In “Kati with an I,” documentarian Robert Greene (“Owning the Weather”) turns his camera on his teenage half-sister on the brink of her high school graduation. That backdrop offers nothing new, but Greene’s patient, understated portrait renders a universal rite of passage in strangely alluring, poetic terms. A resident of the close-knit Christian community in Piedmont, Alabama, Kati Genthner doesn’t have it easy. Greene captures a key moment of transition in her life during the three tense days prior to her graduation. A few months earlier, her parents moved back to their home in North Carolina after her father lost his job. Living with her friend Bridgette for her final two months of school, Genthner appears firmly entrenched in her surroundings even as she expresses a deep-seated desire to escape them. Her boyfriend, James, lacks Genthner’s decisive energy to leave Piedmont, despite his pledge to stick with her when she goes off to college. Meanwhile, her parents urge her to drop the guy and come home. Forced to make big decisions without any reliable support system, Genthner looks perpetually troubled, and Greene captures her discomfort in close-up.
In 1974, television host Christine Chubbuck committed suicide on air at a Sarasota, Florida, news station. This is considered the first televised suicide in history, and though it was the inspiration for the 1976 Best Picture nominee Network, the story and facts behind the event remain mostly unknown. Now in the present, actress Kate Lyn Sheil is cast in a “stylized cheap ‘70s soap opera” version of Christine’s story, and to prepare for the role, Kate travels to Sarasota to investigate the mysteries and meanings behind her tragic demise. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Brandy Burre had a recurring role on the iconic TV drama The Wire when she became pregnant. She gave up her career to raise a family and now leads a picturesque domestic existence in upstate New York. But Brandy breaks things—rules, expectations—and can’t not perform. She craves action. She stages a slow dance in the shower and uses a clothes hanger as a scene partner in her one-woman performance of everyday life. But practising her art manqué through daily gestures, and living life as a creative outlet, aren’t enough anymore. Brandy decides to make a comeback. Balancing the demands of work and home, and playing all the parts—mother, lover, wife, performer—leads to painful choices and realizations. Can she be both supermom and superstar? Selfless and selfish? Actress is a present-tense melodrama that re-frames the complex-yet-familiar question: Can women have it all? [Synopsis courtesy of Hot Docs]