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Pure Nonfiction Documentary Podcast by Thom Powers

Pure Nonfiction Documentary Podcast

by Thom Powers

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If you enjoy watching the latest and greatest documentaries, then you might want to listen to the Pure Nonfiction Podcast. The podcast is hosted by Thom Powers, who is the artistic director of the DOC NYC Festival, and the documentary curator for the Toronto International Film Festival and SundanceNow Doc Club. Powers interviews documentary filmmakers who've directed some of the most popular current documentaries including interviews with Morgan Spurlock, Steve James, Errol Morris, Alex Gibney, and Barbara Kopple. He also conducts interviews with some the all-time greatest documentary filmmakers including Agnes Varda, Frederick Wiseman, D.A. Pennebaker, Jonathan Demme (about his documentary work), and the great Werner Herzog. You'll hear interviews about superb recent documentaries like Making a Murderer, O.J.: Made in America, I Am Not Your Negro on the life and time of James Baldwin, and Weiner about politician Anthony Weiner. With so many amazing documentaries available on streaming platforms now such as Netflix, this podcast will help you find ones that interest you most and will also provide more insight into documentaries you have already seen. With 50 podcast episodes available, this podcast is definitely one of the best film podcasts out there.


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  • PN 66: Attorney Gloria Allred on “Seeing Allred”
    Thu, Feb 15, 2018

    The lawsuit “Summer Zervos v. Donald Trump” is among the high profile cases handled by attorney Gloria Allred. The Netflix film “Seeing Allred,” directed by Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman, explores the history of the 76-year-old lawyer, known for her work with women, LGBT and other minority clients. On February 6, Allred sat for a […]

    The post PN 66: Attorney Gloria Allred on “Seeing Allred” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 65: Sam Pollard on Sammy Davis Jr, Spike Lee & St. Clair Bourne
    Thu, Feb 08, 2018

    Sam Pollard reflects on collaborating with Spike Lee, Henry Hampton and St. Claire Bourne; and on directing his latest film “Sammy Davis Jr: I Gotta Be Me.” Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Pollard at TIFF Doc Conference in September 2017. You can watch an extended version of this interview at TIFF Originals on YouTube. […]

    The post PN 65: Sam Pollard on Sammy Davis Jr, Spike Lee & St. Clair Bourne appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 64: First Person Documentary with Yance Ford, Bryan Fogel & Jeff Orlowski
    Thu, Feb 01, 2018

    Directors Yance Ford (“Strong Island”), Bryan Fogel (“Icarus”) and Jeff Orlowski (“Chasing Coral”) each put themselves on camera in different ways. The three filmmakers sat down with Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers at the DOC NYC festival last November to discuss how they chose their first person approach. In “Strong Island,” Ford investigates the 1992 […]

    The post PN 64: First Person Documentary with Yance Ford, Bryan Fogel & Jeff Orlowski appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 63: Tabitha Jackson + 2018 Sundance Preview
    Tue, Jan 16, 2018

    The Sundance Film Festival is always a great place for documentary discoveries. This year features new films about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Fred Rogers, Imagine Dragons, Kronos Quartet and more. Pure Nonfiction founders Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen have gotten an early look at several Sundance premieres and have 11 recommendations. Even if you won’t be […]

    The post PN 63: Tabitha Jackson + 2018 Sundance Preview appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 62: Errol Morris, Brett Morgen & Ceyda Torun on Documentary Style
    Thu, Jan 11, 2018

    From “Wormwood” to “Jane” to “Kedi,” documentary directors are making bold stylistic choices. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers led a discussion titled “Finding the Style For the Story” at the DOC NYC festival in November 2017. The guests are filmmakers Ceyda Torun (“Kedi”), Brett Morgen (“Jane”) and Errol Morris (“Wormwood”). They discuss how they achieve […]

    The post PN 62: Errol Morris, Brett Morgen & Ceyda Torun on Documentary Style appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 61: Jennifer Brea on “Unrest”
    Thu, Dec 21, 2017

