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10 nonfiction knockouts to see at DOC NYC

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf

Fiction is overrated, it's said, but rarely does the maxim make more sense than at the annual DOC NYC festival, an essential event on the cinephile's calendar. The fifth edition begins tomorrow at three participating theaters, IFC Center (323 Sixth Ave at W 3rd St), SVA Theatre (333 W 23rd St between Eighth and Ninth Aves) and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas (260 W 23rd St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves), and runs a full week through Nov 20.

We could tell you to check out some of the documentary classics getting revival screenings, movies like Hoop Dreams, just as inspiring and heartbreaking as it was 20 years ago, or Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, arguably the finest portrait of a rock band having a meltdown. But several of the newer entries in this year's well-curated selection merit your curiosity. Start with these:

Banksy Does New York You saw last year’s street art; now see the documentary. SVA Theatre; Fri 7pm.

Do I Sound Gay? Reflecting on his own voice, director David Thorpe—through interviews, and TV and film clips—launches a broader investigation of cultural stereotypes and what it means to “sound gay.” SVA Theatre; Thu 7pm.

Florence, Arizona Andrea B. Scott examines life in an Arizona town where, thanks to the presence of nine correctional facilities, inmates outnumber civilians two-to-one. IFC Center; Fri 12:30pm, Wed 7:30pm.

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story We bet you didn’t know that the same puppeteer, a genial presence, is responsible for both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. SVA Theatre; Fri 6:45pm.

Last Days in Vietnam Finales don’t get more conclusive than the image of helicopters evacuating personnel from the U.S. embassy in April 1975. Director Rory Kennedy (niece of JFK) achieves unusual complexity in handling this  material. Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas; Fri 7pm.

No Control This one explores the gun-control debate through a dual profile. One of the subjects is a former law student who devised an open-source 3-D–printable gun. IFC Center; Sat 9:30pm, Wed 12:45pm.

An Open Secret Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis) examines an allegedly in-sight scandal: the exploitation and sexual abuse of children by powerful people in the movie industry. Bound to be an explosive screening. SVA Theatre; Fri 9:15pm.

The Overnighters Pastor Jay Reinke’s seemingly boundless willingness to help job seekers who’ve traveled to North Dakota puts him on a collision course with his congregation, neighbors and family. IFC Center; Fri 9:15pm. Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas; Wed 2:15pm.

Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, D.C. (1980–1990) It turns out that our nation’s capital, the polestar of politics, was also home to some innovations in punk rock. SVA Theatre; Fri 9:30pm.

Stop This is the story of stop-and-frisk plaintiff David Ourlicht, who launched a class-action suit against the City of New York. IFC Center; Tue 9:45pm.

For complete titles, showtimes and tickets, visit DOC NYC.

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