2011–2012 Contemporary Documentaries

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A Survey of Outstanding Recent Work in the Documentary Field

Part Two: March 21 to May 30, 2012

The 30th annual Contemporary Documentaries series is a showcase for feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the 2010 Academy Award nominations, including the winners, as well as other important and innovative films considered by the Academy that year.

All films in the series screen at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The filmmakers will be present at screenings whenever possible. Admission for all screenings is free.

Event Information

Wednesday evenings through May 30, at 7 p.m.
Linwood Dunn Theater
  • Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m.

    "Exit through the Gift Shop"

    Exit through the Gift Shop

    Directed by Banksy

    Produced by Jaimie D'Cruz

    In the world of guerrilla street art, a young videographer named Thierry Guetta attempts to document the work of some of the renegade movement’s best-known practitioners. When his intentions are questioned, however, by the artist known only as Banksy, the tables are turned as Banksy seizes control of the film and makes Guetta and his obsession its subject. 35mm. 87 mins.

    Academy Award nominee: Documentary Feature



    Directed by Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost

    Produced by Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling, Joost, Schulman

    In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, "Catfish" is a story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue. 35mm. 88 mins.

    Producer Marc Smerling participated in a Q&A after the screening.

  • Wednesday, April 4, at 7 p.m.

    "Poster Girl"

    Poster Girl

    Directed by Sara Nesson

    Produced by Mitchell W. Block, Nesson

    Former cheerleader and ARMY magazine cover subject Robynn Murray deals with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder following her return from Iraq. Digital. 38 mins.

    Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject

    Producer Mitchell Block participated in a Q&A after the screening.

    "Killing in the Name"

    Killing in the Name

    Directed by Jed Rothstein

    Produced by Liz Garbus, Rory Kennedy, Rothstein

    Since his wedding day, when a suicide bomber killed 27 members of his family, Ashraf has devoted his life to opposing terrorism within the Muslim community. Digital. 39 mins.

    Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject

    Co–producer Jessica Van Garsse participated in a Q&A after the screening.

    "Quest for Honor"

    Quest for Honor

    Directed by Mary Ann Smothers Bruni

    Produced by Bruni, Lawrence Taub

    In Iraqi Kurdistan, the practice of "honor killing" persists and is often condoned or ignored by local officials. Runak Faraj, the head of the Women's Media Center in Suleymaniyah, Iraq, searches for the truth behind the death of a widow at odds with her husband's family, while a second shooting injures a woman who has fled from her family to a safe house. Digital. 66 mins.

    Producer/director Mary Ann Bruni participated in a Q&A after the screening.

  • Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m.

    "Living for 32"

    Living for 32

    Directed by Kevin Breslin

    Produced by Maria Cuomo Cole

    A survivor of the shooting spree that claimed the lives of 32 of his classmates at Virginia Tech in 2007, Colin Goddard has resolved to live his life in a way that will honor the memory of those who died. Digital. 40 mins.

    "One Thousand Pictures: RFK's Last Journey"

    One Thousand Pictures: RFK's Last Journey

    Produced by Jennifer Stoddart

    When Robert F. Kennedy's funeral train traveled from New York to Washington following his 1968 assassination, thousands of people lined the route to pay tribute to him. Digital. 40 mins.



    "This Way of Life"

    This Way of Life

    Directed by Thomas Burstyn

    Produced by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

    Peter Ottley Karena and his wife, Colleen, live with their six children in the remote Ruahine Mountains of New Zealand. Their idyllic life is disrupted when men arrive claiming ownership of the family's house and land, which Peter's estranged father appears to have sold. Digital. 84 mins.

  • Wednesday, May 2, at 7 p.m.

    "The Warriors of Qiugang"

    The Warriors of Qiugang

    Directed by Ruby Yang

    Produced by Thomas Lennon, Yang

    When a chemical company begins poisoning their air and water, the villagers of Qiugang, China, decide to fight for a safe environment for their home. Digital. 39 mins.

    Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject



    Directed by Josh Fox

    Produced by Trish Adlesic, Fox, Molly Gandour

    When Josh Fox is approached by a company wishing to drill for natural gas on his property, he begins a disturbing investigation into the environmental repercussions of the process. In region after region across the country, he documents evidence of serious pollution and contamination caused by drilling methods that have been exempted from the standards required by the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Digital. 107 mins.

    Academy Award nominee: Documentary Feature

    Editor Matthew Sanchez participated in a Q&A after the screening.

  • Wednesday, May 16, at 7 p.m.

    "Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould"

    Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

    Directed by Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont

    Produced by Raymont

    The life of celebrated Canadian pianist Glenn Gould is explored through his work and extensive interviews with both Gould and his closest friends. With a lively intelligence, a passion for privacy, and an often difficult personality, Gould became an international star who was known as much for his eccentricities as for his brilliant musicianship. 35mm. 106 mins.

    "William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe"

    William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

    Directed by Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler

    Produced by E. Kunstler, S. Kunstler, Jesse Moss, Susan Korda

    Filmmakers Emily and Sarah Kunstler offer a portrait of their father, controversial defense attorney William Kunstler. From his days as a passionate advocate for the civil rights movement to his later career defending a series of accused murderers and terrorists, Kunstler earned a reputation as a fearless and often flamboyant presence in the courtroom. 35mm. 85 mins.

  • Wednesday, May 30, at 7 p.m.

    "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer"

    Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

    Directed by Alex Gibney

    Produced by Gibney, Jedd Wider, Todd Wider, Maiken Baird

    Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer built his career as a crusading attorney general, leading investigations into the wrongdoings of the state's powerful financial institutions. His subsequent downfall came when his name appeared on the client list of an infamous call girl ring during an investigation that may have been engineered by his political enemies. 35mm. 117 mins.

    Producers Jedd Wider and Todd Wider participated in a Q&A after the screening.

    "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work"

    Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

    Directed by Ricki Stern

    Co-directed by Annie Sundberg

    Produced by Stern, Seth Keal, Sundberg

    A look at a year in the life of the iconic comedian, including the struggles and thrills of life as a groundbreaking female performer. Follow her private dramas as Rivers fights to keep her career thriving in a business driven by youth and beauty. 35mm. 84 mins.

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