    The Oscar Documentary Feature Short List of 15 films includes the underdog entry “Unrest” by first time director Jennifer Brea. Her film explores the disease commonly known as “chronic fatigue syndrome” – a name many patients resent as misleading. The official name is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or M.E. Jennifer contracted the disease in her late 20s […]

    The post PN 61: Jennifer Brea on “Unrest” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 60: Alex Gibney & Blair Foster on “Rolling Stone”
    Fri, Dec 15, 2017

    John Lennon, Tina Turner, Hunter Thomspon and Annie Leibovitz are among the many figures covered in the new 2-part HBO documentary “Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge.” Filmmakers Alex Gibney and Blair Foster talk to Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers about telling the magazine’s 50-year history. The conversation also touches upon “Sticky Fingers,” the recent […]

    The post PN 60: Alex Gibney & Blair Foster on “Rolling Stone” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 59: Yance Ford on “Strong Island”
    Thu, Nov 30, 2017

    Winner of the Gotham Awards for Best Documentary, “Strong Island” investigates the 1992 killing of filmmaker Yance Ford’s brother William in Long Island. With a black victim and a white shooter, race was a key factor in the case. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to Yance about how the Ford family felt betrayed by […]

    The post PN 59: Yance Ford on “Strong Island” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 58: Brett Morgen on Jane Goodall
    Mon, Nov 06, 2017

    Jane Goodall is the subject of the new documentary “Jane” that draws upon rediscovered footage from the 1960s capturing her early work with chimpanzees. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to “Jane” director Brett Morgen at TIFF Doc Conference about the challenges of making the film and working with composer Philip Glass. Brett Morgen’s films […]

    The post PN 58: Brett Morgen on Jane Goodall appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 57: DOC NYC Preview
    Thu, Oct 26, 2017

    Eric Clapton, Susan Sarandon, Dan Rather are among over 300 special guests coming to the 8th annual DOC NYC festival, running from November 9-16. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers is the festival’s artistic director. On his episode, he interviews his colleagues Raphaela Neihausen and Basil Tsiokos to guide listeners through the bounty of films and […]

    The post PN 57: DOC NYC Preview appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 56: Agn?s Varda & JR on “Faces Places”
    Thu, Oct 19, 2017

    Winner of the Cannes Golden Eye Documentary Award, “Faces Places” is a wondrous collaboration between the 89-year-old Agnès Varda and the 34-year-old street artist known as JR. In the film, they visit small towns in France, creating mural projects that celebrate workers on farms, docks and factory grounds. We also witness the deepening of their […]

    The post PN 56: Agnès Varda & JR on “Faces Places” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 55: Frederick Wiseman – From “Titicut Follies” to “Ex Libris”
    Wed, Sep 06, 2017

    “Ex Libris – The New York Public Library” is that latest film from documentary master Frederick Wiseman. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of his first film “Titicut Follies” set at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to Wiseman about both those films and others in […]

    The post PN 55: Frederick Wiseman – From “Titicut Follies” to “Ex Libris” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 54: TIFF 2017 Documentary Preview Part 2 of 2
    Fri, Sep 01, 2017

    Agnes Varda, Drake, and Cary Grant all get name-checked as Thom Powers and Dorota Lech continue their discussion of documentaries at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). They preview film clips being made public for the first time. The films discussed in order of mention are: Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (d. […]

    The post PN 54: TIFF 2017 Documentary Preview Part 2 of 2 appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 53: TIFF 2017 Documentary Preview Part 1 of 2
    Wed, Aug 30, 2017

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place September 7-17, 2017. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers is the festival’s documentary programmer. On this episode, he’s joined by his colleague Dorota Lech to discuss the line-up and preview film clips being made public for the first time. The films discussed in this episode in order of […]

    The post PN 53: TIFF 2017 Documentary Preview Part 1 of 2 appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 52: Playwright Dominique Morisseau on “Detroit ’67,” “Pipeline,” “Shameless” & more
    Thu, Jul 27, 2017

