In April 2004, a male porn star in L.A. tested positive for HIV, which lead to positive testing of three women who had performed unprotected scenes with him. Lara Roxx, a young, naïve Montreal girl, had only worked in the industry for two months but was the first woman diagnosed. The press followed her story initially—she was even interviewed by Diane Sawyer on Primetime Live —but soon forgot her.
Director Mia Donovan has followed Lara Roxx since 2004 and her self-reflexive approach and handheld camera reveal the relationship between filmmaker and subject with all its complications of trust and narrative control. The resulting documentary, Inside Lara Roxx, premieres May 5.
The raw, gritty and delicate story begins in a psychiatric ward in Montreal and follows five years of Lara’s ups and downs as she tries to reinvent her life. Roxx returns to L.A. and Vegas to reconnect with the industry, attempts to establish a foundation for the protection of sex workers, and falls into crack addiction followed by rehab. I caught a screening during Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival last week and chatted with Donovan about the dangers of porn, shooting the doc with Lara, and the friendship that developed between the two of them. More
Observing that all big Hollywood movies rely on product placements to generate mass awareness, director Morgan Spurlock set his sights on the advertising world for his new project, a doc-buster built on branding called POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Spurlock, you may recall, has already brought us the closest thing to a doc-buster in Super Size Me, in which he gorged on the McDonald’s menu, prodding the company into changing it. Now, he buys into marketing mania to tease out the myriad methods by which products are woven into the fabric of corporate entertainment. Playing the game, but rigging it too, Spurlock uses his new doc-buster to expose the forces we’re up against in reclaiming ad-free cultural and urban spaces.
Appearing in Toronto last night at the Hot Docs festival premiere of the film, Spurlock took exactly four minutes (that’s all the time I was given with him) to talk to me about Sao Paolo, McDonald’s and why him and I are on the same page (but that goes without saying).
Hurricane Katrina was to blame for the deadly destruction that paralyzed New Orleans five years ago, right? Not according to Harry Shearer. Yes, that Harry Shearer. The funnyman and radio host most famous for his work on The Simpsons, Spinal Tap, and A Mighty Wind believes that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is to blame for Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, and just made and released a documentary about his controversial theory.
The Big Uneasy reveals how the complete failure of this governmental body led to the flooding of residential neighborhoods – and how this catastrophic disaster could have been prevented. (Oh, and then there’s the little issue of the Corp’s alleged cover-up of its actions.) The Big Uneasy will be screened next week at select theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, and is already showing in theaters in New Orleans (where Shearer and his wife have been part-time residents for years). Check out the seriously unfunny trailer: More
The average woman in the United States will give birth to 2.06 children in her lifetime. In Uganda, the average is 6.7 children. Why? Birth control is virtually unavailable in this African nation. That’s not to say Ugandan women don’t … More
When thinking about areas where women are misrepresented, we usually imagine a traditional office setting, with women being passed up by men for managerial positions, or getting lower raises. We forget that women are also underrepresented in more non-traditional workplaces, … More