DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, celebrates its tenth edition from 6th-15th November in New York.
The 2019 festival showcases over 300 films and events with more than 500 filmmakers and special guests appearing in person. In addition to premiering feature-length and short documentaries, the festival’s highlights also include DOC NYC PRO – a series of in-depth panels and master classes – and the Visionaries Tribute awards ceremony honouring major figures in the field of nonfiction film. DOC NYC is produced by IFC Center, a division of AMC Networks.
Here’s a list of this year’s LGBTQ+ related titles. For the full lineup and to purchase tickets, head to the DOC NYC website.
BLOODROOT (Food For Thought)
Dir: Douglas Tirola
NYC PREMIERE. In the 1970s, Noel and Selma are deeply unsatisfied in their marriages and unfulfilled by the prescribed roles of wife and mother. Drawn to the women’s movement and each other, they leave their husbands and, sharing a passion for cooking, together open Bloodroot, a vegetarian restaurant and bookstore. Pointedly blending archival footage with clips from The Stepford Wives, director Doug Tirola simultaneously charts the evolution of Bloodroot and changes in culture over the past 50 years in this charming profile. (USA, 93 min) In person: Douglas Tirola, subjects. Screens Mon Nov 11, 2019, 6:50 PM at Cinepolis Chelsea, New York.
I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME (Metropolis)
Dir: Karen Bernstein
WORLD PREMIERE. In the 1980s, an Army wife-turned-glamorous party girl named Tish ruled New York City’s downtown nightlife, often out on the scene with the likes of Michael Musto. Just a few years later, after more than a decade as a woman, Tish transitioned back to being Brian. Now, in his sixties, Brian Belovitch reflects on the unique and fascinating turns his life has taken as he’s learned how to feel comfortable in his own skin. (USA, 82 min) In person: Karen Bernstein, subjects Brian Belovitch, Jim Russell, Michael Musto, Gloria Walker. Screens Thu Nov 7, 2019, 7:20 PM at Cinepolis Chelsea, New York and Thu Nov 14, 2019, 3:00 PM at IFC Center, New York.
THE CAPOTE TAPES (Closing Night Film)
Dir: Ebs Burnough
NYC PREMIERE. Truman Capote was a singular figure in the 20th century. He presented himself unapologetically on television at a time when most gay men took pains to avoid scrutiny. His books Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood were bestsellers and critical darlings.
Now The Capote Tapes delivers a fresh portrait that reinvigorates our understanding of this vital writer. Among the film’s revelations are newly discovered tapes of interviews that The Paris Review co-founder George Plimpton conducted with Capote’s friends after his death.
The film dwells strongly on Capote’s final uncompleted novel, Answered Prayers, which set out to expose Manhattan’s social aristocracy after he befriended them. Plimpton’s tapes shed new light on what happened. They are interwoven with Capote’s notorious television appearances and insightful interviews with the likes of Dick Cavett and Jay McInerney. One unexpected interview is with Capote’s assistant, Kate Harrington, who he treated like an adopted daughter.
Filmmaker Ebs Burnough brings an understanding of elite cultural circles from his own distinguished career, which includes a stint in Obama’s White House. He navigates the complexities of Capote’s life with great skill. The film doesn’t shy away from Capote’s darker side, but it gloriously celebrates his towering achievements. (UK, 91 min) In person: Ebs Burnough. Screens Thu Nov 14, 2019, 7:00 PM at SVA Theatre, New York.
THE JOURNEY OF MONALISA (Portraits)
Dir: Nicole Costa
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE. Chilean-born performer and writer Iván Monalisa fully embraces his dual selves: scrappy, masculine Iván as well as diva, transvestite sex-worker Monalisa. A reunion with filmmaker Nicole Costa, Iván’s former college classmate, provides the opportunity for a journey through this undocumented transgender immigrant’s daily life of sex, drugs and poetry—as well as a quest for US legalization. Pragmatic and humorous, Iván Monalisa navigates the gritty underbelly of New York City with charisma and charm. (CHILE/USA, 93 min, Spanish, English) In person: Nicole Costa, subjects Iván Monalisa, Mauricio Rodas, Alejandro Moreno. Screens Thu Nov 7, 2019, 9:30 PM at Cinepolis Chelsea, New York.