    While Detroit is in the headlines for the 50th anniversary of its darkest days, we focus on one of its brightest new storytellers, playwright Dominique Morisseau. Pure Nonfiction host (and Detroit native) Thom Powers talks to Morisseau about her breakthrough play “Detroit ’67,” her new work “Pipeline” at Lincoln Center, writing for Showtime’s “Shameless” and […]

    The post PN 52: Playwright Dominique Morisseau on “Detroit ’67,” “Pipeline,” “Shameless” & more appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 51: Errol Morris & Elsa Dorfman on “The B-Side”
    Thu, Jul 13, 2017

    Portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman has worked for several decades on Polaroid’s rare 20″ x 24” format camera. She had a loyal clientele in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but was hardly known outside. Now she is the subject of Errol Morris’ new film “The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography.” Morris and his wife Julia are longtime friends of […]

    The post PN 51: Errol Morris & Elsa Dorfman on “The B-Side” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 50: D.A. Pennebaker on “Monterey Pop” at 50
    Thu, Jun 22, 2017

    Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and The Who are among the classic acts captured by D.A. Pennebaker in “Monterey Pop.” Now for the 50th anniversary of the concert, the film is being released in a new 4k restoration by The Criterion Collection and Janus Films. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviewed Pennebaker along with […]

    The post PN 50: D.A. Pennebaker on “Monterey Pop” at 50 appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 49: Steve James From “Hoop Dreams” to “Abacus”
    Thu, May 18, 2017

    New York’s Chinatown is the backdrop for Steve James’ latest documentary “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” He follows a David vs Goliath legal tale about the Chinese-American family behind a small bank defending themselves against an aggressive prosecution. In Part 1 of this episode, Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to James about his breakthrough […]

    The post PN 49: Steve James From “Hoop Dreams” to “Abacus” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 48: HBO’s Sheila Nevins on Seductions, Heartbreaks & Her New Book
    Thu, May 11, 2017

    Meryl Streep, Audra McDonald and Glenn Close are among many esteemed performers who read stories on the audio version of Sheila Nevins’ new quasi-memoir “You Don’t Look Your Age…And Other Fairy Tales.” Nevins has served for 35 years overseeing HBO Documentary Films. Now she reveals tales from her own life covering childhood, seduction, heartbreak, feminism, […]

    The post PN 48: HBO’s Sheila Nevins on Seductions, Heartbreaks & Her New Book appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 47: Jonathan Demme & Ren?e Shafransky on Spalding Gray
    Thu, May 04, 2017

    “Swimming to Cambodia,” the 1987 film directed by Jonathan Demme, had a rippling influence. It laid the path for a kind of first person storytelling that today is widespread from “This American Life” to “The Moth.” The film is deceptively simple: monologuist Spalding Gray sits behind a desk and tells a stream of consciousness story […]

    The post PN 47: Jonathan Demme & Renée Shafransky on Spalding Gray appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 46: Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer & Ronna Gradus on “Hot Girls Wanted”
    Thu, Apr 27, 2017

    Sex and technology are the focus of the new Netflix series “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On.” Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews the series’ creators Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus. They previously made the similarly titled feature documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” about young women entering the world of amateur porn. Bauer and Gradus […]

    The post PN 46: Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer & Ronna Gradus on “Hot Girls Wanted” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 45: Matt Tyrnauer on “Citizen Jane”
    Thu, Apr 20, 2017

    Jane Jacobs, author of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” changed the way we think of urban planning. Matt Tyrnauer’s new documentary “Citizen Jane” tells the story of her epic battles with New York power broker Robert Moses. On this episode, Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Tyrnauer about the film and his […]

    The post PN 45: Matt Tyrnauer on “Citizen Jane” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 44: From Indiana Jones to Guatemala’s Civil War – Frank Marshall & Ryan Suffern
    Thu, Apr 13, 2017

    “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Jurassic World” and “Sully” are among Frank Marshall’s stellar producing credits. Now his company Kennedy/Marshall has a documentary division. Their latest film is “Finding Oscar” about the search for a boy who survived an infamous 1982 massacre in Guatemala’s civil war in the jungle hamlet of Dos Erres. The film’s […]

