NewportFILM Outdoors has unveiled its upcoming season of award-winning documentaries. The organization showcases non-fiction features and screens them in dramatic, often opulent settings around Newport, Rhode Island, a legendary summer getaway. This year is no exception, with some of the screenings taking place at such storied venues as Rough Point, a Gilded Age mansion that was the home of Doris Duke, and Marble House, the “summer cottage” of William K. Vanderbilt.
The season kicks off on Thursday, June 23rd with a Sundance favorite, Jono McLeod’s “My Old School” from Magnolia Pictures, which will open the series. Showtime’s upcoming documentary “McEnroe,” a look at tennis great John McEnroe, has the closing night slot and will screen, quite fittingly, at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The series runs weekly through Sept. 1.
More from Variety
Highlights include HBO Documentary Films’ “The Princess,” a deep dive into the life of Princess Diana; “Master of Light,” the inspiring story of George Anthony Morton, a classical painter who spent ten years in federal prison for dealing drugs; and Becky Hutner’s “Fashion Reimagined,” which follows Mother of Pearl designer Amy Powney as she sets out to create a line of sustainable clothing. The festival will also feature HBO Documentary Films’ “Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off” and Showtime’s “Sheryl,” a look at music star Sheryl Crow.
In addition, newportFILM is partnering with the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival and will screen D.L. Anderson and Matt Durning’s “Stayed Prayed Up,” a documentary about a North Carolina gospel artist, and Eliane Henri’s “Hargrove,” a vérité style documentary, chronicling the last year of trumpet legend Roy Hargrove’s life. The lineup has been curated by newportFILM’s Founder and Artistic Director Andrea van Beuren.
“We are so looking forward to watching films together outdoors again this summer, and are thrilled to be able to share these exceptional documentaries with our audiences,” van Beuren stated,
NewportFILM Outdoors is presented by Lila Delman Compass. The series is also supported by The Schmidt Family Foundation/11th Hour Racing, BankNewport, Hammett’s Hotel, Dockwa and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Year-round supporting sponsors include Kirby Perkins Construction, WIMCO Villas, Lexington Partners and the Park South Hotel NYC.
NewportFILM Outdoors 2022 Films include:
MY OLD SCHOOL (Magnolia)
THURSDAY, JUNE 23
Location: St Michael’s Country Day School
Director: Jono McLeod
In 1993, 16-year-old Brandon Lee enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a well-to-do suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. What followed over the next two years would become the stuff of legend. Brandon had been privately tutored in Canada while he accompanied his mother, an opera diva, on tour before her tragic death. The preternaturally bright student surprised teachers by blazing toward his goal of entering medical school, displaying a wealth of knowledge beyond his years. Brandon found friends despite his initial awkwardness, taking bullied students under his wing, introducing classmates to seminal retro bands, and even starring in the school’s production of South Pacific. But then his unbelievable secret was revealed. Filmmaker Jono McLeod returns to his old school for a nostalgic look at the strange but true story of his former classmate, Brandon Lee. Utilizing playful, period-specific animation, a pitch-perfect soundtrack, the memories of students and teachers, and the talents of Alan Cumming to bring the tale to life, “My Old School” offers more than one surprise along the way.
My Old School had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
THURSDAY, JUNE 30
Location: Rosecliff Lawn
Director: Becky Hunter
Fashion designer Amy Powney of cult label Mother of Pearl is a rising star in the London fashion scene. Raised off-the-grid in rural England by activist parents, Amy has always felt uneasy about the devastating environmental impact of her industry. When she wins the coveted Vogue award for the Best Young Designer of the Year, which comes with a big cash prize, Amy decides to use the money to create a sustainable collection from field to finished garment, and transform her entire business. Over the following three years, her own personal revolution becomes the precursor of a much bigger, societal change.
“Fashion Reimagined” had its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.
THE PEZ OUTLAW
THURSDAY, JULY 7
Location: O’Hare/McCauley at Salve Regina University
Director: Amy Bandlien Storkel and Bryan Storkel
This incredible fish-out-of-water story follows the adventures of Steve Glew, a small-town Michigan man, who boards a plane for Eastern Europe soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall. His mission is to locate a secret factory that holds the key to the most desired and valuable Pez dispensers. If he succeeds, he will pull his family out of debt and finally be able to quit his job of 25 years. Steve becomes the hero of his own adventure, smuggling the rarest of goods into the U.S. and making millions in the process. It was all magical, until his arch-nemesis, The Pezident decided to destroy him.
“The Pez Outlaw” had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival 2022.
THE YIN AND YANG OF GERRY LOPEZ
THURSDAY, JULY 14
Location: Safe Harbor New England Boat Works, Portsmouth
Director: Stacy Peralta
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta comes Patagonia’s “The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez,” a film that lifts the veil on one of surfing’s most enigmatic heroes. While “Mr. Pipeline” is famously known for his calm demeanor in the tube, Gerry built his career with aggressive surfing that left behind a trail of blood and tears. Gerry is as radical as he is Zen; he transcends categorization. He’s one of the most influential surfers and surfboard shapers of all time, an entrepreneur, a family man, a movie star and a lifelong yogi who brought surfing to new frontiers. His influence on modern surfing is immeasurable, and for the first time, his story is being told in full.
