Oct 1, 2019
Four-Day Series Bookended by Roger Ross Williams’s The Apollo and a Special Tribute to Martin Scorsese’s Documentary Work
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM has announced the lineup of programs for the fifth annual Doc Stories, November 1–4 at the Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street) and Vogue Theatre (3290 Sacramento Street). Doc Stories gives the Bay Area a voice in the upcoming awards season by celebrating many of the year’s most important long- and short-form documentaries. The lineup features brand-new films yet to be released alongside in-depth discussions with filmmaker guests in person, illuminating the topics of the non-fiction films that will come to define the end-of-year awards conversation. Additionally, SFFILM will pay tribute to two legendary documentarians, Julia Reichert and Martin Scorsese, who will take the stage for in-depth conversations exploring their storied careers in the non-fiction form.
“Along with this exciting array of current non-fiction films, we are thrilled to be welcoming two truly great documentarians to San Francisco for Doc Stories tributes this year,” said SFFILM Director of Programming Rachel Rosen. “Having filmmakers in person for nearly every program helps make Doc Stories a lively event for both awards season consideration and our local audiences.”
In this year’s Doc Stories program, the individual—from the famous to the not-so-famous to the infamous—dominates. Whether it’s the amazing performers who have graced the stage of Harlem’s Apollo Theater, the brave first responders to the Camp Fire, or the shocking hubris of Imelda Marcos, the subjects of these extraordinary films reflect on politics, the arts, a life in medicine, womanhood, and much more.
Doc Stories is presented by Alta magazine and Showtime Documentary Films and patrons Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen. Major support is provided by HBO, Netflix, Participant Media, Secret Sauce Media, 30 for 30, and Vulcan Productions. Additional support is provided by The Laurel Inn.
For complete program information, visit sffilm.org/presents. Guest information subject to change.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 – CASTRO THEATRE
7:30 pm – Opening Night: The Apollo
with special musical introduction by Fantastic Negrito
Roger Ross Williams, USA 2019, 102 min. Director Roger Ross Williams and producer Lisa Cortés are expected to attend.
As a showcase for black music and culture in America, Harlem’s Apollo Theater is unparalleled. Director Roger Ross Williams traces its history with bountiful archival footage from the venue, using pivotal moments in black civic history for context, and preparations for a star-studded presentation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me to show its continued relevance. Filled with a riveting parade of performances and interviews, including Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Savion Glover, and Redd Foxx, The Apollo pays tribute to a venerable and indispensable American institution.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – VOGUE THEATRE
1:00 pm – Doc Shorts 1: Childhood Heroes
TRT 76 min. Directors Carol Dysinger and Jason Hanasik are expected to attend.
Children can be fragile, especially in troubled times. These inspiring shorts highlight men and women doing their best to help the next generation. Whether working within their own family (A Childhood on Fire), a school for girls (Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)), or the chaos of a refugee camp (Lost and Found), these everyday heroes and the kids they nurture will warm your heart.
3:15 pm – Shooting the Mafia
Kim Longinotto, Ireland/USA 2019, 94 min.
Bold and brash, Sicilian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia began her brilliant career late in life, after divorcing at 35 in the early 1970s. Working for a left-wing Palermo newspaper, she documented the local Mafia’s rise to power and its societal impact, accumulating a record of over 600,000 images. Anchored by Battaglia’s vivid and graphic work and her engrossing personal reflections, the latest film by director Kim Longinotto (SFFILM Festival POV Award 2015) weaves Battaglia’s life story with the Mafia’s bloody history, illustrating the anxiety and fear of this tumultuous time.
5:30 pm – Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Ric Burns, USA 2019, 109 min. Director Ric Burns is expected to attend.
Compassionate humanist, neurologist, and award-winning author Oliver Sacks shares his 82 memorable years on the planet with director Ric Burns in this wide-ranging and entertaining film. Using a reading of the memoir On the Move (2015) surrounded by loved ones in Sacks’s Bronx apartment as the through-line to elicit the man’s remembrances, Burns also intersperses family photos, archival footage (including some of the “awakenings” from his L-DOPA trials), and comments from various friends to fill out the picture of this remarkable individual.
