraps kind of attitude. It can harden you, dealing with Mafioso characters…So he’s always had his back up, and now I think he can’t really differentiate between the people in his family and the people who might be taking advantage of him in other ways. Well, also, it can be a pretty rough environment. In the film you casually mention a car exploding in the parking lot, and then just move on to another subject. Were you exposed to much violence growing up? My father had this rule with the bouncers that worked there that if I ever got hurt or got touched, or if there was a fight and something happened to me, then the nearest bouncer closest to me got fired. So I had this sense of security because of that. Which is sort of annoying because I really wanted to be my own person! You shot intimate footage of your family for three years. Why did your father let you do it? I think there may have been a part of him that thought, Shawney is this kind of a failed filmmaker, he’s still a student, who gives a sh**, let’s just let him film us because this isn’t going anywhere anyway, so who really cares? And when you don’t think the footage is going to go anywhere, you’re just kinda gonna be yourself. You say making the film has brought you all closer together. What have you learned about your family by making it? You know, they still go on vacation together. In many ways they are very much a couple, and yet at times they hate each more than you can imagine. What’s so interesting to me after being in the process of making the film for five years, what I finally learned is that I don’t understand them whatsoever.
All in the Family: Shawney Cohen on The Manor Lauren Wissot http://filmmakermagazine.com/77292-all-in-the-family-shawney-cohenon-the-manor/#.UsxTYGRDudM The following interview was initially published at the time of the film’s world premiere at Hot Docs 2013. This week, The Manor plays as part of DOC NYC. The titular subject referred to in Shawney Cohen’s debut feature has nothing to do with ladies and lords, but with the Cohen family business – a combo strip club/motel in a small Canadian town. And The Manor has nothing to do with in the ins and outs of the sex industry, so to speak, but with the inner workings of the Cohen family, which includes Shawney’s 400-pound father (who bought the place when the director was only six) and 85-pound anorexic mother. Ultimately, the doc’s not so much north-of-the-border, reality TV than a nuanced portrait of a loving yet dysfunctional family, more in the vein of Capturing the Friedmans and Crazy Love.
Filmmaker spoke with the director/son/strip club manager prior to the film’s world premiere today as the opening night feature of this year’s Hot Docs. Filmmaker: So this must feel quite amazing for a first-time filmmaker to open such a big, prestigious film festival. What was the production journey to Hot Docs like? I read somewhere that you pitched at IDFA Forum. Cohen: The journey was unconventional, to say the least. Over the last few years I have been wearing two hats: one of son and strip club manager, and the other of filmmaker. In 2011, we pitched the film at IDFA and it was the first time I showed my footage in any type of public forum. There were a lot of important issue docs being pitched – from global warming to the Egyptian revolution. I remember thinking, “What the hell am I doing here with a family film about a strip club?” I had no idea what to expect, but we ended up winning an award for best roundtable forum pitch and, shortly after, (awarded financing) from the Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Fund. I think it was because The Manor was a refreshing departure from the type of social issue docs broadcasters were expecting. Filmmaker: As someone who’s experienced the sex industry firsthand I’m always delighted to see it depicted authentically, sans the sensationalist bullshit, to get to the more mundane aspects of what is, at heart, a business – or, in your case, a family business. Indeed, this film could have followed a number of storylines. What prompted your decision to remain so narrowly focused on the family and its dynamics, giving very little screen time to the strippers or to the dynamics of the Manor itself? Cohen: I remember the first time I filmed my father. At the time he was close to 400 pounds, smoking a cigar and swearing in Hebrew on the phone in his office. I could barely understand a word he was saying, but he just jumped into the lens. I experimented with shooting other story lines related to the club – strippers, pimps, customers, etc. – but to be honest, their stories just bored the shit out me. For a while I felt directionless, until I filmed my mother. She’s been
struggling with anorexia for years and her addiction was something she would rarely speak about in person. However, the second the camera was pointed in her direction she just opened up – especially about her relationship to my father and her feelings about the strip club. The heart of the film is about my parents. All other story arcs, including the strip club itself, are just a dimension of their relationship. Filmmaker: Watching your parents onscreen I was reminded of Burt and Linda, the eccentric subjects of the documentary Crazy Love. Obviously your father never went to the extreme of blinding and scarring your mother with lye, yet one could read that his emotional abuse is similarly, insidiously increasing her dependence on him (while driving her to a slow suicide). And yet, like with Burt and Linda, it’s nearly impossible to think of one partner existing without the other – either both heal together or neither will. Was turning your lens on your parents at all an attempt to probe the mystery of this complex relationship? Cohen: Good question. During the process of making the film, what I found most interesting is how well my parents actually know each other. When I screened the film for them for the first time, my biggest fear was thinking I may have pushed the boundaries too far and created an extra layer of anger that might be seriously detrimental to their relationship. I was wrong. The first thing my mother said to my father immediately after the screening was, “Roger, that’s exactly how you are,” and then she started to laugh. Despite the emotional abuse, codependence, and all their dysfunctional craziness and addictions, I’ve come to accept they understand each other in a way I never will. They’re currently on an intimate two-week vacation in the Bahamas together.
