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IDA Announces FallDocs 2023 Film Lineup, Big Platform For Documentaries Seeking Awards Glory

UPDATED with the addition of The Holly and American Symphony to the FallDocs lineup.

The Holly, Julian Rubinstein’s documentary about conflict over a gentrifying neighborhood near Denver, and Matthew Heineman’s film American Symphony, about Grammy-winning musician Jon Batiste, have been added to the IDA’s FallDocs screening series.

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American Symphony will hold an in-person screening on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Culver Theater in Los Angeles, followed by a live Q&A with Heineman.

The Holly will hold an in-person screening on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at the Culver Theater, followed by a live Q&A with Rubinstein, main participant Terrance Roberts, and Aqeela Sherrills, anti-violence activist and co-founder of Community Based Public Safety Collective.

EARLIER: EXCLUSIVE: The International Documentary Association announced the lineup for its prestigious FallDocs 2023 program, featuring a slew of Oscar contending nonfiction films as well as more than two dozen films that haven’t yet nailed down distribution.

FallDocs (previously known as the IDA Screening Series) launches on Tuesday, September 19 with Apple TV+’s Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, screening at The Culver Theater in Los Angeles with a post-screening reception. Deadline confirmed today that Davis Guggenheim’s film about the Canadian-born actor will be submitted for Academy Award consideration this year; it earned seven Emmy nominations earlier this year, more than any other documentary project.

'Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie'
‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’

The FallDocs series runs from September 19 through November 16, with all in-person screenings held in Los Angeles at The Culver Theater and virtual screenings on IDA’s Eventive streaming platform. Scroll for the full lineup.

In addition to Still, FallDocs will showcase Beyond Utopia, directed by Madeleine Gavin which plays at the Telluride Film Festival this afternoon; Bobi Wine: The People’s President (directed by Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp; Silver Dollar Road, Raoul Peck’s new documentary that premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival; Every Body (directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Julie Cohen); Stephen Curry Underrated (directed by Peter Nicks and produced by Ryan Coogler); Sound of the Police (directed by Stanley Nelson); The Eternal Memory, the Sundance-winning film directed by Maite Alberdi; Lakota Nation vs. United States (directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli), and Roger Ross Williams’ Stamped From the Beginning.

John Chau walking on the beach in Port Blair, Andamans.
John Chau, focus of ‘The Mission’

In addition to the Bobi Wine documentary from National Geographic, the NatGeo documentary The Mission will screen as part of FallDocs 2023. The film by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss premieres at Telluride this weekend. Apple TV+ fields three films in the series: Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, Stephen Curry Underrated, and The Pigeon Tunnel, directed by Errol Morris (it’s premiering at Telluride this weekend as well).

Other major filmmakers to be featured in the series include Dawn Porter (The Lady Bird Diaries); Laura  McGann (The Deepest Breath), and Nicole Newnham (The Disappearance of Shere Hite).

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project, the Sundance-winning documentary directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, which was just picked up by HBO, will also join the series.

Queer artist Gena Marvin in 'Queendom'
Queer artist Gena Marvin in ‘Queendom’

Through its Awards Campaign Access Initiative, the IDA is also making room for 15 acclaimed films currently without a distributor attached. Those include Queendom (directed by Agniia Galdanova); While We Watched (dir. Vinay Shukla); King Coal (Elaine McMillion Sheldon); You Were My First Boyfriend (dirs. Cecilia Aldarondo, Sarah Enid Hagey), and Subject, directed by Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall.

“This year, IDA continues to support independent filmmakers from historically excluded communities pursuing a film awards campaign with the Awards Campaign Access Initiative (ACAI),” the nonprofit noted in a statement. “The initiative supports films with no distributor company attached, pursuing an awards campaign with the goal of minimizing the financial burdens related to their campaign.”

Five short documentaries have also been selected to join the FallDocs 2023 series as part of the Awards Campaign Access Initiative.

All screenings will be available to attend exclusively and for free by IDA members and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members with advanced registration at documentary.org/falldocs.

