Obit (NR) When we think of an obituary, the first reaction is often melancholy, lamenting the passing of a loved one or a cultural icon. However, for the small group of obituary writers at The New York Times the job is to celebrate the life of a person while also dealing with death in a balancing act. The goal is to acknowledge the death, but focus on the accomplishments and deeds, whether honorable or nefarious, and the life of the person being remembered. This form of documentary storytelling weaves together a lifelong history of accomplishments culminating in the person’s death, and the obit team at The New York Times has been heralded as one of the best at doing just that. The film is the first of its kind to deal with obituaries, and it asks important questions about mortality, fear of death, and how to be remembered after we are gone. OBIT not only focuses on the writing process of the obituary, but it even gives the viewer a look at The New York Times century-old archive of obituaries run by archivist Jeff Roth. OBIT is a recipient of a 2015 NYSCA Artist Grant, and received support from IFP and Made In NY Media Center.
Directed by Vanessa Gould
Seed: The Untold Story (NR) Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind, few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds.
Directed by Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel
Featuring Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, Winona Laduke, and Raj Patel
I Am Not Your Negro (PG-13) In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
Directed by Raoul Peck
Featuring Samuel L. Jackson, James Baldwin
The Eagle Huntress (G) THE EAGLE HUNTRESS follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breath-taking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl's quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.
Directed by Otto Bell
Featuring Daisy Ridley, Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Rhys Nurgaiv