In my role as DOC NYC‘s Director of Programming, I’ve spent the last several months putting together the just-announced lineup for our 6th edition, which runs Thursday, November 12 through Thursday, November 19 at the IFC Center, SVA Theatre, and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas. America’s largest documentary festival continues to expand in 2015, bringing our total number of program offerings to more than 200, including an additional screen, more shorts programs, new thematic sections, and brand-new industry and university programming. Of the 104 features included this year, 27 are world premieres, 15 are North American or US premieres, and 39 are NYC premieres.
I’m planning to profile each section here in the weeks prior to our opening, but for the time being, find out more, and purchases passes and individual tickets, at our website via the links provided.
High profile, must-see films:
MISS SHARON JONES! (pictured)
Barbara Kopple, US Premiere
Two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple follows soul queen Sharon Jones in a year of adversity. In person: Barbara Kopple, subjects Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE
Amy Berg, NYC Premiere
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg (DELIVER US FROM EVIL) profiles the rock legend Janis Joplin. In person: Amy Berg
ONCE AND FOR ALL (pictured above)
Michael Epstein & Dyllan McGee, World Premiere
The story of the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference, a watershed event in the global struggle for women’s rights. Presented by AOL’s MAKERS. In person: Michael Epstein & Dyllan McGee, subject Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton
Standout films coupled with conversations with directors and special guests:
AN ART THAT NATURE MAKES: THE WORK OF ROSAMOND PURCELL
Molly Bernstein, World Premiere
Photographer Rosamond Purcell finds unexpected beauty in the overlooked, discarded and decayed. In person: Molly Bernstein, subject Rosamond Purcell.
Screening with Sebastien Pins’ A PASSION OF GOLD AND FIRE
Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and others discuss the influence of Hitchcock and Truffaut’s famous book. In person: Kent Jones, subject Martin Scorsese
KEYNOTE: A CONVERSATION WITH JON ALPERT & SHEILA NEVINS
Filmmaker Jon Alpert and HBO Documentary Films head Sheila Nevins give a keynote conversation in conjunction with the world premiere of Alpert’s short film MARIELA CASTRO’S MARCH: CUBA’S LGBT REVOLUTION profiling the Cuban Congresswoman who is a tireless champion of LGBT rights in Cuba.
MAKING A MURDERER (pictured)
Laura Ricciardi & Moira Demos, World Premiere
A sneak peek at the first two episodes of a riveting new ten-part true crime docu-series from Netflix. In person: Laura Ricciardi & Moira Demos
TROUBLEMAKERS: THE STORY OF LAND ART
A group of NYC-based artists abandoned gallery spaces to embrace the expanse of the American Southwest. In person: James Crump, MOCA Director Philippe Vergne
+ A SURPRISE SCREENING OF A SOON-TO-BE-ANNOUNCED WORLD PREMIERE
A competition celebrating distinct directorial visions:
Seth Kramer, Daniel A Miller & Jeremy Newberger, World Premiere
Parallel stories of two female anthropologists: trailblazer Margaret Mead and contemporary Susie Crate.
Ben Powell, NYC Premiere
A portrait of characters working on a Mississippi barge headed to New Orleans.
Ian Cheney, World Premiere
An expedition to two planets: Earth, with its rising seas, and Mars, with the promise of colonization.
A GOOD AMERICAN
Friedrich Moser, North American Premiere
A profile of Bill Binney, who went from a NSA insider to a critic of government surveillance.
I AM SUN MU
Adam Sjöberg, US Premiere
After defecting from North Korea, a former propaganda artist applies his craft to satirical political pop art.
A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES: PEACEKEEPERS
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy & Geeta Gandbhir, US Premiere
Three Bangladeshi policewomen serve with the UN peacekeeping mission in post-earthquake Haiti.
Nicole Horanyi, NYC Premiere
The only Western lawyer licensed to work in Afghanistan’s courts, Kimberley Motley finds herself at a crossroads.
