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Piano to Zanskar

Opening on the vast and awesome landscape of the Himalayas, Piano to Zanskar is a journey in every sense of the word. Follow 65-year-old piano tuner Desmond “Gentle” O’Keefe, his young assistants Anna and Harald, a team of local Sherpas, and various yaks and ponies, as they travel across precarious and steep mountain paths beyond the Trans-Himalayan highway to reach the majestic and remote village of Lingshed to deliver a promised piano to the town. Shot in a hypnotic and meditative style that honors the odyssey as much as the destination, this beautiful document of a noble quest also ponders the increasing impact of modernity on ancient ways of life and the inevitable progression of time.
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Public Trust

One of the most important documentaries of the year, Public Trust is a film that needs to be seen by everyone who enjoys getting out in nature. Although many of us take the 640 million acres of America’s Public Lands for granted, these lands are endangered by powerful forces that are attempting the largest land grab in modern history. By focusing on the eminent destruction of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota, the downsizing of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, and the wholesale appropriation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, director David Garrett Byars enlists a slew of journalists, land historians, tribal leaders, and government whistleblowers to present a highly persuasive argument that is impossible to ignore and vital to hear. Above all else, as executive producer Robert Redford tells us, “Public Trust is the story of citizens who are fighting back.
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Queen Without Land (Dronning uten land)

The majestic landscape of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, is home to gentle Frost, a polar bear mother, and her romping, rambunctious cubs, captured in affectionate and intimate detail by wildlife photographer and filmmaker Asgeir Helgestad. Over the course of four years, Helgestad tracks and documents the lives of the bears, as well as native foxes, reindeer, seals, walrus, birds, and blue whales—a breathtaking and beautiful ecosystem imminently impacted by rising temperatures and glaciers melting at record speed. Queen Without Land dramatically showcases this epic territory of towering mountains, narrow fjords, and flowering meadows, the dynamic wildlife that populates the land, and the myriad modern threats to its future.
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Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words

Near the beginning of Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock’s intimate profile of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Justice becomes visibly moved when a group of high school students presents her with a painting of herself. Unlike a portrait by a different artist some years earlier that had depicted her bigger than her actual diminutive size, this painting is an accurate portrayal. It is a revealing moment: Ginsburg wants to be seen not as larger than life, but really as she is. By relying on Ginsburg’s own words and actions, as illuminated by carefully culled archival footage and interviews, Mock covers the full breadth of Ginsburg’s life, views, and career. Furthermore, Mock succeeds in creating a compelling portrait as authentic, poignant, and powerful as the Justice herself.
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DocLands Livestream Conversation and Q&A with Freida Lee Mock

The 2020 DocLands Honors Award is presented to five-time Academy Award® nominee Freida Lee Mock for her determination in bringing to light the stories behind some of the most remarkable American artists, politicians, humanitarians, and social justice activists. From Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember; Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner; Anita: Speaking Truth to Power; and Return with Honor, to her 1995 Academy Award-winning documentary feature Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision and her most recent film Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words, Mock's intimate, yet powerful cinematic biographies allow us to experience extraordinary lives, often from contrasting walks of life. Freida Lee Mock, partner in the Los Angeles-based Sanders and Mock Productions and co-founder of the nonprofit American Film Foundation, was the first Governor elected to the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
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Hugh Herr was a 17-year-old mountain climber when he and a friend got lost in a blizzard on Mount Washington. Suffering from severe frostbite, Herr had to have both of his legs amputated. From his hospital room, he was initially shocked at the primitive prosthetic limbs he was given. Soon, shock gave way to a fierce determination to make a difference in the lives of others. Augmented follows Herr’s dramatic lifelong quest to become a scientist at MIT and an expert in the area of prosthetics. His pathbreaking success in the field of prosthetics leads to a major scientific breakthrough and a radical new way of performing amputations that will allow bionic limbs to move and feel like the real thing.
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The Big Scary "S" Word

Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign brought unprecedented focus on the notion of socialism in the context of the United States. Since then, socialists have won seats in both houses of Congress while others equate socialism with totalitarianism. This thorough, thoughtful, and engaging film tracks the history of socialism in America and dispels many of the myths that are so often promulgated in public discourse.
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The Book Makers

Don’t you just love the smell of a good book? Bay Area-bred filmmaker James Kennard taps into the tangible connection humans have to physical books, profiling the talented artists, authors, collectors, and historians who retain and preserve the artistry and craft of bookmaking. The individuals create books that manifest wonder and awe, carrying on traditions of producing physical books to coexist in harmony with a newly digital world. From the producers of California Typewriter, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and The Kingmaker, and featuring interviews with Dave Eggers, Daniel Handler, Peter Koch, and many more, The Book Makers explores the world of book fairs and book obsessives, whose passion and dedication converge to keep the pleasurable and palpable acts of physical bookmaking and book-reading alive.
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Citizen Penn

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti and changed millions of lives. International aid workers descended on Haiti to help in any way they could. One of those people driven to help was American actor and filmmaker Sean Penn. Citizen Penn chronicles the moment Penn and his team of volunteers landed in Haiti just days after the earthquake and the decade since. This documentary delivers unparalleled access to one of America’s most polarizing figures and offers audiences an intimate, honest, and self-reflective look into the triumphs and challenges of a man who decided to do something. He got involved in a way few activists ever will. Viewers can decide for themselves whether Haiti is better off for it.
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Current Sea

