Select Festivals: DOC NYC, New Orleans, Black Harvest, St Louis, Cucalorus, Big Sky Doc, Athena, Cleveland, Human Rights Watch, Outfest Fusion
About: Two fierce abolitionist leaders offer a deep look into the movement for Black Lives.
The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read: Fed up with misdeeds committed by Chicago law enforcement and a political system unwilling to hold anyone accountable, two millennial Black women take action. Spoken-word artist Bella and PhD candidate Janaé work tirelessly rallying the community and challenging a power structure that historically turns a deaf ear to young, Black, female voices. Over the course of a year, filmmaker Ashley O’Shay documents these courageous activists in their quest for political liberation and social justice.
About: The deadly consequences of America’s immigration policy are revealed in a Texan border town.
The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read: Just 70 miles north of the Mexican-US border is a land haunted by ghosts. Brooks County, Texas is a barren landscape designed as a deterrent to illegal crossings, but people continue to attempt to cross, and many die trying. The municipality lacks the resources to properly deal with this sad reality, and the numbers keep rising. Multiple locals proffer contrasting opinions as two families search for their loved ones, and the toll of an unsustainable immigration policy is laid bare.
Coming to theatres today, Friday, August 20: ON BROADWAY
Director: Oren Jacoby
World Premiere: Hamptons 2019
Select Festivals: DOC NYC, New York Jewish, RiverRun, Atlanta Jewish, Miami Jewish, Sedona, Boulder Jewish
About: A history of and love letter to Broadway.
The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read: For anyone who loves theater, this contemporary history of Broadway is a joy, packed with legendary stars and performances. Key players—Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman, and Ian McKellen—take us behind the scenes of Broadway’s most groundbreaking shows, from A Chorus Line to Hamilton. The film includes performances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones, and Mandy Patinkin.
Select Festivals: DOC NYC, San Francisco Jewish, Pan African, Cleveland
About: A portrait of the outspoken US Congresswoman.
The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read: An intimate, inspiring, and timely portrait of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a true pioneer of American civil rights who was the lone voice in opposition to the authorization of military force after the September 11th attacks. A unique selection of political commentators, activists, politicians, and family members add depth to the story of the highest-ranking Black woman in the US Congress. Uncompromising and conscientious to the core, she is its most steadfast voice for peace, and for economic and racial justice.
About: A compelling, immersive portrait of the late artist Dash Snow.
I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying: Dash Snow rejected a life of privilege to make his own way as an artist on the streets of downtown New York City in the late 1990s. Developing from a notorious graffiti tagger into an international art star, he documented his drug- and alcohol-fueled nights with the surrogate family he formed with friends and fellow artists Ryan McGinley and Dan Colen before his death by heroin overdose in 2009. Drawing from Snow’s unforgettable body of work and involving archival footage, Cheryl Dunn’s exceptional portrait captures his all-too-brief life of reckless excess and creativity.