Jon Fox, NYC Premiere
A maverick inventor battles against the scientific establishment over a miraculous energy-producing machine.
Danae Elon, US Premiere
Chronicling three years in Jerusalem with her family, Danae Elon uncovers the city’s tensions.
THE SUNSHINE MAKERS (pictured)
Cosmo Feilding-Mellen, World Premiere
A real-life Breaking Bad for the psychedelic set about the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s drug counterculture.
A competition highlighting quintessentially New York stories:
Marc Levin, NYC Premiere
A look at NYC’s gentrification and growing inequality at the Chelsea intersection of 10th Avenue and 26th Street.
DADDY DON’T GO (pictured)
Emily Abt, World Premiere
Four diverse, disadvantaged NYC fathers struggle to beat the odds and defy the deadbeat dad stereotype.
THE JAZZ LOFT ACCORDING TO W EUGENE SMITH
Sara Fishko, NYC Premiere
In 1957-65, a former LIFE Magazine photojournalist captured legendary jazz musicians in a Sixth Avenue loft.
LEFT ON PURPOSE
Justin Schein & David Mehlman, NYC Premiere
What begins as a portrait of the life of an antiwar radical instead threatens to become an account of his suicide.
THE LOST ARCADE
Kurt Vincent, World Premiere
Gentrification threatens the last arcade in NYC, as well as the diverse community that calls it a second home.
MIRIAM: HOME DELIVERY
Juliet Jordan, World Premiere
A profile of a NYC homebirth midwife and her diverse clientele.
David Shapiro, NYC Premiere
A NYC gallerist, haunted by the unsolved murder of her brother, becomes obsessed with a New Orleans painter.
OXD: ONE EXTRAORDINARY DAY
Craig Lowy, World Premiere
Elizabeth Streb’s Brooklyn-based Extreme Action Company trains for a breathtaking spectacle in London.
Curtis Chin, World Premiere
Attending NYC’s elite public schools can set students up for the future, but first they have to get in.
Screening with Crystal Kayiza, Pete Quandt, and Leroy Farrell’s WHY WE STAY
Jon Reiner & Brad Rothschild, NYC Premiere
A Quebecois family man spends five weeks on the streets of NYC selling Christmas trees.
Stories from around the US:
ABOVE AND BELOW
Nicolas Steiner, NYC Premiere
An exploration of outsiders who live in abandoned military bunkers and storm drains in the American West.
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MICHELLE MAREN
Michel Negroponte & Michelle Maren, US Premiere
An acclaimed filmmaker and his troubled subject craft a captivating portrait of a woman enslaved by past traumas.
Hillevi Loven, NYC Premiere
Can an affable young transgender man live openly with his true love in the Bible Belt?
THE FEAR OF 13
David Sington, North American Premiere
A death row prisoner behind bars for more then 20 years reveals the shocking truth behind his case.
LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS
Laurie Kahn, NYC Premiere
A look at the vast community around romance fiction, demonstrating why love stories are no trivial matter.
A NEW HIGH
Samuel Miron & Stephen Scott Scarpulla, NYC Premiere
A group of Seattle addicts attempt to climb Mount Rainier to conquer their demons.
Miguel Drake-McLaughlin & Jonny Leahan, World Premiere
Egos collide as a group of scientists and entrepreneurs attempt to realize a science-fiction fantasy.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
Tom Donahue, World Premiere
The stories of several struggling veterans reveal the mental health crisis in the military.
WILHEMINA’S WAR (pictured)
June Cross, World Premiere
An African-American grandmother in the deep South cares for her HIV+ family members.
Screening with Irene Taylor Brodsky’s OPEN YOUR EYES
A global lens:
ALL RISE (pictured)
Jay Shapiro & Jeffrey Saunders, World Premiere
International law students face off in the world’s most prestigious simulated court competition, the Jessup.
THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL
Holly Morris & Anne Bogart, NYC Premiere
A profile of elderly women who subsist on their beloved but toxic land in Chernobyl’s radioactive exclusion zone.
