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Grandpa Was an Emperor - 2022 DocLands Documentary Film Festival lineup
Grandpa Was an Emperor directed by Constance Marks (Constance Marks)

DocLands Documentary Film Festival 2022 set to take place Thursday, May 5 through Wednesday, May 11, 2022, announced the full lineup of films.

This year, DocLands will offer online screenings with pre-recorded conversations (May 5 – 11) through the CAFILM Streaming Room and four full days (May 5 – 8) of in-theater programming and in-person filmmaker Q&As at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA.

DocLands will host the World Premieres of Mikey Corker’s Savage Waters and Lori Miller’s Living Wine, the North American premiere of Marten Persiel’s Everything Will Change, and the US premiere of Stacey Tenenbaum’s SCRAP.

Other films premiering at DocLands include the California premieres of Boycott, Carbon – The Unauthorised Biography, Crows are White, Let the Little Light Shine, The Long Breakup, McCurry: The Pursuit of Color, Panteras: Living Among Wild Cats, River, The Sanctity of Space, The Territory, and A Woman on the Outisde.

Bay Area premieres include Exposure, Grandpa Was an Emperor, La Recua: The Mule Pack Train, My Old School, and The Sound of Us.

The Festival will also host two interactive industry forums: DocTalk, an intimate conversation with five filmmakers; frustrated with the lack of action taken to avert or delay climate change and its effects, filmmakers are taking it upon themselves to tell stories through uniquely impactful films aimed to reach global audiences and tackle extinction, today’s excesses, and a global climate emergency. The question these filmmakers will discuss Do Feelings – Not Facts – Drive Action? And DocPitch, a pitching forum designed to connect filmmakers and their ideas to funders, distributors, philanthropists, fellow filmmakers, and future audiences. This year DocPitch will award a total of $100,000.00 – $45,000 Audience Award, $40,000 juried award, and $5,000 to the remaining three filmmaking teams participating in the DocPitch fundraising forum.


(Listed by Strand and in Alphabetical Order)


BOYCOTT – California Premiere
Director: Julia Bacha | US 2021 • 74 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona, and a speech therapist in Texas are told they must choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech across 33 states in America.

Boycott traces the impact of state legislation designed to penalize individuals and companies that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center of the story, Boycott is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.

EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE – North American Premiere
Director: Marten Persiel | Germany and Netherlands 2021 • 93 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
In a dystopian 2054, three young mavericks go on a journey to find traces of the long lost beauty of nature, hoping to discover what happened to their planet. The answer lies in the past and when they find the key to a decade – the 2020s – when a colorful future was still possible, everything changes. In this unusual road movie, fiction meets scientific fact to explore the most urgent issue of our time: the extinction of wildlife.The future is ours to choose.

Director: Constance Marks | US 2021 • 98 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
GRANDPA WAS AN EMPEROR follows Yeshi Kassa, great-granddaughter of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, as she embarks on a personal quest to discover what happened to her closest relatives during the coup of 1974. While Yeshi and her older sister were thousands of miles away in a British boarding school, her great-grandfather was deposed by a revolution, setting off a harrowing chain of events that would put her parents and siblings in grave danger. For the very first time, the royal family examines the events that led to the collapse of a 3,000-year-old dynasty and reflects on how, against all odds, they were able to survive this turbulent time in Ethiopian history.

LET THE LITTLE LIGHT SHINE — California Premiere
Director: Kevin Shaw | US 2022 • 86 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
When a thriving, top-ranked African American elementary school is threatened to be closed and replaced by a new high school that favors the community’s wealthier residents, parents, students and educators fight for the elementary school’s survival.

THE LONG BREAKUP – California Premiere
Director: Katya Soldak | US 2020 • 85 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
The Long Breakup is a feature length documentary about Ukraine’s struggle to escape Russia’s embrace, leave its Soviet past behind and become a truly independent nation. Ukrainian-American journalist Katya Soldak, of Forbes Magazine, now living in New York City, tells the story of her home country as it exits the USSR, works through two revolutions, and endures a war with Russia—all through the eyes of her family and friends in Kharkiv, a large Ukrainian city just 19 miles from the Russian border.

