GlobeDocs Film Festival Announces 2017 Film Lineup

Boston’s only all-documentary film festival runs October 11–15.

Below find the press release announcing the program for this year’s GlobeDocs Film Festival, which includes a lot of great-looking nonfiction films such as the Nonfics-recommended Quest.

The GlobeDocs Film Festival presented by Cross Insurance is pleased to announce the film slate for its third annual festival, running during HUBweek, Wednesday, October 11 — Sunday, October 15 in Boston. The festival, the only one of its kind in the region, celebrates documentary filmmaking with five days of non-fiction programming and thought-provoking discussions with award-winning journalists, filmmakers, topical experts, and special guests. Produced by The Boston Globe, GlobeDocs runs in conjunction with HUBweek, a week-long event commemorating the convergence of art, science and technology, taking place in Boston October 10–15.

In continuing its tradition of telling important stories and highlighting Boston as one of the pillars of the non-fiction film world, this year’s GlobeDocs lineup includes 14 feature-length films and a program of shorts, with topics ranging from healthcare, dance and humanitarian crises to food, sexual assault and environmental issues. The film selection was curated by Lisa Viola, Director of Programming for GlobeDocs and seasoned programmer of the Provincetown International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.

Each screening will feature an engaging discussion with filmmakers and/or topical experts, moderated by a stellar list of Boston Globe journalists that includes film critics Ty Burr, Mark Feeney, and Peter Keough; film editor Janice Page; arts editor Rebecca Ostriker; and Scene Here columnist Loren King. Screenings will be held at the Brattle Theatre, Coolidge Corner Theatre, and WGBH’s Yawkey Theater. WGBH is a collaborator of both GlobeDocs and HUBweek.

“There are so many reasons why Boston is a natural home for a documentary film festival,” said Linda Henry, managing director of The Boston Globe. “We have some of the top documentary programs shaping and pushing the boundaries of filmmaking at universities here. We have a smart and engaged population that is interested in the deep, thoughtful and thought-provoking storytelling that documentaries excel at delivering. We have many of the leading lights of documentary film living in our midst. Local producers such as WGBH are the largest producers of public television nationally. The Boston Globe is proud to serve as a catalytic convener locally and nationally of this vibrant documentary community.”

“Documentaries allow us to gain new perspectives and share experiences through a powerful visual medium,” said Lisa Viola, Director of Programming for GlobeDocs. “At this year’s festival, we’ll present a diverse program of films on a wide range of topics that we hope will start a series of thoughtful conversations and allow audiences to go on a journey.”

The lineup for the 2017 GlobeDocs Film Festival presented by Cross Insurance is below:


BENDING THE ARC — directed by Kief Davidson, Pedro Kos

Thirty years ago, as much of the world was being ravaged by horrific diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, three remarkable young people — Jim Yong Kim, Paul Farmer, and Ophelia Dahl — came together in a squatter settlement in Haiti. Determined to provide the same world-class level of medical care they would expect for their own families, they faced enormous obstacles, yet managed to bring together the resources to build real health clinics in areas that had been ignored by everyone else. Reaching far beyond the issue of health care, BENDING THE ARC shows how moral imagination, strategy, and sheer will can change the trajectory of the world, bending the arc of the moral universe closer to justice.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guests: Dr. Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl


A FINE LINE — directed by Joanna James

A FINE LINE skillfully explores the many obstacles and challenges that women face in the male-dominated culinary world. Centering on the director’s mother, Valerie James, a successful restaurateur just outside of Boston, Joanna James gets to the heart of what is needed today to empower women while incorporating the experiences of world-renowned chefs including Dominique Crenn, Lidia Bastianich, April Bloomfield and Boston’s own, Barbara Lynch.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guests: Joanna James, Valerie James


ANATOMY OF A MALE BALLET DANCER — directed by David Barba, James Pellerito

ANATOMY OF A MALE BALLET DANCER offers a unique behind-the-scenes portrait of Brazilian ballet star Marcelo Gomes. Widely considered the greatest partner of his generation, every ballerina desires to dance with him. From his struggle to reach the top of the ballet world, to his complicated relationship with his father, the film takes us on Marcelo’s journey across international stages around the world. Currently celebrating his 20th year with American Ballet Theatre, Marcelo remains at the peak of his game.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: James Pellerito, David Barba

BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY (WGBH First Look)— directed by David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg

Bill Nye is on a quest to change the world through science! Using advocacy, education, and his charming personality, Nye makes a strong argument for why science matters more than ever in a culture increasingly indifferent to evidence. He is leading by example, and speaking out against those who deny its value. With exclusive access, this behind-the-scenes portrait of “the science guy” inspires both young and older to stand up for what they believe and see the possibilities in front of us.

CIRCLE UP ­– directed by Julie Mallozzi

After the brutal slaying of her teenage son in Boston, Janet Connors reaches out to her son’s killer to offer a chance for forgiveness. They team up with a group of mothers of murdered children to help young people in their community break the chain of violence and revenge. Janet realizes she needed to make her own justice, but instead of exacting vengeance, she looks for humanity. She fights the bureaucracy to become the first person in Massachusetts to hold a victim-offender dialogue through the corrections system.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: Julie Mallozzi

Preceded by LENOX STREET — directed by Jay Paris

Twenty high-risk teens from Boston’s most violent neighborhood transform their identities and lives by participating in a performing arts program.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: Jay Paris

FRONTLINE: PUTIN’S REVENGE (WGBH First Look) — directed by Michael Kirk

An in-depth investigation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise, rule, and motivations. With original reporting and interviews with key players the film explores who Putin is and what he wants from President Trump.

