FESTIVAL GOES ONLINE FOR 2020,
AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE FOR THE FIRST TIME;
SLATE INCLUDES 23 WORLD PREMIERES, 12 NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERES,
7 US PREMIERES, AMONG MORE THAN 200 FILMS AND EVENTS
Program reflects the growing diversity of nonfiction filmmaking forms in new films that investigate current events, explore unknown phenomena, reopen settled histories, and profile a host of unforgettable personalities, including
John Belushi, Ruth Finley, Pope Francis, Joanna Harcourt-Smith,
Bill T. Jones, Jamal Khashoggi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Barbara Lee,
Shane McGowan, Sona Mohapatra, Lorine Padilla, Kenny Scharf,
Nasrin Soutodeh, Tiny Tim, Billy Tipton, David Wojnarowicz, and Frank Zappa
DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, announced the lineup for its eleventh edition, running online November 11-19 and available to viewers across the US. The 2020 festival includes 107 feature-length documentaries among over 200 films and dozens of events. Included are 23 World Premieres, 12 international or North American premieres, and 7 US premieres. Fifty-seven features (53% of the lineup) are directed or co-directed by women and 36 by BIPOC directors (34% of the feature program).
While many film festivals’ 2020 editions have been forced to shrink the size of their program or cancel altogether due to the ongoing pandemic, DOC NYC has been able to transition to a completely online event for this year. DOC NYC remains one of the world’s largest documentary festivals, presenting, as it has since 2015, more than 100 feature films in its slate, along with numerous shorts programs and student film showcases.
In addition to film screenings, DOC NYC’s 2020 edition includes the five-day pre-festival “Road Trip,” October 26-30, a virtual tour on Facebook Live stopping in ten filmmaking hubs across the United States to showcase local documentary makers and organizations, along with festival films from the area. During the festival itself, conversations with festival filmmakers will take place in daily “DOC NYC Live” events, and festival screenings will also include pre-recorded filmmaker Q&As after the films. Schedule and guests for both “Road Trip” and “DOC NYC Live” to be announced. “Road Trip” is co-presented by Netflix.
The festival’s noted filmmaker development program, DOC NYC PRO, also moved online in 2020, offering webinars to emerging and established documentary markers around that globe. DOC NYC PRO is co-presented by Apple Original Films.
“Documentary film has never felt so vital as in these tumultuous times,” said Director of Programming Basil Tsiokos. “This year’s lineup represents a wide array of voices both on screen and from behind the camera, creating works of art that will resonate for years to come.” Tsiokos leads the festival’s selection team of Programmers Ruth Somalo, Karen McMullen, and Jessie Fairbanks, and Associate Programmer Brandon Harrison, in collaboration with Artistic Director Thom Powers.
World Premieres at the festival include Nelson G. Navarrete and Maxx Caicedo’s A La Calle, Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s The Meaning of Hitler, Gong Cheng and Yung Chang’s Wuhan Wuhan, Sian-Pierre Regis’s Duty Free, Noah Hutton’s In Silico, Nancy Buirski’s A Crime on the Bayou, Jeff Daniels’s Television Event, Ilinca Calugareanu’s A Cops and Robbers Story, Frank Matson’s Restaurant Hustle, Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz’s Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, Cheryl Dunn’s Moments Like This Never Last, and Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe’s Red Heaven, among others.
Among this year’s international, North American, and US premieres are Mor Loushy’s Kings of Capitol Hill, Oliver Murray’s Ronnie’s, Ulrike Ottinger’s Paris Calligrammes, Siji Awoyinka’s Elder’s Corner, Meng Han’s Smog Town, Justin Staple’s American Rapstar, Mayye Zayed’s Lift Like a Girl, Sam Osborn and Nick Capezzera’s Universe, Magnus Skatvold and Greg Mallozzi’s Blue Code of Silence, and Julien Temple’s Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane McGowan.
DOC NYC’s feature programming is curated in 14 sections, including two competition sections. The Viewfinders Competition, recognizing 11 films demonstrating distinct directorial vision, includes Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s The Viewing Booth, Loira Limbal’s Through the Night, Cecilia Aldarondo’s Landfall, and Bruno Santamaría’s Things We Dare Not Do. The ten films of the MetropolisCompetition are dedicated to stories set in New York City, and include Chris McKim’s Wojnarowicz, Christian D. Bruun’s Calendar Girl, and Raquel Cepeda’s La Madrina: The
Savage Life of Lorine Padilla.
Winner’s Circle highlights 8 films that have won awards at Oscar-qualifying international festivals, and includes David Osit’s Mayor, Elizabeth Lo’s Stray, Radu Ciorniciuc’s Acasa, My Home, and Katrine Philp’s Beautiful Something Left Behind.
Other returning sections include Masters, offering a spotlight on the newest work from nonfiction auteurs like Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (9to5: The Story of a Movement), and Errol Morris (My Psychedelic Love Story); national and global takes in American Perspectives and International Perspectives, with work like Eden Wurmfeld and Margaret Munzer Loeb’s Chasing Childhood, Deirdre Fishel’s Women in Blue, and Maia Lekow and Christopher King’s The Letter; and thematic sections Investigations (thought-provoking investigative nonfiction, including Maya Zinshtein’s ‘Til Kingdom Come and John Dower’s The Mystery of D.B. Cooper), Fight the Power (on activism, including Jeff Kaufman’s Nasrin and Ashley O’Shay’s Unapologetic), Portraits (profiling singular individuals in work like Rebecca Richman Cohen’s Weed & Wine and Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s No Ordinary Man), Jock Docs (on sports, in films like José Permar’s Off the Road and Sami Khan and Michael Gassert’s The Last Out), Behind the Scenes (on films and television, including R.J. Cutler’s Belushi and Mo Scarpelli’s El Father Plays Himself), Arts & Culture (on the arts, including Larissa Bills’s Disney+ series On Pointe and Sachi Cunningham and Vayabobo’s Crutch), and Sonic Cinema (on music, including Alex Winter’s Zappa and Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete’s In My Own Time: A Portrait of Karen Dalton). DOC NYC also puts a special Spotlight on Canada this year, celebrating work by Canadian filmmakers, co-presented by the Consulate General of Canada in New York.
