DOC NYC online film fest underway: Zappa, Shane MacGowan, Karen Dalton, Dash Snow, more
Documentary film festival DOC NYC has, like most other 2020 festivals, gone virtual. It's currently underway, running through November 19, and the streaming lineup includes 107 feature-length documentaries, with over 200 films total including shorts. Festival passes and individual tickets are available.
As in years past they've got the "Sonic Cinema" music docs series which this year includes Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan, Alex Winter's Zappa, In My Own Time: A Portrait of Karen Dalton (with a score by Julia Holter), Soundcloud rap film American Rapstar (ft Lil Peep, Smokepurpp, Bhad Bhabie and more), Tiny Tim: King for a Day, Ronnie's (about the legendary London nightclub owned by saxophonist Ronnie Scott), and more. You can check out the full Sonic Cinema lineup, and watch trailers for most of the films, below.
Other films showing as part of DOC NYC:
Moments Like This Never Last: Cheryl Dunn's film about '00s NYC art sensation Dash Snow who died of a heroin overdose in 2009 at age 27.
Derek Delgaudio's In & Of Itself: Frank Oz directed this filmed version of DelGaudio's acclaimed one man show which combined illusion and storytelling.
Francesco: Evgeny Afineevsky’s documentary about Pope Francis which made headlines when the film revealed he backed gay marriage.
Belushi: RJ Cutler's portrait of John Belushi, one of Saturday Night Live's initial breakout stars, whose immense talent rivaled his taste for excess.
Jacinta: Jessica Earnshaw's film about a woman who is incarcerated alongside her mother explores the "cyclical nature of addiction and generational trauma."
Check out the full DOC NYC lineup here.
DOCS NYC VIRTUAL FESTIVAL -- SONIC CINEMA LINEUP
AMERICAN RAPSTAR (Sonic Cinema)
Dir: Justin Staple
North American Premiere. Filmmaker Justin Staple offers an eye-opening exploration of the SoundCloud rap phenomenon, a scene of troubled, young, lo-fi rappers that has emerged within the last few years. Exploiting the possibilities of social media to engage with a rabid fan base, a new breed of stars like Lil Peep, Smokepurpp, and Bhad Bhabie have disrupted the music industry, sidestepping traditional gatekeepers to shock the world with their rambunctious antics, prescription drug use, facial tattoos, and irreverent punk energy. (USA, 74 min.)
CROCK OF GOLD: A FEW ROUNDS WITH SHANE MACGOWAN (Sonic Cinema)
Dir. Julien Temple
North American Premiere. As the lead singer and songwriter of The Pogues, Shane MacGowan fused punk rock with Irish folk music to create timeless songs such as “Streams of Whiskey” and “Fairytale of New York,” while championing an unabashedly Irish identity. Filmmaker Julien Temple, who began his career making films with the Sex Pistols, is a perfect match to let MacGowan tell his own story, in revealing conversations with the likes of Gerry Adams and Johnny Depp. For any MacGowan fan, this is an essential portrait for understanding his complexity. (UK, 124 min.)
ELDER'S CORNER (Sonic Cinema)
Dir: Siji Awoyinka
North American Premiere. When a young London-born Nigerian music fan makes the shocking discovery that many Nigerian musical icons don't possess copies of their own recordings, he returns to Lagos to re-record them. This film chronicles the music—from juju to Afrobeat and everything in between—and its parallels to Nigeria’s socio-political evolution from the colonial 1950s through the nationalist movement and independence in the ’60s. Rare archival footage colors this performance-rich tour through the history of the nation’s music. (Nigeria, USA, 98 min.)
IN MY OWN TIME: A PORTRAIT OF KAREN DALTON (Sonic Cinema)
Dir: Robert Yapkowitz, Richard Peete
World Premiere. Blues and folk singer Karen Dalton was a prominent figure in 1960s New York. Idolized by Bob Dylan and Nick Cave, Karen discarded the traditional trappings of success and led an unconventional life until her early death. Since most images of Karen have been lost or destroyed, the film uses Karen’s dulcet melodies and interviews with loved ones to build a rich portrait of this singular woman and her hauntingly beautiful voice. (USA, 84 min.)
LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS (Sonic Cinema)
Dir: Marcia Jarmel, Ken Schneider
Brothers and gifted musicians, pianist Aldo and violinist Ilmar were separated during childhood after Ilmar left their native Cuba to study abroad, beginning a lifetime of being physically apart, yet alway connected by music. Brief windows of open US/Cuban relations allow the brothers’ joyous reunions where they revel in each others’ company and create beautiful classical, jazz, and Latin music together. Filmmakers Ken Schneider and Marcia Jarmel take the viewer on a delightful musical tour through Cuba and the US, with appearances from acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell. (USA, 83 min.)
RONNIE'S (Sonic Cinema)
Dir: Oliver Murray
International Premiere. A chronicle of the life of saxophonist Ronnie Scott, from poor, Jewish kid growing up in 1940s East End, London to the owner of the legendary night club, Ronnie’s. Glorious clips from performances by jazz greats spanning decades—Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Van Morrison, Chet Baker, and more—bring to life this story of a charming, talented man who secretly wrestled with his own inner demons. (UK, 104 min.)
SHUT UP SONA (Fight the Power)
Dir: Deepti Gupta
US Premiere. Indian singer Sona Mohapatra uses her powerful voice not only to entertain, but to speak out against Indian music industry practices that refuse to give female performers a fair shake. Director Deepti Gupta follows the unapologetically outspoken artist for three years of concerts, controversies, and conflicts with religious fundamentalists, social media trolls, and others who would rather she just shut up. Fearlessly fighting for gender equality, Sona has no intention of silencing her voice. (USA, 85 min.)
TINY TIM: KING FOR A DAY (Behind the Scenes)
Director: Johan von Sydow
US Premiere. For a brief but wondrous time in the late 1960s, Tiny Tim was, improbably, a household name. Generating attention for his distinctive falsetto vocal stylings and unusual appearance, the performer began appearing on various television programs, culminating in his wedding on The Tonight Show, which was watched by more than 40 million people. For Tiny Tim, born Herbert Khaury, it was the fulfillment of a lifetime’s dream to find love and acceptance, but his fame would prove heartbreakingly fleeting. (USA, Denmark, Sweden, 78 min.)
UNIVERSE (Sonic Cinema)
Dir: Nick Capezzera, Sam Osborn
North American Premiere. Anointed as Miles Davis’ protegé by the legend himself, Wallace Roney slipped into relative obscurity shortly after his mentor’s death. A recently rediscovered orchestral jazz suite written by Wayne Shorter for Davis but never performed draws the gifted Roney back to his horn. As Roney struggles to organize an orchestra to perform the challenging piece, can he bring honor to his mentor’s legacy? Director Sam Osborn gifts us with this moving testimony on what it’s like to be in love with and uncompromising in your art. (USA, 78 min.)
ZAPPA (Sonic Cinema)
Dir: Alex Winter
Through his pioneering band, Mothers of Invention, as well as his solo work, Frank Zappa embraced a variety of genres, from rock and jazz to experimental and classical music, ultimately producing more than 60 albums in a career spanning four decades. An outspoken critic of the status quo and staunch defender of free expression, he was an iconoclast who literally inspired a revolution in Czechoslovakia. Granted access to Zappa’s personal archives, including thousands of hours of unreleased music, films, and interviews, director Alex Winter has constructed the definitive portrait of the maverick musician. (USA, 129 min.)