The 46th Annual Chicago International Film Festival has announced their documentary lineup, which includes their Docufest Competition slate, Special Presentations from Alex Gibney and Lucy WAlker, and their new cinephile “Film on Film” series. Included in the doc lineup are four world premieres, one international premiere, and some North American and US premieres. The doc jury will feature “Valentino: The Last Emperor” director Matt Tyrnauer, “Legacy” filmmaker Tod Lending, and Gold Hugo-winning DP Oral User. The fest also unveiled a series of films about filmmaking and filmmakers, “Film on Film,” with four in the premiere lineup. Several filmmakers, including Gibney and Walker, are set to attend. For more information on the fest, visit the Chicago International Film Festival website here.
The complete doc lineup, with descriptions provided by the festival:
“Beautiful Darling,” James Rasin
Transgender pioneer Candy Darling played glamorous muse to some of ’60s-’70s New York’s biggest artists. She shone in Andy Warhol’s films, Lou Reed’s songs, Tennessee Williams’ plays. But Candy’s rising star hid a crippling isolation that haunted her until her tragic death. Relive this outré version of the American Dream through Candy’s own letters (voiced by Chloë Sevigny), new interviews, and archival footage featuring Warhol, Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, and Kim Novak.
“Circus Kids,” Alexandra Lipsitz
This stylish and uplifting world premiere documentary from the director of Air Guitar Nation follows a spirited St. Louis youth circus troupe (scheduled to perform!) on their journey to perform with a mixed Jewish/Arab troupe in Israel. The costumes are different. The routines are different. The language is different. The food is different. But can a multi-cultural group of teens find the harmony that has eluded this part of the world for so long?
“Louder Than a Bomb,” Greg Jacobs, Jon Siskel
Who ever said poetry was boring? Four teams of supremely talented Chicago high school students harness the ecstatic power of words as they prepare to compete in the world’s largest youth poetry slam right here in Chicago. Come see this multiple award-winning smash documentary makes its hometown debut.
“Love Translated,” Julia Ivanova
Odessa, Ukraine: home to rich culture, beautiful architecture, pulsating discos, and busloads of lonely middle-aged guys looking to land hot 20-year-old brides. Burned by women back home, guys from Minnesota to Marseilles are heading East—but can they tell the difference between the girl of their dreams and the gold diggers? This seductive world premiere documentary follows a dozen delightfully awkward guys through a comedy of cultural misconceptions on a 10-day hunt for true love.
“The Minutemen,” Corey Wascinski
Vigilantes? Outlaws? Red-blooded patriots? Armed and tireless, the self-appointed watchdogs of the U.S./Mexico border are taking the illegal immigration issue into their own hands. Filmed over four years, this fair and balanced (no, seriously) documentary sucks you in to the conflicted lives of eccentric old-timers in mountaintop trailer homes and scrappy San Diego soccer moms who are in a constant struggle to secure the sprawling border while maintaining their own sanity.
“Moving to Mars,” Mat Whitecross
From the director of the acclaimed documentary “The Road to Guantanamo” comes a deeply absorbing and often comical year in the life of two Burmese families facing relocation from their refugee camp in rural Thailand to the mean streets of Sheffield, UK. One family patriarch is English-speaking and educated (and boy does he know it) while the other takes the term “fish out of water” to a new extreme, but this new life won’t be easy for either.
“Postcard to Daddy,” Michael Stock
As a child, Michael Stock was sexually abused—by his own father. Twenty-five years later he is still looking for inner peace. In conversations with his family and friends and his own reflections, he paints an ever clearer, if contradictory picture of the consequences for each of the family members—including the filmmaker’s own extreme behavior. Yet instead of anger and hatred it’s a surprising air of hope and love of life that fills “Postcard to Daddy.”
“Problema,” Ralf Schmerberg
More than 70 years after the Nazis burned books in Berlin’s Bebelplatz Square, 112 influential people from 56 countries (including Willem Dafoe, Bianca Jagger, and Wim Wenders) gathered there for a momentous nine-hour discussion about where humanity’s been and where it’s going. Personal and passionate answers to 100 public-submitted questions were captured with hundreds of cameras and astoundingly edited with a potent collage of archival footage from our collective history. This visceral, mind-blowing film is required viewing.