This is the full lineup:

IDA FallDocs 2023 Complete Program & Schedule

Screening Date: 9/19/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: STILL: A MICHAEL J. FOX MOVIE

Dir: Davis Guggenheim / Prod: Davis Guggenheim, Annetta Marion, Jonathan King, Will Cohen / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: The film, which incorporates documentary, archival and scripted elements, recounts Fox’s extraordinary story in his own words — the improbable tale of an undersized kid from a Canadian army base who rose to the heights of stardom in 1980s Hollywood. The account of Fox’s public life, full of nostalgic thrills and cinematic gloss, unspools alongside his never-before-seen private journey, including the years that followed his diagnosis, at 29, with Parkinson’s disease. Intimate and honest, and produced with unprecedented access to Fox and his family, the film chronicles Fox’s personal and professional triumphs and travails, and explores what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease. With a mix of adventure and romance, comedy and drama, watching the film feels like … well, like a Michael J. Fox movie.

Screening Date: 09/20/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: THE MISSION

Dir: Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine / Prod: Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, Will Cohen, Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine, Will Cohen / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: National Geographic Documentary Films

Synopsis: In 2018 a shocking event made headlines around the world: a young American missionary, John Chau, was killed by arrows while attempting to contact one of the world’s most isolated indigenous peoples on remote North Sentinel Island. Through exclusive interviews and with unprecedented access to Chau’s secret plans, personal diaries, and video archives, The Mission examines the mythology of exploration that inspired him, the evangelical community that supported his quest, and reveals his own father’s heartbreak as Chau’s youthful thirst for adventure became a fatal obsession.

Screening Date: 09/22/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: IT AIN’T OVER

Dir:  Sean Mullin / Prod:  Natalie Metzger, Matt Miller, Peter Sobiloff, Mike Sobiloff / Country: USA / Year:2022  / Distributor: ​​Sony Pictures Classics

Synopsis: An intimate and revealing portrait of a largely misunderstood American icon, this emotional and engaging documentary about Yogi Berra takes us beyond the caricatures and “Yogisms,” and into the heart of a sports legend whose unparalleled accomplishments on the baseball diamond were often overshadowed by his off-the-field persona.

Screening Date: 9/24/2023 | Virtual Only | Short Film Film Title: CAN I HUG YOU?

Dir: Elahe Esmaili / Prod: Elahe Esmaili, Hossein Behboudi Rad / Country: Iran, UK / Year: 2023 /Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: In the city of Qom, the most restricted city in Iran, there are many restrictions on human rights such as mandatory hijab to assure sexual safety; Hossein (M, 30) grew up in this environment and experienced multiple sexual assaults by men, despite these measures. Due to stereotypes around masculinity, he never talked about it. With the support of his wife, Elahe, he now confronts the trauma.

Screening Date: 9/26/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: WHILE WE WATCHED

Dir: Vinay Shukla / Prod: Vinay Shukla, Luke W Moody, Khushboo Ranka / Country: India / Year: 2022 / Distributor: N/A
Synopsis: 
While We Watched is a powerful documentary featuring award-winning Indian journalist Ravish Kumar, as he examines the challenges faced by journalists in India, including threats, censorship, and propaganda. The film sheds light on the impact of corporate media on the integrity and impartiality of news and explores the state of democracy in India amidst the rise of nationalist politics.

Screening Date: 09/28/2023 | In-person + Virtual  Film Title: STEPHEN CURRY: UNDERRATED

Dir: Peter Nicks / Prod: Peter Nicks, Ryan Coogler, Erick Peyton, Sean Havey, Ben Cotner, Marissa Torres Ericson / Country: USA / Year: 2023  / Distributor: Apple TV+

Synopsis: The remarkable coming-of-age story of one of the most influential, dynamic and unexpected players in the history of basketball: Stephen Curry. This feature documentary — blending intimate cinéma vérité, archival footage and on-camera interviews — documents Curry’s rise from an undersized college player at a small-town Division I college to a four-time NBA champion, building one of the most dominant sports dynasties in the world.

Screening Date: 9/29/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: AGAINST THE TIDE

Dir: Sarvnik Kaur / Prod: Koval Bhatia, Sarvnik Kaur / Country: India / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Bombay Zishermen Rakesh and Ganesh are inheritors of the great Koli knowledge system—a way to harvest the sea by following the moon and the tides. Rakesh has kept faith in the traditional Zishing methods while Ganesh has strayed away from them, embracing technology. Against the Tide is a tale of friendship and rising resentment between the two men, as close as brothers, against the backdrop of an adoring sea, which is increasingly turning hostile because of climate change.

