There are 3 times as many men directors than women directors in 2014 US Doc Competition @Sundance.
The average for over the last 12 years is twice as many men as women. 2013 was 2x.
more notes below the chart...
This chart shows how the 16 films selected each year in the US Documentary Competition break down by male/female directors.
Many films are directed by more than one person of course. They are MW (Man-Woman) teams, MM, & WW teams.
Usually duos but sometimes more (Occupy film naturally has the record-breaker, with FOUR directors). The teams have cancelled each other out in parity terms.
i.e. it's in films made by a single director that we see a dearth of women, or an excess of men.
I have no idea what this means - nor how the submissions break down - nor if I got everything just right.
All the lineups pasted below for fun.
I'd love to hear from people, and I will post any comments or questions - email@example.com - (sorry for primitive site functionality)
thanks, a habitual counter, IH @unemploymentdoc
Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett) — Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease and dementia—many of them alone in nursing homes. A man with a simple idea discovers that songs embedded deep in memory can ease pain and awaken these fading minds. Joy and life are resuscitated, and our cultural fears over aging are confronted.
All the Beautiful Things / U.S.A. (Director: John Harkrider) — John and Barron are lifelong friends whose friendship is tested when Barron's girlfriend says Barron put a knife to her throat and raped her. Not knowing she has lied, John tells her to go to the police. Years later, John and Barron meet in a bar to resolve the betrayal.
CAPTIVATED The Trials of Pamela Smart / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Jeremiah Zagar) — In an extraordinary and tragic American story, a small town murder becomes one of the highest profile cases of all time. From its historic role as the first televised trial to the many books and movies made about it, the film looks at the media’s enduring impact on the case.
The Case Against 8 / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) — A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cesar's Last Fast / U.S.A. (Directors: Richard Ray Perez, Lorena Parlee) — Inspired by Catholic social teaching, Cesar Chavez risked his life fighting for America’s poorest workers. The film illuminates the intensity of one man’s devotion and personal sacrifice, the birth of an economic justice movement, and tells an untold chapter in the story of civil rights in America.
Dinosaur 13 / U.S.A. (Director: Todd Miller) — The true tale behind one of the greatest discoveries in history. DAY ONE FILM
E-TEAM / U.S.A. (Directors: Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman) — E-TEAM is driven by the high-stakes investigative work of four intrepid human rights workers, offering a rare look at their lives at home and their dramatic work in the field.
Fed Up / U.S.A. (Director: Stephanie Soechtig) — Fed Up blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history.
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz / U.S.A. (Director: Brian Knappenberger) — Programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz achieved groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing. His passion for open access ensnared him in a legal nightmare that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.
Ivory Tower / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Rossi) — As tuition spirals upward and student debt passes a trillion dollars, students and parents ask, "Is college worth it?" From the halls of Harvard to public and private colleges in financial crisis to education startups in Silicon Valley, an urgent portrait emerges of a great American institution at the breaking point.
Marmato / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Grieco) — Colombia is the center of a new global gold rush, and Marmato, a historic mining town, is the new frontier. Filmed over the course of nearly six years, Marmato chronicles how townspeople confront a Canadian mining company that wants the $20 billion in gold beneath their homes.
No No: A Dockumentary / U.S.A. (Director: Jeffrey Radice) — Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD, then worked for decades counseling drug abusers. Dock's soulful style defined 1970s baseball as he kept hitters honest and embarrassed the establishment. An ensemble cast of teammates, friends, and family investigate his life on the field, in the media, and out of the spotlight.
The Overnighters / U.S.A. (Director: Jesse Moss) — Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor's decision to help them has extraordinary and unexpected consequences.
Private Violence / U.S.A. (Director: Cynthia Hill) — One in four women experience violence in their homes. Have you ever asked, “Why doesn't she just leave?” Private Violence shatters the brutality of our logic and intimately reveals the stories of two women: Deanna Walters, who transforms from victim to survivor, and Kit Gruelle, who advocates for justice.
Rich Hill / U.S.A. (Directors: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos) — In a rural, American town, kids face heartbreaking choices, find comfort in the most fragile of family bonds, and dream of a future of possibility.
