The 15th Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Montana’s largest film event includes more than 50 features as well as shorts and extensive retrospective programming. Continue reading
SXSW announced their feature film line-up yeaterday. 132 features will screen in total, which will include some future announcements of additional titles. Following is the list of documentary features so far, broken down by section:
Documentary Feature Competition:
Ten world premieres selected from 1050 submissions.
Director: Nick Budabin
An underdog basketball player from Chicago goes on a meteoric rise to become one of the best college point guards in the nation. While he pursues dreams of the NBA, his success contrasts with the effects of gun violence on his friends back home.
GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE
Director: Sasha Waters Freyer
Artist. Iconoclast. Man of his time. A revealing documentary portrait of the life and work of the acclaimed photographer – an epic storyteller in pictures of America across three turbulent decades.
THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA
Directors: Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher
Faith, love, and civil rights collide on voting day in a small Southern town that hosts a famous performance of the last days of Christ and an infamous gospel drag show.
Director: Jenny Murray
Uncovering the disappearing stories of women who shattered barriers to lead combat and social reform during Nicaragua’s 1979 Sandinista Revolution, and who continue to lead Nicaragua’s current struggle for democracy and equality.
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE
Director: Hao Wu
In China’s popular live-streaming showrooms, three millennials – a karaoke singer, a migrant worker, and a rags-to-riches comedian – seek fame, fortune, and human connection, ultimately finding the same promises and perils online as in their real lives.
Director: Jonathan Green
A daredevil photographer, an aspiring swimsuit model, and a midwest girl next door are all looking for the same things from their Instagram accounts – a little love, acceptance, and, of course, fame – and they’ll do just about anything to get it.
THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES
Director: Gene Graham
An exploration of the sexual and social identity of contemporary black America through intimate, eye opening and often hilarious accounts from women and men who find love and community in the underground world of exotic dancing.
Directors: Gabriel Silverman, Fiona Dawson
At a time when transgender people are banned from serving in the US military, four of the thousands of transgender troops risking discharge fight to attain the freedom they so fiercely protect.
WEED THE PEOPLE
Director: Abby Epstein
Capturing the uplifting and heart-wrenching struggles of families who treat their cancer-stricken children with marijuana, some with astonishing results.
THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET
Director: Jeremy Workman
For over six years, Matt Green, 37, has been walking every street in New York City – a total of more than 8000 miles. The story of one man’s unusual quest and the journey of discovery, humanity, and wonder that ensues.
Non-competitive nonfiction section.
AGAVE: THE SPIRIT OF A NATION
Directors: Nicholas Kovacic, Matthew Riggieri
In Mexico, families have passed down the tradition of distilling agave for generations. Now, this once obscure Mexican drink is everywhere. Discover how one delicate plant has carried the weight of a nation and the people trying to protect it.
ALI & CAVETT: THE TALE OF THE TAPES
Director: Robert Bader
The life and times of Muhammed Ali shown through the lens of his numerous appearances on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW. The film features new interviews with Dick Cavett, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Larry Merchant, as well as archival material from the show.
ALT-RIGHT: AGE OF RAGE
Director: Adam Bhala Lough
In the first year of Trump’s presidency, Daryle Lamont Jenkins, an Antifa activist, combats the rise of the Alt-Right movement, while Richard Spencer, an Alt-Right leader, fights to gain ground, culminating in a tragic showdown in Charlottesville.
THE BILL MURRAY STORIES: LIFE LESSONS LEARNED FROM A MYTHICAL MAN
Director: Tommy Avallone
One man’s journey to find meaning in Bill Murray’s many unexpected adventures with everyday people, rare and never-before seen footage of the comedic icon participating in stories previously presumed to be urban legend.
Director: Douglas Tirola
Following a young, ambitious New York lawyer who struggles to chase his American dream of becoming a brewmaster and a Milwaukee-based professional beer educator as he attempts to become a Master Cicerone.
DAUGHTERS OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS
Director: Dana Adam Shapiro
The never-before-told story of Suzanne Mitchell, the fiercely-loyal den mother of the original Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
THE DAWN WALL
Directors: Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer
Legendary free climber Tommy Caldwell tries to get over heartbreak by scaling 3000 feett of an impossible rock face: the Dawn Wall of El Capitan.
FROM ALL CORNERS
Director: Ryusuke Okajima
Fuyuki Shimazu, the cardboard picker and artist, creates wallets made from used cardboard which he picks up from 25 countries. His wallets travel around the world to advocate the concept of “upcycling” going beyond recycling or re-use.
Director: Jason Charnick
A man discovers a box of interviews with his father, a lifelong heroin addict who died of AIDS in 1997, uncovering generations of family secrets and forcing him to redefine his own past, doubt his present, and question his future.
Directors: Jeff Zimbalist, Michael Zimbalist
Tracking the rebuilding of the Chapecoense football club in Brazil after an airplane carrying the team crashed on November 28th, 2016, and left all but three of the players dead.
Director: Tiller Russell
The stranger-than-fiction true story of a Russian mobster, a Miami playboy, and a Cuban spy who teamed up in the early 1990’s to sell a Soviet submarine to the Cali Cartel.
TAKE YOUR PILLS
Director: Alison Klayman
Every era gets the drug it deserves. In America today, where competition is ceaseless from school to the workforce and everyone wants a performance edge, Adderall and other prescription stimulants are the defining drugs of this generation.
Director: Finlay Pretsell
Taking us into the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading to his last encounter with the Tour de France, the film reveals how the human spirit is driven by forces deeper than success and glory.
The festival’s risk-taking, innovative section.
