DOC NYC starts Thursday. A glorious celebration of documentaries it is a must attend for anyone who loves films.
What makes the festival so special is that it is the creation of Thom Powers, programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival as well as other fests. Powers is a well-respected man with his finger on the pulse of the documentary film community and so has access to the best stuff. Because he gets first shot at the best stuff he skims off the best stuff and presents us for us to see.
For me DOC NYC is effectively the end of the film year because there is so much good stuff here that nothing can hope to follow it.
This year we are not going to even try to cover everything. Even with five of us wading into all the films it isn’t possible. Normally while I would do something stupid and not sleep and just watch films, I’m not doing that this year. We are getting to what we can and letting the rest fall away. That may sound cruel but the films at the festival are so good they all ultimately show up down the road. I want our coverage to be something that is not by rote or cookie cutter.
While going into the festival we haven’t seen everything we have seen around 50 of the films. As we do every year here is a list of the must see films playing at the festival. (Many of the films were previously reviewed-so click on the hyperlink and be taken to our review. Those without hyperlinks will be reviewed in the next couple of days) These are the films that are both the best of the fest so far but also special enough that you will want to see them on the big screen. (And if it isn't here there is a good chance we haven't gotten to it, the festival screens around 200 features and shorts)
World Before Your Feet- Jerry Workman's film about a walk don every street in New York City will change your way of seeing the world
North Pole New York- A look at a small amusement park in Upstate New York that is like a big warm holiday hug
Interpreters - What happens to the people who interpret for us during our military adventures? Something that will make you very angry.
Of Fathers and Sons- A look at the relationship between jihadist fathers and sons will disturb you
Commander Arian:A Story of Women War & Freedom - Portrait of a kick ass woman who is also a kick ass soldier
Ancient Wood- A must see in a theater portrait of a forest
Earthrise- this portrait of a photograph is one of the best films of 2018
Hale County This Morning, This Evening- Another of 2018's best films is a portrait of life in a small town and it will haunt you
Won’t You Be My Neighbor- As Peter Gutierrez says in his review it's not a question of when you will cry but at what point. Almost certainly an Oscar contender.
GREENAWAY ALPHABET - A portrait of Peter Greenaway by his wife and starring their 16 year old daughter. It a great portrait of the man, his movies and creation.
GRIT- Hauntingly beautiful portrait of the people fighting to get repaid after a drilling accident wiped out 16 villages. A must see on the big screen.
EXIT and AFTERWARD - at a time when hatred is killing people this double shot of films about hatred and trying to stop it is as timely as they come and both are highly recommended.
LAST STOP CONEY ISLAND: THE LIFE AND PHOTOGRAPHY OF HAROLD FEINSTEIN - Portrait of not only photographer Harold Feinstein but the last 65 years
LAILA AT THE BRIDGE- this portrait of one woman's quest to help the drug addicts of Kabul will move you.
STARS IN THE SKY: A HUNTING STORY- a rational and reasoned examination of hunting is sure to be controversial but it is a truly great film.
And here are a couple of more links of films, which are good, and which we reviewed previously.
Peoples Republic of Desire
The Girl and The Picture
Our coverage starts tomorrow and will run through the festival. It’s going to be a mix of full reviews and capsules. Don’t let the fact that some films are getting short reviews fool you into thinking the aren’t good- the truth is some of the best films are getting short reviews, which was the result of choosing between getting you word on the film in time to buy a ticket or waiting until after the festival. I chose to try and get you to buy a ticket because the films are that good.
Now it’s you turn- go buy tickets. Information and tickets can be had here.