Netflix’s ‘Descendant’ to Open IDA Documentary Screening Series

The documentary will open a showcase of 43 feature-length documentaries that are eligible for consideration for the upcoming Academy Awards.
Emmett Lewis appears in Untitlted Clotilda Doc by Margaret Brown, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has announced the full program for its annual screening series, including the nine films that have been chosen for its Awards Campaign Access Initiative (ACAI). 

The program will open with Netflix’s “Descendant,” a film produced by the Obamas’ company Higher Ground Productions. The documentary sees director Margaret Brown return to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans, and the ramifications its discovery has on the community.

What will follow is a showcase of 43 feature-length documentary films that are eligible for consideration for the upcoming Academy Awards; 20 films will be screened both in-person and online, and 35 will be available for virtual viewing only.

The films selected for the ACAI, a program meant to support independent filmmakers from historically excluded communities currently pursuing a film awards campaign, are:

Beba | Dir. Rebeca Huntt | Prod: Sofia Geld, Rebeca Huntt | USA/Mexico 

Hidden Letters | Dir. Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing | Violet Du Feng, Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas, Jean Tsien, Su Kim

I Didn’t See You There | Dir. Reid Davenport | Prod: Keith Wilson

Lakota Nation vs. United States | Dir: Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli | Prod: Benjamin Hedin

Let the Little Light Shine | Dir. Kevin Shaw | Prod: Kevin Shaw, Rachel Dickson

Punch 9 for Harold Washington | Dir. Joe Winston | Prod: Joe Winston, Raymond Lambert, Sonya Jackson

Sansón and Me | Dir. Rodrigo Reyes | Prod: Su Kim, Rodrigo Reyes 

Sirens | Dir. Rita Baghdadi | Prod: Rita Baghdadi, Camilla Hall

What We Leave Behind | Dir. Iliana Sosa | Prod: Emma D. Miller, Iliana Sosa

The 2022 IDA Screening Series will take place from September 9 through November 23 with in-person screenings in Los Angeles at the Chaplin Theater in Raleigh Studios and virtual screenings through IDA’s Eventive streaming platform.

See the full program and schedule below.

IDA Screening Series 2022 Program & Schedule

Screening Date: 09/07/2022 | Virtual Only
Dir: / Prod: Ed Perkins / Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Warner Bros. Discovery/HBO Documentary Films/HBO Max
Film Short Synopsis: Drawing solely from contemporaneous archival audio and video footage, The Princess is a visceral submersion into Princess Diana’s life in the constant and often intrusive glare of the media spotlight. 

Screening Date: 09/08/2022 | Virtual Only
Dir: Dan Geller & Dayna Goldfine / Prod: Dayna Goldfine, Dan Geller / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Film Short Synopsis: This feature-length documentary explores the life of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, Hallelujah.

Screening Date: 09/13/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Margaret Brown / Prod: Kyle Martin, Essie Chambers  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Netflix  Film Short Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today.

Screening Date: 09/14/2022 | Virtual Only
Dir: / Prod: / Country: USA / Year: 2022
Film Short Synopsis: Punch 9 for Harold Washington tells, for the first time, the story of how Harold Washington, by becoming Chicago’s first Black mayor, changed American politics. The coalition he forged transformed the local and national Democratic Party and helped launch the career of the nations first Black President, Barack Obama.

Screening Date: 09/15/2022 |  Virtual Only
Dir: Kathryn Ferguson / Prod: Eleanor Emptage, Michael Mallie / Country: UK/Ireland / Year: 2022  / Distributor: SHOWTIME
Film Short Synopsis: NOTHING COMPARES is the story of Sinéad O’Connor’s phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and how her iconoclastic personality resulted in her exile from the pop. 

Screening Date: 09/16/2022 | In-person + Virtual
Film Title: NAVALNY
Dir: Daniel Roher / Prod: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris  / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: CNN Films, HBO Max, Warner Bros. Pictures
Film Short Synopsis:  Alexei Navalny, Russia’s opposition leader, and Putin’s fiercest critic, was poisoned with a nerve agent on a flight from Siberia. Follow in real time as he and a team of investigative journalists crack the case, expose the brutality of Putin’s power, and show how one person can change history.

Screening Date: 09/19/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Film Title: SIDNEY 
Dir: Reginald Hudlin / Prod: Oprah Winfrey, Derik Murray / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Apple Original Films
Film Short Synopsis:  From producer Oprah Winfrey, this revealing documentary, directed by Reginald Hudlin, honors the legendary Sidney Poitier and his legacy as an iconic actor, filmmaker and activist at the center of Hollywood and the Civil Rights Movement. Featuring candid interviews with Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Robert Redford, Spike Lee and many more, the film is also produced by Derik Murray, in close collaboration with the Poitier family.