Filmmaker: Another aspect that makes your strip club story quite unique is that it’s told from the male employer’s point of view rather than from the female employee’s. You, your father and brother feature most prominently in the film. Was it a conscious choice to cast the women in minor roles, so to speak? Cohen: While I help propel the story with my voiceover, this film is told from the perspective of the core nuclear family – a family running a strip club. I often get comments from people who watch the film like, “My family’s been running a bakery for years… I understand where you’re coming from.” Casting The Manor and all characters related to it in a secondary role was a conscious decision. They are the backdrop to the four of us. I will say my mother’s voice is quite prominent in the film, especially in the second and third act. My mother and I spend the least amount of time at the strip club, so some scenes at the Manor may appear to be dominated by my father and brother who are there all the time. Filmmaker: Any future projects currently on your plate? I can see Hollywood come knocking to turn your doc into a reality TV series, though that doesn’t strike me as something a Canadian director would jump at the chance to do. Cohen: I have some ideas in the oven. It’s been a long road and took almost five years to complete The Manor. I want to be absolutely certain my next project is the right fit for me. Funny you mention reality TV… I’ve had a few opportunities to go in that direction. I like Storage Wars as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure I could do that to my family. (Although my dad is addicted to Pawn Stars.)
What to See at DOC NYC by Lauren Wissot http://filmmakermagazine.com/77211-what-to-see-at-doc-nyc/ Wedged between international documentary mega-fests CPH:DOX and IDFA on the festival calendar, this country’s largest documentary film fest DOC NYC might seem a humble affair. (Indeed, the four-year-old DOC NYC is downright cozy and laidback compared to Amsterdam’s industry-driven shindig where making sales often eclipses enjoying the sheer pleasure of cinema.) This year’s lineup features 131 films and events, including 11 world premieres and 9 US premieres – not to mention high-caliber attendees from Noam Chomsky to Michel Gondry, to Sarah Polley and Oliver Stone. Yet several small gems that I’ve written about at prior fests are every bit as worthy of celebration as opening night’s The Unknown Known (even with Errol Morris in attendance to discuss his Donald Rumsfeld doc). So with this in mind, here are five flicks from four categories I urge every doc geek in Gotham not to miss. International Perspectives
The Manor (from my interview with Shawney Cohen about his Hot Docs 2013 opening night feature) The titular subject referred to in Shawney Cohen’s debut feature has nothing to do with ladies and lords, but with the Cohen family business – a combo strip club/motel in a small Canadian town. And The Manor has nothing to do with in the ins and outs of the sex industry, so to speak, but with the inner workings of the Cohen family, which includes Shawney’s 400-pound father (who bought the place when the director was only six) and 85-pound anorexic mother. Ultimately, the doc’s not so much north-of-the-border, reality TV than a nuanced portrait of a loving yet dysfunctional family, more in the vein of Capturing the Friedmans and Crazy Love.
How to Make a Doc about Your Family While Keeping Your Sanity BY SHAWNEY COHEN http://www.indiewire.com/article/how-to-make-a-doc-about-your-family-while-keeping-your-sanity Shawney Cohen is a filmmaker, but he also works at the family business, which wouldn't be so unusual if the business wasn't a small town strip club in Canada. Following in the footsteps of other personal documentarians like Ross McElwee and Doug Block, Cohen delves into the story of his dysfunctional family in his debut feature "The Manor," which opened the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in April and makes its N.Y. premiere at DOC NYC on Friday night.