    The post PN 44: From Indiana Jones to Guatemala’s Civil War – Frank Marshall & Ryan Suffern appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 43: Laurent Bouzereau & Mark Harris on “Five Came Back”
    Thu, Apr 06, 2017

    Steven Spielberg is the executive producer for the new 3-part Netflix series “Five Came Back” about the Hollywood directors who put their fiction careers on hold during World War II as they went to make propaganda documentaries for the U.S. government. The five were Frank Capra, John Ford, William Wyler, George Stevens and John Huston. […]

    The post PN 43: Laurent Bouzereau & Mark Harris on “Five Came Back” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 42: Made in Miami – Billy Corben & Alfred Spellman on “Cocaine Cowboys”
    Thu, Mar 30, 2017

    “Cocaine Cowboys” is a cult classic exploring the 1980s drug trade in Miami. Packaged like a gangster film, the documentary links the criminal underworld to the city’s real estate boom. On this episode of Pure Nonfiction, host Thom Powers interviews “Cocaine Cowboys” director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman during the 2017 Miami Film Festival. […]

    The post PN 42: Made in Miami – Billy Corben & Alfred Spellman on “Cocaine Cowboys” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 41: Danae Elon on “P.S. Jerusalem”
    Thu, Mar 23, 2017

    Danae Elon’s latest film “P.S. Jerusalem” is a first person account of moving back to the city of her childhood after living abroad for 17 years. A key presence in the film is her late father Amos Elon who was a widely read author of books and essays on Israel. Before his death in 2009, […]

    The post PN 41: Danae Elon on “P.S. Jerusalem” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 40: “True South” – Jon Else on Henry Hampton & “Eyes on the Prize”
    Thu, Mar 16, 2017

    “Eyes on the Prize” is a landmark documentary series chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. Debuting on public television in 1987, it remains just as riveting 30 years later. Now the making of the series is covered in a new book called “True South” by the filmmaker-turned-author Jon Else. He gives a vivid […]

    The post PN 40: “True South” – Jon Else on Henry Hampton & “Eyes on the Prize” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 39: Marina Zenovich on Roman Polanski & California’s water crisis
    Thu, Mar 02, 2017

    “Chinatown” created a mythology out of California’s water politics. Now Marina Zenovich investigates a modern version of that story in her documentary “Water & Power: A California Heist” airing on National Geographic. Her film, executive produced by Alex Gibney, draws upon the reportage of journalist Mark Arax, questioning the collusion between California politicians and Big […]

    The post PN 39: Marina Zenovich on Roman Polanski & California’s water crisis appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 38: Clay Tweel on “Gleason”
    Thu, Feb 23, 2017

    New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason became a sports hero one year after Hurricane Katrina when he blocked a kick that became a symbol of the city’s comeback. In 2011, he announced he had ALS – known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – that typically causes death in two to five years. The documentary “Gleason” […]

    The post PN 38: Clay Tweel on “Gleason” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 37: Oscar Nominees for Documentary Feature
    Thu, Feb 16, 2017

    Hear the five Oscar nominated directors for Documentary Feature. We present highlights from our past interviews with filmmakers Roger Ross Williams (“Life, Animated”), Gianfranco Rosi (“Fire at Sea”), Ava DuVernay (“13th”), Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”), and Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”). Want to hear even more? Listen to these episodes: Ezra […]

    The post PN 37: Oscar Nominees for Documentary Feature appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 36: John Heilemann on “Trumped”
    Thu, Feb 09, 2017

    John Heilemann, the veteran political reporter, is one of three creators – along with Mark Halperin and Mark McKinnon – of the new Showtime documentary “Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time.” The project draws upon their reportage from the weekly series “The Circus” that spanned the entire campaign season over 26 episodes. […]

    The post PN 36: John Heilemann on “Trumped” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 35: Syrian Filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia In Exile
    Thu, Feb 02, 2017

