DOC NYC 2020 Overview: Part Two

Festival:
The 11th DOC NYC

Dates:
November 11-19

About:
In this second post on this year’s DOC NYC, which will be presented online nationwide beginning next week, I’m spotlighting several festival sections, including feature competitions, the latest from nonfiction auteurs, panoramas from the US and abroad, and revealing investigative nonfiction. Note: The rundown below does not include titles from yesterday’s post. Additional sections will follow tomorrow.

Viewfinders Competition:
Distinct directorial visions.

40 YEARS A PRISONER
Director: 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.

ENEMIES OF THE STATE
Director: Sonia Kennebeck
Everything is not as it seems for an American family that flees to Canada to protect their hacker son from US government persecution.

JACINTA
Director: Jessica Earnshaw
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.

LANDFALL
Director: Cecilia Aldarondo
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.

SO LATE SO SOON
Director: Daniel Hymanson
An intimate portrait of the energetic and beautifully eccentric Chicago-based artists Jackie Seiden and Don Seiden, married for five decades.

STATELESS
Director: Michèle Stephenson
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
Director: Bruno Santamaría
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
Director: Loira Limbal
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
Director: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz
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.

Metropolis Competition:
New York stories.

DOPE IS DEATH
Director: Mia Donovan
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
Director: Zach Ingrasci, Chris Temple
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
Director: 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.

Masters:
Films by nonfiction auteurs.

9TO5: THE STORY OF A MOVEMENT
Directors: 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
Director: Alex Gibney
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
Director: Judith Helfand
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.

MLK/FBI
Director: Sam Pollard
Using recently declassified files, Sam Pollard’s film examines J Edgar Hoover’s relentless campaign of surveillance and harassment against Martin Luther King, Jr. 

MY PSYCHEDELIC LOVE STORY
Director: Errol Morris
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.

American Perspectives:
An exploration of stories from around the USA.

DEAR SANTA
Director: Dana Nachman
Each year, volunteers for the USPS’s Operation Santa answer letters to Santa, bringing holiday cheer to children nationwide.

THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE
Director: Maria Finitzo
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
Director: 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.

HAMTRAMCK, USA
Director: Justin Feltman, Razi Jafri
In Hamtramck, Michigan, America’s first majority Muslim city, an election splits the typically harmonious community along ethnic lines.

THE PLACE THAT MAKES US
Director: Karla Murthy
Demonstrating resilience and ingenuity, residents of post-industrial Youngstown, Ohio, once a booming steel and mining town, work to restore their community.

WOMEN IN BLUE
Director: Deirdre Fishel
Four female officers from the Minneapolis Police Department provide an inside look at the complex intersection of gender, race, and the limits of reform within the troubled institution.

International Perspectives:
Stories from around the world.

76 DAYS
Director: Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous
A suspenseful, immersive look at life under COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan, China, focused on front-line hospital workers and their patients.

THE HUMAN FACTOR
Director: Dror Moreh
Oscar-nominated director Dror Moreh (THE GATEKEEPERS) looks at peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in 2000 through the memories of American diplomats.

THE LETTER
Director: 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
Director: Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
The fate of the small floating village of Congo Mirador reflects the consequences of years of criminal pollution and government neglect in Venezuela.

THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS
Director: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw
Enter the secretive world of the only people–and dogs–who are able to find the elusive white Alba truffle, the most expensive ingredient in the world.

Investigations:
Revealing real-life tales.

ASSASSINS
Director: Ryan White
Ryan White (THE KEEPERS) investigates the bizarre story behind the brazen assassination of the half-brother of Kim Jong-un.

BABY GOD
Director: 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.

COLLECTIVE
Director: Alexander Nanau
This riveting investigative film follows a team of Romanian reporters as they doggedly uncover a deadly scandal that reaches the highest levels of government. 

THE DISSIDENT
Director: Bryan Fogel
Oscar-winning filmmaker Bryan Fogel (ICARUS) delivers a groundbreaking exposé of the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

FINDING YINGYING
Director: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi
After unassuming Chinese student Yingying vanishes from her American college campus, the filmmaker seeks answers for Yingying’s family.

MIRACLE FISHING
Director: Miles Hargrove
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
Director: Lisa Molomot, Jeff Bemiss
The deadly consequences of America’s unsustainable immigration policy are revealed in the border town of Brooks County, Texas.

THE MYSTERY OF DB COOPER
Director: John Dower
This stylish film attempts to solve the mystery behind DB Cooper, whose brazen 1971 plane hijacking and daring escape-by-parachute has remained unsolved for decades.

‘TIL KINGDOM COME
Director: Maya Zinshtein
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. 

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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