Taking place November 9-27, this year’s edition of the DOC NYC Film Festival promises to enlighten, entertain, inspire and excite. Programming includes exciting titles from first-time directors and gems from industry vets. Some of the films we’re so eager to see address systemic racism (“The Gumbo Coalition”), pay tribute to local legends (“Queen of the Deuce”), and take us back in time (“A Witch Story”) .
Below, find some highlights from DOC NYC 2022. The synopses are courtesy of Fest.
‘Cirque du Soleil: Without a Net’ – Directed by Don Porter
what is this about: When Cirque du Soleil suddenly moves to resume its flagship production, “O”, more than a year after the global shutdown, both cast and crew members are faced with uncertainty as they ( re) work in time to return to their world class standards. Opening the curtain of night in Las Vegas. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Don Porter (“John Lewis: Good Trouble,” “Trapped”) captures the dramatic personal ups and downs of the world’s most famous circus act on his journey back from the brink of its existence.
why are we excited: Porter’s filmography has seen her deal with everything from restrictive abortion laws (“Trapped”) to the Tulsa massacre (“Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer”) and the Obama years (“The Way I See It”). Taking the curtain off the Cirque du Soleil isn’t something we’ve seen coming, but we’re certainly keen to see an all-access take on the epic production through Porter’s lens. Aside from its filmmaker’s involvement, the chance to just see what goes into a show of this magnitude – especially when it relaunches in the wake of COVID – sounds fascinating.
“Gumbo Alliance” – Directed by Barbara Koppal
what is this about: National Social Justice leaders Mark Moriel of the National Urban League and Janet Murgia of Unidos are driven by mutual determination to join forces to fight structural racism amid a disturbing resurgence of white supremacy in Trump. Era. Two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Koppal takes a veritable approach to examine the experiences that have shaped Moriel and Murguia as leaders of their diverse African American and Latinx American communities as they face the years of the pandemic. navigate the complex arc of racial justice.
why are we excited: A new doctor from Koppal is always something to celebrate. A Portrait of Civil Rights Leaders Fighting for Social Justice In “The Gumbo Coalition” “Harlan County, USA” Helmer battles racism, activism, and community. We’re especially curious to learn about how Moriel and Murguiah decided to get together, and how the “pandemic years” shaped their fight for a better future.
“Wisdom Gone Wild” – Directed by Rei Tajiri
what is this about: A meticulous documentation of the filmmaker’s mother as she slowly becomes vulnerable to dementia. Ri Tajiri is both a witness and participant in the process of recollection and collection; During this on-the-go collaboration, mother and daughter switch roles between daughter, mother, survivor and documentarian. Without falling into the trap of nostalgia, the film focuses on life, times and love, while coping with a monumental loss.
why are we excited: “Wisdom Gone Wild” joins several recent documents that see filmmakers coping with the illnesses and mortality of their parents – among them Kirsten Johnson’s “Dick Johnson Is Dead” and Ondi Timoner’s ” Last flight home”. These directors are sharing intimate access to their family’s lives during particularly vulnerable times, and in doing so, are shedding light on experiences and situations that are statistically common but often not talked about. Is. “Wisdom Gone Wild” sounds like a touching tribute to Tajiri’s mother that will also start important conversations about aging and dementia.
“A Witch’s Story” – Directed by Yolanda Pividal
what is this about: Alice is the descendant of Martha Carrier, a woman who was hanged for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Her research for an upcoming book led her to work with Brooklyn-based feminist guru Sylvia Federici to trace the history of the great witch to her and today’s continuing patriarchal power grab. A captivating story at a crossroads where the past collides with the present.
why are we excited: We were as happy as we were to see the Sanderson Sisters back in “Hocus Pocus 2” and the third installment of Leigh Janiac’s “Fear Street” trilogy, “1966,” which drew inspiration from the Salem Witch Trials, We’re About Witches Looking forward to checking out more educational titles. With “A Witch Story,” Pividl spotlights a woman who was directly affected by the Salem Witch Trials and offers her the opportunity to provide a history lesson on the witch hunt. We are curious to know how the film connects the old-fashioned witch hunts with our present scenario.
“Queen of the Deuce” – directed by Valerie Kontakos
what is this about: Chely Wilson was a Christmas-celebrating Jewish grandmother, a lesbian woman who married men, and a proud owner of a 1970s porn theater in NYC. Via audio recordings, Chelly recounts her unexpected motherhood from Greece and her rise to wealth as a shrewd businessman on “The Deuce,” aka New York’s infamous 42nd Street. Fascinating WWII and NYC archival footage portrays this gripping tale of a family and its matriarch, a truly unique character with chutzpah in spades.
why are we excited: “Queen of the Deuce” promises to be a fascinating portrait of a unique woman who lived a truly remarkable life. Plus, it’s only fitting that Doctor DOC is making its world premiere in NYC — Wilson’s life story doesn’t play out the same way anywhere else on Earth.