The fifth edition of DocNYC opens Nov. 13, running for a week, with screenings in Greenwich Village and Chelsea movie houses. This documentary is a natural outgrowth of Thom Powers’ long-running “Stranger Than Fiction” documentary series that screens weekly at the IFC Center on 6th Ave. in Manhattan.
With a discerning sensibility, the DocNYC team selects from the myriad of new independent films created every year and also revives some popular classics. The 2014 festival, showcasing a wealth of 153 films and events, includes Q&As with over 200 movie makers, special guests and the New York audiences. Full information on the films and schedules is at www.docnyc.net.
The subject matters of the festival’s films are parsed into categories such as “American or International Perspectives” or personal “Viewpoints.” The majority of the 10 “Metropolis” films take place in New York City.
“Fight the Power” films deal with issues such as civil rights in upstate New York (Brothers of the Black List), income inequality in South America (Disruption), banning sale of bottle water in Concord, Massachusetts (Divide in Concord), same-sex marriage (Limited Partnership), and writing the new South African constitution (Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa).
There are nine music-oriented documentaries, including two in revival, “David” (1961 – about jazz trumpeter David Allen in rehab) and “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” (2004- heavy metal band documentary classic). “Keep on Keepin’ On” (in the Short List category) is about the 92-year-old jazz legend Clark Terry and his 23-year-old protégé.
Two popular classics in the “Docs Redux” category are Hoop Dreams (1994) and High School (1968). There is also a “Joc Docs” category.
“Citizen Four” (whistle-blowing Edward Snowden), “Finding Vivian Maier” (discovery of 100,000 street photography negatives), “Life Itself” (late film critic Roger Ebert), The Salt of the Earth (photographer Sebastiao Salgado) are films that may had art theater or commercial releases recently. The films’ inclusion (they’re in the “Short List category) offer opportunities to watch documentaries that one might have missed when they were first in the theaters.
“The mix of films, filmmakers, special guests and audiences provide “the kind of experiences that happen only in New York,” says artistic director Thom Powers. “Our mix of premieres, classics, in-depth panels, and master classes span documentary past, present and future.”
“Hands That Feed” (in the Metropolis category) is a David vs. Goliath story set in an Upper East Side Hot & Crusty bakery. An unassuming sandwich maker, Mahoma Lopez, after years of exploitation, leads his fellow service workers as they demand better working conditions and wages. Occupy activists and labor organizers join in their fight. This film will screen at IFC, Nov. 16, at 2:30 p.m.