The 2nd Annual Doclands fest includes, clockwise from left, a Doc Honors tribute to “The Cove” director Louie Psihoyos, a screening of “16 Bars” featuring Todd “Speech” Thomas of Arrested Development, “Olompali: A Hippie’s Odyssey” and Opening Night film “Anote’s Ark.”
In the span of just eight years – driven by an incredibly eclectic slate of films from all over the world and an almost eery ability to showcase films that end up garnering Academy Awards – the Mill Valley Film Festival has nearly doubled its audience, up to more than 75,000 attendees in 2017.

So when MVFF organizers at the California Film Institute made the leap in 2017 to launch the inaugural Doclands, a noncompetitive, five-day documentary festival, it did so with plenty of momentum, and that event is gspreading its wings in its second year. The 2nd Annual Doclands runs from May 3-6 and its lineup spans 43 films from 10 countries, with the first DocLands Honors award presentation to award-winning filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos  (The CoveRacing Extinction, The Game Changers), over 50 filmmakers in attendance, and an interactive industry forum geared towards invigorating the business and art of nonfiction filmmaking. All screenings are at the CineArts Sequoia in Mill Valley and the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

Here are some of the highlights:
Opening Night
ANOTE’S ARK – California Premiere
Thursday, May 3 | 7pm | Smith Rafael Film Center 
Former president of Kiribati and film subject Anote Tong joins director Martthieu Rytz for the Festival’s Opening Night film Anote’s Ark. Climate change is no abstraction to the people of Kiribati, a series of low-lying atolls in the central Pacific Ocean that are being swallowed by the rising sea. Photographer-ethnologist Matthieu Rytz’s exquisitely shot film portrays the slow, dignified demise of an entire culture—soon to be global refugees. Rytz and Tong will take part in an on-stage conversation and audience Q&A following the screening.

Closing Night 
16 BARS – World Premiere
Saturday, May 5 | 6:30pm | Smith Rafael Film Center 
In Sam Bathrick’s transformative film, Todd “Speech” Thomas of hip-hop group Arrested Development is involved with a unique rehabilitation program in Richmond, Virginia, helping prisoners write and record their own songs. The filmmaker lovingly follows four inmates battling cycles of incarceration and addiction. Through superbly produced recording sessions, the men reach out from behind bars to bring their poignant stories to life through music. Bathrick will be joined on-stage by film subjects Todd “Speech” Thomas of hip-hop group Arrested Development (Tennessee, Mr. Wendell), Teddy Kane and Loretta Simmons-Jackson following the premiere of 16 Bars for an on-stage Q&A and special performance featuring Speech and Kane. MORE INFO.

DocLands Honors Award – Louie Psihoyos
Friday, May 4  | 6:30pm  |  CinéArts Sequoia
Presented to a filmmakerin recognition of exceptional storytelling within the documentary genre, an artist whose films resonate universally, emphasizing our common humanity – no matter the subject. The inaugural DocLands Honors Award is presented to iconic photographer and award-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos (The CoveRacing ExtinctionThe Game Changers) for his dogged determination and tenacity in exposing wrongs and expanding awareness. We also show our appreciation for his astounding efforts in outreach, bringing some of our most pressing environmental and social issues to a worldwide audience. 

Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey (dir. Gregg Gibbs) – “Turning on, tuning in, and dropping out, a group of kindred spirits calling itself the “Chosen Family” in the late ’60s built its base camp 30 miles north of San Francisco. Clothing was optional, authority disdained, and weed widely distributed. Peter Coyote narrates this warmly reflective story, which crosses paths with tragedy–as well as the Grateful Dead, Hells Angels, and the Diggers–as it celebrates the spirit of invention.
Preceded by Spark Plug Cowboys (dirs. S. Kramer Herzog, L. Marcel)
Additional films premiering at the Festival include the US Premiere of DugOut; the North American Premiere of Have You Heard from Johannesburg: Oliver Tambo with director Connie Field in attendance; and the California Premieres of Anote’s Ark with director Matthieu Rytz and former president of Kiribati/film subject Anote Tong;The Guardianswith directors Tessa Moran and Ben Crosbie attending; Into Twin Galaxies: A Greenland Epic; and Shinerswith director Stacey Tenebaum and film subject Kealani Lada attending.

The 411: Doclands runs May 3-6 at the CineArts Sequoia in Mill Valley and the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. GO HERE for more info on the films above and the full slate of documentaries.

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