For all of the docu-junkies out there here are three recent and upcoming films worth checking out.  Prepare your soul for the heaviness.

VESSEL: You can catch it at DOC NYC on November 15th.

I found out about this amazing film because I ended up sharing a cab with this lovely woman who was telling me about it and where to see it.   Turns out she was the director!


Directed and Produced by Diana Whitten, Produced by Mitchell Block, Co-Produced by Elissa Brow, Editied by Simeon Hutner

“Vessel begins with a young doctor who lived by the sea, and an unlikely idea.  Rebecca Gomperts, horrified by the realities created by anti-abortion law around the world, felt compelled to challenge this.  Her method: to provide abortions on a ship in offshore waters.

Her project, Women on Waves, begins as flawed spectacle, a media frenzy, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockades.  But with each setback comes a more refined mission, until Rebecca has the revelation that she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves safe abortions using WHO-sanctioned protocols with pills.

We witness the creation of an underground network of emboldened, informed activists, working at the cutting edge of global reproductive rights, who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: one of a woman who heard and answered a calling, and transformed a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.”

THE OVERNIGHTERS: You can catch this at the IFC Center today.

Let’s just say ‘twist ending’


Written, directed and produced by Jesse Moss, Produced by Amanda McBaine, Music by T. Griffin, Cinematography by Jesse Moss, Edited by Jeff Seymann Gilbert

“When hydraulic fracturing unlocks an vast oil field in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, tens of thousands of unemployed men descend on the state with dreams of six-figure salaries. In the tiny town of Williston, busloads of newcomers step into the sad reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is hell-bent on delivering the migrants some dignity. Night after night he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center.

But as broken men arrive in droves, the congregants sling criticism, neighbors get suspicious, and the town threatens an ordinance to shut Reinke down. When the Williston Herald gets wind that sex offenders are among Reinke’s “overnighters,” even the pastor’s supernatural determination can’t stop things from spinning out of control. How much will he sacrifice for his crusade of compassion? With unfettered access to electrifying and poignant moments, it’s impossible not to be riveted by the pastor’s dogged battle in a treacherous world where no man is immune to losing everything.”  C.L.

CONCERNING VIOLENCE:  Aired at the Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 2014, but you can find it via Netflix

Deeply informative and moving.  If you missed this at the beginning of the year, make sure you see before the years end.  Highly recommended!


Written and Director by Göran Hugo Olsson, Producers by Annika Rogell and Tobias Janson, Co-Produced by Joslyn Barnes, Danny Glover, Monica Hellström, and Miia Haavisto, Edited by Michael Aaglund, Dino Jonsäter, Göran Hugo Olsson, and Sophie Vukovic, Art Directed by Stefania Malmsten, Assistant Directed by Sophie Vukovic, Associate Produced by Corey Smyt, Narrated by Lauryn Hill

“Set to the voice of Lauryn Hill reading Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonialist call to arms, The Watched of the Earth, this mesmerizing assemblage of rarely seen archival footage brings to light nine of the most pivotal episodes in the history of African revolution.  Documenting decades of uprisings, from the Angolan War of Independence to the Mozambique Liberation Front and beyond, director Hugo Olsson’s (The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975) propulsive and endlessly provocative docu-essay interrogated the role of violent revolt in the dismantling of colonial power and offers an impassioned tribute to the sacrifices made in the pursuit of liberation.”