Watchers of the Sky / U.S.A. (Director: Edet Belzberg) — Five interwoven stories of remarkable courage from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Darfur to Syria, and from apathy to action.
99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film / U.S.A. (Directors: Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read, Nina Krstic) — The Occupy movement erupted in September 2011, propelling economic inequality into the spotlight. In an unprecedented collaboration, filmmakers across America tell its story, digging into big picture issues as organizers, analysts, participants and critics reveal how it happened and why.
After Tiller / U.S.A. (Directors: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson) — Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, only four doctors in the country provide late-term abortions. With unprecedented access, After Tiller goes inside the lives of these physicians working at the center of the storm.
American Promise / U.S.A. (Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson) — This intimate documentary follows the 12-year journey of two African-American families pursuing the promise of opportunity through the education of their sons.
Blackfish / U.S.A. (Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite) — Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.
Blood Brother / U.S.A. (Director: Steve Hoover) — Rocky went to India as a disillusioned tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV, he decided to stay. He never could have imagined the obstacles he would face, or the love he would find.
Citizen Koch / U.S.A. (Directors: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin) — Wisconsin – birthplace of the Republican Party, government unions, “cheeseheads” and Paul Ryan – becomes a test market in the campaign to buy Democracy, and ground zero in the battle for the future of the GOP.
Cutie and the Boxer / U.S.A. (Director: Zachary Heinzerling) — This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role of assistant to her overbearing husband, Noriko seeks an identity of her own.
Dirty Wars / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Rowley) — Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill chases down the truth behind America’s covert wars.
Gideon's Army / U.S.A. (Director: Dawn Porter) — Gideon’s Army follows three young, committed Public Defenders who are dedicated to working for the people society would rather forget. Long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads are so common that even the most committed often give up.
God Loves Uganda / U.S.A. (Director: Roger Ross Williams) — A powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to infuse African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow biblical law.
Inequality for All / U.S.A. (Director: Jacob Kornbluth) — In this timely and entertaining documentary, noted economic-policy expert Robert Reich distills the topic of widening income inequality, and addresses the question of what effects this increasing gap has on our economy and our democracy.
Life According to Sam / U.S.A. (Directors: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine) — Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns fight to save their only son from a rare and fatal aging disease for which there is no cure. Their work may one day unlock the key to aging in all of us.
MANHUNT / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Greg Barker) — This espionage tale goes inside the CIA’s long conflict against Al Qaeda, as revealed by the remarkable women and men whose secret war against Osama bin Laden started nearly a decade before most of us even knew his name.
Narco Cultura / U.S.A. (Director: Shaul Schwarz) — An examination of Mexican drug cartels’ influence in pop culture on both sides of the border as experienced by an LA narcocorrido singer dreaming of stardom and a Juarez crime scene investigator on the front line of Mexico’s Drug War.
Twenty Feet From Stardom / U.S.A. (Director: Morgan Neville) — Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead – until now. DAY ONE FILM
Valentine Road / U.S.A. (Director: Marta Cunningham) — In 2008, eighth-grader Brandon McInerney shot classmate Larry King at point blank range. Unraveling this tragedy from point of impact, the film reveals the heartbreaking circumstances that led to the shocking crime as well as its startling aftermath.
2012 U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The world premieres of 16 American documentary films.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry / U.S.A., China (Director: Alison Klayman) — Renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations and increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government.
The Atomic States of America / U.S.A. (Directors: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce) — In 2010, the United States announced construction of the first new nuclear power plant in more than 32 years. A year later, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan sparking a fierce debate in the U.S. over the safety and viability of nuclear power.
Chasing Ice / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski) — Science, spectacle and human passion mix in this stunningly cinematic portrait as National Geographic photographer James Balog captures time-lapse photography of glaciers over several years providing tangible visual evidence of climate change.
DETROPIA / U.S.A. (Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady) — The woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. This is the dramatic story of a city and its people who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames are rising.
ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare / U.S.A. (Directors: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke) — What can be done to save our broken medical system? Powerful forces are trying to maintain the status quo in a profit-driven medical industry, but a movement to bring innovative methods of prevention and healing is finally gaining ground – potentially saving the health of a nation.
