Ladies and gents, there’s a new festival in town. Last night the inaugural edition of DOC NYC kicked off in a big way, featuring Werner Herzog and his breathtaking 3-D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Opening with such a mammoth (no prehistory-pun intended) piece of work is quite a statement about the goals and scope of DOC NYC.
Artistic director Thom Powers and executive director Raphaela Neihausen have packed their schedule solid with buzzed-about new films. And they’ve added some classic Herzog and an Errol Morris retrospective for good measure — including big screen showings of Gates of Heaven (POV 1988, and a personal favorite), the New York premiere of Tabloid, as well as no-brainers like The Thin Blue Line and selects from First Person.
Still, DOC NYC promises to be more than a weekend extension of Powers’ and Neihausen’s popular Stranger Than Fiction film series. There are a slew of events beginning Friday morning under the heading Doc Convergence, aiming to address long-standing concerns for the industry (legal issues around confidentiality! licensing of archival material!). Later, an afternoon session will highlight non-cinema nonfiction storytelling — documentary photography, comics, and performance get equal time in the spotlight.
Check the POV blog for highlights from the festival as it progresses. In the meantime, if you’re local or lucky enough to be visiting New York City this weekend, we highly recommend heading to the West Village for a screening or panel. Schedules are available at the festival website. See you there!