DOC NYC Opens with Real-Life ‘Truman Show’-Esque ‘The Contestant’: See Full Lineup
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Film DOC NYC Opens with Real-Life ‘Truman Show’-Esque ‘The Contestant’: See Full Lineup

DOC NYC Opens with Real-Life ‘Truman Show’-Esque ‘The Contestant’: See Full Lineup



DOC NYC Opens with Real-Life ‘Truman Show’-Esque ‘The Contestant’: See Full Lineup

The 2023 DOC NYC lineup has officially been announced.

The program for the 14th annual festival includes opening night selection “The Contestant,” a real-life “Truman Show”-esque story of a Japanese comedian who was trapped alone and naked in an apartment for 15 months as part of a reality TV show. The only twist? The comedian had no idea he was being filmed. Clair Titley directs the stranger-than-fiction documentary which premiered at TIFF.

DOC NYC runs from November 8 through 26, featuring 30 world premieres and 26 U.S. premieres with more than 200 films programmed. New films from Wim Wenders, Penny Lane, Dawn Porter, and Jeff Zimbalist are among the lineup for America’s largest documentary festival, with screenings at New York City’s IFC Center, SVA Theatre, and Village East by Angelika. In-person screenings take place November 8 through 16, with online selections available through November 26.

Related Stories

‘Leo’ Trailer: Adam Sandler and Bill Burr Are Classroom Reptiles with Existential Crises

Aki Kaurismäki's Fallen Leaves

‘Fallen Leaves’ Trailer: A Lonely Woman and an Alcoholic Fall in Love in Aki Kaurismäki’s Droll Romantic Comedy

The centerpiece screening is the world premiere of D.W. Young’s “Uncropped” about Village Voice and the Observer photographer James Hamilton, who captured the arts scene of the 1970s and ’80s. DOC NYC 2023 will conclude with “South to Black Power,” a documentary about New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, co-directed by Sam Pollard and Llewellyn Smith.

A special presentation of Wenders’ 3D screening of “Anselm,” about German artist Anselm Kiefer, is also a highlight of the lineup.

Documentaries about June Carter Cash (“June”), Queen Elizabeth II (“The Cowboy and the Queen”), women’s reproductive rights activist Bill Baird (“Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird”), Alan Dershowitz (“The Trials of Alan Dershowitz”), Norman Mailer (“How to Come Alive…with Norman Mailer”), WNBA player Candace Parker (“Candace Parker: Unapologetic”), and “Harry Potter” stunt double David Holmes (“David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived”) are also among the selections.

The annual Sonic Cinema section of music documentaries at DOC NYC includes the world premieres of “Pretty Ugly: The Story of the Lunachicks” and “Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between.”

Three senior feature programmers oversee specific sections: Ruth Somalo on Kaleidoscope, Karen McMullen on Metropolis and Sonic Cinema, and Brandon Harrison on Game Face Cinema. They also selected other titles in the festival alongside feature programmers Bedatri D. Choudhury and Murtada Elfadl. Samah Ali is the festival’s senior shorts programmer, working with programmers DeWitt Davis and Anita Raswant.  

See the full lineup below. Language courtesy of the festival.

SPECIAL EVENTS 

Opening Night 
THE CONTESTANT (New York Premiere) 
Director: Clair Titley   
Producers: Andee Ryder, Megumi Inman, Ian Bonhote 
In the earliest days of “reality TV” in the 1990s, an aspiring Japanese comedian found himself trapped alone and naked in an apartment for 15 months, unaware that his participation in a twisted reality show was being broadcast weekly to millions of viewers, transforming him into a TV superstar. 

Closing Night 
SOUTH TO BLACK POWER (World Premiere) 
Directors: Sam Pollard, Llewellyn Smith 
Producers: Sam Pollard, Kelly Thomson, R.J. Cutler, Elise Pearlstein 
New York Times columnist Charles Blow calls for a “reverse Great Migration” of African Americans from the North back to the South to reclaim the land and culture they left behind, while building political representation. (HBO Documentary Films) 

Centerpiece Screening 
UNCROPPED (World Premiere) 
Director: D.W. Young  
Producer: Judith Mizrachy   
A portrait of longtime Village Voice photographer James Hamilton, whose work during the heyday of alternative print journalism brilliantly captured some of the most remarkable people and stories of the past half-century. 

Special Presentations 

ANSELM (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Wim Wenders 
Producer: Karsten Brünig 
Legendary filmmaker Wim Wenders creates a breathtaking 3D portrait of German artist Anselm Kiefer, one of the most innovative and important painters and sculptors of our time. (Sideshow/Janus Films)

DAVID HOLMES: THE BOY WHO LIVED (World Premiere) 
Director: Dan Hartley  
Producers: Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn, Vanessa Davies, Amy Stares  
After an accident leaves him a quadriplegic, a stuntman finds new meaning in life with the support of family, friends, and his beloved colleagues from the Harry Potter films. (HBO Documentary Films) 

DEFIANT (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Karim Amer 
Producers: Mike Lerner, Odessa Rae, Leen Karadsheh, Oleksiy Makukhin, Jake Swantko 
Behind the scenes with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and other key figures in the administration who are fighting to save their country against Russia’s invasion. 

FLIPSIDE (US Premiere) 
Director: Chris Wilcha 
Producers: Joe Beshenkovsky, Michelle Currinder, Alex Fisch, Adam Samuel Goldman, James A. Smith, Chris Wilcha 
The existential Gen-X movie that we didn’t know we wanted, as Chris Wilcha reflects on opportunities lost and gained through a career in film. 

