American Symphony, Every Body, Little Richard

PBS’ “20 Days in Mariupol,” IFC’s “The Disappearance of Shere Hite” and MTV’s “The Eternal Memory” are among DOC NYC‘s 14th edition featuring 114 features and 129 short films.

The shortlist for DOC NYC, the largest documentary festival in the U.S., was launched in 2012 and has become a key indicator and predictor for the Academy Awards’ best documentary feature category. Ten out of the last 11 winners for documentary feature were screened at the festival. In addition, 12 of the 15 shortlisted docs from 2022 were among its lineup.

Some other notable inclusions are Julie Cohen’s moving “Every Body” about the generation of intersex people living among us, Lisa Cortés’ “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” an intimate look at the queer rock ‘n’ roll legend, and Matthew Heineman’s “American Symphony,” an emotional look into the life of singer Jon Batiste as he prepares for his performance at Carnegie Hall.

The festival runs from Nov. 8-16 at IFC Center, SVA Theatre and Village East by Angelika and continues online through Nov. 26, with films available to viewers across the U.S.

The full lineup is below.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

Suleika Jaouad and Jon Batiste in “American Symphony”
American Symphony

“20 Days in Mariupol”
Director: Mstyslav Chernov
Producers: Mstyslav Chernov, Michelle Mizner, Raney Aronson Rath, Derl McCrudden
An AP team of Ukrainian journalists trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol struggle to continue its work documenting atrocities of the Russian invasion. (PBS Distribution/Frontline)

“American Symphony”
Director: Matthew Heineman
Producers: Matthew Heineman, Lauren Domino, Joedan Okun
While undertaking his most ambitious project to date, musician Jon Batiste and his life partner Suleika Jaouad cope with the discovery that her cancer has returned after a decade in remission. (Netflix)

“Bobi Wine: The People’s President”
Directors: Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp
Producers: Christopher Sharp, John Battsek
Bobi Wine, a popular Afrobeats musician, directs his charisma to politics as he runs for office as Uganda’s presidential opposition candidate, challenging longtime leader Yoweri Museveni. (National Geographic Documentary Films)

“The Disappearance of Shere Hite” (NYC Premiere)
Director: Nicole Newnham
Producers: R.J. Cutler, Kimberley Ferdinando, Nicole Newnham, Molly O’Brien, Elise Pearlstein, Trevor Smith
Feminist sexologist Shere Hite, who helped change public perception toward female sexuality in the 1970s and ‘80s, mysteriously fell from prominence over time. This film explores why we don’t know more about her groundbreaking work. (IFC Films)

“The Eternal Memory”
Director: Maite Alberdi
Producers: Maite Alberdi, Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Rocío Jadue
A wise and compassionate look at an elderly couple’s challenges, revealing their profoundly moving love and their commitment to individual and collective remembrance, via the cultural vocations of their youth, in the face of life’s tempests. (MTV Documentary Films)

“Every Body”
Director: Julie Cohen
Producers: Molly O’Brien, Tommy Nguyen
Capturing a new generation of intersex people who are living loudly and proudly, this film covers the history, science, and politics of a movement advocating against medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children. (Focus Features)

“Four Daughters”
Director: Kaouther Ben Hania
Producer: Nadim Cheikhrouha
Filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania takes a novel approach to telling the story of the Tunisian mother Olfa Hamrouni, who spoke out about her grief when two of her four daughters ran away to join the Islamic State in Libya. (Kino Lorber)

“Going To Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project”
Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson
Producers: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson, Tommy Oliver
Nikki Giovanni is a trailblazing poet who rose to be a key figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and remains just as vibrant today. (HBO Documentary Films)

“Lakota Nation vs. United States”
Directors: Jesse Shortbull, Laura Tomaselli
Producers: Benjamin Hedin, Phil Pinto
The Lakota Indigenous tribe’s new generations continue to stand against the U.S. government’s historic failures to honor past treaties and the Lakota’s traditional sacred land. (IFC Films)