    Before Trump’s travel ban for Syrians, we sat down with Orwa Nyrabia at the Sundance Film Festival where he was attending workshops. Three years ago, he produced “Return to Homs,” directed by Talal Derki, about the resistance movement in his hometown. The film won Sundance’s Jury Prize for World Documentary and is now available on […]

    The post PN 35: Syrian Filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia In Exile appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 34: Island President Mohamed Nasheed in Exile
    Thu, Jan 26, 2017

    The Sundance Film Festival is always full of surprises. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers begins this episode with reflections on the 2017 festival and the real-life characters who passed through it. The center of the episode is a wide-ranging interview with Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, who was profiled in the 2011 […]

    The post PN 34: Island President Mohamed Nasheed in Exile appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 33: Inside Sundance with Josh Braun
    Wed, Jan 18, 2017

    The Sundance Film Festival remains a hot spot for launching documentary films. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers got an early look at several films premiering at the festival. In Part One of the podcast, he previews prominent trends from the U.S. Documentary Competition represented by the films “Trophy”, “The Force” and “Strong Island”; and notable […]

    The post PN 33: Inside Sundance with Josh Braun appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 32: Laura Poitras & Henrik Moltke on Project X
    Thu, Jan 12, 2017

    What mystery lies behind the windowless building in Manhattan at 33 Thomas Street? In the short documentary “Project X,” Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”) teams with journalist Henrik Moltke to explore the building’s secrets. The film employs the voices of actors Rami Malek and Michelle Williams reading from NSA documents in the Snowden archives. Now […]

    The post PN 32: Laura Poitras & Henrik Moltke on Project X appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 31: Race, History, Trump & Documentary
    Fri, Dec 02, 2016

    Bryan Stevenson, Raoul Peck & Ezra Edelman took part in a panel titled “American Histories,” moderated by Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers. It took place at the DOC NYC festival just three days after Donald Trump was elected President. The discussion covers three films – “I Am Not Your Negro,” directed by Peck; “OJ: Made […]

    The post PN 31: Race, History, Trump & Documentary appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 30: Madam President: Sheila Nevins on HBO Documentary Films
    Wed, Nov 09, 2016

    Sheila Nevins is a lover and a fighter. When she joined HBO in its early years, the label “documentary” evoked something educational. She turned it into something entertaining with her passion and tenacity. In this wide ranging interview with host Thom Powers, Nevins discusses her early days working with the Maysles brothers, her forays into […]

    The post PN 30: Madam President: Sheila Nevins on HBO Documentary Films appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 29: Werner Herzog on “Into the Inferno”
    Thu, Nov 03, 2016

    Volcanoes are the focus of Werner Herzog’s new film “Into the Inferno,” now playing on Netflix. He teams with volcanologist Dr. Clive Oppenheimer (author of “Eruptions that Shook the World”) to visit volcanoes in the South Pacific, Indonesia, Iceland, North Korea and beyond. They first met at the top of Antarctica’s volcano Mt Erebus during […]

    The post PN 29: Werner Herzog on “Into the Inferno” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 28: Gianfranco Rosi on “Fire at Sea”
    Thu, Oct 27, 2016

    Winner of the Berlin Film Festival’s top jury prize in 2016, “Fire at Sea” takes place on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Located near the African coast, Lampedusa is a prime destination for refugees traveling by boat. Filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi spent months filming with residents of the island and on board an Italian Navy ship […]

    The post PN 28: Gianfranco Rosi on “Fire at Sea” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 27: Morgan Spurlock & Jeremy Chilnick on “Rats”
    Thu, Oct 20, 2016

    After “Super Size Me,” director Morgan Spurlock teamed with producer Jeremy Chilnick to form the production company Warrior Poets. Their latest film is “Rats,” based on the book by Robert Sullivan, conceived as a nonfiction horror movie. The film uses New York exterminator Ed Sheehan as a fountain of knowledge about vermin as it examines […]

    The post PN 27: Morgan Spurlock & Jeremy Chilnick on “Rats” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 26: Ava DuVernay on 13th
    Thu, Oct 13, 2016