Director: Daniel Roher | US 2022 • 98 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
In Russian and English with English Subtitles
Enthralling and intimate, director Daniel Roher’s NAVALNY unfolds with the pace of a thriller as it follows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in his quest to identify the men who poisoned him in August 2020. Shot in Germany as the story unfolded and offering extraordinary access to the investigation, NAVALNY is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that is also a study of Navalny the man—a portrait of a leader intent on reform who will not be cowed by anything, including his own poisoning.

Director: Jordan W. Barrow and Matt Edwards | US 2021 • 95 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
From Directors Jordan W. Barrow and Matt Edwards, and Executive Producer Rosario Dawson, OUR WORDS COLLIDE is a feature documentary following the lives of five teenage spoken word poets in Los Angeles. A coming of age story, the film documents the poets as they navigate their final year of high school, exploring many of the challenges facing young people today – including identity and expression, transitioning into adulthood and overcoming mental health issues – through the unique prism of their poetry. The film highlights the poets of the Get Lit program – a non-profit organization in Los Angeles educating and empowering young people through poetry.

A WOMAN ON THE OUTSIDE – California Premiere
Director: Lisa Riordan Seville, Zara Katz | US 2020 • 83 Minutes | Strand: Art of Impact
Growing up, Kristal watched nearly every man in her life disappear to prison. She channeled that struggle into keeping families connected, both as a social worker and with her van service that drives families to visit loved ones in far-off prisons. But when Kristal’s dad and brother return to Philly, her happiness meets the realization that release doesn’t always mean freedom. Passionate, funny, and resilient, Kristal remains determined to carve out a different future — for herself and for her young nephew, Nyvae. Part observational documentary, part family album, A Woman on the Outside is a tender portrait of one family striving to love in the face of a system built to break them.


Director: Niobe Thompson, Daniella Ortega | Australia 2021 • 86 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
With Carbon in the news every day, you might think you know everything about her. But you’d be wrong. This spectacular and surprisingly unorthodox documentary reveals the paradoxical story of the element that builds all life, and yet may end it all. Narrated in first person by Sarah Snook (Succession), Carbon tells of her birth in the violent core of an exploding star and of turbulent sagas through the fabric of our evolving Earth. Accompanied by celebrated scientists, unique animations and a stunning orchestral score, Carbon reminds us of our humble participation in the most extraordinary story in the universe.

LIVING WINE (formerly “Clean Wine”) – World Premiere
Director: Lori Miller | US 2022 • 84 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
“Living Wine” follows the journeys of natural winemakers in Northern California, during the largest wildfire season on record. Equal parts farmer, winemaker, and artist, they stay true to their ideals OF creating exceptional wines made through innovative sustainable and regenerative farming and without chemical additives. Eschewing the industrial agricultural practices of the corporate wine industry – our winemakers are healing the very environment they are surviving, i.e., a changing climate marked by rising temperatures, shorter growing seasons, and more frequent and virulent wildfires.

EXPOSURE – Bay Area Premiere
Director: Holly Morris | US 2022 • 83 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
Against all odds and polar advice, a mirthful Muslim chaplain, a shy French biologist, a defiant Qatari princess and eight other women from the Arab World and the West attempt to ski across the melting Arctic sea ice to the North Pole. Director Holly Morris and her crew capture the struggle of these audacious explorers, led by veteran polar explorer Felicity Aston, as they navigate everything from frostbite and polar bear threats to sexism and self-doubt. Ultimately, EXPOSURE is an intimate story of resilience, survival, and global citizenry in what may be the last-ever over ice expedition to the North Pole.

Director: Trudi Angell, Darío Higuera | US 2021 • 86 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
“La Recua” (The mule packtrain) is a muleback journey of more than 300 km on the Old Camino Real along the arid landscape of the Baja California Peninsula. On the journey, Dario Higuera brings to life the history and shares with Azucena and Ramoncito, two young muleters, the ancient knowledge necessary to inhabit the desert in an adventure that seems taken out of distant times. As we witness the challenges they encounter, their journey makes us question the sanity of our frenzy modern life.