Cohen spent three years shooting the film and 15 months editing down the more than 200 hours of footage. Of course, he was concerned about the critical response, but more important than the reviews was his family's response. While Cohen's film depicts his family with love and respect, it doesn't gloss over difficult elements, including his father's struggle with obesity, his mother's anorexia and their strained relationship. Here Cohen provides tips on how to make a personal documentary about your family without losing your mind:
Immediately after the lights went up my mother looked directly at my father and whispered, "Roger, that's exactly you." I felt as though a ten thousand-pound weight had been lifted. My family had just watched 'The Manor' in a private screening a few days before the opening night debut at Hot Docs. I'd spent the last five years making a film about our dysfunctional lives. I like to think my parents and my brother accepted the film because it's a truthful and balanced portrait of who we are, and not an exercise in reality show exploitation style filmmaking.
Since that first screening, I don't think I've ever been closer to my parents and brother, who later joined me on stage at the actual premiere. Directing 'The Manor' was easily the most difficult project I've ever taken on and at times it felt like an act of pure insanity, but I'm proud of the end result. Here are a few things I've learned from the process and some advice for any filmmaker thinking about shooting a personal documentary about their own family. What The Hell Am I Doing? Before you begin, admit you will never truly be comfortable with the idea of putting yourself and your family out there for the world to see. I'm certain even the most seasoned filmmakers committed to directing a personal documentary would feel this way. We are filmmakers but we are also human. That occasional voice in your head saying “What the hell am I doing?” is not only healthy for your process, it will push you to make a better, more accurate film.
With material so personal there will undoubtedly be times when you lose perspective and feel adrift. Don’t go it alone. Surround yourself with a supportive crew who will help you stay objective but are also willing to point out the tougher moments you shouldn't shy away from. Take solace in the fact you are not the only filmmaker to ever go through this.
F ind your 'Running Stumbled' Before shooting The Manor, I was at a festival and saw an extraordinary personal doc called "Running Stumbled" directed by John Maringouin. John shows up on Easter Sunday to visit his family after twenty-five years and becomes a catalyst for an all-out war. His parents are pill popping addicts living on the brink of death under a mountain of cat shit in their New Orleans suburban home. I loved the film. It was liberating to see another filmmaker with the courage to film his own dysfunctional family with such grittiness and comedy. The Art of Two Hats If you’re making a personal doc -- especially about your family, you will most likely need to be in the film in some form or another. People want to know you are as much a part of the journey and have just as much to lose as the people you are filming. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your audiences' trust. Understand this puts you in a very complicated position. During the process of making The Manor, I was wearing two hats: one of son and strip-club manager, and the other of director. In Doug Block's "Ten Rules of Personal Documentary Filmmaking," he states: "You're not really you. You're just a character in a story." He is absolutely right. Audiences will always expect a good story, which means all of those universal film conventions that contribute to telling a good story still apply. Personal doc or not, you still need believable character growth, strong structure, and, in my experience, a little self-deprecating humor never hurts. Ethical Editing In my first year of filming "The Manor," I was convinced I needed to shoot everything, no matter how dark the dysfunction. Part of me felt this was the only way to stay objective. When the film eventually began to take shape in the edit, it became obvious some of our footage had the potential to create an extra unintentional layer that may have been seriously detrimental to my parents' relationship. There became a fine balance in choosing the scenes which helped convey a good story but where too exploitative. Editing a personal doc is nerve-racking. When cutting your film, it's very important to make the distinction between your family ethics and your filmmaking ethics. Remember you are the one who needs to live with the people you've documented for the rest of your life.
