The 13th annual DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival—running in-person Nov. 9-17 at IFC Center, SVA Theatre and Cinépolis Chelsea and continuing online until Nov. 27—includes more than 110 feature-length documentaries among over 200 films and events. Included are 29 world premieres and 27 U.S. premieres with most festival films available digitally to U.S. viewers. Films include:

“African Moot,” directed by Shameela Seedat

Students across the African continent come together for an annual contest of oratory skills and knowledge of the law. The film follows diverse teams of law students as they prepare for this prestigious, high-stakes mock trial, the African Human Rights Moot Competition. In her feature film debut, former lawyer-turned-filmmaker Shameela Seedat gives us this feel-good chronicle showcasing the best and brightest of African youth. (South Africa, 85 min.)

“Aftershock,” directed by Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee

Aftershock puts a spotlight on the crisis of Black maternal deaths in the United States by focusing on the cases of two New York City mothers, Shamony Gibson and Amber Isaac, who died during childbirth-related complications in recent years. We watch how their bereaved families become activists on this issue. “Aftershock is a moving ode to Black families in a society where too many forces work to tear them apart” (NY Times). (USA, 87 min.) (Onyx Collective)

“Dusty & Stones,” directed by Jesse Rudoy

Gazi “Dusty” Simelane and Linda “Stones” who are country music singers, living in Swaziland. The film captures their wondrous ten-day road trip through the American south, gifting us with great music and leaving us questioning the intersectional issues of race, power, and whether any demographic can lay claim to country music, or any other art form. (USA, 83 min.)

“Ellis,” directed by Sascha Just

Patriarch of the famed “First Family of Jazz,” Ellis Marsalis was a master jazz pianist, composer and educator. This intimate documentary delves into the life and career of this music icon, sprinkled with historical tidbits about his beloved hometown of New Orleans, and footage of his final live performances. Anecdotes from sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, Ellis III, Jason, and actor Wendell Pierce, round out the story as Ellis recounts for us the story of his illustrious life. (USA, 96 min.)

“Fati’s Choice,” directed by Fatimah Dadzie

A Ghanaian mother of five survives the perilous journey to Europe in search of a better life, only to return to her village to reunite with her children, much to the disdain of family and neighbors. Steadfast in her convictions of what’s best, first-time filmmaker Fatimah Dadzie tells her own unique story of determination and courage. (South Africa, 42 min.)

“Gumbo Coalition,” directed by Barbara Kopple

Driven by a mutual determination not to be “the generation that allows progress to slip,” national social justice leaders Marc Morial of National Urban League and Janet Murguía of UnidosUS join forces to fight structural racism amid a troubling resurgence of white supremacy in the Trump era. Two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple takes a vérité approach to examine the experiences that have shaped Morial and Murguía into leaders of their diverse African American and Latinx American communities as they navigate the complex arc of racial justice in the pandemic years. (USA, 108 min.)

“Lazaro and The Shark,” directed by William Sabourin O’Reilly

This film charts the extraordinary presence and impact of the Afro-Cuban legacy in everyday life and the electric annual Conga competitions in Cuba. “Lazaro” tells a vibrant story of contemporary life in Cuba, marked by generational conflicts and the suspense of a competition. The music and dancing featured throughout the film emphasizes the undeniable and exhilarating presence and importance of the rich Afro-Cuban legacy on the Eastern part of the island. Stripped of the exotic gaze of an outsider, the film brings the audience to life in Santiago, to fathom the real racial, cultural, and social diversity of this fascinating country. These Cuban street parades are saturated with so much drama, love, pain, powerful music and ecstatic joy, as entire communities struggle to express themselves while facing harsh police brutality and repression.

“Lee Fields: Faithful Man,” directed by Jessamyn Ansary, Joyce Mishaan

Blues and soul singer Lee Fields’ career spans 50 years, from his early days playing Harlem clubs to stints with Kool & the Gang and Sharon Jones, to inspiring today’s rappers Travis Scott and A$ap Rocky. Despite comparisons to James Brown, Lee is his own man: loving husband, dynamic performer, and oh, that voice! Brimming with classics and new hits, this film charts his journey through a career lull and back into the limelight with the resurgence of vinyl recordings. (USA, 81 min.)

For the full program and more info, visit

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