DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, announced the full lineup for its expanded tenth anniversary edition, running November 6-15 at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village and Chelsea’s SVA Theatre and Cinépolis Chelsea. The 2019 festival includes 136 feature-length documentaries among over 300 films and events overall, making this landmark year DOC NYC’s biggest edition yet.
Special Events announced today include Opening Night film, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, by Daniel Roher, about the legendary musicians, with Robbie Robertson in attendance; Closing Night film, The Capote Tapes, by Ebs Burnough, a fresh portrait of Truman Capote with André Leon Talley participating in a post-show Q&A with the director; and the festival’s Centerpiece presentation, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, by Eva Orner, on the disgraced head of the yoga empire that bears his name.
World premieres at the festival include Joe Berlinger’s The Longest Wave, about world champion windsurfer Robby Naish; Ngawang Choephel’s Ganden: A Joyful Land, on Tibetan Buddhism’s most important monastery; Geeta Gandbhir’s Hungry to Learn, which explores food insecurity among college students; Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s He Dreams of Giants, an epic portrait of Terry Gilliam as he attempts to realize his decades-long dream of adapting Don Quixote; Reiner Holzemer’s Martin Margiela: In His Own Words, in which the famously elusive fashion designer reflects on his life and work; Viva Van Loock’s Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, which follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as they investigate the root causes of opioid addiction, poverty and incarceration; Joe Piscatella’s Mai Khoi & the Dissidents, about a Vietnamese pop star-turned-political activist; David Michaels’s Tyson, a candid portrait of controversial boxer Mike Tyson; and Ira Deutchman’s Searching for Mr. Rugoff, about the outsized personality behind legendary art house distributor Cinema 5.
Among this year’s US or North American premieres are Hind Meddeb and Thim Naccache’s Paris Stalingrad, a portrait of a community of refugees living in the streets of the French capital; Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir and Shani Rozanes’s Golda, on the complicated legacy of Israel’s first and only female prime minister; Laurie Lynd’s Killing Patient Zero, an investigation into how one man became the scapegoat for the spread of AIDS; Karen Stokkendal Poulsen’s On the Inside of a Military Dictatorship, a remarkable inside look at Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in Myanmar; Justin Pemberton’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, an enlightening adaptation of Thomas Piketty’s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller; and Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu’s Elliott Erwitt, Silence Sounds Good, which follows the acclaimed photographer to Cuba for his latest project.
“Our tenth anniversary lineup reflects a more international scope than in previous years, drawing compelling stories from all over the world, in addition to a rich selection of American nonfiction,” said Director of Programming Basil Tsiokos. “Where better to experience this diversity of documentary storytelling than NYC?” Tsiokos leads the programming team in collaboration with Artistic Director Thom Powers.
This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of D.A. Pennebaker, who was a constant presence at DOC NYC since its first year until his death this past summer. In 2014, at the festival’s inaugural Visionaries Tribute, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award along with his partner Chris Hegedus. This year’s festival poster features a photograph of Pennebaker taken by Don MacSorley in 1967 during the filming of the classic documentary Monterey Pop.
In the festival’s two feature competition sections, seven films appear under the Viewfinders strand for distinct directorial visions. They include US premieres of the latest films by Weijun Chen (Please Vote for Me), City Dream, in which a cantankerous street vendor faces off against a city redevelopment agency, Thomas Balmès’s (Babies) Sing Me a Song, an intimate look at the effects of technology on Bhutanese society; and the NYC premiere of Eva Mulvad’s Love Child, which follows an Iranian couple seeking asylum because of their adulterous relationship.
In the Metropolis competition section, seven films are dedicated to stories set in New York City. They include the world premieres of The Grand Unified Theory of Howard Bloom, a portrait of an eccentric music publicist turned evolutionary philosopher; I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, about Brian Belovitch, who spent more than a decade as a woman before transitioning back to being a man; Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over, on the pioneering No Wave singer, writer and actress; and Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, a portrait of the charismatic Broadway song-and-dance man.
For this year’s Short List section of awards season frontrunners, filmmakers presenting their work in person at the festival include Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (American Factory), Roger Ross Williams (The Apollo), Todd Douglas Miller (Apollo 11), Ryan White (Ask Dr. Ruth), John Chester, (Biggest Little Farm), Feras Fayyad (The Cave), Asif Kapadia (Diego Maradona), Petra Costa (The Edge of Democracy), Mark Deebles and Victoria Stone (The Elephant Queen), Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts (For Sama), Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (The Great Hack), Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska (Honeyland), Lauren Greenfield (The Kingmaker), Rachel Lears (Knock Down the House) and Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang (One Child Nation). Filmmakers will also take part in DOC NYC PRO through a series of panel discussions – Short List: Features on Friday, Nov. 8, and, new this year, Short List: Shorts on Saturday, Nov. 9.
Notable documentarians will also be honored at the previously announced Visionaries Tribute Awards event on Nov. 7: Martin Scorsese and Michael Apted will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards while Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert will receive the Robert and Anne Drew Award for observational filmmaking. Cynthia Lopez, executive director of New York Women in Film and Television, will receive the Leading Light Award for distinguished service to documentary in a role outside filmmaking.
Special screenings of the latest documentaries by Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Martin Scorsese (Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese) and Michael Apted (63 Up) will be presented at this year’s festival.
ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND
Dir: Daniel Roher (US PREMIERE)
Robbie Robertson gives his personal perspective on the rise and fall of The Band, from backing Bob Dylan to performing The Last Waltz, and their fallouts from addiction and broken friendships.
THE CAPOTE TAPES
Dir: Ebs Burnough (NYC PREMIERE)
Never-before-heard interviews with his friends provide fresh insights into writer Truman Capote and his relationship to New York City’s social scene.
BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, PREDATOR
Dir: Eva Orner (NYC PREMIERE)
Oscar-winning filmmaker Eva Orner (Taxi to the Dark Side) delivers a searing exposé of the hot yoga entrepreneur Bikram Choudhury and the multiple women who accused him of sexual assault.
VISIONARIES TRIBUTE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Dir: Michael Apted
The longest-running documentary project in history follows the same subjects every seven years, now catching up with them at age 63.
ROLLING THUNDER REVUE: A BOB DYLAN STORY BY MARTIN SCORSESE
Dir: Martin Scorsese
Bob Dylan’s legendary tour from the mid-1970s is captured with an all-star lineup including Allen Ginsberg, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, filtered through the documentary artistry of Martin Scorsese.
DISTINCT DIRECTORIAL VISIONS
CHÈCHE LAVI (LOOKING FOR LIFE)
Dir: Sam Ellison (NYC PREMIERE)
After their journey through multiple countries stalls at the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, two Haitian migrants contemplate the purpose of their struggle as their paths diverge.
Dir: Weijun Chen (US PREMIERE)
In the latest documentary comedy from director Weijun Chen (Please Vote For Me), a street vendor in China clashes with the authorities trying to shut down his stall.
THE HUMAN FACTOR
Dir: Dror Moreh (NYC PREMIERE)
Oscar-nominated director Dror Moreh (The Gatekeepers) looks at peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in 2000 through the memories of American diplomats.
Dir: Eva Mulvad (NYC PREMIERE)
Sahand and Leila, having fled Iran under threat of death for their adulterous relationship, are followed for six years as refugees, bound by the love of their son.
SING ME A SONG
Dir: Thomas Balmès (US PREMIERE)
In Bhutan, a 17-year-old monk struggles between his devotion to Buddhism and his cell phone as he begins a love affair via texting a woman he’s never met.
SYMPHONY OF THE URSUS FACTORY
Dir: Jaśmina Wójcik (US PREMIERE)
Former workers from the now-defunct Ursus tractor factory in Poland compose an astonishing symphony of sounds and movements based on their physical daily experiences.
Broken Orchestra, Dir: Charlie Tyrell | A music and art project gets instruments back into the hands of Philadelphia students.
THE WIND. A DOCUMENTARY THRILLER
Dir: Michal Bielawski (US PREMIERE)
In Poland, fires, heart attacks and acts of madness are brought by a destructive wind, impacting the lives of several characters in this mysterious tale of ecological revenge.
NEW YORK STORIES
Dir: Ahmed Mansour (NYC PREMIERE)
Khader El-Yateem, a Palestinian American and Lutheran pastor, mounts the campaign of a lifetime as he aims to become the first Arab American on the New York City Council.
THE GRAND UNIFIED THEORY OF HOWARD BLOOM
Dir: Charlie Hoxie (WORLD PREMIERE)
After a mysterious illness, top music publicist Howard Bloom reinvents himself as a philosopher, but who will carry on his life’s work after he’s gone?
The Last Conversation, Dir: Sara Joe Wolansky
A son makes a surprising discovery on his elderly parents’ answering machine.
I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME
Dir: Karen Bernstein (WORLD PREMIERE)
Brian Belovitch looks back on the fascinating turns his life has taken, from transitioning to a woman named Tish, and back to being Brian again.
LYDIA LUNCH: THE WAR IS NEVER OVER
Dir: Beth B (WORLD PREMIERE)
A provocative portrait of pioneering No Wave singer, writer and actress Lydia Lunch, whose brilliant confrontational artistry resonates loudly in today’s feminist landscape.
MAURICE HINES: BRING THEM BACK
Dir: John Carluccio (WORLD PREMIERE)
Charismatic song-and-dance man Maurice Hines reflects on his life on stage from Broadway to Hollywood, as well as his tumultuous relationship with superstar brother Gregory Hines.
Dir: Oren Jacoby (NYC PREMIERE)
Packed with legendary stars and performances, On Broadway tells the stories of groundbreaking shows from A Chorus Line to Hamilton.
Dir: Elegance Bratton (NYC PREMIERE)
An immersive and raw portrait of an intentional community of homeless queer and trans youth of color, centered around the Christopher Street Pier.
FILMS BY NONFICTION AUTEURS
THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS
Dir: Patricio Guzmán (NYC PREMIERE)
An exploration of identity, history and landscape by acclaimed Chilean director Patricio Guzmán, where childhood memories and acts of police brutality are anchored in a mountain range.
Dir: Barbara Kopple (NYC PREMIERE)
Paced like a thriller, Desert One reexamines the Iran hostage crisis during Jimmy Carter’s administration and the dangerous mission undertaken to rescue them.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Dir: Alan Berliner (NYC PREMIERE)
Director Alan Berliner has been clipping newspaper photos for 40 years and now transforms his collection into a witty and profound film essay on journalism.
THE LONGEST WAVE
Dir: Joe Berlinger (WORLD PREMIERE)
After a remarkable career, world champion windsurfer Robby Naish embarks on a three-year journey to surf the world’s longest wave.
SHOOTING THE MAFIA
Dir: Kim Longinotto (NYC PREMIERE)
Filmmaker Kim Longinotto explores the life and work of acclaimed Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, who bravely bore witness to the Mafia’s crimes in her native Sicily.
TOWN BLOODY HALL (1979)
Dir: Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker
Filming in 1971 at New York’s Town Hall, D.A. Pennebaker captures a night encapsulating the currents of feminism in a debate between Norman Mailer, Germaine Greer and others.
EXPLORE THE USA
Dir: Adam Zucker (NYC PREMIERE)
An intimate look at Muslim-American identity in the age of Trump through the stories of five extraordinary New Yorkers.