Screening Date: 09/20/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Sierra Pettengill / Prod: Sara Archambault, Jamila Wignot / Country:USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Film Short Synopsis: Welcome to RIOTSVILLE, USA, a turning point in American history where the protest movements of the late 1960s came into conflict with increasingly militarized police departments.

Screening Date: 09/21/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Frank Marshall  Ryan Suffern / Prod: Frank Marshall, Sean Stuart, Ryan Suffern / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Film Short Synopsis: This soulful and heartfelt celebration of 50 years of the funky and fabulous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival invites you to bliss out on New Orleans’ unique culture, featuring Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Pitbull, Al Green, Herbie Hancock, Aaron Neville, Earth, Wind & Fire, and many others.

Screening Date: 09/27/2022 | In-person + Virtual
Dir: Matthew Heineman / Prod: Matthew Heineman, Caitlin McNally / Country: / Year:  / Distributor: National Geographic Documentary Films
Film Short Synopsis:  RETROGRADE is a deeply intimate account of the end of America’s longest war.

Screening Date: 09/28/2022 | Virtual Only 
Film Title: BEBA
Dir: Rebeca Huntt / Prod: Sofia Geld, Rebeca Huntt   / Country: USA/Mexico / Year: 2021  / Distributor: NEON
Film Short Synopsis:  A stunning self-portrait, tough, raw, stubborn, and powerful “Beba” stares down the curses of her ancestry, probing the psychic wounds she has inherited, while simultaneously embracing the vastness of her multitudes. 

Screening Date: 10/02/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Film Title: “SR.”
Dir: Chris Smith / Prod: Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, Emily Barclay Ford, Kevin Ford / Country: USA /  Year: 2022
A portrait of maverick filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. that quickly devolves into a meditation on art & life, father & sons.

Screening Date: 10/03/2022  | Virtual Only 
Film Title: CIVIL
Dir: Nadia Hallgren / Prod: Kenya Barris (LA), Roger Ross Williams (NY), Lauren Cioffi (LA), Nadia Hallgren  / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Netflix
Film Short Synopsis: An intimate vérité look following the life of maverick civil rights attorney Ben Crump as he challenges America to come to terms with what it owes his clients — including the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

Screening Date: 10/05/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Bianca Stigter / Prod: Floor Onrust, Steve McQueen, Noortje Wilschut  / Country: The Netherlands/ Year: 2021  / Distributor: SuperLTD
Film Short Synopsis:  A snippet of 16mm film offers an emotionally charged, meditative glimpse into the lives of the unsuspecting Jewish citizens of a small Polish village at the precipice of World War II.

Screening Date: 10/06/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Alex Pritz / Prod:  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: National Geographic
Film Short Synopsis: When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor must fight back in defense of the land and an uncontacted group living deep within the forest.

Screening Date: 10/10/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Film Title: 2ND CHANCE
Dir: Ramin Bahrani / Prod: Charles Dorfman, Ramin Bahrani, Jacob Grodnik, Daniel Turcan, Johnny Galvin / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: SHOWTIME
Film Short Synopsis: A documentary chronicling the life of Richard Davis, the man who invented the concealable bulletproof vest – shooting himself 196 times in the course of his career to prove the effectiveness of his vests.

Screening Date: 10/11/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Sacha Jenkins / Prod: Justin Wilkes, Sara Bernstein, Julie Anderson / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Apple
Film Short Synopsis: The film offers a definitive look at the master musician’s life and legacy as a founding father of jazz, the first pop star, and a cultural ambassador of the United States. He was loved by millions worldwide but often mischaracterized for not doing enough to support the civil rights movement. In reality, his fight for social justice was fueled by his celebrity and his willingness to break his silence on issues of segregation and patriotism. With the full support of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the filmmakers have access to a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival materials, including hundreds of hours of audio recordings, film footage, photographs, personal diaries, and a life’s worth of ephemera for exclusive use in the first significant documentary dedicated entirely to his life.

Screening Date: 10/12/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lee Lewis /Exec Prod: Dawn Porter, Jenny Raskin, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Patty Quillen, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Tegan Acton, Emma Pompetti, Janet Tittiger, Davis Guggenheim, Rahdi Taylor / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Onyx Collective
Film Short Synopsis: Following the deaths of two young women due to childbirth complications, two bereaved families galvanize activists, birth workers, and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises today: the US maternal health crisis.

Screening Date: 10/13/2022 | In-person + Virtual  
Film Title: LET ME BE ME
Dir: Dan Crane, Katie Taber / Prod: Joe Plummer / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Film Short Synopsis: Let Me Be Me reveals what happens when a boy who used fabric as his shield to hide himself grows up to become a fashion designer.

Screening Date: 10/14/2022 | Virtual Only
Dir: Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing / Prod: Violet Du Feng, Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas, Jean Tsien, Su Kim Country: China Distributor: Cargo Film & Releasing
Film Short Synopsis: Two Chinese millennial women must save an ancient secret treasure from falling into the wrong hands, but don’t expect it will save them too.

