Friday, November 5, 2010

DOC NYC, New York's Newest Docs Fest

Kati, above, is preparing to take her first steps into adulthood in "Kati with an I," one of the documentaries in DOC NYC. Below, a U2 concert filmed in 3-D and with Surround Sound. Photos from www http://www.docnyc.net.

VERY shortly, New York may be compelled to add another nickname to its arsenal – something around film.

An increasing number of festivals in different sizes and scope are calling the city home. There is the African Film Festival. The 7th Annual Southeast Asian International Film Festival just wrapped Tuesday. The 48th New York Film Festival shuttered last month, and the 14th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival in September. Of course, there is Tribeca and others.

A few upon us that merit notice are the inaugural “DOC NYC, New York’s Documentary Film Festival,” “10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival and the “3rd Annual Zero Film Festival.”

For the last five years the weekly documentary series, Stranger than Fiction at the IFC Center (http://www.ifccenter.com/series/stranger-than-fiction/stf-fall-2010/) has been the proving ground for DOC NYC, a festival dedicated to - what else - documentaries.

“[It] showed us there was an eager audience for this material,” DOC NYC executive director Raphaela Neihausen said of STF via e-mail.

Through Tuesday (9 Nov.), that amounts to more than 40 films and events, including galas, symposia, as well as several sections i.e., Metropolis, Spotlight, Kaleidoscope. In "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," Werner Herzog (“Grizzly Man”) uses 3-D to help viewers see what some believe are the earliest known images of mankind ensconced in caves in southern France. It opened the festival Wednesday night, and WH hung around for a Q&A.

For music fans is the Midnight Rock Docs section. On screen Saturday midnight David Bowie does his thing circa 1973 in “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture.” At midnight tonight is “U2 3D.” The pride of Ireland is captured in concert in various South American venues during the Vertigo tour. The fusion of U2’s performance, 3-D imagery and Surround Sound is supposed to make for a unique and enhanced theatrical experience. (See video: http://www.u23dmovie.com/)

RN, a documentary producer (“MISS GULAG”), and her husband, Thom Powers, the festival's artistic director, have an expansive worldview as it regards DOC NYC. “We want to represent documentary in many manifestations and styles. You’ll find visions from around the world in the Viewfinders competition; great New York stories in the Metropolis competition; and many other discoveries throughout the festival.”

On 7 Nov., the world premiere of “The Road to Carnegie Hall” features a live performance by the young cellist Joshua Roman. Also on the bill is Errol Morris’ “Tabloid,” exploring the cult of fame and the media’s complicity therein. On 8 and 9 Nov., the Tribute to Brownlow brings a Q&A and screenings of several films of Kevin Brownlow, including Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic. These are some of RN’s recommendations for those who have trouble choosing what to see.

Earlier tonight is the heartwarming “Kati with an I” from director and the subject’s half brother, Robert Greene. Kati is preparing for high school graduation day and facing various challenges along the lines of living away from her parents, dealing with the over-protective mother of her fiancé and generally experiencing things going wrong. (See trailer: http://www.katiwithani.com/trailer4.html)

At the DOC NYC pre-opening party at Posteritati Vintage Movie Posters, RG gave me to know that the seminal event was a labor of love and therefore harried. “It was really stressful for everybody.”

Stay tuned for more from “DOC NYC, New York’s Documentary Film Festival.”

Visit http://www.docnyc.net/ for ticket, venue and general information about DOC NYC.

Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival
COULD
the next “Slumdog Millionaire” be among the bunch? Time will tell as the MIAAC film festival rolls out on Wednesday (10 Nov.) at the SVA Theater. This venue also hosted another festival featuring South Asian fare: the recent Southeast Asia International Film Festival.

MIAAC, which stakes claim as “the oldest, most prestigious, fun, fabulous Indian Independent & Diaspora film festival in the USA,” has the distinction of bringing “Slumdog" to the notice of U.S. audiences. Considered a film to watch this year is the closer, “Cooking with Stella,” concerning a woman who can cook the books as well as she can curry chicken. Other highlights are a retrospective of the films of the revered Smita Patil.

A scene, left, from "Noise(Shor”), which opens the MIAAC film festival. Photo from http://miaacfilmfest.org/index.htm.

MIAAC opens with “Noise (Shor”). From the directing duo of Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, “Noise" morphed into feature length from a work that won the best short film award at the 2008 MIAAC festival. It chronicles the exploits of an expat, a bootlegger and a cricket player in Mumbai and was inspired by newspaper stories.

Stay tuned for more from the “10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council" film festival.

Visit http://miaacfilmfest.org/index.htm for tickets, venues and general information about the “10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival.

Zero Film Festival Directors Finance Themselves
No word yet on the actual lineup, but for the third consecutive year the Zero Film Festival promises, “the best self-financed cinema the world has to offer.”

What Yours Truly knows at this writing is that the New York – Brooklyn – branch opens Saturday (13 Nov.) for a week. Zero is dedicated to bringing exposure to under-represented filmmakers not financed by the Hollywood machine. In December, it moves to Los Angeles and debuts in Miami.

Opening night festivities in Brooklyn include “visually enhanced live” performances from musicians Asobi Seksu, Sherlocks Daughter, Oberhofer. Also on the bill for opening night are 20 shorts with titles as common as “Taste” and as exotic as “A Headless Nun on a Swingset that is on Fire.” At the close on 20 Nov., more bands, singers, deejays, as well as more than 20 local and international film premieres. The biggest name in the festival, Chloe Sevigny, appears in Jonathan Caouette’s “All Flowers in Time.” The rather creepy short, about shape-shifters, evil signals and monsters, also appeared in the 48th New York Film Festival.

Stay tuned for more from the "3rd Annual Zero Film Festival."

Visit http://www.zerofilmfest.com/ for more information about the 3rd Annual Zero Film Festival.

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