DOC NYC Announces Full Lineup for 10th Edition

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DOC NYC Announces Full Lineup for 10th Edition

DOC NYC, America's largest documentary festival, announced the full lineup for its expanded tenth anniversary edition, running November 6-15 at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village and Chelsea's SVA Theatre and Cinépolis Chelsea. The 2019 festival includes 136 feature-length documentaries among over 300 films and events overall, making this landmark year DOC NYC's biggest edition yet. Included are 28 world premieres 27 US or North American premieres and 59 NYC premieres, with more than 500 doc makers and special guests expected in person to present their films or participate on panels.

Special Events announced today include Opening Night film, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, by Daniel Roher, about the legendary musicians, with Robbie Robertson in attendance; Closing Night film, The Capote Tapes, by Ebs Burnough, a fresh portrait of Truman Capote with André Leon Talley participating in a post-show Q&A with the director; and the festival's Centerpiece presentation, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, by Eva Orner, on the disgraced head of the yoga empire that bears his name.

World premieres at the festival include Joe Berlinger's The Longest Wave, about world champion windsurfer Robby Naish; Ngawang Choephel's Ganden: A Joyful Land, on Tibetan Buddhism's most important monastery; Geeta Gandbhir's Hungry to Learn, which explores food insecurity among college students; Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe's He Dreams of Giants, an epic portrait of Terry Gilliam as he attempts to realize his decades-long dream of adapting Don Quixote; Reiner Holzemer's Martin Margiela: In His Own Words, in which the famously elusive fashion designer reflects on his life and work; Viva Van Loock's Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, which follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as they investigate the root causes of opioid addiction, poverty and incarceration; Joe Piscatella's Mai Khoi & the Dissidents, about a Vietnamese Pop star-turned-political activist; David Michaels's Tyson, a candid portrait of controversial boxer Mike Tyson; and Ira Deutchman's Searching for Mr. Rugoff, about the outsized personality behind legendary art house distributor Cinema 5.

Among this year's US or North American premieres are Hind Meddeb and Thim Naccache's Paris Stalingrad, a portrait of a community of refugees living in the streets of the French capital; Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir and Shani Rozanes's Golda, on the complicated legacy of Israel's first and only female prime minister; Laurie Lynd's Killing Patient Zero, an investigation into how one man became the scapegoat for the spread of AIDS; Karen Stokkendal Poulsen's On the Inside of a Military Dictatorship, a remarkable inside look at Aung San Suu Kyi's government in Myanmar; Justin Pemberton's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, an enlightening adaptation of Thomas Piketty's groundbreaking New York Times bestseller; and Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu's Elliott Erwitt, Silence Sounds Good, which follows the acclaimed photographer to Cuba for his latest project.

"Our tenth anniversary lineup reflects a more international scope than in previous years, drawing compelling stories from all over the world, in addition to a rich selection of American nonfiction," said Director of Programming Basil Tsiokos. "Where better to experience this diversity of documentary storytelling than NYC?" Tsiokos leads the programming team in collaboration with Artistic Director Thom Powers.

This year's festival is dedicated to the memory of D.A. Pennebaker, who was a constant presence at DOC NYC since its first year until his death this past summer. In 2014, at the festival's inaugural Visionaries Tribute, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award along with his partner Chris Hegedus. This year's festival poster features a photograph of Pennebaker taken by Don MacSorley in 1967 during the filming of the classic documentary Monterey Pop.

DOC NYC is curated in 21 sections, including new strands:

  • Masters, offering a spotlight on today's nonfiction auteurs, which features the newest film from two-time Academy Award® winner Barbara Kopple, Desert One, about the Iran hostage crisis; Alan Berliner's Letter to the Editor, a profound visual essay on photojournalism; and a special presentation of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker's Town Bloody Hall (1979), on the infamous 1971 debate between a panel of feminists and Norman Mailer, screened in memory of D.A. Pennebaker.
  • Investigations, thought-provoking investigative nonfiction, which includes the world premiere of The Queen's Man, following the efforts of the former bodyguard of the wife of the Shah of Iran to recover her stolen art collection; the international premiere of Coastal Road Killer, a new true-crime series from the creators of the hit Netflix series Shadow of Truth; and the US premiere of The Pickup Game, an exposé on the billion-dollar industry that teaches men how to manipulate women into bed.
  • Green Screens, environmentally focused films, which includes the NYC premieres of The Great Green Wall, about efforts to plant trees across Africa; and The Story of Plastic, an investigation into the impact of the unceasing production of plastic.
  • Food for Thought, culinary stories, including the world premiere of Laura Naylor's Vas-y Coupe!, an observational portrait of the harvest of a family-owned vineyard in France's Champagne region.