“Little Richard: I Am Everything”
Director: Lisa Cortés
Producers: Robert Friedman, Lisa Cortés, Liz Yale Marsh, Caryn Capotosto
The Black queer origins of rock ‘n’ roll are revealed as the whitewashed canon of American pop music is exploded to reveal the innovator – the originator – Little Richard. (Magnolia Pictures)

“The Mother of All Lies” (U.S. Premiere)
Director / Producer: Asme El Moudir
On a handmade set recreating her Casablanca neighborhood, Moroccan filmmaker Asmae El Moudir enlists family and friends to help solve the troubling mysteries of her childhood.Figurines and miniatures of the filmmaker’s Moroccan family and neighborhood – built by her father – inspire moments of catharsis and unearth previously unspoken secrets and traumas.

“The Pigeon Tunnel”
Director: Errol Morris
Producers: Errol Morris, Dominic Crossley-Holland, Steven Hathaway, Simon Cornwell, Stephen Cornwell
Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris interviews David Cornwell aka John Le Carré, keeping the visuals as lively as the conversation, creating his own cinematic imaginings of Cornwell’s history along with clips from famous film and TV adaptations of Le Carré’s thrillers. (Apple TV+)

“Silver Dollar Road”
Director: Raoul Peck
Producers: Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety, Blair Foster, Hébert Peck
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Raoul Peck focuses on the case of the Reels family in North Carolina to chronicle the way real estate developers work in blatant and subtle ways to divest Black families from inherited property. (Amazon Studios)

“Stamped from the Beginning”
Director: Roger Ross Williams
Producers: Alisa Payne, Roger Ross Williams, David Teague
Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams takes inspiration from author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s work exploring the history of anti-Black racist ideas and their impact on the United States, examining those themes with an array of powerful film techniques. (Netflix)

“While We Watched”
Director: Vinay Shukla
Producers: Vinay Shukla, Khushboo Ranka, Luke Moody
Filmmaker Vinay Shukla gives shape to the melancholy and fear the daily news brings into our screens and lives, in India and all over the world. (BritDocs/POV)


The Short List: Shorts showcase of 15 titles is now in its sixth year at DOC NYC. The selection process is overseen by Artistic Director Jaie Laplante, Director of Special Projects Thom Powers, and Senior Programmer, Shorts, Samah Ali. Last year the showcase included the World Premiere of The Elephant Whisperers, which went on to win the Oscar. For the fifth year, a DOC NYC jury will select one of the films in the section for a Directing Award. Last year’s winner was As Far as They Can Run.

This year’s selections for Short List: Shorts are:

“American Santa”
Director: Avi Zev Weider
Producers: Avi Zev Weider, Alexandra Berger
This haunting documentary zooms in on Black Santas and the gravity of their work during the holiday season. (The New Yorker)

Director: Marie Margolius
Producer: Marie Margolius, Connor Schell
Witness the true story of an Afghani girls’ soccer team who relocate from their home country all in the name of the sport. (MSNBC Films)

“The Barber of Little Rock”
Director: John Hoffman, Christine Turner
Producers: Christina Avalos, John Hoffman, Christine Turner
The barbershop is the heart of the Black community, and in Little Rock, Arkansas, now the starting place of a new community lending program.

“Between Earth and Sky”
Director: Andrew Nadkarni
Producers: Andrew Nadkarni, Swetha Regunathan, Katie Schiller
The story of one professor’s career researching the rainforest canopy, where she was hurt, and where she also healed. (POV Shorts)

“Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games”
Directors: Joe Brewster, Michéle Stephenson
Producers: Joe Brewster, Michéle Stephenson
Learn about the impactful and joyful hand games played by Black girls from generation to generation. (ESPN Films)

“Camp Courage”
Director: Max Lowe
Producers: Marilyn Ness, Katy Chevigny
A profile of a young girl, her grandmother, and the camp that builds confidence for children going through big changes. (Netflix)

Director / Producer: Xelîl Sehragerd
This meditative documentary zooms in on a Kurdish carpenter as he serves his community in an unexpected way.

