DOC NYC 2020!

DOC NYC begins today. Running until 19th November, the online event features over 200 non-fiction films and exciting live events. 


DOC NYC has also announced its short list for documentary features and shorts. As ever, the standard is incredibly high. The documentary features list, which has a history of being a handy predictor of other awards (including, of course, the Oscars), includes such brilliant films as Boys State, The Fight, On The Record, A Thousand Cuts, Welcome to Chechnya and Collective.


Films in the doc features short list will compete for juried awards in four categories: Directing, Producing, Cinematography, and Editing. Last year’s winners in these categories were The Edge of Democracy (Directing), American Factory (Producing), Apollo 11 (Editing), The Elephant Queen (Cinematography) and For Sama (Special Recognition for Courage in Filmmaking).


Meanwhile, DOC NYC’s documentary short list comprises 12 films. Last year, the selection included seven of the ten films that made the Academy Awards’ short documentary short list - three went on to be Oscar nominees. A DOC NYC jury will select one of the shorts for a directing award. Last year’s winner was Stay Close.


Introducing DOC NYC’s 2020 Short List Features!


Dir: Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous

Prod: Hao Wu, Jean Tsien

A suspenseful, immersive look at life under COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan, China, focused on front-line hospital workers and their patients. (Courtesy of MTV Documentary Films)



Dir/Prod: Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine

An annual civics program reveals modern-day democracy in a microcosm as high school boys create a mock government in Austin, Texas. (Courtesy of Apple Original Films/A24)



Dir/Prod: Alexander Nanau

Prod: Bianca Oana, Bernard Michaux, Hanka Kastelicová

This riveting investigative film follows a team of Romanian reporters as they doggedly uncover a deadly scandal that reaches the highest levels of government. (Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures/Participant)



Dir/Prod: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht

Prod: Sara Bolder

A chronicle of America’s disability rights movement and its origins in a liberating summer camp for disabled teens. (Courtesy of Netflix)



Dir/Prod: Kirsten Johnson

Prod: Katy Chevigny, Marilyn Ness

When the filmmaker’s 86-year-old father begins to lose his memory, she enlists him in a playful project to confront his mortality with a sense of humor. (Courtesy of Netflix)



Dir/Prod: Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres

Prod: Maya Seidler, Peggy Drexler, Kerry Washington 

This inspiring and vital film follows lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union as they battle the Trump administration over cases of immigration, abortion, LGBTQ+ equality, and voting rights. (Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures/Topic)



Dir: Victor Kossakovsky

Prod: Anita Rehoff Larsen

A cinema vérité immersion into the experiences of several animals on a farm, focused on a sow and her new litter of piglets. (Courtesy of NEON)



Dir: Nathan Grossman

Prod: Cecilia Nessen, Fredrik Heinig 

A portrait of Greta Thunberg’s meteoric one-year rise from high-school climate strike organizer to inspiration for a global movement. (Courtesy of Hulu)



Dir: Sam Pollard

Prod: Benjamin Hedin

Using recently declassified files, MLK/FBI examines J. Edgar Hoover’s relentless campaign of surveillance and harassment against Martin Luther King, Jr. (Courtesy of IFC Films)



Dir/Prod: Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering

Prod: Jamie Rogers, Amy Herdy

This groundbreaking investigation of sexual assault in the music industry explores the complex factors that make it difficult for Black women to speak out and be heard. (Courtesy of HBO Max)



Dir: Jeff Orlowski

Prod: Larissa Rhodes

An exposé of the insidious hidden systems of control behind our increasingly networked world, as revealed by former tech world insiders. (Courtesy of Netflix)



Dir/Prod: Ramona S. Diaz

Prod: Leah Marino, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn

A chilling look at the assault on fundamental democratic freedoms in the Philippines through the persecution of courageous journalist Maria Ressa. (Courtesy of PBS Distribution / FRONTLINE)



Dir/Prod: Garrett Bradley

Prod: Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn

A moving chronicle of a marriage and a family separated by incarceration, focused on Fox Rich, who has spent 21 years fighting for the release of her husband from a 60-year prison sentence. (Courtesy of Amazon Studios)



Dir/Prod: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw

Enter the secretive world of the only people - and dogs - who are able to find the elusive white Alba truffle, the most expensive ingredient in the world. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics)



Dir/Prod: David France

Prod: Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin, Askold Kurov

A courageous team of Russian activists operate an underground railroad to help LGBTQ+ Chechens escape state-sanctioned persecution (Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films / Music Box Films)


Introducing DOC NYC’s 2020 Short List Shorts!


Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa

Dir/Prod: Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Mike Attie

At a Philadelphia abortion helpline, counselors answer nonstop calls from women who are seeking to end a pregnancy, but can’t afford to do so. A revealing look at how economic stigma and cruel legislation determines who in America has access to abortion. (Courtesy of Topic/Women Make Movies)


Ashes to Ashes

Dir: Taylor Rees

Prod: Shirley Whitaker 

Winfred Rembert, a survivor of an attempted lynching in 1967, a Star Wars fanatic, and leather artist, develops a friendship with Doctor Shirley Jackson Whitaker, who is on a mission to memorialize the forgotten 4,000 African Americans lynched during the Jim Crow era. (Courtesy of XTR)


Call Center Blues

Dir: Geeta Gandbhir

Prod: Jessica Devaney

A tale of migration and deportation, this film follows four characters as they struggle to make sense of their lives in Tijuana. Each with a different story, they’re linked by displacement and call center work in a country that’s unfamiliar and frightening, yet sometimes a ray of hope. (Courtesy of Topic)


Do Not Split

Dir/Prod: Anders Hammer

Prod: Charlotte Cook

In the fall of 2019, a proposed bill allowing the Chinese government to extradite criminal suspects to mainland China escalates protests throughout Hong Kong. Unfolding across a year, this film captures the determination and sacrifices of the protesters, the government’s backlash, and the passage of the new Beijing-backed national security law. (Courtesy of Field of Vision)


Flower Punk

Dir/Prod: Alison Klayman

Japanese artist Azuma Makoto has sent his floral sculptures into space and sunk them to the bottom of the ocean, but, most of the time, he thinks about the life and death of flowers. (Courtesy of New Yorker)


Hunger Ward

Dir/Prod: Skye Fitzgerald

Prod: Michael Scheuerman

This unflinching look at the human-caused famine in Yemen follows health care workers Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they work to save the lives of hunger-stricken children in two therapeutic feeding centers, against the backdrop of a forgotten war. (Courtesy of RYOT/Vulcan)


A Life Too Short

Dir: Safyah Usmani

Prod: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Social media superstar Qandeel Baloch pushed boundaries in conservative Pakistan like no other. In 2016, high on her newfound celebrity, Qandeel exposes a well-known Muslim cleric–with tragic results. (Courtesy of MTV Documentary Films)


A Love Song for Latasha

Dir/Prod: Sophia Nahli Allison

Prod: Fam Udeorji

The injustice surrounding the shooting death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins at a South Central Los Angeles store became a flashpoint for the city’s 1992 civil uprising. Nearly three decades later, director Sophia Nahli Allison removes Latasha from the context of her death to craft a dreamlike portrait of a promising life lost. (Courtesy of Netflix)


No Crying at the Dinner Table

Dir/Prod: Carol Nguyen

Prod: Aziz Zoromba

Filmmaker Carol Nguyen interviews her family to craft a portrait of love, grief, and intergenerational trauma. (Courtesy of Travelling Distribution)


Now Is the Time

Dir: Christopher Auchter

Prod: Selwyn Jacob

On the 50th anniversary of the first new totem pole raising on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps through history to revisit the day that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit. (Courtesy of New York Times Op-Docs / POV / National Film Board of Canada)


Sing Me a Lullaby 

Dir/Prod: Tiffany Hsiung

A daughter journeys to China seeking her adopted mother’s long lost mother, uncovering family secrets and connecting the generations. (Courtesy of CBC/POV)


Then Comes the Evening

Dir/Prod: Maja Novaković

In the lush pastoral hills of Eastern Bosnia, two old women share solitude. The care they have for each other is not composed of words, but rather their daily conduct. They are in a conversation with the land, welcoming the voices of nature, and the songs of a memory that is dying out.

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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