Ridley is simply extraordinary, and she and MacKay give us a younger, lustier Ophelia and Hamlet than we usually get on the big screen. (At times, they call to mind the age-appropriate Romeo and Juliet from the 1968 Franco Zefferelli version.) She’s a girl angling to survive and to make her way through a complicated system that is designed to destroy the likes of her, and this Ophelia is nobody’s fool. It’s a tragedy that has played out countless times, but it feels fresh and powerful in this telling. ...Read More
Hamlet's lady gets her day.
McCarthy’s staging of the many big scenes is impressively coherent while avoiding trendy flashiness. It’s modern but not anachronistically so in the manner of her fellow Australian Baz Luhrmann. ...Read More
Director Bert Marcus (previous producer of ‘How to Make Money Selling Drugs’ and ‘Teenage Paparazzo’) masterfully tells the story of how the legends of old throwing raves in empty fields and abandoned warehouses inspired the biggest boom in popularity that any musical genre has ever seen. The film utilizes modern EDM superstar Martin Garrix and the master of Space Ibiza, Carl Cox, as the focal points of the film to highlight the differences between the roots of electronic music culture to where it is now. Despite the dramatic change in crowd-size and cultural relevance, one thing remains the same for these two titans – their passion for performance and their love of the music. ...Read More
New documentary film What We Started looks to be our generation’s first veritable attempt at capturing the history of dance music in its entirety. It’s an ambitious undertaking, especially considering the traditional portrayal of dance music in Hollywood, which, more often than not, appears out-of-touch or overtly contrived.
Fortunately, What We Started is not one of those films. Where Bert Marcus’s new documentary succeeds is in its ability to present the paralleling narratives of the underground and the mainstream in tandem. ...Read More
New documentary What We Started chronicles thirty years of EDM history by focusing mainly on the diverging careers of Carl Cox, one of the scene’s founders who just announced his retirement from iconic Ibiza venue, Space, and Martin Garrix, currently ranked the number one DJ in the world.
The doc was written, produced and directed by Bert Marcus, whose Bert Marcus Productions is also responsible for such films as Teenage Paparazzo, How To Make Money Selling Drugs and Champs, the latter of which was one of Netflix’s five most watched documentaries in 2015. Simultaneously, Marcus is also in production on Apollo, a film about the storied New York venue that Lee Daniels is directing. WME executive Pete Tong is executive producer and music supervisor of What We Started. ...Read More
For Marcus, a key impetus for making What We Started was to educate the public on a genre he feels is unfairly criticized. "The goal for us is to tell a story that is all-encompassing, dynamic, unexpected and certainly quite entertaining," he says. "I believe this is a misunderstood genre with a rich and robust 30-year history and we felt it needed to be shared properly with the world." ...Read More
In a new documentary directed by Bert Marcus called Champs, boxing is analyzed from a variety of different views. The film hones in on the sociology of the sport, the careers it makes, and the post-ring lives of three world champs: Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Bernard Hopkins. From poverty to fame to misfortune, their stories become cautionary tales of a sport in need of serious intervention. With insightful interviews and compelling footage, the film begs for changes to the rules and conditions that govern boxing, as well as the safety and welfare of amateur and professional boxers today. ...Read More
Beautifully shot reenactments and first-hand stories are interspersed with real footage of some of the most famous brawls of all-time, making for a riveting ride. But this isn’t just any sports documentary — thanks to heartfelt interviews with the film’s stars, heavyweight legends Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and Bernard Hopkins, it transcends the genre to appeal to everyone, no matter if they’re interested in the “poor man’s sport” or not. ...Read More
Champs classifies as a must-see documentary. Examining a boxing world that’s full of sheer intensity and raw spectator value, this multi-faceted feature also exposes the sport for its unfair business practices and failure to protect the athletes involved. Writer and director, Bert Marcus, has crafted a gem. I was fortunate enough to land an early screening of Champs in addition to an interview with Marcus. ...Read More
I saw CHAMPS at Tribeca last year. It was part of a year where they ran a couple boxing documentaries (The other was MARAVILLA about Sergio Martinez) and a fiction film GLASS CHIN where boxing was a major plot point. CHAMPS was the best of the three and it was the only one I'm still thinking about almost a year later. ...Read More
For the last few years Bert Marcus has been making a name for himself getting behind a certain type of documentary. . .Champs, which The Works is selling here at AFM, marks his directorial debut and casts a spotlight on three of the most acclaimed US boxers of the last century - Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins.
Yet this is not primarily a film about pugilism. “We tried to create a story that transcends sport and touches on some of the subjects that [elicit emotions] we can all relate to,” says Marcus ahead of AFM.
“Broken homes, poverty, lack of formal education, abuse and yet [these people] have the resources to be successful.
“The irony is these guys sought out one of the most violent sports to get away from violence. But there’s this cycle that gets them back to that.
These guys are prepared to be champions inside the ring but not outside. ...Read More
The Works has picked up international sales rights on Champs, the boxing documentary that marks the directorial debut of producer Bert Marcus (How to Make Money Selling Drugs).