Short-form content is represented by the festival’s Shorts Competition (43 films in 8 thematic programs) and DOC NYC U (46 films representing student work from 7 NYC schools), selected by Shorts Programmer Opal H. Bennett, working with Associate Programmers DeWitt Davis and Samah Ali. DOC NYC U is co-presented by HBO Documentary Films.
This year’s edition of the festival includes several filmmakers who have previously been recognized on DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40 list of promising nonfiction filmmakers: Cecilia Aldarondo (dir/prod, Landfall), Jameka Autry (prod, Through the Night), Jamie Boyle (dir/prod, Take a Vote), Sonia Kennebeck (dir/prod, Enemies of the State), Anjali Nayar (dir/prod, Oil and Water), Nico Opper (dir,When I Write It), and Izabella Tzenkova (co-prod, Moments Like This Never Last). The 2020 class of 40 Under 40 is represented in the lineup by Jessica Earnshaw (dir/prod, Jacinta), Tiffany Hsiung (dir, Sing Me a Lullaby), Elizabeth Lo (dir/prod, Stray), Nelson G. Navarrete & Maxx Caicedo (dirs, A La Calle), Tommy Oliver (dir, 40 Years a Prisoner), David Osit dir,Mayor), Kellen Quinn (prod, In Silico and So Late So Soon), Jiyan “Jenny” Shi (dir/prod, Finding Yingying), Lesley Steele (dir, By Way of Canarsie), Christine Turner (dir, Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business), and Malika Zouhali-Worrall (editor, Through the Night). 40 Under 40 is co-presented by HBO Documentary Films and Topic Studios.
The festival also includes several completed projects that previously participated in DOC NYC’s Only In New Yorkprogram for works-in-progress: The Big Scary “S” Word, Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, Chasing Childhood, The Dilemma of Desire, Down a Dark Stairwell, Los Hermanos/The Brothers, Red Heaven, and Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me. Only In New York is co-presented by SHOWTIME® Documentary Films.
“We are proud to support the 11th annual DOC NYC Film Festival, which this year will allow viewers nationwide to enjoy more than 200 documentary films online, including a number of international premieres,” said Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Anne del Castillo. “Documentary filmmakers are an integral part of NYC’s creative economy and production community, and their ability to capture and communicate the human condition is so important during these challenging times.”
More news about additions to the program, DOC NYC’s Visionaries Tribute honorees, competition jury members, the features and shorts named to the festival’s Short List sections, and other festival updates will be announced in the coming weeks.
Advance ticket sales begin today, October 15. See below for ticketing and pass information.
The following is a breakdown of programming by section:
DISTINCT DIRECTORIAL VISIONS
40 YEARS A PRISONER
Dir/Prod: Tommy Oliver
Mike Africa, Jr. dedicates his life to exonerate his parents, members of the Black revolutionary group MOVE, imprisoned by police in Philadelphia in 1978.
A LA CALLE (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Nelson G. Navarrete, Maxx Caicedo
Prod: Shawna Brakefield-Haase, Marcus Cheek
Venezuela’s recent political upheavals are made vivid through this epic work exploring multiple perspectives in the national movement against the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro.
ENEMIES OF THE STATE
Dir/Prod: Sonia Kennebeck
Prod: Ines Hofmann Kanna
Everything is not as it seems for an American family that flees to Canada to protect their hacker son from US government persecution.
Dir/Prod: Jessica Earnshaw
Prod: Holly Meehl, Nimisha Mukerji
After being released from the same prison in which her mother is incarcerated, a woman struggles to break the generational cycle of addiction and trauma.
Dir/Prod: Cecilia Aldarondo
Prod: Ines Hofmann Kanna
An intimate and lyrical portrait of trauma, resilience, and resistance in Puerto Rico as the island faces new challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane María.
THE MEANING OF HITLER (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker
Prod: Mike Lerner, Dana O’Keefe
This provocative consideration of the lasting influence and draw of Hitler provides insight into the resurgence of white supremacy, antisemitism, and the weaponization of history.
SO LATE SO SOON
Dir: Daniel Hymanson
Prod: Trace Henderson, Josh Penn, Kellen Quinn, Noah Stahl
An intimate portrait of the energetic and beautifully eccentric Chicago-based artists Jackie Seiden and Don Seiden, married for five decades.
Dir: Michèle Stephenson
Prod: Lea Marin, Jennifer Holness
After the Dominican Republic strips the citizenship of residents of Haitian descent, attorney Rosa Iris fights to protect the rights of these now stateless people.
THINGS WE DARE NOT DO
Dir: Bruno Santamaría
Prod: Abril López Carrillo
An ephemeral profile of a Mexican teenager on the cusp of adulthood, conflicted between the desire to express their true sexuality and the expectations of family.
THROUGH THE NIGHT
Dir/Prod: Loira Limbal
Prod: Jameka Autry
A 24-hour childcare center proves indispensable for night-shift workers and single parents in this exploration of the personal cost of our modern economy.