    Selma director Ava DuVernay has a new documentary on Netflix called 13th. The title comes from the Constitution’s 13th amendment that abolished slavery with the loophole clause “except as a punishment for a crime.” The film explores American history to follow the path from the 13th amendment to our current criminal justice system and its […]

    The post PN 26: Ava DuVernay on 13th appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 25: Directing “Amanda Knox”
    Thu, Oct 06, 2016

    Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, the directors of “Amanda Knox,” discuss their five-year effort to bring the story to Netflix. Knox was a Seattle college student studying for a year abroad in Perugia, Italy. In 2007, her British roommate Meredith Kercher was found murdered in their apartment. Local prosecutor Giuliano Mignini accused Knox and her […]

    The post PN 25: Directing “Amanda Knox” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 24: Kirsten Johnson on “Cameraperson”
    Thu, Sep 29, 2016

    Laura Poitras and Michael Moore are only two of many filmmakers who have turned to the skills of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Now Johnson has directed her own film “Cameraperson.” It’s a kind of memoir of her past 25 years shooting documentaries. “It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before,” wrote A.O. Scott in his New York Times […]

    The post PN 24: Kirsten Johnson on “Cameraperson” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 23: Demme on Talking Heads, Neil Young & Justin Timberlake
    Fri, Sep 23, 2016

    Jonathan Demme is receiving a retrospective this fall at the Stranger Than Fiction screening series at New York’s IFC Center. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers leads this conversation with Demme about his concert films with Talking Heads, Neil Young and Justin Timberlake. Demme shares behind the scenes details of “Stop Making Sense,” “Neil Young: Heart […]

    The post PN 23: Demme on Talking Heads, Neil Young & Justin Timberlake appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 22: Nanette Burstein Investigates John McAfee
    Thu, Sep 22, 2016

    “Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee” explores the murky history of the anti-virus software pioneer who moved to the jungle of Belize and lived out a modern Heart of Darkness. After his neighbor Greg Faull was found murdered in 2012, Belize police sought McAfee for questioning. He fled the country and returned to prominence […]

    The post PN 22: Nanette Burstein Investigates John McAfee appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 21: Raoul Peck on James Baldwin
    Thu, Sep 15, 2016

    “I Am Not Your Negro,” directed by Raoul Peck and based on the writings of James Baldwin, made the list of Rolling Stone’s “25 Movies We Can’t Wait to See” at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). This past week, the audience reception at the world premiere met those expectations. The film was acquired for […]

    The post PN 21: Raoul Peck on James Baldwin appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 20: Women Directors at #TIFF16
    Fri, Sep 09, 2016

    “Girl Unbound” and “Karl Marx City” are among the documentaries directed by women making their world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Pure Nonfiction host and TIFF documentary programmer Thom Powers talks to both directors. In “Girl Unbound,” filmmaker Erin Heidenreich makes her feature-length debut profiling the Pakistani squash player Maria Toorpakai Wazir […]

    The post PN 20: Women Directors at #TIFF16 appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 19: New Docs on True Crime
    Thu, Sep 08, 2016

    “The Skyjacker’s Tale” and “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” are two new docs on crime and justice making their world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Pure Nonfiction host and TIFF documentary programmer Thom Powers talks to both directors. In “The Skyjacker’s Tale,” filmmaker Jamie Kastner profiles Ishmael Muslim Ali (aka Ishmael Labeet) […]

    The post PN 19: New Docs on True Crime appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 18: Jazz Legends on Screen
    Thu, Sep 01, 2016

    Trumpet player Lee Morgan was murdered at age 33. Saxophonist John Coltrane died of cancer at age 40. Now both these jazz greats are the subjects of ambitious new documentaries. Thom Powers interviews the filmmakers Kasper Collin (“I Called Him Morgan”) and John Scheinfeld (“Chasing Trane”) as we begin Season Two of Pure Nonfiction. “I […]