JUNE (World Premiere) 
Director: Kristen Vaurio  Producers: Sarah Olson, Mary Robertson, Jason Owen, Josh Matas, Kristen Vaurio 
June Carter Cash is revealed as the complex woman and outstanding artist she was. 

PATRIA Y VIDA: THE POWER OF MUSIC (New York Premiere) 
Director: Beatriz Luengo 
Producers: Michael Fux, Gloria Rubin 
Cuban hip-hop musicians living in exile record a protest song calling for freedom of speech and an end to the repression of artists in Cuba—a single that becomes a worldwide anthem. 

U.S. COMPETITION 

36 SECONDS: PORTRAIT OF A HATE CRIME (World Premiere) 
Director: Tarek Albaba 
Producers: Sean Dash, Omar Altalib, Ahlam Muhtaseb 
A family’s and a community’s journeys through grief and justice following the gruesome murder of three young Muslims in Charleston, N.C. 

THE COWBOY AND THE QUEEN (World Premiere) 
Director: Andrea Nevins  
Producer: Andrea Nevins 
A California rodeo cowboy trains horses through nontraditional methods. When he attracts the royal friendship of Queen Elizabeth II, the pair begin to change the world – and not just for horses. 

HAPPY CAMPERS (World Premiere) 
Director: Amy Nicholson   
Producer: Amy Nicholson 
Annual visitors to a seaside trailer park wistfully eke out the joys of one last summer together as a melancholic twilight hangs in the air. 

HOW TO COME ALIVE… WITH NORMAN MAILER (World Premiere) 
Director: Jeff Zimbalist 
Producers: Jeff Zimbalist, Vicki Marquette 
A controversial public intellectual with a tumultuous personal life, Norman Mailer sits in the pantheon of the greatest authors of the 20th century.

MEDIHA (World Premiere) 
Director: Hasan Oswald 
Producers: Hasan Oswald, Annelise Mecca, Fahrinisa Campana, Alexander Spiess, Stephen Nemeth  
In this uniquely collaborative film, a Yazidi teen once held captive by ISIS turns the lens on herself and takes us into her world of grief, pain, and hope. 

OBSESSED WITH LIGHT (North American Premiere) 
Directors: Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum 
Producers: Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum 
A visually entrancing portrait of influential dancer Loïe Fuller that captures her unique artistic achievement. 

THE RIOT REPORT (World Premiere) 
Director: Michelle Ferrari 
Producers: Connie Honeycutt, Michelle Ferrari  
What happens when a government-appointed group goes rogue and speaks truth to power? The story of the Kerner Commission and the racist policies it exposed. (PBS-American Experience) 

SHAKEN (World Premiere) 
Director: Asher Levinthal 
Producers: Asher Levinthal, Kellen Quinn 
Following their baby’s flawed medical diagnosis, a young couple battles to stay together, weathering an unthinkable injustice. 

TAKING VENICE (North American Premiere) 
Director: Ami Wallach 
Producers: Andrea Miller, Tal Mandil, Vanessa Bergonzoli  
A fun caper movie that explores the true story behind the rumors that the U.S. government rigged the 1964 Venice Biennale so that their chosen artist, Robert Rauschenberg, could win the Grand Prize. 

TOMORROW, TOMORROW, TOMORROW (World Premiere) 
Director: Martina Radwan 
Producers: Martina Radwan, Ruchi Mital, Alice Henty  
When a determined, idealistic, and thoroughly unprepared American cinematographer decides to support three Mongolian orphans, emotional and ethical challenges ensue. 

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION 

AL DJANAT – THE ORIGINAL PARADISE (US Premiere)
Director: Chloé Aïcha Boro 
Producers: Frédéric Féraud, Aïcha Boro, Faissol Gnonlonfin 
A family’s dispute over which laws to follow in a conflict over their patriarch’s estate reveals the tensions between tradition and law in the post-colonial African nation of Burkina Faso. 

THE CARAVAN (US Premiere) 
Directors: Núria Clavero, Aitor Palacios 
Producers: Aitor Palacios, Núria Clavero, Laura Collado 
A portrait of one family’s perilous trek from Honduras illustrates the multitude of issues facing migrants at the border with Mexico. 

DALTON’S DREAM (North American Premiere) 
Directors: Kim Longinotto, Franky Murray Brown 
Producer: Lorine Plagnol 
After winning a British competition, Jamaican singer Dalton Harris discovers that a fickle music industry and a toxic past can derail his dreams. His battles with anxiety and homophobia offer a poignant reflection on resilience and self-acceptance. 

DANCING ON THE EDGE OF A VOLCANO (North American Premiere) 
Director: Cyril Aris 
Producers: Katharina Weser, Myriam Sassine 
After an explosion in the port of Beirut destroys a large part of the city, a crew of filmmakers decides to continue to shoot their film in a life-affirming effort of resistance. 

THE DMITRIEV AFFAIR (US Premiere) 
Director: Jessica Gorter 
Producer: Frank van den Engel  
Yuri Dmitriev, the “archaeologist of terror,” dedicated his life to unearthing the brutal violence the Russian state would rather keep a secret. 

THE HOME GAME (US Premiere) 
Directors: Smari Gunn, Logi Sigursveinsson 
Producers: Stephanie Thorpe, Heather Millard, Elfar Adalsteins, Freyja Kristinsdottir  
An endearing team of underdogs, including a mother of three, register in the prestigious Icelandic Men’s FA soccer cup, putting into motion a sequence of events that produces an unlikely female hero. 

