New documentary film series to make its debut this summer

NHdocs, a one-day film festival featuring documentaries created by New Haven filmmakers — including a member of the Yale faculty — will take place on Sunday, June 29.

The event, which will include screenings of four documentaries, will begin at 1 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale, 53 Wall St. Admission is free. Following each screening, there will be a Q&A with each film’s director. A barbeque with the filmmakers will begin at 6 p.m.

The idea for NHdocs began when four New Haven-based filmmakers — including Charles Musser, a professor of film studies, American studies, and theater studies, and director of the Yale Summer Film Institute — met at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana.

 Gorman Bechard, Jacob Bricca, Lisa Molomot, and Charlie Musser met at the Big Sky Film Festival. “Since the demise of FilmFest New Haven a decade ago there has been a desperate need for a film festival in town,” says Gorman Bechard, one of the founders. “While this might not completely fill that need, at least it is a start.”

NHDocs is sponsored by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Films at the Whitney, and Yale Summer Session. 

“New Haven can boast a good-sized collection of documentary filmmakers but we often don’t know each other,” says Musser. “I only met Gorman Bechard because we both had documentaries in the same film festival. And there were two other New Haven filmmakers at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival as well. An idea was born, to screen our work for each other and for friends, neighbors, and even some of those fellow New Haven makers of documentaries. We are already beginning to talk about holding the festival again next year.”

The films being screened are:

1 p.m.: “The Hill,” directed by Lisa Molomot. A group of African-American neighbors fight to save their homes from the wrecking ball when the City of New Haven proposes a huge new construction project on their property. 

2:30 p.m.: “Errol Morris: A Lightning Sketch,” produced and co-directed by Musser. The film takes an intimate look at famed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris and his films.

4 p.m.: “Tatanka,” directed by Jacob Bricca. In the film, the director confronts the enigma that is his father, weaving a sweeping story about the fate of American idealism and the thin line between dreams and delusions.

7 p.m.: “Every Everything: The Music, Life and Times of Grant Hart,” directed by Bechard. The film paints a “rocking” portrait of Hüsker Dü’s legendary singer and drummer that presents a wide-open window into the rock & roll lifestyle.