Director: Andoni Canela | Spain 2021 • 99 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
In Spanish with English Subtitles
It is a documentary film filmed in the wildest places on the planet. Father and son travel in search of Mato Grosso’s jaguar, the Kalahari cheetah, the Rajasthan tiger, the Patagonian puma, the Ceylon leopard, the Iberian lynx of Sierra Morena and the Maasai Mara lion. The journey lasts for several years and culminates in the “roof of the world”, where Andoni and Unai try to find the legendary snow leopard that inhabits the mountains of Tibet and the Himalayas.

RIVER – California Premiere
Director: Jennifer Peedom, Joseph Nizeti | Australia 2021 • 75 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
Throughout history, rivers have shaped our landscapes and our journeys; flowed through our cultures and dreams. RIVER takes its audience on a journey through space and time; spanning six continents, and drawing on extraordinary contemporary cinematography, including satellite filming, the film shows rivers on scales and from perspectives never seen before. Its union of image, music and sparse, poetic script create a film that is both dream-like and powerful, honoring the wildness of rivers but also recognising their vulnerability.

THE SANCTITY OF SPACE – California Premiere
Director: Renan Ozturk, Freddie Wilkinson | US 2021 • 102 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
Climbers/filmmakers Renan Ozturk and Freddie Wilkinson retrace the steps of pioneering mountaineer and aerial photographer Bradford Washburn. Inspired by Washburn’s iconic aerial photographs of Denali National Park in Alaska, Ozturk and Wilkinson attempt the unprecedented traverse of the Moose’s Tooth peak.

SAVAGE WATERS – World Premiere
Director: Mikey Corker | France 2022 • 93 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
A captivating surf adventure inspired by a tantalizing passage in a 19th century treasure hunter’s journal. Director Mikey Corker follows modern day adventurers, renowned skipper Matt Knight, world-class big wave surfer Andrew Cotton as they embark on a modern-day adventure to find and surf a spectacular wave in some of the most remote and dangerous waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Joined in their quest by family and friends, they’ll be faced with serious challenges and forces to question their attitudes towards risk and the tensions that can exist between personal fulfillment and their relationships with those they love.

THE TERRITORY – California Premiere
Director: Alex Pritz | US 2020 • 90 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
In Portuguese with English Subtitles
When a network of Brazilian farmers seize a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor must fight back in defense of the land and an uncontacted group living deep within it.

Director: Elizabeth Unger | US 2021 • 93 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
As China pours hundreds of billions of dollars into South American infrastructure, jaguars are disappearing from the continent’s most protected rainforests. Targeted as substitutes for tiger parts, which have historically been used in traditional Chinese medicines, jaguars are now being trafficked at dangerously high numbers to fill a new market demand.Spanning over mist-covered jungles in the Amazon to bustling wildlife markets in China, Tigre Gente follows the storylines of two passionate people fighting to stop the jaguar trade before it’s too late.


SCROWS ARE WHITE – California Premiere
Director: Ahsen Nadeem | US 2021 • 100 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
In Arabic, English, and Japanese with English subtitles
For over a thousand years, a secretive Buddhist sect has lived in an isolated monastery in Japan performing acts of extreme physical endurance in their pursuit of enlightenment. A filmmaker, struggling to reconcile his desires with his faith, sets off to the strict monastery in search of answers. When he arrives, his presence is not welcomed and the only monk who will speak with him is an outcast who prefers ice cream and Slayer to meditation. Together they forge an unlikely friendship that leads them to higher truths and occasionally, a little trouble. Shot over five years on three continents, Crows are White is an exploration of truth, faith and love, from the top of a mountain to the bottom of a sundae.

Director: Marc Shaffer | US 2021 • 88 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
Brilliant, ambitious, and mischievous, the 19th-century San Francisco photographer Eadweard Muybridge lived the lives of a dozen men before his breakthrough photographs of running horses set the course for the development of cinema and transformed the camera into a machine of unmatched perception and persuasion. But hiding in Muybridge’s work are clues that provoke an enduring question: Can we believe what we see in a photograph?