Finding North / U.S.A. (Directors: Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush) — A crisis of hunger looms in America and is not limited to the poverty stricken and uneducated. Can a return to policies of the 1970s save our future?
The House I Live In / U.S.A. (Director: Eugene Jarecki) — For over 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet, drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong and what is the path toward healing?
How to Survive a Plague / U.S.A. (Director: David France) — The untold story of the intensive efforts that turned AIDS into a manageable condition – and the improbable group of (mostly HIV-positive) young men and women whose amazing resilience broke through a time of rampant death and political indifference.
The Invisible War / U.S.A. (Director: Kirby Dick) — An investigative and powerfully emotional examination of the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, the institutions that cover up its existence and the profound personal and social consequences that arise from it.
Love Free or Die / U.S.A. (Director: Macky Alston) — One man whose two defining passions are in conflict: An openly gay bishop refuses to leave the Church or the man he loves.
Marina Abramovi The Artist is Present / U.S.A. (Director: Matthew Akers) — Marina Abramovi prepares for a major retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York hoping to finally silence four decades of skeptics who proclaim: 'But why is this art?'
ME @ the ZOO / U.S.A. (Directors: Chris Moukarbel, Valerie Veatch) — With 270 million hits to date, Chris Crocker, an uncanny young video blogger from small town Tennessee, is considered the Internet's first rebel folk hero and at the same time one of its most controversial personalities.
The Other Dream Team / Lithuania, U.S.A. (Director: Marius Markevicius) — The 1992 Lithuanian National Basketball Team went from the clutches of Communism to the Summer Olympics in Barcelona – a testament to the powerful role of sports as a catalyst for cultural identity.
The Queen of Versailles / U.S.A. (Director: Lauren Greenfield) — Jackie and David were triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America – a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles – when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. DAY ONE FILM
Slavery By Another Name / U.S.A. (Director: Sam Pollard) — As slavery came to an end with Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, a new system of involuntary servitude took its place with shocking force, brutalizing, terrorizing and ultimately circumscribing the lives of hundreds of thousands of African Americans well into the 20th century.
We're Not Broke / U.S.A. (Directors: Karin Hayes, Victoria Bruce) — As American lawmakers slash budgets and lay off employees, leaving many people scrambling to survive, multibillion-dollar corporations are concealing colossal profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. income tax. Fed-up Americans are taking their frustration to the streets.
Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (Director: Michael Rapaport) - The story of the rise and influence of one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the collective known as A Tribe Called Quest.
BEING ELMO: A Puppeteer's Journey (Director: Constance Marks) - The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet - the heart and soul of Elmo - Kevin Clash.
Buck (Director: Cindy Meehl) - In a story about the power of non-violence, master horse trainer Buck Brannaman uses principles of respect and trust to tame horses and inspire their human counterparts.
Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology (Director: Tiffany Shlain; Screenwriters: Tiffany Shlain, Ken Goldberg, Carlton Evans and Sawyer Steele) - Connected is an exhilarating stream-of-consciousness ride through the interconnectedness of humankind, nature, progress and morality at the dawn of the 21st century. For centuries we've been declaring independence. With insight, curiosity, and humor, the film explores whether it's time to declare our interdependence.
Crime After Crime (Director: Yoav Potash) - Debbie Peagler is a survivor of brutal domestic violence incarcerated for her connection to the murder of her abuser. Two decades later a pair of rookie land-use attorneys cut their teeth on her case, attracting global attention to the troubled intersection of domestic violence and criminal justice.
Hot Coffee (Director: Susan Saladoff) - Following subjects whose lives have been devastated by an inability to access the courts, this film shows that many long-held beliefs about our civil justice system have been paid for by corporate America.
How to Die in Oregon (Director: Peter D. Richardson) - In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. How to Die in Oregon gently enters the lives of terminally ill Oregonians to illuminate the power of death with dignity.
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Director: Marshall Curry) - The Earth Liberation Front is a radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat.' Daniel McGowan, an ELF member, faces life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. But who is really to blame?
Main Street during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival
The Last Mountain (Director: Bill Haney; Screenwriters: Bill Haney and Peter Rhodes) - A coal mining corporation and a tiny community vie for the last great mountain in Appalachia in a battle for the future of energy that affects us all.