    The post PN 18: Jazz Legends on Screen appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • Season Two Preview
    Thu, Aug 25, 2016

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is just two weeks away. Pure Nonfiction will have extensive coverage of documentaries premiering at the festival. In this preview of the podcast’s Season Two, host Thom Powers samples upcoming conversations with filmmakers John Scheinfeld (Chasing Trane), Steve James (Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), and Petra Epperlein (Karl Marx […]

    The post Season Two Preview appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 17: Barbara Kopple – From Harlan County to Sharon Jones
    Thu, Jul 28, 2016

    Two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple is back with a new film about soul singer Sharon Jones in a year when she battles cancer and prepares for her comeback with The Dap Kings. In this wide-ranging interview with Thom Powers, she talks about her apprenticeship with the Maysles brothers; “Harlan County USA” on striking coal miners; […]

    The post PN 17: Barbara Kopple – From Harlan County to Sharon Jones appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 16: Alex Gibney on Revealing Secrets
    Thu, Jul 21, 2016

    Cyber warfare and the Stuxnet virus are the focus of Alex Gibney’s new film “Zero Days.” Once again, Gibney proves himself a master in getting people to talk. In the film, he speaks with high-ranking government officials on camera as well as anonymous sources whose testimony is delivered by a computer avatar. On Pure Nonfiction, […]

    The post PN 16: Alex Gibney on Revealing Secrets appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 15: Muhammad Ali on Film
    Thu, Jul 14, 2016

    Bill Siegel, director of “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” spent over two decades nurturing the idea to make his film about Ali’s religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. On Pure Nonfiction episode #15, Siegel talks to Thom Powers about the making of the film, his experiences with Ali’s family and attending the […]

    The post PN 15: Muhammad Ali on Film appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 14: TV’s King of Comedy
    Thu, Jul 07, 2016

    “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” explores the life of the television maverick behind hit shows such as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” and “The Jeffersons.” On Pure Nonfiction, filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady discuss how they sought to create a nuanced portrait. They also discuss their early films “The Boys of Baraka” […]

    The post PN 14: TV’s King of Comedy appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 13: “Life, Animated” director Roger Ross Williams
    Thu, Jun 30, 2016

    Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams talks about his career and his new film “Life, Animated” about an autistic boy who learns to communicate through Disney cartoons. Williams was the first African-American director to win an Oscar in 2010 for his documentary short “Music by Prudence.” His acceptance speech is memorable for being interrupted by his […]

    The post PN 13: “Life, Animated” director Roger Ross Williams appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 12: Talking “Tickled” with David Farrier & Dylan Reeve
    Thu, Jun 23, 2016

    Fetish or sport? That’s what New Zealand TV journalist David Farrier wondered when he came across online videos of athletic young men in sports uniforms being tickled. The videos were billed as “Competitive Endurance Tickling.” Farrier reached out to the American video producer Jane O’Brien Media for an interview. They replied with a stream of […]

    The post PN 12: Talking “Tickled” with David Farrier & Dylan Reeve appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 11: Yo-Yo Ma & Morgan Neville on “The Music of Strangers”
    Thu, Jun 16, 2016

    Cellist Yo-Yo Ma talks to Pure Nonfiction about “The Music of Strangers” and lessons he’s learned since a mid-life crisis led him to create the Silk Road Ensemble. Host Thom Powers also speaks to director Morgan Neville about making “The Music of Strangers” as well as his Oscar-winner “20 Feet from Stardom.” Plus, Neville shares […]

    The post PN 11: Yo-Yo Ma & Morgan Neville on “The Music of Strangers” appeared first on Pure Nonfiction.