Nick Read & Mark Franchetti, NYC Premiere
Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet weathers the fallout from the notorious 2013 acid attack on the company’s director Sergei Filin.
KINGDOM OF SHADOWS
A compelling investigation into the human costs of the Mexican drug war on both sides of the border.
ON THE RIM OF THE SKY
Hongjie Xu, US Premiere
An isolated Chinese village school becomes a battleground between generations, ideologies and egos.
TOCANDO LA LUZ
Jennifer Redfearn, NYC Premiere
Three women, united by blindness and a desire for independence, pursue their dreams in modern Cuba.
Screening with Alison Klayman’s THE 100 YEARS SHOW
Behind the Scenes
A new section that focuses on films about films and filmmaking.
CLAUDE LANZMANN: SPECTRES OF THE SHOAH
Adam Benzine, NYC Premiere
For the first time on camera, the 89-year-old auteur behind SHOAH reflects on the challenges he faced to realize his vision.
Screening with Timothy Sternberg & Francisco Bello’s DREAMING AGAINST THE WORLD
THE DYING OF THE LIGHT (pictured)
Peter Flynn, World Premiere
A bittersweet ode to the vanishing craft of film projection and a celebration of the men and women in the booth.
HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY
Daniel Raim, North American Premiere
A love story and tribute to the unsung talents behind a staggering number of cinema classics.
RAIDERS! THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE
Jeremy Coon & Tim Skousen, NYC Premiere
Three pre-teens set out to pay tribute to their favorite film; it become an obsession lasting three decades.
REEL IN THE CLOSET
Stu Maddux, NYC Premiere
An excavation of the hidden history of LGBT lives through a treasure trove of rare home movies.
Screening with Christian Bruno & Natalija Vekic’s ED & PAULINE
WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED
Gillian Armstrong, NYC Premiere
In Hollywood’s golden age, costume designer Orry-Kelly thrived, but also kept secrets as a gay man.
A returning section that puts the spotlight on performance:
CAN WE TAKE A JOKE? (pictured)
Ted Balaker, World Premiere
A thought-provoking exploration of outrage culture through the lens of stand-up comedy.
FEELINGS ARE FACTS: THE LIFE OF YVONNE RAINER
Jack Walsh, NYC Premiere
A long-overdue portrait of iconoclast dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer.
THE RED UMBRELLA DIARIES
David Kornfield, NYC Premiere
Seven diverse sex workers tell their tales at NYC’s Joe’s Pub.
SHE’S THE BEST THING IN IT
Ron Nyswaner, NYC Premiere
Tony-winning character actor Mary Louise Wilson finds few opportunities on the stage, so turns to teaching.
A new section focused on food and restaurants.
CITY OF GOLD
Laura Gabbert, NYC Premiere
This portrait of Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold reveals hidden culinary gems of Los Angeles.
Kevin Pang & Mark Helenowski, NYC Premiere
Recognized with two Michelin stars, chef Curtis Duffy sets grand plans for his new Chicago restaurant, Grace.
At Philadelphia’s famed French restaurant Le Bec Fin, chef Georges Perrier struggles to stay in business.
THE MISSING INGREDIENT (pictured)
Michael Sparaga, World Premiere
A portrait of two NY restaurants, exploring what it means to be an institution.
NOMA: MY PERFECT STORM
Pierre Deschamps, North American Premiere
When the Nordic restaurant Noma loses the title of the world’s best restaurant, its talented chef seeks redemption.
Revisiting past nonfiction favorites, including films by some of this year’s DOC NYC Visionaries Tribute recipients:
GIMME SHELTER (1970)
Albert Maysles, David Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin
45th anniversary screening, in memory of Al Maysles. A portrait of the Rolling Stones becomes a disturbing record of a notorious concert.
HIGH ON CRACK STREET: LOST LIVES IN LOWELL (1995) (pictured)
Jon Alpert, Maryann DeLeo & Richard Farrell
20th anniversary screening. The documentary that inspired The Fighter focuses on three addicts.
