Home Films NHdocs Festival to Show 116 Films in Downtown New Haven

NHdocs Festival to Show 116 Films in Downtown New Haven


NEW HAVEN – The New Haven Documentary Film Festival – aka NHdocs – returns for its ninth edition on Thursday night, opening with “Oklahoma Breakdown, a film about a legendary and largely unrecognized one-man band that runs for 11 days in four downtown venues.

The festival, which has managed to go ahead in one way or another every year throughout the coronavirus pandemic, will culminate on October 23 at 7 p.m. with “The Greatest Radio Station in the World”, a film on public radio station WPKN in Bridgeport.

The closing party at Cafe Nine, following the Cob Carlson documentary on WPKN, will feature a DJ dance party that will spotlight several WPKN DJs, including Alec Cumming, Rick Omonte and Westport resident Chris Frantz, who is in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame for his role as drummer for Talking Heads.

This year’s venues include the New Haven Free Public Library on Elm Street, the State House on State Street and, for the first time, the Bow-Tie Criterion Cinemas on Temple Street, in addition to Cafe Nine, also on State Street. .

Full details and tickets for all 116 films screened are available at nhdocs.org.

“I love all of our films,” said NHdocs founder Gorman Bechard, who is optimistic about this year’s lineup, though he did have a few films in particular that he chose to spotlight during from a recent conversation.

The festival’s programming topics “range from social justice, climate change, LGBT issues, health, immigration, poetry, animal welfare, rock ‘n’ roll, beer, life, death and the world champion guitarist in the air thrown in for good measure,” says Béchard.

“We have something for everyone, and half the screenings are free!” festival director Katherine Kowalczyk said in a statement.

Bechard was especially excited about the four movies showing at Cafe Nine, 250 State St., because “they’re so much fun,” he said.

They include “Oklahoma Breakdown,” Christopher Fitzpatrick’s film about struggling comedian Mike Hosty, one of whose songs became a country music hit after it was recorded by Stony Larue, as well as “The Greatest Radio Station in the world” and two other films.

Bechard said of Oklahoma Breakdown subject Hosty, “I love this guy so much I’m sorry I didn’t find him first and make a movie about him.” Hosty will perform after the film, which opens the festival at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Béchard, a documentary filmmaker, will himself have a film among those screened. His “Old Friends, a Dogumentary” will screen Saturday at 5 p.m. at the New Haven Free Public Library. It offers insight into the creation of what Bechard calls “the greatest animal sanctuary on the planet”, the Old Friends Seniors Dog Sanctuary in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

Attendees are asked to bring a donation of food/pet supplies for the shelter to the screening, which is otherwise free.

Connecticut Department of Film, Television and Digital Media to Present 2022 NHdocs Student Competition and Awards Ceremonythere (Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas), including 12 short films by 13 students in competition with a jury.

Other festival highlights, according to the festival release, include:

– “American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton” (Friday, 2:30 p.m. at the New Haven Free Public Library): A film about one of the “trials of the century” of Black Panthers leader Huey P. Newton, who risked the death sentence for killing a white police officer during a pre-dawn car stop in Oakland in 1968.

— “Jack Has A Plan” (Friday, 7 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): “Jack Tuller has a plan. And in the last hours of that plan, Jack will throw a party with his friends, tell his wife how much he likes, and finally, he will take a cocktail designed to end his life peacefully.”

— “Body Parts” (Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): a look at the making of Hollywood sex scenes and the real-life experiences behind them
classic scenes, tracing the legacy of the exploitation of women in the entertainment industry.

“A Life on the Farm” (Friday, 9:30 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): When filmmaker Oscar Harding’s grandfather died in the rural English county of Somerset, his family inherited an extraordinary videotape; a feature film at neighbor Charles Carson’s house, which can be described as “Monty Python meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.

— “The Oystering Life” (Saturday, 6:30 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): Local filmmaker Steve Hamm has made a film about “the past, present and future” of oyster farming along the Connecticut coast. The feature-length documentary “tells everything you’d ever want to know about oyster farming along the CT coast,” Hamm said in a Facebook post.

— CompassionFest presents “Just Animals” and “The Box Truck Film” (Sundays, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at The State House): a Sunday afternoon dedicated to animal welfare, the endless benefits of the repurposed lifestyle, and vegan treats .

— “The Quiet Epidemic” (Sunday, 7 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): After years of living with mysterious symptoms, a Brooklyn girl and a Duke University scientist are diagnosed with a disease that doesn’t exist. not: chronic Lyme disease. This film follows their search for answers.

— “The Jewish Jail Lady and the Holy Thief” (Sunday, 9:30 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): this film tells how Mark, an ex-convict and chronic alcoholic, and Harriet, a love addict woman looking for on a mission, met and helped save thousands through Beit T’Shuvah, a Los Angeles residential addiction recovery and treatment center for formerly incarcerated Jewish people.

— “One Pint at a Time” (Monday, 7 p.m. at Cafe Nine): Craft beer generates tens of billions of dollars a year, but black-owned breweries make up less than 1% of the roughly 9,000 breweries in operation . But black brewers, owners and influencers are reshaping the craft beer industry and the future of America’s favorite adult drink. A beer tasting with local brewer Alisa Bowens-Mercado will follow the screening.

– “Let it Shine: The Story of the Keene Pumpkin Festival” (Tuesday noon, at the New Haven Free Public Library): From 1991 to 2014, the small town of Keene, NH was home to the famous Keene Pumpkin Festival.

— “Poetry, New York” (Tuesday, 6 p.m. at the New Haven Free Public Library): A loving look at being both poet and publisher and trying to make it work in New York.

— IRIS presents “Utica: The Last Refuge,” “Nos Vemos Pronto” and “Twice a Refuge” (October 19, 7 p.m. at the New Haven Free Public Library): Three films address the immigration crisis in this country , with a discussion moderated by IRIS Executive Director, Chris George.

– “Esther Newton Made Me Gay” (October 19, 7:30 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): Esther Newton was drawn to the drag scene as a student in the 1950s. Identifying as both a butch lesbian and between the sexes, she felt a kinship with the queens; what female dress society expected her to look like was a form of drag. Archival footage from the film encompasses gay liberation, feminist sex wars, AIDS activism and life on the Fire Island safe haven.

– “Let the Little Light Shine” (Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. at Bow-Tie Cinemas): When a thriving and prominent African-American elementary school is threatened with being replaced by a new high school favoring the community’s wealthier residents, the parents, students and educators fight for the survival of the primary school.

— “Catching Air” (Oct. 20, 7 p.m. at Cafe Nine): A documentary about the World Championship Air Guitar competition and the people who participate in it, with the first (and last) NHdocs Air Guitar competition to follow the screening, hosted by the world champion himself, the Flying Finn.

[email protected]