Saturday, November 21, 2020

'Totally Under Control' about the Trump Administration's response to the pandemic wins Best Editing at the 2020 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards

I foreshadowed my choice of film to write about today in a footnote to 'John Lewis: Good Trouble' wins Best Historical/Biographical Documentary at the 2020 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.
I wrote the following in my comment on Kek has apparently spoken at John Michael Greer's Dreamwidth.
Three years ago, the Documentary Branch nominated "Icarus," a very anti-Russian sports documentary, in the wake of Trump's victory, and it won. The academy membership didn't have an anti-Trump nominee to vote for, so they jumped on the anti-Putin one. That's why I think that "Totally Under Control" about the administration's response to the pandemic, might actually have a chance at being nominated this year. The Documentary Branch normally does not renominate films by previous winners, which Alex Gibney is, having won for "Taxi to the Dark Side," regardless of merit, as they want to spread the recognition around, but they might just do that this year to signal their anti-Trump sentiment. If they don't nominate "Totally Under Control," they would very likely nominate "John Lewis: Good Trouble" about a critic of Trump instead.
"Totally Under Control" won a Critics' Choice Documentary Award as well, so I will write about it, too.
Watch Totally Under Control - Official Trailer from Madman Films to see why I wrote that comment and have now recycled it twice.

An in-depth look at how the United States government handled the response to the #COVID19 outbreak during the early months of the pandemic.

On January 20th, 2020 the US and South Korea both discovered their first cases of COVID-19. However, 9 months later, the novel #Coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 200,000 Americans and caused staggering economic damage, while in South Korea, there were no significant lockdowns and, in an urbanized population of 51 million, only 344 lives have been lost. Where did we go wrong? As the presidential election nears, Americans are increasingly enraged by a lack of clear leadership, endemic political corruption and left to wonder how did the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world manage to fail so thoroughly in its response to a global pandemic?

Academy Award-winning filmmaker #AlexGibney, directing with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, interrogates this question and its devastating implications in Totally Under Control. With damning testimony from public health officials and hard investigative reporting, Gibney exposes a system-wide collapse caused by a profound dereliction of Presidential leadership.

It will be a generation before we know the full extent of the damage wrought by this pandemic, but Totally Under Control will stand as the definitive account of the Trump administration’s incompetence, corruption and denial in the face of this global pandemic.
Wow! Even though I've seen the news footage in real time, putting it all together along with the interviews gave it a extra impact that it didn't have when I first watched it. I can see why it earned two awards and three other nominations at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.

Speaking of which, watch BEST EDITING - Lindy Jankura, Alexis Johnson and Alex Keipper, Totally Under Control for the editors' acceptance speeches.

Winner of the 5th Annual Critics Choice Documentary Award for Best Editing: Lindy Jankura, Alexis Johnson and Alex Keipper, TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL.
Now I'm wondering who was behind the coronavirus Minnie Mouse. That written, congratulations on winning this award and Dr. Rick Bright being named one of this year's Most Compelling Living Subjects of a Documentary and earning nominations for Best Score, Best Narration, and Best Political Documentary. I think "Totally Under Control" has more nominations and awards coming, even if the Documentary Branch of the Motion Picture Academy has issues that might prevent it from nominating the film for an Oscar. Both the Cinema Eye Honors and Independent Lens are likely to nominate it as a movie. Also, since it was available on Apple TV and is now streaming on Hulu, it should be a lock for one or more Emmy nominations, either at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards or the News and Documentary Emmy Awards. I'm looking forward to them.

I'm not done with this movie. Follow over the jump for two interviews of Gibney and the other directors.

The first interview comes from Global TV in Canada, “Totally Under Control”: New documentary explores Trump administration's COVID-19 failure.

As the situation in the United States spirals in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the country plunges headlong towards a critical election, it's apt timing for a documentary-like “Totally Under Control," that is a behind-the-scenes look at the Trump administration's failure to handle COVID-19.

Shot in secret over the last five months, co-directors Alex Gibney, Suzanne Hillinger and Ophelia Harutyunyan interviewed scientists, medical professionals, volunteers and U.S. government officials — some who put their careers on the line to speak their minds — about the dire state of the country as it faces more than 210,000 deaths of its citizens and an infected president.

In an interview with Global News, Gibney, Hillinger and Harutyunyan talk about their documentary, one that looks at the Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since Global News is Canadian, a lot of the interview focused on the differences between the U.S. and Canada and now that affected the two countries' responses to the pandemic, but it concluded with a question about the effects of the U.S. election on the the future progress of fighting the pandemic. That same issue fueled the discussion in Dr. Rick Bright and Director Alex Gibney Discuss New Documentary "Totally Under Control" on The View.

Gibney on why he believes the CDC and FDA wouldn’t speak on the record for the documentary.
Now that Joe Biden is the apparent President-elect, it looks like leadership will change for the better, especially about the COVID-19 pandemic. We just have to wait until January 20, 2021 for that to happen. In the meantime, we have to do our best to dodge the first light we see in the tunnel, as it's definitely a locomotive bearing down on us until the vaccines become available in the spring. Stay tuned and stay safe, everyone.

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