By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 9, 2012 at 4:48PM
Several titles we've already covered, and more that we haven't; so expect some individual highlights to come.
In the meantime, here's enough to hold you over...
DOC NYC, NEW YORK’S PREMIER DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL, RETURNS FOR THIRD YEAR, NOVEMBER 8-15
Opening Night kicks off with Venus and Serena and Jared Leto presenting Artifact
Expanded festival line-up features 115 films and events, adding a new venue at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea
Guests include Rufus Wainwright, Pete Seeger, Andy Summers, Ice-T, Antony Hegarty, David Bromberg, Ken Burns, Alex Gibney, Rory Kennedy, Jonathan Demme, Barbara Kopple, Joe Berlinger, Radioman and more
NEW YORK, Oct. 9, 2012 – DOC NYC, New York’s premier documentary festival, returns for its third year to the IFC Center in Greenwich Village and adds new screens at Chelsea’s SVA Theatre, with an expanded line-up of films and panels. From November 8-15, over 125 documentary makers and special guests are expected in person to present their New York premieres and, in many cases, US or world premieres. “This festival offers something for everyone,” said DOC NYC artistic director Thom Powers (who also programs for the Toronto International Film Festival and curates Doc Club on SundanceNOW). “Whether you love music, politics, sports, travel, photography, nature or you name it, we’ve got a film for you. DOC NYC has earned a reputation for unveiling films like Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which became a sensation, and Undefeated, which went on to win the Oscar. Now we’ve curated a new crop of films destined for greatness.”
DOC NYC will showcase 115 films and events, including screenings of 61 feature-length films and 32 shorts as well as 22 doc-related panel discussions and masterclasses. All events will take place at IFC Center (323 Sixth Ave.) and the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St.). Among the highlights:
GALAS – Opening Night (Nov. 8) will feature two films presented in separate screenings at the SVA Theatre: the US premiere of Artifact (dir. Bartholomew Cubbins), presented by Jared Leto in person, which follows his band Thirty Seconds to Mars as they battle a lawsuit against record label EMI; plus the New York City premiere of Venus and Serena (dirs. Michelle Major and Maiken Baird), an intimate look at the lives of the tennis-conquering Williams sisters. Both films had high-spirited screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Artifact won the People’s Choice Documentary Award. Four other galas will feature high-profile guests in person. The world premiere of Can’t Stand Losing You (Nov. 9, dir. Andy Grieve with Lauren Lazin), presented by The Police guitarist Andy Summers, tracks the band’s history and recent reunion tour from an insider’s perspective, based on Summers’ memoir “One Train Later.” The US premiere of Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp (Nov. 9, dir. Jorge Hinojosa), presented by producer Ice-T, uncovers the life of the author/pimp who chronicled street life. The US premiere of Sing Me the Songs: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle (Nov. 10, dir. Lian Lunson), presented by Rufus Wainwright, chronicles the Wainwright family’s staging of a show at New York’s Town Hall in memory of their mother. The US premiere of Turning (Nov. 11, dir. Charles Atlas), presented by Antony Hegarty, captures a concert with Antony and the Johnsons that celebrates 13 women whose personas are hard to define, much like Antony’s. As previously announced, Closing Night (Nov. 15) will feature The Central Park Five (dirs. Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon), which focuses on the young men wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for the notorious Central Park Jogger rape case. All the directors and several members of the Central Park Five will be in attendance.
VIEWFINDERS COMPETITION – Ten films notable for their distinct directorial vision. World premieres include Shenandoah (dir. David Turnley), which examines a small-town murder, directed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer; and A Girl and a Gun (dir. Cathryne Czubeck), a look at women who embrace gun culture. US premieres include Rafea: Solar Mama (dirs. Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief), which follows an illiterate Jordanian woman who becomes a solar panel engineer; Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (dir. Brad Bernstein), a portrait of the prolific illustrator of children’s books, protest posters and erotica; and The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (dir. Sophie Fiennes), featuring the philosopher Slavoj Zizek as he explores the ideological messages of famous film clips. Films making their New York City premieres include Shepard & Dark (dir. Treva Wurmfeld), in which playwright Sam Shepard revisits the past with his longtime friend Johnny Dark; Sweet Dreams (dirs. Rob Fruchtman and Lisa Fruchtman), about a Rwandan women’s drum troupe that opens the country’s first locally made ice cream shop; Informant (dir. Jamie Meltzer), which probes the radical activist turned FBI informant Brandon Darby; Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & The Farm Midwives (dirs. Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore), a look at the 1970s hippie commune that changed a generation’s approach to childbirth; and Gypsy Davy (dir. Rachel Leah Jones), about the mysterious figure behind the Counting Crows’ song “Mr. Jones,” seen through the eyes of his filmmaker daughter.
METROPOLIS COMPETITION – Seven films rooted in New York City. World premieres include Building Babel (dir. David Osit), which takes us behind the scenes of the controversial mosque project near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan; More Than a Rainbow (dir. Dan Wechsler), a look at street photographer Matt Weber; and Zipper! (dir. Amy Nicholson), which examines the changing nature of Coney Island. US premieres include Radioman (dir. Mary Kerr), a portrait of the legendary New York movie bit player; and Men at Lunch (dir. Seán Ó Cualáín), which tells the story behind the famous photograph of steelworkers on Rockefeller Center. New York City premieres include Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself (dirs. Tom Bean and Luke Poling), about the acclaimed author and editor of The Paris Review; and Drivers Wanted (dir. Joshua Z Weinstein), about a taxi garage across from the UN.