Screening Date: 10/2/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: ANOTHER BODY

Dir: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn / Prod: Elizabeth Woodward, Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn / Country: USA and UK / Year: 2023 / Distributor: Utopia and WILLA

Synopsis: Another Body follows a college student’s search for answers and justice after she discovers deepfakes of herself circulating online. Through candid video diaries, synthetic media, and 2D and 3D animation, the film takes you into Taylor’s online and offline worlds, humanizing a vast social issue in a compelling personal story.

Screening Date: 10/6/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: PIANOFORTE

Dir: Jakub Piatek / Prod: Maciej Kubicki / Country: Poland, Germany / Year: 2023 / Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment

Synopsis: During the preliminary round, there are 160 of them. Then, about 80. Then 40. At last, only 10 lucky ones make it to the final. These are the contestants in the legendary International Chopin Piano Competition, held every five years in Warsaw, Poland. Pianoforte follows an eclectic group of young musicians from around the world who have prepared since they were children for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Offering a rare behind-the-scenes look backstage at the triumphant highs and crushing lows of competition, filmmaker Jakub Piatek captures the intense pressure these musicians face in an experience that combines tears of exhaustion and despair with the ecstatic joy of playing. Pianoforte is both a testament to the power of remarkable music and an intimate coming-of-age portrait of young pianists navigating the rigors of competition, intense practice sessions, new friendships, lots of drama, and even more nerves.

Screening Date: 10/8/2023 | In-person + Virtual | Short Film Film Title: MÃRI HI – THE TREE OF DREAM

Dir: Morzaniel Ɨramari / Prod: Eryk Rocha, Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha / Country: Brasil / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: When the flowers of the Mãri tree blossom, dreams arise. The words of a great shaman guide an oneiric experience through the synergy between cinema and the Yanomami dream, presenting poetics and teachings of the forest people

Screening Date: 10/9/2022 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES

Dir: Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli / Prod: Benjamin Hedin, Phil PInto / Country: USA / Year: 2022 /Distributor: IFC Films

Synopsis: The Lakota fight to protect their sacred land. A documentary that focuses on a land and a people who have survived removal, exploitation, and genocide – and whose best days are yet to come.

Screening Date: 10/11/2023 Film Title: SILVER DOLLAR ROAD 

Dir: Raoul Peck | Prod: Rémi Grellety; Blair Foster; Hébert Peck; Raoul Peck / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: Amazon Studios

Synopsis: From Academy-Award Nominee Raoul Peck, Silver Dollar Road follows the story of the Reels family as told by the matriarch Mamie Reels Ellison and her niece Kim Renee Duhon, two fierce and clear-eyed women bending to safeguard valiantly their ancestors’ land and their brothers and uncles Melvin and Licurtis, who were wrongfully imprisoned for eight years – the longest sentence for civil contempt in North Carolina history.  This documentary, based on the 2019 ProPublica article, highlights the covert ways the legal system has been exploited to keep Black land ownership fragile and the racial wealth gap growing.

Screening Date: 10/12/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT 

Dir: Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp / Prod: Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp Country: Uganda, UK, USA/ Year: 2022  / Distributor: National Geographic Documentary Films

Synopsis: Born in the slums of Kampala, Bobi Wine, Ugandan opposition leader, former member of parliament, activist and national superstar musician, risks his life and the lives of his wife, Barbie, and their children to fight the ruthless regime led by Yoweri Museveni. Museveni has been in power since 1986 and changed Uganda’s constitution to enable him to run for yet another five-year term.  Running in the country’s 2021 presidential elections, Bobi Wine uses his music to denounce the dictatorial regime and support his life mission to defend the oppressed and the voiceless people of Uganda. In this fight, he must also take on the country’s police and military, which are not afraid to use violence and torture in a vain attempt to intimidate and silence him and his supporters.

Screening Date: ​10/14/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: QUEENDOM

Dir: Agniia Galdanova / Prod: Igor Myakotin, Agniia Galdanova / Country: USA/France / Year: 2023 /Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Gena, a queer artist from a small town in Russia, dresses in otherworldly costumes made from junk and tape, and protests the government on the streets of Moscow. Born and raised on the harsh streets of Magadan, a frigid outpost of the Soviet gulag, Gena is only 21. She stages radical performances in public that become a new form of art and activism. By doing that, she wants to change people’s perception of beauty and queerness and bring attention to the harassment of the LGBTQ+ community. The performances—often dark, strange, evocative, and queer at their core — are a manifestation of Gena’s subconscious. But they come at a price.