LE SPECTRE DE BOKO HARAM (US Premiere) 
Director: Cyrielle Raingou 
Producers: Véronique Holley, Dieudonné Alaka  
A group of children in the village of Kolofata, Cameroon, attend school while the threat of the terrorist group Boko Haram looms. 

NEIRUD (International Premiere) 
Director: Fernanda Roth Faya 
Producers: Fernanda Faya, Rica Saito, Michael Wahrmann 
An investigation into the fascinating and colorful life of the titular Brazilian wrestler and circus performer. 

SOMEONE LIVES HERE (International Premiere) 
Director: Zachary Russell 
Producers: Matt King, Andrew Ferguson, Zack Russell  
During the winter of the pandemic, Khaleel takes it upon himself to use his professional carpentry skills to build tiny shelters for Toronto’s unhoused population, gaining media attention and support – until city officials push back.

TOTAL TRUST (US Premiere) 
Director: Jialing Zhang 
Producers: Michael Grotenhoff, Saskia Kress, Jialing Zhang 
An examination of the extent of surveillance in China, used to persecute human rights attorneys and independent journalists. (Film Movement) 

METROPOLIS COMPETITION 
NEW YORK STORIES 

ASHIMA (World Premiere) 
Director: Kenji Tsukamoto
Producers: Kenji Tsukamoto, Minji Chang, Roy Choi, Dave Boyle 
With her father’s coaching support, wunderkind sport climber Ashima Shirashi attempts to conquer South Africa’s toughest ascent. 

CONFESSIONS OF A GOOD SAMARITAN (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Penny Lane
Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick 
A filmmaker’s decision to give one of her kidneys to a stranger launches her on a provocative, intimate, and unexpectedly funny quest to understand the nature of altruism. 

DIVERSITY PLAZA (World Premiere) 
Director: Kesang Tseten
Producer: Sienna R. Craig 
A richly observed vérité look at the community and culture built by Himalayan immigrants in and around the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York. 

HOLDING BACK THE TIDE (World Premiere) 
Director: Emily Packer
Producers: Emily Packer, Trey Tetreault, Ben Still, Josh Margolis, Liz Beeson 
A quirky, lyrical love letter to oysters in NYC, this engaging documentary plumbs the history of the bivalves, their pollution-fueled decline, and their inspiring revival, finding poetry and charm in an unlikely subject. 

LUCHA: A WRESTLING TALE (World Premiere) 
Director: Marco Ricci
Producer: Marco Ricci 
Seeking to vanquish opponents and personal struggles alike, four young women from the Bronx develop the inner and outer strength to succeed on the high school wrestling team. 

NATHAN-ISM (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Elan Golod
Producers: Melanie Vi Levy, Elan Golod 
Assigned to guard Nazi war criminals as a young Jewish soldier in WWII, 90-year-old Nathan spends his days in his New York City apartment channeling his memories into captivating cartoon art, aka “Nathan-isms.” 

PSYCHEDELICIZED: THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS STORY (World Premiere) 
Director: Larry Confino
Producer: Larry Confino 
In a psychedelic swirl of hippies, Hell’s Angels, circus performers, and good vibes, ‘60s club kids partied hard at the Electric Circus, a drug-fueled, multicultural dance club in NYC’s East Village. 

SCOOTER LAFORGE: A LIFE OF ART (World Premiere) 
Director: Ethan Minsker
Producer: Ethan Minsker 
Enter the playfully subversive world of artist Scooter LaForge. Influenced by Basquiat, Pollack, and Saturday morning cartoons, and intent on creating art that is fun, he has commanded a place for himself in NYC’s seemingly impenetrable art world.  

KALEIDOSCOPE COMPETITION
NEW DOCUMENTARY VISIONS 

GRASSHOPPER REPUBLIC (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Daniel McCabe
Producers: Daniel McCabe, Alyse Ardell Spiegel, Michele Sibiloni, Otto Bell 
Following a group of grasshopper trappers in Uganda, this immersive and transcendent film explores capitalism and sustainability while meditating on the way humans engage with the natural world. 

MEGAHEARTZ (North American Premiere) 
Director: Emily Norling
Producer: Melissa Lindgren 
Parallel stories of four young friends in Stockholm struggling with love, drugs, desire, art and mental illness seem to pose the question: Is there love without madness? 

THE WALK (World Premiere) 
Director: Tamara Kotevska
Producers: Harri Grace, Orlando von Einsiedel, David Lan, Tracey Seaward 
Amal, a charming, gigantic puppet who represents millions of migrant and displaced children, walks from Turkey all the way across Europe in a journey of compassion and discovery. (Participant Media) 

A WOLFPACK CALLED ERNESTO (US Premiere) 
Director: Everardo González
Producers: Roberto Garza, Inna Payán, Jean-Christophe Simon 
An immersive film that follows a group of teenage Mexico City gangsters who collectively call themselves “Ernesto.” 

ZINZINDURRUNKARRATZ (New York Premiere) 
Director: Oskar Alegria
Producer: Oskar Alegria 
Accompanied by an adorable donkey, Oskar Alegría retraces the steps of his grandfather during transhumance using his father’s Super-8 camera to collect a trove of memories from a disappearing world. 