Director: Sara Dosa | US and Canada 2022 • 93 Minutes | Strand: The Great Outdoors
In French and English with English subtitles
The extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived – capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes.Directed by Sara Dosa and narrated by Miranda July, this lyrical archival collage pulls from hundreds of hours of rare and never-before-seen footage and photographs shot by the Kraffts, channeling the humor, affection, and insatiable curiosity that was integral to their partnership and which left behind a legacy that has forever enriched our understanding of the natural world.

Director: Eva Longoria Baston | UK 2022 • 102 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
This feature-length documentary follows the epic rivalry between iconic boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez in the 1990s sparked a cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans. A chronicle of a battle that was more than a boxing rivalry and examining a fascinating slice of the Latino experience in the process. La Guerra Civil is a DAZN Originals production, directed by Actress, Producer, Director & Activist, Eva Longoria Bastón and produced by her Emmy-nominated UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.

Director: Denis Delestrac | Spain 2021 • 90 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
McCurry: The Pursuit of Color is the first intimate feature length portrait of the contemporary photojournalist Steve McCurry. The one thing more poignant than McCurry’s pictures is his tumultuous 40-year career, which he’s spent traveling the globe essentially alone, capturing candid snapshots depicting the complexity of human life. Exclusive interviews with family, friends, colleagues, and with the photographer himself, bring to life the stories behind some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century. With unique access to the photographer’s creative process and unpublished images, we discover how McCurry’s vulnerabilities set him on the path to greatness and we witness first-hand his commitment to record what defines and unites humankind – a race against time in an increasingly fractured and culturally homogenous world.

MY OLD SCHOOL– Bay Area Premiere
Director: Jono McLeod | UK 2022 • 104 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
In 1993, 16-year-old Brandon Lee enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a well-to-do suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. What followed over the next two years would become the stuff of legends. Brandon had been privately tutored in Canada while he accompanied his mother, an opera diva, on tour before her tragic death. The preternaturally bright student surprised teachers by blazing toward his goal of entering medical school, displaying a wealth of knowledge beyond his years. Brandon found friends despite his initial awkwardness. He took bullied students under his wing, introduced classmates to seminal retro bands, and even starred in the school’s production of South Pacific. But then his unbelievable secret was revealed. Filmmaker Jono McLeod returns to his old school for a nostalgic look at the strange but true story of his former classmate, Brandon Lee. Utilizing playful, period-specific animation, a pitch-perfect soundtrack, the memories of students and teachers, and the talents of Alan Cumming to bring the tale to life, My Old School offers more than one surprise along the way.

SCRAP – US Premiere
Director: Stacey Tenenbaum | Canada 2022 • 72 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
Scrap tours these unexplored places to show the beauty and pathos in the ugliness we leave behind. Discover the vast and strangely beautiful places where things go to die and meet the people who collect, restore, and recycle the world’s scrap. This cinematic feature documentary will make use of soaring aerials to capture the size and scope of these surreal landscapes. From the ground, it will tell more personal stories of the people who have a deep connection to these things that have reached their ‘end of life’. Scrap scratches beneath the surface of flaking paint and rusting metal to expose our deep attachment to objects around us.

THE SOUND OF US – Bay Area Premiere
Director: Chris Gero | US 2021 • 118 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
Music is the sound of truth, the sound of hope. It is the sound of unity and courage. During this critical time in history, the profound truth remains that music is the great, universal language. “The Sound of Us” chronicles a series of wide-ranging, diverse stories that exemplify the power of music and the triumph of the human spirit.

Director: Allison Otto | US 2022 • 93 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
In 1985, Willem de Kooning’s “Woman-Ochre,” one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century, vanished into the Arizona desert after being cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. 32 years later, the $160 million painting was found hanging in the home of Jerry and Rita Alter in rural New Mexico. The Thief Collector takes a deep look at how, and why, this mild-mannered couple pulled off one of the greatest art heists of a generation, exploring the complicated dynamics of family, the contours of criminality, and just how far people will go to weave their own grandiose narratives.