Screening Date: 10/16/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT

Dir: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster / Prod: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson, Tommy Oliver / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: HBO Documentary Films

Synopsis: Through intimate vérité, archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project pushes the boundaries of biographical documentary film by traveling through time and space to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators.

Screening Date: 10/17/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: THE DEEPEST BREATH

Dir: Laura McGann / Prod: John Battsek, Sarah Thomson, Jamie D’Alton, Anne McLoughlin / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: Netflix

Synopsis: This thrilling documentary tells the story of champion freediver Alessia Zecchini and expert safety diver Stephen Keenan, who seemed fated to meet at the height of their careers. Raw underwater dive footage and extensive interviews bring viewers along for their emotional journey into the stunning, silent depths of the ocean, a breathtaking place unseen by all but the fortunate few — where exhilarating accomplishments and unavoidable risks await. From director Laura McGann, The Deepest Breath captures the gripping mix of destiny and danger at the heart of two athletes’ undeniable bond, and offers a never-before-seen glimpse into one of the most dangerous sports in the world.

Screening Date: 10/18/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: THE PIGEON TUNNEL

Dir: Errol Morris / Prod: Errol Morris, Steven Hathaway, Stephen Cornwell, Simon Cornwell, Dominic Crossley-Holland / Country: USA, UK / Year: 2023 / Distributor: Apple TV+

Synopsis: Academy Award®-winning documentarian Errol Morris pulls back the curtain on the storied life and career of former British spy David Cornwell — better known as John le Carré, author of such classic espionage novels as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Constant Gardener. Set against the turbulent backdrop of the Cold War leading into present day, the film spans six decades as le Carré delivers his final and most candid interview, punctuated with rare archival footage and dramatized vignettes. The Pigeon Tunnel is a deeply human and engaging exploration of le Carré’s extraordinary journey and the paper-thin membrane between fact and fiction.

Screening Date: 10/19/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING

Dir: Roger Ross Williams / Prod: Alisa Payne, Roger Ross Williams, David Teague / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: Netflix

Synopsis: Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams brings Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s best-selling book Stamped from the Beginning to life, using vivid animations and leading female scholars to explore the history of anti-Black racist ideas.

Screening Date: 10/20/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: WHAT THESE WALLS WON’T HOLD 

Dir: Adamu Chan / Prod: Pete Nicks, Christian Collins / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adamu Chan’s powerful documentary, What These Walls Won’t Hold, transcends the pandemic, instead shining a light on the transformative power of solidarity amidst adversity at San Quentin State Prison. Chan who was incarcerated there, offers a poignant, first-hand perspective as he chronicles his journey back to freedom, interweaving the stories of his loved ones both inside and outside prison walls. Through their accounts, Chan illuminates a vibrant community built on trust, resilience and a shared commitment to advocating for a brighter future for those behind bars. The film’s inspiring blueprint for resistance and liberation is a call to action for all, urging us to envision a world free from incarceration and oppression.

Screening Date: 10/22/2023 | Virtual Only | Short Film Film Title: BETWEEN EARTH & SKY

Dir: Andrew Nadkarni / Prod: Su Kim (EP), Swetha Regunathan, Katie Schiller, Andrew Nadkarni / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Renowned ecologist Nalini Nadkarni pioneered climbing techniques to study “what grows back” after an ecological disturbance in the rainforest canopy. After surviving a life-threatening fall from a tree, Nalini explores a new research subject – herself. As she prepares to climb again, Nalini untangles the roots of her past to examine the ripple effects of disturbance throughout her life. In an attempt to heal, she revisits the site of her fall, where her past, present, and future converge.

Screening Date: 10/23/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: THE ETERNAL MEMORY

Dir: Maite Alberdi / Prod: Maite Alberdi, Juan De Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Rocío Jadue / Country: Chile / Year: 2023 / Distributor: MTV Documentary Films

Synopsis: Augusto and Paulina have been together and in love for 25 years. Eight years ago, their lives were forever changed by Augusto’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As one of Chile’s most prominent cultural commentators and television presenters, Augusto is no stranger to building an archive of memory. Now he turns that work to his own life, trying to hold on to his identity with the help of his beloved Paulina, whose own pre-eminence as a famous actress and Chilean Minister of Culture predates her ceaselessly inventive manner of engaging with her husband. Day by day, the couple face this challenge head-on, relying on the tender affection and sense of humor shared between them that remains, remarkably, fully intact.