AMERICAN STORIES 
STATES OF BEING IN THE UNION 

BETWEEN LIFE & DEATH (New York Premiere) 
Director: Nick Capote 
Producers: Kimberley Ferdinando, Melissa Leardi 
Who gets to decide if we live or how we die? Looking at the “right to die” debate and remembering the woman whose life-or-death injury started it all. (MSNBC Films) 

CATERPILLAR (New York Premiere) 
Director: Liza Mandelup 
Producers: Jay Van Hoy, Matthew Cherchio, Liza Mandelup 
A fascinating portrait of one man’s determination to change the color of his eyes with plastic surgery. 

A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE (New York Premiere) 
Directors: Jeremy Coon, Steve Kozak 
Producers: Jeremy Coon, Steve Kozak, Kyle Newman 
In 1978, the year after Star Wars became an indelible cultural phenomenon, the campy “Star Wars Holiday Special” aired on television to the chagrin of George Lucas and the delight of die-hard Star Wars fans. 

NAKED AMBITION: BUNNY YEAGER (World Premiere) 
Directors: Dennis Scholl, Kareem Tabsch 
Producers: Konstantia Kontaxis, Dennis Scholl, Kareem Tabsch 
Bunny Yeager was a trailblazing model, designer, and photographer who popularized the bikini, invented the selfie, discovered Bettie Page, and introduced feminist agency in her sexy portraits of the ’50s. 

ONE WITH THE WHALE (New York Premiere) 
Directors: Peter Chelkowski, Jim Wickens 
Producers: Aakapak Apassingok, Nalu Apassingok, Peter Chelkowski, M. Watanabe Milmore, Yaarie Toolie-Walker, Jim Wickens  
A family living on Alaska’s remote St. Lawrence Island struggles to rebuild their shattered identities and find a way to live with Indigenous values in a world with little understanding of the nuances of their traditions. 

TIME BOMB Y2K (NYC Premiere) 
Directors: Marley McDonald, Brian Becker 
Producer: Brian Becker 
A time capsule of 1999 that captures the unprecedented frenzy of Y2K just as the internet begins to transform the world. (HBO Documentary Films) 

UNBROKEN (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Beth Lane 
Producers: Doug Prochilo, Mai Amalie Bak 
The remarkable story of the seven Weber siblings, who evaded capture and certain death in Nazi Germany following their mother’s murder at Auschwitz. 

UNSEEN (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Set Hernandez 
Producers: Set Hernandez, Félix Endara, Day Al-Mohamed  
Pedro, a legally blind, undocumented immigrant, dreams of earning a degree in social work to provide for his family and offer healing to his community. (PBS-American Experience)

FIGHT THE POWER 
STORIES OF ACTIVISM 

IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Ella Glendining 
Producer: Janine Marmot While navigating daily discrimination, a filmmaker who inhabits and loves her unusual body explores what it takes to love oneself fiercely despite the pervasiveness of ableism. 

NO ONE ASKED YOU (World Premiere) 
Director: Ruth Leitman 
Producers: Rachel Rozycki, Andrea Raby 
Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead brings us on the road with her merry band of activists and comedians as they crisscross the U.S. to support abortion clinics and providers. 

RAINBOW WARRIOR (North American Premiere) 
Director: Edward McGurn 
Producers: Sophie Daniel, Edward McGurn, Eva Gunz, Chris Dallas-Feeney, Katie Buchanan, Chris Dallas-Feeney  
This documentary uncovers a tangled tale of nuclear weapons and geopolitical coverups when a brave group of activists took action against impending environmental collapse. 

THE COST OF INHERITANCE (World Premiere) 
Director: Yoruba Richen  
Producers: Mehret Mandefro, Lacey Schwartz Delgado 
In this exploration of reparations, those with family histories steeped in slavery are placed at the center of the debate with an opportunity to act. 

THREE PROMISES (New York Premiere) 
Director: Yousef Srouji 
Producer: Marielle Olentine 
A son and his mother unearth a box of her videotapes of life in the West Bank in the early 2000s, confronting the pain of losing the land they called home. 

WE ARE FIRE! (DRAW FOR CHANGE) (International Premiere) 
Director: Karen Vázquez Guadarrama 
Producer: Hanne Phlypo 
Mar’s feminist illustrations support her community in dealing with the emotional trauma left behind by the staggering number of femicides in Mexico. 

YOURS IN FREEDOM, BILL BAIRD (World Premiere) 
Director: Rebecca Cammisa 
Producers: Walter Köhler, Sarah Nörenberg 
The story of the pioneering activist who crusaded for reproductive freedom. 

GAME FACE CINEMA 
THE DRAMA OF SPORT 

CANDACE PARKER: UNAPOLOGETIC (World Premiere) 
Director: Joe Brewster 
Producers: Giselle Rodriguez, Julie Lilleby, Paige Bethmann, Carolyn Hepburn 
WNBA superstar Candace Parker chronicles her life and career from the courts of suburban Chicago to basketball immortality. (ESPN Films) 

INTO THE SHAOLIN (New York Premiere) 
Director: Hongyun Sun 
Producer: Can Luo 
The temptations of the outside world loom as Shaolin monks tour the globe with majestic Kung Fu performances. 

JESSZILLA (NYC Premiere) 
Director: Emily Sheskin 
Producer: Ben Kainz 
Fifteen-year-old boxer Jesselyn Silva is on the cusp of making the Olympic team when she and her father, Pedro, are faced with their greatest opponent yet: cancer. 

THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE (World Premiere) 
Directors: Ken Rodgers, Courtland Bragg 
Producers: Courtland Bragg, Nick Mascolo, Ken Rodgers, Chip Swain, Kobi Theiler 
Told through never-before-seen footage from an interview filmed just before his death, NFL Hall of Famer and ordained minister Reggie White holds forth on faith in the context of his life and career. (ESPN Films) 

RIDERS ON THE STORM (New York Premiere) 
Directors: Jason Motlagh, Mark Oltmanns 
Producers: Jason Motlagh, Mark Oltmanns 
During a pivotal moment in Afghan history, a champion buzkashi rider must make the most important decision of his life. 

RIGHT TO FIGHT (International Premiere) 
Director: Georgina Cammalleri 
Producers: Cassie Thornton, Tim Wardle 
The extraordinary untold story of how a pioneering group of American women, from very different backgrounds, fought to break into the most macho sport of all: boxing. 

UNSYNCABLE (International Premiere) 
Director: Megan Wennberg 
Producer: Erin Oakes 
Ranging in age from a sprightly 60 to 90-plus, seniors of various backgrounds find renewed vitality through competitive synchronized swimming. 

INVESTIGATIONS
EXPOSING THE TRUTH 

BULL RUN (International Premiere) 
Director: Ana Ramón Rubio 
Producer: Juanjo Moscardó Rius 
A first-person comedy about the director’s experience with cryptocurrency, the obsession of trading in a rising market, and how to finance a film with digital coins. 

EAT BITTER (NYC Premiere)
Directors: Pascale Appora-Gnekindy, Ningyi Sun 
Producer: Mathieu Faure 
By telling the story of two men of different backgrounds, this film portrays the impact of globalization on individual lives. 

HOW TO HAVE AN AMERICAN BABY (New York Premiere) 
Director: Leslie Tai 
Producers: Leslie Tai, Jillian Schultz  
An investigation into the veiled but booming economy catering to pregnant Chinese tourists who travel to the U.S. to obtain citizenship for their babies. (PBS-American Experience) 

POLISH PRAYERS (North American Premiere) 
Director: Hanna Nobis 
Producer: Esther van Messel 
A young Polish man grows up in a deeply religious and radical right-wing family in contemporary Poland. Catholicism, nationalism, and especially celibacy define his existence, but at the same time, he is curious about the world, and mostly, about the women in it. 

SEARCHING FOR NIKA (North American Premiere) 
Director: Stanislav Kapralov 
Producers: Yan Fisher, Taras Stadnikov, Roger Corbi  
In a heroic attempt to find his missing dog, a filmmaker goes back to Ukraine and joins volunteers on a mission to rescue animals left behind during Russia’s brutal attacks. 

WHO I AM NOT (New York Premiere) 
Director: Tunde Skovran 
Producer: Andrei Zinca Born male and female within a single body, a beauty queen and a male-presenting activist break the intersex taboo in a personal and intimate exploration of truth, faith, and belonging. 

PORTRAITS
PROFILES OF SINGULAR INDIVIDUALS 

BYE BYE TIBERIAS (New York Premiere) 
Director: Lina Soualem 
Producer: Jean-Marie Nizan 
A portrait of Palestinian actor Hiam Abbas that encompasses the political and cultural issues of her lifetime. 

THE LADY BIRD DIARIES (New York Premiere) 
Director: Dawn Porter
Producers: Dawn Porter, Kim Reynolds 
A groundbreaking all-archival documentary film about Lady Bird Johnson, one of the most influential and least understood First Ladies. (Hulu) 

LIV ULLMANN – A ROAD LESS TRAVELLED (North American Premiere) 
Director: Dheeraj Akolkar 
Producers: Hege Christensen, Kaare Hersoug 
A delightful portrait of Liv Ullman brimming with intimate memories and profound reflections on her hopes, fears, grief, dreams pursued, rejections, and lessons learned. 

MERCHANT IVORY (World Premiere) 
Director: Stephen Soucy 
Producers: Jon Hart, Stephen Soucy 
A definitive presentation and tribute to the Merchant Ivory partnership, anchored by interviews with James Ivory and forty-one Merchant Ivory close collaborators detailing and celebrating their experiences of being a part of the “wandering company” helmed by legendary producer Ismail Merchant. (Cohen Media Group) 

SHARI & LAMB CHOP (World Premiere) 
Director: Lisa D’Apolito 
Producers: Cassidy Hartmann, Nicholas Ferrall, Morris Ruskin, Douglas Warner, Lisa D’Apolito 
The life and career of Shari Lewis, a multitalented ventriloquist who, along with her puppet friend Lamb Chop, charmed millions and changed the face of children’s television. 

THE TRIALS OF ALAN DERSHOWITZ (World Premiere) 
Director: John Curtin 
Producer: John Curtin 
A fresh perspective on the provocative and controversial criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, known for representing some of America’s most notorious clients. 

SONIC CINEMA 
MOVIES ABOUT MUSIC 

FANNY: THE OTHER MENDELSSOHN (New York Premiere)  
Director: Sheila Hayman 
Producer: Sheila Hayman 
Born in 1800’s Berlin, composer Fanny Mendelssohn’s remarkable talents were eclipsed by her brother Felix. Unearthed by feminist scholars, her inspiring musical legacy gives overdue credit to the brilliant musician. 

FAMOUDOU KONATE – THE KING OF DJEMBE (US Premiere) 
Director: André Piruka 
Producer: André Piruka 
African drumming traditions may be fading, but for renowned Guinean percussionist Famoudou Konate, the djembe drum is life—and this vibrant documentary pays tribute to his rich legacy. 