Dir: Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan (NYC PREMIERE)
In rural Florida, four high school seniors navigate rites of passage, including football triumphs and a stunning prom, while graduation and the world beyond loom large.
THE RABBI GOES WEST
Dir: Gerald Peary, Amy Geller (NYC PREMIERE)
A Hasidic rabbi relocates from Brooklyn to Bozeman, Montana with the hopes of spreading his brand of orthodox practice to the American West.
Dir: Luke Dick, Casey Pinkston (NYC PREMIERE)
Musician Luke Dick explores the history of infamous Oklahoma City strip club the Red Dog Saloon, where his mother go-go danced, and where he grew up.
Dir: André Hörmann (NYC PREMIERE)
Two young men strive to define their destiny in Chicago’s South Side in this poignant chronicle of two budding boxing champions.
Dir: Mark Landsman (NYC PREMIERE)
The shocking yet true story of the National Enquirer, the most infamous newspaper in US history, detailing its surprising role in shaping what the news has become.
TIGHTROPE: AMERICANS REACHING FOR HOPE
Dir: Viva Van Loock (WORLD PREMIERE)
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn explore the causes and costs of opioid addiction, poverty and incarceration plaguing America’s cities and small towns.
WE BELIEVE IN DINOSAURS
Dir: Clayton Brown, Monica Long Ross (NYC PREMIERE)
An outlandish and disturbing tale about a life-size, $120 million Noah’s Ark creationist museum—replete with animal, human and dinosaur models—in rural Kentucky.
TRAVEL THE WORLD
GANDEN: A JOYFUL LAND
Dir: Ngawang Choephel (WORLD PREMIERE)
The challenging past and joyous present of Ganden, Tibetan Buddhism’s most influential monastery and spiritual home of the Dalai Lama.
Dir: Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, Shani Rozanes (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
In America, Golda Meir is viewed as the respected grandmother of the state of Israel; in Israel, her legacy is far more complicated.
IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS
Dir: Maya Newell (NYC PREMIERE)
Dujuan, a 10-year-old Australian boy, straddles two worlds—the Aboriginal Arrernte tribe, where he is respected, and white Australia, where he faces stereotypes and prejudice.
Dir: Karin Kainer (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
An insightful and funny film exploring the importance of a gender-segregated beach in Tel Aviv for the women of a closed orthodox suburb.
Betty Feeds the Animals, Dir: James P. Gannon,
Betty loves animals so much that she puts 30 bowls of food outside of her home to feed them every day.
KOSHIEN: JAPAN’S FIELD OF DREAMS
Dir: Ema Ryan Yamazaki (WORLD PREMIERE)
There’s no room for error as Coach Mizutani and his team go all out to win Japan’s 100th annual Koshien, the prestigious national high-school baseball tournament.
LYUBOV: LOVE IN RUSSIAN
Dir: Staffan Julén (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich interviews Russians on their feelings about love in all its forms—from sweetness to madness, its absence and fulfillment.
Dir: Gabe Polsky (NYC PREMIERE)
After the collapse of the USSR, American hustlers invest in a Moscow hockey team during a lawless era of gangsters, strippers and unfettered capitalism.
SCHOOL OF SEDUCTION
Dir: Alina Rudnitskaya (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Three modern Cinderellas look for higher social status, security and happiness by learning the art of seduction in patriarchal post-communist Russia.
REVEALING REAL-LIFE TALES
AFTER THE MURDER OF ALBERT LIMA
Dir: Aengus James (NYC PREMIERE)
Frustrated with the failings of the legal system, a man ventures to Honduras in an attempt to bring his father’s killer to justice.
COASTAL ROAD KILLER
Dir: Yotam Guendelman, Air Pines, Mika Timor (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
From the creators of the hit true-crime series Shadow of Truth comes this new four-part chronicle of a dark chapter in Israeli crime history.
Dir: Adam Bolt (NYC PREMIERE)
No scientific discovery has ever been as controversial as the gene-editing technology CRISPR, which can rewrite DNA, eradicate diseases and alter life as we know it.
IN BRIGHT AXIOM
Dir: Spencer McCall (NYC PREMIERE)
Welcome to the House of Latitude, a mysterious social experiment in the form of an immersive experience that confront us with larger questions about our own lives.
KILLING PATIENT ZERO
Dir: Laurie Lynd (US PREMIERE)
A fascinating investigation into how entrenched homophobia, press sensationalism and a surprising misperception would blame one man for spreading AIDS across North America.
THE PICKUP GAME
Dir: Matthew O’Connor, Barnaby O’Connor (US PREMIERE)
Inspired by Neil Strauss’ bestseller The Game, a billion-dollar industry and international subculture has developed where alpha-male instructors teach men how to manipulate women into bed.
THE QUEEN’S MAN
Dir: Daniel Claridge, Andrew Coffman (WORLD PREMIERE)
A former bodyguard to Farah Pahlavi, the wife of the Shah of Iran, is on a relentless yet unsolicited mission to return her stolen art collection.
TALKING ABOUT ADULTERY
Dir: Bara Jichova Tyson (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Husbands, wives, mistresses and others vividly recount confessional stories about sex, love, friendship and yearning in this provocative film exploring infidelity.
PROFILES OF SINGULAR INDIVIDUALS
Dir: Mo Scarpelli (NYC PREMIERE)
An imaginative Ethiopian boy creates an alternative identity as a ferocious lion to help him process his isolation.
Dir: Olga Lvoff (NYC PREMIERE)
A respected therapist attempts to treat a client suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder while juggling 17 personalities of her own.
