Doc10 is Chicago’s only all-documentary film festival and provides a one-of-a-kind experience for its audiences, reaching thousands of local cinephiles over the last several years. The festival runs through this Sunday, May 22nd, and SCREEN chatted with the programmers of this fine fest to bring you a quick preview as you snap up your tickets for this weekend.
Now in its 7th year, Doc10 has firmly set its place in Chicago’s cultural scene. Each year over four days and evenings, the Festival screens the 10 best documentaries culled from Sundance, Tribeca, Hot Docs, DOC NYC and other top-tier festivals across the nation. This is the first, and often exclusive, opportunity for Chicagoans to see extraordinary films. Twenty of the 60+ films premiered have been shortlisted or nominated for Academy Awards.
This year’s lineup is loaded and Director of Development Hussain Currimbhoy and Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman stopped by SCREEN to offer you an exclusive preview. Let’s get to it!
Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman shared with SCREEN: “Imagine for decades your ancestral history was denied, perceived as myth rather than reality. That’s what it was like for the people of Africatown, Alabama, descendants of the Clotilda, the last known and illegal American slave ship. Alabama native Margaret Brown chronicles the discovery of the vessel and the revelations that followed in this urgent, captivating film that offers startling proof of the legacy of slavery on communities to this day.”
Hussain Currimbhoy, Director of Global Project Development, shared with SCREEN: “A mesmerizing account of a love triangle between two obsessive and adorable French scientists and the phenomenon of the volcano. Never before seen archival footage and interviews come together and it’s like you are with them, standing at the rim of one of the most powerful forces on earth.”
Hussain Currimbhoy offers a preview of this powerful film: “When women’s rights were still in negotiation in the face of ‘a lot of testosterone and a lot of lecturing’, a few Chicagoans got together to fight it. Gripping and inspiring storytelling of ordinary women committing extraordinary acts of bravery to save lives in their community.”
Anthony Kaufman shared some insight into this timely documentary: “If all the headlines out of Ukraine feel overwhelming or out-of-reach, let filmmaker Simon Lereng Wilmont introduce you to the children of the Lysychansk Center of Eastern Ukraine, an orphanage for kids looking to reunite with their families or find a new home. This beautiful, delicate, and sensitive film is perhaps the timeliest film of the year, offering catharsis and understanding in a time of war.”
Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman shared with SCREEN: “Set in Chicago, Kevin Shaw has miraculous access to the parents and children who are fighting to preserve their elementary school in the South Loop, part of a wave of negligent closures during the tenure of Rahm Emanuel. Rousing and empathetic, this documentary leaves audiences with the empowering spirit that activism can actually have an impact.”
This is the fine art of protest in motion, offering key insights into understanding how a regime like Putin’s government thinks and works. This is a once-in-a-decade doc that perfects the timing of nearly every scene. Stunning and funny and precise. Bring a friend to help each other pick up your jaws from the floor. (Hussain Currimbhoy)
Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman shared with SCREEN: “In 2007, director Jason Kohn won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize with Manda Bala, a gorgeous, complex, and captivating look at violence and corruption in Brazil. His work recalls the best of Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, and his latest film is a wild and witty globetrotting investigative journey into factory-made diamonds, which are essentially indistinguishable from the actual thing. If no one can tell the difference, what is real and what is not?”
Anthony Kaufman shared some insight on this timely feature film: “We’ve all heard about Chicago 1968, but do you know what happened at the Republican Convention in Miami that same year? An amazing act of historical reclamation and archival research, young documentary masters Sierra Pettengill (The Reagan Show) and editor Nels Bangerter (Cameraperson) revisit the construction of fake towns constructed by the U.S. military for training purposes to tell a chilling tale of American racism and oppression.”
“There are many wonderful moments in The Territory, which tells the thrilling story of Indigenous Amazonians fighting to preserve their land, when you realize these tribespeople are not the cliché: The team employs drones to surveil their enemies and media to advocate on their behalf. If this is a war they’ve been battling for generations, they now have new technological tools at their disposal. But the stakes remain higher than ever,” Kaufman declared to SCREEN.
Hussain Currimbhoy offers a preview of this star-studded and soaring documentary film: “Be sure to catch Ron Howard’s newest as he turns the idea of the celebrity chef on its head. World famous chef José Andrés believes ‘food is a great agent of change’. What better words to live by as he uses sheer determination to go into disaster zones of the world to help people and create better food systems for the future. Andrés has so much faith in the power of food and humanity that he puts it all on the line to make a difference.”
The first ever documentary shorts program at Doc10! Hussain offers a preview with the following comment: “Music, medication, social media, love and exile: traverse the spectrum of life in the 21st century through the eyes of some of our favorite storytellers of the moment. These handpicked short docs are a lighting bolt in the arm that make us see the beautiful paradoxes of our world right now.”