8:30 pm – New York Times Op-Docs
TRT 97 min. Director Laura Nix and NY Times Editorial Director for Film and TV Kathleen Lingo are expected to attend.
This latest selection of the year’s best short documentaries from The New York Times’ award-winning series is the fifth edition of what has become a treasured Doc Stories tradition. This year’s program highlights people in search of something, from an amateur storm chaser on a quest for a tornado, to a fencer trying to overcome tragedy, to the head of a surrogacy agency seeking someone to bear her child.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – VOGUE THEATRE
1:30 pm – Growing Up Female: A Tribute to Julia Reichert
TRT 90 min. Julia Reichert is expected to attend.
For almost 50 years, Julia Reichert, acclaimed co-director of American Factory (SFFILM Festival 2019), has been examining the social, cultural, and political forces that shape America through her insightful and empathetic documentaries. Please join us for this special tribute to her career with a conversation and screening of her first film, Growing Up Female (USA 1971, 50 min). Cited as the first film of the modern women’s movement and a recent addition to the National Film Registry, Reichert’s debut deftly explores the lives of six girls and women, ages four to 35.
3:30 pm – Doc Shorts 2: Into the Inferno
TRT 81 min. Fire in Paradise co-director Drea Cooper is expected to attend.
It is often remarked that people show their true colors in times of crisis. These two 40-minute films—The Nightcrawlers and Fire in Paradise—tell harrowing personal stories of people trying to negotiate incredibly challenging circumstances, whether it’s a national leader’s strongman policies or the most destructive fire in California history.
5:45 pm – The Kingmaker
Lauren Greenfield, USA/Denmark 2019, 102 min. Director Lauren Greenfield is expected to attend.
“I always got my way,” says Imelda Marcos in Lauren Greenfield’s eye-opening portrait of the notorious First Lady of the Philippines. Whether she’s patronizingly tossing money to kids from her chauffeured car, claiming the benefits of her husband’s declaration of martial law, or creating her own island zoo that she neglects, this remarkable documentary presents a narcissistic and self-deluded political figure (ring any bells?) who is presently angling for a return to leadership through her son Ferdinand “Bongbong,” and using any means at her disposal to do so.
8:30 pm – Cunningham
Alla Kovgan, Germany/France/USA 2019, 93 min. Director Alla Kovgan is expected to attend.
Once of the most rigorous and revered modern dancers, Merce Cunningham astounded and sometimes confounded his audiences with his unclassifiable performances. Alla Kovgan brings his work and life to the screen in vivid fashion, combining never-before-seen footage of the choreographer and insightful interviews with key members of his original company as well as close collaborators John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, alongside contemporary renditions of his key works by the last generation of Cunningham dancers, shot in spectacular 3-D.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4 – CASTRO THEATRE
7:00 pm – Closing Night: A Tribute to the Non-Fiction Filmmaking of Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese is expected to attend.
While he is beloved for his epic fiction features, Martin Scorsese’s non-fiction films are among his best work. Whether depicting tales of American life, illuminating the history of cinema, or capturing the exuberant spirit of contemporary music, his documentaries are insightful and often playful, revealing his curiosity and passion. We are thrilled to be welcoming this master filmmaker for an onstage conversation about his documentary work following a screening of his latest imaginative hybrid, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.
Film tickets are $13 for SFFILM members, $16 general. Tickets to Closing Night: A Tribute to the Non-Fiction Filmmaking of Martin Scorsese are $20 for SFFILM members, $25 general. Box office now open online at sffilm.org.
For general information visit sffilm.org
To request event access, interviews, or screeners, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SFFILM produces a robust slate of public programs throughout the year, including red carpet premiere events, advance member screenings, and in-depth film series. With diverse offerings and a commitment to excellence in world cinema, SFFILM is the home of great film in the Bay Area all year long. For more information visit sffilm.org/presents.
SFFILM is a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival (April 8–21, 2020), SFFILM is a year-round nonprofit organization delivering screenings and events to nearly 75,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 12,000 students and teachers annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services. For more information visit sffilm.org.