“The Dads”
Director / Producer: Luchina Fisher
This touching short captures fathers sharing the love of their children over the course of an afternoon of fishing and dining. (Netflix)

“Deciding Vote”
Directors: Jeremy Workman, Robert Lyons
Producers: Jeremy Workman, Robert Lyons, Melissa Jacobson
The decision to legalize abortion in the state of New York came down to one person. This is his story. (The New Yorker)

“Holy Cowboys”
Director: Varun Chopra
Producers: Anna Hashmi, Varun Chopra
A dedicated group of young Hindu men are encouraged to protect cows at any cost.

“The Last Repair Shop”
Directors: Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers
Producers: Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers, Jeremy Lambert, Josh Rosenberg
One warehouse in the Los Angeles area devotes its time and energy to repairing 80,000 instruments for city schoolchildren.

“Nine and Irena”
Director: Daniel Lombroso
Producer: Devon Blackwell
A grandmother shares her heart wrenching story after losing her sister in the Holocaust. (The New Yorker)

Director: Jessica Bishopp
Producers: Alice Hughes, Gannesh Rajah, Ada Benjamínsdóttir, Jessica Bishopp
Young women in a remote island of Iceland help disoriented baby puffins, who easily lose their bearings. 

“The Takeover”
Director: Anders Hammer
Producers: Anders Hammer, Charlotte Cook
Witness the transition inside Afghanistan during the Taliban’s government takeover. (Field of Vision)

“A Tattoo on my Brain”
Directors / Producers: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
A neurologist  commits himself to researching and writing about his own Alzheimer’s symptoms. (MTV Documentary Films)


The DOC NYC Winner’s Circle for documentary features, introduced in 2019, highlights films that arrive at DOC NYC with significant awards pedigrees already in place. Past films shown in Winner’s Circle that all went on to further acclaim include Writing with Fire, The Mole Agent, A House Made of Splinters, Bad Axe, Midnight Family, and Advocate. Films must have won a major award at a significant international or US film festival to qualify for inclusion in this category.

This year’s selections for Winner’s Circle are:

“Angel Applicant” (NYC Premiere)
Director: Ken August Meyer
Producers: Ken August Meyer, Jason Roark
An art director afflicted with a rare life-threatening disease turns to the life and work of a famed artist who lived nearly 100 years ago, to find solace, hope and meaning. Winner, SXSW Grand Jury Prize, Documentary Feature Competition

“Apolonia, Apolonia”
Director: Lea Glob
Producer: Sidsel Lønvig Siersted
Over 13 years, a Danish film student and a Parisian painter weave a complex portrait of a current generation’s loves, lives, and losses. Best Feature-Length Documentary, IDFA

“Bad Press” (NYC Premiere)
Directors: Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, Joe Peeler
Producers: Conrad Beilharz, Garrett F. Baker, Tyler Graim
When the Muscogee Nation suddenly begins censoring their free press, a rogue reporter fights to expose her government’s corruption in a historic battle that will have ramifications for all Native American sovereign nations. Special Jury Award: Freedom of Expression, U.S. Documentary, Sundance Film Festival

“Beyond Utopia”
Director: Madeleine Gavin
Producers: Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, Sue Mi Terry, Daewon Choi, Janna Devinsky
The reality of life in one of the most repressive totalitarian countries on Earth is revealed through two intertwining suspenseful, nail-biting stories of dangerous escape attempts from North Korea. Audience Award, U.S. Documentary, 2023 Sundance Film Festival(Roadside Attractions)

“In the Rearview” (New York Premiere)
Director: Maciek Hamela
Producers: Maciek Hamela, Piotr Grawender
When Russia escalated its war against Ukraine in 2022, Polish director Maciek Hamela bought a van and volunteered to drive Ukrainian refugees on their quest to escape, making a quietly eloquent case to keep our eyes on the road ahead. Grand Jury Award, International Competition, Sheffield DocFest