  • PN 10: Why Revisit O.J. Simpson?
    Thu, Jun 09, 2016

    Ezra Edelman explores the life of O.J. Simpson against the backdrop of race relations in Los Angeles in the five-part ESPN series “O.J.: Made in America.” On Pure Nonfiction, Edelman talks about re-opening a story that many participants wanted to avoid and how he overcame their reluctance. On Twitter: @ezraedelman @thompowers O.J.: Made in America  […]

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  • PN 09: Pennebaker & Hegedus on Clinton, Bowie & Animal Rights
    Thu, Jun 02, 2016

    DA Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus have been collaborating for 40 years. In this interview with Thom Powers, they talk about films throughout their career including “Town Bloody Hall” about a 1970s debate over women’s liberation; “The War Room” about Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign; and their newest HBO documentary “Unlocking the Cage” about animal rights lawyer […]

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  • PN 08: Who is Princess Shaw?
    Thu, May 26, 2016

    “Presenting Princess Shaw” is one of the year’s most crowd-pleasing documentaries at festivals from TIFF to True/False to SXSW. Now it’s releasing in theaters and on VOD. Director Ido Haar follows Samantha Montgomery, aka Princess Shaw, an aspiring singer in New Orleans who posts her songs and diaries on YouTube. Unbeknownst to her, the composer […]

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  • PN 07: Weiner Beyond the Headlines
    Thu, May 19, 2016

    “Weiner” directors Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg take us behind the scenes of filming their documentary about Anthony Weiner. The film follows the politician as he copes with a sexting scandal during the 2013 New York mayoral campaign. The film won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the David Carr […]

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  • PN 06: Jonathan Demme’s Real Life Characters
    Thu, May 12, 2016

    Jonathan Demme has directed a steady stream of documentaries in between his prominent output of fiction films. In this conversation with Thom Powers, Demme talks about “Swimming to Cambodia,” the breakthrough monologue by Spalding Gray; “Cousin Bobby” about the Harlem-based Episcopalian priest Robert Castle; “The Agronomist” about the Haitian radio journalist Jean Dominique; “Jimmy Carter: […]

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  • PN 05: Who is Anderson Cooper’s Mother?
    Thu, May 05, 2016

    Liz Garbus, the two-time Oscar nominated director of “The Farm: Angola, USA” and “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” has a new HBO documentary “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper” about the maverick fashion designer and her journalist son. Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Garbus about her career that moved from observational filmmaking to […]

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  • PN 04: Going Deep With Mapplethorpe
    Thu, Apr 28, 2016

    Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, directors of HBO’s “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures,” discuss their career from when they first met in the 1980s. Yes, this episode contains explicit language as we discuss the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, known for his provocative images of gay S&M sex. Today, Bailey & Barbato run the Los Angeles-based […]

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  • PN 03: “Making a Murderer” – Behind the Scenes
    Thu, Apr 21, 2016

    “Making a Murderer” directors Laura Riccardi and Moira Demos discuss the ten-year process of creating their acclaimed Netflix series. This conversation with Thom Powers took place with a live audience at New York’s IFC Center on February 25, 2016. The filmmakers were joined by their editor Mary Manhardt and Wisconsin attorney Stephen Glynn who appears […]

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  • PN 02: Inside the Supreme Court Case on Abortion
    Wed, Apr 20, 2016

    Dawn Porter, director of “Trapped” and “Gideon’s Army,” discusses how she switched careers from being a lawyer to a documentary maker; and how she chose her topics. Her first film “Gideon’s Army” looked at public defense lawyers in the south and influenced action by Attorney General Eric Holder. Her latest film “Trapped” won the 2016 […]

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  • PN 01: From Maysles To The New Yorker Presents…
    Tue, Apr 19, 2016

    Kahane Cooperman, the showrunner of “The New Yorker Presents,” discusses her eclectic jobs from working at Maysles Films to becoming co-executive producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” to directing her new documentary “Joe’s Violin” that premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. “I essentially went on my first job interviews in almost 19 […]

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  • PN 00 – Introducing Pure Nonfiction!
    Wed, Apr 13, 2016

    Documentary film makers span all kinds of storytellers: provocateurs, visionaries, investigators and more. Pure Nonfiction brings you candid interviews with leading documentary makers. Hear this preview as host Thom Powers talks to the filmmakers behind Making a Murderer; The New Yorker Presents; Mapplethorpe and more. Be among the first to subscribe!

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