DocYard Presents

The 2014 Winter Season!



The DocYard is excited to announce the 2014 Winter Season, running from January 13 to April 14 at the Brattle Theatre! The DocYard will once again invite audiences to discover and celebrate what is innovative and inspiring in documentary, taking you from the frozen laplands of Finland to the corridors of American politics. We'll also be welcoming an award-winning group of filmmakers from near and far to attend the series and discuss their work. 


The DocYard's season will open with Bending Steel, the Audience Award Winner and Emerging Cinematic Vision winner from the 2013 Camden International Film Festival.  The film tells the story of Chris Shoeck, a Queens, NY native training to become a professional Oldetime Strongman. Other highlights from this season include a screening of  The Squarewinner of the Audience Award for best documentary at Sundance, Toronto, and RIDM, from director Jehane Noujaim (The Control Room). The Square tells the story of the Egyptian Revolution from the 2011 overthrow of the country's dictator, to the forced military removal of the Muslim Brotherhood president in the summer of 2013. The series will also present acclaimed filmmaker Alan Berliner's First Cousin, Once Removed, recently short-listed for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary. In this film, Berliner paints a deeply personal portrait of his "good friend, cousin and mentor" Edwin Honig, a distinguished poet, translator, critic and teacher, as he journeys through the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. 


This winter's DocYard season also features exciting co-presentations. Working with the Harvard Film Archive and the Balagan Film Series, The DocYard will co-present two evenings of film by internationally acclaimed filmmakers Ben Russell and Ben Rivers (with Ben Russell in attendance on both nights). These special events feature their new collaborative work A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness at the HFA and a collection of shorts by both artists to follow at the Brattle Theatre. The DocYard and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston are working together to unearth a hidden nonfiction gem. Cousin Jules was the result of five years (1968-1973) painstaking work by director Dominique Benicheti and cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn. Over that period, the team photographed and recorded the daily lives of Jules (Benicheti's distant cousin) and his wife, Felicie, French farmers living alone in the countryside. 


Finally, in a new collaboration with the New York Times, the DocYard will theatrically present one Op-Doc short prior to each feature screening during its Winter program. Op-Docs is the editorial department's forum for short opinion-driven documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude by independent filmmakers. Curated by the Op-Docs Series Producer Jason Spingarn-Koff and the DocYard programmers. Specific titles to be announced in the coming weeks!


Mark your calendar for the dates below and consider buying a season pass for yourself, or as a gift! We have a special pre-Christmas sale on all DocYard Season Passes, so get yours now before the price goes up!


Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys, by Jessica Oreck

  • Monday, January 13 - Bending Steel / Dave Carroll, Ryan Scafuro

BENDING STEEL explores the life of 43 year-old Chris Schoeck, a Queens, NY native who is training to become a professional Oldetime Strongman. The story follows Chris' journey from his early days training in a small basement storage unit, to his very first performance on the big stage at New York's historic Coney Island. Alongside his trainer Chris Rider, he meets living legends and heroes within the community-and for the first time ever-he gets a taste of acceptance, something that, since his early childhood, has always felt just out of reach. Suddenly Chris sees an opportunity to finally stand out, to make a name for himself, to find his place in life. 

  • Monday, January 20 - The Square / Jehane Noujaim

The Egyptian Revolution has been an ongoing rollercoaster over the past two and a half years. Through the news, we only get a glimpse of the bloodiest battle, an election, or a million man march. At the beginning of July 2013, we witnessed the second president deposed within the space of three years. The Square is an immersive experience, transporting the viewer deeply into the intense emotional drama and personal stories behind the news. It is the inspirational story of young people claiming their rights, struggling through multiple forces, in the fight to create a society of conscience. 

  • Monday, January 27 - Aatsinki / Jessica Oreck

Brothers Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki are cowboys of the Arctic. Quiet but good natured, dare-devilish but humble, rugged but gentle, and exceptionally knowledgeable when it comes to their little slice of wilderness. These men are what John Wayne wanted to be. The brothers, along with their wives and children, live well north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, where they are the leaders of a collective of traditional reindeer herders who manage the last group of wild reindeer in all of Finland. Aatsinki follows the family for the span of one year, quietly observing their seasonal routines and the difficulties and joys of a life so closely tied to the land.