“The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez” had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
THURSDAY, JULY 21
Location: Newport Polo Grounds
Director: Amy Scott
“Sheryl” is an intimate story of song and sacrifice by musical icon Sheryl Crow as she navigates an iconic yet arduous musical career battling sexism, depression, cancer, and the price of fame. Told through present-day interviews with Sheryl, behind-the-scenes verite on the road and in her studio, never before seen archival footage spanning 20 years of touring, and a handful of interviews with close allies Keith Richards, Laura Dern, Joe Walsh, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, and others. Sheryl’s early gift of music and dedication to songwriting set her on an unapologetic path of perfection—which ultimately became both a blessing and a curse to overcome.
“Sheryl” had its world premiere at the SXSW Official Film Festival 2022.
STAY PRAYED UP
SATURDAY, JULY 23
Directors: D.L. Anderson, Matt Durning
At 82, Lena Mae Perry’s electrifying presence may surprise you, but the power of her faith will never leave you. “Stay Prayed Up” tells the true story of legendary NC gospel’s The Branchettes and the spitfire “Mother” of faith who’s kept the band going for 45 years. In that time The Branchettes have recorded several studio albums and performed as far away as Ireland, but they have never recorded a full live album. This heartwarming portrait follows Mother Perry as she prepares for a special recorded performance at her home church with Phil Cook, a gospel enthusiast and accomplished musician half her age. Their friendship and the surprising aspects of her ministry offer poignant meditations on faith far beyond the church door.
“Stay Prayed Up” had its world premiere at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival.
THURSDAY, JULY 28
Location: Rough Point
Director: Eliane Henri
“Hargrove” is a vérité style documentary, chronicling the last year of trumpet legend Roy Hargrove’s life. Filmed in the jazz clubs of New York as well as across Mediterranean Europe during his final summer tour, this film shines a bright spotlight on Roy Hargrove’s enormous contribution to the art of jazz. “Hargrove” exposes the dark and challenging sides of an artist pure in form, yet vulnerable to everyday realities. Music icons including Erykah Badu, Herbie Hancock, Yasiin Bey, Questlove, Sonny Rollins, and Wynton Marsalis pay tribute to Hargrove’s artistry, impact, and legacy. An epic love letter from first-time Black director Eliane Henri, this film features stunning live performances by Hargrove in the last year of his life.
“Hargrove” had its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.
THE PRINCESS (HBO Documentary FIlms)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 4
Location: The Elms
Director: Ed Perkins
The story of Princess Diana is told exclusively through contemporaneous archival footage creating a bold and immersive narrative of her life and death. Turning the camera back on ourselves, it also illuminates the profound impact she had and how the public’s attitude to the monarchy was, and still is, shaped by these events.
“The Princess” had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance FIlm Festival.
MICKEY (Disney Original Documentary)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11
Location: Eisenhower House
Director: Jeff Malmberg
One of the world’s most beloved icons, Mickey Mouse is recognized as a symbol of joy and childhood innocence in virtually every corner of the globe. Dreamed up at a low point in Walt Disney’s burgeoning career, Mickey became an overnight sensation when he starred in the first synch-sound animated short, Steamboat Willie. Through the decades that followed, the character evolved into strikingly different versions of himself that reflect both his creator’s remarkable career and dramatic societal shifts in the nation he came to represent. In the fascinating documentary “Mickey: The Story of a Mouse,” director Jeff Malmberg and Oscar-winning producer Morgan Neville (who previously teamed up together for “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”) examine the cultural significance of the nearly 100-year-old cartoon mouse.
“Mickey” had its world premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.
TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF (HBO Documentary Films)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18
Location: Fort Adams State Park
Director: Sam Jones
A wide-ranging, definitive look at Hawk’s life and iconic career, and his relationship with the sport with which he’s been synonymous for decades. Hawk, born in San Diego, Calif., is a pioneer of modern vertical skating and one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. The documentary features unprecedented access, never-before-seen footage, and interviews with Hawk, and prominent figures in the sport including Stacy Peralta, Rodney Mullen, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Neil Blender, Andy MacDonald, Duane Peters, Sean Mortimer, and Christian Hosoi.
“Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off” had its world premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.
MASTER OF LIGHT
THURSDAY, AUGUST 25
Location: Marble House
Director: Rose Ruth Boesten
George Anthony Morton is a classical painter who spent ten years in federal prison for dealing drugs. While incarcerated, he nurtured his craft and unique artistic ability. Since his release, he is doing everything he can to defy society’s unlevel playing field and tackle the white-dominant art world. Now, he is on a journey back to his hometown of Kansas City, where he tries to heal the broken relationship with his mother– who’s in-and-out of jail– and paint family members in the style of the Dutch Old Masters. Going back forces George to face his past in his quest to rewrite the script of his life and discover the contribution of African influences to the realist tradition.
“Master of LIght” had its world premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary Film.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
Location: International Tennis Hall of Fame
Director: Barney Douglas
“McEnroe” is an intimate portrait of one of the most explosive and compelling sporting icons of all time. Number One in the world in four consecutive years, John’s epic battles with Bjorn Borg helped define the golden era of tennis, yet huge controversy on and off the court betrayed an inner conflict. Set over one New York night, John journeys into memory to explore why a need for connection both drove him and nearly broke him.
“McEnroe” features completely unseen archive from some of the biggest matches in tennis history – including the US Open and Wimbledon – as well as home video footage from John himself. Contributions from John’s children and his wife Patty Smyth provide a level of intimacy that takes the film beyond a sports biopic and into the realms of something deeply confessional.
Compassionate and heartfelt, featuring icons such as Billie Jean King, Bjorn Borg and Keith Richards, “McEnroe” is the definitive portrait of a force of nature powered by the beating heart of New York.
“McEnroe” had its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.
Best of Variety