GARLAND JEFFREYS: THE KING OF IN BETWEEN (World Premiere) 
Director: Claire Jeffreys 
Producers: Claire Jeffreys, Evan M. Johnson 
Explore the remarkable journey of Garland Jeffreys, a mixed-race Brooklyn native whose unconventional music defied industry norms. This documentary reveals his underappreciated talent through interviews with famous fans, and sheds light on his extraordinary life and artistry. 

PAUL MULDOON: LAOITHE’S LIRIC/A LIFE IN LYRICS (New York Premiere) 
Director: Alan Gilsenan 
Producer: Stephen Douds 
One man uses his poetry and songs to share his life’s journey. 

PLAY WITH THE DEVIL – BECOMING ZEAL & ARDOR (North American Premiere) 
Directors: Olivier Joliat, Matthias Willi 
Producer: Frank Matter 
In documenting the global tour of “Black Death Metal” band Zeal & Ardor, who merge American Negro work songs and heavy metal to spotlight societal ills, this insightful documentary explores lead singer Manuel Gagneux’s complicated relationship to fame and authority while providing head-banging thrills. 

PRETTY UGLY – THE STORY OF THE LUNACHICKS (World Premiere) 
Director: Ilya Chaiken 
Producer: Ilya Chaiken 
In the ’90s, the Lunachicks, a fierce all-female punk band, rocked NYC’s underground scene, rebelling  against music industry sexism to deliver high-voltage performances. 

THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER (NYC Premiere) 
Directors: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal  
Producer: Cristina Huete  
Animated with gorgeous hand-drawn lines and vivid colors, this documentary explores the origin story of bossa nova, the universally beloved Brazilian music movement. (Sony Pictures Classics) 

VOICES OF CANADA 
A showcase of the Canadian titles that are represented throughout the festival’s sections. 
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Canada in New York. 

Feature Films: 
EAT BITTER 
SOMEONE LIVES HERE 
THE TRIALS OF ALAN DERSHOWITZ 
UNSYNCABLE 
WHO AM I NOT 

Short Films: 
A Bear Named Jesus 
Boat People 
Grape Soda in the Parking Lot 
Radio Bingo 
Two One Two  
Zug Island 

SHORTS PROGRAMS 
There are 104 shorts participating in the juried Shorts Competition, in the following 20 programs: 

SHORTS: ANIMAL FARM  
These docs feature the dynamic relationships between humans and entertaining, sentient, magnificent animals. 
Frank and His Dogs (Dir/Prod: Owen Markham) 
Happy (Dir/Prod: Laura Rindlisbacher) 
Not Wasting My Time (Dir /Prod: Derek Howard) 
Visible Mending (Dir: Samantha Moore/Prod: Tilley Bancroft) 
Willie’s Wings (Dirs: Alberto Vignati, Reina Daniels/Prod: Andrea Italia)  You Can’t Shrink Love (Dir/Prod: Veena Rao) 

SHORTS: ARTSCAPES 
A glimpse into the artistic process behind brilliant creators across disciplines. 
Forbidden Pond (Dir/Prod: Eric Jenkins-Sahlin) 
Love, Jamie (Dir: Karla Murthy/Prod: Andrew Fredericks) 
The Promise of Spring (Dir: Anna Andersen/Prod: Katie Rose Vaughan) 
Whitney Houston in Focus (Dir/Prod: Benjamin Alfonsi/Prod: Audra McDonald) 

SHORTS: CARETAKERS 
A selection of tenderhearted films taking care of memories, heirlooms, and family members. 
Behind the Mask (Dir/Prod: Håvard Bustnes) 
Caretaker (Dir/Prod: Verónica Rose Wood) 
The Echo of Her Voice (Dir/Prod: Rodrigo Guzmán Espíndola/Prods: Daniela Contreras, Nicolas Défossé) 
The Medallion (Dir: Ruth Hunduma/Prods: Lily Usher, Tolu Stedford) 
My Cure and Me (Dir/Prod: Alan Bradley) 

SHORTS: CHANGING TIDES 
This program captures the shifting currents when we have a change of heart and forge a new outlook on life.
The Cities I Live In (Dir: Rabie Mustapha/Prod: Michael Hewitt) 
I See You (Dir: Adam Weingrod/Prod: Kobi Mizrahi) 
Looking Forward (Dir/Prod: Steven Ascher/Prod: Jeanne Jordan) 
Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) (Dirs: Matthew Thorne, Derik Lynch/Prods: Matthew Thorne, Patrick Graham) 
When a Rocket Sits on the Launch Pad (Dir/Prod: Bohao Liu/Prod: Gene Gallerano) 
Whiteness at Work (Dir: Peter Nelson/Prod: Evan Weselmann) 

SHORTS: COLLATERAL DAMAGE 
The outcomes of war go beyond the physical as these short documentaries capture the implications of modern warfare.  
Between Me and the Sea (Dir/Prod: Mohsin Mohi-Ud Din/Prod: Rafe Scobey-Thal) 
Boat People (Dirs: Thao Lam, Kjell Boersma/Prods: Justine Pimlott, Jelena Popović) 
Dictionary of Emotions in a Time of War (Dir/Prod: Leah Loftin) 
Enemy Alien (Dir: Gabriel Murphy/Prod: Andrew McMartin) 
Stones (Dir: Arman Ayvazyan/Prod: Vardan Hovhannisyan) 
The Syrian Cosmonaut (Dir: Charles Emir Richards/Prod: Enis Ozkul)

