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Doc5 Documentary Film Festival Comes to Palo Alto September 7 - 9, 2022

Influential Documentary Festival Kicks Off Awards Season With Five Acclaimed Selections


CHICAGO, Illinois – CMP, the presenting organization of the annual Doc10 Documentary Film Festival held each Spring in Chicago, today announced Doc5, a special Palo Alto-set edition bringing some of the most highly acclaimed documentary feature films to audiences in the Bay Area. Spanning the weekend of September 7 - 9, 2022, Doc5 presents five nonfiction films from the most exciting filmmakers working today at the Guild Theatre (949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park).

Doc5 parent festival Doc10 has earned its reputation as a documentary film’s first step on the road to awards season, setting the bar for nonfiction features each year as its highly curated selections adorn shortlists, nomination announcements, and Oscar, Emmy, BAFTA, and Spirit Awards glory.

“Doc5 was developed to bring awareness of these incredible, eye-opening, innovative nonfiction films to audiences across the country,” said CMP co-founders Paula Froehle and Steve Cohen. “Doc5 presents the best documentary features in a curated space where discussion is fostered and rewarding conversations have an opportunity to happen. At Doc10 and Doc5, the film is really just the beginning of the conversation.”

Doc5 Palo Alto’s film selections include:

BAD AXE

CAVE OF ADULLAM

EXPOSURE

THE JANES

MY SO-CALLED HIGH SCHOOL RANK

Doc5, presented by CMP, runs September 7 - 9, 2022 at the Guild Theatre, 949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, California. Admission to each film is $16 and $14 for students, seniors, active duty military, and first responders; or guests can purchase a pass for all 5 films for $75. Doc5 also offers a date night package of two tickets to a screening for $30. These are available online at doc5filmfest.org, and guests can also purchase tickets onsite at the venue’s box office.

Film Synopses


BAD AXE

Director: David Siev

Producers: Jude Harris, Diane Quon, Katarina Vasquez, David Siev

101 min., 2022


Winner of the Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for “exceptional intimacy in storytelling” at the SXSW Film Festival, Bad Axe follows filmmaker David Siev as he returns to his hometown of Bad Axe, Michigan at the onset of the pandemic to chronicle his family at a crossroads. As the virus grows, the multicultural Cambodian-Mexican Siev family struggles to keep their mom-and-pop restaurant afloat, while the pressures of Trumpian values and Neo-Nazis in their rural hometown increasingly ratchets up the tension. What unfolds is a captivating real-time portrait of 2020, both intensely personal and deeply universal, and a remarkable encapsulation of the major issues of our times–from race and class to trauma and tribalism. Touching, cathartic, and filled with “rich and quiet nuance” (Austin Chronicle), Bad Axe is “a love letter to overcoming adversity” (RogerEbert.com).

CAVE OF ADULLAM

Director: Laura Checkoway

Executive Producers: Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, Roy Bank, Jennifer Westphal, Joe Plummer

Producers: Jason Wilson, Audrey Kendrick, Lev Abramovv, Taylor Wildenhaus

94 min., 2022


Jason Wilson runs The Cave of Adullam, a transformational Training Academy in the heart of Detroit where Black boys who are emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in debt gather to be trained and transformed into comprehensive men.

EXPOSURE

Director: Holly Morris

Producers: Michael Kovnat, Jill Mazursky, Holly Morris, Eleanor Wilson

89 min., 2022


As the polar ice caps melt, travel to the Arctic has become increasingly treacherous. But 11 women from across Arab and Western countries join together with the audacious goal of reaching the North Pole before it becomes impossible to do so. Award-winning director Holly Morris (The Babushkas of Chernobyl) treks along with this daring and eclectic group of fearless explorers, many of whom who are novices in polar exploration, as they navigate grueling physical conditions, from cracking ice floes and punishing frostbite, as well as their own cultural differences in this thrilling story of adventure, female empowerment, and global unity. “Visually stunning” (Film Threat) and “a triumph, delight and joy” (Chicago Tribune), Exposure is “an evocative portrait of human endurance, and how climate change is affecting one of the world's most alluring, and deadly, places” (CBS News).

THE JANES

Directors: Tia Lessin, Emma Pildes

Producers: Emma Pildes, Daniel Arcana, Jessica Levin

101 min., 2022

Chicago 1968. Abortion is illegal; women are fighting for equality; and hospitals are filling up with victims of terminated pregnancies gone wrong. Enter the Jane Collective. In this inspiring account of the legendary underground network, filmmakers Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water) and Emma Pildes (Jane Fonda in Five Acts) chronicle this intrepid group of young activist women as they evade both the cops and the mob to help others gain access to safe and affordable care. Capturing their courage and conviction and the high-stakes suspense of their work, the film vividly charts the rise of their clandestine operations, complete with code names and safe houses, all the way to their capture in 1972. “Rousing (Variety), “revelatory” (Screen Daily), and “triumphant” (RogerEbert.com), The Janes is “urgent, and thoroughly engaging” and “unfortunately, very much of the moment” (The Hollywood Reporter).

MY SO-CALLED HIGH SCHOOL RANK

Directors: Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg

101 min., 2022


In 2018, David Taylor Gomes and Kyle Holmes began writing a dystopian Broadway-style musical called Ranked, about the extremes that students go to achieve the best grades and reach the top of their class. Emmy-nominated filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Reversing Roe) follow the intimate stories of musical theater students at three disparate high schools across the country–Granite Bay, Sacramento; Cupertino in Silicon Valley, and Ripley, West Virginia–as they navigate the pressures of getting into college while staging a musical–until seismic events upend their dreams and expectations. Tender and triumphant, My So-Called High School Rank is a moving and surprisingly timely story of singing your heart out and coming-of-age in our most atypical times.

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