Doc News: Elton John; “Big River Man”; DocPoint NYC

– HBO Documentary Films has picked up Cameron Crowe’s “The Union,” which documents the collaboration of Elton John and Leon Russell, which does make it sound like an advertisement at worst, a making of film for an album at best. Having made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival last month, the cable outlet will give the rock doc its TV premiere in January 2012. Crowe, who was a music journalist before becoming a filmmaker, finally dove into documentary this year with a double dose. His other new rock doc, “Pearl Jam Twenty,” arrives to fans-only delight this fall.

– An update for fans of “Big River Man”: the doc’s subject, Martin Strel, swam the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon over the weekend for an “action documentary” set to air on TV. This latest activistic feat was performed to “show people how important it is to save such fresh and clean river which needs to stay alive and be part of our environment.” See photos here and check out IndiePix’s celebratory 50% discount on “Big River Man” DVDs.


– Though it is unavailable through HBO On Demand, the channel’s new HBO GO service for computer and handheld devices has the must-see Oscar-nominated “Gasland” through the end of June. The doc, about hydrofracturing drilling (aka fracking), also continues to air on HBO this month.


– The Finnish series DocPoint comes to NYC this week. Check out Dan Walber’s list of must-see films (partly selected by yours truly), over at Spout. I agree with Dan’s claim that the series will “change the way you think about documentary.”


– While he hasn’t really kept it a secret, Werner Herzog talked about the fictional parts of “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” on “The Colbert Report” last night. Regardless of its newsworthiness, the segment is very much worth watching for the filmmaker’s usual depth and humor. As usual, embedding most videos is impossible here, so go watch it at The Playlist.

About Christopher Campbell
I am a blogger for Documentary Channel and, where I write the Doc Talk column. I prefer real stories to fake ones. I tweet here: @thefilmcynic

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