Stinson Beach Community Center, the
Annual Stinson Beach Doc Fest
will runNovember 3 - 5, 2017.
"Rumble" will be shown at 8:00 p.m. Friday, November 3
"It’s been a terrific few years for music documentaries, and that winning streak continues with “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.” Sharing the same spirit of “20 Feet From Stardom” and “Searching for Sugar Man,” which both put overlooked performers center stage, this film examines the influence of Native Americans on popular music. What at first seems like a thin topic — quick, name two American Indian musicians — becomes a master class in the mixing of cultures. The survey starts with the guitarist Link Wray, who was Shawnee. Wray “made an indelible mark on the whole evolution of where rock ’n’ roll was going to go,” Robbie Robertson of the Band says. Wray’s 1958 single, “Rumble,” was banned from airplay in several cities amid worries that it would incite teenage gang violence (despite being a wordless, instrumental tune), and Wray’s guitar line seems to echo in every power chord you’ve heard. Charley Patton, who profoundly shaped the blues, is profiled in another section before the film moves to Mildred Bailey, Jesse Ed Davis, members of the band Redbone and others, all of whom had Indian heritage. We hear about childhoods spent listening and learning from grandparents who passed on traditions, and of discrimination encountered in the broader world. “Be proud you’re an Indian, but be careful who you tell,” Mr. Robertson, who is part Mohawk, says of a prevailing attitude when he was younger. Martin Scorsese and Iggy Pop offer insights, while Steven Van Zandt’s enthusiasm is contagious. After hearing a story by Jackson Browne, you’ll listen to his “Doctor My Eyes” with different ears. Directed by Catherine Bainbridge, “Rumble” takes a few serious turns even as it remains lively throughout.” -Ken Jaworowsky, New York Times
"Bending the Arc" will be shown at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, November 4
Bending the Arc unwinds as a stunning documentary about a team of young people — Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, Ophelia Dahl — whose charitable medical work 30 years ago in remote Haiti came to ignite a healthcare movement. Their mission: to deliver basic health care to those who had no access to even the most rudimentary medical help. Their obstacles: The World Bank, the medical establishment, dysfunctional governments and the poverty and isolation of their patients.
Sagely blending a vital mix of interviews, archival footage and cinema-verite shooting, directors Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos have delivered a glorious and uplifting film. Supported by writer Cori Shepherd Stern's strong narrative spine, Bending the Arc is a heartwarming and radiant offering. Most magically, it transcends the colossal power of its own story to show how individual beings, one step at a time, can right the course of inequality and injustice.
It was roughly 30 years ago that medical student Paul Farmer ventured to Haiti to undertake a one-man mission to bring healthcare to a nation ravaged by tuberculosis. Flying back-and-forth from med school, Farmer did what he could to serve people who had been abandoned by their own government and international humanitarian institutions; they were left to die of TB, a disease that could be thwarted by proper medical treatment. During his foray into the most remote regions of Haiti, Farmer met up with a fellow idealist, Ophelia Dahl, a social activist, whose credo was also “to light one candle.”
These candles soon flickered: they were able to treat people with diseases that the medical-and-charitable complex had determined were expendable for the overall greater good of conserving healthcare resources. Throughout the doc, the filmmakers convey not only the righteousness of their quest, but in interview snippets we get to know the people behind the medical masks: They are funny and self-deprecating, but forged with an unbending resolve. In short, the young doctors and activists are not only the ethical “good guys,” but the kind of “good guys” you root for.
"The Last Dalai Lama?" will be shown at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, November 4
A surplus of wisdom and benevolence radiates from THE LAST DALAI LAMA? A collection of moments rather than a linear story, this film is suffused with the presence of the Dalai Lama, whether he is watching schoolchildren in Canada practice gratitude or meditating on separating his consciousness from his body in preparation for death. The film opens in 2015, during a celebration in New York of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday as he saunters on stage in his red-and-yellow monk’s robes, shaved head and his trademark glasses and purse-lipped smile
The film goes back to paint in his history, with photographs and film footage from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, and it’s a wonder to see these silvery dusty images now, because they have the effect of a true-life fairy tale: the boy who was plucked from the obscurity of poverty, at age two, and declared to be the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama.
