Season’s greetings, fellow docu-philes! It’s been a while, but we’ve decided it’s about time we revive our monthly DOC@HOME dispatch.
In addition to our annual festival and year-round programming, we’ll be your one-stop shop for recommendations on the best of the wonderful world of documentary film.
To kick off the relaunch, we’d like to introduce a new feature: THE WATCH CLUB.
Here’s how it goes: We lead off the monthly newsletter with our featured WATCH CLUB recommendation. You watch it on your own time. Then stay tuned for our follow-up announcement about the day and time for a live online interview and discussion with the filmmaker(s) and/or other guests.
Like a book club, only watching. And with special guests. Got it?
PROCESSION (dir. Robert Greene) follows six men who were sexually abused as children by members of the Catholic clergy as they try to process their lifelong trauma by creating short films about it. Director Greene has emerged as a leader in the recent movement toward experimental documentary – he also made the standout BISBEE ‘17 (2018). PROCESSION was recently shortlisted in the Documentary Feature category for the 2022 Academy Awards.
Stream PROCESSION on Netflix, then join our live interview and Q&A with director Robert Greene at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 12.
What recent documentary opened your eyes or expanded your horizons? We want to hear from you! To suggest a documentary to the rest of the community, complete the brief submission form below. We’ll run some of your responses in our next DOC@HOME dispatch.
Join us on our YouTube channel and/or Facebook page to participate in the upcoming WATCH CLUB discussion. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and click on the bell icon to get an alert when we're set to go live to discuss the next WATCH CLUB documentary!
The Oscars shortlist includes plenty of great contenders, from the twin ‘60s throwbacks SUMMER OF SOUL (... OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND to ATTICA, ASCENSION, and the animated escape-from-Afghanistan story FLEE. Another qualifier, Jessica Beshir’s FAYA DAYI, is a gorgeous black-and-white meditation on her ancestral homeland and its reliance on khat, a natural stimulant, as both a pillar of the economy and a form of escapism.
Stream FAYA DAYI on the Criterion Channel.
Lynn’s own Penny Lane (yes, that’s her real name) has a real eye for the absurd. Among other gems in her rapidly growing filmography, she made HAIL SATAN?, her hilarious and deeply weird look into the free speech demonstrations of the Salem-based Satanic Temple. (We screened it at our festival in 2019.) Now she’s back with LISTENING TO KENNY G, an acclaimed exploration of the impossibly tight-curled soprano saxophone star and the people who evidently love him. It’s an answer of sorts to Carl Wilson’s provocative 2007 book “Let’s Talk About Love,” which explored the meaning of “taste” through the music of Celine Dion.
LISTENING TO KENNY G is part of HBO’s “The Music Box,” a new series of feature-length music documentaries created by media mogul Bill Simmons.
And if you know anything at all about Bill Simmons, the Marlborough native who founded the late, lamented sports-and-pop-culture site Grantland (and, more recently, The Ringer), you know that he is quite possibly the world’s biggest fan of the Boston Celtics. Which brings us to our next recommendation: KEVIN GARNETT: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE (dir. Daniel B. Levin, Eric Newman). If you know anything at all about KG, the 6’11” superstar who helped bring the Celtics their 17th championship banner in 2008, you know that he is beyond bananas. Grab yourself a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.
Stream KEVIN GARNETT: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE on Showtime.
The Library of Congress recently announced the 25 films it has selected for induction into the National Film Registry’s class of 2021. (No, Pixar’s great WALL-E, which features an Earthly wasteland and obese humans who have devolved into permanent Barcaloungers, is not in fact a documentary.) Among the non-fiction picks: WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? (1987), an investigation into a racially motivated murder in Detroit; Jonathan Demme’s STOP MAKING SENSE (1984), often cited as perhaps the greatest concert documentary of them all; and THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON (1971), about the 21-year-old Black Panther activist who was shot in his bed during a police raid in Chicago in 1969. (That case inspired this year’s acclaimed feature film JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH.) This emotionally charged doc was directed by the late Howard Alk, whose son, Jesse, directed PARIAH DOG, which we screened in 2019.
Watch THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON on Vimeo via the Chicago Film Archives.