CORY IN BRICK CITY
Dir: Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin (NYC PREMIERE)
Prior to becoming a US senator or presidential candidate, Mayor Cory Booker and his allies courageously fight for the soul and safety of Newark, NJ.
HE DREAMS OF GIANTS
Dir: Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe (WORLD PREMIERE)
Documentarians Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe chronicle Terry Gilliam’s 30 year obsession to adapt Don Quixote into a film.
THE JOURNEY OF MONALISA
Dir: Nicole Costa (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
Transgender performer and sex worker Iván Monalisa navigates NYC’s gritty underbelly on a quest for US legalization.
Dir: Ton van Zantvoort (US PREMIERE)
The bucolic lives of traditional sheep herder Stijn and his family are threatened by encroaching modernization.
THIS IS NOT A MOVIE
Dir: Yung Chang (NYC PREMIERE)
This profile of Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk traces his history and follows him on contemporary reporting assignments from Bosnia to Syria.
Dir: David Michaels (WORLD PREMIERE)
In this remarkably candid portrait, boxer Mike Tyson addresses his controversial past while also detailing his ultimate recovery and comeback.
FILMS ABOUT UNCONVENTIONAL FAMILIES
Dir: Archana Atul Phadke (US PREMIERE)
An intimate and funny observational portrait of three generations of the filmmaker’s family, all living together in the same home in Mumbai.
Dir: Cara Jones (WORLD PREMIERE)
Filmmaker Cara Jones comes to terms with her relationship with her parents and her upbringing in Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, also known as the Moonies.
DADDY AND THE WARLORD
Dir: Shamira Raphaëla, Co-Dir: Clarice Gargard (US PREMIERE)
A daughter uncovers uncomfortable truths about her beloved father’s involvement with former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor.
The Mortician of Manila, Dir: Leah Borromeo,
Filipino mortician Orly manages and lives at a 24-hour funeral home, where he has a sobering perspective on the lives impacted by President Duterte’s “war on drugs.”
Dir: Stéphane Riethauser (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Groomed to become the golden heir to his family’s business, the filmmaker matures from alpha male into his true self and embraces LGBTQ activism.
Dir: Kristof Bilsen (NYC PREMIERE)
In Thailand, a woman serves as a caregiver to elderly Europeans with Alzheimer’s disease, sacrificing time with her own children to support them financially from afar.
MY DADS, MY MOMS AND ME
Dir: Julia Ivanova (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
12 years after profiling three stories of gay parenthood in Canada, director Julia Ivanova revisits the same parents and their now-teenage children.
NEW WORLD ORDER
ON TODAY’S MOST URGENT ISSUES
CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Dir: Justin Pemberton (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Based on economist Thomas Piketty’s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, this accessible and enlightening adaptation explores the history of wealth, power and inequality.
ON THE INSIDE OF A MILITARY DICTATORSHIP
Dir: Karen Stokkendal Poulsen (US PREMIERE)
In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi rose to power after decades as a political prisoner, but military involvement in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims compromises her global standing.
Dir: Hind Meddeb, Thim Naccache (US PREMIERE)
In the Parisian district called Stalingrad, refugees from Africa and Afghanistan struggle with living on the streets, finding depths of resilience—and even poetry—despite the circumstances.
Dir: Jo Ardinger (WORLD PREMIERE)
A doctor’s visit places Tammy Loertscher’s pregnancy under the oppressive scrutiny of the state of Wisconsin in this exploration of the disturbing implications of fetal personhood laws.
IN THE SYSTEM
INSIDE LOOKS AT INSTITUTIONS & SYSTEMS
Dir: Katie Green, Carlye Rubin (NYC PREMIERE)
Under Indiana’s felony murder rule, a robbery gone wrong leaves a teen facing a lifetime in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Dir: Kenneth Paul Rosenberg
An enlightening and urgent exploration of America’s failure to properly care for the mentally ill over the past half century.
ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS
Dir: Jenifer McShane (NYC PREMIERE)
Two compassionate officers with an innovative police mental health unit divert people away from jail and into proper treatment, one 911 call at a time.
THE GREAT AMERICAN LIE
Dir: Jennifer Siebel Newsom (NYC PREMIERE)
A timely look at the deep—and gendered—roots of systemic inequalities that have made possible the ever-widening income gap threatening the fabric of our democracy.
HUNGRY TO LEARN
Dir: Geeta Gandbhir (WORLD PREMIERE)
Director Geeta Gandbhir and executive producer Soledad O’Brien follow four college students as they navigate food insecurity in their pursuit of an education.
PARADISE WITHOUT PEOPLE
Dir: Francesca Trianni (NYC PREMIERE)
Two pregnant Syrian refugees find themselves navigating fresh marriages as they each enter motherhood while housed in temporary refugee camps.
Dir: Rachel Beth Anderson, Tim Grucza (WORLD PREMIERE)
Veteran educator Peter Bergson finds his alternative “unschooling” method put to the test when three teens from inner city Philadelphia enroll in his suburban school.
FIGHT THE POWER
STORIES OF ACTIVISM
AKICITA: THE BATTLE OF STANDING ROCK
Dir: Cody Lucich (NYC PREMIERE)
Indigenous activists from across the nation unify at Standing Rock to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Dir: Treva Wurmfeld (NYC PREMIERE)
As one of America’s wealthiest communities develops around them in Southampton, NY, the indigenous Shinnecock Nation fights to pass land-preservation legislation.
HEALING FROM HATE: BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF A NATION
Dir: Peter Hutchison (WORLD PREMIERE)
Former skinheads and neo-Nazis work to reform others seeking to break away from radical groups and offer support to communities impacted by the rise of hate activity.
