OMG! DOC NYC appears to have been both working out and taking anabolic drugs that stimulate muscle and growth. Thom Powers’ dream of bringing a first class documentary film festival to the media capital of the world will be realized on November 8-15!
Previously, one had to travel to Toronto for Hot Docs, Durham, NC for Full Frame or Washington, D.C. for SilverDocs. With commercial news programs turned into either entertainment/lifestyle segments, five minute sound bites of serious issues at play in the world or hour long primetime “documentaries” focusing on either crime, domestic quarrels and sexcapades, the public is bereft of complex and insightful content that will both enlighten and engage the viewer.
Festivals like Sundance and Tribeca offer quality docs of merit and PBS, HBO and SundanceNOW attempt to serve the public. However, too many documentaries of merit fall through the cracks and potential viewers are not even aware of their existence. So, DOC NYC’s artistic director Thom Powers (who is also a programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival and curates Doc Club on SundanceNOW) and his team, and IFC have come to the rescue.
I believe the best way to watch a documentary is in a theater with friends and with the filmmakers present and participating in a post-screening Q&A. DOC NYC will showcase 115 films and events, including screenings of 61 feature length films and 32 shorts, in addition to 22 doc-related panel discussions and masterclasses. All events will take place at IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue) and the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street).
As Powers says, “There is something for everyone.” INDEED!
The topics are wide ranging from the opening night sports focus, VENUS AND SARENA, to a collection of music docs. These include subjects such as The Police, classic folkie David Bromberg, Antony Hegarty in concert celebrating the diversity of 13 woman (dir Villager Charles Atlas), Alex Chilton and the secrets behind Chris Bell and the real story of BIG STAR. There is also the chance to see Long Distance Revolutionary¸ which focuses on prisoner Abu-Jamal’s career as a prolific author and broadcaster from Pennsylvania’s Death Row.
If there is one film that rises above all others it may be Ken Burns’ The Central Park Five which recounts the brutal rape of the Wall Street jogger and the tabloid lynching of so called black teenage boys labeled “wilders.” There are also special presentations, a competition category and even a short list of the docs the curators see as most likely to compete for the Documentary Academy Award. Please join the filmmakers and artists like Jeremy Scahill, Juan Gonzále, Rufus Wainwright, Pete Seeger, Andy Summers, Ice-T, Antony Hegarty, David Bromberg, Ken Burns, Alex Gibney, Rory Kennedy, Jonathan Demme, Barbara Kopple, Joe Berlinger and Jared Leto at DOC NYC. Go to http://www.docnyc.net for the schedule, trailers and ticket info.
LET’S GO TO THE MOVIES!
The Black Tulip (dir Sonia Nassery Cole)
Too often, when we see films set in contemporary war, they focus on the military, the soldiers, the politics of war and the horror. Rarely do they focus on the lives of noncombatants, the people who live where the war is taking place. If they do, they are so broadly drawn so as to represent either the victim or the collaborator or the potential suicide bomber. The Black Tulip, this year’s Afghanistan Academy Award entry, is finally being released in the US after playing around the world to much acclaim.
Set in the period just after 2001 when the Taliban had been forced to flee, the educated Mansouri family opens a restaurant with an open mic for poets and musicians. How they struggle to conduct business and celebrate a rich cultural heritage served with good food is the core of this complex story. The absence physically of the Taliban does not mean their chauvinistic ideas are not still lingering. It is the underlying tension of the story
The Black Tulip is about family and culture in a country that is war weary. The director/writer /actor is Afghan born Sonia Nassery Cole, who says she made the film “…because I wanted to celebrate the colors, the music, the culture, the traditions. I wanted to capture what no else has done, the soul of Afghanistan represented by the families who live there.” Her film humanizes the population caught in the middle of a global conflict. The Afghan people are some of the most beautiful in the world and set against the landscape of Afghanistan, the film is a treat to one’s eyes as it gently captures citizens trying to bring normalcy back. I came away after seeing it with a more balanced understanding of the Afghan people. The Black Tulip is NOT a propaganda film, but a beautiful insightful look into the culture of Afghanistan by telling a story of family that could be rooted in any culture.
NOTE: below is a list of recommended films. Please go online for reviews:
PAPERBOY, ARGO, GAYBY, THE FLAT, HITLER’S CHILDREN, NOBODY WALKS ALONE reviews are in online at: http://jimfourattsreeldeal.blogspot.com/ OR http://westviewnews.org put reel deal in the search box
(cc) jim fouratt