Director: Ron Howard | US 2022 • 89 Minutes | Strand: Wonderlands
We Feed People, from OscarⓇ-winning director Ron Howard, spotlights renowned chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen’s incredible mission and evolution over 12 years, from being a scrappy group of grassroots volunteers to becoming one of the most highly regarded humanitarian aid organizations in the disaster relief sector.


Director: Evangeline M. Mitchell | US 2021 • 25 min. | Strand: Art of Impact
Precedes the feature film Let the Little Lights Shine
When these five Black lawyers set out on their journeys to receive a professional legal education, they did not realize that they would have to struggle against additional daily battles even more challenging than the rigors of learning the law in a hypercompetitive environment. They discover the paradox of studying in an institution that idealistically represents “justice” for all.

Director: Nancy Kelly | US 2022 • 3 min | Strand: The Great Outdoors
Precedes the feature film Exposure
On the beach at Point Reyes, surrounded by their beloved elephant seals, two trailblazing marine ecologists share their research interests, their generation-spanning career experiences, and their name.

SEASONS (In English, Korean, Spanish with English Subtitles)
Director: Gabriella Canal, Michael Fearon | US 2021 • 24 min | Strand: The Great Outdoors
Precedes the feature film Clean Wine
Nevia No is a classically trained singer and dancer who runs Bodhitree Farm in Pemberton, New Jersey. The conductor of a symphony of personalities and plants, she must maintain equilibrium on the farm and provide for her farmhands, mother and 27-year-old daughter, Euni. As she begins to think of the future of her farm, Euni leaves the restaurant industry and hesitantly agrees to work with her mother during the pandemic. Nevia dreams that a season of farming will persuade her daughter to take over the family business, but Euni may have dreams of her own.

WALLS CANNOT KEEP US FROM FLYING (In Arabic with English subtitles)
Director: Jonathan Mehring | US 2021 • 13 min. | Strand: Art of Impact
Precedes the feature film Boycott
Walls Cannot Keep Us From Flying is the story of two Palestinian youth who seek personal freedom through skateboarding while growing up under occupation. Their wish in life is to spread the love they feel for skateboarding throughout their communities and help skateboarding progress in their country. However, they face resistance from both outside and within their own cultures.

Art of Impact – Identity
Total Run Time: 115 Minutes
In this shorts compilation, we explore identity, watching as those featured explore where they come from, connecting with who they are, and in some instances—discovering who they want to become.

Director: Brett Marty, Joshua Izenberg | US 2022 • 30 min.
For Shawn Hayes, the ancient practice of falconry is more than a deep connection with raptors. It’s his life’s work. As an American falconry ambassador, he’s carved a space for himself where people of color haven’t always been welcome.

Director: Meg Griffiths, Scott Faris | US 2021 • 17 min.
Into the Circle tells the story of a resilient Indigenous family, their journey through life-altering tragedy, and the community that helped them reconnect with their Lakota heritage.

Director: Samuel Pastor | Spain 2021 • 16 min
Mother and twin sons are socially rejected because of being twins. In the Mananjary region of Madagascar, there is a popular belief that twins are carriers of misfortunes.

NE NOTOCA KIAUITZIN (In English, Spanish with English Subtitles)
Director: Eden Sabolboro | US 2021 • 4 min
How can we live in the present if we don’t know our past? Multidisciplinary artist Kiauitzin Ixchel Arriaga shares her journey through art, poetry, and dance.

PRAIRIE FLOWERS (In Spanish with English Subtitles)
Director: Mariana Xochiquétzal Rivera | Mexico 2021 • 19 min
After Silvia’s femicide, her cousin Yecenia, a ñomndaa weaver from the Plain of Flowers, builds a poetic and ritual duel where the threads, dreams and textile knowledge of women are collectively intertwined in an act of healing.

Director: Joshua Seftel | US 2021 • 29 mins
U.S. Marine Richard “Mac” McKinney had planned to return home to Muncie, Indiana as a hero – in an American flag-draped coffin. But that didn’t happen. Instead, after 25 years of service, he returns alive and filled with an all-consuming rage. Still fueled by his desire to die for his country, he plans to bomb the local mosque. But when he comes face to face with the community of Afghan refugees and others of Muslim faith that he seeks to kill, his plan takes an unexpected turn

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