Standby series, sharp specials mix in nonfiction

Road to the Emmys 2012: The Director Nominees - Nonfiction

Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” (HBO)
Highlight: After showing how a media frenzy can propel a miscarriage of justice in the first two films about accused killers, the last film shows how media attention can result in the re-examination of a case.
Sidelight: The show acknowledges that the filmmakers — despite working to remain objective documentarians — have become a part of the story and its eventual outcome.

Martin Scorsese
“George Harrison: Living In The Material World” (HBO)
Highlight: The legendary helmer puts together another epic rock documentary that shows Harrison to be the shy and sarcastic Beatle who endured being the group’s third-best songwriter, while also covering the breakup of his marriage to Pattie Boyd.
Sidelight: Scorsese weaves into the documentary generous portions of a Phil Spector interview that provide revealing and strangely funny insights into Harrison’s character.

Craig Spirko
“Project Runway – Finale (Part 2)” (Lifetime)
Highlight: After giving the impression she thought she couldn’t win, former Miss Universe contestant Anya Ayoung Chee took top honors. Somehow the fierce competitor who’d only learned to sew months before the contest began also became a fan favorite.
Sidelight: Tim Gunn admitted that his opinions aren’t always the ones to follow after judges slammed the very same designs he’d lauded.

Bertram van Munster
“The Amazing Race – Let Them Drink Their Haterade” (CBS)
Highlight: After exasperating each other, some participants deliver paybacks through the use of “U-Turns” which whittle the substantial leads of several competitors down to nothing. “Haterade” indeed.
Sidelight: Munster — an experienced nonfiction director – — spends about 10 gorgeous minutes on the teams moving through the Ngorongoro Crater, where we get to gaze upon unusual plant and animal life in glorious HD.

Robert B. Weide
“American Masters – Woody Allen: A Documentary” (PBS)
Highlight: Weide traces the reinvention of Allen’s filmmaking as an exile in Europe where he’s collaborated with everyone from Ewan McGregor to Scarlett Johansson.
Sidelight: Allen continues to use the same old beastly typewriter he bought when he was 16. When he needs to cut and paste, he literally cuts and pastes (or staples) the passages of writing he wants to rearrange.

Road to the Emmys 2012: The Director Nominees
Weide keyed to subjects’ needs
And the nominees are:
Comedy | Drama | Minis & Movies | Variety | Nonfiction

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