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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.