No film about this holy man would be complete without a recap of the escape from Tibet to Dharamsala, India, after the Chinese takeover of the country. The movie notes that the Chinese government has declared it will control the selection and development of the next Dalai Lama, an absurd idea to those who believe succession is a matter of reincarnation. The specter of two competing lamas, one controlled by the Chinese, also arises. In response, the ever-smiling Dalai Lama says he won’t reincarnate as a 15th Dalai Lama, but aides explain that statement doesn’t mean he won’t be reborn in exile, and the film is unlikely to settle the question definitively.
Whatever does happen when the 14th Dalai Lama is gone, what may prove to be unique about him is that he grew up in Tibet during the pre-modern age, and is encoded with the spirit of a time when the Buddhist heart and mind was as organic as breathing. But in exile, he became a larger-than-life figure whose radiant serenity now melts through a world of noise that may never again allow that radiance to be matched.
"Dolores" will be shown at 5:p.m. Sunday, November 5
The warm-hearted documentary “Dolores” corrects a historic oversight, giving proper credit to a hero of the American labor movement — and a few other movements to boot.
At 87, Dolores Huerta has seen and done it all. As a community organizer in California in the early 1960s, she teamed up with Cesar Chavez to mobilize migrant farmworkers and form what became the United Farm Workers. She did all this while raising seven children (she had four more when she had a relationship with Chavez’s brother Richard).
Huerta organized the UFW-led boycott of table grapes in New York. She helped register Latinos to vote for Robert Kennedy in the California primary in 1968 and was next to him at the Ambassador Hotel podium minutes before he was assassinated. Twenty years later, she was hospitalized after being beaten by cops while protesting George H.W. Bush. She also came up with the rallying cry “Sí Se Puede” — “Yes We Can” — that Barack Obama acknowledged he borrowed for his 2008 presidential campaign.
Director Peter Bratt stitches together a wide array of archival footage and extensive interviews with Huerta’s admirers, most of her children and herself. He goes beyond Huerta’s importance to Latinos to chart her championing of civil rights, women’s rights and environmental safety (by pushing for control on pesticides that were poisoning farmworkers).
Doc Fest Organizing Committee
Lynette and Jamie Sutton
Gail and Bucky Mace
Maureen Marshall & John Hutchinson
Gail Graham & Gary Herman
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
John Andrews & Yoshi Fukamiya
Web & Ginny Otis
Mary Ann Cobb & Peter Wilson
Stephen and Rachel Tracy
Erma Murphy & Daniel Patrick, Murphy Productions
Nancy and Bob Bishop
Roy and Patty Shimek
Tom Silk and Kathleen Foote
Mary & Gene Metz
Susan & Jim Acquistapace
Ginny & Will Felch
Sarah Butler & Keith Bailey
Larry Baskin & Kathlynn Capdeville
Susan & Dick Peterson
Gary Ireland & Elizabeth Zarlengo
Jim & Barbara Kinberger
Karen and Tom Dibblee
Kathy and Kirk Kirkham
David Conrad & Barbara Wechsberg
Lynn & Allison Fuller
"Letters from Baghdad" will be shown at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, November 5
Letters from Baghdad tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day. She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum. Letters from Baghdad is the story of Bell—sometimes called the “female” Lawrence of Arabia. Voiced and executive produced by Academy award-winning actor Tilda Swinton, the documentary tells the dramatic story of this British spy, explorer and political powerhouse. Bell traveled widely in Arabia before being recruited by British military intelligence to help draw the borders of Iraq after WWI. Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power. With unique access to documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Gertrude Bell’s own 1600 letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiqués. It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq. The film takes us into a past that is eerily current.