Documentary Fortnight, 2010: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film

The 2010 edition of Documentary Fortnight, MoMA‘s ninth annual festival of international nonfiction film, includes 20 feature and 23 mid-length and short documentaries that represent the wide range of creative categories that extend the idea of the documentary form. Established in 2001, MoMA‘s annual two-week showcase of recent nonfiction film and video takes place each February. On view in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters at MoMA from February 17 through March 3, 2010, Documentary Fortnight, 2010 is organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, with Maria Fosheim Lund, Director Liaison, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art. This year‘s festival consists of two parts: a series of thematic programs based on community and collaborative filmmaking, chosen by Ms. Berger; and an international selection of films chosen by a committee which included Berger; Andrew Ingall, independent curator, and Assistant Curator, The Jewish Museum; and Liza Johnson, artist, filmmaker, and Associate Professor of Art, Williams College.

Opening the festival on Wednesday, February 17, at 4:30 p.m., is the U.S. premiere of Christoph Draeger‘s romantic The End of the Remake trilogy of films about the 1960s, including My Generation (2007), Blow Up, Stroll On (2007), and Hippie Movie (2008); and, at 8:00 p.m., the U.S. premiere of David Christensen‘s feature The Mirror (2009), which follows the mayor of a tiny Italian village as he attempts to build a gigantic mirror on a nearby mountaintop to reflect sunlight into the town square during the dark winter months.

Other standout features include George Gittoes‘ Miscreants of Taliwood (2009)—the third in a trilogy of documentaries that have premiered in this festival over the past several years—in which the director enters the remote and forbidden Tribal Belt of the North West Frontier of Pakistan disguised as an actor in the low-budget Pashto Tali Movie industry. Carol Dysinger‘s work-in-progress Camp Victory Afghanistan is a verite look at the U.S. National Guardsmen stationed in Herat, Afghanistan, and the Afghan officers assigned to them as mentees. Cathryn Collins‘s Vlast (Power) (2010) reveals, through brilliantly detailed interviews, the hushed-up story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia‘s wealthiest man now imprisoned in Siberia. The closing night avant-premiere film is Johan Grimonprez‘s stunning Double Take (2009), a hybrid documentary/narrative feature that casts Alfred Hitchcock as a paranoid history professor, unwittingly caught up in the subterfuges of the cold war era, blackmailing housewives in coffee commercials.

This year‘s shorts include Alla Kovgan and David Hinton‘s Nora (2008), based on the true story of dancer Nora Chipaumire, who returned to her native Zimbabwe and brought her history to life through performance. Closing night selections include Diane Nerwen‘s Open House (2009), which documents the recent development spree in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and chronicles how the neighborhood has been effected by the housing market, and Heidrun Holzfiend‘s Za Zelazna (Behind the Iron Gate) (2009) looks at a modern housing estate built in Warsaw, Poland, in the mid-1960s and how it functions for its residents today.

The festival‘s thematic programs focus on community and collaborative film and media initiatives from around the world. A spotlight on the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam‘s Jan Vrijman Fund, which supports filmmakers in developing countries, features Iranian filmmaker Massoud Bakhshi‘s Tehran Has No More Pomegranates! (2007), Chilean-based filmmakers Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff‘s News (2009), and the Afghanistan/UK production of Addicted in Afghanistan (2009) by Jawed Taiman.

Three U.S.-based initiatives include: Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky, which began in 1968 as an experiment in community-based filmmaking and economic growth, and supports films that celebrate Appalachian culture and an Indonesian video exchange project; New York City‘s Deep Dish Television, which produces and distributes grass-roots film and television; and the UnionDocs Collaborative, a program for nonfiction media research and group production, which showcases their most recent innovative projects. A program of films by four directors—Patty Chang, Liza Johnson, Sharon Lockhart, and Jeannie Simms showcases how artists interact with their subjects in the creation of their films.

Many of the filmmakers will be present throughout the festival to introduce and discuss their films, which are almost all world, U.S., or New York premieres.

The public may call (212) 708-9400 for detailed Museum information.

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