Al Maysles’ “Iris” set for New York premiere

The world premiere of Albert Maysles' Iris (pictured) is among 15 documentaries set to screen during the 52nd annual New York Film Festival.
August 20, 2014

The latest film from 87-year-old documentarian Albert Maysles will have its world premiere in the New York Film Festival’s (NYFF) Spotlight on Documentary program.

Iris (pictured) looks at 92-year-old fashion and interior design maven Iris Apfel’s late career renaissance, following a 2005 exhibition at the Met, and is among 15 docs set to screen during the 52nd annual event.

Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence, Ethan Hawke’s Seymour: An Introduction, Robert Kenner’s Merchants of Doubt, Gabe Polsky’s Red Army, Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan’s Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait, Marah Strauch’s Sunshine Superman and Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery will all play in New York, fresh from screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival, as will Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s The 50 Year Argument, as previously revealed by realscreen.

The NYFF will also screen the final films from late filmmakers Les Blank and Ed Pincus.

Blank and Gina Leibrecht’s How to Smell a Rose: A Visit with Ricky Leacock in Normandy follows the directors as they discuss Leacock’s philosophies of living and filmmaking, among other things. Meanwhile, Pincus and Lucia Small’s One Cut, One Life is a “treatise on life with a demonstration of the necessity of love, work, and beauty,” according to the festival.

Rounding out the program are Arthur Jafa’s Dreams Are Colder Than Death, an essay film on what it means to be black in America in the 21st century; and Debra Granik’s Stray Dog, a doc portrait of Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, an aging biker and RV park manager from southern Missouri, who appeared in the director’s 2010 feature Winter’s Bone.

J.P. Sniadecki’s The Iron Ministry looks at the lives and personalities of people riding railway cars across China; and Jung Yoon-suk’s Non-Fiction Diary examines violence and injustice during South Korea’s post-military dictatorship economic growth period of the 1990s.

“This section of the festival has become increasingly important to us, and to me personally,” said Kent Jones, the NYFF’s director of programming and selection committee chair, in a statement. “It’s kind of a commonplace to think of documentary as an add-on to fiction, something extra, and of course nothing could be further from the truth: cinema started with documentary, and it will always be at the core of the art form.”

The New York Film Festival runs from September 26 to October 12.

About The Author
Justin Anderson joined Realscreen as senior staff writer in 2021, reporting and writing stories for the newsletter and magazine. During his 20-year career he’s filled a variety of roles as a writer and editor at a number of media organizations, covering news and current affairs as well as business, tech, the film and music industries and plenty in between. He’s also spent time behind the scenes in television production, having written everything from voiceover scripts for documentaries to marketing copy. He has a degree in Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).