Directed by: Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside

7 PM, Monday, February 10 at The Brattle Theatre

Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside attending in person for Q&A with Spring 2020 Guest Curator Abby Sun
"A sublime, magical masterpiece. It's rare to see so much life on screen." - Joshua Oppenheimer

"With an affectionate, watchful eye, [América] blows up an intimate family portrait on to a large, cinematic canvas." - Simran Hans, The Guardian
World premiere at True/False Film Fest. Special Jury Mention in the Dox:Award main competition at CPH:DOX. Prize winner at Full Frame, Ashland, and Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Diego is a circus artist performing for indifferent tourists in Puerto Vallarta when his elderly grandmother, América, falls and hurts herself. In response, Diego and his brothers reunite to take care of América, help her recover, and fight to release their father from jail for elder negligence. First-time feature directors Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside lived with this extraordinary family over three years, capturing their love and dedication for each other with a joyful, intimate approach that never relinquishes its grip on the difficulties of caregiving and the complexities of living. 

Stoll’s steady camera and Whiteside’s deft editing offer a naturally observational base for us to also consider the thorny questions about consent and participation with which the brothers are themselves grappling: how much does América know about what’s going on around her? In what ways is she actively participating in bringing her family back together? América was broadcast on POV, PBS’ premier documentary strand, in October 2019 — the DocYard is presenting the full, theatrical cut that best showcases this humanistic gem’s exceptionally tender gaze. (AS)
Erick Stoll Select Filmography
American Factory (2019, cinematographer)
América (2018) 
Good White People (2016, short) 
Lifelike (2011, short)

Chase Whiteside Select Filmography
América (2018) 
Lifelike (2011, short)
Coming Soon! 
My First Film (Live Cinema Performance)
Directed by: Zia Anger

7 PM, Monday, February 24 at The Brattle Theatre

Filmmaker Zia Anger will attend in person for a post-performance Q&A with filmmaker Jessica Bardsley
“In the show, Anger confronts one of the principal frustrations of independent filmmaking: the creation of a film that fails to get any release at all… in My First Film, she does something about it—and, in the process, creates an altogether new and daring work of art.” Richard Brody, New Yorker

“A reclamation of a ‘failed’ work and a rebuke of the independent film industry’s standards for success, My First Film plies the formal limits of a theatrical experience.” Sarah Salovaara, Filmmaker Magazine
Festival Premiere at Indie Memphis. Official selection of Sheffield Doc/Fest and Milwaukee. Performances at Metrograph, LA Filmforum, Spectacle, Wexner, IL KINO, and MoMI.
A lot has been written about how Zia Anger’s brilliant live cinema performance upends tenets about the meritocracy and gatekeeping apparatuses of independent film—everything from arcane IMDb policies, misogynistic pitch meetings, the false promise of crowdfunding first feature films and the product commercialization of art—but less lauded are Anger’s formal and emotive innovations in the language of desktop and personal documentaries. Following a loose script but adapted to every audience and situation, My First Film invites audience participation in consequential ways in the supposedly sacrosanct space of the black box theater. Anger sits in the front row and types on her laptop, live, while a mirror of her screen is projected. Besides the live text-based narration, she juggles multiple split screens, every action considered and folded upon itself. The performance starts with a tour of Anger’s recent artistic work, much of it ephemeral, saved and shared with audiences only through backdoor means. But soon, she settles into a sideways behind-the-scenes glimpse at her “first film,” a feature that she finished but that was never accepted into any film festivals.

The undeniable power of the performance and of the film-within-a-film format draws from Anger’s background working with nonprofessional actors, following the blueprint of young emerging filmmakers exploiting their loved ones to make a film through donated labor. There’s pregnancy, abortion, birth, family, suspiciously older boyfriends, and drugs—the drama tempered with knowing, gentle humor without losing its critical regard. A recent spate of docudramas and hybrid projects have revitalized the merging of the personal and political in nonfiction film, but its entwining in Anger’s project is especially edifying as it illuminates how progressive values and systemic control work in opposition. 

After a brief fall tour across the US, My First Film is finally traveling to the greater Boston area. It’s not to be missed. (AS)
Zia Anger Select Filmography
My First Film (2018)
My Last Film (2015, short)
I Remember Nothing (2015, short)
Lover Boy (2008, short)

Spring 2020 Season Passes On Sale!

The spring season is just around the corner! Season passses are on sale for $85. The student rate for DocYard season passes will remain at $65 throughout the season (see our website for more details).

This season, we also have some new passholder benefits to share with you! New perks for DocYard Spring 2020 Passholders include:

  • A season pass “badge” to bypass the box office. Pick up your badge at the box office on the first night you attend the DocYard, and you can skip the box office at all future DocYard screenings at the Brattle this season. Simply show your badge to the ticket attendant inside of the theater for admission.
  • One free popcorn this season. Show your badge to the Brattle Theatre concession stand at a DocYard event of your choice during the spring season, and you’ll be rewarded with one free serving of hot popcorn!
  • A DocYard tote bag. In 2020, the DocYard turns 10 years old, and we’re celebrating the occasion + saying thank you to our passholders with a DocYard tote! (THIS SEASON ONLY)
The DocYard is a program of the LEF Foundation in partnership with the Brattle Theatre. Other series sponsors include the Tyler Family Foundation and Irving House at Harvard .

If you are interested in becoming one of our sponsors please contact us!