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Apr
2024
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‘Super/Man’ ‘Devo’ Lead Doc10 Documentary Film Festival Slate

CMP, Chicago’s leading organization dedicated to supporting social-impact documentary film, today announced the full slate of films being showcased at the 9th annual Doc10 documentary film festival running May 2 – 5, 2024. This year’s festival is presented  at the Davis Theater and Gene Siskel Film Center, featuring a selection of 10+ acclaimed Chicago premieres, along with a package of 10 prestigious documentary shorts.

Doc10 opens on Thursday, May 2, with DEVO, a spirited, irreverent portrait of the legendary new wave band from Akron, Ohio. Charting their journey from Dadaist, Kent State radicals to unlikely icons of 1980s MTV, director Chris Smith (American MovieTiger King) has crafted a fitting chronicle of the musical innovators that’s every bit as fun as its subjects. Currently celebrating their 50 Years of De-Evolution Tour, DEVO band members will join Doc10 in a live, virtual Q&A moderated by WXRT’s Marty Lennartz.

On Friday night, May 3, the Festival continues to soar with the Chicago premiere of Sundance sensation SUPER/MAN: THE CHRISTOPHER REEVE STORY. Never-before-seen home movies and extraordinary personal archives reveal how Christopher Reeve went from unknown actor to iconic movie star as the ultimate screen superhero. He learned the true meaning of heroism as an activist after suffering a tragic accident.

The festival’s Closing Night film WAR GAME, a compelling docu-thriller chronicling a “war game” future-simulation set on January 6, 2025 with prominent experts role-playing parts in a scenario inspired by the January 6th Capitol Riots, will also feature a high-powered post-screening panel conversation. Scheduled to attend include directors Jesse Moss and Tony Gerber and film subjects Steve Bullock (former Governor of Montana), Heidi Heitkamp (former Senator of North Dakota), retired Major General Linda Singh, and National Security expert Elizabeth Neumann.

Here’s a preview of the film courtesy of the directors during their world premiere at Sundance earlier this year…

“The wide range of themes in this year’s Doc10 lineup is what makes for truly great nonfiction cinema,” says Doc10 Co-Founder Steve Cohen. “Relive lost moments of sports history, delve into the world of the extrasensory, explore the eccentricity of DEVO, be inspired by the story of Christopher Reeve. And of course, we end with a suspense-filled political thriller depicting just what’s at stake in this critical election year.”

Doc10 Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman adds, “One of this year’s main themes is perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable forces, and a yearning to fight for one’s dignity and self-worth.”

The Doc10 program also includes several recent award-winning films,  including Oscar-shortlisted, Gotham-nominated, and IDFA winner APOLONIA APOLONIA, a 13-years-in-the-making portrait of a French painter; DAUGHTERS, the emotional Sundance standout and double Audience Award winner, SOUNDTRACK TO A COUP D’ETAT, an epic, jazz-infused chronicle of Cold War geopolitics; and Sundance Special Jury Prize winner UNION, a guerilla-style observational chronicle of Amazon workers fighting to create a union in New York City. Other highlights include acclaimed MISS AMERICANA filmmaker Lana Wilson’s LOOK INTO MY EYES and Women’s World Cup festival favorite COPA 71.

The festival will also feature a special +1 screening of PORCELAIN WAR, winner of this year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, as part of a Spotlight on Ukraine. The screening will be followed by a conversation with PORCELAIN WAR co-directors Slava Leontyev and Brendan Bellomo, and subject Anya Stasenko, among others.

Here’s a preview of the film courtesy of the directors during their world premiere at Sundance earlier this year…

The 2024 edition of Doc10 kicked off on March 27 with an early festival preview screening of GIRLS STATE, the sparkling follow-up to the award-winning BOYS STATE. The screening was followed by a Q&A with director Jesse Moss, GIRLS STATE subject Emily Worthmore and a lively discussion with dynamic, local politicians. 

