MoMA Unveils Doc Fortnight 2021 Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Brent Lang
·5-min read

The Museum of Modern Art has unveiled the festival lineup for Doc Fortnight 2021, the 20th edition of its annual showcase of nonfiction films from around the globe. Over 18 documentary features and four short films will be screened as part of the festival.

In a concession to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s films will be offered exclusively on MoMA’s Virtual Cinema from March 18 to April 5, 2021. The festival boasts two world premieres and numerous North American debuts. Doc Fortnight 2021 will kick off with the New York premiere of Nanfu Wang’s “In the Same Breath,” a look at the origins and spread of COVID-19, charting its early days in Wuhan, China to its deadly rampage through the United States. The festival is truly global in scope including filmmakers from Lebanon, Cameroon, Brazil and Morocco, among many other countries.

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The closing night film is “Les sorcières de l’Orient (Oriental Witches),” Julien Faraut’s look at the Japanese women’s volleyball team gold medal-winning run at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Doc Fortnight 2021 is organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, assistant curator of the department of film. Here’s the full program:

March 18-23 Opening Night
In the Same Breath. 2021. USA. Directed by Nanfu Wang. In English, Mandarin; English subtitles. 95 min. New York premiere. Courtesy HBO Documentary Films

March 19-24
Before the Dying of the Light. 2020. Morocco. Directed by Ali Essafi. In Arabic, French; English subtitles. 70 min. North American premiere

March 20-25
Patrick. 2020. Great Britain. Directed by Luke Fowler. 21 min. US premiere
Don’t Rush. 2020. Belgium/France/Germany. Directed by Elise Florenty, Marcel Türkowsky. In Greek; English subtitles. 54 min. North American premiere. Short Film Award, Cinéma du Réel

March 20-25
Bicentenario. 2020. Colombia/Canada. Directed by Pablo Alvarez-Mesa. In Spanish; English subtitles. 44 min. New York premiere

On a Clear Day You Can See the Revolution from Here. 2020. Kazakhstan/Great Britain. Directed by Emma Charles, Ben Evans James. In English, Kazakh, Russian; English subtitles. 64 min. North American premiere

March 21-26
Cane Fire. 2020. USA. Directed by Anthony Banua-Simon. 90 min. New York premiere. Best Feature Documentary Prize, Indie Memphis Film Festival

March 21-26
The Insomnia of a Serial Dreamer. 2020. Lebanon. Directed by Mohamed Soueid. With Mirna Shbaro, Wajdi Elian, Fadi Abi Samra, Nadim Jarjoura, Rima Mismar, Firas Zbib, Ziad Antar, Bassem Fayad, Jad Abi Khalil, Ghassan Salhab, Marwan Soueid, Tamer El Said, Pamela Ghanimeh, Nadia El Haj. In Arabic; English subtitles. 170 min. North American premiere

March 22-27
Deadphant. 2020. Great Britain. Directed by Ayo Akingbade. 3 min. US premiere Nemesis. 2020. Switzerland. Directed by Thomas Imbach. In German, English; English subtitles. 131 min. North American premiere. Best Cinematography Award, IDFA

March 23-28
Todo lo que se olvida en un instante (Everything That Is Forgotten in an Instant). 2020. Argentina. Directed by Richard Shpuntoff. In Spanish, English; English subtitles. 61 min. New York premiere
Como el cielo despues de llover (The Calm after the Storm). 2020. Columbia. Directed by Mercedes Gaviria. In Spanish; English subtitles. 72 min. North American premiere. Young Critics Award, Mar del Plata International Film Festival

March 24-29
Inside the Red Brick Wall. 2020. Hong Kong. Directed by Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers. In Cantonese, Mandarin; English subtitles. 88 min. North American premiere. Best Editing Award, IDFA

March 25-30
Shared Resources. 2021. USA. Directed by Jordan Lord. 100 min. New York premiere
March 26-31.

Crisis news is a genre film. A special presentation with a reading/performance by artist, filmmaker and writer Tiffany Sia. Approx. 90 min. Presented in conjunction with Artists Space

March 27-April 1
La última primavera (Last Days of Spring). 2020. Spain/The Netherlands. Directed by Isabel Lamberti. In Spanish; English subtitles. 77 min. North American premiere. Kutxabank-New Directors Award, San Sebastian International Film Festival

March 27-April 1
COUSIN Collective Presents Cycle ∞. This guest-curated double bill includes the North American premiere of Fox Maxy’s Rotterdam-prize-winning short film Maat Means
Land
(2021), screening with Arlene Bowman’s Native cinema touchstone Navajo Talking Pictures (1985), and a wide-ranging moving image compilation bringing together new and recent work by collaborators, friends, and COUSIN artist members.

March 28-April 2
Êxtase. 2020. Brazil. Directed by Moara Passoni. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 80 min. US premiere. Jury Award, São Paulo International Film Festival
March 28-April 2
Lemongrass Girl. 2021. Thailand. Directed by Pom Bunsermvicha. Screenplay by Anocha Suwichakornpong. In Thai; English subtitles. 17 min. North American premiere
The Good Woman of Sichuan. 2021. Canada/China. Directed by Sabrina Zhao. In Mandarin, Sichuan dialects; English subtitles. 87 min. North American premiere

March 29-April 3
Perfect Fifths. 2021. USA. Directed by Courtney Stephens. With JJJJJerome Ellis. 8 min. World premiere
Terra Femme. 2017–21. USA. Directed by Courtney Stephens. 62 min. World premiere

March 30-April 4
Les prières de Delphine (Delphine’s Prayers). 2021. Belgium. Directed by Rosine Mbakam. In French, Cameroonian Creole; English subtitles. 90 min. North American premiere

March 31-April 5 Closing Night
Les sorcières de l’Orient (Oriental Witches). 2021. France. Directed by Julien Faraut. In Japanese; English subtitles. 100 min. North American premiere

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