Documentary fest takes hard look at Black life in America
JULIETTE FAIRLEY Special to the AmNews | 5/23/2013, 4:27 p.m.
The third annual documentary festival DOC NYC closed Wednesday with a screening of "The Central Park Five," an investigative film about the young African-American men wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for the notorious Central Park Jogger rape case. Directors Ken and Sarah Burns hosted a Q&A after the screening along with several members of the Central Park Five who attended.
From Nov. 8 to 15, DOC NYC showcased 115 films and events, including screenings of 61 feature-length films and 32 shorts as well as 22 doc-related panel discussions and master classes, which took place at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave., and the SVA Theatre, 333 W. 23rd St.
"This festival offers something for everyone," said DOC NYC Artistic Director Thom Powers. "Whether you love music, politics, sports, travel, photography, nature or you name it, we've got a film for you."
Other African-American-themed documentaries included "The Prep School Negro" and the opening night New York premiere of "Venus and Serena," a peek into the private lives of the renowned Williams sisters. Co-director Michelle Major addressed the audience before the screening, saying that the documentary took years to get approved by the tennis stars' management team.
Directed by Andre Robert Lee, "The Prep School Negro" is about an African-American gay youth from the ghettos of Philadelphia, Lee himself, who is recruited to attend a largely white private school called GFS. In addition to dealing with the universal culture shock of entering white society, Lee delves into how generations of family dysfunction prevents him from completely assimilating with his wealthy peers, including one who is African-American. Afterward, Lee shared hair products provided by Miss Jessie's, one of his corporate sponsors.
"Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp," presented by producer Ice-T, was also featured. The documentary chronicles street life through the eyes of the author, who was once a pimp.