Screening Date: 10/17/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Ondi Timoner / Prod: Ondi Timoner, David Turner, Jenny Hochberg  / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: MTV Documentary Films
Film Short Synopsis: On an unremarkable suburban street, we find Eli Timoner in his final days and discover an extraordinary life, one filled with wild achievements, tragic loss and above all, enduring love from his incredibly close-knit family. LAST FLIGHT HOME shares an unforgettable and stunning verité account of a family courageously facing both life and death.

Screening Date: 10/18/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Film Title: FIRE OF LOVE
Dir: Sara Dosa / Prod: Shane Boris, Ina Fichman / Country: USA / Year: 2022  
Film Short Synopsis: From National Geographic Documentary Films comes the extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived — capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes.

Screening Date: 10/19/2022 | Virtual Only 
Film Title: BAD AXE
Dir: David Siev / Prod: Diane Quon, Jude Harris, Katarina Vasquez, David Siev / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: IFC Films
Film Short Synopsis: A real-time portrait of 2020 unfolds as an Asian-American family in Trump’s rural America fights to keep their restaurant and American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, and generational scars from the Cambodian Killing Fields.

Screening Date: 10/20/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Kathlyn Horan / Prod: Julie Goldman Christopher Clements  Carolyn Hepburn  Kathlyn Horan / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Film Short Synopsis: Trailblazing, hell-raising country music legend Tanya Tucker defied the standards of how a woman in country music was supposed to behave. Decades after Tanya slipped from the spotlight, rising Americana music star Brandi Carlile takes it upon herself to write an entire album for her hero based on Tanya’s extraordinary life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history. 

Screening Date: 10/25/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Julie Ha, Eugene Yi / Prod: Su Kim, Jean Tsien, Sona Jo / Country: USA /  Year: 2022 /  Distributor: MUBI
In 1970s San Francisco, 20-year-old Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee is racially profiled and convicted of a Chinatown gang murder.

Screening Date: 10/26/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Film Title: THE JANES
Dir: Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes / Prod: Emma Pildes, Daniel Arcana, and Jessica Levin  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor:Warner Bros. Discovery/HBO Documentary Films/HBO Max
Film Short Synopsis: The Story Of An Underground Network Of Abortion Activists Pre-Roe V. Wade

Screening Date: 10/27/2022 | In-person + Virtual
Dir: Shaunak Sen / Prod: Aman Mann, Shaunak Sen, Teddy Leifer / Country: India/USA/UK / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Sideshow, Submarine Deluxe, HBO Documentary Films
Film Short Synopsis: ALL THAT BREATHES follows two brothers who run a bird hospital dedicated to rescuing injured black kites, a staple in the skies of New Delhi, India. In one of the world’s most populated cities, where cows, rats, monkeys, frogs, and hogs jostle cheek-by-jowl with people, the “kite brothers” care for thousands of these mesmerizing creatures that drop daily from New Delhi’s smog-choked skies. As environmental toxicity and civil unrest escalate, the relationship between this family and the neglected kites forms a poetic chronicle of the city’s collapsing ecology and deepening social fault lines.

Screening Date: 10/31/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Laura Poitras / Prod: Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin, Yoni Golijov, Laura Poitras Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: NEON
Film Short Synopsis: Directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is an epic, emotional and interconnected story about internationally renowned artist and activist Nan Goldin told through her slideshows, intimate interviews, ground-breaking photography, and rare footage of her personal fight to hold the Sackler family accountable for the overdose crisis.

Screening Date: 11/01/2022 | Virtual Only 
Film Title: IN HER HANDS
Dir: Marcel Mettlesiefen, Tamana Ayazi / Prod: Juan Camilo Cruz, Jonathan Schaerf  / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Netflix
Film Short Synopsis: IN HER HANDS takes an unflinching look at the turmoil in Afghanistan through the eyes of one of its first and its youngest female Mayor, Zarifa Ghafari. With the U.S. and Western forces withdrawing from the region, the Afghan government is in complete chaos.  

Screening Date: 11/02/2022 | In-person + Virtual
Film Title: SIRENS
Dir: Rita Baghdadi / Prod: Rita Baghdadi, Camilla Hall  / Country: Lebanon, United States / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories
Film Short Synopsis: Lilas and Shery, co-founders and guitarists of the Middle East’s first all-female metal band, wrestle with friendship, sexuality and destruction in their pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars.

Screening Date: 11/03/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Film Title: MIJA
Dir: Isabel Castro / Prod: Isabel Castro, Tabitha Breese, Yesenia Tlahuel / Country: USA / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Disney Original Documentary
Film Short Synopsis: Disney Original Documentary’s Mija follows Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, two daughters of immigrants from Mexico, navigating their careers in the music industry. A moving love letter to immigrants and their children, this intimate debut feature by Isabel Castro captures the emotional and complex stories of Doris and Jacks,f for whom “making it” isn’t just a dream, it’s a necessity. 

