In these fragmented and challenging times, in-depth and accurate storytelling is more important than ever. From capturing the beauty of our fragile planet and its undeniable connection to humankind’s quality of life, to highlighting inspiring stories that have a direct impact on the most pressing issues of our time, documentary filmmakers elevate truth through storytelling.
Fortunately for Bay Area residents, some of the most talented documentary filmmakers and subjects alike reside right in our own backyards, making the California Film Institute’s DocLands Documentary Film Festival all the richer. This year’s offering, running May 7-16, includes more than 40 compelling films. Among those are locally relevant works such as: “Last Days at Paradise High,” a short illuminating the aftermath of the 2018 Camp Fire through the eyes of the high school’s senior class; “Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir,” a documentary on the Bay Area author which was the final film directed by Marin County resident James Redford, who died last October; and “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl That Decided to Go for It,” a profile of the famed Oscar winner and Berkeley resident.
“Documentary films are uniquely suited for times like these, with some offering distractions from our troubles, while others help us better understand the circumstances we find ourselves in,” CFI Executive Director Mark Fishkin writes in this year’s program. “With society slowly beginning to return to life, our latest edition of DocLands represents a turn toward normalcy.”
Going well beyond an average day at the movies, the festival also includes daily DocTalks offering program updates and recommendations, and the special DocTalk: Women of Impact panel discussion, where four filmmakers offering a behind-the-scenes look at their works.
In addition to helping select independent filmmakers reach a broader audience, the festival strives to leave a lasting impact. To this end, its DocLands Education program offers free online screenings exclusively for school groups (grades 4-12) throughout the U.S. This year’s lineup for students includes environmental films; Q&As with filmmakers, film subjects and subject experts; and curriculum resources for teachers.
Ticketholders and DocLands sponsors make all of this possible in a year when so many are yearning for meaningful connections. This year, CFI also has an amazing opportunity for donors who want to continue to fuel this important work.
Thanks to a $10,000 matching grant from the Susan Noyes of Make It Better Media Group, any gift to CFI between now and May 16 will be matched dollar for dollar. Your donation will ensure CFI continues to make a difference by:
- Providing a platform for independent filmmakers to share their thought-provoking work opening windows to the world, broadening perspectives and shifting the cultural landscape.
- Offering free film education programs to thousands of students and teachers designed to build bridges of understanding throughout communities and across the globe.
- Providing children and young people of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn about themselves and the world through film.
Your tax-deductible donation before May 16 will not only be doubled, but also will help ensure that documentary storytelling continues to enrich our community and inspire young minds.
Learn more about the 2021 festival and purchase your passes at the DocLands Documentary Film Festival website.