In the festival's two feature competition sections, seven films appear under the Viewfinders strand for distinct directorial visions. They include US premieres of the latest films by Weijun Chen (Please Vote for Me), City Dream, in which a cantankerous street vendor faces off against a city redevelopment agency, Thomas Balmès's (Babies) Sing Me a Song, an intimate look at the effects of technology on Bhutanese society; and the NYC premiere of Eva Mulvad's Love Child, which follows an Iranian couple seeking asylum because of their adulterous relationship.

In the Metropolis competition section, seven films are dedicated to stories set in New York City. They include the world premieres of The Grand Unified Theory of Howard Bloom, a portrait of an eccentric music publicist turned evolutionary philosopher; I'm Gonna Make You Love Me, about Brian Belovitch, who spent more than a decade as a woman before transitioning back to being a man; Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over, on the pioneering No Wave singer, writer and actress; and Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, a portrait of the charismatic Broadway song-and-dance man.

Other returning sections include high-profile Special Events; national and global takes in American Perspectives and International Perspectives; and thematic sections Portraits (profiling singular individuals), MODERN FAMILY (on unconventional families), New World Order (on today's most urgent issues), In the System (inside looks at institutions), Fight the Power (on activism), Art and Design (on art, photography and design), Behind the Scenes (on filmmaking), and Sonic Cinema (on music). Short-form content (114 films in total, not including the Short List: Shorts strand) is represented by the festival's Shorts Competition and DOC NYC U (showcasing student work), selected by Programmer Opal H. Bennett.

These sections join the previously announced Short List: Features titles, highlighting 15 of the year's award contender documentary features; Short List: Shorts, a group of 12 of the year's leading nonfiction shorts; and Winner's Circle, a new section highlighting seven features that have won awards at major festivals, including Oscar-qualifying international events; as well as the eight-day DOC NYC PRO conference focusing on panels, case studies and one-on-one sessions with notable nonfiction creators.

DOC NYC will welcome over 500 filmmakers and special guests in attendance for Q&As after most screenings and for DOC NYC PRO panels. Among the notable guests expected to appear in person are Robbie Robertson (Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band); Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Ask Dr. Ruth); Ben Taylor, Sally Taylor, Kori Withers and Chris Stills (Born Into the Gig); Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore and Donita Sparks (Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over); Maurice Hines (Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back); Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hop); Soledad O'Brien (Hungry to Learn); Elliott Erwitt (Elliott Erwitt, Silence Sounds Good); Audrey Flack (Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack); Buster Williams (Buster Williams Bass to Infinity) and more to be announced in the coming weeks.

For this year's Short List section of awards season frontrunners, filmmakers presenting their work in person at the festival include Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (American Factory), Roger Ross Williams (The Apollo), Todd Douglas Miller (Apollo 11), Ryan White (Ask Dr. Ruth), John Chester, (Biggest Little Farm), Feras Fayyad (The Cave), Asif Kapadia (Diego Maradona), Petra Costa (The Edge of Democracy), Mark Deebles and Victoria Stone (The Elephant Queen), Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts (For Sama), Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (The Great Hack), Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska (Honeyland), Lauren Greenfield (The Kingmaker), Rachel Lears (Knock Down the House) and Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang (One Child Nation). Filmmakers will also take part in DOC NYC PRO through a series of panel discussions - Short List: Features on Friday, Nov. 8, and, new this year, Short List: Shorts on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Notable documentarians will also be honored at the previously announced Visionaries Tribute Awards event on Nov. 7: Martin Scorsese and Michael Apted will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards while Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert will receive the Robert and Anne Drew Award for observational filmmaking. Cynthia Lopez, executive director of New York Women in Film and Television, will receive the Leading Light Award for distinguished service to documentary in a role outside filmmaking.

Special screenings of the latest documentaries by Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Martin Scorsese (Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese) and Michael Apted (63 Up) will be presented at this year's festival.

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