The 2nd annual DOC NYC documentary festival announced its full lineup yesterday, and it’s a far more awesome lot of films than I expected. As I did predict in a previous post, “Into the Abyss” will return filmmaker Werner Herzog to the event. His latest will open the festival on November 2. Given that last year his “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” kicked things off, this could be a great tradition. He’ll have to get cracking on another doc for next year’s opening night asap. Then again, he has two new projects this year (see below), so he could get a pass.
Some extraordinary, under-seen favorites of mine from throughout this year are also coming together for New Yorkers’ pleasure. These personally vetted picks include: Vikram Gandhi’s SXSW Audience Award winner, “Kumare” (pictured above), which is competing in the Viewfinders section; Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh’s Full Frame winner, “Scenes of a Crime,” also in the Viewfinders competition; Bess Kargman’s ballet competition doc, “First Position,” which is competing in the NYC-focused Metropolis section and is part of the Kaleidoscope Family program. The last film was just a runner-up for the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award.
The actual TIFF People’s Choice Award winner, Jon Shenk’s “The Island President,” will compete in the Viewfinders program and has been selected for a Spotlight Gala screening to follow the awards ceremony on November 8. I can also vouch for and recommend that film, as well as Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn’s Bill T. Jones portrait, “A Good Man,” which shows up in DOC NYC’s new Icons section. Other films in that program include profiles on Stan Lee, Joe Frazier and violinist Jascha Heifitz.
Other docs I’m particularly looking forward to, whether due to great buzz or personal interest: Centerpiece Gala selection “Lemon,” about Tony Award-winner Lemon Andersen; Barbara Kopple’s latest, “A Force of Nature”; the Herzog-narrated and re-edited “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga,” originally a four-hour work directed by Dmitry Vasyukov that’s now down to 95 minutes; Sugarhill Gang doc “I Want My Name Back”; Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s very popular (it had been expected to pick up the TIFF audience award) sports doc “Undefeated”; and Lucy Walker’s short film “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.”
Of course, I also want to check out all of the Richard Leacock retrospective, especially as I’m sad to say I’ve never seen “Louisiana Story,” let alone much else from the recently deceased doc legend. And I haven’t even mentioned the two 3D National Geographic films or the American Perspectives program, which includes a new doc by Jonathan Demme (“I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad and the Beautiful”) or the International Perspectives program or the Midnight Rock Docs section, which features DA Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus and Davis Dawkins’ classic “Depeche Mode 101.”
Speaking of the Midnight Rock section, there has already been a sell out. Tickets for Vincent Morisset’s amazing-looking Sigur Ros concert film, “Inni,” which makes its U.S. premiere, completely went within three hours of going on sale, according to IFC Center’s John Vanco (via Twitter).
I imagine that won’t be the only screening to fill up, what with all these incredibly hot titles, so get ‘em while you can. Head over to the DOC NYC website for a full listing of docs at the fest and ticket information.
DOC NYC will run November 2-10, 2011. See you there!