Two very different men—Matt Blomberg, an Australian investigative journalist, and Paul Ferber, a former British police officer—find new lives separately in Cambodia and become unexpectedly bound together by a common cause: putting a stop to illegal fishing by creating a marine conservation area in the Gulf of Thailand. Over the course of several years, Blomberg, Ferber, and local activists defiantly bring to light the dangerous and illegal fishing epidemic that is leaving the sea with almost no fish for the Cambodian fishermen whose livelihood depends on what they catch. Like Richard Ladkani’s Sea of Shadows—one of the highlights of DocLands 2019—director Christopher Smith frames Current Sea as a high-stakes environmental thriller, full of urgency, intrigue, and suspense.
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The Dilemma of Desire

With humor and candor in equal measure, The Dilemma of Desire follows a quartet of remarkable women whose work in science, academia, industrial design, and art has paved the way for a better understanding of women’s sexual desire, anatomy, and health in an era where women’s rights are once again under fire. Did you know there wasn’t a single visual reference for the clitoris in the original printing of Gray’s Anatomy? “It’s almost as if they wiped womanhood out of the text,” neuroscientist and professor Dr. Stacey Dutton points out. In a world where we put a man on the moon before understanding how women experience pleasure, director Maria Finitzo highlights the pioneers in the struggle to destigmatize and demystify women’s sexuality.
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DocLands Shorts: Nothing But the Facts!

From remote lands and welcoming cultures, from immigration to innovation—we give you nothing but the facts in this program of DocLands short films! After a near-death experience, an Icelandic photographer and former kayaker discovers a newfound passion for surfing and a new perspective worth living for with the birth of his daughter in Chris Burkard’s Unnúr (US 2019, 16 min). Set in one of the most remote and inaccessible volcanic island chains in the world, a scrappy Russian marine biologist encounters sea lion chaos, joyous raptures, and ultimately a greater hope for the earth in Taylor Rees’ From Kurils with Love (US 2020, 24 min).
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Five Years North

Winner of DocPitch 2018, Five Years North is a film a decade in the making. After meeting and befriending a young Guatemalan boy named Luis while filming their first film Living on One Dollar, co-directors Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple followed a now-15-year-old Luis to New York City to forge a new life as an undocumented immigrant. Ambitious and complex in its scope, Five Years North captures many of Luis’ struggles in the US, from trying to learn English to finding temporary jobs, and juxtaposes them with a portrait of Judy, a Cuban American ICE agent patrolling the neighborhood where Luis now lives. With intimate access to their subjects, Ingrasci and Temple delicately capture two sides of one of America’s most heated and complicated issues.
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He Dreams of Giants

Following their exceptional portrait of Terry Gilliam’s doomed struggle to bring his adaptation of Don Quixote to the screen, directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe pick back up with Gilliam 15 years after Lost in La Mancha. Full of behind-the-scenes moments of inspiration, collaboration, anguish, and triumph, He Dreams of Giants is the sequel we never thought we’d see, as Gilliam successfully continues his 30-year quest to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, now starring Oscar® nominees Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce. With cues from Fellini’s , Fulton and Pepe document the culmination of Gilliam’s life in film, illuminating his copious talents, obsessions, and humor, as he’s fully engaged to confront self-doubt, mortality, and artistic compromise in order to fully realize his long-held dream.
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In 2011, 26-year-old Sarah Outen decided she needed a life-changing adventure, and what could be more thrilling and life-altering than circumnavigating the globe by human power alone. This meant traveling over 20,000 miles by bike, kayak, and rowboat across Europe, Asia, North America, and finally the Atlantic. The course of her voyage was followed by thousands, who were hooked on her infectious humor and joie de vivre. Not everything went as planned, however, and her solo journey began to take its toll with months of solitude, violent weather, and unforeseen setbacks that stretched her quest out to more than four years. Woven out of hundreds of hours of footage, Home intimately and unflinchingly captures Outen’s journey, telling a story of heart and soul, of struggle and joy.
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The Infinite Race

A decade after Christopher McDougall’s bestseller Born to Run helped introduce the world to the phenomenal athletic feats of the marathon runners of the reclusive indiginous Tarahumara tribe of Northern Mexico, Emmy®-nominated director Bernardo Ruiz (Harvest Season) offers an in-depth portrait of the community’s attempts to overcome external threats of nearby drug cartels and diminishing crops. The Infinite Race centers around the 2015 Ultra Maratón Caballo Blanco, an annual 50-mile race in Urique that Oakland-born runner Micah True started to help preserve and celebrate the Tarahumara heritage, as cartel violence risks canceling the event altogether. Ruiz balances a nuanced and inspiring portrait of the Tarahumara people with a compelling look at the ways their endurance running has left a mark on runners across the globe.
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Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time

Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, high above the hustle and bustle of Sunset Boulevard, the woodsy community of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles became home to a who’s who of the nascent rock-and-roll musical scene in the mid-to-late 1960s. The Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young all lived for time in this magical place, hanging out at each other’s houses making great music together. Alison Ellwood (The Go-Go’s) brings together a highly entertaining array of contemporary interviews, home movie footage, and vintage performance clips to create the experience we have all been waiting for: a free pass to the coolest living room assemblage of musicians imaginable.
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Fox Rich is a fighter. The entrepreneur, activist, and mother of six boys has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed long ago in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses into her present-day life, director Garrett Bradley paints a mesmerizing portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the prison-industrial-complex—a legacy of slavery in America.
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