NYWIFT Members at DOC NYC 2023

The 14th Annual Edition of DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the US, will run Nov 8-26 in person and online. 

DOC NYC is also an Academy-qualifying festival for short films. DOC NYC’s winning short will qualify for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

For tickets and passes, click HERE 

Congratulations to all the NYWIFT members involved! We are so proud that there will be 22 films featuring the work of members at this year’s festival. 

Check out the 2023 Film Program for more information. 

The NYWIFT member films below are sorted alphabetically by title.


Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games 


Director and Producer: Michéle Stephenson

Learn about the impactful and joyful hand games played by Black girls from generation to generation. – Samah Ali


Candace Parker: Unapologetic


Producer: Carolyn Hepburn 

WNBA superstar Candace Parker chronicles her life and career from the courts of suburban Chicago to basketball immortality.


The Dads


Director and Producer: Luchina Fisher

Six fathers of diverse backgrounds gather for a weekend of fishing, and sharing ideas of how to better support their beloved trans children.  – Samah Ali


Every Body


Director: Julie Cohen 

Cinematographer: Kate Phelan

The term “intersex” covers a broad range of people who are born with reproductive anatomy that doesn’t easily fit the categories of male or female. Often their stories have been shrouded in mystery and shame by the medical establishment and media. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Julie Cohen (RBG) captures a new generation of intersex people who are living loudly and proudly. The film covers the history, science, and politics of a movement advocating against medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children.

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2023 4:00 PM @ Village East by Angelika 


Friendly Fridges 


Director: Ilja Willems 

The new heart of the community is popping up in every neighborhood—in the shape of refrigerators.

Sunday, November 12, 2023 7:45 PM @ Village East by Angelika 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 8:15 PM @ Village East by Angelika 

Wednesday, November 08 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening 


Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project 


Director and Producer: Michéle Stephenson

Nikki Giovanni is a trailblazing poet who rose to be a key figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and remains just as vibrant today. Filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson capture her artistry and spiky personality in this warm portrait. “She is a vibrant, prickly, unpredictable presence in both private and public life, and hearing her read her own poetry is even better than reading it on the page.” (ArtForum)

Thursday, November 16, 2023 5:30 PM @ Village East by Angelika 


Happy Campers 


Director, Producer, and Cinematographer: Amy Nicholson 

Editor: Laura Israel 

Annual visitors to a seaside trailer park wistfully eke out the joys of one last summer together as a melancholic twilight hangs in the air.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 6:15 PM @ IFC Center


How to Have an American Baby 


Producer and Editor: Elivia Shaw 

An investigation into the veiled but booming economy catering to pregnant Chinese tourists who travel to the U.S. to obtain citizenship for their babies.

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023 6:45 PM @ Village East by Angelika 

Wednesday, November 15 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening 




Director and Executive Producer: Emily Sheskin

Fifteen-year-old boxer Jesselyn Silva is on the cusp of making the Olympic team when she and her father, Pedro, are faced with their greatest opponent yet: cancer.


Lakota Nation VS. United States 


Executive Producer: Sarah Eagle Heart

One of the greatest injustices ever committed on North American soil is examined in sweeping historical detail by filmmakers Jesse Shortbull and Laura Tomaselli. As American settlers moved west, the U.S. government signed treaty after treaty with Lakota and other Indigenous tribes, only to continually break their legal and moral commitments with complete impunity. As traditional Lakota lands shrink under impingement, exploitation, and genocide, a new generation take a new stand against their oppressors.

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2023 9:00 PM @ IFC Center


Little Richard: I Am Everything 


Director and Producer: Lisa Cortés

Executive Producer: Amy Entelis 

Lisa Cortés’ Sundance opening night documentary tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock ‘n’ roll, exploding the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator – the originator – Richard Penniman. Through a wealth of archive and performance that brings us into Richard’s complicated inner world, the film unspools the icon’s life story with all its switchbacks and contradictions. In interviews with family, musicians, and cutting-edge Black and queer scholars, the film reveals how Richard created an art form for ultimate self-expression, yet what he gave to the world he was never able to give to himself.




