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In its 20th year, Doc Fortnight introduces some of the most significant, adventurous new nonfiction works by established and emerging filmmakers in a moment of continued social and political crises. While the festival’s inaugural edition, in December 2001, reflected and communed in the incredibly complex visual record of 9/11, today the pursuit of a truth-telling image finds itself increasingly unmoored, with misinformation, news media, and social networks all blurring the contours of image-making.
In this climate, these 18 features, four short films, and special presentations from around the world boldly attest to the continued vitality of the documentary art form through local dispatches and individual portraits exploring urgent topics in an interconnected world. The festival’s engagement with hybrid filmmaking continues with visual experimentation and expansive strategies that push nonfiction practices to new heights; bearing witness invariably resembles media literacy, world-building, sensory experiences, archiving, restaging, the tracing of alternative histories, personal cinema, and collaboration. Doc Fortnight celebrates the filmmakers and artists who enrich our understanding of the world around us and offer new ways to connect, be inspired, and travel through the mind.
Many of the films are North American premieres, some are presented following prize-winning festival runs, and others are derived from iterative or collective processes that defy easy classification. Doc Fortnight 2021 is also accompanied by a revival run of Mostafa Derkaoui’s rediscovered masterwork of Moroccan cinema About Some Meaningless Events, and by a selected survey of highlights from Doc Fortnight’s wide-ranging 20-year history.
Organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.