SHORTS: COMMUNITY 
Whether by nature or necessity, we find solace and support in our communities. 
74 Messages Sent & Received (Dir/Prod: Danya Abt) 
Addresses (Dirs: María Luisa Santos, Carlo Nasisse/Prod: Natalia Quesada) 
Empress Nicole the Great (Dir/Prod: Dara Bratt) 
Everything’s Fine, Potatoes in Line (Dir: Piotr Jasiński/Prod: Ondřej Šejnoha) 
If Dreams Were Lightning (Dir/Prod: Ramin Bahrani/Prods: Pamela Ryan, Jason Orans, Ramin Bahrani) 
Radio Bingo (Dir/Prod: Shelby Adams) 

SHORTS: FAMILY MATTERS 
Shorts about families we are born into, and those we choose.
A Bear Named Jesus (Dir: Terril Calder/Prods: Christa Couture, Michelle St. John) 
Buttons and Dumplings (Dirs: Calvin Sang, Mei Ling Lee/Prod: Mei Ling Lee) 
Grape Soda in the Parking Lot (Dirs: Megan Kyak-Monteith, Taqralik Partridge/Prod: Christa Couture, Michelle St. John) 
MnM (Dir: Twiggy Pucci Garçon/Prods: Colleen Cassingham, Jess Devaney) 
Parker (Dirs: Sharon Liese, Catherine Hoffman/Prods: Sharon Liese, Funmi Ogunro, Samantha Hake) 
Trenton: To the Moon & Back (Dir/Prod: Josh Leong/Prods: Sam Gollob, Will Nelson, Sofia Bara) 

SHORTS: HIDDEN HISTORIES 
The backstories of under-recognized people and stories.
Black Godfather of Scuba (Dir: Matt Kay/Prod: Andrew Carver) 
Jack & Sam (Dir/Prod: Jordan Matthew Horowitz/Prod: Andrew Carlberg) 
Taking Back the Groove (Dir/Prod: Celia Aniskovich/Prod: Roddy Lindsay) 
Tracing History (Dir: Jalena Keane-Lee/Prod: Reaa Puri) 

SHORTS: INSIDE AND OUT 
Honest vignettes of the prison industrial complex. 
Breaking Silence (Dirs: Amy Bench, Annie Silverstein/Prods: Amy Bench, Monique Walton) 
The Bus (Dir: Sandra Reina/Prods: Valérie Delpierre, Jaume Fargas Coll) 
Ike Brown (Dir: Caleb Clowe/Prod: Matthew Veeder) 
Rocko (Dirs: Emma Bergman, James Jones/Prod: Emma Bergman) 
Tito (Dirs: Kervens Jimenez, Taylor McIntosh/Prods: Corbin J. Stone, Jean Roody St. Vilien, Taylor McIntosh) 

SHORTS: LOVE LETTERS 
Stories all about love. 
And Then I Was Here (Dir/Prod: Alex Stergiou) 
Blue Dots (Dir/Prod: Lorenzo Squarcia/Prods: Manuel Grieco, Simone Spampinato) 
Freedom Waders: The Struggle to Integrate Chicago’s Rainbow Beach (Dir/Prod: Alex S. Hinton) 
Pigeons Mate for Life (Dir/Prod: Tabitha Yong) 
Ted & Noel (Dir: Julia Alcamo/Prods: Dan Hodgson, Mary Pattisson) 
Tidal (Dir: Katrina Lillian Sorrentino/Prods: Bryn Silverman, John Condne, Alexandra Liveris) 

SHORTS: THE MEANING OF WORK 
This collection of shorts unpack capitalism through the process of labor. 
Chronicle of a Summer Day (Dir: Bronzeville Collective/Prods: Mike David Thomas, Kira Helm, Erica Duffy, Andrew Skalak, Kevin Cagnoletti) 
Dust to Light (Dir/Prod: Erika Houle) 
Fitting (Dir: Caitlin McMullan/Prod: Marissa Keating) 
Fleshwork (Dir/Prod: Lydia Cornett) 
The Last Carnival (Dirs/Prods: Tucker Morrison, Samuel Ott, Anthony Wilson/Prod: David Brown) 
Ramboy (Dirs: Matthias Joulaud, Lucien Roux/Prods: Lionel Baier, Nicolas Wadimoff) 

SHORTS: MUSICAL MEDLEYS 
A loaded program for lovers of instruments, musicians, and music! 
Do You See Me? (Dir: Camille Gottscheck/Prod: Ailed Cazares) 
Last Song From Kabul (Dir: Kevin Macdonald/Prod: Lawrence Elman) 
The Orchestra Chuck Built (Dir/Prod: Christopher Stoudt/Prods: Ryan Suffern, Maryann Garger, Bob Logan, Ains Prasad)

SHORTS: NEW YORK, NEW YORK  
Our beloved city through the eyes of many. 
The Fish Doctor (a doc about the fish doc) (Dirs/Prods: Adam Levin, Riley Patterson) 
Friendly Fridges (Dir/Prod: Ilja Willems) 
Kingdome (Dir/Prod: Shawn Antoine II) 
Rite of Passage (Dir/Prod: Talha Jalal) 
Through Sunless Ways (Dirs/Prods: Kira Dane, Katelyn Rebelo/Prods: Andrea Yu Chieh Chung, Gretta Wilson) 