THE VIEWING BOOTH
Dir/Prod: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz
Prod: Liran Atzmor
Filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz (The Law in These Parts) explores how willing people are to change their most deeply held beliefs when he asks an ardent supporter of Israel to reflect on footage of life in the occupied West Bank.
NEW YORK STORIES
BLUE CODE OF SILENCE (International Premiere)
Dir: Magnus Skatvold, Greg Mallozzi
Prod: Håvard Wettland Gossé, Alex Fraioli
In the 1970s, NYPD Detective Bob Leuci turned informant on his own squad, becoming a hero to some, pariah to others.
CALENDAR GIRL (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Christian D. Bruun
Prod: Natalie Nudell
Ruth Finley, the nonagenarian queen of the fashion industry through her pink Fashion Calendar, founded in 1945, faces the end of an era as her iconic publication changes ownership. Co-presented by The Cut.
CAN YOU BRING IT: BILL T. JONES AND D-MAN IN THE WATERS (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Rosalynde LeBlanc, Co-Dir: Tom Hurwitz
Prod: Duana C. Butler
An engrossing examination of dance, love, and loss through the story of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane’s signature performance piece on the devastation of AIDS. Co-presented by The WNET Group.
A COPS AND ROBBERS STORY (World Premiere)
Dir: Ilinca Calugareanu
Prod: Mara Adina
A decorated NYPD officer’s career is threatened when his political stances lead to revelations about his former life of crime.
DOPE IS DEATH
Dir: Mia Donovan
Prod: Bob Moore
With drugs ravaging New York City in the 1970s, the Young Lords and Black Panthers banded together to champion an alternative detoxification program: acupuncture.
FIVE YEARS NORTH
Dir: Zach Ingrasci, Chris Temple
Prod: Jenna Kelly
The parallel stories of an undocumented Guatemalan teenager and a Cuban-American ICE agent explore the complexity of the immigration debate.
HARLEM RISING: A COMMUNITY CHANGING THE ODDS
Dir/Prod: Rayner Ramirez
The inspiring story of the Harlem Children’s Zone Initiative, a revolutionary educational and social experiment which has transformed the lives of generations of children. Co-presented by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
LA MADRINA: THE
SAVAGE LIFE OF LORINE PADILLA (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Raquel Cepeda
The “first lady” of the Savage Skulls reflects on the pivotal role of women in the 1970s New York City gang and her later shift to community activism.
MOMENTS LIKE THIS NEVER LAST (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Cheryl Dunn
Prod: Michael Karbelinikoff, Suroosh Alvi, Danny Gabai
In post 9/11 New York City, Dash Snow rejected a life of privilege to make his own way as an artist for a too brief but unforgettable time.
WOJNAROWICZ (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Chris McKim
Prod: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
A powerful elegy to the late New York artist, writer, and filmmaker David Wojnarowicz, who embraced a defiant queer identity and fought against indifference to the AIDS crisis.
INTERNATIONAL AWARD WINNERS
ACASA, MY HOME
Dir: Radu Ciorniciuc
Prod: Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan
A large Roma clan who have lived off the grid in the wilderness for 20 years are forced to resettle in the unfamiliar city.
BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING LEFT BEHIND
Dir: Katrine Philp
Prod: Katrine A. Sahlstrøm
An affectionate and intimate child’s eye view of New Jersey’s Good Grief counseling center, which offers a holistic approach to mourning the loss of loved ones.
Dir: Richard Poplak, Diana Neille
Prod: Bob Moore, Neil Brandt
This portrait of the founder of the infamous public relations firm Bell Pottinger explores the disturbing way our perceptions—and politics—are shaped by outside forces.
Dir/Prod: David Osit
Winner: Full Frame
Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, Palestine, navigates day-to-day civic responsibilities, but the darker realities of life under occupation are never too far away.
THE REASON I JUMP
Dir: Jerry Rothwell
Prod: Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee, Al Morrow
Based on the groundbreaking book written by Naoki Higashida, this film explores the interior worlds and fascinating daily experiences of five nonverbal autistic young people.
SONGS OF REPRESSION
Dir: Estephan Wagner, Marianne Hougen-Moraga
Prod: Heidi Elise Christensen, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Executive produced by Joshua Oppenheimer, this complex portrait reveals the dark truth behind Chile’s seemingly idyllic German colony, Colonia Dignidad, formerly led by a cruel cult leader.
Dir/Prod: Elizabeth Lo
Prod: Shane Boris
Winner: Hot Docs
A remarkable portrait of three dogs in Istanbul, where strays are an everyday part of the fabric of the community, belonging to no one and everyone at the same time.
THE WALRUS AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER
Dir/Prod: Nathalie Bibeau
Prod: Frederic Bohbot
Winner: Hot Docs
An eccentric former marine animal park trainer wages a war via social media and the courts to save Smooshi, his beloved walrus, from deplorable conditions.
FILMS BY NONFICTION AUTEURS
9TO5: THE STORY OF A MOVEMENT
Dir/Prod: Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar
Oscar-winners Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar (American Factory) explore the 1970s movement by secretaries and female office workers to demand better working conditions.
CRAZY, NOT INSANE
Dir/Prod: Alex Gibney
Prod: Ophelia Harutyunyan, Erin Edeiken, Joey Marra
Alex Gibney profiles Dorothy Lewis, who grew up driven to understand what makes people into killers, leading her to become a psychiatrist specializing in serial killers.