Miss Representation (Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom; Screenwriters: Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Jessica Congdon) - Miss Representation uncovers how American mainstream media's limited and disparaging portrayals of women contribute to the under-representation of women in power positions - creating another generation of women defined by youth, beauty and sexuality, and not by their capacity as leaders.
Page One: A year inside the New York Times (Director: Andrew Rossi; Screenwriters: Kate Novack and Andrew Rossi) - Unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of the transformation of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity.
The Redemption of General Butt Naked (Directors: Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion) - A brutal warlord who murdered thousands during Liberia's horrific 14-year civil war renounces his violent past and reinvents himself as an Evangelist, facing those he once terrorized.
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (Director: Jon Foy) - An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.
Sing Your Song (A film by Susanne Rostock) - Most people know the lasting legacy of Harry Belafonte, the entertainer; this film unearths his significant contribution to and his leadership in the civil rights movement in America and to social justice globally.
Troubadours (Director: Morgan Neville) - A musical journey tracing the lives and careers of James Taylor and Carole King, pillars of the California singer/songwriter scene, which converged in and around LA's Troubadour Club in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
We Were Here (Director: David Weissman) - A deep and reflective look at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco and how individuals rose to the occasion during the first years of this unimaginable crisis.
Bhutto (Directors: Duane Baughman and Johnny O'Hara; Screenwriter: Johnny O'Hara)—A riveting journey through the life and work of recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister and a polarizing figure in the Muslim world. World Premiere
CASINO JACK & The United States of Money (Director: Alex Gibney)—A probing investigation into the lies, greed and corruption surrounding D.C. super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies. World Premiere
Family Affair (Director: Chico Colvard)—An uncompromising documentary that examines resilience, survival and the capacity to accommodate a parent's past crimes in order to satisfy the longing for family. World Premiere
Freedom Riders (Director: Stanley Nelson)—The story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called the Freedom Riders who in 1961 creatively challenged segregation in the American South. World Premiere
Gas Land (Director: Josh Fox)—A cross-country odyssey uncovers toxic streams, dying livestock, flammable sinks and weakening health among rural citizens on the front lines of the natural gas drilling craze. World Premiere
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (Director: Tamra Davis)—The story of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose work defined, electrified and challenged an era, and whose untimely death at age 27 has made him a cultural icon. World Premiere
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Directors: Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg)—A rare, brutally honest glimpse into the comedic process and private dramas of legendary comedian and pop icon Joan Rivers as she fights tooth and nail to keep her American dream alive. World Premiere
Lucky (Director: Jeffrey Blitz)—The story of what happens when ordinary people hit the lottery jackpot. World Premiere
My Perestroika (Director: Robin Hessman)—Intimately tracking the lives of five Muscovites who came of age just as the USSR collapsed and are adjusting to their post-Soviet reality, My Perestroika maps the contours of a nation in profound transition. World Premiere
The Oath (Director: Laura Poitras)— Filmed in Yemen, The Oath tells the story of two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a course of events that led them to Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo, and the U.S. Supreme Court. World Premiere
Restrepo (Directed by: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington)—Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan's most strategically crucial valleys reveals extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights,and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban. World Premiere
A Small Act (Director: Jennifer Arnold)—A young Kenyan’s life changes dramatically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founds his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received. World Premiere
Smash His Camera (Director: Leon Gast)—Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sued him, and Marlon Brando broke his jaw. The story of notorious, reviled paparazzo Ron Galella opens a Pandora's Box of issues from right to privacy, freedom of the press and the ever-growing vortex of celebrity worship. World Premiere
12th & Delaware (Directors: Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing)—The abortion battle continues to rage in unexpected ways on an unassuming corner in America. World Premiere
