DOC NYC ‘is all the stronger for acknowledging’ women directors

For one week in November, film buffs can watch some of the most impressive documentaries at the eighth annual DOC NYC.

Learn about institutionalized children in the Netherlands. Learn about Bei Bei Shuai, a depressed, pregnant Chinese immigrant put on trial for the murder of her unborn child after attempting suicide. Watch documentarian Alyssa Bolsey delve into her family’s history to uncover the story of the Bolex camera inventor, her own great grandfather. Watch as Yashaswi Desai and Ellie Walton follow several girls in India who are striving to earn their independence.

This is just a sampling of 135 features that will be presented at DOC NYC 2018, which will be held from November 8 to 15. The movies will be screened at Cinepolis Chelsea, the IFC Center and SVA Theatre.

Out of the 135 features, 62 of them — or 46 percent — have female directors or co-directors, an increase at the festival compared to both 2016 and 2017. “We have typically had representation of female filmmakers at 40 percent or more over the past several years,” said Basil Tsiokos, director of programming.

Some of these films include Afterward, by Ofra Bloch, who travels to Germany, Israel, and Palestine to confront her own deep-seated feelings about Germans and Palestinians, and the tensions between the Holocaust and the Nakba. In the process, she explores the nature of resistance and the possibility of hope.

                                            FILMS BY WOMEN

Films by women at DOC NYC

In The Candidates, co-directors Alexandra Stergiou and Lexi Henigman profile Queens public high school students who stage a mock presidential election for an entire semester, simulating the American electoral process against the backdrop of the real one.

Director Julie Getz brings audiences Care to Laugh about Jesus Trejo, a stand-up comedian who is trying to make it big while caring for his aging parents.

China Love, directed by Olivia Martin-McGuire, focuses on modern-day Shanghai following couples on their crazed quest for the perfect wedding photos.

When asked about choosing women directed films for representation in the DOC NYC 2018 festival, Tsiokos explains that he considers a variety of factors when putting together the programming slate.

“This includes a balance of topics, filmmaking approaches, and a desire to represent a range of voices, which of course includes the perspectives of women filmmakers,” he said. “This isn’t a new thing, of course, given the traditionally better representation of women filmmakers within the documentary realm as compared to fiction features. Our programming is all the stronger for acknowledging this and including their work within the festival.”

Other documentaries from women include: [See chart]

There are also many panels and workshops for aspiring documentarians to attend. For more information, visit

© Lisa Iannucci (10/29/18) FF2 Media

Photos: The Candidates

Photo credti: DOC NYC

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