Best Documentary Feature isn’t the most anticipated category at the Academy Awards, but the nominees often include some of the year’s best films. Southampton Arts Center is giving locals a chance to see four of these excellent movies in their new 2019 Oscar Spotlight series.
Taking place on Fridays, March 15 and 29, and April 5 and 12 at 7 p.m., the screenings will include Of Fathers and Sons, Minding the Gap, Hale County This Morning This Evening, and the 2019 Oscar winner Free Solo. These featured films, some shot over years, cover an eclectic mix of subject matter, from a radical Islamist family to a skateboarder coming of age, to a picture of the American South, to a deadly and adventurous climb up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
“One of our goals at Southampton Arts Center is to provide high-quality entertainment to a broad East End audience,” SAC Artistic Director, Amy Kirwin says. “As such we strive to present thought-provoking, touching, and socially conscious documentary films that many do not have the opportunity to see on the big screen.”
Learn more about each film and watch their trailers below.
Friday, March 15
Of Fathers and Sons a film by Talal Derki (99 min.)
Talal Derki returns to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses primarily on the children, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose only dream is to establish an Islamic caliphate. Osama (13) and his brother Ayman (12) both love and admire their father and obey his words, but while Osama seems content to follow the path of Jihad, Ayman wants to go back to school. Of Fathers and Sons is a work of unparalleled intimacy that captures the chilling moment when childhood dies and jihadism is born.
Friday, March 29
Minding the Gap a film by Bing Liu (100 min.)
Compiling over 12 years of footage shot in his hometown of Rockford, IL, in Minding the Gap, Bing Liu searches for correlations between his skateboarder friends’ turbulent upbringings and the complexities of modern-day masculinity. As the film unfolds, Bing captures 23-year-old Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend deteriorate after the birth of their son and 17-year-old Keire struggling with his racial identity as he faces new responsibilities following the death of his father. While navigating a difficult relationship between his camera, his friends, and his own past, Bing ultimately weaves a story of generational forgiveness while exploring the precarious gap between childhood and adulthood.
Friday, April 5
Hale County This Morning This Evening a film by RaMell Ross (76 min.)
Composed of intimate and unencumbered moments of people in a community, Hale County This Morning This Evening allows the viewer an emotive impression of the Historic South – trumpeting the beauty of life and consequences of the social construction of race, while simultaneously a testament to dreaming – despite the odds. In the lives of protagonists Daniel and Quincy, quotidian moments and the surrounding southern landscape are given importance, drawing poetic comparisons between historical symbols and the African American banal. Images are woven together to replace narrative arc with visual movements. As Ross crafts an inspired tapestry made up of time, the human soul, history, environmental wonder, sociology, and cosmic phenomena, a new aesthetic framework emerges that offers a new way of seeing and experiencing the heat, and the hearts of people in the Black Belt region of the U.S. as well far beyond.
Friday, April 12
Free Solo (2019 OSCAR® Winner) a film by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (100 min.)
A stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock—the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park—without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge, Honnold enters his story in the annals of human achievement. Free Solo is both an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who exceeded our current understanding of human physical and mental potential. The result is a triumph of the human spirit.
Visit southamptonartscenter.org for more information and to reserve tickets.