SHORTS: OUR CLIMATE / OUR CRISIS  
The inventive solutions and devastating realities of our climate crisis on film.  
Conceiving Our Future (Dir/Prod: Annie Pancak Vogt) 
Frozen Harvest (Dir: Mark Fleming/Prod: Lone Spruce Creative) 
I am the Nature (Dir: Taliesin Black-Brown/Prods: Ramiro Vargas Chumpí Washikiat, Helena Sardinha, Rafael Thomaseto) 
Mountain Man (Dir/Prod: Arun Bhattarai) 
School of Fish (Dirs/Prods: Oliver Sutro, Colin Arisman) 
The Shelmeca Serpent (Dir: Laura Bermúdez/Prod: Luis Flores Alvarenga) 
When the Grass Must Go (Dir: Ilja Willems/Prod: Bert Janssens) 

SHORTS: THE PEOPLE VS.  
Stories that command attention about those who fight for a better future for all. 
Banned Book Club (Dir: Sinead Keirans/Prod: Em Shapiro, Mary-Elizabeth Esquibel) 
How We Get Free (Dirs: Geeta Gandbhir, Samantha Knowles/Prods: Kathleen Lingo, Sweta Vohra, Jess Devaney) 
The Menstruation Station (Dir/Prod: Miguel Luis/Prod: Nicole Olwagen) 
Sanctuary (Dirs/Prods: John Haley, Julia Szromba) 
Suddenly TV (Dir/Prod: Roopa Gogineni) 

SHORTS: PHYSICAL PURSUITS  
Athletic feats and strong bonds build this program of films on sport from across the globe. 
Gloves Without Ring (Dir/Prod: Karen Sotolongo Menendez) 
Kemonito: The Final Fall (Dir/Prod: Teresa de Miguel) 
Outside Line (Dir/Prod: Jack Gordon) 
Queen of the Sea (Dir: Kate Cox/Prod: Danielle Wright, Emory Ruegg)
The Ugandan Quidditch Movement (Dir: Ben Garfield/Prod: Kristina Budelis) 

SHORTS: PROFILES  
Portraits and profiles of unique individuals with filmmaking to match.
Denial (Dir/Prod: Paul Moakley/Dir: Daniel Lombroso) 
Echo (Dirs: Ben Wolin, Michael Minahan/Prods: Michael Yuchen Lei, Melissa Fajardo) 
Funny Not Funny (Dirs/Prods: Marc D’Agostino, Ben Feldman) 
House of Tulip (Dir: Cydney Tucker/Prod: Zaferhan Yumru) 
Pitch Black (Dir/Prod: Guillym Davenport) 

SHORTS: SHE STORIES  
Women share their stories from in front of, and behind, the camera. 
A Home on Every Floor (Dir/Prod: Signe Rosenlund-Hauglid) 
Bear (Dir: Morgane Frund/Prod: Volko Kamensky) 
Daughter of the Sea (Dirs: Nicole Gormley, Nancy Kwon/Prods: Min Chul Shin, Sooyoung Kim, Nicole Gormley) 
The Only Girl in the Orchestra (Dir/Prod: Molly O’Brien/Prod: Lisa Remington)

SHORTS: VANTAGE POINT 
Films taking a different perspective or way of viewing the world. 
Incident (Dir/Prod: Bill Morrison/Prod: Jamie Kalven) 
Landline (Dir/Prod: Samuel Wright Smith) 
Of Dreams in the Dream of Another Mirror (Dir: Yunyi Zhu/Prod: Eric Prigent) 
There’s Not Much We Can Do (Dir: Erica Monde/Prod: Clara Harris) 
Two One Two (Dir/Prod: Shira Avni) 
Zug Island (Dir/Prod: Nicolas Lachapelle/Prod: Guillaume Collin) 

SHORTS: THE WISE ONES 
A lovely program dedicated to our wise, wonderful elders. 
Bubjan (Dir/Prod: Nicholas Mihm/Prod: Lisa Rudin) 
Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma) (Dir/Prod: Sean Wang/Prods: Sam Davis, Malcolm Pullinger) 
The Queen Vs Texas (Dir/Prod: Emil Lozada/Dir: Raemonn James) 
The Silent Witness (Dirs/Prods: George Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt/Prods: Aleks Gezentsvey, Matthew Henderson)  

DOC NYC U COMPETITION
DOC NYC U features 10 short documentaries from students across the five boroughs. Restyled as a competition for the first time this year, these two programs showcase finalists from Brooklyn College, Columbia University, Hunter College, The New School, New York Film Academy, New York University, Pratt Institute, and the School of Visual Arts.  

DOC NYC U: PORTRAITS 
Student documentaries that profile unique individuals and the lives they lead. 
Allies Welcome (Dirs/Prods: Tavleen Tarrant, Shakeeb Asrar, Columbia University) 
I Told You So (Dir/Prod: Malak AlSayyad/Prods: Amann Stewart, Loren Townsley, Columbia University) 
Just Story Hour (Dir/Prod: Lu Yao, School of Visual Arts) 
Second Act (Dir/Prod: Britney Bautista, New York University) 
Slice of Goodness (Dir/Prod: Usman Chohan, Brooklyn College) 

DOC NYC U: REBIRTH 
Student documentaries that document the metamorphosis when things start anew. 
A Good Death (Dirs/Prods: Boya Sun, Jean Chapiro, Columbia University) 
It Smells Like Springtime (Dir/Prod: Mackie Mallison, Pratt Institute) 
Land (Dir/Prod: Satoko Saito, Hunter College) 
More Than Brothers (Dir/Prod: Andrea von Siebenthal, New York Film Academy) 
Through a Glass Eye (Dir/Prod: Lola Granger-Jourdan, The New School) 

Related Post