Dir: Michael Rowley (NYC PREMIERE)
Through parkour and photography, Palestinian youths strive for freedom and self-worth in a community consumed with violence.
I AM NOT ALONE
Dir: Garin Hovannisian (US PREMIERE)
Armenia’s Nikol Pashinyan—a former political prisoner turned Member of Parliament—leads a peaceful protest that transforms his country in 2018.
MAI KHOI & THE DISSIDENTS
Dir: Joe Piscatella (WORLD PREMIERE)
A shift from pop star to activist sees artist Mai Khoi and her band The Dissidents challenge the authority of Vietnam’s oppressive regime.
Dir: Abby Ginzberg (WORLD PREMIERE)
Facing off against the National Restaurant Association, AKA “The other NRA,” a grassroots movement mobilizes across the country for a fair minimum wage for tipped workers.
WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS
Dir: Linda Goldstein Knowlton (NYC PREMIERE)
Meet the Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of color on the front lines of social justice, and the two pioneering mothers behind the group.
FILMS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT
THE GREAT GREEN WALL
Dir: Jared P. Scott (NYC PREMIERE)
Hope for healing Africa’s greatest ills—famine, migration, conflict and desertification—lies in a life-giving project to plant trees across the continent.
Dir: David Hambridge (NYC PREMIERE)
Three Kenyans face the daunting task of protecting Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in the world.
MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALL
Dir: Alexander John Glustrom (NYC PREMIERE)
Deep in Louisiana, one man refuses to abandon his family’s land as petrochemical plants fill the landscape, spewing disease and forcing residents to flee toxic waste.
MR. TOILET: THE WORLD’S #2 MAN
Dir: Lily Zepeda (NYC PREMIERE)
Jack Sim, a charismatic Singaporean millionaire, uses irreverent humor to bring attention to the need for proper sanitation in India.
THE SEER AND THE UNSEEN
Dir: Sara Dosa (NYC PREMIERE)
In Iceland, where many believe in the existence of magic, Ragga, a colorful environmentalist, is on a mission to protect the natural habitat of elves from development.
THE STORY OF PLASTIC
Dir: Deia Schlosberg (NYC PREMIERE)
A timely and critical investigation into the plastic-production pipeline that will forever change your perception on recycling.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Dir: Douglas Tirola (NYC PREMIERE)
In the 1970s, Noel and Selma abandoned conventional lives to open Bloodroot, a collective restaurant and bookstore where women are encouraged to pursue equality and healthy eating.
NOTHING FANCY: DIANA KENNEDY
Dir: Elizabeth Carroll (NYC PREMIERE)
A portrait of nonagenarian Diana Kennedy, the feisty, no-nonsense chef and cookbook author and the world’s leading authority in Mexican cuisine.
Dir: Laura Naylor (WORLD PREMIERE)
An observational and affectionate portrait of seasonal labor during the harvest of a family-owned vineyard in France’s Champagne region during a challenging ecological and economic period.
ART + DESIGN
PROFILES OF ARTISTS, PHOTOGRAPHERS & DESIGNERS
AI WEIWEI: YOURS TRULY
Dir: Cheryl Haines, Co-Dir: Gina Leibrecht (NYC PREMIERE)
Ai Weiwei’s interactive art installation on San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island pays tribute to prisoners of conscience across the globe while celebrating freedom of speech.
BODY OF TRUTH
Dir: Evelyn Schels (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
Mining their personal histories for inspiration, four cutting-edge female artists explore challenging themes in their complex works.
ELLIOTT ERWITT, SILENCE SOUNDS GOOD
Dir: Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Famous for his iconic black and white photos spanning six decades, NYC-based photographer Eliott Erwitt travels to Cuba for his latest exhibition.
One Thousand Stories: The Making of a Mural
Dir: Tasha Van Zandt
Follow artist JR in the creation of his first video mural project, The Chronicles of San Francisco.
HOUSE OF CARDIN
Dir: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes (NYC PREMIERE)
This incisive portrait of Pierre Cardin looks at the multiple ways the iconic designer changed fashion, introducing new shapes, styles and colors while taking his brand beyond clothing.
IMITATING LIFE: THE AUDACITY OF SUZANNE HEINTZ
Dir: Karen Whitehead (WORLD PREMIERE)
Photographer Suzanne Heintz’s outrageous images of her picture perfect plastic husband and daughter explode the myth of the idyllic all-American family.
Like the Back of Her Hand, Dir: Sarah Friedland
An artist contends with loss through the process of creation, destruction and art-making.
(USA, 14 MIN)
LIFELINE/ CLYFFORD STILL
Dir: Dennis Scholl (WORLD PREMIERE)
Interviews and previously unreleased recordings reveal Clyfford Still’s idiosyncratic personality, artistic philosophy and relationships with his abstract expressionist contemporaries Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock.
MARTIN MARGIELA: IN HIS OWN WORDS
Dir: Reiner Holzemer (WORLD PREMIERE)
More than a decade after his departure from his fashion house, visionary designer Martin Margiela digs into his personal archives to reflect on his revolutionary career.
QUEEN OF HEARTS: AUDREY FLACK
Dir: Deborah Shaffer, Co-Dir: Rachel Reichman (NYC PREMIERE)
An intimate look at the life and creative process of feminist, rebel and visual artist Audrey Flack over her often-controversial 40-year career.
STEVENSON LOST & FOUND
Dir: Sally Jean Williams (WORLD PREMIERE)
As one of the New Yorker’s most prolific cartoonists, James Stevenson’s body of work spans five decades, countless drawings and innumerable laughs.
UNSTOPPABLE: SEAN SCULLY AND THE ART OF EVERYTHING
Dir: Nick Willing (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
In this rags-to-riches portrait, cheeky, self-taught contemporary artist Sean Scully creates art as grand as his personality.
