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MoMA announces full line-up for Doc Fortnight 2018
Habaneros. 2017. UK. Directed by Julien Temple. Courtesy of Julien Temple.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art announces the full festival line-up for Doc Fortnight 2018, its 17th annual showcase of outstanding and innovative nonfiction film from around the world. This year’s festival, which runs February 15–26, 2018, includes an international selection of more than 20 documentary features and an extensive program of short films, with filmmakers and artists present for discussions following many of the films. These screenings represent the North American, US, or New York premiere of nearly every film featured in the festival—along with the world premieres of Susanna Styron’s Out of My Head (2017), Jeffrey Perkins’s George (2017), Chico Colvard’s Black Memorabilia (2017), Jules Rosskam’s Paternal Rites (2017), Michelle Memran’s The Rest I Make Up (2017), Amy Jenkins’s Instructions on Parting (2018), and more. Doc Fortnight 2018 is organized by Kathy Brew, Guest Curator, with Gianna Collier-Pitts.

Featuring documentaries produced in Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, France, Mexico, Great Britain, India, Morocco, The Netherlands, Colombia, Swaziland, Canada, Syria, Taiwan, Turkey, South Africa, Peru, the US, and many more countries, this year’s program is dedicated to advocating the vision of storytellers who bring us new perspectives, new frameworks through which to measure and balance our own experiences, and new ways to consider truth in an uncertain world. The line-up spotlights powerful narrative forms and vérité filmmaking, and also reflects the rapidly evolving media used in nonfiction film, including 3-D and hybrid animation, stop-motion, live experiential cinema, data artistry, films composed of military drone footage, and more.

Doc Fortnight 2018 spotlights the voices and perspectives of the marginalized. In Mr. Gay Syria (2017), filmmaker Ayşe Toprak weaves a powerful story of hope amid persecution and displacement as it follows Husein and Mahmoud, refugees pursuing their dream to participate in Mr. Gay World and represent the LGBT community across the Muslim world. From Colombia, Señorita Maria, la falda de la montaña (Miss Maria, Skirting the Mountain) (2017) tells the story of Maria Luisa, who was designated male at birth and subsequently shunned by her conservative Catholic family for presenting as female. The world premiere of Jules Rosskam’s Paternal Rites (2017) explores the nature of memory through the lens of the filmmaker’s queer identity, and examines the after-effects of physical and sexual abuse in a contemporary Jewish American family. In Black Memorabilia (2017), Chico Colvard traces the production and purchase of racialized objects and figurines, questioning who gets to tell what stories about black history, and exposing the ever-present traumas of racism.

The festival also highlights portraits of cultural pioneers and creators. In The Rest I Make Up (2017), filmmaker Michelle Memran’s chance encounter with influential playwright and teacher Maria Irene Fornes, who had stopped writing due to dementia, reignites Fornes’s creative spirit and blossoms into a decade-long creative collaboration. The film features interviews with legends of the theater world, including Edward Albee, Ellen Stewart, and Lanford Wilson. In Moving Stories (2017), six New York dancers travel the world teaching some of the most vulnerable youth about expressing themselves through movement and creativity, using dance to address issues from gender violence and poverty to persecution and prejudice. Elsewhere the festival celebrates the creativity of filmmakers and artists: the multiplatform film Híbridos, the Spirits of Brazil (2017) blends film, an open-source website, and a live cinema experience; and Collective Intelligence: An Evening of Emergent Documentary Storytelling, presented by Sarah Wolozin and Katerina Cizek of the new CoCreation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab, showcases cutting-edge, collaborative nonfiction across innovative platforms and technologies.

The festival’s line-up features discoveries from all corners of the world. Latin American stories include the opening-night film Habaneros (2017), an homage to the history of Cuba and the vibrant culture of Havana; Everardo González’s Devil’s Freedom (2017), in which victims and perpetrators of violence in Mexico reflect on the gruesome events that have come to shape their everyday lives; and Rio Verde: El tiempo de los Yakurunas (Green River: The Time of the Yakurunas) (2017), a poetic journey into the depths of the Peruvian Amazon with brothers Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento. Humanity is found amid Middle Eastern turmoil in The Long Season (2017), which documents the lives of displaced Syrians living in a camp on the Lebanon border as they try to make the best of their situation. And the short film One Day in Aleppo (2017) follows journalist and filmmaker Ali Alibrahim as he focuses his lens on the lives of civilians trying to survive in a city ravaged by civil war.

Turning its lens to Africa, the program features Sans bruit, les figurants du désert (Noiseless, Desert Extras) (2017), which brings hundreds of nameless Moroccan film extras into the foreground and examines their very real lives and stories. In Liyana (2017), filmmakers Aaron and Amanda Kopp use animation and observational documentary to bring to life a fairytale story crafted by five orphaned children from Swaziland. Dieudo Hamadi’s Mama Colonel (2017) documents the work of the Congolese police force under Colonel Honorine, as she fights for the protection of women and children from sexual violence in Kisangani.

Stories from Asia include Becoming Who I Was (2017), in which filmmakers Chang-Yong Moon and Jin Jeon spent eight years following the daily life of Padma Angdu, a young Ladakhi boy who has been identified as the reincarnation of a high-ranking Tibetan Buddhist monk and must overcome great obstacles to fulfill his chosen destiny. Maso Chen’s The Silent Teacher (2017) tells the dual story of one family’s grief over their lost matriarch, and the students who will learn how to be better doctors thanks to her decision to donate her body to a medical school in Taipei.

Doc Fortnight 2018 features over 20 short-form documentary films, including The Presence of Place, a shorts program featuring works from Antoni Miralda, Mary Lucier, Edin Velez, Juan Mejia, Naomi Bowey, Rena Effendi, Antoni Muntadas, and the duo of Sylvain Cruiziat and Mila Zhluktenko.

This year the ever-evolving Doc Fortnight format has expanded to include weeklong runs of two world premiere films during its second week. Jeffrey Perkins’s George (2017) uncovers the life and legacy of Lithuanian-American artist and impresario George Maciunas—who established the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and transformed the industrial buildings of New York City’s Soho neighborhood into the artist lofts of the 1960s—as told by icons of the era including Yoko Ono and Jonas Mekas. Out of My Head (2017) explores migraine—the neurological disorder afflicting over a billion people worldwide from all ages and walks of life. Filmmaker Susanna Styron shares interviews with doctors, neuroscientists, activists, and sufferers, as her film investigates migraines and the bizarre yet seldom recognized toll they take on daily life.

Also in the second week, Doc Fortnight honors the memory of the influential filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who passed away in 2017, with a retrospective selection of his nonfiction films. While perhaps better known for his feature narrative films (including The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the 1991 Best Director Academy Award), he made profound, insightful, and entertaining documentaries throughout his career. This three–day program celebrates the scope of that work, including screenings of Stop Making Sense (1984), Swimming to Cambodia (1987), Haiti: Dreams of Democracy (1988), Neil Young Journeys (2011), and I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful (2011).

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January 10, 2018

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MoMA announces full line-up for Doc Fortnight 2018

New series of paintings by Pamela Golden on view at Marlborough Fine Art

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