Screening Date: 10/26/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: unseen 

Dir: Set Hernandez / Prod: Set Hernandez, Day Al-Mohamed, Félix Endara Exec Prod: Diane Quon Country: USA / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Most people dream of a better future. Pedro, an aspiring social worker, is no different. But as a blind, undocumented immigrant, Pedro faces political restrictions to obtain his college degree, secure a job as a health care provider, and support his family. As he finally graduates, uncertainty looms over Pedro. What starts as a journey to provide mental health for his community ultimately transforms into Pedro’s path towards his own healing. Through experimental cinematography and sound, unseen reimagines a cinema accessible for blind/low vision audiences, while exploring the intersections of immigration, disability, and mental health.

Screening Date: 10/27/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: BEYOND UTOPIA

Dir: Madeleine Gavin / Prod: Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, Sue Mi Terry / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: Roadside Attractions

Synopsis: A suspenseful and riveting portrait of the lengths people will go to win freedom, Beyond Utopiaraises the curtain on life in North Korea as no film has done before. Madeline Gavin’s award-winning documentary unfolds like a real-time geo-political thriller as it follows the efforts of a devoted pastor whose underground network serves as the only hope for Koreans desperate to escape a life of oppression, and to embrace a new world of freedom.

Screening Date: 10/29/2023 | Virtual Only | Short Film Film Title: RELIGHTING CANDLES: THE TIM SULLIVAN STORY 

Dir: Zeberiah Newman & Michiel Thomas / Prod: Zeberiah Newman EPs: Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthyCountry: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Tim has been sober since 1981. Throughout his lifetime, he’s lost many loved ones as a result of substance abuse. Yet, he’s never lost the spark to serve his community. Ever since opening the candle shop in West Hollywood 25 years ago, Tim employs homeless and newly sober people each holiday season to help pour thousands of candles ordered by the rich and famous in Tinseltown. The workplace becomes a safe place to heal and offers new perspectives on life. As homelessness and drug addiction are currently surging throughout West Hollywood and LA, this inspiring, hopeful story is more important than ever before.

Screening Date: 10/30/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER

Dir: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal / Prod: Cristina Huete, Serge Laloand, Sophie Cabon, Bruno Felix, Janneke van der Kerkhof, Femke Wolling, Humberto Santana / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor:Sony Pictures Classics

Synopsis: A New York music journalist goes on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenorio Jr. A celebratory origin story of the world-renowned Latino musical movement Bossa Nova, They Shot The Piano Player captures a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the 60s and 70s, just before the continent was engulfed by totalitarian regimes

Screening Date: 11/1/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE

Dir: Nicole Newnham / Prod: Nicole Newnham, Molly O’Brien, R.J. Cutler, Elise Pearlstein, Kimberly Ferdinando, Trevor Smith / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: IFC Films

Synopsis: Shere Hite’s 1976 bestselling book, The Hite Report, liberated the female orgasm by revealing the most private experiences of thousands of anonymous survey respondents. Her findings rocked the American establishment and presaged current conversations about gender, sexuality, and bodily autonomy. So how did Shere Hite disappear?

Screening Date: 11/3/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: TO KILL A TIGER 

Dir: Nisha Pahuja / Prod: Nisha Pahuja, Cornelia Principe, David Oppenheim EPs: Nisha Pahuja, Cornelia Principe, David Oppenheim, Andy Cohen, Anita Lee, Atul Gawande, Andrew Dragoumis, Samarth Sahni, Deepa Mehta, Shivani Rawat, Dev Patel, Mindy Kaling / Country: Canada / Year: 2022  / Distributor: National Film Board of Canada

Nisha Pahuja, Cornelia Principe, David Oppenheim.

Synopsis: On the night of a family wedding in a village in India, Ranjit’s 13-year-old daughter is dragged into the woods and gang raped by three men. Ranjit takes on the fight of his life when he demands the accused be brought to justice. With tremendous access to all facets of the story, To Kill a Tiger charts the emotional journey of an ordinary man thrown into extraordinary circumstances—a father whose love for his daughter forces a social reckoning that will reverberate for years to come.

