New Haven Documentary Film Festival continues with tribute to collaborating filmmakers
The New Haven Documentary Film Festival will continue through the weekend, ending with a selection of documentaries by award-winning filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
Before then, on Wedneday, June 7, New Haven resident and civil entrepreneur Cynthia Farrar will show mini-documentaries she produced to give political voice to ordinary citizens at 7 p.m. at the Whitney Humanities Center. Farrar will discuss the works afterwards. At 8:30 p.m. Dustin Gavin’s short film “Making the Video” will be screened at 8:30 p.m., followed by the New Haven premiere of “Travel Light,” Lindsay Thompson’s film about a team of young American filmmakers who backback 500 miles across Spain’s Camino de Santiago, capturing their own adventure and the stories of pilgrims all over the world.
On Thursday, June 8, the festival will feature three events: a screening of short excerpts from documentary films in progress by seven filmmakers; an exploration — via film and a bike tour — of New Haven food; and an evening showing of two films, one about the Karen People of Burma and the other about the government’s treatment of LGBT persons and the birth of the LGBT rights movement.
The six films-in-progress will be shown at 3 p.m. in Rm. 208 of the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St. The featured films and their filmmakers are:
• “Sanctuary of the Soul,” a glimpse at the sacred music performed in New Haven’s black churches — Tom Ficklin;
• “Questions of Justice: Officers of Color in the Era of #BlackLivesMatter,” about the complicated relationships between police and marginalized communities — Aaron Garrison and Clark Burnett
• “Sounds of Silents,” an immersion into the world of musicians who play for silent films, with a focus on Connecticut resident Donald Sosin — Carolyn Jacobs;
• “For John Carlos: Your Family Album,” an investigation of family photographs and the family album as documents of the human experience — Yale Professor Charles Musser;
• “What It Takes,” a peek at the Chapel Hill, North Carolina band Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, who just signed to Bloodshot Records — Gorman Bechard; and
• “Hard Travelling: Hoboes in America,” about the struggles of transient workers — Richard Wormser.
At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, “Food Haven: The Bike Tour” departs from the New Haven Green (International Arts & Ideas Festival center) for a ride to food destinations featured in the documentary “Food Haven,” including Geronimo, Thali, and Miya’s and meetings with local entrepreneurs, chefs, and culinary artists. The ride ends at the Whitney Humanities Center for a screening of the short film “Farm Time” and “Food Haven,” a look into the ever-evolving food culture of New Haven.
The short film “Voices from Kaw Thoo Lei” by Marth Gorzycki will have its Connecticut premiere at 9 p.m. on Thursday, followed by Josh Howard’s “The Lavender Scare,” which follows the 40-year “witch hunt” after President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared homosexuals to be “security risks” and orders the firing of any government employee discovered to be gay or lesbian, and the birth of the LGBT rights movement. A question-and-answer session with the director will follow.
“Second-Wave Verité: The Cinema of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker” will conclude the festival. This features screenings of works by the two documentarians, who have played an important role revitalizing the cinema verité tradition in the digital era. Hegedus and Pennebaker have collaborated since 1976, co-directing such acclaimed films as 1998’s “Moon Over Broadway” and 1993’s “The War Room,” which received an Academy Award nomination and won the National Board of Review’s D.W. Griffith Award for Best Documentary. The team’s early films include the three-part special “The Energy War,” “Town Bloody Hall,” and “DeLorean,”as well as “Depeche Mode 101.” Their documentary “Kings of Pastry” played in the United States and was broadcast around the world, and their most recent release, “Unlocking the Cage,” premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and has been screened by HBO.
“Second-Wave Verité” begins at 7 p.m. on Friday with an introduction to the filmmakers and the screening of “Startup.com” at 7:30 p.m. The 2001 film, directed by Jehane Noujaim and Hegedus and produced by Pennebaker, examines the state of the internet revolution.
“The War Room” will be screened at 1 p.m. and the 2006 film “God Spoke: Al Franken” will be shown at 3 p.m., followed by “Kings of Pastry” at 7 p.m. Hegedus and Pennebaker will take part in a Q&A session following each screening.
On Sunday, “Unlocking the Cage” will be screened at 1 p.m., and Pennebaker and Hegedus will take part in a panel discussion about animal rights at 3 p.m.
All of the above events are free and take place in the Whitney Humanities Center. Weekend events are also being held in conjunction with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.
The New Haven Documentary Film Festival was started by four filmmakers, including Yale’s Musser, in 2014 to foster creative expression, build an audience for documentary, and encourage a sense of community across a number of groups. Many of the films shown in the festival are about New Haven or are by New Haven filmmakers.
Earlier the week, the film festival featured a workshop on documentary cinematography, a program of short films by students and student film competition, several world premieres or East coast film premieres, a workshop on guerilla filmmaking, and more.
For more information about festival events, visit the New Haven Docs website.