DocuWeeks 2012: Second Week Brings Magic, Memories, Complex Tragedies and Natives’ Adversities
The second week of the 2012 DocuWeeks showcase begins today, which means the event is opening up to West Coast documentary fans. Los Angeles gets its first crop of the IDA-selected Oscar-qualifying titles, while New York City moves on to a second batch. Looking at it from outside both cities, it might be confusing to define. Technically it’s NYC’s second week but L.A.’s first week. As a former New Yorker, I’m prone to focus on that city’s schedule.
Again, I haven’t seen all of the nonfiction films offered up in the series, and I’m saving at least one doc that’s hitting L.A. today for next week, when it switches to the NYC venue. I’d actually completely limit my scope in this preview to only look at the new NYC titles if it weren’t for a single short film that is only playing L.A. Still, I’ll try not to stretch this post out too long.
DocuWeeks 2012: First Week Offers Hopeful Films About Hairdressing Convicts, Preachers and Choirs
This year’s DocuWeeks theatrical showcase, presented by the International Documentary Association, begins today in New York City. From August 3 through August 23, the event will run in the Big Apple, specifically at the IFC Center, while the Los Angeles component begins August 10 and goes through August 30 at the Laemmle Soho 7.
The first crop kicking off the series consists of five hope-filled features and a shorts program made up of seven additional films. I’ve seen a few of these initial docs — I noted my endorsement of Sundance vet Love Free or Die in a previous post announcing the selected titles — but I’d like to highlight all of them below.
The IDA must have programmed with purpose, because two of the week’s films focus on choruses. The one I’ve seen is called Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story, which is up your alley if you like really cute kids expressing themselves and seeing their dream come true. I’ll admit I teared up in response to their joy at least once, and joy permeates through this film.
I believe it has the most appeal of the first crop, since it’s like Glee in real life, and it’s all about these Staten Island singers, who became pretty famous on YouTube, as they head to Hollywood to perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony. Surprisingly, though, Oscar co-host Anne Hathaway is the only real celebrity who appears within the film’s narrative.