It may be the same old cold and windy season you left behind to see your folks for the holidays, but it’s a new semester, a new year, a clean slate for things to come.
For example, take The DocYard: a series focusing on independent documentaries that’s re-booting this week at the Brattle.
Now in it’s third year here in Boston, the series has been going strong, bringing in every type of documentary, from the quirky to the award-winning, to the warm and cozy confines of the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. Did I mention that it’s warm and cozy?
This season’s opening film is Betting the Farm, which follows the moving grassroots campaign by Maine dairy farmers to save their farms once their national milk distributor dumps them. If you know or have heard of MOO Milk, or if you’re interested in the locavore movement, don’t miss this doc. Heck, you should watch it even if you just like the freshness of your local farmers market. Likewise, small business owners shouldn’t miss this personal tale of the struggles of starting from the bottom over the course of two years. But definitely don’t miss this doc if you like cows.
(Spoiler: They play a big role in the milk business.)
The stories that the DocYard screens are accessible, real, and surprisingly relatable.
You root for the good guys to come out vindicated, just like in The Avengers. Docs can put their audiences behind a wall from which to watch the story play out or put viewers in the middle of the action, running frantically along with the cameraman. Sometimes you might even find the movie’s lead to be intolerable or downright despicable, like one of my favorite 2012 documentaries, The Queen of Versailles. But unlikable characters hardly make for bad entertainment, as any popular reality TV show can attest.
Plus, as is the case with all DocYard screenings, Betting the Farm will have its co-director Jason Mann in attendance, ready for your burning questions.
Not every series in Boston can pull off the opportunity for attendees to meet the next doc superstar, a la Ken Burns, Michael Moore, or Morgan Spurlock.
The next film in the series is a Silverdoc and AFI Fest favorite, Elizabeth Mimms’s and Jason Tippet’s Only the Young, which documents the perilous transition of teenage friendships and young love into adulthood in the midst of the recession. Carlo Guillermo Proto also drops in this season with his heartbreaking doc, El Huaso, about a man struggling to learn if he has Alzheimer’s and what he’ll do should his tests come back positive.
Call Me Kuchu and its co-director Malika Zouhali-Worrall tell the brave story of David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man, and the fight against Uganda’s bill to kill LGBTQ citizens. The quirkily titled Planet of Snail, from Seung-Jun Yi, captures both romance and adventure. Jamie Meltzer brings us the strange tale of Brandon Darby, a political pariah of both the right and the left in Informant. Then it’s back to the local scene with Jane Weiner’s Ricky on Leacock, a documentary about former documentarian/MIT professor Ricky Leacock.
(I highly recommend that last one’s historical content to the film kiddies in the crowd.)
Lastly, April’s An Evening with Localore will spotlight an initiative by the Association of Independents in Radio to bring about change in public media with the help of journalists, artists, and communities. If you’re involved in media in Boston at all, this is a can’t miss event.
Although, you could say that about everything the DocYard will be showing this season.
EVERY OTHER MON 1.14.13-4.22.13
THE BRATTLE THEATRE
40 BRATTLE ST.