NYC’s Stranger Than Fiction documentary series has announced their winter 2014 lineup, with a thematic focus of music documentaries. The season begins January 28 with a sneak preview of “Finding the Funk,” Nelson George’s film about the past, present, and future of funk.
As always, Stranger Than Fiction screenings take place Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. at the IFC Center, with every session followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. This year’s series will combine classic docs such as D.A. Pennebaker’s landmark “Monterey Pop” with previews of new documentaries. The one exception to the music focus of the series is “The Central Park Five,” which will screen on January 30 with a Q&A with two of the film’s subjects, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise.
Another highlight is a screening of “A Great Day in Harlem,” whose Oscar-nominated director Jean Bach died last May. It will be the first public screening of her film since her death.
“Finding the Funk” (Opening Night), Tues Jan. 28
Q&A with director Nelson George
FINDING THE FUNK is a road trip in search of the past, present and
future of funk music. Starting with funk’s roots in Jazz and the James
Brown bands of the ’60s we travel to the Bay Area to celebrate Sly
& the Family Stone, then to Dayton the birthplace of so many of
funk’s originators, then Detroit where from the ashes of Motown,
P-Funk’s Mothership arose, and onto LA where a new crop of musicians are
creating their own funk history. On our journey into Funk, we talk to
legends Sly Stone, Bootsy, George Clinton, Nona Hendrix, Maceo Parker,
Bernie Worrell, and Steve Arrington and their descendants Mike D,
D’Angelo, Sheila E, Shock G and Stuart Matthewman. Narrated by Questlove
of the Roots.
“The Central Park Five,” Thurs Jan. 30
Q&A with film subjects Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged
with brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger in Central
Park. News media swarmed the case, calling them a ”wolfpack.” The five
would spend years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit before the
truth about what really happened became clear. With THE CENTRAL PARK
FIVE, this story of injustice finally gets the attention it deserves.
Based on Sarah Burns’ riveting book and co-directed by her husband
David McMahon and father, the acclaimed doc filmmaker Ken Burns, this
incendiary film tells the riveting tale of innocent young men
scapegoated for a heinous crime, and serves as a mirror for our times.
“Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart,” Tues Feb. 4
Q&A with director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
The internationally influential icon from New York City was the subject of a feature-length American Masters documentary directed and produced by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders in 1998: Rock and Roll Heart: Lou Reed.
The film, which screened at Sundance Film Festival that same year,
features interviews with Reed, Bowie, Patti Smith and many
others. Greenfield-Sanders commented, “Lou Reed music was the backbeat
to our lives and his lyrics were our conscience. His death is a blow,
not only to New York City, but also to the world.”
“Brothers Hypnotic,” Tues Feb. 11
Q&A with director Reuben Atlas
For the eight young men in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, “brotherhood” is
literal: they’re all sons of anti-establishment jazz legend, Phil
Cohran. They grew up in the same house, in a family of 24 siblings.
Cohran and their mothers raised them together on Chicago’s tough South
Side on a strict diet of jazz, funk and Black Consciousness. Family band
practice began at 6 AM. Now grown, as they raise eight brass horns to
the sky— whether playing their unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, and soul
in the streets of New York City, collaborating with Mos Def, or
negotiating with record labels— they find the values their father bred
into them constantly tested. They struggle to decide whether his
principles really are their own.
“Monterey Pop,” Tues Feb. 18
Q&A with director D.A. Pennebaker, cinematographers Albert Maysles, Jim Desmond, Nick Proferres, Bob Neuwirth, Brice Marden, Robert Leacock, and assistant editor Lana Jokel
MONTEREY POP marks a key turning point in the history of filming
concerts. At this special screening, director D.A. Pennebaker reunites
the crew that made it happen for a historic occasion unlikely to ever be
“A Great Day in Harlem”, Feb. 25
Q&A with producer Matthew Seig and editor Susan Peehl
Jean Bach, the Oscar-nominated maker of A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM, passed
away last May at the age of 94. Her colleagues on this film, producer
Matthew Seig and Susan Peehl, will participate in a Q&A paying
tribute to her memory for the first New York public screening of the
film since her death.
“The Road to Fame”, Mar 4
Q&A with director Hao Wu and editor Jean Tsien
THE ROAD TO FAME tells a unique story of coming-of-age with Chinese
characteristics. The film chronicles the staging of the American musical
Fame—China’s first official collaboration with Broadway—by the senior
class at China’s top drama academy as their graduation showcase. During
the eight-month process, five students compete for roles, struggle with
pressure from family and authority, and prepare to graduate into a
cutthroat and corrupt show business. Part of China’s Single-Child
generation, they have been spoiled growing up but are now obliged to
carry on the failed dreams of their parents. They must confront complex
social realities and their own anxieties, and, in the process of staging
Fame, negotiate their own paths to the “Chinese dream.”