LOVE & STUFF
Dir/Prod: Judith Helfand
Prod: Hilla Medalia, Julie Parker Benello
Faced with the loss of her beloved mother and becoming a first-time mom herself at the age of 50, filmmaker Judith Helfand has a lot of stuff—both literal and figurative—to deal with.
Dir: Sam Pollard
Prod: Benjamin Hedin
Using recent declassified files, MLK/FBI examines J. Edgar Hoover’s relentless campaign of surveillance and harassment against Martin Luther King, Jr.
MY PSYCHEDELIC LOVE STORY
Dir/Prod: Errol Morris
Prod: Robert Fernandez, Steven Hathaway
Errol Morris profiles the unforgettable Joanna Harcourt-Smith as she tells tales of sexual escapades and psychedelic tripping during her life on the run with the High Priest of LSD Timothy Leary.
ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Abigail Child
Abigail Child offers an eerie and exciting look into the present and future of artificial intelligence through the perspectives of robotics scientists, entrepreneurs, and a Black lesbian robot named BINA48.
PARIS CALLIGRAMMES (North American Premiere)
Dir: Ulrike Ottinger
Prod: Thomas Kufus, Kornelia Theune
German auteur Ulrike Ottinger constructs an epic memoir tracing the influence of the time she spent living in Paris in the 1960s.
EXPLORE THE USA
CHASING CHILDHOOD (World Premiere)
Dir: Eden Wurmfeld, Margaret Munzer Loeb
Prod: Eden Wurmfeld, Lisa Eisenpresser
Reformed “helicopter” parents and education professionals reveal the benefits of allowing kids to have freedom to play unencumbered by schedules and structure.
Dir/Prod: Dana Nachman
Prod: Chelsea Matter, Brendan Gaul, Christopher Karpenko
Each year, volunteers for the USPS’s Operation Santa answer letters to Santa, bringing holiday cheer to children nationwide.
THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE
Dir/Prod: Maria Finitzo
Prod: Cynthia Kane, Diane Quon
A timely and radical film about gender politics, sexuality, and the barriers society and culture have placed on the acknowledgement of female sexual desire.
FOR THE LOVE OF RUTLAND
Dir/Prod: Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
Once prosperous but now reeling from the opioid epidemic, the town of Rutland, Vermont, becomes the center of an ideological debate on refugee resettlement.
Dir/Prod: Justin Feltman, Razi Jafri
In Hamtramck, Michigan, America’s first majority Muslim city, an election splits the typically harmonious community along ethnic lines.
THE OIL WAR (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: David Schisgall
Iconoclastic historian Andrew Bacevich delivers an anti-colonial critique of US foreign policy in the Middle East, which he sees as one long Oil War.
THE PLACE THAT MAKES US
Dir/Prod: Karla Murthy
Prod: Alexandra Nikolchev
Demonstrating resilience and ingenuity, residents of post-industrial Youngstown, Ohio, once a booming steel and mining town, work to restore their community.
RESTAURANT HUSTLE (World Premiere)
Dir: Frank Matson
Prod: Tim McOsker
Executive produced by Guy Fieri, this is an intimate chronicle of the impact of the pandemic on the restaurants of four celebrity chefs: Antonia Lofaso, Marcus Samuelsson, Maneet Chauhan, and Christian Petroni. Co-presented by Grub Street.
WOMEN IN BLUE
Dir/Prod: Deirdre Fishel
Prod: Beth Levison, Aideen Kane
Three female officers from the Minneapolis Police Department must cope with the interdepartmental politics that arise from the appointment of the city’s first female chief.
TRAVEL THE WORLD
Dir: Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous
Prod: Hao Wu, Jean Tsien
A suspenseful, immersive look at life under COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan, China, focused on front-line hospital workers and their patients.
Dir/Prod: Maia Lekow, Christopher King
A young man supports his elderly grandmother in rural Kenya after she is accused of witchcraft in a scheme to steal her land.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENEZUELA
Dir: Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
Prod: Sepp R. Brudermann
The fate of the small floating village of Congo Mirador reflects the consequences of years of criminal pollution and government neglect in Venezuela.
SMOG TOWN (US Premiere)
Dir: Meng Han
Prod: Vincent Du
The environmental protection bureau of Langfang, just outside of Beijing, is on the front lines of China’s fight against air pollution.
SUMMERWAR (US Premiere)
Dir: Moritz Schulz
Prod: Louis Wick, Nils Gustenhofen
A quietly chilling look at the insidious nature of nationalist indoctrination through the experiences of two young Ukrainians attending a paramilitary summer camp.
WUHAN WUHAN (World Premiere)
Dir: Gong Cheng, Yung Chang
Prod: Peter Luo, Donna Gigliotti, Huan Li, Diane Quon
Filmmaker Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze) teams with a group of intrepid videographers in Wuhan, China, to capture life in the city at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
REVEALING REAL-LIFE TALES
Dir/Prod: Ryan White
Prod: Jessica Hargrave
Ryan White (The Keepers) investigates the bizarre story behind the brazen assassination of the half-brother of Kim Jong-un.
Dir/Prod: Hannah Olson
For decades, fertility specialist Dr. Quincy Fortier was hailed a miracle worker, but the advent of commercial DNA testing reveals his unexpected secret.
A CRIME ON THE BAYOU (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Nancy Buirski
Prod: Susan Margolin, Claire L. Chandler
In 1966 Louisiana, a lasting bond is formed between an unjustly arrested Black man, Gary Duncan, and Richard Sobol, his young Jewish attorney.
