Film Programs


Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Both entertaining and enlightening, these documentaries investigate powerful tales that make up our collective zeitgeist.

Do Not Resist
USA 2016 73 min.

One Night Only! Tuesday, December 13th at 7pm. Skype Q&A with director after the screening! Winner of The Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film at the 39th Denver Film Festival.

Mifune: The Last Samurai
USA 2015 80 min.


Actors of Sound
USA 2016 100 min.

In an era of rampant digitization, Foley is the increasingly unsung craft of post-production sound-effects creation. This fascinating documentary follows its leading artists to show you how they “paint pictures with sound,” enhancing critical cinematic moments.

American Epic: Out of the Many One
USA 2016 87 min.

The myriad threads of our musical tapestry—from a Hopi snake dance to a Tejana tango to a Cajun anthem—are displayed in part two of a documentary series on the American songbook produced by T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford and Jack White.

American Epic: The Big Bang
USA 2016 110 min.

Part one of a trilogy produced by T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford and Jack White, this stirring documentary brings the stories of long-forgotten folk singers from Appalachia and the Deep South—from bygone coal mines, cotton fields and gospel choirs—back to life.

American Epic: The Sessions
USA 2016 117 min.

Some of today’s greatest musicians come together to record on a historic, one-of-a-kind piece of equipment from the 1920s in this joyful celebration of America’s musical heritage, the final segment of a trilogy produced by T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford and Jack White.

BANG! The Bert Berns Story
USA 2016 95 min.

The owner of Bang! Records, Bert Berns produced some of the 1960s’ greatest hits, including “Piece of My Heart” and “Hang on Sloopy,” and launched the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond. He also did business with the mob. This entertaining documentary chronicles his uncommon life.

Best and Most Beautiful Things
USA 2016 90 min.

Michelle, a bright, young, legally blind woman with Asperger’s, prepares to confront “the good, the bad and the ugly” of independent living in this empowering documentary celebration of outcasts who seek to confront the “uncensored world” and discover communities that might sustain them.

Denmark 2016 74 min.

Join the Nordic Food Lab’s intrepid chef Ben Reade and researcher Josh Evans on a globe-trotting adventure into the wild world of edible insects. This intelligent, thought-provoking documentary will challenge the way you think about food, natural resources and our future on this planet.

Best of DFF39: California Typewriter
USA 2016 103 min.

MUST END Thursday, September 28th!

Catholics vs. Convicts
USA 2016 102 min.

The 1988 game between Notre Dame and the University of Miami went down in college-football history—and not only because both teams came to it undefeated. Their rivalry reached new heights when a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Catholics vs. Convicts” inflamed sociopolitical tensions.

Check It
USA 2016 91 min.

In 2009, three gay African-American teens started a gang to defend themselves from bullying. Today the gang called Check It is over 200 strong. This passionate documentary reveals the fabulous and fierce members of the group as they learn to channel their aggression in a more positive direction.

The Cinema Travellers
India 2016 96 min.

This tender yet unflinching documentary travels through dusty towns in India with the crews of touring cinemas, who jury-rig 35mm projectors while enticing locals into their tents with calls of “movies to touch your soul.” Their passion persists despite dwindling audiences, as most watch TV at home.

Death by a Thousand Cuts
USA 2016 73 min.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share a border and compete fiercely for natural resources. In 2012, a Dominican park ranger was brutally murdered by machete as he investigated illegal Haitian coal production on protected lands. This gripping doc sheds light on the complexities of the situation.

The Eagle Huntress
United Kingdom 2016 87 min.

Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, this awe-inspiring documentary follows 13-year-old Aisholopan as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to hunt eagles, a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.

Farewell Ferris Wheel
USA 2016 70 min.

This insightful documentary examines the complex personal and political issues affecting carnival workers on visa in the US. From the hardships they endure to the battles being fought in Congress to protect them, it explores the age-old conflict between workers’ rights and economic imperatives.

Fire at Sea
Italy 2016 114 min.

ENDS THURSDAY 2/2/2017. Oscar nominee! Best Documentary Feature.

Franca: Chaos and Creation
USA 2016 80 min.

Made by her son, this engrossing documentary makes sense of Franca Sozzani’s life and work as the controversial editor of Vogue Italia. Pithy commentary from Karl Lagerfeld, Baz Luhrmann and others punctuates the conversations between the filmmaker and his mother.

USA 2016 52 min.

Your average American, Gary uploads snippets of his life onto YouTube. When his family begins to spiral into debt, what they do on camera to wipe the slate clean is shocking. Director Dean Fleischer-Camp deftly edits Gary’s video footage to create a compelling narrative of modern consumerism.

Growing Up Coy
USA 2016 82 min.

Meet the Mathises, a Colorado family whose four-year-old child self-identifies as a girl. When Coy is forced to use the boys’ bathroom at school, they’re spurred to take legal action. This documentary follows their struggle all the way to the Supreme Court.

Guantanamo's Child: Omar Khadr
Canada 2015 80 min.

Canadian-born Omar Khadr was just 15 when he was arrested in Afghanistan for killing an American soldier. After stints at Bagram and Guantanamo, he became the first juvenile to be tried for war crimes. But all is not what it appears. This riveting documentary tells his story.

USA 2016 90 min.

Shot in Jackson, Mississippi, this gripping documentary delves into the conflict between religious freedom and reproductive rights in the Deep South. As the last-standing abortion clinic in the state is threatened with closure, leaders of the pro-life and pro-choice movements come to a head.

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent
USA 2016 102 min.

This compelling documentary delves into the complex and mysterious life of legendary chef Jeremiah Tower, one of America’s first true culinary celebrities, who disappeared from public view when his booming restaurant empire shuttered. With interviews by Martha Stewart and Anthony Bourdain.

