The virtual 11th edition of America’s largest documentary festival, DOC NYC runs from November 11th to 19th and will be available online throughout the US. The 2020 lineup of over 200 films, includes 107 features, with 23 world premieres and 19 US premieres. Over half of the features are directed or co-directed by women and 36 features are by BIPOC directors. Conversations with filmmakers will take place in daily DOC NYC Live events, and screenings will include pre-recorded filmmaker Q&As.
“Documentary film has never felt so vital as in these tumultuous times,” said Director of Programming Basil Tsiokos. “This year’s lineup represents a wide array of voices both on screen and from behind the camera, creating works of art that will resonate for years to come.”
Here’s a look at some of the DOC NYC 2020 LGBTQ+ highlights:
BARE / Dir: Aleksandr M. Vinogradov
An unconventional dance documentary featuring the brazen and entirely nude choreography of Thierry Smits’ new dance, Anima Ardens. Aleksandr M. Vinogradov’s film follows 11 men who audition, rehearse, and perform this challenging piece exploring masculinity, power, and voyeurism. With charged performances, and so much skin on display, the proceedings could easily veer into eroticism; instead, this masterfully constructed film grapples with the complexity of artistic collaboration while deconstructing rote concepts of sexuality.
CAN YOU BRING IT: BILL T. JONES AND D-MAN IN THE WATERS / Dir: Rosalynde LeBlanc, Co-Dir: Tom Hurwitz
World Premiere. Beginning in 1980s New York City, this film chronicles the love story between dancers Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, the diverse dance company they founded, and the painful devastation of AIDS on the arts community, as told through the company’s signature performance piece D-Man in the Waters. Following a millennial dance troupe’s efforts to re-interpret the piece for their generation, directors Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz offer an engrossing examination of dance, love, and loss—and the power of art to move through pain.
“Directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt take us on a thought-provoking and emotionally potent journey as they track the life and legacy of trans masculine icon American jazz musician Billy Tipton, who enjoyed a successful career in the 1940s and 50s. When he died in 1989 his story was co-opted and sensationalised by the media, portraying him as a woman who had been living his pubic and private life as a man, particularly revelling in the detail that he’d even managed to “deceive” his wife and children. Written by trans magazine Original Plumbing’s co-founder Amos Mac along with Chin-Yee, No Ordinary Man, sees Tipton’s story revisited, reclaimed and reframed by prominent trans artists and commentators of today.” James Kleinmann, The Queer Review. Read full No Ordinary Man review.
ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES / Dir. Abigail Child
World Premiere. Abigail Child has been at the vanguard of experimental media since the 1980s. In her latest project, she offers viewers an eerie and exciting look into the present and future of artificial intelligence through the perspectives of robotics scientists, entrepreneurs, and a Black lesbian robot named BINA48. Exploring AI’s design, potential medical applications, and exploitation in the arena of sexual fantasies, Child’s thought-provoking film considers the emerging technology’s ethical and emotional implications, presenting a speculative not-too-distant future grounded in sci-fi.
THINGS WE DARE NOT DO / Dir: Bruno Santamaría
NYC Premiere. Queer director, cinematographer and co-editor Bruno Santamaría’s hauntingly beautiful Things We Dare Not Do/Cosas que no hacemos sees the filmmaker turn his focus to the inhabitants of a remote Mexican costal village. Dancing, running and playing among much younger children, we meet the free-spirited sixteen year old Arturo, who was assigned male at birth. As we spend more time with Arturo she tells Santamaría about her gender expression, which she later discusses with her parents, saying that her dream is to wear women’s clothes; all sensitively captured through the filmmaker’s empathetic lens. Santamaría was so inspired by Arturo’s bravery that he decided to tell his own parents that he is gay earlier this year. Read our exclusive interview with Bruno Santamaría.
UNAPOLOGETIC / Dir: Ashley O’Shay
Fed up with misdeeds committed by Chicago law enforcement and a political system unwilling to hold anyone accountable, two millennial Black women take action. Spoken-word artist Bella and PhD candidate Janaé work tirelessly rallying the community and challenging a power structure that historically turns a deaf ear to young, Black, female voices. Over the course of a year, filmmaker Ashley O’Shay documents these courageous activists in their quest for political liberation and social justice.
Films will be available to screen throughout the U.S. November 11th to 19th. DOC NYC tickets and passes are available now. Full lineup and ticket information head to docnyc.net.