DOC NYC 2020 Overview: Part Three

Festival:
The 11th DOC NYC

Dates:
November 11-19

About:
This rundown on the various thematic sections of this year’s DOC NYC, which will be presented online nationwide beginning next week, continues in this third post on the festival, and includes films on activism, sports, film and television, the arts, music, and unforgettable profiles. Note: The lists below do not include titles from the first post. Our spotlight on the Winner’s Circle and Short List sections – our predictions for this year’s awards season contenders – will follow next week.

Fight the Power:
Stories of activism.

THE BIG SCARY “S” WORD
Director: Yael Bridge
A comprehensive exploration of the long-debated and misunderstood ideology of socialism, increasingly attracting both supporters and detractors in a polarized America.

DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL
Director: Ursula Liang
The death of an unarmed Black man by a Chinese-American NYPD officer sets off a complex fight for justice by two marginalized communities.

NASRIN
Director: Jeff Kaufman
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.

SINCE I BEEN DOWN
Director: Gilda Sheppard
Despite serving life without parole as a consequence of a harsh three-strikes law, Kimonti Carter has worked to transform inmates’ lives through education. 

UNAPOLOGETIC
Director: Ashley O’Shay
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. 

Portraits:
Profiles of singular individuals.

9/11 KIDS
Director: Elizabeth St Philip
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.

FRANCESCO
Director: Evgeny Afineevsky
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky (WINTER ON FIRE) looks at the pressing challenges of the 21st century through the eyes of Pope Francis.

MEDICINE MAN: THE STAN BROCK STORY
Director: Paul Michael Angell
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
Director: Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt
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.

TRUTH TO POWER: BARBARA LEE SPEAKS FOR ME
Director: 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. 

TWO GODS
Director: Zeshawn 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
Director: 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.

Jock Docs:
Films about sports.

BIG VS SMALL
Director: Minna Dufton
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
Director: Sami Khan, Michael Gassert
Three talented Cuban athletes leave everything behind to pursue the ultimate dream of Major League Baseball, but face exploitation and unfulfilled promises.

OFF THE ROAD
Director: José Permar
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 films and television.

BELUSHI
Director: RJ Cutler
RJ 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.

Arts & Culture:
Films about the arts.

BARE
Director: Aleksandr M. Vinogradov
This unconventional and revealing dance documentary explores the production of Thierry Smits’s Anima Ardens, featuring a cast of nude male dancers.

IN & OF ITSELF
Director: Frank Oz
An unforgettable and emotional film capturing Derek DelGaudio’s acclaimed one-man show combining the art of illusion and storytelling.

KENNY SCHARF: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE
Director: Malia Scharf, Max Basch
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.

MADE YOU LOOK: A TRUE STORY ABOUT FAKE ART
Director: Barry Avrich
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.

THE VASULKA EFFECT
Director: 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.

Sonic Cinema:
Movies about music.

LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS
Director: 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.

ZAPPA
Director: Alex Winter
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.

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