I'm Pat _______ Tillman (Director: Amir Bar-Lev)—The story of professional football star and decorated U.S. soldier Pat Tillman, whose family takes on the U.S. government when their beloved son dies in a "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan in 2004. World Premiere
Waiting for Superman (Director: Davis Guggenheim)—"Waiting for Superman" examines the crisis of public education in the United States through multiple interlocking stories—from a handful of students and their families whose futures hang in the balance, to the educators and reformers trying to find real and lasting solutions within a dysfunctional system. World Premiere
2009 US DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Art & Copy (Director: Doug Pray; Screenwriter: Timothy J. Sexton)—Rare interviews with the most influential advertising creative minds of our age illustrate the wide-reaching effect advertising and creativity have on modern culture. World Premiere
Boy Interrupted (Director: Dana Perry)—An intimate look at the life, mental illness and death of a young man told from the point of view of the filmmaker: his mother. World Premiere
The Cove (Director: Louie Psihoyos; Screenwriter: Mark Monroe)—Dolphins are dying, whales are disappearing, and the oceans are growing sick. The horrors of a secret cove nestled off a small, coastal village in Japan are revealed by a group of activists led by Ric O’Barry, the man behind Flipper. World Premiere
Crude (Director: Joe Berlinger)—The inside story of the “Amazon Chernobyl” case in the rainforest of Ecuador, the largest oil-related environmental lawsuit in the world. World Premiere
Dirt! The Movie (Directors: Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow)—The story of the relationship between humans and dirt, Dirt! The Movie humorously details how humans are rapidly destroying the last natural resource on earth. World Premiere
El General (Director: Natalia Almada)—As great-granddaughter of Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles, one of Mexico’s most controversial revolutionary figures, filmmaker Natalia Almada paints an intimate portrait of Mexico. World Premiere
Good Hair (Director: Jeff Stilson)—Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. World Premiere
Over the Hills and Far Away (Director: Michel Orion Scott)—Over the Hills and Far Away chronicles the journey of the Isaacson family as they travel through Mongolia in search of a mysterious shaman they believe can heal their autistic son. World Premiere
The Reckoning (Director: Pamela Yates; Screenwriters: Peter Kinoy, Paco de Onís, Pamela Yates)—A battle of monumental proportions unfolds as International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo faces down warlords, genocidal dictators and world superpowers in bringing perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice. World Premiere
Reporter (Director: Eric Daniel Metzgar)—Set in Africa, this documentary chronicles, in verité fashion, the haunting, physically grueling and shocking voyage of Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Nicholas D. Kristof. World Premiere
The September Issue (Director: R.J. Cutler)—With unprecedented access, director R.J. Cutler and his crew shot for nine months as they captured Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team preparing the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. World Premiere
Sergio (Director: Greg Barker)—Sergio examines the role of the United Nations and the international community through the life and experiences of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, including interviews with those who knew and worked with him over the course of his extraordinary career. World Premiere
Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech (Director: Liz Garbus)—An exploration of the history and current state of free speech in America narrated by the filmmaker’s father, First Amendment attorney Martin Garbus. World Premiere
We Live in Public (Director and Screenwriter: Ondi Timoner)—We Live in Public is the story of the Internet’s revolutionary impact on human interaction as told through the eyes of maverick web pioneer, Josh Harris and his transgressive art project that shocked New York. World Premiere
When You’re Strange (Director and Screenwriter: Tom DiCillo)—The first feature documentary about The Doors, When You’re Strange enters the dark and dangerous world of one of America’s most influential bands using only footage shot between 1966 and 1971. World Premiere
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (Directors: Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler)—With clients including Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the Chicago 10, the late civil rights attorney William Kunstler was one of the most famous lawyers of the 20th century. Filmmakers Emily and Sarah Kunstler explore their father’s life from movement hero to “the most hated lawyer in America.” World Premiere
2008 Sundance Documentary Competition
Posted November 29th, 2007, 12:11 AM by Sundance Institute
These films represent a broad section of new documentaries by American independent filmmakers. From examinations of the American political system and the country’s use of natural resources to explorations of cultural development and intimate portraits of legendary artists, these films represent a thematic and artistic variety. This year’s 16 films were selected from a record 953 submissions. Each film is a world premiere.