“Kokomo City”
Director: D. Smith
Producers: D. Smith, Harris Doran, Bill Butler
Profiling four Black transgender sex workers, these women are raw and hilarious as they celebrate their self-realization in the face of discrimination and violence. Next Innovator Award, Sundance Film Festival 2023 (Magnolia Pictures)

“Name Me Lawand”
Director: Edward Lovelace
Producers: Fleur Nieddu, Sam Arnold, Beyan Taher, Neil Andres, Marisa Clifford, Edward Lovelace
The family of a five-year-old deaf boy from Iraq go to extraordinary lengths to unlock his educational potential at Royal School for the Deaf Derby in England. Special Jury Prize, International Feature Documentary, Hot Docs

“Rojek” (US Premiere)
Director: Zaynê Akyol
Producers: Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre, Sylvain Corbeil, Zaynê Akyol
An attempt to understand the Muslim fundamentalist beliefs of members of the Islamic State (ISIS), as some recount the rise and fall of ISIS through their personal stories. Special Jury Prize, Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs (Icarus Films)

Rojek is featured in DOC NYC’s VOICES OF CANADA, a showcase of the Canadian titles that are represented throughout the festival’s sections, co-presented by the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

“Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” (NYC Premiere)
Director: Anna Hints
Producers: Marianne Ostrat
Amidst wood, wire, smoke, and sweat, a group of Estonian women find each other and themselves. Jury Award, Directing (World Cinema Documentary), Sundance Film Festival 2023 (Greenwich Entertainment)

“Songs of Earth (NYC Premiere)
Director: Margreth Olin
Producers: Margreth Olin, Lena Faye-Lund Sandvik
A stunning cinematic experience, as a lone elderly Norwegian man shares his life journey via traditional music amid spectacular vistas of glaciers, waterfalls, and fjords. Krakow Film Festival 2023, Recommendation to European Film Awards, Documentary


The Come As You Are section highlights films about people striving to find their place in the world, or in their communities.

The selections for Come As You Are:

“At the Border” (World Premiere) 
Directors: Braulio Jatar, Anaïs Michel 
Producers: Braulio Jatar, Anaïs Michel, Julia Cheng 
A gritty and uncompromising perspective on what has been termed a “migrant crisis.” 

“Heaven Rain Flows Sweetly”(World Premiere) 
Director: Shasha Li 
Producers: Shasha Li, Xin Li, Julie Mallozzi  
After wildfires force her to leave her home in Oregon, a young filmmaker reconnects with the rituals and the landscapes of her maternal tribe in Himalayan China. 

“The Kind Stranger” (International Premiere) 
Directors: Sini Hormio, Anu Silfverberg 
Producer: Ari Matikainen 
Unveiling the mysterious world of ASMR influencers and the hours of dedication and discipline that go into producing the content their followers crave. 

“The Three of Us” (International Premiere) 
Director: Henya Brodbeker 
Producer: Avigail Sperber 
A young ultra-Orthodox couple is torn between a community that doesn’t accept their autistic son and their desire to integrate him into society.

“Who’s Behind Black Art” (World Premiere) 
Director: John Campbell 
Producers: John Campbell, Phillip Michael Collins, Chandler Wild, Thomas E. Moore III 
In this candid exploration of creative expression, five emerging African American artists reveal their inspirations, challenges, and the complexities of succeeding in the art world. 

“Witness” (International Premiere) 
Directors: Yasmine Mathurin, Carol Nguyen, Amar Wala 
Producers: Amar Wala, Soko Negash  
A story examining the personal, political, and cultural ramifications of going viral.

Witness is featured in DOC NYC’s VOICES OF CANADA, a showcase of the Canadian titles that are represented throughout the festival’s sections, co-presented by the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

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