'Pete Seeger' will open event June 12
David Sington’s “In the Shadow of the Moon,” Brett Morgen’s “Chicago 10” and Tony Kaye’s “Lake of Fire” are among the nonfiction titles set to unspool at Silverdocs, the Washington, D.C.-area documentary film festival presented by the American Film Institute and Discovery Channel.
Fest will open June 12 with “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song,” Jim Brown’s look at the American folk musician, and close June 17 with Sarah Robertson’s “Arctic Tale,” which tracks the life journey of a walrus and a polar bear.
The 10 pics selected to compete for the Sterling Award for feature film are Doug Pray’s “Big Rig,” Eva Mulvad’s “Enemies of Happiness,” Shimon Dotan’s “Hothouse,” Doris Dorrie’s “How to Cook Your Life,” Michael Loeken’s “Losers and Winners,” Almudena Carracedo’s “Made in L.A.,” Weijun Chen’s “Please Vote for Me,” Bill Haney’s “The Price of Sugar,” Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side” and Esther Robinson’s “A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory.”
Mideast politics figure significantly in the competition lineup: “Enemies of Happiness” profiles Malalai Joya, the first woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament; “Hothouse” sits down with Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons; and “Taxi to the Dark Side” details the Bush administration’s torture tactics in the war on terror. “Enemies” and “Hothouse” both won awards at Sundance, while “Taxi” recently took the top docu prize at Tribeca.
Fest is also presenting a special series called Beyond Belief, screening feature-length and short pics exploring religious issues. Among the features are “Audience of One,” Michael Jacobs’ behind-the-scenes look at a biblical sci-fi epic directed by Pentecostal minister Richard Gazowsky; Ishbel Whitaker’s “Living Goddess,” about a girl considered to be the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kumari; and Pernille Rose Gronkjaer’s “The Monastery,” about Russian Orthodox nuns who take up residence in a Danish castle.
In addition to “Chicago 10,” “In the Shadow of the Moon” and “Lake of Fire,” the fest’s international docu slate, World View, will feature titles including “Coma,” Liz Garbus’ year-in-the-life study of patients emerging from comas; “No End in Sight,” Charles Ferguson’s recounting of U.S. missteps in the Iraq war; “State Legislature,” Frederick Wiseman’s investigation of the American democratic process; and “The Devil Came on Horseback,” Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern’s look at the genocide in Darfur.
Silverdocs’ music doc competition includes Jem Cohen’s “Building a Broken Mousetrap,” Weamm Williams’ “Hip Hop Revolution,” A.J. Schnack’s “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” Raul De la Fuente’s “Nomadak Tx,” Benjamin Niles’ “Note by Note (The Making of Steinway L1037)” and Stephen Kijak’s “Scott Walker 30 Century Man.”
In addition, the fest will host the world premiere of Jonathan Demme’s “New Home Movies From the Lower 9th Ward,” which deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Demme will be feted at the Charles Guggenheim Symposium on June 14.
Fest will screen 100 films repping 41 countries, culled from 1,735 submissions — up from last year’s edition, which drew 1,687 submissions from 22 countries.