Watch the trailer for "The Manor" below:
This article also appeared in:
Indiewire Picks 10 Films to Watch at DOC NYC http://www.indiewire.com/article/indiewire-picks-10-films-to-watch-at-doc-nyc
Featuring documentaries about an eclectic mix of subjects: from an unknown photographer and a family-owned strip club to missionaries in Rwanda and the 90s indie film scene, this year's DOC NYC lineup touches on the personal and political. "The films range from profound and mysterious to humorous and sexually provocative," said DOC NYC's artistic director Thom Powers, who also programs for the Toronto International Film Festival and curates DOC Club on SundanceNOW. In its fourth year, DOC NYC, now the largest documentary festival in the U.S., will host panels and events featuring Errol Morris, Sarah Polley, Oliver Stone, Michel Gondry, Ricki Lake, Jonathan Franzen, Grace Lee Boggs, Jehane Moujaim and other filmmakers. With such a wealth of rich material, it wasn't easy to pare down the list of 132 films being shown at DOC NYC to these 10 titles and they are by no means the only films worth seeing. Check out the full list of films screening at DOC NYC, which runs from November 14-21, here. Here Are 10 Films to Watch at DOC NYC: "The Manor" Sure, it's ostensibly about the eponymous strip club (The Manor) and the family who owns it, but don't go into this doc expecting glitzy sensationalism and lap dances. Shawney Cohen's heartfelt portrait of his dysfunctional Canadian Jewish family -who happens to own and operate a small town strip club -- is about so much more than the sex industry. Although the film, which opened this year's Hot Docs, has some darkly humorous moments, it's more tragic than comic. As his obese father compulsively eats and balloons in size, Cohen's anorexic mother nibbles on lettuce and dwindles away until she's barely there, as the future of The Manor remains unclear and Cohen struggles with his family's legacy. Cohen portrays his family with brutal honesty and enough love that after leaving the theater, you'll undoubtedly be thinking about the Cohen family and wondering how they're faring -- a true sign of a story well told.
Foreign Film Friday: DOC NYC Gabrielle Ewing http://www.travelfreak.com/2013/11/29/foreign-film-friday-doc-nyc/ New York City’s documentary film festival was November 13th-21st! This year DOC NYC was held at the IFC Center and the SVA Theater. DOC NYC feeds society’s need for a more sophisticated and intellectual film experience and as stated on their website, aims to “curate, cross fertilize, cross generations, cultivate new audiences, expand distribution, create social space [and] make the most of NYC.” The festival contains tons of films from all over the world, but here are the best international films we highly recommend seeing!
The Manor- Doc, Canada
This surprisingly hilarious and intimate film gives a portrait of a dysfunctional Jewish family that has run a strip club/motel for a number of years. The director, Shawney Cohen, is thrown in the middle when his family calls him back to help them with the operation. The Manor received a 7.1/10 on IMDb.
The Manor (2013) DOC NYC Steve Kopian http://unseenfilms.blogspot.ca/2013/11/the-manor-2013-doc-nyc.html Shawney Cohen paints a moving portrait of a family who just happens to run a strip club and hotel. The family and family business is his parents and he's involved in the business, at first because he thought it was an easy gig until he got his life together, but then he found it too easy and never really left. I should probably point out right at the start that anyone who is expecting to be thrilled by the prospect of seeing girls in various forms of undress are going to be disappointed. Yea, there are some naked women, but mostly it's the clothed family trying to run the business, deal with employee problems, health issues and everything that comes up in the course of just living and running a business. To be honest the film completely blindsided me. It was not what I expected. I was not expecting to either like the film as much as I did, nor was I expecting to like the family as much as I did. Somewhere in the gruffness of the bad, the eating problems of the mom and the showy ways of the brother I found a family I could relate to. This is not a family that is ultimately any different than most others I know except they run a gentleman's club, and even that isn't the focus here. I honestly don't know what to say beyond that. Its not that I don't have more to say, rather I'd rather you go and meet the Cohens and let them take you in. This really is a film that I don't want to spoil by telling you everything that happens, because the joy in the film is finding that what happens is not what you expect. Easily one of the best films at this years DOC NYC. Look for it to show up on one of my end of the year lists. The film plays Friday night at the IFC Center and is a must see.
2013 DOC NYC in Focus: International Perspectives Basil Tsiokos http://whatnottodoc.com/2013/11/01/2013-doc-nyc-in-focus-internationalperspectives/
DOC NYCâ€˜s next section, International Perspectives, gives audiences the opportunity to take a virtual trip around the world, from Jamaica to China, Senegal to Israel THE MANOR Director: Shawney Cohen NYC PREMIERE The director returns to the fold of his dysfunctional family, which runs a strip club in their small Ontario hometown. Followed by a Q&A with the director and executive producer. My previous coverage may be found here.
Publicity handled GAT PR