SISTERS IN LAW (2005)
10th anniversary screening. Two fierce and feisty women challenge tradition in Cameroon through their legal work.
Fight the Power
Celebrating the power of activism.
BADDDDD SONIA SANCHEZ
Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater & Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, NYC Premiere
A crucial figure in the Black Arts Movement harnesses her gift for words to fuse art and activism over six decades.
THE C WORD
Meghan O’Hara, NYC Premiere
Oscar-nominated producer Megan O’Hara (Sicko) questions the establishment wisdom around cancer.
CIRCLE OF POISON
Evan Mascagni & Shannon Post, World Premiere
A pointed exposé on the global trade in banned pesticides and their impact on health.
Richard Todd & Jonathon Stack, US Premiere
Funny and outspoken Aussie everyman Dayne Pratzky becomes an accidental activist against fracking.
THE INVADERS (pictured)
Prichard Smith, World Premiere
Filling in a lost chapter of civil rights history, a look at the generation of radicals that emerged in Memphis in 1967.
Screening with Dress Code’s EMORY DOUGLAS: THE ART OF THE BLACK PANTHERS
NO MÁS BÉBES
Renee Tajima-Peña, NYC Premiere
A young lawyer fights the medical establishment on behalf of Latina immigrants sterilized without their consent.
Films on sports and athletes.
BOUNCE: HOW THE BALL TAUGHT THE WORLD TO PLAY
Jerome Thelia, NYC Premiere
A far-ranging exploration of the universal appeal of play as realized in the ubiquity and versatility of the ball.
Screening with Bryan Storkel’s THE BAD BOY OF BOWLING
Michiel Thomas, NYC Premiere
A transgender Mixed Martial Artist and a gay college basketball player struggle with living openly in the public eye.
THE GREAT ALONE
Greg Kohs, NYC Premiere
Lance Mackey braves the Arctic wilderness for another chance at glory through the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
THE LEGEND OF SWEE’ PEA
Benjamin May, World Premiere
NYC playground basketball legend Lloyd “Swee’ Pea” Daniels was a top college recruit until a drug bust.
LUCHA MEXICO (pictured)
Alex Hammond & Ian Markiewicz, US Premiere
An entertaining look at Mexico’s Lucha Libre, where masked wrestlers wage a battle between good and evil.
Amber Fares, US Premiere
The Middle East’s first all-female Arab race car team overcomes checkpoints and expectations to become role models.
A new section exploring diverse conceptions of family and community.
Eva Tomanová, US Premiere
A former computer scientist raises his family in the Czech countryside with no modern conveniences or schooling.
FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
Sharon Shattuck, NYC Premiere
The filmmaker seeks to understand how her parents remained together after her father transitioned to a woman.
Maya Newell, NYC Premiere
This touching film reveals both the challenges of same-sex parenting and its commonalities with every family.
THE MELTING FAMILY
Nicole Groton, World Premiere
This candidly personal film chronicles how one nuclear family grew through seven divorces and remarriages.
Peter Odabashian, World Premiere
An intimate reflection on friendship demonstrates the power of an intentional community.
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU (pictured)
Hyuckjee Park, North American Premiere
Long-widowed from the husband they shared, two women continue to live together decades later.
A diverse showcase on music and musicians:
13 MILLION VOICES
Janelle Gueits, NYC Premiere
Young Cubans and Cuban Americans forge ties against backdrop of Havana’s Peace Without Borders concert.
A rap cousin of SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, the film seeks the artist behind the 1973 album HUSTLERS CONVENTION.
I GO BACK HOME – JIMMY SCOTT
Yoon-ha Chang, World Premiere
The angelic-voiced jazz singer Jimmy Scott lived in obscurity for decades before making a comeback.
MAD TIGER (pictured)
Jonathan Yi & Michael Haertlein, World Premiere
Meet Peelander-Z and you might just start to believe the Japanese art-punk band’s claims of interstellar origins.
