Virgil Films & Entertainment has picked three consecutive street-date Tuesdays during the month of June for compelling new-to-DVD documentary releases.
The month kicks off on June 3 with documentary filmmakers AJ Schnack and David Boone Wilson’s five-year odyssey in chronicling life, entertainment and hard times in the Ozark Mountain community of Branson, Missouri. Titled We Always Lie To Strangers, their film looks at this unique community of just 10,000 people that is an entertainment mecca for close to eight million visitors annually.
During the filming — which basically intercuts the stories of four different entertainment acts — the impact of the ongoing recession has been pronounced and We Always Lie To Strangers more or less presents a snapshot of what Middle America has suffered through. The end result is a mesmerizing story that is accompanied by some terrific live performances.
June 10 marks the arrival of documentary filmmaker Nicole Teeny’s award-winning film, Bible Quiz (Grand Jury Prize at Slamdance … and more). This is a smart film that takes the viewer into a world that most are likely not to be aware of!
So you think those kids in the National Spelling Bee are smart when they are up there on stage spelling out obscure words. Wait until you get a look at the teens who compete in the annual National Bible Quiz Championship … they make the spell kids look like amateurs.
Imagine rattling off (at lightning speed) endless passages from the Bible on demand and in competition with other teams! Teeny set out to make a documentary about her brother (Christopher Teeny) and the unique competition that he participates in, Bible Quiz, but somewhere along the way her camera picked up and told a far more interesting story.
At core of her brother’s team is JP O’Connor, a high school senior, handsome, bright and one of the best competitors in the country. Also on his team is a very unlikely teammate, Mikayla Irl, a high school senior who comes from a dysfunctional family and finds that her classmates have come to view her as some sort of freak for competing in something that they cannot hope to understand.
She’s driven herself to become an outstanding competitor … and the film makes it pretty clear that her motivations are not just being good at Bible Quiz.
Last in the group is the June 17 DVD debut of documentary filmmaker Keri Pickett’s detailed look at the history of “ice shows” in America, The Fabulous Ice Age.
Beginning with New York’s Hippodrome Theatre in 1915 and the arrival of German skater Charlotte Oelschlägel and her “ballet on ice” (she invented the death spiral), the film brings us right up to modern times and Scotty Hamilton, with stops along the way at The Ice Capades, Holiday on Ice and more.