Dir/Prod: Bryan Fogel
Prod: Jake Swantko, Thor Halvorssen, Mark Monroe
Oscar-winning filmmaker Bryan Fogel (Icarus) delivers a groundbreaking exposé of the 2018 murder of Washington Postjournalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Dir/Prod: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi
Prod: Diane Quon
After unassuming Chinese student Yingying vanishes from her American college campus, the filmmaker seeks answers for Yingying’s family.
THE JUMP (North American Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Giedrė Žickytė
Prod: Uldis Cekulis
When a Lithuanian sailor seeking asylum jumps off his Soviet ship onto a US Coast Guard vessel in 1970, he sets off an international Cold War incident.
KINGS OF CAPITOL HILL (International Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Mor Loushy
Prod: Daniel Sivan
An eye-opening look at the powerful pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC, through the perspectives of disaffected insiders concerned about the union between Netanyahu and Trump.
Dir/Prod: Miles Hargrove
Prod: Eric F. Martin, Christopher Birge
After an American journalist is kidnapped in Colombia in 1994, his family and friends are forced to negotiate directly for his release, keeping a video diary of the entire process.
MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY
Dir/Prod: Lisa Molomot, Jeff Bemiss
Prod: Jacob Bricca
The deadly consequences of America’s unsustainable immigration policy are revealed in the border town of Brooks County, Texas.
THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER
Dir: John Dower
Prod: Anna Stephens
This stylish film attempts to solve the mystery behind D.B. Cooper, whose brazen 1971 plane hijacking and daring escape-by-parachute has remained unsolved for decades.
NEITHER CONFIRM NOR DENY (World Premiere)
Dir: Philip Carter
Prod: Sheryl Crown, Maggie Monteith, Christopher Simon
At the height of the Cold War, the CIA is tasked with an audacious covert mission: recovering a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine from the bottom of the ocean.
‘TIL KINGDOM COME
Dir/Prod: Maya Zinshtein
Prod: John Battsek, Abraham (Abie) Troen
An investigation into the unlikely political alliance between American evangelicals and Israel’s right wing, and its influence on the Trump administration’s foreign policy.
FIGHT THE POWER
STORIES OF ACTIVISM
THE BIG SCARY “S” WORD
Dir/Prod: Yael Bridge
Prod: Morgan Spector, Eden Wurmfeld
A comprehensive exploration of the long-debated and misunderstood ideology of socialism, increasingly attracting both supporters and detractors in a polarized America. Co-presented by The New Republic.
DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL
Dir/Prod: Ursula Liang
Prod: Rajal Pitroda
The death of an unarmed Black man by a Chinese-American NYPD officer sets off a complex fight for justice by two marginalized communities.
Dir/Prod: Jeff Kaufman
Prod: Marcia S. Ross
An immersive portrait of human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, currently serving a 38-year prison sentence for representing women who protested Iran’s mandatory hijab law.
SHUT UP SONA (US Premiere)
Dir: Deepti Gupta
Prod: Sona Mohapatra
Indian singer Sona Mohapatra uses her powerful voice not only to entertain, but to speak out against sexism within the Indian music industry.
SINCE I BEEN DOWN
Dir/Prod: Gilda Sheppard
Prod: June Nho Ivers, Saman Maydani
Despite serving life without parole as a consequence of a harsh three-strikes law, Kimonti Carter has worked to transform inmates’ lives through education.
Dir/Prod: Ashley O’Shay
Prod: Morgan Elise Johnson
Fed up with misdeeds committed by Chicago law enforcement and a political system unwilling to hold anyone accountable, two passionate young Black women take action.
YOUTH V GOV (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Christi Cooper
Prod: Olivia Ahnemann
Young activists from across the nation file a groundbreaking lawsuit against the United States for endangering their constitutional rights by creating the climate crisis.
PROFILES OF SINGULAR INDIVIDUALS
Dir/Prod: Elizabeth St. Philip
Prod: Steve Gamester
This insightful look into race and class in America profiles the lives of the schoolchildren who were with President George W. Bush the morning of the 9/11 attacks.
DUTY FREE (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Sian-Pierre Regis
Prod: Meredith Chin
As his recently laid off mother struggles to find a new job at the age of 75, the filmmaker takes her on an adventure to help her reclaim her life.
Dir/Prod: Evgeny Afineevsky
Prod: Den Tolmor, Eric Esrailian, Teri Schwartz
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky (Winter on Fire) looks at the pressing challenges of the 21st century through the eyes of Pope Francis.
IN SILICO (World Premiere)
Dir: Noah Hutton
Prod: Kellen Quinn, Taylor Hess, Jesse Miller
Director Noah Hutton embarks on a 10-year project following a visionary neuroscientist’s quest to build a computer simulation of a brain.
LESSONS OF LOVE (US Premiere)
Dir: Malgorzata Goliszewska, Kasia Mateja
Prod: Anna Stylińska, Izabela Łopuch
After 45 years, 69-year-old Jola leaves an unhappy marriage to live life on her own terms, but is she ready to open her heart to a new love?
MEDICINE MAN: THE STAN BROCK STORY
Dir: Paul Michael Angell
Prod: Vladimir V. Daniel, Victor Buhler
The story of Stan Brock, an unassuming British nature television host turned founder of Remote Area Medical, which provides free healthcare to those in need.
NO ORDINARY MAN
Dir: Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt
Prod: Sarah Spring
American jazz musician Billy Tipton, long viewed as an ambitious woman who passed as a man in pursuit of a music career, is reframed as a transgender icon.
RED HEAVEN (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Lauren DeFilippo, Katherine Gorringe
In this prescient exploration of self-imposed quarantine, six volunteers embark on a one-year mission in a Mars simulation to further research for space exploration.
TRUTH TO POWER: BARBARA LEE SPEAKS FOR ME
Dir/Prod: Abby Ginzberg
An inspiring portrait of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a true pioneer of American civil rights, and the lone voice in opposition to the authorization of military force after the September 11th attacks. Co-presented by The New Republic.
Dir: Zeshawn Ali
Prod: Aman Ali
In Newark, NJ, a Black Muslim casket maker takes two troubled teenage boys under his wing to teach them the meaning of tradition, hard work, and forgiveness.
WEED & WINE
Dir/Prod: Rebecca Richman Cohen
Two small farming families—one that grows cannabis in California and another that produces wine in southern France—experience parallel joys and challenges.
FILMS ABOUT SPORTS
BIG VS SMALL
Dir/Prod: Minna Dufton
Prod: Heidi Richert
A profile of Joana Andrade, a fiery big wave surfer who finds herself confronting personal demons in order to continue on her path to success.
THE LAST OUT
Dir/Prod: Sami Khan, Michael Gassert
Prod: Jonathan Miller
Three talented Cuban athletes leave everything behind to pursue the ultimate dream of Major League Baseball, but face exploitation and unfulfilled promises.
LIFT LIKE A GIRL (US Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Mayye Zayed
In a dilapidated corner of Alexandria, Egypt, promising young athlete Zebiba and her community of young female weightlifters train for championship gold.
OFF THE ROAD
Dir: José Permar
Prod: Daniela Silva, José Luis Villanueva, Wendy Muñiz, Guillermo Zouain, Oz Rodríguez
In this modern-day western musical, the slow-paced lifestyle on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula is given a turbo boost by the Baja 1000, the largest off-road motorsport race in the world.
BEHIND THE SCENES
FILMS ABOUT FILM AND TELEVISION
Dir/Prod: R.J. Cutler
Prod: John Battsek, Diane Becker, Trevor Smith
R.J. Cutler (The September Issue) profiles the legendary John Belushi, whose insatiable appetites and anarchic energy led to his demise at the height of his stardom.
EL FATHER PLAYS HIMSELF (US Premiere)
Dir: Mo Scarpelli
Prod: Manon Ardisson, Rodrigo Michelangeli
Fiction and reality collide in the Amazonian rainforest when a filmmaker directs his own father in a film about his unconventional life.
TELEVISION EVENT (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Jeff Daniels
Prod: Amanda Spain, Ozzy Inguanzo
The improbable behind-the-scenes story of the 1983 anti-nuclear made-for-TV film The Day After, made against the backdrop of an escalating nuclear arms race between the US and the Soviet Union.
ARTS & CULTURE
FILMS ABOUT THE ARTS
Dir/Prod: Aleksandr M. Vinogradov
Prod: Thierry Smits, Fabien Defendini
This unconventional and revealing dance documentary explores the production of Thierry Smits’s Anima Ardens, featuring a cast of nude male dancers.
CRUTCH (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Sachi Cunningham, Vayabobo
Dance, art, performance, and disability politics converge in this entertaining and enlightening portrait of Bill “Crutch” Shannon.
AN IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT (North American Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Jens Meurer
Prod: Phil Hunt, Compton Ross
After Polaroid announces the closure of its last factory in 2008, an eccentric Austrian scientist makes it his mission to revive interest in all things analog.
IN & OF ITSELF
Dir: Frank Oz
Prod: Glenn Kaino, Vanessa Lauren, Jake Friedman
An unforgettable and emotional film capturing Derek DelGaudio’s acclaimed one-man show combining magic and storytelling.
KENNY SCHARF: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE
Dir/Prod: Malia Scharf, Max Basch
Prod: David Koh
Kenny Scharf, who transitioned from graffiti artist into a major force in the 1980s NYC art scene, continues to create complex work fusing popular culture and fine art.
LOST IN FACE (North American Premiere)
Dir: Valentin Riedl
Prod: Erik Winker
An extraordinary portrait of Carlotta, an elusive and multifaceted artist who has a neurological condition preventing her from recognizing faces.
MADE YOU LOOK: A TRUE STORY ABOUT FAKE ART
Dir/Prod: Barry Avrich
Prod: Caitlin Cheddie
One of the most respected art galleries in New York City becomes the center of the largest art fraud in American history in this fascinating exploration of the art of the con. Co-presented by Vulture.
ON POINTE (World Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Larissa Bills
Prod: Tom Grant
A sneak preview of the pilot episode of the upcoming Disney+ docuseries capturing a season in New York City at the School of American Ballet. Co-presented by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
SELF PORTRAIT (North American Premiere)
Dir: Katja Høgset, Margreth Olin, Espen Wallin
Prod: Margreth Olin
A portrait of the haunting work of photographer Lene Marie Fossen, whose extreme form of anorexia is at the center of her artistic practice.
THE VASULKA EFFECT
Dir/Prod: Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir
Pioneering video artists Steina and Woody Vasulka, who escaped the Eastern Bloc to found legendary New York City gallery The Kitchen, reflect on art, aging, and the future of their archive.
MOVIES ABOUT MUSIC
AMERICAN RAPSTAR (North American Premiere)
Dir: Justin Staple
Prod: Braxton Pope, Kerstin Emhoff
An eye-opening exploration of the SoundCloud rap phenomenon, a scene of troubled, young, lo-fi rappers that has used social media to develop a rabid fan base.
CROCK OF GOLD: A FEW ROUNDS WITH SHANE MCGOWAN (North American Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Julien Temple
Prod: Johnny Depp, Stephen Deuters, Stephen Malit
The lead singer and songwriter of The Pogues tells his own story, in revealing conversations with the likes of Gerry Adams and Johnny Depp.
