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Film Festival Today

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DOC NYC In The Big Apple

Written by: FFT Webmaster | October 20th, 2011

DOC NYC, the city’s premier documentary festival, will return to downtown New York with its 2nd annual event from November 2-10, 2011 at the IFC Center, NYU Skirball Center and additional venues. This year’s festival will expand from seven to nine days, adding several new sections, increasing the number of competition films and panels, and showcasing a retrospective of documentary legend Richard Leacock. “We’re building on the success of our inaugural festival by listening to our audience, and it was clear there was a demand for more films and more opportunities to meet the filmmakers,” said DOC NYC artistic director Thom Powers. “If you love documentary film, make sure you save these dates on your calendar.”

Werner Herzog Shooting INTO THE ABYSS

The Festival will feature 107 events, including premiere screenings of 52 features and 40 shorts, as well as 15 doc-related panel discussions and master classes. Opening the event on November 2 is the New York premiere of director Werner Herzog’s latest documentary masterwork INTO THE ABYSS. Already hailed at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals as an extraordinary journey into the banality of evil, the film will have its theatrical release via IFC Films later in November. The Festival Centerpiece Film on November 4 is the US premiere of LEMON, directed by Laura Brownson and Beth Levison, chronicling the theatrical comeback of Tony Award-winner Lemon Andersen. The Spotlight Gala on November 8 is THE ISLAND PRESIDENT, a look at the Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed and his campaign to save his country from environmental destruction, directed by Jon Shenk. The film recently won the People’s Choice Documentary Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Among the Special Events at this year’s Festival are the in-person appearance by iconic actress Charlotte Rampling at the presentation of CHARLOTTE RAMPLING: THE LOOK, a visual journey through the actress’s remarkable and idiosyncratic career; An Evening With Elliott Erwitt, featuring the great Magnum photographer on hand to discuss his lesser-known forays into doc filmmaking; A FORCE OF NATURE, Oscar winner Barbara Kopple’s profile of journalist and philanthropist Ellen Ratner; Werner Herzog’s reworking of Dmitry Vasyukov’s HAPPY PEOPLE: A YEAR IN THE TAIGA; and the presentation of THE SOUND OF MUMBAI: A MUSICAL, an eye-opening and ear-pleasing exploration of the musical side of the Indian metropolis, directed by Sarah McCarthy.

DOC NYC also hosts the Viewfinders Competition, giving emerging documentarians a unique showcase for their work for New York audiences, critics and potential distributors. The films up for awards convey the wide range of topics and themes that are at the forefront of documentary films, including the comedic KUMARE, about a fake guru; and the crime investigation expose SCENES FROM A CRIME.  The Metropolis Competition features 7 films rooted in New York City, including the world premieres of I WANT MY NAME BACK, a profile of hip-hop pioneers The Sugarhill Gang battling music industry corruption; and THIS SPACE AVAILABLE, based on the writings of Marc Gobé about the commercialization of public space.

The Festival is introducing an impressive five new sections this year in its greatly expanded format. Icons features six portrait films that looks at the varied careers and lives of such figures as boxer Joe Frazier, artist Charles Eames, choreographer Bill T. Jones, comic book king Stan Lee, violinist Jascha Heifetz and photographer Dennis Stock. American Perspectives offers six films that capture the zeitgeist of the national scene, including a new film from Oscar winner Jonathan Demme. International Perspectives presents the U.S. premieres of four astounding films from distinctive documentarians in Ireland, Germany, Ukraine and Mexico. The Festival is also upping the number of documentary shorts in its program with various themed programs and Short-List, a group of films that will be strong contenders for the Best Short Documentary Oscar this year. DOC NYC is also making sure that it spreads its message that documentaries are not just for adults with its Kaleidoscope Family Docs that feature stories that will delight young people and presumably their parents. But for those of us over the age of 18, the Midnight Rock Docs section will be catnip for the late night crowd, with a series of films on American and international rockers of various stripes. Wow, between the screenings, the panel discussions, the master classes and the meet-and-greets, this year’s DOC NYC is making New York a doc-friendly town (at last). For more information on the complete program, visit: http://www.docnyc.net

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