Executive Producer: NYWIFT Board Member Joyce Pierpoline

Through an immensely collaborative film, a Yazidi teen once held captive by ISIS takes us into her world of grief, pain, and hope.

Sunday, Nov 12, 2023 8:00 PM @ Village East by Angelika 

Monday, November 13 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening 


The Minister of Defense 


Producer: Carolyn Hepburn 

Told through never-before-seen footage from an interview filmed just before his death, NFL Hall of Famer and ordained minister Reggie White holds forth on faith in the context of his life and career.

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023 7:45 PM @ Village East by Angelika 


Obsessed with Light 


Co-director, Co-producer, and Editor: Sabine Krayenbühl
Co-director and Co-producer: Zeva Oelbaum

A visually entrancing portrait of influential dancer Loïe Fuller that captures her unique artistic achievement.

Sunday, Nov 12, 2023 11:00 AM @ Village East by Angelika 

Sunday, November 12 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening 


Pretty Ugly: The Story of the Lunachicks


Executive Producer: Julie Cohen 

In the ’90s, the Lunachicks, a fierce all-female punk band, rocked NYC’s underground scene, rebelling against music industry sexism to deliver high-voltage performances.


Right to Fight 

Makeup Consultant for NY Unit: Jennifer Snowdon

The extraordinary untold story of how a pioneering group of American women from very different backgrounds, fought to break into the most macho sport of all: boxing.

Thursday, Nov 9, 2023 6:30 PM @ Village East by Angelika

Friday, November 10, 2023 1:00 PM @ Village East by Angelika


Shari and Lamb Chop


Director and Producer: Lisa D’Apolito

Executive Producer: Caitlin Gold 

The life and career of Shari Lewis, a multitalented ventriloquist who, along with her puppet friend Lamb Chop, charmed millions and changed the face of children’s television.

Saturday, November 11, 2023 6:30 PM @ Village East by Angelika 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 3:45 PM @ IFC Center 

Sunday, November 12 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening 


Taking Venice 


Producer: Andrea Miller

A fun caper movie that explores the true story behind the rumors that the U.S. government rigged the 1964 Venice Biennale so that their chosen artist, Robert Rauschenberg, could win.

Friday, November 10, 2023 6:15 PM @ IFC Center

Saturday, November 11 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening


A Tattoo on My Brain 


Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins

For his entire career neurologist Daniel Gibbs found the poor prognosis of Alzheimer’s patients daunting. Now, with his own diagnosis, he commits himself to researching and writing about his symptoms. – Samah Ali

Saturday, November 11, 2023 11:30 AM @ Village East by Angelika

Wednesday, November 08 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening



Virtual Makeup Consultant for Ellen Scott (featured in film): Jennifer Snowdon

Ranging in age from a sprightly 60 to 90-plus, seniors of various backgrounds find renewed vitality through competitive synchronized swimming.

Saturday, Nov 11, 2023 1:00 PM @ Village East by Angelika


When the Grass Must Go 


Director: Ilja Willems

To save water during an ongoing drought, a landscaper from Nevada is removing grass lawns under a first of a kind state law. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023 6:45 PM @ Village East by Angelika 

Wednesday, November 08 – Sunday, November 26, 2023: Online Screening 


Plus, check out this film from a member of WIFT Australia: 

Yours In Freedom, Bill Baird 

Producer: Sarah Nörenberg

Bill Baird is a US reproductive rights pioneer, called by some media the “father” of the birth control and abortion-rights movement. The film creates a historical register of allyship and activism that those fighting to uphold freedom and choice can access, and perhaps emulate. 

Friday, Nov 10, 2023 6:00 PM @ Village East by Angelika 


2023 Lifetime Achievement Award 

Congratulations to NYWIFT Member Deborah Shaffer for the 2023 DOC NYC Lifetime Achievement Award! She has made her powerful voice heard in social issue documentaries since the 1970’s. Her first feature documentary, The Wobblies, was added to the National Film Registry. As a director, her credits include Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements, which won the Academy Award for Short Documentary. Some of her other work includes Fire From the Mountain, Dance of Hope, From the Ashes: 10 Artists, and Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack. She co-directed and produced To Be Heard, which won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the first ever DOC NYC Festival.