By MCN Editor

Penn Jillette To Host First Critics’ Choice Doc Nods


[PR] –  Penn Jillette will host the Inaugural Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, to be held Thursday, November 3, 2016 at BRIC, in Brooklyn, New York.

Best-selling author, producer and philanthropist Penn Jillette is one half of the Emmy Award-winning magic duo and Las Vegas headliners Penn & Teller, and is no stranger to documentaries, serving as a producer on critically lauded documentary The Aristocrats and the BAFTA nominated Tim’s Vermeer. Jilette is also a Writers Guild Award winner for the Showtime docu-series, Penn & Teller: BS!, which aired for eight season on the network, and was nominated for 13 Emmy Awards.

“I’m very excited about hosting the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards,” said Jillette, “because the stuff people make up can never be as scary, spooky, wonderful, and weird as the stuff that’s really out there.  I love my docs.”

The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) also announced D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus as the recipients of the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Awards.  Among the dozens of acclaimed documentaries they have made individually and together are Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back, Monterey Pop, The War Room,, DeLorean, and Elaine Stritch: At Liberty.

The first round of presenters for the November 3 awards gala have also been announced.  They include such leaders in the field of non-fiction storytelling as Emmy award winner Andrew Jarecki (The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst), Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (Miss Sharon Jones!), journalist and documentary producer Meredith Vieira, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards will be produced by Bob Bain Productions.







The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards are presented in concert with the Critics’ Choice Awards. The Critics’ Choice Awards are bestowed annually by the BFCA and BTJA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. The BFCA is the largest film critics’ organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 300 television, radio and online critics. BFCA members are the primary source of information for today’s film-going public. BTJA is the collective voice of almost 100 journalists who regularly cover television for TV viewers, radio listeners and online audiences. Historically, the ‘Critics’ Choice Awards’ are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

A&E Networks will again partner with the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) as the exclusive home to the 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. Accolades for the finest achievements in both movies and television will be presented Sunday, December 11 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, and will again be seen live on A&E, 8pm-11pm ET. For more information,


The inaugural Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards will honor the finest achievements in documentary features and non-fiction television. The awards are determined by a committee of BFCA and BTJA members with a background and expertise in the documentary field. The debut awards ceremony will take place, November 3, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York.  For more information, visit:



The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) is the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 300 television, radio and online critics. The Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) is a partner organization to the BFCA and includes TV, radio and Internet journalists who cover television on a regular basis. For more information, visit:

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon