The International Documentary Association’s 16th annual DocuWeeks begins this Friday, August 3 in NYC and next Friday, August 10 in Los Angeles. The event has served to qualify over 200 films for Academy Award consideration since its inception, and while recent rule changes by the Academy to feature documentary qualification have thrown some wrinkles into the process – for one thing, features must be reviewed by either the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times – the bicoastal showcase continues. It should be noted that since the LA Times has indicated their intent to review all of the features screening through DocuWeeks, the event retains its Oscar-qualifying aspect.
I’m planning to post a roundup on some of the selections later this month. Among the titles I haven’t yet seen but am hoping to are four that focus on women and girls: Mai Iskander’s WORDS OF WITNESS (pictured), a profile of a young Egyptian journalist and her political awakening; Eugene Martin’s THE ANDERSON MONARCHS, about an African-American girls soccer club team; Nicole Karsin’s WE WOMEN WARRIORS, a focus on the nonviolent resistance led by Colombian indigenous women to combat drug trade violence; and Thomas Riedelsheimer’s GARDEN IN THE SEA, following a Spanish artist as she creates an underwater environmentally-friendly sculpture.
Additional films I’d like to catch include Jane Weiner’s RICKY ON LEACOCK (pictured), a four-decades-in-the-making appreciation of the non-fiction filmmaking legend; Doug Blush and Lisa Klein’s OF TWO MINDS, an exploration of bipolar disorder; and Danielle Gardner’s OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY, a chronicle of what happened to Cantor Fitzgerald after the World Trade Center attacks.