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2019 DOC10 Film Festival

April 9, 2019



Last year, some of the best documentaries, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, “Bisbee ’17”, “RBG”, and “Minding the Gap”, made their Chicago debut at the DOC10 film festival, which means you should be looking closely at this year’s lineup. Presented by Chicago Media Project, the festival returns to the Davis Theater this weekend in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. That’s right, another weekend in Chicago means another film festival. The film’s selected are the best documentaries from the festival circuit within the last six months. All of the four films I was privy to see premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January. It’ll be interesting to see which of this year’s DOC10 films take off once they get their inevitable release.

I talked with colleague Ian Simmons (of Kicking the Seat) this past weekend to discuss what we’ve seen (so far) from the lineup for his podcast. Click here to listen. Speaking of that lineup, you can find that within the official press release announcement below…



The Chicago-based film festival will showcase ten of this year’s top documentaries

Chicago, IL (March 1, 2019) – Now in its 4th year, the Doc10 film festival is proud to announce their official 2019 film slate. Presented by Chicago Media Project, Doc10 will open with the critically acclaimed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez documentary KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE and close with Emmy Award-winning director John Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM. In celebration of the highly curated event, filmmakers from this year’s ten best documentaries will be descending on Chicago for screenings and Q&A’s. Doc10 will also showcase VR content, industry panels, and creative workshops, and takes place from April 11-14, 2019 in Chicago, IL.

Winner of the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE follows progressive activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other insurgent female candidates running for Congress in 2018. Setting their sights on making a difference, the film chronicles these women as they fight for the issues they are most passionate about and shake up the establishment in the process. Winner of Audience Awards at the Hamptons and AFI Film Festivals, THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, directed by John Chester, chronicles the journey of the director and his wife in their mission to build one of the most diverse and sustainable farms of its kind.

Other highlights include this year’s Sundance Grand Jury prizewinner ONE CHILD NATION as well as celebrated portraits of pioneering 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace, members of The Satanic Temple, and a group of activists who go undercover into ICE Detention facilities.

“From farms and factories to house seats and border walls, Doc10 continues to tell not only captivating stories, but also pivotal ones,” said Paula Froehle and Steve Cohen, Co-Founders of Doc10. “This continues to be a knock out year for brilliant documentaries and we are proud to be able to curate 10 of the best docs for Chicago audiences.”

The following films will be featured at Doc10 in April:

ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH – (Directors Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas De Pencier, Canada, 2018) followed by Q&A with Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier
AMERICAN FACTORY – (Directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, USA, 2019) followed by Q&A with Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM – (Director John Chester, USA, 2018) Closing Night Film followed by Q&A
THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS – (Director Simen Leren Wilmont, Denmark/Sweden/Finland, 2017) followed by Q&A
HAIL SATAN? – (Director Penny Lane, USA, 2018) followed by Q&A with Penny Lane
THE INFILTRATORS – (Directors: Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera, USA, 2019) followed by Q&A with Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra
KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE – (Director: Rachel Lears, USA, 2019) Opening Night Film followed by Q&A with Rachel Lears, Robin, Sarah Olson, Stephanie Soechtig, Kristin Lazure, Amanda Litman
MIDNIGHT FAMILY – (Director Luke Lorentzen, Mexico/USA, 2019) followed by Q&A with Luke Lorentzen
MIKE WALLACE IS HERE – (Director Avi Belkin, USA, 2019) followed by Q&A
ONE CHILD NATION – (Director Nanfu Wang, USA, 2019) followed by Q&A with Nanfu Wang

This year’s Doc10 entries have already won at least 5 Best Documentary Awards, 5 Audience Awards, and Awards for Best Direction (AMERICAN FACTORY) and Best Cinematography (MIDNIGHT FAMILY) at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Half of this year’s slate has also scored a perfect 100% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, with 60% of this year’s line-up directed or co-directed by women – including Opening Night stunner KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE, which was partially funded by the Chicago Media Project – this is a monumental year not only for documentary films, but also for the women who helm them.

“Doc10 is an early harbinger of the year’s most award-worthy documentaries,” stated Anthony Kaufman, Doc10 Programmer. “Last year’s line-up featured five of this year’s Oscar-shortlisted docs including WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, ON HER SHOULDERS, and CRIME + PUNISHMENT, as well as RBG and MINDING THE GAP, both of which went on to be nominated at this year’s Academy Awards. I expect a similar outcome when it comes to this year’s slate.”

In addition to film screenings, Doc10 also offers a variety of engaging events throughout the festival. Friday kicks off the industry program with a range of investor workshops running from 10:00am to 4:00pm. On Saturday, the festival will host a conversation regarding women in politics with a KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE panel, including director Rachel Lears, Run for Something’s Amanda Litman, Betsy Hoover from Higher Ground Labs and 270 Strategies, and Genevieve Thiers, CEO of Newfounders and Tech Founder. Also on Saturday is a Doc Editors panel, which will include award-winning editor Aaron Wickenden (WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?), among others. Sunday’s industry programming includes the Points North Pitch at Doc10, co-presented by Chicago Media Project & the Points North Institute. This crowdfunding brunch will feature six Points North Institute fellows presenting their works in progress to festival goers, providing a sneak preview at exciting up-and-coming documentaries and moderated by a panel of esteemed industry professionals. Also on Sunday is the DOCNYC workshop hosted by the legendary documentary guru Thom Powers from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

For festival goers who prefer a more tangible experience, Doc10 is bringing back the VR RV – the first of its kind traveling space which immerses festival-goers in the latest ventures in virtual reality. This year’s VR program will be headlined by Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams’ TRAVELING WHILE BLACK, a 20-minute immersive experience about the history of restrictions of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in their communities. A full list of available VR projects will be announced closer to the festival.

Running all weekend in conjunction with the films is the Doc10 Pop Up, which will house VR exhibits, receptions, and other special events. A full list list of events taking place at the Doc10 Pop Up is available on the website.

More details about the festival, the films that will be screened, and tickets can be found on the Doc10 website

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