The full slate of feature films in Doc10 2024 is listed in alphabetical order below. Short film titles will be announced at a later date. All filmmakers are scheduled to attend in person, unless otherwise noted:

  • APOLONIA APOLONIA (Dir. Lea Glob) *Virtual Q&A
  • COPA 71 (Dirs. Rachel Ramsay, James Erskine), *Virtual Q&A
  • DAUGHTERS (Dirs. Angela Patton, Natalie Rae)
  • DEVO (Dir. Chris Smith*Producer Chris Holmes in attendance, band members Virtual Q&A
  • GIRLS STATE (Dirs. Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss)
  • LOOK INTO MY EYES (Dir. Lana Wilson)
  • SOUNDTRACK TO A COUP D’ETAT (Dir. Johan Grimonprez), *Virtual Q&A
  • SUPER/MAN: THE CHRISTOPHER REEVE STORY (Dirs. Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui) *Q&A TBD
  • UNION (Dirs. Stephen Maing, Brett Story)
  • WAR GAME (Dirs Jesse Moss, Tony Gerber)
  • PORCELAIN WAR (Dirs. Brendan Bellomo, Slava Leontyev)

As Chicago’s premier documentary showcase, Doc10 regularly hosts the most acclaimed nonfiction titles of the year. Of the 80 films the festival has programmed since 2016, a resounding 26 have been shortlisted or nominated for an Academy Award; 2022’s selection NAVALNY was the third Doc10 film to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, following 2021’s SUMMER OF SOUL and 2020’s AMERICAN FACTORY. 

Doc10, presented by CMP, runs May 2 – 5 at the Davis Theater (4614 N. Lincoln Ave.) and the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.). Tickets are $16 each, discounted to $12 for students and seniors. Doc10 offers a Date Night package of two tickets for $30 and a 6-ticket package for $85. Programming schedule and tickets are available online atwww.doc10.org

ABOUT THE FILMS (in alphabetical order by title): 

APOLONIA APOLONIA

Dir: Lea Glob

Producer: Sidsel Lønvig Siersted

116 minutes, 2023, Denmark, Poland

A portrait of the artist as a young woman, Apolonia Apolonia is among the year’s most celebrated and fascinating documentaries. Shortlisted for this year’s Academy Awards and winner of top prizes at festivals around the world, the film follows 13 years in the life of charismatic French painter Apolonia Sokol, from her days as a bohemian student at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, to her travails as a millionaire-sponsored artist in Los Angeles and beyond. “Bittersweet [and] “beguiling” (New York Times), “astonishing [and] affectionate” (RogerEbert.com) and “an impressively idiosyncratic, far-reaching work” (Variety), the film charts Apolonia’s winding course through the (often male-dominated) art-world and her close relationships with two other women, her best friend Ukrainian feminist activist Oksana Shachko, and the documentary’s director Lea Glob. As she reveals profound questions about female identity and friendship, art and commerce, filmmaker and protagonist, life and death, Glob is “utterly captivated by her subject, and the result leaves us just as transfixed” (POV Magazine).

COPA 71

Dirs. Rachel Ramsay, James Erskine

90 min, 2023, United Kingdom

Producers: Victoria GregoryJannat GargiAnna Godas

Executive Producers: Serena and Venus Williams

One of the greatest international sporting events you’ve never heard of: Copa 71 chronicles the exciting, monumental moment in 1971 when female soccer teams from around the world gathered in Mexico City to compete in the first unofficial Women’s World Cup. Told by the superstar athletes who participated in the tournament, the film captures the suspense and heated competition in the matches, along with the women’s exhausting fight against institutional sexism off the field. As one Danish player testifies, “I can knit and use a chainsaw… I don’t want to be put in a box.” Filled with captivating never-before-seen archival footage, Copa 71 is like “the Summer of Soul of women’s athletics” (The Wrap), “brisk and rousing” (Variety), “uplifting and eye-opening” (The Hollywood Reporter), and “thrilling not just as a vivid work of montage, but also for reintegrating these lost chapters into our collective cultural memory” (Sight and Sound).

DAUGHTERS

Dirs: Angela Patton, Natalie Rae

Producers: Lisa Mazzotta, Justin Benoliel, Mindy Goldberg, Sam Bisbee, Kathryn Everett, Laura Choi Raycroft, James Cunningham

107 min, 2024, US

A profoundly emotional eight-year journey of incarnated fathers and their daughters, this Sundance standout—winner of two Audience Awards and voted the festival’s best documentary by critics—Daughters is a miraculous wonder of humanity, compassion, and social conscience. Inside a jail in Washington, D.C., male inmates are invited to join a special rehabilitation program, which culminates with a Daddy Daughter Dance. Meanwhile, we get to meet their daughters Aubrey, Santana, Raziah, and Ja’Ana, all different ages and very different relationships with their absent dads. ThoughDaughters builds to an incredible reunion, the film powerfully conveys their personal stories far beyond this single special night. “Rife with visually lyrical moments” (Variety) and “alternately shattering and hopeful … intimate and stirring” (Vanity Fair), this “enormously moving” (IndieWire) documentary will make you “want to follow these fathers and daughters deep into the future” (Los Angeles Times).

