June 26 - July 16, 2020

with special events:

Tuesday, July 7, 7PM EST : live chat with Lucia Small during a virtual screening of One Cut, One Life  

Wednesday, July 8, 3PM EST : Zoom Q&A with Lucia Small, register here!
A Message from DocYard Spring 2020 Guest Curator, Abby Sun

Dear DocYard supporters,
Starting today, we’re delighted to close out the Spring 2020 season of the DocYard with the New England Legacy screening, newly expanded to include all three of Lucia Small’s feature films:  My Father, the Genius (2002) The Axe in the Attic (2007) , and  One Cut, One Life (2014) .

Our country is in the middle of a historic moment of change that can swing either towards revolutionary progress or reactionary crackdowns. Similarly, the documentary industry is in turmoil. Theater closures, widening inequality, staff layoffs, the loss of commercial jobs, instability in academia have prompted a series of public statements from filmmakers, gatekeepers, and writers questioning conventional standards of documentary ethics and institutional support.
In this way, Lucia’s life and work has been extraordinarily ahead of its time. Her films have always challenged White liberal platitudes, notions of stifling decorum, and the right to film and record the lives of others. They are enclosed in a first-person narrative that is piercing, humorous, and moving. From  My Father, the Genius’ premiere at Slamdance to the unique multi-perspective structure of  The Axe in the Attic  and  One Cut, One Life  (both co-directed with the pioneering filmmaker Ed Pincus), these films have been made and presented outside of traditional structures, never shying away from problems inherent in documentary content or form.
All three films will be available for free streaming for three weeks through  Thursday, July 16   here . We will be hosting a live stream of  One Cut, One Life  with Lucia Small participating in a live chat  on Tuesday, July 7, at 7pm EST, and a  90-minute Q&A and conversation  on Lucia’s groundbreaking, challenging first-person documentaries, on Wednesday, July 8, at 3pm EST.
In lieu of charging for tickets, we urge those who are able to donate the cost of a ticket ($12) to the DocYard’s longtime partner, the Brattle , the Massachusetts Redistribution Fund , or Black Lives Matter Boston .

Lucia is a longtime Boston-based filmmaker and editor. We’re honored to be able to share her work in this way; many thanks to Lucia and to First Run Features for making these online screenings possible.
We hope you are able to join us.
My Father, The Genius (2002)
Directed by: Lucia Small

Suggested Ticket Price: Donate to Brattle Theatre

Screen the film here !
While forging a career as a documentary producer, Lucia Small was told by her father that he wanted her to write his biography upon his death. Glen Howard Small was a visionary architect deeply embedded in the West Coast scene before his caustic personality and disregard for others tanked his career. His personal life is similarly in shambles; he left Lucia’s mother and siblings for another woman, abandoning his first family. Deciding to make work on her father on her own terms, Small picked up the camera and focused on Glen, his former colleagues and students, his ex-wives, her siblings, and herself in this brave exploration of the meaning of fame and the value of maintaining personal relationships.

A long-time Bostonian but trained outside the Cambridge schools that pioneered the personal documentary, Small’s directorial debut forges a path of her own, majestically merging the biographical, architecture theory, and the personal. Archival footage of Glen in his younger days and animation of his theoretical creations allow us to get a picture of his work without his self-propagandizing. But the heart of this film is comprised of cantankerous and illuminating interviews between Small, Glen, and all those who currently or once orbited Glen. Viewed today, My Father, The Genius still stands out for its revelations about how we choose to shape our legacies. Edited with skill and compassion by the late Karen Schmeer, who picked up a jury prize at Slamdance for her collaboration with Small. (AS)
The Axe in the Attic (2007)
Directed by: Lucia Small and Ed Pincus

Suggested Ticket Price: Donate to Black Lives Matter Boston

Screen the film here !

A quick prologue establishes the basics of this road trip: moved by images of destruction on TV, filmmaker Lucia Small convinces Ed Pincus to make his first film in decades. Together, they spend two months filming the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. They start by recording encounters with evacuees on their drive to the disaster zone. In Pittsburgh, one former New Orleanian explains the film’s title: after Hurricane Bessie in 1965, many residents started keeping an axe in the attic of their homes to break through their roofs and avoid drowning, recognizing that help often came too late.

When Small and Pincus arrive in New Orleans, they find a system that has failed and residents who are variously resigned, overwhelmed, and stoic in their determination to rebuild. The stories they tell are full of complaints about labyrinthian red tape and police brutality, two threads that have dominated current media coverage of COVID-19 and recent protests. Are the nonprofits and people—like Small and Pincus themselves—who have hurried to New Orleans doing more harm than good? The Axe in the Attic doesn’t allow us to look away: the exact complexity of these relationships are tangled, and often remain disturbingly so. Unlike conventional issue-based documentaries, or even those who ostensibly reveal the subjectivity of the filmmaker, these two directors share their disagreements and qualms with each other, train the lens on themselves, and maintain separate voiceovers. This brave, enduring film interrogates the limits of the first-person perspective that has since abounded in reality tv, body cameras, cell phone cameras, and even fiction films that traffic in the authenticity of the handheld point of view. (AS)
One Cut, One Life (2014)
Directed by: Lucia Small and Ed Pincus

Suggested Ticket Price: Donate to Mass Redistribution Fund

Screen the film here !
After the success of My Father, The Genius, Lucia Small met Ed Pincus, pioneering documentarian and a founder of the MIT Film/Video Section, when their paths crossed at a film festival. Finding each other to have similar sensibilities, they began collaborating as co-directors on projects that pushed ideas of interrogating responsibility and the identities of their makers. One Cut, One Life is their final film together, bookended by the recent violent deaths of two of Small’s closest friends, including her roommate, the gifted editor Karen Schmeer, as well as Pincus’ own terminal illness.

As much a treatise on our determination to prolong life through risky medical procedures as it is a record of two careers, Small and Pincus continue to push the limits of propriety. After indelibly changing the course of observational and personal documentary, Pincus and his family retreated to a Vermont flower farm. Much of this film takes place there, far from the centers of American documentary but featuring conversations that hark back to the conflict between Pincus and his wife, Jane, as recorded in Pincus’ landmark Diaries (1971-1976). Unlike other studies with consent and participation, however, every character in One Cut, One Life chooses not to withdraw but to engage. They collectively ask each other, and in turn, us as the audience, questions of authorship, sacrifice, and need. (AS)
Lucia Small Select Filmography
One Cut, One Life (2014)
Lower Ninth Ward (2008, short)
The Axe in the Attic (2007)
My Father, The Genius (2002)
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