Doc fest coming to New York City

DOC NYC, coming to the Big Apple in November, is putting the emphasis on documentary storytelling in all of its forms, says organizer Thom Powers.
May 17, 2010

New York City will be the home of a new doc-specific festival come November. DOC NYC is putting the emphasis on documentary storytelling in all of its forms, says its organizer Thom Powers.

Powers, who also serves as the international documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and artistic director of NYC film series Stranger Than Fiction, will serve as artistic director of DOC NYC, alongside executive director Raphaela Neihausen. Also on its board are the IFC Center’s VP and GM John Vanco and director of programs and promotions Harris Dew.

‘It’s not only a film festival, [but] we’re looking at documentary storytelling across many different media, including writing, photography, spoken word and radio,’ says Powers. ‘We really feel that New York is the best place to bring these worlds together because it’s the center of broadcasting and journalism and all these other worlds.

‘New York has been lacking a documentary specific festival for many years now. It’s probably home to more documentary makers than any city in the world, [so] it felt like it was an important gap to fill,’ he says.

The five-day festival, running from November 3 to 7, will feature three active venues, with an eight-film competition. Powers says it’d be premature at this point to give specifics on what they’ll be programming but adds there will be no open submission in its inaugural year because of a limited amount of slots. Additionally, DOC NYC will be welcoming films regardless of their premiere or non-premiere status, a decision arrived at through feedback that Powers and organizers have gleaned from the film community.

DOC NYC boasts an impressive roster for its advisory board, including filmmakers Michael Moore, Barbara Kopple and Dan Klores, as well as Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program director Cara Mertes and one of Powers’ colleague from TIFF, co-director, Cameron Bailey.

‘When we went out and started talking to people about our vision for [DOC NYC] it really resonated strongly with the [film] community,’ says Powers. ‘We really wanted to put people on the advisory board who exemplify the standards of excellence in documentary filmmaking.’ He also adds that the advisory board will be expanding in the month to come.

More info on the festival can be found at

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