Werner Herzog’s 3D film Cave Of Forgotten Dreams and veteran doc maker Errol Morris’ Tabloid will receive the gala treatment at the inaugural DOC NYC festival. The films are among 18 titles unveiled on Wednesday comprising half the festival’s line-up. Several more films will be added in the weeks leading up to opening night on November 3.
Other marquee DOC NYC events include a conversation between Morris and Slate columnist Ron Rosenbaum and a tribute to pioneering, UK-based hybrid documentary filmmaker and silent film preservationist Kevin Brownlow, who will attend the festival a few days before he receives an honorary Oscar in Los Angeles.
DOC NYC’s mandate emphasizes creativity and storytelling in the documentary medium and is headed up by artistic director Thom Powers, who also serves as documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, along with executive director Raphaela Neilhausen.
‘We wanted to create a place where documentary makers… could come and engage with the top people working in this field,’ says Powers, ‘and be a place where they could recharge their creative batteries.’
There are six world premieres in the festival’s two juried competitions sections, which will include awards for best film. ‘Viewfinders’, which focuses on international fare, including Five Weddings and a Felony, director Josh Freed’s Flip Cam-shot film about his quest for love despite his neurosis, and Robert Greene’s Kate with an I, a film that follows a teenage girl over a particularly eventful three-day period of her life.
‘In curating these sections, particularly Viewfinders, I wanted to collect eight films that showed distinct uses of the documentary form,’ says Powers. ‘[With] each one of these eight films, there’s not one that’s like another.’
Also screening in the Viewfinders program are the acclaimed Danish war film Armadillo, Kim Longinotto’s Pink Saris, Sara McCarthy’s The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical, Laura Israel’s wind energy-focused Windfall, Norweigan director Bjarte Morner Tveit’s Discoveries of a Marionette and The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan, director Henry Corra’s investigation into the vanishing of an American soldier during the Vietnam War.
The Metropolis section will concentrate on films set in New York City and includes six films. Four films will have their world premieres in the program: director Josef Birdman Astor’s Los Bohemia about a battle to save the artist studios above Carnegie Hall; Ryan Kerrison’s mindFLUX, a tribute to avant-garde theater director Richard Foreman; David Soll’s Puppet, a behind-the-scenes account of theater director Dan Hurlin’s ‘Disfarmer’ puppet play and To Be Heard, a collaborative project between directors Roland Legiardi-Laura, Edwin Martinez, Deborah Shaffer, Amy Sultan about three inner city teens who transform their lives through poetry.
Also screening in Metropolis are the music-themed films Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon, about the trailblazing feminist music journalist (also one of realscreen‘s MIPCOM Picks for this year), and David Hillman Curtis’s David Bryne concert film Ride, Rise, Roar.
‘Every year there are extraordinarily strong submissions about stories set in New York City. In the context of Toronto I can only take one or two of those,’ says Powers. ‘It was an ongoing frustration and disappointment for me that every year at Toronto I’d have to leave behind some strong films just because there are so many good films coming out of New York City.’
DOC NYC will also host a couple of two-day conferences: Doc Convergence on Nov. 5, will examine how documentary film intersects with other media, and State of the Art on Nov. 6. is a forum for directors, cinematographers, editors and others to have a dialogue on their craft.
The festival’s family-focused Kaleidoscope section will screen matinees on the weekend of Nov. 6-7 and features the U.S. premiere of the 3D nature film Turtle: An Incredible Journey and Make Believe, about teen magicians.
DOC NYC takes place at IFC Center and New York University venues from November 3-9, 2010. For more info visit www.docnyc.net.