BEHIND THE SCENES
FILMS ABOUT FILM
Dir: Martha Shane (NYC PREMIERE)
Residents of small town Narrowsburg, NY, are caught in a stranger-than-fiction tale of Hollywood dreams, deceit and delusions when two newcomers arrive.
SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF
Dir: Ira Deutchman (WORLD PREMIERE)
A vivid portrait of Donald Rugoff, champion of independent and art films and the creative genius behind legendary distribution company Cinema 5.
WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED
Dir: Mariam Ghani (NYC PREMIERE)
A set of unfinished films commissioned by the state during communist-era Afghanistan revisits a nation that only existed in celluloid.
MOVIES ABOUT MUSIC
BORN INTO THE GIG
Dir: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner (NYC PREMIERE)
A candid look at the challenges and triumphs faced by the offspring of legendary musicians like Carly Simon and Bob Marley when they enter the family business.
BOY HOWDY! THE STORY OF CREEM MAGAZINE
Dir: Scott Crawford (NYC PREMIERE)
A riotous look back at scrappy, subversive rock ‘n’ roll magazine CREEM and its lasting impact on music and culture.
BUSTER WILLIAMS BASS TO INFINITY
Dir: Adam Kahan (WORLD PREMIERE)
Bassist Buster Williams shares stories of playing with jazz greats from Coltrane to Monk to Miles, while creating beautiful music with today’s jazz icons.
THE CHANGIN’ TIMES OF IKE WHITE
Dir: Daniel Vernon (NYC PREMIERE)
An investigation of the mysterious fate of musician Ike White, who recorded a breakthrough album called Changin’ Times in 1976 while serving a life sentence in prison.
KATE NASH: UNDERESTIMATE THE GIRL
Dir: Amy Goldstein (NYC PREMIERE)
Unfiltered and unfettered, this inspirational portrait of British musician and GLOW star Kate Nash follows her determination to live life on her own terms.
LOS ULTIMOS FRIKIS
Dir: Nicholas Brennan (WORLD PREMIERE)
Cuban heavy metal band Zeus contemplates their place in a shifting cultural climate as they embark on a national tour celebrating their 30th anniversary.
Dir: Andy Señor Jr., Victor Patrick Alvarez (WORLD PREMIERE)
When a Cuban-American theater director is invited to bring the musical Rent to Cuba, he must overcome complicated personal, cultural and technical challenges.
RIVER CITY DRUMBEAT
Dir: Marlon Johnson, Anne Flatté (WORLD PREMIERE)
An uplifting profile of the indefatigable leader of the River City Drum Corps, an organization offering a path to empowerment for African-American youth in Louisville, KY.
SHELLA RECORD: A REGGAE MYSTERY
Dir: Chris Flanagan (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
A record collector obsessed with a haunting recording by a Jamaican singer sets out on a journey to find the elusive performer.
SHOW ME THE PICTURE: THE STORY OF JIM MARSHALL
Dir: Alfred George Bailey (NYC PREMIERE)
Over a six decade career, Jim Marshall, the music industry’s preeminent photographer, captured the essence of its biggest stars, from Bob Dylan to Miles Davis.
INTERNATIONAL AWARD WINNERS
Dir: Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaïche
Winner: Docaviv, Krakow, Thessaloniki
Controversial Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel has defended Palestinians in court for five decades, from nonviolent demonstrators to armed militants. (Film Movement)
COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD
Dir: Mads Brügger
Winner: It’s All True, Sundance
A filmmaker and private investigator team up to investigate the suspicious 1961 death of the United Nations Secretary General and uncover a shocking conspiracy. (Magnolia Pictures)
THE FOURTH KINGDOM: THE KINGDOM OF PLASTICS (EL CUARTO REINO: EL REINO DE LOS PLÁSTICOS)
Dir: Adán Aliaga, Àlex Lora Cercos (NYC PREMIERE)
In this artful observational film, a fascinating group of outcasts engages in work, friendship and deep thinking at a Brooklyn recycling plant.
Dir: Pailin Wedel (NYC PREMIERE)
Winner: Hot Docs
After their two-year-old daughter succumbs to cancer, a Thai couple has her cryogenically preserved, leading to criticism from religious and spiritual groups.
