Docs In Theaters: ‘Dancing in Jaffa,’ ‘A Fragile Trust’ and More

Documentary Posters

Nonfics is not able to review every documentary and nonfiction film released in the U.S. That’s why Docs In Theaters is here to provide at least a guide to all the new releases, without critical thoughts. Where available, we will link to our own review of the film or a review at our sister site, Film School Rejects.

Dancing In Jaffa

Directed and co-written by Hilla Medalia (Web Junkie; To Die in Jerusalem)

Edited and co-written by Philip Shane (Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey)

Executive produced by Morgan Spurlock (Web Junkie; One Direction: This Is Us), Jeremy Chilnick (One Direction: This Is Us), Nigel Lythgoe (TV series American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance), Jonathan Shukat (Life 2.0), Jeffre Phillips and LaToya Jackson

Official Synopsis: Pierre Dulaine, an internationally renowned ballroom dancer, fulfills a life-long dream when he takes his program, Dancing Classrooms, back to his city of birth, Jaffa. Over a ten-week period, Pierre teaches 10-year-old Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish- Israeli children to dance and compete together. Dancing in Jaffa explores the complex stories of three different children, who are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation and racial prejudice as they dance with their enemy. The classroom becomes a microcosm of the Middle East’s struggle to work together harmoniously while still caught in the politics of the region and race. With the guidance of Pierre, the children learn to dance together and trust one another. Dancing In Jaffa offers an up-close-and-personal perspective of how the future might unfold if the art of movement and dance could triumph over the politics of history and geography. [Sundance Selects]

Winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Washington Jewish Film Festival
Winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Denver Jewish Film Festival
Winner of the Audience Award at Festival 2 Valenciennes 2013
Winner of the Honorary One Future Prize at the 2013 Munich Film Festival

Nonfics Rating: n/a

Now playing at the IFC Center, JCC Manhattan and Cinema 1,2,3 in New York City. Opens next week in Los Angeles and Miami.

For details on current and upcoming theatrical showings, check the Screenings page on the film’s website.

A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power And Jayson Blair At The New York Times

Directed and produced by Samantha Grant

Edited by Richard Levien (D Word)

Featuring Jayson Blair, Howell Raines, Macarena Hernandez, Seth Mnookin, Howard Kurtz, Lena Williams, William Schmidt, Jerry Gray

Official Synopsis: A Fragile Trust tells the shocking story of Jayson Blair, the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time, and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked The New York Times and the entire world of journalism. In 2003, Blair was caught plagiarizing the work of other reporters and supplementing his own reporting with fabricated details in dozens of different stories published in the Times. The ensuing media frenzy left a major blemish on the history of the “Old Grey Lady,” which just a year earlier won a record seven Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of 9/11. It was a spectacular fall for both Blair and the paper. The daily operations of the Times newsroom became a public spectacle as every major news outlet picked up the story and ran with it.

The fact that Blair is African American was emphasized again and again as accounts of the “Blair Affair” served up sordid details in a soap-opera style tale of deception, drug abuse, racism, mental illness, hierarchy, white guilt, and power struggles inside the hallowed halls of the Times. Through the course of the film, we follow Blair as he slowly unravels in the face of mounting pressures and distractions after his plagiarized article ultimately leads to his undoing. The Jayson Blair scandal at the most basic level is a character-driven narrative about an important chapter in the history of journalism, but also a complex story about power, ethics, representation, race, and accountability in the mainstream media.

Featuring exclusive interviews with everyone involved, including former Executive Editor Howell Raines and Blair himself, A Fragile Trust tells the whole sordid story of the scandal while exploring these deeper themes. With more and more publications moving to online-only formats and with plagiarism on the rise, this cautionary tale about the slippery slope of ethical transgressions is more relevant than ever. [ITVS]

Nonfics Rating: n/a

Now playing at the Quad Cinema in New York City. Also screening this week in San Francisco and at the Kansas City Film Festival.

For details on current and upcoming theatrical showings, check the Find a Screening page on the film’s website.

Thomas Keating: A Rising Tide Of Silence

Directed by Peter C. Jones

Featuring Father Thomas Keating, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Masjid al-Farah Mosque in New York, Rabbi Lewis Bogage, formerly of the Central Synagogue of New York City, Abbot Joseph Boyle of St. Benedict’s, Abbot Damian Carr of St. Joseph’s

Official Synopsis: A Rising Tide of Silence is a reflective portrait of Father Thomas Keating, one of today’s most influential spiritual leaders. Interweaving historical footage, interviews, and extensive conversations with Father Thomas, the film traces his spiritual journey from an affluent New York City childhood, to an austere Trappist monastic life, to his rise through the Order, and his election as Abbot of St. Joseph’s Abby in 1961.

While at the Monastery in the early 1970’s Father Thomas introduced Eastern religious practices to the monks and became one of the originators of Centering Prayer. After resigning as Abbott in 1981, Father Thomas founded Contemplative Outreach in 1984 to bring Centering Prayer to a worldwide audience. A renowned theologian and author of more than 30 books, Father Thomas Keating is widely recognized for his ecumenical approach to spirituality. For those who encounter him, his example is a moving modern journey of faith. [A Rising Tide of Silence LLC]

Nonfics Rating: n/a

Now playing at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

For details on current and upcoming theatrical showings, check the Screenings page on the film’s website.

Unthinkable: An Airline Captain’s Story

Directed by Eric Stacey

Official Synopsis: Philip Marshall, his two teen-age children and the family dog were all found with a fatal bullet wound to the head in their Murphys, California, home on February 2, 2013. The Calaveras County Sheriff concluded that Marshall had killed his kids, the dog, then himself in a tragic “murder-suicide.” However, after a week-long investigation, journalist Wayne Madsen concluded that Marshall, the author of several controversial books on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and his two kids were victims of professional killers.

Unthinkable: An Airline Captain’s Story is a dramatization of the events which took place the week preceding and following the murder(s). We have done our best to remain faithful to what is known from both sides and have left the story open-ended in hopes that audiences will draw their own conclusions as to who pulled the trigger and what the Marshall “murder-suicide” represents in our post-9/11 world. [Movies On A Mission]

Nonfics Rating: n/a

Now playing at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.