Docu festival to honor HBO’s Nevins

DoubleTake giving Industry Award to p'gramming exec

The DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, the largest event dedicated to non-fiction feature efforts, will roll out 11 world and 4 U.S. preems during its third annual competish April 6-9 in North Carolina.

Among the pics vying for the jury and audience prizes at DoubleTake, co-chaired by Martin Scorsese and Robert Coles, will be “The Laughing Club of India,” helmed by Mira Nair (“Mississippi Marsala”).

“Laughing,” in its U.S. premiere, follows the rise of therapeutic giggling groups in India.

World debuts include “A Chance to Grow,” by Claire Marie Panke. Docu, picked up by the Discovery cabler, chronicles three families with newborns struggling in the intensive care unit of a Gotham hospital.

Fest headliners include HBO exec VP of original programming Sheila Nevins — to be feted with DoubleTake’s inaugural Industry Award — and slated discussion leaders Robert Duvall, Joel Schumacher and novelist Walter Mosley.

Under Nevins tenure, HBO has racked up 26 Emmys, 13 Peabody Awards and eight Oscars for its docu programming. Acad winners include “The Personals” (1998), “One Survivor Remembers” (1995) and “I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School” (1993).

Duvall will introduce a sidebar program about recreating Southern life on film. He’ll kick off the seg with a screening of his film “Tomorrow” (1972).

Schumacher will steer a session about MTV’s docu work on teens, and Mosley will present the East Coast preem of “Me and Isaac Newton,” the latest work by helmer Michael Apted (“The World is Not Enough”).

Other first-time screenings include “Centralia,” a coal-mining docu by David Grabias; “Gospel According to Mr. Allen,” an examination of three drug addicts, Edward Rosenstein; “Fast Pitch,” a softball expose, Jeremy Spear; and “Daring to Resist,” a tale of three teenage Holocaust resistance workers, Martha Lubell and Barbara Attie.

Many of the filmmakers behind the 50 total accepted docus, whittled down from 425 submissions, will be actively searching for distribution at the fest.

Last year at DoubleTake, HBO picked up the rights to “Children of Chabannes,” which chronicles 400 children who fled to France during the Holocaust.

However, fest director Nancy Buirski insists, “We want a balance between bringing a larger public to see documentaries, and serving the industry. But we do want a market here.”

For more information for the fest, unspooling at various Durham, N.C. theaters, call (919) 660-3699 or visit http://www.cds.aas.duke.edu/filmfestival.

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