Jirí Menzel – To Make A Comedy Is No Fun
Switzerland 2016 80 min.

This enlightening documentary seeks to explain the influence legendary auteur Jirí Menzel’s unique comedic style has had on Czech culture—not to mention many of his filmmaking contemporaries. Menzel is best known stateside for the Oscar-winning New Wave classic Closely Watched Trains.

Mom and Me
USA 2016 76 min.

The men of Oklahoma have been called the manliest in the country, but they owe all their strength to their mothers. Take a heartfelt journey with talk-radio personality Joe Cristiano as he investigates the relationships his callers have with their moms, whether they’re playing chess or shooting guns

Mr. Gaga
Israel 2015 100 min.

The creator of the Gaga movement in contemporary dance, Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin commands the spotlight in this documentary about his dramatic personal and professional life—from performing in 1970s New York City to challenging the Israeli government to reinterpreting the language of dance

NADIA COMANECI: The Gymnast and the Dictator
France 2016 56 min.

At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci made history by scoring the first perfect 10 on the uneven bars. Upon returning to Communist Romania, she faced tremendous pressure to help keep her country on the map. In this documentary, the legendary gymnast tells her side of the story.

The Nine
USA 2016 98 min.

In her first documentary, photographer Katy Grannan reveals a ravaged America through her portraits of sex worker Kiki and her damaged companions, who live in the modern-day purgatory of Modesto. Grannan’s luminous visuals highlight this microcosmic study of human aspiration and resilience.

USA 2016 93 min.

Obituaries, ostensibly about death, truly celebrate lives. Inspired by the passing of an origami artist from her acclaimed debut Between the Folds, Vanessa Gould’s beautifully shot and engaging documentary follows obit writers at The New York Times as they craft their stories.

Off the Rails
USA 2016 87 min.

Darius McCollum has spent 23 years in maximum-security prison for hijacking hundreds of trains and buses—all to feed his obsession with driving them. This fascinating documentary places the story of McCollum, who has Asperger’s, within the framework of our broken justice system.

Ovarian Psycos
USA 2016 72 min.

A group of brave women of color from east Los Angeles form the heart and soul of this powerful documentary about an all-female cycling brigade. Called the Ovarian Psycos, these women take back the night, supporting each other as they attempt to heal themselves and their community.

The Play
USA 2015 75 min.

On November 20, 1982, during a Cal Berkeley–Stanford game, the greatest play in the history of American football—dubbed “The Play”—went down in front of 80,000 stunned fans. Even today, the details of that hilarious and epic moment are hotly debated; this is the story behind it.

The Promise
Germany 2016 117 min.

Masterfully weaving archival footage and new evidence, German documentary filmmakers Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger shed light on the convictions of Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom for the gruesome murder of Elizabeth’s parents in 1986.

The Pulitzer at 100
USA 2016 91 min.

The Pulitzer Prize turns 100 this year. This fascinating documentary from Oscar and Emmy winner Kirk Simon examines how one of the world’s most prestigious awards got its start while sharing the work of the authors, journalists, playwrights, musicians and photographers who have been its recipients.

The Queen of Ireland
Ireland 2015 86 min.

Outrageous, heartbreaking and ultimately winning, Conor Horgan’s documentary reveals how Ireland’s most famous drag queen, Panti Bliss, came into being, took on her country’s homophobic establishment and helped usher in the passing of the country’s historic referendum on gay marriage.

Reengineering Sam
USA 2016 82 min.

Sam Schmidt always wanted to go bigger and faster. His love of Indy car racing left him a quadriplegic, but he never pumped the brakes on his passion for life—and now he’s intent on gaining mobility through technology in this uplifting documentary produced by longtime festival guest Daniel Junge.

SCORE: A Film Music Documentary
USA 2016 94 min.

Infused with the joy of making music, this endearing documentary examines the struggles that composers undergo to complete a film score. A who’s who of soundsmiths like Trent Reznor and John Williams, film historians and directors lay out the craft behind famous scenes from Hollywood blockbusters.

SEED: The Untold Story
USA 2016 94 min.

Featuring stunning time-lapse cinematography and meticulous research, this documentary shines a spotlight on the fascinating world of seeds. With 94 percent of seed diversity disappearing over the past century, the directors give a rallying cry for all concerned about environmental issues.

USA 2016 80 min.

For this insightful portrait of life in solitary confinement, documentarian Kristi Jacobson filmed prisoners, corrections officers and psychiatrists at a Virginia supermax over the course of one year. Tight camera angles and high-contrast photography emphasize the inmates’ despair and anger.

Visitor's Day
Mexico 2016 75 min.

This inspiring documentary follows Juan Carlos, a teenager who has gone from the streets to IPODERAC—a unique boys’ home in Mexico that offers its residents structure for the first time in their lives as they receive therapy and form a strong brotherhood, all while learning to make goat cheese.

Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith
USA 2016 104 min.

Through interviews interspersed with old photos and video footage, this documentary portrait of pioneering Detroit district court judge Damon J. Keith explores his monumental rulings on civil rights, the Nixon administration and more. Along the way, a wry love story to the Motor City emerges as well

Wrestling Alligators
USA 2016 90 min.

Legalized gaming on reservations has proven an effective tool for Native Americans to achieve self-sufficiency, and its instigator was longtime Seminole chairman James E. Billie. This documentary captures Billie as he deployed charm, physical bravado and grit to assert tribal sovereignty.

Czech Republic 2016 52 min.

Considered one of the greatest runners of the 20th century, Emil Zátopek is best known for taking home three gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics. This documentary examines how his talent and endurance made him a source of hope for his native Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.

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