arts 03.24.15

Every Person in New York

Iconic filmmaker Albert Maysles died earlier this month, leaving behind a lifetime of great documentaries—many made with his brother, David—including Grey Gardens, Salesman and Gimme Shelter. His final movie, Iris, opens next month, celebrating fashion one-off and life force Iris Apfel.

The documentary field is as rich and varied as it ever has been, in no small part due to Mr. Maysles' films, influence, and his advocacy for the genre. In 2005, the Maysles Documentary Center opened, offering training to aspiring filmmakers as well as screenings at the Maysles Cinema. From March 26-April 1, they're showing Freeway: Crack in the System by director Marc Levin, about the crack epidemic. Mr. Levin will do a Q&A after the screening on Friday, March 27.

Tonight at BAM, the U.S. debut of Manfred Kirchheimer's film Canners, about the people who collect bottles and cans for the recycling refund. The director will be on hand for a Q & A. Last October, the Times ran an appreciation of Mr. Kirchheimer.

The wrongful conviction of 20-year-old Ryan Ferguson for murder is the subject of Dream/Killer, directed by Andrew Jenks. It's one of the documentaries being shown as part of this year's Tribeca Film Festival, April 15-26. There's the story of Joy Johnson, the oldest woman to run the 2013 NYC Marathon (Every Day)… In Transit hops on America's busiest long-distance train route, a film co-directed by Albert Maysles… There are movies about comedy institutions Monty Python and the National LampoonPeggy Guggenheim is the larger-than-life subject of Lisa Immordino Vreeland's documentary… Filmmaker Abigail Disney's The Armor of Light looks at the changing views of a pro-gun Evangelical Christian minister after he meets a mother whose unarmed son was murdered… Nelson George directs A Ballerina's Tale, a behind-the-scenes look at life for ABT's first African-American female soloist, Misty Copeland.

Also from the Tribeca Film Fest, their picks for the 5 Best NYC Documentaries to Stream.

This year's Human Rights Watch Film Festival takes place June 11-21 at Walter Reade and IFC. There are some narrative films, but it's a documentary-rich festival, given the scope of the mission, which is to showcase human rights concerns around the globe. A trailer for this year's lineup is here and includes this sentiment from one of the films, which could stand for the many: "Little bit by bit, you're playing your part, you're playing your part, so when you put all these efforts together…I can't give up hope."

Film Society Lincoln Center takes "the most expansive possible view of documentary film"—their annual Art of the Real showcase is April 10-26.

The 7th annual Explorers Club Film Festival, May 15-16, screens films about swashbucklers, explorers and the natural world.

In Williamsburg, the UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art is a crossroads of documentary filmmakers, journalists, and local partners.

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

Times Square (from 2013)

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