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New York Film Festival Adds Documentary, Restoration Sidebars

Documentaries and restored narrative pics dominate the sidebar programming of the 2013 New York Film Festival, with more than 30 titles — including producer-thesp Gael Garcia Bernal in docu “Who is Dayani Cristal?” and a newly restored version of Martin Scorsese’s “The Age of Innocence” — added to the fest to screen alongside the 36-film main slate.

With the docs grouped thematically, this year’s collection of sidebar films seems presented and organized with a bit more clarity than has been the case in prior years. That could be a product of the fest’s new topper, Kent Jones, who this year stepped into the role of director of programming and selection committee chair following the exit of longtime leader Richard Pena.

Three sections make up NYFF’s lineup of sidebar documentaries. One group, “Motion Portraits,” focuses on feature-length looks at individuals, including “Dayani Cristal,” Marc Silver’s Sundance alum that features Bernal in a doc-narrative mash-up centered around an unidentified body found in the Arizona desert. Also on the list are Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren’s “The Dog,” about the man who inspired “Dog Day Afternoon;” “What Now? Remind Me,” Joaquim Pinto’s recent winner of the Special Jury Prize at Locarno; and “Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq,” Nancy Buirski’s bio of George Balanchine’s wife.

A trio of docs about technology-driven Utopian projects comprises “Applied Science,” including “Google and the World Brain,” Ben Lewis’ take on Google’s attempt to digitize every book written; “Particle Fever,” a look at the CERN super-collider by Mark Levinson; and “Tim’s Vermeer,” a film by Teller (of Penn and Teller) about a tech genius’ attempt to re-paint a Vermeer painting. A third section, “How Democracy Works Now,” will screen 10 films by Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson (“Well-Founded Fear”), all part of their series of docs about immigration.

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The sidebar roster devoted to restored films, formerly called “Masterworks” but now tagged “Revivals,” lines up 11 recently restored features. Alongside “Age of Innocence,” the roster also includes two films by Nicholas Ray (“They Live By Night” and “The Lusty Men”), two by Leos Carax (“Boy Meets Girl,” “Mauvais Sang”), Arthur Ripley’s “The Chase,” Alain Resnais’ “Providence” and Apichatpong Weerasetakhul’s “Mysterious Object at Noon.”

Additional sidebar programming, including events in the transmedia-centric initiative Convergence, remains to be announced for the 2013 fest, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13.

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