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It should come as little surprise that Gotham’s own DOC NYC – the largest documentary film festival in the country – has knocked out a very impressive lineup for this year’s fest, but that doesn’t make the breadth and depth of available offerings any less exciting. Only in its fourth year, the fest has already scheduled over one hundred films for screening, along with twenty different events. These are specs that would sing at any festival, but they really shout when it comes to a fest entirely devoted to documentary storytelling.

As DOC NYC’s artistic director Thom Powers explains it, this year’s “films range from profound and mysterious to humorous and sexually provocative. Not only can you experience unforgettable stories on the big screen, you can also meet many of the makers, participants and other documentary lovers.” Sexually provocative, you say? Sign us up, Thom. Of course, there’s far more available at DOC NYC than the sexually provocative, because there’s actually something for just about everyone – from awards season watchers to art geeks to Noam Chomsky fans, the festival promises to deliver programming for the masses. (And, unlike the adorable Forever Fest, we definitely plan on making time for this one.) What’s DOC NYC got lined up for you? Let’s find out.

For Awards Season Watchers and the Criminally Behind-the-Ties

One of the best things about late-in-the-year festivals is that they provide a solid opportunity for film fans to catch up on stuff that’s been knocking around the rest of the year. Be it festival favorites or stuff that just happened to get a small release, there’s always stuff to catch up on, and DOC NYC’s Short List program makes that easy to do, with the added caveat that it’s made up entirely of the very best (and most awards season likely) docs of the year. This year’s section is no different, featuring 20 Feet From Stardom, The Act of Killing, Blackfish, The Crash Reel, Dirty Wars, First Cousin Once Removed, Gideon’s Army, God Loves Uganda, The Square, and Stories We Tell. Consider it a cheat sheet.

For People Who Hate Donald Rumsfeld

Opening night at DOC NYC kicks off with the New York City premiere of Errol MorrisThe Unknown Known, featuring a “verbal duel” between the filmmaker and old Rummy. This one should be fun, simply due to inevitable audience interaction.

For Fans of Both Noam Chomsky and Michel Gondry

While we’re pretty positive Gondry won’t employ a box to roll around in for this one, closing night at DOC NYC will see the world premiere of Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky, and isn’t that fun and magical enough.

For People Who Don’t Have Cable

Director Oliver Stone’s Showtime series, The Untold History of the United States, has proven to be some serious must-watch television, but if you don’t have cable, you can still enjoy part of it when Stone presents its never-broadcast prologue. Maybe you’ll even pony up some cable cash after watching it.

For Doctor Who Fans

Personally speaking, I’m not a Doctor Who aficionado, but plenty of people are, and most of them will probably turn out for Julian Jones’ Inside the Mind of Leonardo 3D, featuring new doc Peter Capaldi performing passages from the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, which certainly sounds amusing.

For People Who Hate to Fly

First of all, what is this film, it sounds amazing and insane and I am already feeling very unnerved by it, but Ky Dickens’ Sole Survivor sounds just nutty in all the right ways. The film profiles four people who were the only survivors of major airline crashes which, in and of itself, sounds like a tall order.

For People Who Miss Ricki Lake Talking About Birth

Dana Ben-Ari’s Breastmilk is about, you guessed it, breast milk! The film is presented by executive producer Ricki Lake (who will be there in person) and promises to “use humor and candor to explore misconceptions around mother’s milk.”

For People Intrigued By the Bigfoot Myth (i.e. Everyone)

Rest assured, Morgan Matthews’ Shooting Bigfoot is not about people trying to kill the big guy, it instead centers on the many attempts by cryptozoologists to track down the legendary man-beast. 

DOC NYC runs from November 14th until the 21st. You can find out more about the festival, including the full schedule and ticketing information, at its website.


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