Screening Date: 11/07/2022 | Virtual only
Dir: Rodrigo Reyes / Prod: Su Kim, Rodrigo Reyes / Year: 2022  / Distributor: Cinema Guild
Film Short Synopsis:
Two Mexican migrants, a young man serving a life sentence in prison and a filmmaker who was his court interpreter, become intertwined through life and cinema.

Screening Date: 11/08/2022  | Virtual Only 
Dir: Rory Kennedy / Prod: Mark Bailey  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Netflix
Film Short Synopsis: On December 9th, 2019, a group of tourists made way for New Zealand’s Whakaari White Island to visit an active volcano that has attracted hundreds of thousands since the early 1990s. It was supposed to be a routine, six-hour tour with one major highlight: a quick hike into the island’s otherworldly caldera. Then, at 2:11pm, the volcano erupted. At the time, 47 people were on the island: 24 Australians, 9 American, 5 New Zealanders, 4 Germans, 2 Brits, 2 Chinese, and 1 Malaysian. Of those 47, 21 would lose their lives.

Screening Date: 11/09/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Kevin Shaw / Prod: Kevin Shaw, Rachel Dickson / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Argot Pictures
Film Short Synopsis: A high-achieving elementary school near downtown Chicago is a lifeline for Black children – until gentrification threatens its closure.

Screening Date: 11/10/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Iliana Sosa / Prod: Emma D. Miller, Iliana Sosa / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: ARRAY Releasing
Film Short Synopsis: After a lifetime of bus rides to the US to visit his children, Julián quietly starts building a house in rural Mexico. In filming his work, his granddaughter crafts a personal and poetic love letter to him and his homeland.

Screening Date: 11/14/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Elvis Mitchell / Prod: Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Angus Wall, Ciara Leina’ala Lacy / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Netflix
Film Short Synopsis: From celebrated writer and film historian Elvis Mitchell, IS THAT BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU?!? is both a documentary and deeply personal essay. The film examines the craft and power of cinema from a perspective often overlooked: the African American contribution to films released from the landmark era of the 70s. 

Screening Date: 11/15/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Brett Morgen / Prod: Brett Morgen  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: NEON
Film Short Synopsis: A cinematic odyssey exploring David Bowie’s creative and musical journey. From visionary filmmaker Brett Morgen, and sanctioned by the Bowie estate.

Screening Date: 11/16/2022 | Virtual Only 
Dir: Lizzie Gottlieb / Prod: Lizzie Gottlieb, Joanne Nerenberg, Jen Small  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Film Short Synopsis: Turn Every Page explores the remarkable fifty-year relationship between two literary legends, writer Robert Caro and his longtime editor Robert Gottlieb. Now 86, Caro is working to complete the final volume of his masterwork, The Years of Lyndon Johnson; Gottlieb, 91, waits to edit it. The task of finishing their life’s work looms before them. 

Screening Date: 11/17/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Jason Kohn / Prod: Amanda Branson Gill, Jared Ian Goldman  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: SHOWTIME 
Film Short Synopsis: Illusions and reality merge, where authenticity and imagination overlap, and questions arise about the value we place on the goods around us.

Screening Date: 11/21/2022 | Virtual only
Dir: Reid Davenport / Prod: Keith Wilson / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: POV
Film Short Synopsis: Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on spectacle, (in)visibility, and the corrosive legacy of the Freak Show. 

Screening Date: 11/22/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Dir: Ryan White / Prod: Ryan White, Jessica Hargrave, Brandon Carroll, Matthew Goldberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Amazon Studios
Film Short Synopsis: Good Night Oppy tells the inspirational story of Opportunity, one of NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rovers, and the connection that grew between the adventurous robotic explorer and the people on Earth who built it as it journeys across the surface of Mars.

Screening Date: 11/23/2022 | In-person + Virtual 
Film Title: WILDCAT
Dir: Melissa Lesh, Trevor Frost  / Prod: Melissa Lesh, Trevor Frost, Alysa Nahmias, Joshua Altman  / Country: USA / Year: 2022 / Distributor: Amazon Studios
Film Short Synopsis: Back from war in Afghanistan, a young British soldier struggling with depression and PTSD finds a second chance in the Amazon rainforest when he meets an American scientist, and they foster an orphaned baby ocelot.

Screening Date: TBA | Virtual Only
Film Title: LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES / Dir: Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli  / Prod: Benjamin Hedin Country: USA
Film Short Synopsis: Lakota Nation vs. the United States chronicles the Lakota Indians’ century-long quest to reclaim the Black Hills, sacred land that was stolen in violation of treaty agreements.

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