SYL JOHNSON: ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS
Rob Hatch-Miller, NYC Premiere
Soul singer Syl Johnson never achieved the success he longed for until hip hop opened up new opportunities.
THEORY OF OBSCURITY: A FILM ABOUT THE RESIDENTS
Don Hardy, NYC Premiere
A profile of the band the Residents, who have maintained anonymity for 40 years behind giant eyeball masks.
The Wild Life
A new section exploring the relationship between animals and humans.
Darcy Dennett, NYC Premiere
An inspiring chronicle of the efforts to rescue and rehabilitate Michael Vick’s pit bulls.
HARRY & SNOWMAN
Ron Davis, NYC Premiere
Dutch immigrant Harry deLeyer saves a horse from the glue factory and finds a show-jumping champion.
Brant Backlund, World Premiere
An activist crusades against the cruelty of seal hunting while bringing us closer to the delightful creatures.
George Butler, NYC Premiere
One of the world’s top big cat biologists tracks tigers on the dangerous border of India and Bangladesh.
Celebrating storytelling in brief:
Artists and their art.
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Stories for the whole family.
FROM THERE TO HERE (pictured)
Experiences in the melting pot.
LARGER THAN LIFE
Portraits of everyday characters.
Take a trip around the world.
POINTS OF VIEW
Tales of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
PUSHING THE BOUNDS
DOC NYC U
A new initiative showcasing the next generation of documentary filmmakers from NYC’s university film programs.
COLUMBIA SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM PROGRAM
NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY PROGRAM
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY NEWSDOC PROGRAM
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS MFA SOCDOC PROGRAM
Re-presenting some of the year’s most notable docs, all potential contenders this Awards season:
BEST OF ENEMIES
Morgan Neville & Robert Gordon
THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION
GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF
HE NAMED ME MALALA
THE HUNTING GROUND
KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK (pictured)
THE LOOK OF SILENCE
SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION
WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
DOC NYC PRO
DOC NYC’s newly-rebranded industry programming expands to eight days of panels, masterclasses, and new weekday Morning Manifestos exposing working filmmakers to notable non-fiction creators.
FIRST-TIME FILMMAKERS DAY
Essential information for new filmmakers, with a Morning Manifesto from Kirby Dick and panels on: What’s Your Story?, Funding Fundamentals, Get Your Gear, and Post-Production Secrets.
Offering invaluable advice about the art of pitching and more, with an extended Morning Manifesto featuring this year’s DOC NYC Short List filmmakers in conversation, and panels on: The Perfect Reel and Trailer, Pitch Training, and The Pitch.
A two-day series of masterclasses exploring Cinematography, Animation & Graphics, International Co-Productions, Editing, Sound Design & Composing, and The Art of the Podcast.
A four-day series of panels, each organized around a different over-arching daily theme:
SHOW ME THE MONEY
A focus on funding, including a Morning Manifesto from Abigail Disney, and panels on: Anatomy of Funding, Legal-ease, Lessons in Creative Funding, and Supporting the Documentary Producer – Ask an Expert.
ARCHIVAL & SURVIVAL
A consideration of the importance of preservation and working with archives, including a Morning Manifesto from Shola Lynch, and panels on: Negotiating Rights, Monetize Your Outtakes, Preservation and Archives, and Craft a Story with Archival.
REACHING YOUR AUDIENCE
Panels illuminating the importance of audience engagement, including a Morning Manifesto from POV’s new executive producer Justine Nagan, and panels on: Case studies: Outreach Campaigns, Outlet Shopping, Do I Need a Sales Agent?, and Social Issues and Outreach.
BREAKING IN, NEW ROAD MAPS
A consideration of expanding the documentary space to more diverse voices, featuring a Morning Manifesto from Michele Stephenson (AMERICAN PROMISE), and panels on: How Did I Get Here?, New Frontiers: New Media & New Programs, Secrets from the Retreats, and Impact Your Community.