ELDER’S CORNER (North American Premiere)
Dir/Prod: Siji Awoyinka
Prod: Ade Bantu
This tour through the history of Nigerian music follows a young London-born Nigerian music fan to Lagos to re-record the country’s musical icons.
IN MY OWN TIME: A PORTRAIT OF KAREN DALTON (World Premiere)
Dir: Robert Yapkowitz, Richard Peete
Prod: Traci Carlson, Richard Peete
The unconventional life of blues and folk singer Karen Dalton, a prominent figure in the 1960s New York music scene.
LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS
Dir/Prod: Marcia Jarmel, Ken Schneider
During the thaw in US/Cuban relations, two brothers, both gifted musicians, long separated by borders, reunite for a joint tour through both countries.
RONNIE’S (International Premiere)
Dir: Oliver Murray
Prod: Kirsty Bell
A chronicle of the life of saxophonist Ronnie Scott, owner of the legendary London jazz club that became a prime European outpost for such performers as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Chet Baker.
TINY TIM: KING FOR A DAY (US Premiere)
Dir: Johan von Sydow
Prod: David Herdies, Michael Krotkiewski, Justin A. Martell
In the late 1960s, Tiny Tim was, improbably, a household name, but the eccentric performer’s fame would prove heartbreakingly fleeting.
UNIVERSE (North American Premiere)
Dir: Sam Osborn, Nick Capezzera
Prod: Leah Natasha Thomas, Esther Dere
Miles Davis’s protegé, Wallace Roney, is determined to record and debut a challenging orchestral suite to honor his mentor’s legacy. Co-presented by The WNET Group.
Dir/Prod: Alex Winter
Prod: Glen Zipper, Ahmet Zappa, John Frizzell
Director Alex Winter constructs the definitive portrait of maverick musician Frank Zappa, incorporating a wealth of material from Zappa’s personal archives over his extraordinary four decade-long career.
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA
A showcase of the Canadian titles that are represented throughout the festival’s sections.
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Canada in New York.
DOPE IS DEATH
EL FATHER PLAYS HIMSELF
THE LAST OUT
MADE YOU LOOK: A TRUE STORY ABOUT FAKE ART
NO ORDINARY MAN
THE WALRUS AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER
Leisure, Pleasure (DOC NYC U)
Oil and Water
Road to Roxham
Sing Me a Lullaby
The Water Walker
The 43 shorts in the following 8 programs are part of the juried Shorts Competition.
Shorts: All Alone Together
Individuals and their circumstances illustrate the universal need to connect.
Huntsville Station (Dir: Jamie Meltzer, Chris Filippone; Prod: Jamie Meltzer)
Tumbling Towards Home (Dir/Prod: Imelda O’Reilly; Prod: Joe Foley)
Material Bodies (Dir: Dorothy Allen-Pickard; Prod: Julie Vergez, Lucy Pucillino)
Perfectly Frank (Dir/Prod: Dan Hunt)
The Grass Is Always Greener on TV (Dir: Matt Pizzano; Prod: Nic Wehmeyer)
The Seeker (Dir: Lance Edmands; Prod: Kyle Martin, Sarah Tihany)
Shorts: All That Matters
A look at what’s most important in life.
Take a Vote (Dir/Prod: Jamie Boyle; Prod: Molly Kaplan)
Sown (Dir/Prod: Calvin Mumm; Prod: Taylor Kiser)
Quiet No More: The Struggle of Reverend Sharon Risher
(Dir/Prod: Eléonore Hamelin)
The Undocumented Lawyer (Dir: Chris Temple, Zach Ingrasci; Prod: Jenna Kelly)
Shorts: Art Time
Visual creatives and the perspectives they imagine.
Her New York (Dir/Prod: David Gross)
The Incredulity of Jacolby Satterwhite (Dir: Lorena Alvarado; Prod: Nick Ravich)
Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business (Dir: Christine Turner; Prod: Erin Wright)
All the Possibilities… (Dir/Prod: Marsha Gordon, Louis Cherry)
When I Write It (Dir: Nico Opper, Shannon St. Aubin)
Unsung Heroes of Ink (Dir/Prod: Olivia Wang)
Shorts: In This Life
Stories running the gamut of human experience.
Patty Are You Bringing Weed in From Jamaica? (Dir/Prod: Matthew Salton)
White Nights (Dir/Prod: Diego Collados V)
Mizuko (Dir/Prod: Kira Dane, Katelyn Rebelo)
Shadegan (Dir/Prod: Ako Salemi)
Lions in the Corner (Dir: Paul Hairston; Prod: Jake Ewald)
To Calm the Pig Inside (Dir/Prod: Joanna Vasquez Arong)
Shorts: New York Strong
Films demonstrating New Yorkers’ grit and resilience.
A Week in June (Dir/Prod: Jay Sansone)
Road to Roxham (Dir/Prod: Cristian Gomes)
Urban Growth (Dir/Prod: Nate Dorr, Nathan Kensinger)
By Way of Canarsie (Dir: Emily Packer, Lesley Steele; Prod: Shirin Ghaffary)
The Grand Tour (Dir: Erin Babbin, Michael Sullivan; Prod: Erin Babbin)
An exploration of who we are and where we come from.
