DocLands is back with cool and eclectic movies – Marin Independent Journal

Two diamonds from the Bay Area movie scene get their chance to shine starting this week.

After a two-year absence, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival returns until May 11 with its busy 25th schedule at the Castro Theater.

In San Rafael, the sixth DocLands Documentary Film Festival is taking place at the Smith Rafael Film Center with in-person screenings through May 12 and online viewing options May 11.

Let’s first dive into the rich program of DocLands.

If you want to get a thumbs up on future award contenders, make sure you don’t miss director Alex Pritz’s eye-opener. “The territory.” The conversation with the talented filmmaker should then be enlightening.

The two-time winner of this year’s Sundance Film Festival finds Pritz throwing us into the heart of a tumultuous battle in the Brazilian rainforest, where members of the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau indigenous community struggle to protect their land from the illegal settlers who settle by burning precious forests. Told from different angles – activists, Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people, settlers, etc. – this immersive experience also involves the conservative agenda of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is an exceptional documentary that finds hope in the midst of despair. It is also produced by renowned filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. Screening: 1 p.m. on May 6.

The May 7 line-up includes a screening of “Exposing Muybridge” by Oakland director Marc Shaffer, a fascinating insight into the life and work of 19th-century San Francisco photographer Eadweard Muybridge – a pioneer whose photographs of horses at a gallop paved the way for cinematographic passions. Screening: 8 p.m. on May 7.

California wine connoisseurs will find plenty to enjoy at Lori Miller’s “Living Wine” receive a world premiere. Miller speaks at length with natural winemakers and regional experts about their vow to never use chemical additives and move away from a corporate winemaking structure. This will certainly encourage you to check labels and also look for wineries that adhere to the same protocols and high standards. Screening: 3 p.m. on May 8.

Lisa Riordan, originally from San Francisco, and Zara Katz, originally from Sevastopol, “A Woman Outside” tells the poignant and inspiring story of Kristal Bush, who created Bridging the Gap Transportation, an innovative van program that helps reunite families with incarcerated relatives. Their film, which is getting a California premiere, follows Bush at a pivotal time in his life, when his father and brother return home after spending years in prison. Screening: 5:00 p.m. on May 8.

For something entirely different, there is “Crows Are White” a personal documentary that follows filmmaker Ahsen Nadeem’s quest to find more meaning and clarity in his life. The Los Angeles filmmaker travels to a remote monastery in Japan where monks test the limits of their physical abilities. He receives the cold shoulder instantly upon arrival, but befriends the unconventional monk Ryushin. Their friendship and their personal journey as well as the humor of the films have earned “Crows Are White” its wings. Screening: 7 p.m. on May 8.

“La Guerra Civil” is an eye-opening documentary about a legendary boxing match between Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez. (DocLands)

A few other recommendations: that of Berkeley filmmaker Sara Dosa “Fire of Love” is a sensory experience that highlights the love and work of two French volcanologists (11:30 am May 11); the intense and topical “Navalny” (7:00 p.m., May 6) focuses on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political opponent, Alexei Navalny, and his suspicious and near-fatal poisoning; and the enthusiasm “Civil war” (7:30 p.m., May 6), which examines the boxing fight that divides Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez.

You might also want to catch the 7 p.m. screening on May 7 of “Exposure,” which details a daring attempt – made all the more precarious by climate change – to ski across the Arctic to the North Pole. Before that, “Sarah Squared,” a 3-minute short film by Greenbrae residents Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto about the research work of two marine ecologists at the Point Reyes National Seashore, will screen.

Details: Most screenings $16.50; the full program, tickets and more information are available at

In the meantime, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival offers 29 programs, so here are some recommendations, including the always prolific Clara Bow in “The Primrose Path” (4:45 p.m. May 6), brilliant comedian Buster Keaton’s last performance in the 1928s “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (3:00 p.m. May 7) and closing night feature, a restored version of Oscar Wilde’s witty comedy “Lady Windermere’s Fan” (7 p.m. May 11) with Ronald Colman, May McAvoy, Bert Lytell and Irene Rich. It is directed by Ernst Lubitsch, who also had an influential career in talkies.

One of the lineup’s standout standouts arrives in the form of DJ Spooky’s (Paul D. Miller) live remix and reinterpretation of DW Griffith’s classic, classically racist 1915 epic. “The Birth of a Nation.” In his innovative revamp, DJ Spooky strips the original of its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan and creates a more truthful account of slavery. The 70-minute “Rebirth of a Nation” includes an onstage conversation with the artist and Wesley Morris of The New York Times (7 p.m. May 7).

Details: Screenings $16 to $25; schedule, tickets and more information at

Contact Randy Myers at [email protected]

About Monty S. Maynard

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