The films screening in Documentary Competition are:
AN AMERICAN SOLDIER (Director and Screenwriter: Edet Belzberg) – Uncle Sam really wants you! A compelling exploration of army recruitment in the United States told through the story of Louisiana Sergeant, First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful recruiters in the history of the U.S. Army. World Premiere
AMERICAN TEEN (Director and Screenwriter: Nanette Burstein) – This irreverent cinema vérité chronicles four seniors at an Indiana high school and yields a surprising snapshot of Midwestern life. World Premiere
BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* (Director: Christopher Bell; Screenwriters: Christopher Bell, Alexander Buono, Tamsin Rawady) – A filmmaker explores America’s win-at-all-cost culture by examining his two brothers’ steroids use…and his own. World Premiere
FIELDS OF FUEL (Director and Screenwriter: Josh Tickell) – America is addicted to oil and it is time for an intervention. Enter Josh Tickell, a man with a plan and a Veggie Van, who is taking on big oil, big government, and big soy to find solutions in places few people have looked. World Premiere
FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER (Director: Irena Salina) – Water is the very essence of life, sustaining every being on the planet. FLOW confronts the disturbing reality that our crucial resource is dwindling and greed just may be the cause. World Premiere
GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON (Director: Alex Gibney) – Fueled by a raging libido, Wild Turkey, and superhuman doses of drugs, Thompson was a true “free lance,” goring sacred cows with impunity, hilarity, and a steel-eyed conviction for writing wrongs. Focusing on the good doctor’s heyday, 1965 to 1975, the film includes clips of never-before-seen (nor heard) home movies, audiotapes, and passages from unpublished manuscripts. World Premiere
THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO (Director and Screenwriter: Lisa F. Jackson) – Jackson travels to remote villages in the war zones of the Congo to meet rape survivors, providing a piercing, intimate look into the struggle of their lives. World Premiere
I.O.U.S.A. (Director: Patrick Creadon) – Few are aware that America may be on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. explores the country’s shocking current fiscal condition and ways to avoid a national economic disaster. World Premiere
NERAKHOON (THE BETRAYAL) (Director: Ellen Kuras; Co-Director: Thavisouk Phrasavath; Screenwriters: Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath) – The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Kuras has spent the last 23 years chronicling the family’s extraordinary journey in this deeply personal, poetic, and emotional film. World Premiere
THE ORDER OF MYTHS (Director: Margaret Brown) – In 2007 Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras is celebrated…and complicated. Following a cast of characters, parades, and parties across an enduring color line, we see that beneath the surface of pageantry lies something else altogether. World Premiere
PATTI SMITH: DREAM OF LIFE (Director and Screenwriter: Steven Sebring) – An intimate portrait of music icon Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself. World Premiere
ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED (Director: Marina Zenovich; Screenwriters: Marina Zenovich, Joe Bini, P.G. Morgan) – Marina Zenovich’s new documentary examines the public scandal and private tragedy which led to legendary director Roman Polanski’s sudden flight from the United States. World Premiere
SECRECY (Directors: Peter Galison, Robb Moss) – Amidst the American hunger for instantaneous news and up-to-date “facts,” this unflinching film uncovers the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. World Premiere
SLINGSHOT HIP HOP (Director: Jackie Reem Salloum) – The voice of a new generation rocks and rhymes as Palestinian rappers form alternative voices of resistance within the Israeli-Palestinian struggle[/b]. World Premiere
TRACES OF THE TRADE: A STORY FROM THE DEEP NORTH (Director: Katrina Browne; C0-Directors: Alla Kovgan, Jude Ray; Screenwriters: Katrina Browne, Alla Kovgan) – History finally gets rewritten as descendants of the largest slave-trading family in early America face their past, and present, as they explore their violent heritage across oceans and continents. World Premiere
TROUBLE THE WATER (Directors: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal) – An aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband, armed with a video camera, show what survival is all about when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, and seize a chance for a new beginning. World Premiere
BANISHED (Director: Marco Williams)—This story of three U.S. towns which, in the early 20th century, forced their entire African American populations to leave, explores what—if anything—can be done to repair past racial injustice. World Premiere.
CHASING GHOSTS (Director: Lincoln Ruchti)—Twin Galaxies Arcade, Iowa, 1982: the birthplace of mankind’s obsession with video games. The fate of this world lies in the hands (literally) of a few unlikely heroes: They are the Original Video Game World Champions and the arcade is their battleground. World Premiere.