Motherland (Dir: Ellen Evans; Prod: Alice Hughes)
Crescendo! (Dir/Prod: Alex Mallis; Prod: Perri Peltz, Matthew O’Neill)
24 (Dir/Prod: Brian Yulo Ng)
Mommy’s Nightmare (Dir/Prod: Jonathan Napolitano; Prod: Brian Bolster,
Hayat (Dir: Rendah Haj; Prod: Maudie Osborne)
Sing Me a Lullaby (Dir/Prod: Tiffany Hsiung)
Shorts: She Stories
Films by or about women.
Making the Case (Dir/Prod: Jennifer Callahan)
First Move (Dir/Prod: Arielle Edelman)
Pam (Dir/Prod: Amit Lerner)
The Water Walker (Dir/Prod: James Burns; Prod: Stevie Salas, Kevin Munroe,
Just Hold On (Dir: Sam Davis, Rayka Zehtabchi; Prod: Mehrdad Sarlak)
The Heart Still Hums (Dir/Prod: Savanah Leaf, Taylor Russell)
Shorts: Speak Up, Stand Up
Disrupting the system.
Oil and Water (Dir/Prod: Anjali Nayar; Prod: Andreas Mendritzki)
Stonewall 2069 (Dir: Samuel Douek; Prod: Bec Evans, Nikta Mohammadi)
Lupita (Dir: Monica Wise Robles; Prod: Eduardo Gutiérrez Pérez)
Welcome Strangers (Dir/Prod: Dia Sokol Savage; Prod: Garret Savage)
DOC NYC U
The festival’s long-running section showcases some of the city’s top student documentary filmmaking programs. Seven programs reveal the nonfiction filmmakers of tomorrow, with work from CUNY, Columbia University, Hunter College, The New School, New York Film Academy, New York University, and School of Visual Arts. Co-presented by HBO Documentary Films.
From the City University of New York (Brooklyn College, City College, City-Tech):
COVIDEO (Dir/Prod: Alan Nero)
Till Next Trip (Dir/Prod: Matthew Colon)
The Zelda Express (Dir/Prod: Nicholas Sossi Romano)
Changing the Narrative: The Vision of Oscar Micheaux (Dir/Prod: Eric Straight)
Supra (Dir/Prod: Tim Chachibaia)
The SoHo Memory Project (Dir: Or Szyflingier; Prod: Melanie Martinez)
Unconditional (Dir/Prod: Rumi Lee)
From Documentary Specialization at Columbia Journalism School:
Holding Fire (Dir/Prod: Hana Elias, Eleonore Voisard)
The Vet Van (Dir/Prod: Sarah Jenks, Elizabeth Mulvey)
Curtain Up! (Dir/Prod: Hui Tong, Kelly Ng)
From the MFA Program in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College:
The Life of Dan (Dir/Prod: Jeremy S. Levine, Dan Levine)
Under the Skin (Dir: Silvana D’Mikos)
Funny Faces at Smyrna Beach (Dir/Prod: Andrea Lerner)
Protest: Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality, NYC
2020 (Dir/Prod: Gearóid Dolan)
Memory Map (Dir/Prod: Amanda Madden)
Flotsam (Dir/Prod: Robin Smith Fedock)
Here Now (Chapter 4) (Dir/Prod: AK Hansen)
My First Sessions (Dir/Prod: Wendy Cong Zhao)
Arrhythmia (Dir: Pooj Padmaraj)
Leisure, Pleasure (Dir/Prod: Jess Shane)
From Documentary Media Studies at the New School:
OK Boomer (Dir/Prod: Amrit Chen)
Parklife (Dir/Prod: Lillian Xuege Li)
Hidden Costs (Dir/Prod: Claire Haughey)
Nine Days a Week (Dir/Prod: Maliyamungu Muhande)
From the Documentary Department of New York Film Academy:
Am I Enough? (Dir/Prod: Chandni Sharma)
Intersection (Dir/Prod: Sarah Masiyiwa)
Choosing the Line (Dir/Prod: Kendall Marianacci)
Single Parent (Dir/Prod: DeAndre’e Kelly)
Rebirth (Dir: Eleonora Privitera; Prod: Daniela Tuvo)
V R Friends (Dir/Prod: Olga Shelukhova)
Generation 328 (Dir/Prod: Nika Nikanava)
Saving Us (Dir: Nelson Gomez)
Sanctuary (Dir/Prod: Jason Hanna)
Garden State Mysteries (Dir/Prod: Frida Forssblad)
ACE Kid (Dir/Prod: Pochi Tamba Nsoh)
What We Keep (Dir/Prod: Lívia Thiago)
From News and Documentary at New York University:
Making Waves (Dir/Prod: Laura Zéphirin)
Tic Talk: Time to Heal (Dir/Prod: Maria Florencia Smith)
Some Way Out of Here (Dir/Prod: Boning Li)
From MFA Social Documentary Film at the School of Visual Arts:
Mourning Doctor Li Wenliang (Dir/Prod: Chen Chen)
What’s in Chinatown (Dir/Prod: Hansen Lin)
To Lay Bare (Dir/Prod: Zijun Cathy You)
My Little Ones (Dir/Prod: Peipei Zhang)
Butts (Dir/Prod: Yijia Zeng)
Viseltear Violins (Dir/Prod: Rohan Rao)
Busker (Dir/Prod: Zooey Zhang)
Tickets are available at docnyc.net. Films will be available to screen throughout the U.S. November 11-19.
Individual tickets are $12 each ($9 for IFC Center members)
Five-Ticket Packs are $45, offering film lovers access to five festival selections. A special early bird discount of $40 is available through October 31.
Ten-Ticket Packs are $80, and provide access to ten festival films. A special early bird discount of $70 is available through October 31.
The All Access Pass offers access to all films on the festival platform for $199. An early bird discount of $149 is available through October 31.