GLADESMEN: THE LAST OF THE SAWGRASS COWBOYS explores the federal government’s ban on Florida’s iconic airboats in much of Florida’s Everglades. The measure is part of the world’s largest effort to repair a damaged ecosystem, a vast river of grass that has been ravaged by more than a century of development, pollution, and other environmental degradation. The outcome will determine the future of the region’s water supply, and its ability to withstand rising sea levels. It may also lead to the demise of the Gladesmen.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: David Abel

HONDROS — directed by Greg Campbell

HONDROS follows the career and explores the legacy of Chris Hondros, an award-winning photojournalist at Getty Images who died in combat covering the Libyan civil war in April 2011. Director and childhood friend Greg Campbell reveals a portrait of a man who found and explored humanity in war-torn countries with great depth and sensitivity. Hondros’ passion for his craft could only be matched by his talent for creating breathtaking imagery. Executive produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Lee Curtis.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: Greg Campbell

HUMAN FLOW — directed by Ai Weiwei

Directed by world-renowned artist, activist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei, HUMAN FLOW explores the global refugee crisis through footage and interviews shot in 23 countries over the span of a year. Ai Weiwei artfully captures the massive and shocking breadth of the global migration crisis in this epic film, which portrays the plight of today’s 65 million forcibly displaced individuals — the highest number ever — forced out of their homes by war, famine and climate change on long, treacherous journeys in search of new lives.

I AM EVIDENCE — directed by Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir

I AM EVIDENCE exposes the alarming number of untested rape kits in the United States and brings much needed attention to the disturbing pattern of how law enforcement has historically treated sexual assault victims. Behind each of these kits lies an individual and this intimate telling provides insightful access to their stories. Produced by and featuring actress Mariska Hargitay, I AM EVIDENCE tells the powerful story about the crisis of the rape kit backlog while bringing long-awaited justice to the victims.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir

JAHA’S PROMISE — directed by Patrick Farrelly, Kate O’Callaghan

JAHA’S PROMISE tells the incredible story of one woman’s courage to confront an ongoing global taboo: female genital mutilation. Living in the US and as a survivor herself, Jaha Dukureh, (named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people) mounts a powerful campaign and returns to the Gambia to bring awareness and ultimately stop what is still being practiced in 30 countries and affects 200 million women worldwide.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: Patrick Farrelly, Kate O’Callaghan

QUEST — directed by Jonathan Olshefski

Filmed for close to a decade, QUEST is a stunning portrait of a family in North Philadelphia. Christopher “Quest” Rainey, along with his wife Christine’a (aka “Ma Quest”), open the door to their home music studio, which serves as a creative sanctuary from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Over the years, the family evolves as everyday life brings a mix of joy and unexpected crisis. The film is a tender depiction of an American family whose journey is a profound testament to love, healing and hope.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: Sabrina Gordon

UNREST — directed by Jennifer Brea

Jennifer Brea, a Harvard PhD student is struck down by a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden. She becomes progressively more ill, eventually losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair, but doctors tell her it’s “all in her head.” Once Jennifer is diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly called chronic fatigue syndrome, she and her new husband, Omar, are left to grapple with how to live in the face of a lifelong illness. Refusing to accept the limitations of bedbound life, Jennifer goes on an inspiring virtual voyage around the world where she finds and gives voice to a hidden community offering support and understanding.

GlobeDocs 2017 Special Guest: Jennifer Brea

WASTED! THE STORY OF FOOD WASTE — directed by Anna Chai, Nari Kye

Consider the fact that one third of the food grown annually for human consumption is never eaten and ends up being thrown away. That’s 1.3 billion tons of food annually. WASTED! THE STORY OF FOOD WASTE stars chef heroes like Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Massimo Bottura, and Danny Bowien and shows how even small actions can lead to new ways of using more food, feeding more people, curbing environmental damage, stimulating technology and business, and ultimately improving the health and well being of all citizens worldwide.


BLIND SUSHI — directed by Eric Heimbold

A blind adventure writer and a sustainable sushi chef form a bond while searching for enlightenment in the murky depths off the New England coast.

A FEW SHORT THINGS ABOUT ROBERT IRWIN. — directed by Lisanne Skyler

Pioneering Light and Space artist Robert Irwin explored the nature of perception for over six decades. Along the way, he broke a few rules.

FUNDIR — directed by Allison Cekala

FUNDIR follows the extraction, processing and importation of a necessary commodity from northern Chile to the streets of Boston.

LITTLE POTATO — directed by Wes Hurley, Nathan M. Miller

An autobiographical tale of growing up gay in Soviet Union Russia, Wes escapes with his mother, a mail order bride, to Seattle to face a whole new oppression.

RUNNIN’– directed by Alex Hogan, Matthew Orr

RUNNIN’ goes inside a tight-knit community just outside Boston, retracing the lives of these friends through the eyes of the families they left behind and the friends that barely made it through the same addictions alive.


A tribute to those who kept the presses going day after day over the past five decades at the Boston Globe’s Morrissey Boulevard printing facility.

The presenting sponsor of GlobeDocs 2017 is Cross Insurance. Ticket packages are now on sale at To learn more and purchase tickets, visit

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