CRAZY LOVE (Director: Dan Klores)—An unsettling true story about an obsessive relationship between a married man and a beautiful, single 20-year-old woman, which began in 1957 and continues today. World Premiere.
EVERYTHING’S COOL (Directors: Judith Helfand, Daniel B. Gold)—A group of self-appointed global warming messengers are on a high stakes quest to find the iconic image, proper language, and points of leverage to help the public go from embracing the urgency of the problem to creating the political will necessary to move to an alternative energy economy. World Premiere.
FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (Director: Daniel Karslake)—Grounded by the stories of five conservative Christian families, the film explores how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to support its agenda of stigmatizing the gay community and eroding the separation between church and state. World Premiere.
GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB (Director: Rory Kennedy)—This inside look at the abuses that occurred at the infamous Iraqi prison in the fall of 2003 uses direct, personal narratives of perpetrators, witnesses, and victims to probe the effects of the abuses on all involved. World Premiere.
GIRL 27 (Director: David Stenn)—When underage dancer Patricia Douglas is raped at a wild MGM stag party in 1937, she makes headlines and legal history, and then disappears. GIRL 27 follows author-screenwriter David Stenn as he investigates one of Hollywood’s most notorious scandals. World Premiere.
HEAR AND NOW (Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky)—Filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky tells a deeply personal story about her deaf parents, and their radical decision—after 65 years of silence—to undergo cochlear implant surgery, a complex procedure that could give them the ability to hear. World Premiere.
MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) (Director: Jason Kohn)—In Brazil, known as one of the world’s most corrupt and violent countries, MANDA BALA follows a politician who uses a frog farm to steal billions of dollars, a wealthy businessman who spends a small fortune bulletproofing his cars, and a plastic surgeon who reconstructs the ears of mutilated kidnapping victims. World Premiere.
MY KID COULD PAINT THAT (Director: Amir Bar-Lev)—A 4-year-old girl whose paintings are compared to Kandinsky, Pollock and even Picasso, has sold $300,000 dollars worth of paintings. Is she a genius of abstract expressionism, a tiny charlatan, or an exploited child whose parents have sold her out for the glare of the media and the lure of the almighty dollar? World Premiere.
NANKING (Director: Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman)—A powerful and haunting depiction of the atrocities suffered by the Chinese at the hands of the invading Japanese army during “The Rape of Nanking”, one of the most tragic events of WWII. While more than 200,000 Chinese were murdered and ten of thousands raped, a handful of Westerners performed extraordinary acts of heroism, saving over 250,000 lives in the midst of the horror. World Premiere.
NO END IN SIGHT(Director: Charles Ferguson)—A comprehensive examination of the Bush Administration’s conduct of the Iraq war and occupation. Featuring first-time interviews with key participants, the film creates a startlingly clear reconstruction of key decisions that led to the current state of affairs in this war-torn country. World Premiere.
PROTAGONIST (Director: Jessica Yu)—PROTAGONIST explores the organic relationship between human life and Euripidean dramatic structure by weaving together the stories of four men—a German terrorist, a bank robber, an “ex-gay” evangelist, and a martial arts student. World Premiere.
WAR DANCE (Director: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine)—Devastated by the long civil war in Uganda, three young girls and their school in the Patongo refugee camp find hope as they make a historic journey to compete in their country’s national music and dance festival. World Premiere.
WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN: THE DESTRUCTION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI (Director: Steven Okazaki)—WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN offers a visceral, topical and moving portrait of the human cost of atomic warfare. World Premiere.
ZOO (Director: Robinson Devor)—A humanizing look at the life and bizarre death of a seemingly normal Seattle family man who met his untimely end after an unusual encounter with a horse. World Premiere.
2006 The films screening in Documentary Competition are:
A LION IN THE HOUSE (Directors: Steven Bogner, Julia Reichert)—Five diverse families—each with a child fighting cancer—navigate the ups and downs of treatment over six years, while maintaining hope in this complex portrait of human resilience. World Premiere.
AMERICAN BLACKOUT (Director: Ian Inaba)—A stylish hard hitting documentary that recounts the fascinating career of Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and the suppression of the black vote historically and during the recent Presidential elections in Florida and Ohio. World Premiere.