The Works . . . will present the doc to buyers at the upcoming American Film Market in Santa Monica in November. Tyson, who is a producer on Champs, will attend the AFM screening of the film to meet with potential buyers. ...Read More
Amplify and Starz Digital Media have jointly acquired North American rights to director Bert Marcus’ documentary “Champs,” which premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and is slated for a day-and-date theatrical and VOD release in 2015.
“Champs” takes a unique look into the remarkable lives and careers of three of the world's most legendary boxers — Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins.
“There is so much to love about this illuminating and hugely entertaining film,” added Kevin Kasha, head of acquisitions for Starz. “We look forward to partnering with Bert and his team to share ‘Champs’ with audiences in the U.S. and Canada.” ...Read More
Director Bert Marcus makes an assured debut made particularly more impressive given he's juggling a few different formats. While "Champs" utilizes the standard talking head interview framework, it deftly weaves in re-enactments—that at times are much more beautifully shot than how that kind of material is usually treated. ...Read More
In his debut doc about superstar fighters, Bert Marcus offers more sociology than boxing fans may expect, using mean-streets origin stories not just for biographical intrigue but to comment on hardships his subjects faced later in life. ...Read More
Champs is as much about boxing as it is about the triumph, and failure, of the so-called American Dream. The Mike Tyson-produced documentary from first-time director Bert Marcus explores our very unique brand of patriotic idealism through the prism of a sport that gave us greats like Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali, a sport that can oftentimes be as awe-inspiring as it is brutal. ...Read More
As he sees it, the future of documentaries is simple: "Get a younger audience to view them as something they want to see rather than have to see." ...Read More
Most documentaries bored USC grad and former Clear Channel worker Marcus, so he decided to make interesting ones like “Teenage Paparazzo” (acquired by HBO at Sundance 2010), “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” (snatched up by Tribeca Films at Toronto 2012) and, hopefully, his upcoming boxing exploration “Champs” (partly produced by Mike Tyson, who calls Marcus “a fighter”). ...Read More
After producing "Teenage Paparazzo," I realized that we were once again presented with the chance to take a topic that has been explored hundreds of times and engage the viewer in ways that previous films on the topic never have. Our focus was to find a unique voice and critical angle towards improving the discussion around drugs. And How to Make Money Selling Drugs was conceived in theory. ...Read More
The 30-year-old Marcus believes the problem is that most documentaries aren't made with the same attention to compelling storytelling typically found in narrative features. At the same time, he feels that documentaries are reflexively marketed to a small slice of the population, guaranteeing that they will never play beyond that same narrow niche of moviegoers. ...Read More
What sets this agit-doc apart from countless others is its unique structure; it plays out like a video game, with the viewer leveling up from foot soldier to international drug lord like they’re playing a marijuana-fueled RPG. However, unlike Mafia Wars, the subject matter covered in HTMMSD is nothing to be taken lightly. ...Read More
Produced by Bert Marcus and actor and activist Adrian Grenier, How hawks decadent possibility—underscoring its allure for those who come from places of struggle—before settling into a historically grounded, wide-reaching critique of America's disastrous drug war, with an emphasis on its racist and classist policies. ...Read More
But the reason the film truly feels like a blockbuster is that you can't leave the theater without being shocked and outraged by what you've seen. Even if you go in feeling like you're well-versed in the insanity of the drug war, you'll walk out stunned. ...Read More
The film, which features Eminem, 50 Cent, Rick Ross and others, delivers a unique perspective on the "war on drugs" and offers a glimpse into the lives of the people involved. ...Read More
Former 'Entourage' star Adrian Grenier executive produces the documentary 'How to Make Money Selling Drugs,' examining drug abuse in Hollywood. ...Read More
The docu, directed by Cooke, centers on the world of drug dealing and drug enforcement. Film reunites producers Bert Marcus of Bert Marcus Prods. and Adrian Grenier, the team that created “Teenage Paparazzo.” ...Read More
The provocative documentary offers an in-depth look at the high-stakes world of drug dealing and drug enforcement by blending authentic reportage with pop culture references. Directed by Matthew Cooke, the film reunites producers Bert Marcus of Bert Marcus Productions and Adrian Grenier (HBO’s Entourage), the team that created the breakout hit Teenage Paparazzo. ...Read More
“How to Make Money Selling Drugs, ” a documentary directed by Matthew Cooke and produced by Bert Marcus and Adrian Grenier, pushed the boundaries of alternative economics by examining those who sell drugs and those who prosecute the dealers as parts of the same business. ...Read More
Marcus raised $15 million from Wall Street, private equity firms and biotech companies to bankroll what he calls “thought-provoking films that can have a big social impact, but at the same time provide the most entertaining theatrical experience.” His philosophy: Match passionate creative talent and stylish filmmaking with the right investors and distributors. ...Read More
“What we’re trying to do is provide a glimpse into the lives of those involved in the ‘war on drugs’ and give some answers as to addiction,” he said. “We think the commercial prospects are going to be improved by getting recognizable people involved.” ...Read More