Dir: Luke Lorentzen
Winner: Sheffield, Hong Kong, Sundance
In Mexico City, the Ochoa family are ragtag private paramedics, facing cut-throat competition to respond to patients in need of urgent help. (1091 Media)
Dir: Hassan Fazili
Winner: Doc Edge, Sundance
Filmmaker Hassan Fazili documents his family’s journey as they’re forced to flee their home in Afghanistan under threat of death. (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
SEA OF SHADOWS
Dir: Richard Ladkani
In the Sea of Cortez, environmental activists, marine biologists, and undercover investigators are on a mission to save the vaquita—the world’s smallest whale—from extinction. (National Geographic Documentary Films)
SHORT LIST: FEATURES
DOC NYC’S PICKS FOR BEST DOC FEATURE CONTENDERS
Dir: Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar
Cultures clash when a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio. (Netflix)
Dir: Roger Ross Williams
The rich history of Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, which has demonstrated the pivotal role that the arts play in the African American experience for 85 years. (HBO Documentary Films)
Dir: Todd Douglas Miller
Using a treasure trove of breathtaking 65mm footage from the NASA archives, Apollo 11 immerses viewers in man’s first trip to the moon in 1969. (NEON)
ASK DR. RUTH
Dir: Ryan White
Dr. Ruth Westheimer may be over 90 years old, but she’s lost none of her energy, humor or candor on sexuality.(Hulu/Magnolia Pictures)
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
Dir: John Chester
John Chester and his wife Molly leave behind city life to start their own farm, chronicling their adventure over eight years as they put their ideals into action. (NEON)
Dir: Feras Fayyad
Winner of the TIFF People’s Choice Award, The Cave observes a subterranean hospital in war torn Syria, led by Dr. Amani Ballor, a female pediatrician. (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Dir: Asif Kapadia
During the 1980s, Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona is caught in a whirlwind of controversy in Italy involving epic games, overlapping romances and the Mafia. (HBO Sports)
THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY
Dir: Petra Costa
Brazil’s impeachment of its first female president is explored with unprecedented access in this urgent cautionary tale for these times of democracy in crisis. (Netflix)
THE ELEPHANT QUEEN
Dir: Mark Deeble, Victoria Stone
This portrait of African elephants focuses on matriarch Athena as she leads her extended family on an epic journey in search of water. (Apple)
Dir: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
This Cannes and SXSW winner is a love letter from a mother to a daughter, following five years of life in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. (PBS Distribution/Channel 4/FRONTLINE)
THE GREAT HACK
Dir: Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim
The Oscar-nominated filmmakers behind The Square investigate the data company Cambridge Analytica and its efforts to tip the votes in favor of Brexit and Donald Trump. (Netflix)
Dir: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
In this visually stunning Sundance award winner, a traditional Macedonian beekeeper finds her peaceful existence—and nature’s delicate balance—upset by the arrival of new neighbors. (NEON)
Dir: Lauren Greenfield
Filmed over five years, this portrait of Imelda Marcos chronicles her efforts to exert control in the Philippines through support for President Rodrigo Duterte. (Showtime Documentary Films)
KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE
Dir: Rachel Lears
Four insurgent female candidates run for Congress in 2018, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she was still working as a bartender and waitress. (Netflix)
ONE CHILD NATION
Dir: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
After becoming a mother herself, filmmaker Nanfu Wang uncovers the untold consequences of China’s one-child policy and the generations forever shaped by this social experiment. (Amazon Studios)
SHORT LIST: SHORTS
DOC NYC’S PICKS FOR LEADING AWARDS CONTENDERS
Fire in Paradise
Dir: Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari
On the morning of November 8, 2018, a fire near the town of Paradise, California grew into the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century. (Netflix)
Ghosts of Sugar Land
Dir: Bassam Tariq
A group of suburban Muslim friends trace the disappearance of their friend, who is suspected of joining ISIS. (Netflix)
In the Absence
Dir: Yi Seung-jun
When the passenger ferry MV Sewol sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014, over three hundred people lost their lives, most of them schoolchildren. (Field of Vision)
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Dir: Carol Dysinger
In the war-torn city of Kabul, a class of young girls from disadvantaged neighborhoods learns to read, write—and skateboard. (Lifetime Films/A&E IndieFilms)
Little Miss Sumo
Dir: Matt Kay
Banned from competing professionally, female sumo wrestler Hiyori faces the reality of forced retirement at the age of 21. (Netflix)
Lost and Found
Dir: Orlando von Einsiedel
Kamal Hussein is a Rohingya refugee on a mission to reunite children who have been separated from their parents as a result of Myanmar’s campaign of ethnic cleansing. (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Dir: Erin Sanger, Taylor Hess
Mack Beggs, a gifted wrestler from Euless, Texas, struggles against the outside forces that stigmatize transgender athletes. (ESPN Films)
Dir: Alexander A. Mora
A revealing look at the human cost of Filipino president Duterte’s war on drugs, following a group of fearless photojournalists on their mission to expose the truth. (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Song of Parkland
Dir: Amy Schatz
In the wake of the tragic shooting at their school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas drama students and their teacher harness the power of theater and music to heal. (HBO Documentary Films)
St. Louis Superman
Dir: Smitri Mundhra, Sami Kahn
A Ferguson activist elected to the overwhelmingly white and Republican Missouri House of Representatives must overcome personal trauma and political obstacles. (MTV Documentary Films)
Dir: Luther Clement, Shuhan Fan
An underdog fencer from Brooklyn overcomes a gauntlet of hardships on the road to the Olympics. (New York Times Op-Docs/POV Shorts)
Dir: Rishi Chandna
A week in the peculiar lives of a middle-class suburban Mumbai household, which is turned topsy-turvy when the family adopts a chicken as a pet. (New York Times Op-Docs)
Shorts: Art Scenes
Profiles of artists and their art.
Jackson Pollock: Blue Poles (Alison Chernick)
Alex Da Corte: 57 Varieties (Ian Forster)
Catherine Opie b. 1961 (Sini Anderson)
Jes Fan in Flux (Brian Redondo)
Magdalena + Michael (Mary Wigmore)
Shorts: Drawing Docs
Real life, animated.
Dani (Lizzy Hogenson)
Conception 2: Matt and Richard (Margaret Cheatham Williams, Maya Edelman)
Love Lost, and Found (Richard O’Connor)
The Office of Missing Children (Michael I Schiller)
A Line Birds Cannot See (Amy Bench)
Only the Moon (Maya Cueva)
Bloomers (Samantha Moore)
Love Letters from Everest (Celeste Koon)
Bright Lights (Charby Ibrahim)
Shorts: Earth Lab
Science is all around us.
Let’s Go to Antarctica! (Gonzaga Manso)
Solvable: Electrifying India (Sam Eaton)
The Blessed Assurance (Isabelle Carbonell)
LIGO: The Way the Universe Is, I Think (Hussain Currimbhoy, Carrie McCarthy, Mark Pedri)
The Love Bugs (Directors: Allison Otto, Maria Clinton)
Shorts: I Fought the Law
Stories about facing authorities and the criminal justice system.