MEOW WOLF: ORIGIN STORY
Directors: Morgan Capps, Jilann Spitzmiller
A group of artists, punks, and weirdos create a subversive DIY collective to disrupt the art establishment in Santa Fe, NM, which in the face of internal turmoil evolves into a cultural phenomenon on the path to becoming a global creative empire.
MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN
Directors: Tommy Pallotta, Femke Wolting
An exploration of what it means to live in the age of intelligent machines. During this quest, the filmmaker finds out how much of his creativity and human values are at stake as he builds his own robot to replace himself as a filmmaker.
Director: Brett Hanove
r A hybrid of documentary and fiction, a queer coming-of-age story set in the liminal spaces of furry conventions, southern punk houses, and virtual worlds.
24 Beats Per Second:
The fest’s music focused strand.
ELVIS PRESLEY THE SEARCHER
Director: Thom Zimny
A focus on Elvis Presley as a musical artist, exploring how he accumulated his influences, deconstructing why his sound and his style were so revolutionary, and examining the creative and personal struggles that preceded his death.
IF I LEAVE HERE TOMORROW: A FILM ABOUT LYNYRD SKYNYRD
Director: Stephen Kijak
The story of the greatest American rock band ever. Flying beyond “Free Bird” to celebrate the life and times of leader Ronnie Van Zant, from boogie-woogie beginnings in Jacksonville’s Shantytown to a tragic end in a Mississippi swamp.
MAKING THE GRADE
Director: Ken Wardrop
A feel-good musical journey of piano playing from absolute beginner through to accomplished pianist.
MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS
Director: Jake Meginsky, Co-Director: Neil Young
Weaving blistering performance footage from Europe, Japan, and the US with a sublimely restrained, intimate glimpse into a world-renowned jazz percussionist’s singular voice and complex cosmology.
THE POTENTIAL OF NOISE – CONNY PLANK
Directors: Stephan Plank, Reto Caduff
About the famous German music producer behind Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Gianna Nannini, Ultravox, and the Eurythmics.
Directors: Sacha Jenkins, Ben Selkow, Geeta Gandbhir, Steven Caple Jr, Marcus A Clarke, Gabriel Noble
Showcasing the definitive impact of hip hop on global culture. Episodes feature Nas, Dave East, TI, Rapsody, Logic, G-Eazy, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, 2 Chainz, and Just Blaze.
RUBEN BLADES IS NOT MY NAME
Director: Abner Benaim
Portraying one of Latin America´s most beloved singer-songwriters in a journey across his 50-year career. In an intimate way, the film gives us a chance to get to know the artist, his music, and the stories behind them.
A TUBA TO CUBA
Directors: TG Herrington, Danny Clinch
A son seeking to fulfill his late father’s dream takes his band from the storied city of New Orleans to the shores of Cuba, where – through the universal language of music – dark and ancient connections between their peoples reveal the roots of jazz.
An international showcase.
A LITTLE WISDOM
Director: Yuqi Kang
See the world through the eyes of five-year-old Tibetan novice monk Hopakuli and share in his joys and sorrows as he endures the rigors of monastic life.
Director: Luciana Kaplan
An intimate approach to personal stories of three commuters who spend hours of their lives going from home to work and back, reflecting a common reality shared by billions of people.
Director: Annika Berg
A punk chick flick that mixes documentary material with highly stylized fiction.
THEATRE OF WAR
Director: Lola Arias
An essay on how to represent war, performed by former enemies. British and Argentinian veterans of the Falklands War come together to discuss, rehearse, and re-enact their memories 35 years after the conflict.
Standouts from other festivals.
Director: Cameron Yates
Capturing the coming of age of a prodigy chef, as he navigates a sea of sudden fame, bullying, and his mother’s camera.
Directors: Laura Collado, Jim Loomis
In the world of haute cuisine, the name Adrià is synonymous with creativity. A portrait of younger brother Albert as he strives to establish his own reputation in the world of international haute cuisine after el Bulli.
Director: Lauren Greenfield
Simultaneously personal journey and historical essay, Lauren Greenfield’s latest documentary bears witness to the global boom–bust economy, the corrupted American Dream, and the human costs of late stage capitalism, narcissism, and greed.
HALF THE PICTURE
Director: Amy Adrion
About the dismal number of women directors working in Hollywood, featuring top female directors sharing their experiences in the industry.
NARCISSISTER ORGAN PLAYER
This hybrid performance/documentary explores how the artist’s complex family history, in particular her relationship with her mother, compelled her to create the masked, erotic performance character Narcissister.
ON HER SHOULDERS
Director: Alexandria Bombach
Nadia Murad is a 23-year-old Yazidi survivor of genocide and sexual slavery by ISIS. Repeating her horrific story to politicians, the media, and the United Nations, she must navigate bureaucracy, politics, and sudden fame to get the world to listen.
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Director: Morgan Neville
A look at children’s television host Mr. Rogers’ hard-fought campaign to influence generations of kids and adults in the ways of kindness.
Unique one-off film events.
THE ATOMIC CAFÉ
Directors: Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, Pierce Rafferty
A 4K digital restoration of the cult classic 1982 documentary.
A focus on work for the small screen.
WARRIORS OF LIBERTY CITY
Directors: Evan Rosenfeld, Andrew Cohn
Following a season with the Liberty City Warriors, a youth football program founded by an unlikely mentor: Luther Campbell, better known as Uncle Luke from 2 Live Crew.
The 28th New York Jewish Film Festival
Not counting retrospective programming, 16 recent features – among them just nine documentaries or hybrids – make up the lineup of this event copresented by The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Continue reading