Paley Center Sets Documentary Festival Schedule

Includes diverse nonfiction fare on topics ranging from Joan Baez to Nicholas Kristof.

Diverse nonfiction fare on topics ranging from artist/activist Joan Baez to Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof will be at the center of this year’s PaleyDocFest09, the Paley Center for Media announced Tuesday.

The 10th annual documentary festival will be held in New York throughout the month of October.

The festival will open on Oct. 8 with "The Way We Get By," a documentary which looks into how various generations of war veterans deal with the aftermath of their service.

Following on Oct. 9 will be the world premiere of the American Masters "Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound;" a film about the symbolism of the Berlin Wall titled "Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall" on Oct. 20; "The Glass House," about empowering abused young women in Tehran, on Oct. 21; and "Reporter," which looks at the life of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on Oct. 22.

A complimentary wine reception will occur before each screening and a Q&A discussion with filmmakers, those in the films and special guests will occur after the screenings.

“With our annual documentary festival, The Paley Center for Media continues its deep commitment to this important and influential filmmaking. Following last year’s historic presidential election where media played an ever-increasing role, the Festival will explore that now-amplified interconnection between politics and culture that can change society,” Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media, said in a statement. “Through the documentaries in the Festival, one will experience the power of this art form to inspire to tell a story in a way that captures our imagination and expands our horizons."

The festival will also host two special events on Oct. 17: The Art of the Documentary Pitch workshop — which is sponsored by Snag Films and awards the winner a $5,000 grant to be used toward the completion of the film — and DocuJam, which celebrates the works of young documentary video and filmmakers nationwide.

The complete schedule is as follows:


Thursday, October 8 at 6:30pm

In association with P.O.V.

2009 Special Jury Award, South by Southwest Festival

2009 Audience Award Winner, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

This award-winning film profiles three senior citizens/veterans who find new meaning in their lives by greeting returning troops while intimately conveying what service to country means in these treacherous times. Q&A: Aron Gaudet, filmmaker; Bill Knight, WWII veteran; Jerry Mundy, former Marine; and Gita Pullapilly, filmmaker.


World Premiere 

Friday, October 9 at 6:30pm 
This first comprehensive documentary to chronicle the private and public life of artist/activist Joan Baez provides unprecedented access to the singer. Bob Dylan, David Crosby, and Reverend Jessie Jackson also share about Baez’s remarkable life. Q&A: Anthony DeCurtis, author and contributing editor, Rolling StoneSusan Lacy, executive producer, American Masters; and Mary Wardon, filmmaker.


Sponsored by SnagFilms

Saturday, October 17 at 2:00 – 4:00pm

A workshop/competition in which five pre-selected emerging documentary filmmakers pitch their ideas to a panel of distinguished documentary executives and producers. 



Saturday, October 17 at 4:00 – 6:00pm

Outstanding documentaries produced by youth nationwide.



Tuesday, October 20 at 6:30pm

In association with History and ZDF Enterprises

For twenty-eight years the Berlin Wall was the concrete symbol of the ideology behind the Cold War. This German/American documentary reveals the gripping history of the Wall from both sides, complete with intriguing computer graphics to explain how it was built, guarded, and why it should never be forgotten.  Q&A: Oliver Halmburger, filmmaker. Additional panelists to be announced.



Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30pm

In association with the Sundance Channel

Filmmakers Hamid Rahmanian and Melissa Hibbard follow the stories of four young women in Tehran who were abused physically and psychologically but who found empowerment—education, counseling, and work placement– at the Omid E. Mehr Center, where the dark side of the old society is confronted and overcome. Q&A:Melissa Hibbard, filmmaker; Marjaneh Halati, Founder, Omid e Mehr Foundation; and Hamid Rahmanian, filmmaker.


New York Premiere


Thursday, October 22 at 6:30pm

In the early eighties Jimmy “the Greek” became a folk hero on the popular NFL Today. With Runyonesque humor and a flair for predictions, Jimmy brought sports gambling to the spotlight of network television. Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Fritz Mitchell, who began his career at NFL Today, unravels the complications of Jimmy, from his early childhood tragedy to the racial remark that got him removed from his show. Q&A: Fritz Mitchell, filmmaker. Additional panelists to be announced.



Friday, October 23 at 6:30pm

In association with HBO Documentary Films

Director Eric Daniel Metzgar profiles the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof as he travels to Congo to turn a spotlight on one of the world’s darkest conflicts. In this challenging and haunting documentary Metzgar also considers how news is made in the Internet age and how the world and how the world’s conscience can be mobilized. Q &A: Mikaela Beardsley, producer; Nicholas Kristof, columnist, The New York Times; and Eric Daniel Metzgar, filmmaker.



Monday, October 26 at 6:30pm

Admission to this event is FREE, thanks to the generosity of The Documentary Channel

Activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor engagingly explores the meaning of copyright in the digital age where the wall between producers and users has been irrevocably torn down. His documentary follows several key individuals seeking to redefine originality in the future, including mash-up artist Girl Talk; Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig; BoingBoing creator Cory Doctorow; and Brazil’s Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil. RiP is also a participatory media experiment where Gaylor shares his raw footage for anyone to remix. Q&A: Brett Gaylor, filmmaker. Additional panelists to be announced.



Thursday, October 29 at 6:30pm

In association with Showtime and the Creative Coalition

The Academy Award-winning director of The Natural, Rain Man, and Wag the Dog uses his film insider status to probe the mysteries of the intersection of Hollywood and politics. Barry Levinson journeyed to the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions to understand what role celebrities have in the actual political process. Among the entertainment figures he interviews are Anne Hathaway, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee, Ellen Burstyn, and the late Ron Silver. Q&A: Barry Levinson, Director. Additional panelists to be announced.