Sunday, November 7, 2021

The DOC NYC 2021 Curtain Raiser - it starts Wednesday and is full of great films

It’s once more into the breach dear friends because DOC NYC, one of the best film festivals out there starts Wednesday.

DOC NYC is a magnificent and entirely too big  summing up of the year in documentaries. It is the last of the big festivals on most festival calendars. It’s a fest that helps to set the table for what documentaries will be in the Oscar mix since they tend to be on target with their Shortlist section of probable nominees.

I’ve been covering the festival since the second year (I missed the first year completely) and I’ve watched it grow over the years. When it started it has a handful of films and now it screens over 200 making it night impossible to see everything even if one gives up sleep for the fest plus the two weeks leading up to it. There is just too much good stuff to see….

And it is good stuff  because some how the programmers don’t program bad films, even if the you don’t care for something it’s rare that there will be anything you think is truly bad.  And lest you think that’s hyperbole consider that over the course of the last eleven years I’ve actually seen most of the films the festival plays. In all seriousness I really have tried to see everything simply because there are so few clunkers.

This is one of the best festivals and it is a must see for anyone who loves good films, especially documentaries.

As with many festivals this year DOC NYC is not only in person, but also virtual. Those of you not in NYC will be able to see the films for yourself.  For details go here.

Going into the fest we've seen 34 films. In a normal fest that would be almost all or perhaps half of the titles, but at DOC NYC that is only a small percentage of the films. If you're curious what we've previously covered click on any of the links to be taken to our earlier review.


But there are  about another 150 or so more and we are working desperately to see them all. And I suppose you're wondering hat you should see. Funny you should ask... Here is a list of films that are on my personal MUST SEE LIST.  Since some of the films above are must sees too I've marked marked them with a * (please note this list is incomplete since Ariela and myself are still wading into the  selection):

THE CANNONS- a great look at the oldest inner city hockey team and their coach, Its a magnificent look at how sports can change people for the better.
COME BACK ANY TIME-fantastic look at ramen shop and it's chef. It will make you feel good so make dinner reservations and go.
BE MY VOICE Portrait of journalist and activist Masih Alinejad is a story of hope and heartache
EXPOSING MUYBRIDGE is a look at the an best know for photographing motion that reveals so much more
PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON glorious celebration of the first black mayor of Chicago and a man who changed the world for the better
OMARA-Portrait of Omara Portuondo will cause your music collection to expand exponentially 
THE BENGALI in this story of a woman who goes to India to find the roots of her family New Orleans collides with India to reveal our connection to the past.
DEAN MARTIN: KING OF THE COOL is a celebration of the only man Sinatra bowed down to
THE REVEREND- Vince Anderson came to NYC to go to the seminary but found music instead.- and we are better for it.
KURT VONNEGUT UNSTUCK IN TIME magnificent look at the writer through the eyes of friends, family and the filmmaker trying
GRANDPA WAS AN EMPEROR is the story of the great-granddaughter of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie who tries to make sense of her life and her father by digging up the history of her family and her country of her birth. Its a fantastic story about  personal story colliding with  history.

A big note to film makers and PR people: Our coverage will begin in earnest when the embargo lifts and will run past the end of the festival. I am mentioning this because as I am putting this piece together a week before this piece posts I have realized that the sheer volume of the films we have been given access to is enormous. While in past years we could motor through and get to everything in a timely manner, this year it isn't possible. Times have changed and the amount of free time to write and watched has shrunk. While we will get to everything we asked for during the fest some of the other titles may run into the week after the festival.

Once more for more information and tickets go here

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