DEVO

Dir. Chris Smith

Producers: Chris Holmes, Anita Greenspan, Danny Gabai

95 min, 2024, US

“Whip it, whip it good!” This spirited irreverent portrait of the legendary new wave band Devo charts the unlikely rise of the musical innovators from Akron, Ohio. From Dadaist Kent State radicals in the 1970s, galvanized by political unrest, to unlikely icons of the 1980s, featured in Honda Scooter commercials and mainstays of the early days of MTV. Directed by Chris Smith, known for his breakout debut American Movie and nonfiction hits Tiger King and Wham!Devo goes beyond the typical bio-doc to channel the absurdity and edginess of the sonic provocateurs with the help of their own bizarre and hilarious archival materials. “Bursting with energy and creativity” (Rogerebert.com) and “every bit as fun as its subject” (Variety), the film “apes the art-damaged, collage-like aspects of [their] visual work, while also making manifest their philosophical approach of meeting cynicism not with optimism but a barrage of irony.” (Rolling Stone).

GIRLS STATE

Directors/Producers: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

96 min, 2024, US

What would American democracy look like in the hands of teenage girls? A political coming-of-age story and a stirring reimagination of what it means to govern, Girls State follows young female leaders—from wildly different backgrounds across Missouri—as they navigate an immersive experiment to build a government from the ground up. A unique and fresh follow-up to their award-winning film Boys State, the urgent and entertaining Girls State follows a charismatic group of girls navigating a hyper-divided country, the threat to reproductive rights, and institutional sexism, all with a heartening spirit and the camaraderie of girl power. Called “undeniably heartwarming and hilarious” (RogerEbert.com), “compelling” (The Guardian), “fascinating” (IndieWire) and “exuberantly inspiring” (The Daily Beast).

LOOK INTO MY EYES

Dir. Lana Wilson

Producers: Kyle Martin, Lana Wilson

2023, 105 min, US

Can psychics really foretell your future? Commune with the dead? Or even read your pet’s mind? Enter the world of clairvoyants, mediums, and seers in this revelatory portrait of supposedly paranormal practitioners and their clients, as they seek to find answers—and healing—with each other. After making high-profile celebrity docs on Taylor Swift (Miss Americana) and Brooke Shields (Pretty Baby), award-winning filmmaker Lana Wilson sets her compassionate lens on these very different performers, and finds unexpected poignancy and humor in their lives and work. Called one of Sundance’s “best documentaries [and] marvelously nuanced and fascinating” (New York Times), Look Into My Eyes is an intriguing journey, riding the line between truth and fakery, and the palpable emotional reality that can exist in between. “Mesmeric [and] moving” (IndieWire) and “surprisingly effective” (RogerEbert.com), this quiet, remarkable film offers an intimate view into not only the supernatural but also the fragility of human nature.

SOUNDTRACK TO A COUP D’ETAT

Dir. Johan Grimonprez

Producers: Daan Milius, Rémi Grellety

150 min, 2024, Belgium, France

 “A mind-blowingly rich tapestry of research, music, and the jazziest history lesson imaginable” (Harper’s Bazaar),Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat exposes the West’s policies of extraction and exploitation in Africa, connecting Cold War intrigue, American racism, European imperialism, the 1961 assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba, and jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Max Roach, who were all dispatched around the world as players in a larger geopolitical game. An astonishing mix of image, sound, and text, this revelatory documentary landed at this year’s Sundance like a grenade, exploding audience’s minds and winning a Special Jury Award for Cinematic Innovation. From the Oscar-nominated producer of I Am Not Your Negro, the film has already been heralded as “remarkable” (New York Times), “thrilling, galvanizing [and] crackling with energy” (Screen Daily), and “a stunning screed against colonial racism and state-sanctioned violence” (Slant).