KILLING PATIENT ZERO (Investigations)
Dir: Laurie Lynd
US PREMIERE. In the aftermath of Stonewall and the rise of the gay liberation movement, gay men celebrated a newfound sexual freedom—but, in 1981, the dawning awareness of AIDS changed everything. Seeking the origins of the mysterious epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control interviewed men with the disease, finding patterns that suggested sexual transmission. Director Laurie Lynd reveals how entrenched homophobia, press sensationalism and a surprising misperception would scapegoat one man, French-Canadian flight attendant Gaëtan Dugas, as Patient Zero, blaming him for spreading AIDS across North America. (CANADA, 98 min) In person: Laurie Lynd. Screens Sun Nov 10, 2019, 9:05 PM at SVA Theatre.
MADAME (Modern Family)
Dir: Stéphane Riethauser
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE. From a young age, filmmaker Stéphane Riethauser was groomed to become the golden heir to his family’s business—an alpha male who would fulfill their patriarchal expectations. His best friend and confidante was his grandmother Caroline, a self-made independent woman ahead of her time. After playing the part for several years, Stéphane matures into his true self and embraces LGBTQ activism. But will glamorous, old-fashioned Caroline understand? Madame is an honest and edgy confrontation with things long left unsaid in a family’s past. (SWITZERLAND, 94 min, French, English) In person: Stéphane Riethauser. Screens Wed Nov 13, 2019, 7:05 PM at IFC Center, New York.
MAURICE HINES: BRING THEM BACK (Metropolis)
Dir: John Carluccio
WORLD PREMIERE. Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back is a portrait of the charismatic song-and-dance man from his tap-dancing childhood to today. Maurice and friends—Chita Rivera, Debbie Allen and Francis Ford Coppola—tell tales from his seven-decade career, including Broadway shows, Hollywood films like The Cotton Club and about his loving yet difficult relationship with superstar brother Gregory Hines. Ever battling the challenges of being a gay, black man in showbiz, Maurice shares his story with humor and grace. (USA, 97 min) In person: John Carluccio, Maurice Hines. Screens Sun Nov 10, 2019, 6:35 PM at SVA Theatre.
MY DADS, MY MOMS AND ME (Modern Family)
Dir: Julia Ivanova
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE. In 1997, following the legalization of gay marriage in Canada, director Julia Ivanova followed three families venturing into the world of gay parenthood. She captured the unique struggles they faced, detailing the intricacies of adoption, surrogacy and co-parenting, as well as the more universal, mundane aspects of raising children. Returning 12 years later, Ivanova continues her exploration, revisiting the parents and their now-teenage children and the impact this monumental cultural shift has had on their lives. (CANADA, 78 min) In person: Julia Ivanova, subjects. Screens Mon Nov 11, 2019, 7:30 PM at Cinepolis Chelsea, New York.
ON BROADWAY (Metropolis)
Dir: Oren Jacoby
NYC PREMIERE. For anyone who loves theater, this contemporary history of Broadway is a joy, packed with legendary stars and performances. Key players—Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen—take us behind the scenes of Broadway’s most groundbreaking shows, from A Chorus Line to Hamilton. The film includes performances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and Mandy Patinkin. (USA, 82 min) In person: Oren Jacoby. Screens Mon Nov 11, 2019, 7:00 PM at IFC Center, New York and Tue Nov 12, 2019, 12:40 PM at IFC Center, New York.
PIER KIDS (Metropolis)
Dir: Elegance Bratton
NYC PREMIERE. Caught up in the precariousness of survival and self-preservation, homeless queer and trans youth of color hang out at Christopher Street Pier, forging their own chosen family. Genuine and charming, these eloquent youth must contend with overwhelming amounts of homophobia and abuse. As real as it gets, and with intimate, immersive access to the hazardous life of its vulnerable but fearless protagonists, director Elegance Bratton’s still-hopeful portrait exposes a raw side of New York City many often choose to ignore. (USA, 84 min) In person: Elegance Bratton, subject Krystal Labeija. Screens Fri Nov 8, 2019, 9:30 PM at IFC Center, New York and Wed Nov 13, 2019, 2:50 PM at IFC Center, New York.
WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS (Fight the Power)
Dir: Linda Goldstein Knowlton
NYC PREMIERE. Finding that traditional youth organizations aren’t directly focusing on the issues facing young girls of color, two moms, Anyavette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest, begin their own troop, the Radical Monarchs. Based in Oakland, a city with a long history of social justice movements, this progressive group is more likely to participate in LGBTQ+ rights marches than in bake sales. This inspiring film follows the founders as they try to expand the organization while contending with the country’s growing political divides. (USA, 97 min, ENGLISH, SPANISH) In person: Linda Goldstein Knowlton, subjects. Screens Sat Nov 9, 2019, 2:00 PM at SVA Theatre, New York.
The tenth DOC NYC runs in New York from 6th-15th November 2019. For the full lineup and to purchase tickets, head to the DOC NYC website.