the Specktator

Jax Doc Fest gets reel this weekend!


After last year’s highly successful debut, the Jax Doc Fest returns THIS WEEKEND with more than 20 international features and shorts focusing on documentary arts and innovation. The films represent subject matter as diverse as the struggle of caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and one man’s quest to see his most hated band in one of the world’s most feared countries (that would be Limp Bizkit in Russia). Opening night is 7 p.m. tonight with a screening of My Erotic Body and live burlesque performers. A donation of $5 is requested.

Films will be shown at Raindogs and Sun-Ray Cinema in 5 Points and are $10 each. Also available are one-day passes for $20 each and a Festival Pass for unlimited screenings for $30. More info …

Highlights (according to me)

• Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo (I’ll save you the time of Googling it: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for The Fighter in 2011) stars in Francine, a documentary-hybrid about an ex-offender who finds her place in life collecting pets. Francine screens Saturday, Sept. 16. More info …

• Francine is followed by the short film Animals Under Anesthesia: Speculations on the Dreamlife of Beasts that explores the imagined unconscious minds of animals. Filmmaker Melanie Shatsky will be in attendance with Q&A to follow screening.

• On his 30th birthday, Tom Fassaert receives a mysterious invitation from his 95-year-old grandmother to visit her in South Africa. In the 1950s she was a famous model, femme fatale who went through countless men … and a mother that put her two sons into a children’s home. But that’s only the beginning of The Family AffairThe Family Affair screens Saturday, Sept. 16. More info …

 • In Indiana, where life revolves around high school basketball, what happens to a community when their beloved team can’t win a single game? Medora follows the down-but-not-out Medora Hornets varsity basketball team over the course of the 2011 season, capturing their stories both on and off the court. Riding a brutal losing streak when the film begins, the team’s struggle to compete bears eerie resemblance to the town’s own fight for survival. Medora screens Sunday, Sept. 17. More info …

• Doug James watched several teenagers torture a 10-week-old puppy within millimeters of its life. He rescued the dog called “Gucci,” who lived with him for 16 years, then went on a crusade to change the laws in Alabama making animal abuse to domestic animals a felony: It is called the “Gucci Bill.” I’m pretty sure A Dog Named Gucci is going to be a two-Klonopin event for this animal lover. A Dog Named Gucci screens Sunday, Sept. 17.

• In an semi-related story, Sun-Ray Cinema’s pizza and popcorn are always a highlight for me. They have a full menu, including many vegetarian and vegan options, candy, beer, wine and a popcorn bar where you can add our own fixin’s. I love those kids.

• Political turmoil in the United States takes on a movingly personal aspect through this judiciously edited archive of street marches and public demonstrations, shot since the 2000 Republican Convention. Working in Protest captures illuminating altercations between members of opposing factions—young men of Occupy Wall Street versus an old school liberal Democrat, Trump supporters versus detractors gathered for the inauguration—while keeping a vigilant eye on the role of the police in protecting the targets of dissent. Working in Protest screens Sunday, Sept. 17. Filmmaker Michael Galinksy will be in attendance with Q&A to follow screening. More info …

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