“Sex Magic: Manifesting Maya,” Jonathan Schell, Eric Liebman
Welcome to Sedona, Arizona, and the mystical kingdom of world-renowned sex shaman Baba Dez. Dez is thrown into a tailspin when his mission to heal women with sexual dysfunctions (he’s slept with more than a thousand) drives away his one true love, Maya. He’ll try to get her back the only way he knows how—by channeling her love while having sex with other women! Magic! This raucous documentary finds the gut-splitting comedy in Dez’s surreal drama. Mature audiences only.
“Thunder Soul,” Mark Landsman
It’s time for some of that serious funky soul, ya dig? This electrifying, award-winning documentary celebrates the power of music and African American culture in the ’70s through the story of an inner-city high school funk band that rose to worldwide prominence on the back of one charismatic, life-changing teacher. Now the band’s getting back together to honor their beloved 92-year-old mentor, but can they still bring the funk after 35 years?
“Tony & Janina’s American Wedding,” Ruth Leitman
After 18 years in the U.S., a suburban Chicago family is torn apart by deportation orders. With Janina and six-year-old Brian trapped in Poland, Tony channels his fury and frustration into a crusade to bring his family home and fix the broken U.S. immigration system. His trajectory crosses with political heavyweights Luis Gutierrez, Rahm Emanuel, and a rising-star senator named Barack Obama in this emotionally urgent, galvanizing documentary that proves the immigration issue stretches far beyond the border with Mexico.
“Catching Hell,” Alex Gibney
It’s the pop fly that will live in infamy. When Cubs fan Steve Bartman fatefully deflected a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, Chicago’s long-suffering Cubs fans found the perfect scapegoat to blame for their century without a World Series title. In this world premiere documentary from ESPN Films, Oscar®-winning director Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side,” “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”) explores the hysteria that turned a mild-mannered sports fan into the most hated man in Chicago.
“Waste Land,” Lucy Walker
Winner of more than a half-dozen top prizes from Sundance to Berlin, this rightfully exalted documentary about the transformative power of art is one of the most inspiring films this year. Acclaimed filmmaker Lucy Walker (Blindsight, Countdown to Zero) travels with cutting-edge Brazilian artist Vik Muniz deep into the world’s largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio to create a large-scale art project using garbage as his material and the spirited trash pickers as his muses.
Film on Film
“Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff,” Craig McCall
Throughout a career spanning 70 years, Jack Cardiff was widely considered to be the best cinematographer in the world—putting his breathtaking Technicolor touch on films like Black Narcissus, The African Queen, The Red Shoes, War and Peace, and even Rambo. A hit on its premiere at Cannes, this passionate tribute to the pioneer who forever altered the look of film journeys through cinema history with the late great Cardiff himself and new interviews with Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and many others.
“Daniel Schmid – Le chat qui pense,” Pascal Hofmann, Benny Jaberg
This cinematic kaleidoscope is an enigmatic journey into the heart of an intensely imaginative boy who would grow up to be one of Swiss cinema’s most extraordinary artists. A natural storyteller, Daniel Schmid was reared during the 1940s in an old hotel that became his stage, its guests his characters. He’d grow up to direct film, theater, and opera alongside Fassbinder, von Praunheim, and Schroeter. This luminous documentary proves wonderful things that can happen when a child discovers the art of expression.
“Hitler in Hollywood,” Frédéric Sojcher
What if WWII-era Hollywood took advantage of the war to undermine the burgeoning rival film industry in Europe? That’s the uproarious premise of this playful mockumentary, which follows Pulp Fiction’s Maria de Medeiros—playing herself—and her lovestruck cameraman as they traverse the continent uncovering the vast Hollywood conspiracy. Featuring cameos from European filmmaking giants Manoel de Oliveira, Volker Schlöndorff, and Wim Wenders.
“Michel Ciment, The Art of Sharing Movies,” Simoné Laine
France’s answer to Roger Ebert, Michel Ciment is one of the most revered film critics in the world. With the touch of both an artist and a great admirer, director Simoné Laine delves into Ciment’s history as the driving force behind the film periodical Positif (and its infamous rivalry with the Truffaut- and Godard-penned Cahiers du cinema). Rarely has a critic been such an important figure in the film world, but The Art of Sharing Movies has testimonies by everyone from Bertrand Tavernier and Arnaud Desplechin to Quentin Tarantino and Joel Coen to back up that claim. A longtime friend and advisor to the Festival, Ciment will participate in a special conversation after the film.