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Doc Festivals (for the first time)

Doc Festivals (for the first time)

So, it looks like I’m attending Hot Docs in Toronto, for the first time. I’ve known the head programmer, Sean Farnel, for years but will now finally have the opportunity to visit the event in May. What’s always intrigued me about Hot Docs, is the way it stands alone in North America as an experience akin to the popular European doc markets such as IDFA, Sheffield, CPH:DOX, etc. There are terrific doc festivals in America, but they typically showcase new work, instead of markets with pitching forums and international delegations. Hot Docs is supposed to be different than all that, and it’s May in Canada, which means the weather is a helluva lot better than the Fall fests in Europe.

One new American doc festival is joining the calendar, and will actually coincide with the famous Sheffield->CPH:DOX->IDFA circuit in November. This is DOC NYC, a new fest organized by Toronto Film Festival programmer Thom Powers. It will run November 3 to 7, in Manhattan. I like and admire the people running it, and I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor, so I’m thrilled they asked me to join the Advisory Board for this year’s event. Here’s some of the announcement about DOC NYC, that was made this week:

Toronto International Film Festival doc programmer Thom Powers, IFC Center’s John Vanco and Raphaela Neihausen, the new event’s executive director, have unveiled DOC NYC, the first documentary film festival of it’s kind in the city since filmmaker Gary Pollard’s Docfest effectively closed its doors nearly a decade ago. The trio already work together on New York City’s ongoing “Stranger Than Fiction” film series for new docs.

Billing itself as an event “celebrating documentary storytelling across the fields of film, photography, prose, radio and other innovative forms,” DOC NYC will hold its inaugural edition Wednesday, November 3 – Sunday, November 7 at IFC Center, site of “Stranger Than Fiction.”. Additionally, the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) will serve as the event’s ‘Presenting Partner’ along with Tisch School of the Arts. Both the festival’s opening and closing night events will take place at NYU’s Skirball Center for Performing Arts Auditorium.

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