SUPER/MAN: THE CHRISTOPHER REEVE STORY

Dirs. Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui 

Producers: Lizzie Gillett, Robert Ford, Ian Bonhôte

104 min, 2024, United Kingdom, USA

Never-before-seen home movies and extraordinary personal archives reveal how Christopher Reeve went from unknown actor to iconic movie star as the ultimate screen superhero. After suffering a tragic accident that left him quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator to breathe, he learned the true meaning of heroism as an activist. “Enrapturing” (IndieWire) and “a superbly made and supremely moving portrait” (Variety), “Super/Man [is] so satisfying [and] for a biographical film in which tragedy and loss play such a central part, it’s rich in evidence of hope and kindness, gratitude and the resilience of the human spirit” (The Hollywood Reporter).

UNION

Directors: Stephen Maing and Brett Story

Producers: Samantha Curley, Mars Verrone

102 min, 2024, US

Christian Smalls is the charismatic leader of the Amazon Labor Union, a first-of-its-kind grassroots organization fighting for those toiling away in the warehouses of the billion-dollar behemoth. Combining high-stakes drama and you-are-there observational intimacy, Union unfolds in real time over 2021 and 2022, as Smalls and his colleagues rally fellow workers, sabotage anti-union meetings, give away hot dogs, and strive to build a movement. But this is no simple “David vs. Goliath” story. Award-winning directors Stephen Maing and Brett Story have crafted a portrait of solidarity and struggle that is far more “smart and compellingly complicated” (The Hollywood Reporter). Call it David versus the widespread systemic forces that keep the working class powerless and divided. Winner of a Special Jury Award at Sundance, Union is “astounding [and] “brilliant” (New York Times), “gripping…[and] an immediate and necessary rallying cry for audiences everywhere” (IndieWire).

WAR GAME

Directors: Jesse Moss, Tony Gerber

Producers: Todd Lubin, Jesse Moss, Jack Turner, Mark DiCristofaro, Jessica Grimshaw, Nick Shumaker

94 min, 2023, US

What if the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol spiraled further out of control? And U.S. military personnel and paramilitary groups joined forces to overthrow the government? That’s the scenario of War Game, a briskly paced, compelling docu-thriller chronicling a “war game” future-simulation set on January 6, 2025 with prominent experts role-playing parts in the hypothetical crisis as a kind of “stress-test for our National Security System.” Featuring former Montana governor Steve Bullock as a level-headed U.S. President, and acting as his advisor, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp (“If this movie has a star, it’s her”—Washington Post), the documentary provocatively reveals both imagined threats as well as the real-life individuals trying to prevent them. “Chilling” (Deadline), “fascinating” (POV Magazine), “excellent” [and] “exciting cinema” (New York Magazine), War Game is a bold and captivating chronicle of our explosive political moment.

SPOTLIGHT ON UKRAINE: SPECIAL SCREENING AND DISCUSSION

PORCELAIN WAR 

Dirs. Brendan Bellomo, Slava Leontyev

Producers: Aniela Sidorska, Paula Dupré Pesmen, Camilla Mazzaferro, Olivia Ahnemann

88 min, 2024, United States, Ukraine, Australia

Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, this powerful and affecting portrait of a group of citizen fighters in Ukraine reflects a more delicate side of Russia’s barbaric invasion. While fighting to defend their homeland, husband and wife Slava Leontyev and Anya Stasenko are also skilled ceramic artists, molding and painting precious porcelain figurines of folklore creatures. Meanwhile, their closest friend Andrey, a former painter, has struggled to create his art in a time of conflict, and instead, has shifted his focus on keeping his family safe. Their cameras portray the artists’ love for each other (and their dog Frodo), for the sun-drenched countryside and bucolic forests of their homeland—all the while training, preparing, and enduring the brutality of battle. With beautiful touches of animation, heart-pounding scenes on the frontlines, a soulful soundtrack of Ukrainian dirges, and a sense of hope, humor, and humanity, Porcelain War is a “poignant” (Variety), “entrancing” (Paste), “combination of whimsy and devastation” (Wall Street Journal) about the power of art and the will to survive. Screening with short film Mariupol: A Hundred Nights (dir. Sofiia Melnyk).

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