Screening Date: 11/6/2023 | Virtual Only Film Title: KING COAL

Dir: Elaine McMillion Sheldon / Prod: Shane Boris, Diane Becker, Peggy Drexler, Elaine McMillion Sheldon / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: A lyrical tapestry of a place and people, King Coal meditates on the complex history and future of the coal industry, the communities it has shaped, and the myths it has created. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon reshapes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking in a spectacularly beautiful and deeply moving immersion into Central Appalachia where coal is not just a resource, but a way of life, imagining the ways a community can re-envision itself. While deeply situated in the regions under the reign of King Coal, where McMillion Sheldon has lived and worked her entire life, the film transcends time and place, emphasizing the ways in which all are connected through an immersive mosaic of belonging, ritual, and imagination. Emerging from the long shadows of the coal mines, King Coal untangles the pain from the beauty, and illuminates the innately human capacity for change.

Screening Date: 11/10/2023 | In-person + Virtual Film Title: YOU WERE MY FIRST BOYFRIEND

Dir: Cecilia Aldarondo, Sarah Enid Hagey / Prod: Ines Hofmann Kanna, Cecilia Aldarondo / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: In this high school reunion movie turned inside out, filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo circles back to her tortured adolescence, wondering if she remembered it all wrong. Oscillating between present-day, real-world encounters and fantastical re-stagings of her most primal teen memories, You Were My First Boyfriend is a hybrid documentary that explores growing older and making peace with the things that haunt us.

Screening Date: 11/12/2023 | Virtual only | Short Film Film Title: WAORANI: GUARDIANS OF THE AMAZON

Dir: Luisana Carcelén, Jamaicanoproblem / Prod: Luis Felipe Fernández Salvador, Manuel Cardenal, Xavier Guerrero, Lily Van Ghemen, Debbie Vandermeulen / Year: 2023  / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Waorani: Guardians Of The Amazon, explain their life before contact and the impact of the globalized world on their culture. This film starts with the first contact of the Waorani tribe with the evangelical missionaries in 1956 and the inevitable change in their lives after the implacable arrival of extractive companies to the jungle.

Screening Date: 11/14/2023 | Virtual only Film Title: SUBJECT

Dir: Jennifer Tiexiera, Camilla Hall / Prod: Camilla Hall, Jennifer Tiexiera, Joe Caterini, Margie Ratliff / Year: 2022  / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: Subject explores the life-altering experience of sharing one’s life on screen through the participants of five acclaimed documentaries. As tens of millions of people consume documentaries in an unprecedented “golden era,” the film urges audiences to consider the impact on documentary participants – the good, the bad, and the complicated.

Screening Date: 11/16/2023  | Virtual only Film Title: INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIFE

Dir: Eliza Capai / Prod: Mariana Genesca / Country: Brazil / Year: 2023 / Distributor: N/A

Synopsis: What are the consequences when a country turns abortion into a punishable crime? Filmmaker Eliza Capai bravely exposes the emotional impact and trauma once her pregnancy is deemed “incompatible with life.” Through her own journey of undergoing a medical termination in Portugal, where abortion is legal, Capai captures the raw pain and vulnerability. She then turns her lens to Brazil, her home country where abortion is criminalized, seeking out women who have faced similar experiences and an unimaginable trauma faced within the health system. Through intimate interviews and powerful storytelling, the film weaves together a touching choir of voices that reverberates with womanhood when there is powerlessness in reproductive choices.

Screening Date: TBA | In-person + Virtual Film Title: EVERY BODY

Dir: Julie Cohen / Prod: Molly O’Brien, Tommy Nguyen / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Focus Features

Synopsis: From director Julie Cohen, Every Body is a revelatory exploration of the lives of intersex people. The film tells the stories of three individuals who have moved from childhoods marked by shame, secrecy, and non-consensual surgeries to thriving adulthoods.

Screening Date: TBA | In-person + Virtual Film Title: SOUND OF THE POLICE 

Dir: Stanley Nelson, Valerie Scoon / Prod: Keith Brown, Marcia Smith, Jacqueline Glover / Country: USA / Year: 2023 / Distributor: ABC News Studios, Hulu

Synopsis: The fraught relationship between African Americans and the police, often rife with tension, fear, suspicion and hostility on all sides, that fuels the ongoing conflict between African American communities and law enforcement.

Screening Date: TBA | In-person + Virtual Film Title: THE LADY BIRD DIARIES

Dir: Dawn Porter / Prod: Dawn Porter, Kim Reynolds / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: ABC News, Hulu

Synopsis: A groundbreaking documentary film that uses Lady Bird’s audio diaries to tell the story of one of the most influential and least understood First Ladies in history.

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