One of the United Arab Emirates’ key film events, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, celebrates its 8th year starting tonight, Thursday, October 23, and running through Saturday, November 1. With programming that balances the regional debuts of films that have already garnered acclaim at key international events like Cannes and Sundance with new work from the Arab world, the festival offers scores of shorts and nearly 90 features, of which just over two dozen are nonfiction, many of which are noted below.
Among the Documentary Feature Competition entries with UAE production support presented are: Samir’s IRAQI ODYSSEY, a personal, 3D chronicle of five decades of family dislocation; Merieme Addou and Rosa Rogers’ PIRATES OF SALÉ (pictured), about a circus set in a Moroccan slum; Yasmin Fedda’s QUEENS OF SYRIA, in which Syrian refugee women perform an updated version of THE TROJAN WOMEN; Nujoom Al Ghanem’s SOUNDS OF THE SEA, following an old singer in his quest to sing folklore to local fishermen; and Nadine Salib’s MOTHER OF THE UNBORN, a portrait of an Egyptian woman stigmatized because of her inability to become pregnant.
One of the largest nonfiction events in Europe, the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, launches its 18th edition tonight, Thursday, October 23. More than 70 documentary features will screen through the end of the festival, next Tuesday, October 28. While I’ve never attended, the event has drawn praise from international fest organizers for its eclectic approach to nonfiction programming. Following are some highlights of new work from this year’s lineup. Continue reading
This year’s Margaret Mead Film Festival, its 38th edition, opens tomorrow, Thursday, October 23, with THE LAST PATROL, Sebastian Junger’s study of the impact of war on soldiers and war correspondents. Before it wraps on Sunday, October 26, the festival – the longest-running doc event in the US – will present more than 30 features, in addition to shorts, panels, and interactive installations at the American Museum of Natural History. The following offers a spotlight on some of these: Continue reading
One of Mexico’s most celebrated film events, the Morelia International Film Festival/Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia, kicks off its 12th edition tonight, Friday, October 17, presenting 87 films before it winds down on Sunday, October 26. Focusing exclusively on Mexican cinema, the event spotlights twelve shorts among its 62 shorts lineup and twelve feature documentaries within its 25 feature selections. The following looks at some of the latter: Continue reading
The 12th edition of Doclisboa launches tomorrow, Thursday, October 16, with nearly 70 feature docs unspooling until the fest comes to a close on Sunday, October 26, bookends by Sergei Loznitsa’s MAÏDAN and Peter von Bagh’s SOCIALISM, respectively. Taking an expansive view of nonfiction, the festival showcases a number of hybrid or fiction projects, essays, and experimental work within its lineup – sometimes with inscrutable program notes – as well as a significant amount of retrospective works. What follows are selections from some of the event’s programming strands: Continue reading
The 15th anniversary Woodstock Film Festival opens today, Wednesday, October 15, and wraps up this Sunday, October 19. The upstate New York event will present over 125 films over the course of its five-day run, of which just over 20 are documentary features. Here are some highlights:
Familiar film subjects are profiled in Pauly Shore’s stand-up self-portrait, PAULY SHORE STANDS ALONE; Chuck Workman’s look at the life and career of a Hollywood legend, MAGICIAN: THE ASTONISHING LIFE AND WORK OF ORSON WELLES; and Ric Burns’ investigation into tabloid history, ENQUIRING MINDS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE MAN BEHIND THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER (pictured).
Stories about overcoming adversity through self-empowerment include: Lesley Chilcott’s A SMALL SECTION OF THE WORLD, about a pioneering Costa Rican women’s coffee-growing collective; Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick’s THE HAND THAT FEEDS (pictured), chronicling food service workers attempt to organize for better working conditions; Nicole Boxer’s HOW I GOT OVER, on several women’s path from trauma to redemption through theatre; and Michael Lessac’s A SNAKE GIVES BIRTH TO A SNAKE, which follows South African actors as they try to create dialogue in divided communities.
Finally, filmmakers address topical issues in Thomas G. Miller’s intimate look at transnational gay marriage, LIMITED PARTNERSHIP; Alix Lambert’s poignant exploration of school bullying, MENTOR; and Lacey Schwartz’s exploration of family secrets, race, and religion, LITTLE WHITE LIE (pictured).
As DOC NYC‘s Director of Programming, I’m excited to share this year’s just-announced lineup. Already America’s largest documentary festival as of last year, the event has been expanded for our 5th anniversary edition, adding a new venue, two additional days of Doc-A-Thon panel programming, a larger Short List section, and new thematic sidebars. In total, 153 films and events make up this year’s festival, including 92 features, of which 19 are world premieres, 7 are North American or US premieres, and 40 are NYC premieres. DOC NYC will take place at the IFC Center, SVA Theatre, and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas between Thursday, November 13 and Thursday, November 20, with filmmakers in attendance for Q&As at nearly every program.
I’m planning to profile each section here in the weeks prior to our opening, but for the time being, check out our brand new website via the links below for more information and to purchase passes or individual tickets, which go on sale today. Continue reading