SPECIAL EVENTS – Four standout events include the world premiere of To Tell the Truth: A History of Documentary Film 1928-1946 (dirs. Cal Skaggs and David Van Taylor), which looks at the use of documentary for social causes and propaganda; 56 Up (dir. Michael Apted), the latest installment of the landmark documentary project; Sundance Institute Presents..., a 10th anniversary celebration of the Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute, featuring prominent DFP grant recipients Roger Ross Williams, Jeremy Scahill and Jehane Noujaim previewing clips of new work, plus a conversation moderated by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian; and The New York Times’ Op-Docs, a showcase of short films by acclaimed documentary makers, presented by the series producer Jason Spingarn-Koff.
New Sidebars – This year the festival curates two special thematic sections:
SONIC CINEMA – Seven films exploring a wide range of music. Musicwood (dir. Maxine Trump), a world premiere, looks at music lovers working to save the trees needed to build acoustic guitars. US premieres include Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation (dir. Laura Archibald), including in-person appearances by Pete Seeger and other folk legends; Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (dirs. Drew Denicola and Olivia Mori), which uncovers the history of the legendary Memphis band led by Alex Chilton; and Enzo Avitabile: Music Life (dir. Jonathan Demme), which follows the Italian leader of a world music group, featuring the director in person. New York City premieres include David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure (dir. Beth Toni Kruvant), featuring an in-person appearance by Bromberg; and Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet (dir. Jesse Vile), a profile of the guitar sensation who defied a disability to continue making music.
PHOTOGRAPHY ON FILM – Three events focus on the intersection between still and moving images: VII Uncommissioned presents video work by photographers from the acclaimed VII Photo Agency; Eddie Adams: Saigon ’68 looks at the work of the great war photographer in a new short film, followed by a panel discussion with Morley Safer, Bob Schieffer and others; and Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film captures the passion of Polaroid photography fans.
AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES – Twelve films that represent the country’s diversity. Making its US premiere is Ping Pong (dirs. Hugh Hartford and Anson Hartford), a look at the table tennis world championships for contestants 80 years and older. New York City premieres include Fight to Live (dir. Barbara Kopple), about terminally ill patients challenging the Food and Drug Administration, with the director in person; Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey With Mumia Abu-Jamal (dir. Stephen Vittoria), featuring author and Democracy Now host Juan Gonzalez in person; and Persistence of Vision (dir. Kevin Schreck), a portrait of the visionary animator Richard Williams.
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES – Four titles that take us around the globe. US premieres include The Mosuo Sisters (dir. Marlo Poras), which explores one of the world’s last matriarchal societies in China; and No Business Like Show Business (dirs. Bernard Weber and Martin Schilt), about Swiss yodelers preparing to perform in Shanghai.
MIDNIGHT DOCS – Four films that will keep your eyes open into the wee hours, including Bettie Page Reveals All! (dir. Mark Mori), featuring a rare, expansive interview with the pin-up queen; and My Amityville Horror (dir. Eric Walter), which focuses on one of the family members whose home’s haunting inspired books and films.
FAMILY DOC – A matinee for the whole family on Nov. 10, Magic Camp (dir. Judd Ehrlich) showcases the kids who attend Tannen’s Magic Camp. The film will be followed by a live magic demonstration.
SHORT LIST – Ten films selected by DOC NYC programmers as ones to watch this awards season (* indicates director in person): 5 Broken Cameras (dirs. Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi); Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (dir. Alison Klayman); Ethel (dir. Rory Kennedy*); First Position (dir. Bess Kargman*); How to Survive a Plague (dir. David France*); The Imposter (dir. Bart Layton*); Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (dir. Alex Gibney*); Searching for Sugar Man (dir. Malik Bendjelloul); Under African Skies (dir. Joe Berlinger*); and West of Memphis (dir. Amy Berg*).
SHORTS PROGRAMS – Six thematic groupings of short documentaries will be presented in “Common Ground,” on the power of community; “Family Ties,” on the relationship between parents and children; “Great Performances,” on dance and music; “Home Movies & Other Memories,” on the pull of the past; “Odd Jobs,” on what people do for a living; and “Portraits,” profiling unique individuals.
DOC-A-THON PANELS – Twenty panels spread over 5 days will explore the art and business of doc making. Each day has a different theme: “Get the Money”; “Shoot Your Doc”; “Finish Your Doc”; “Protect Your Rights”; and “Find Your Audience.” Participants include filmmakers Liz Garbus (Love, Marilyn) and Bart Layton (The Imposter), who will be paired for a master class on directing; and Alex Gibney (Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God), who will be interviewed by David Edelstein of New York magazine for a special “In Conversation” event.
AWARDS – Juries for the Viewfinders competition and Metropolis competition will pick one film from each section to receive a prize. The winners will receive a Digital Cinema Package courtesy of Technicolor-PostWorks New York, offering comprehensive post services including data workflows, multi-format conform, color grading, duplication and digital cinema. Films in those two sections will also be eligible for the SundanceNOW Audience Award. The winner, determined by audience balloting at a film’s first screening, will receive a collection of 50 films on DVD from the IFC Films and Sundance Selects library. SundanceNOW is the home of Doc Club, which features a monthly selection of films curated by DOC NYC artistic director Thom Powers. A jury will also select one film from the 32 shorts in the festival for a Short Film Prize.
COMPLETE PROGRAM & SCHEDULE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: http://www.docnyc.net