Weedman (Brian Scully)
The Sunny Side Up (Peter Kilmartin)
Inside Juvenile Detention (Nicolas Pollock)
The Arrest (Kira Akerman)
Heartbeat, Iowa (Emily Cameron)
Shorts: Love & Kink!
Full hearts, charged beds
That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (Hannah Currie)
Bodies (Tegan Clancy)
Lasting Marks (Charlie Lyne)
2D Love (Abigail Egden)
Sweet Sweet Kink: A Collection of BDSM Stories (Maggie M. Bailey)
My Breakup with God (Zoe McIntosh)
A Little Piece of Earth (Ryan Malloy)
Shorts: My Name Is…
Characters in profile.
Bird’s Eye! (Morgan Albrecht)
Lorrie Goulet: Spirit Into Stone (Lucy Adams)
Sanguine (Cade Langsdon)
Suite No. 1, Prelude (Nicholas Ma)
Monowi (Anna Sandilands, Ewan McNicol)
Quilt Fever (Olivia Loomis Merrion)
Fast Horse (Alexandra Lazarowich)
Inferno (Patrick Fileti)
Shorts: NYC, Speak to Me
Short stories from and about New York City.
A Great Day in Hip Hop Revisited (Nelson George)
Bam & Rawls Grab a Slice (Horatio Baltz)
Between Strangers (Jimmy Ferguson)
Kevin Beasley’s Raw Materials (Christine Turner)
A Few Days with Jill Freedman (Pete Shanel)
The Archive (Peter Spence)
Days of Black and Yellow (Lotfy Nathan, Willie Meismer, Ray Levé)
Yves & Variation (Lydia Cornett)
On bucking the system.
Deborah Harry Does Not Like Interviews (Meghan Fredrich)
The Art of Making Money: This Guy Has Balls (Nathan Truesdell)
Everything You Wanted to Know About Sudden Birth* (*but were afraid to ask) (Scott Calonico)
Bob of the Park (Jake Sumner)
Flower Punk (Alison Klayman
Shorts: Thicker Than Water
Family, in all its forms.
Lowland Kids (Sandra Winther)
A Childhood on Fire (Jason Hanasik)
9 Degrees (Kalim Armstrong, Demetre Papapgeorgiou)
In Dog Years (Sophy Romvari)
Farewell, Farewell, Farewell (Ricardo Castro)
Shorts: Ways of Seeing
A moment in time, captured in these observational docs.
Easter Snap (RaMell Ross)
Ataguttak the Hunter (Uncredited)
The Warming Shed (Nathan Reich)
Some Million Miles (Adam Forrester, Jared Ragland)
Mason (Oliver Shahery)
Abortion Helpline: This Is Lisa (Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Mike Attie)
Shorts: Spotlight on Darius Clark Monroe: Meditations on Racquet Sports
A four-part exploration of racquet sports and the characters who’ve been drawn to that world.
All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club
Shorts: Spotlight on Firelight Media & American Masters: Masters in the Making
American Masters and Firelight Media present a sneak peek of Masters in the Making, a digital short film series featuring emerging masters in the fields of art and culture.
Anik Khan: Street Level (Sofian Khan)
Four Sacred Colors: Bunky Echo-Hawk (Ben-Alex Dupris)
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (working title) (Amitabh Joshi, Erik Spink)
The Beginning Is Near: The Art of Vincent Valdez (Ray Santisteban)
This Is the Way We Rise (Ciara Lacy)
DOC NYC U
The festival’s long-running section offers showcases of some of the city’s top student documentary filmmaking programs. Six programs reveal the nonfiction filmmakers of tomorrow, with work from CUNY Brooklyn College, Columbia University, The New School, New York Film Academy, New York University and School of Visual Arts.
From the Film Department at CUNY Brooklyn College:
Ramon (Jeniffer Hernandez)
Against the Current (Albert Negrete)
Back Home (Haruka Motohashi)
My Family Reunion (Elmo King)
Dear Friend Chinatown (Tian Leng)
The Banned (Ali Reza Khoshkjan)
To the Sea (Vicky Lee, Henry O’Reilly)
Meat Hook (Maria de la Guardia)
You Found a Home (Chris Omar)
From the Documentary Project at Columbia Journalism School:
She’s Not a Boy (Yuhong Pang, Robert Tokanel)
Something to Say (Abby Lieberman, Joshua Lucas)
Guanajuato Norte (Ingrid Holmquist, Sana Malik)
From Documentary Media Studies at the New School:
The Weight of the Sky (Uwaifo Iduozee)
The Newcomers Club (Tyche Zhuge)
Pat’s Boys (Ambrus Hernadi)
La Lupita (Maria Mayo)
From the Documentary Department of New York Film Academy:
Ghost Villages of the Himalayas (Kuldeep Sah Gangola)
My Dad Vernon (Serena Smith)
Mamá (Lucia Florez)
All I See Is the Future (Nancy Dionne)
A Word Away (Mollie Moore)
Get It (Joe Cleary)
B-city (Carolina Gonzales)
Baladna (Aya Hamdan)
Epiales (Anna Panova)
Unloved (Nika Nikanava)
The Rhythms (Nika Nikanava)
From the NewsDoc program at New York University:
Run the Meter (Rebecca Blandón)
Rainbow Mothers (Elle Luan)
From MFA Social Documentary Film at the School of Visual Arts:
Kostya (Oxana Onipko)
Drive (Rohan Shrivinas Rao)
Wood Carver: Deborah Mills (Shuming Zhang)
All About Evie (Adam Evans)
The Cure (Yingzi Zhang)
Prospect Park (Catherine Finsness)
The Perfect Mess (Jamie Deredorian Delia)