AN UNREASONABLE MAN (Directors: Henriette Mantel and Stephen Skrovan)—Using rarely seen archival footage and over forty recently conducted on-camera interviews, this documentary traces the career of Ralph Nader from quixotic consumer advocate to upstart presidential candidate to public pariah. World Premiere.
CROSSING ARIZONA (Director: Joseph Mathew)—A balanced, far-reaching look at a range of human stories unfolding in the midst of Arizona’s illegal immigration crisis. World Premiere.
GOD GREW TIRED OF US (Director: Christopher Quinn and Tom Walker)—Four boys from Sudan embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety. World Premiere.
GROUND TRUTH: AFTER THE KILLING ENDS (Director: Patricia Foulkrod)—Reveals how the military trains our soldiers for war, the reality of combat in Iraq and the effects of this war on our soldiers coming home. World Premiere.
IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS (Director: James Longley)—Contemporary Iraq is illuminated in three chapters that follow the diverse stories of Iraqis against a backdrop of war, occupation and ethnic tension. World Premiere.
SMALL TOWN GAY BAR (Director: Malcolm Ingram)—A voyage to the deep South to tell a tale of the struggle for community and expression in the face of ignorance, hypocrisy and oppression. World Premiere.
SO MUCH SO FAST (Directors: Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan)—A black-humored cliffhanger of romance, guerrilla science and the redefinition of time. When Stephen Heywood finds out he has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), his brother Jamie becomes obsessed with finding a cure and the woman who’s falling in love with Stephen has a decision to make. World Premiere.
THIN (Director: Lauren Greenfield)—With unprecedented access and an unflinching eye, THIN documents 4 women struggling with anorexia and bulimia at a residential facility for the treatment of eating disorders in South Florida. World Premiere.
‘TIS AUTUMN – THE SEARCH FOR JACKIE PARIS (Director: Raymond De Felitta)— Explores legendary jazz vocalist Jackie Paris’ meteoric rise, enigmatic career and mysterious life while probing the question of how much we need to know of an artist’s personal story to appreciate their art. World Premiere.
THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT (Directors: Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg)—The wrongful conviction of a black man for a white woman’s rape and murder offers a provocative, haunting examination of a fear-based, racially-biased community and criminal justice system. World Premiere.
TV JUNKIE (Director: Michael Cain)—From the time he was born Rick knew he had a special purpose. If he could only record it he might be able to figure out what it is. 46 years, 5000 hours of video and over 3000 photos later he may have figured it out. World Premiere.
WIDE AWAKE (Director: Alan Berliner)—A first-person account of filmmaker Alan Berliner’s struggle with sleeplessness, as both a blessing and a curse. Portrait of an artist as an insomniac. World Premiere.
WORDPLAY (Director: Patrick Creadon)— An in-depth look at The New York Times crossword puzzle and its editor Will Shortz, and the wonderfully unique and loyal fan base he has built and nurtured during his 12-year tenure at the paper. World Premiere.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET (Directors: Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins Costigan)—A behind-the-scenes look at the unexpected dynamics of adapting the most-watched children’s television show for audiences in some of the world’s political hotspots and incorporating locally relevant themes. World Premiere.
2005 Documentary Film Competition:
THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON
THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX
ENRON: RISE AND FALL
THE FALL OF FUJIMORI
MARDI GRAS: MADE IN CHINA
NEW YORK DOLL
RING OF FIRE: THE EMILE GRIFFITH STORY
SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS
TWIST OF FAITH
WHY WE FIGHT
Chisholm '72 - Unbought & Unbossed
Director - Shola Lynch
Directors - Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson
Director - Ondi Timoner
Directors - Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval
Director - Barak Goodman
Heir to an Execution
Director - Ivy Meeropol
Home of the Brave
Director - Paolo di Florio
I Like Killing Flies
Director - Matt Mahurin
Director - Ramona S. Diaz
In the Realms of the Unreal
Director - Jessica Yu
Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army
Director - Robert Stone
Persons of Interest
Directors - Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse
Super Size Me
Director - Morgan Spurlock
Director - Julian Petrillo and Eric Chaikin