Don’t worry, documentary fans, DOC The largest documentary film festival in the United States is back in NYC, and it’s not just offering movies in theaters again. It’s also keeping the hybrid format (read: virtual viewing options, too) it adopted last year.
This year’s lineup, like previous years, features a wide variety of subjects and stories, from an uplifting story about a phenomenally talented female surfer (opening night pick “Maya and the Wave”) to an animated documentary covering centuries of subtle anti-semitic hate (closing night pick “The Conspiracy”).
Other highlights include a Barbara Kopple piece about the need to empower minority communities (“Gumbo Coalition,” one of two Centerpiece films), and a close long look at the
More than 110 documentaries of various lengths and over 100 shorts will be presented in 2022. The festival has skillfully arranged its extensive lineup around a wide range of topics, so don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Among the many categories available are “Celebrity,” “Cities,” “Journalism,” “True Crime,” “Outsiders,” and “Fashion.”
And for those of you who are even more eager to go into the festival prepared, here are the 10 things we can’t wait to see at the festival. Check out the schedule and buy your tickets all in one place! The DOC NYC festival will be held from November 9th to the 27th.
Additional reporting for this piece was done by Christian Blauvelt and Ryan Lattanzio.
“Fragments Of Paradise”
Doc fans have no fear: DOC The largest documentary film festival in the United States, DocFest NYC, is returning for its second year and will continue to offer both in-person and online viewing options.
This year’s lineup, like previous years, features a wide variety of subjects and stories, from an uplifting story about a phenomenally talented female surfer (opening night pick “Maya and the Wave”) to an animated documentary covering centuries of subtle anti-semitic hate (closing night pick “The Conspiracy”),
with a Barbara Kopple joint about the need to empower minority communities (“Gumbo Coalition,” one of two Centerpiece films) and a close loner (one of two Centerpiece
More than 110 documentaries of varying lengths and over 100 shorts will be shown in 2022. If that seems like an overwhelming number of choices,
rest assured that the festival has thoughtfully organized its massive lineup around a wide range of themes. Topics include “Celebrity” and “Cities,” “Journalism” and “True Crime,” “Outsiders” and “Fashion,” and “Outsiders” and “Crime.”
“26.2 For The Win” (Dir. Christine Yoo)
Christine Yoo’s captivating and empathetic “26.2 to Life” profiles the 1000 Miles Club at San Quentin State Prison, which gives the men at California’s oldest maximum-security jail a new reason to put one foot in front of the other.
This documentary is a must-see for fans of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and/or critics of America’s carceral state. An indifferent track coach is leading the program, encouraging inmates to train for and complete a full marathon around the prison yard.
Indeed, not just any marathon, but one of the world’s most challenging: Runners must avoid other inmates and get their blood pumping through 105 laps of unpaved gravel, right-angle turns, and constant sunshine.
However, the benefits are substantial, as many of these men have not experienced true freedom for decades and a runner’s high is the closest thing they have ever come to.
What that taste of freedom might do for someone dehumanized by a prison system that doesn’t believe in reform is the focus of Yoo’s film, and the soberingly inspiring portraits she paints of her subjects are a powerful reminder of what’s possible when you actually give people something to live for. —DE
The Translation Error That Changed Culture In 1946 (Directed By Sharon “Rocky” Roggio)
Tens of thousands of American evangelical churches hold the view that homosexuality is a sin. In her film, Sharon “Rocky” Roggio posits that a misunderstanding of the Bible is at the heart of such widespread bigotry.
In 1946, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, the Bible first used the term “homosexual.” Where did we go wrong with this photograph? The documentary “1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted a Culture” uses a tapestry of revealing archival materials from Yale University to cast doubt on the biblical basis for LGBTQ prejudice, with commentary from scholars,
opposing pastors, and others to back up the claims. Roggio, who has worked in the art departments of films like Justin Chon’s independent “Gook” and the Netflix series “House of Cards,” now steps behind the camera to make her directorial debut.
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The Susanna House (Dir. Sebastien Lifshitz)
“Casa Susanna,” a sumptuous documentary about a Catskills oasis where trans women and crossdressing men found community throughout the 1950s and ’60s, painstakingly excavates a nearly lost chapter of queer history.
Using crackling archival footage, incredible photographs, and the golden memories of those who first found themselves there, French filmmaker Sebastien Lifshitz (“Bambi,” “Little Girl”) vividly brings the past to life.
Watching “Casa Susanna” is like discovering a glittering treasure, a vital story of resilience and joy salvaged from the ravages of time just before it washed away forever because such depictions of early queer life are so rare.
Particularly interesting are interviews with two trans women subjects in their seventies and eighties, whose hard-knock tales of a bygone era provide a unique window into our common history. —JD
“Fragments Of Paradise” (Dir. KD Davison)
Someone once described him as “the godfather of underground film.” To begin with, before he was a filmmaker, my guest tonight, Jonas Mekas, was a poet. “His name is Jonas Mekas, and to me, he represents the essence of independent filmmaking more than almost anyone else in the world.”
These are some of the opening soundbites from the TV news voiceover that introduces KD Davison’s documentary on the great ringleader of American avant-garde cinema.
A bad start, if you will. The film’s prosaic and obvious opening makes no sense for a documentary about a man who advocated for new forms of expression in cinema. With 96 years under his belt, he had to have accomplished more than what was reported by journalists who misunderstood his work.
You probably already know the basics about the curator, poet, and filmmaker from Lithuania if you’re going to take the time to watch a documentary about him, right?
You need not worry. Davison (“The Soul of America”) appears to have anticipated these quibbles and demonstrates that she knows her audience: “Fragments of Paradise” is more than a superficial overview of the late Mekas’ life; it reads like a final message from him. It’s a moving demonstration of how art can evoke feelings and memories even decades after someone has passed away. —CB
While many film festivals have wrapped up for the season, one of the most intriguing documentary festivals of the year is about to begin. The 100+ films that will be presented at the 2022 DOC NYC festival make it one of the most packed festivals in the world, showcasing the best in non-fiction filmmaking.
I don’t even know where to start. For precisely that purpose, we have been established. While the DOC NYC 2022 festival runs from November 9th through the 27th, here are a few films to keep an eye on.
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