  • Tuesday, February 12 - Caucus / AJ Schnack

For the past 40 years, the race for the American Presidency has begun in the state of Iowa, where Presidential hopefuls spend months traveling the state's 99 counties hoping to win its "first-in-the-nation" vote and prove themselves a viable candidate. In intimate, funny and sometimes emotional detail, CAUCUS tells the story of the 2011-2012 campaign in Iowa as eight Republicans fight to become their party's standard-bearer and take on Barack Obama.

  • Monday, February 24 - The Flaherty at the DocYard

The DocYard is pleased to feature a special evening with the Flaherty Seminar, celebrating its 60th year. Experience what it means to sit in a theater without any preconceived notions of what you're about to see and discover cinema as it's meant to be seen. In the spirit of the Flaherty tradition, the program of the evening will not be revealed until it is projected on the screen. Selections from past Robert Flaherty Film Seminars and Flaherty NYC Series will be screened followed by a conversation on non-fiction film. Explore the creative process of contemporary filmmakers and artists who are expanding the boundaries of documentary filmmaking.

  • Wednesday, March 5 - Cousin Jules / Dominique Benicheti -- Special co-presentation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A lost masterpiece of cinema, now beautifully restored and available for the first time in years, Cousin Jules was the result of five years (1968-1973) painstaking work by director Dominique Benicheti and cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn. Over that period, the team photographed and recorded the daily lives of Jules (Benicheti's distant cousin) and his wife, Felicie, French farmers living alone in the countryside. The result is a ravishing and immersive work, in which we not only enter into the subjects' world but also into the very rhythms of their lives - a record of a time and a way of life that has long ago vanished 
* Screening held at the MFA at 7:30pm. DocYard pass not applicable. 
  • Monday, March 10 - First Cousin, Once Removed / Alan Berliner

Renowned documentary filmmaker Alan Berliner paints a deeply personal portrait of his "good friend, cousin and mentor" as Edwin Honig, distinguished poet, translator, critic and teacher, journeys through the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. A stark reminder of the profound role memory plays in everyone's life, FIRST COUSIN, ONCE REMOVED is a moving essay on the fragility of being human. 

  • Sunday, March 23 - A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness/ Ben Rivers, Ben Russell -- Special co-presentation with Harvard Film Archive and the Balagan Film Series.

A SPELL follows an unnamed character through three seemingly disparate moments in his life. With little explanation, we join him in the midst of a 15-person collective on a small Estonian island; in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland; and during a concert as the singer and guitarist of a black metal band in Norway. Marked by loneliness, ecstatic beauty and an optimism of the darkest sort, A SPELL is a radical proposition for the existence of utopia in the present.

* Screening held at the HFA. 

  • Monday, March 24 - Shorts by Ben Rivers and Ben Russell -- Special co-presentation with Harvard Film Archive and the Balagan Film Series.

A selection of short films from Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, the two friends, artists, and makers of A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS. "Primal",
"otherworldly", "ethnographic", and "utopian" are just a few of the ways these internationally acclaimed films have been described by critics and programmers.

* Screening held at the Brattle Theatre.  

  • Monday, April 7 - Hearts and Minds / Peter Davis

A courageous and startling film, Peter Davis's landmark documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronts the United States' involvement in Vietnam. Using a wealth of sources-from interviews to newsreels to documentary footage of the conflict at home and abroad-Davis constructs a powerfully affecting portrait of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and shocking, Hearts and Minds is an overwhelming emotional experience and the controversial winner of the 1974 Academy Award for Best Documentary. 

  • Monday, April 14 - Town Hall / Sierra Pettengill, Jamila Wignot 

TOWN HALL casts an unflinching eye at Katy and John, two Tea Party activists from the battleground state of Pennsylvania who believe America's salvation lies in a return to true conservative values. More than a political treatise, TOWN HALL is a tone poem that immerses the viewer in Katy and John's world, painting a portrait of the fears of those who believe they will be left behind by a nation's transition.


You can find full program information and buy season passes at See you in January and have happy holidays!


The DocYard is a program of the LEF Foundation. Other series sponsors include the Camden International Film Festival, Center for Independent Documentary, Irving House at Harvard, Rule Boston Camera, the Cambridge Arts Council/Massachusetts Cultural Council, Modulus Studios, MassArt Continuing Education and the Open Documentary Lab at MIT.