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Spotlight on Documentary

Documentaries come in all shapes, sizes, and tones: compressed and expansive, eclectic portraits and vérité canvases, objective examinations and works of passionate advocacy. This year’s Spotlight on Documentary represents the entire spectrum of nonfiction cinema.

See more and save with a discount package when you purchase tickets to three or more Spotlight on Documentary screenings. Click here to purchase!

Everything Is Copy

  • Jacob Bernstein
  • 2015
  • USA
  • DCP
  • 89 minutes

World Premiere · Jacob Bernstein in person!

This extremely entertaining film is a tribute to director Jacob Bernstein’s mother, the sparkling but caustically witty Nora Ephron: Hollywood-raised daughter of screenwriters who grew up to be an ace reporter turned piercingly funny essayist turned novelist/screenwriter/playwright/director.

Field of Vision: New Episodic Nonfiction

  • 2015
  • USA/Germany
  • 70 minutes

World Premiere · Filmmakers in person!

A selection of short-form episodic works, including installments of Asylum, in which Laura Poitras (whose CITIZENFOUR had its world premiere at last year’s NYFF) shadows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he publishes classified diplomatic cables and seeks asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

Fish Tail (Rabo De Peixe)

  • Joaquim Pinto, Nuno Leonel
  • 2015
  • Portugal
  • DCP
  • 103 minutes
  • Portuguese with English subtitles

North American Premiere · Joaquim Pinto in person!

On the Azorean island of Rabo de Peixe, small-scale fishermen introduce the filmmakers to the rhythms of their working life. Lovely and quietly profound, Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel’s latest documentary is a tender portrait of a community and a philosophical reflection on the meaning of work and freedom.

Homeland (Iraq Year Zero)

  • Abbas Fahdel
  • 2015
  • Iraq/France
  • DCP
  • 160/174 minutes
  • Arabic with English subtitles

North American Premiere · Abbas Fahdel in person!

Iraqi filmmaker Abbas Fahdel traveled home from France in 2002 to capture everyday life as a nation anticipated inevitable war. He returned a year later, two weeks after the U.S. invasion, to see how his family and friends fared. By documenting their day-to-day activities pre- and post-invasion, Fahdel has created an epic yet intimate film and a compelling portrait of lives caught in the crossfire of war.

Immigration Battle/Reasons to Believe

  • Michael Camerini, Shari Robertson
  • 2015
  • USA
  • DCP
  • 111 minutes

World Premiere · Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson in person!

The final film from Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson chronicling the struggle for American immigration reform focuses on Democrat Luis Gutiérrez, the charismatic U.S. Representative for the 4th congressional district of Illinois, as he negotiates his way through this political minefield, while keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the prize.

Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words

  • Stig Björkman
  • 2015
  • Sweden
  • DCP
  • 114 minutes
  • Swedish and English with English subtitles

Stig Björkman in person!

This lovingly crafted film is composed from Ingrid Bergman’s letters and diaries, the memories of her children and a few close friends and colleagues, photographs, and moments from thousands of feet of Super-8 and 16mm footage shot by Bergman herself.

In Jackson Heights

  • Frederick Wiseman
  • 2015
  • USA
  • DCP
  • 190 minutes

Frederick Wiseman in person!

As we watch Fred Wiseman’s 40th feature documentary—about Jackson Heights, Queens, one of New York City’s liveliest and most culturally diverse neighborhoods—a vast, emotionally complex, dynamic tapestry is woven before our eyes.

Jia Zhangke, A Guy from Fenyang

  • Walter Salles
  • 2014
  • Brazil/France
  • DCP
  • 99 minutes
  • Mandarin with English subtitles

North American Premiere · Walter Salles in person!

Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles accompanies the prolific Chinese director Jia Zhangke on a walk down memory lane, as he revisits his hometown and other locations used in creating his ever-growing body of work. All roads traveled are part of one journey—the destination of which is Jia’s relationship to his past and to his country.

Rebel Citizen

  • Pamela Yates
  • 2015
  • USA
  • DCP
  • 75 minutes

World Premiere · Pamela Yates & Haskell Wexler in person!

In this portrait of her mentor and longtime collaborator Haskell Wexler, Pamela Yates takes us on a revelatory tour of the work of master cinematographer, who’s still going strong at 93.

Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art

  • James Crump
  • 2015
  • USA
  • DCP
  • 72 minutes

James Crump in person!

The latest film by James Crump is a beautiful, meticulously constructed tribute to the great Land (aka Earth) artists of the 1960s and 70s, who rethought the question of scale and the relationships between artist, landscape, and viewer.

We Are Alive

  • Carmen Castillo
  • 2015
  • France/Belgium
  • DCP
  • 100 minutes
  • French, Spanish, and Portuguese with English subtitles

North American Premiere · Carmen Castillo in person!

What comprises political engagement in 2015? Is it still possible to influence the course of events in this world? These are the questions posed by the great Chilean filmmaker Carmen Castillo in her quietly stirring new documentary essay.

The Witness

  • James Solomon
  • 2015
  • USA
  • DCP
  • 86 minutes

James Solomon’s quiet, concentrated, devastating film follows the efforts of Kitty Genovese’s brother Bill to track down the people who knew her and loved her, to disentangle the actual events of her murder from urban myth, and to recover the presence of his beloved sister.