DocLands Documentary Film Festival – On Sale Saturday, April 7!

Tickets go on sale April 7 for our second annual documentary film festival, DocLands, May 3 – 6, 2018.

DocLands’s robust slate includes 43 films from 10 countries, the inaugural DocLands Honors award presentation to award-winning filmmaker and photographer Louis Psihoyos (The Cove, Racing Extinction, The Game Changers), over 50 filmmakers from around the world in attendance, and an interactive industry forum geared towards invigorating the business and art of nonfiction filmmaking and building an active, fully supportive community around documentary film.

DocLands is excited to host the World Premieres of 16 Bars, a striking film about a unique rehabilitation program that helps prisoners write and record their own songs, with director Sam Bathrick, and film subjects Todd “Speech” Thomas of hip-hop group Arrested Development (Tennessee, Mr. Wendell), Teddy Kane, and Loretta Simmons-Jackson attending for our Closing Night Presentation, and Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey, about the legendary Marin commune of the 1960’s, with local filmmakers director Gregg Gibbs and producer Maura McCoy attending.

Additional films premiering at the Festival include the US Premiere of eco-adventure in the Amazon film DugOut and the North American Premiere of Have You Heard from Johannesburg: Oliver Tambo, an intimate portrait of a revolutionary, with director Connie Field in attendance.

Also featured are the California Premieres of Anote’s Ark with director Matthieu Rytz and former president of Kiribati/film subject Anote Tong in attendance for our Opening Night presentation about this island nation slowly sinking into the sea; The Guardians, tracking the 3,000 journey of majestic Monarch butterflies, with directors Tessa Moran and Ben Crosbie attending; Into Twin Galaxies: A Greenland Epic, “the most epic expedition ever” across Greenland; and Shiners, a unique and eye-opening portrait of shoe-shiners around the globe, with director Stacey Tenenbaum and film subject Kealani Lada attending.

Festival Sections include The Great Outdoors, films that transport us outside to truly appreciate, explore, and ultimately compel us to save and conserve our environment and the wilds of our one precious and precarious planet; Wonderlands, films that lift our spirits through stories of joy, wonder, and possibility; and Art of Impact, films that engage and spark action by sharing stories that open our eyes to the global community and its disparate cultures, politics, personal narratives, and biographies. Additionally, the Festival is host to DocLife, an interactive industry forum consisting of three programs: DocPitch, a program designed to connect filmmakers and their ideas to funders, distributors, philanthropists, fellow filmmakers, and future audiences; DocTalk, an intimate conversation focusing this year on the story-enhancing power of music and score; and an experiential workshop, Metamorphosis Journey, that explores transformation in the face of planetary emergency.

Showcasing documentary film in a variety of genres and with a diversity of content while exploring these main programming sections, and highlighting films that transcend the traditional definition of the documentary, films that break form in terms of creativity and entertainment, DocLands is a non-competitive, inclusive festival dedicated to fostering connections and partnerships that will invigorate the business and art of nonfiction filmmaking. Through public screenings, engaged conversations, and grassroots networking events, the Festival aims to build an active, involved, and fully supportive community around documentary film, with organizational goals that include gender equality and zero waste.

Opening Night
ANOTE’S ARK – California Premiere
Thursday, May 3 | 7:00pm | Smith Rafael Film Center

Former president of Kiribati and film subject Anote Tong joins director Martthieu Rytz for the Festival’s Opening Night film Anote’s Ark. Climate change is no abstraction to the people of Kiribati, a series of low-lying atolls in the central Pacific Ocean that are being swallowed by the rising sea. Photographer-ethnologist Matthieu Rytz’s exquisitely shot film portrays the slow, dignified demise of an entire culture—soon to be global refugees. Rytz and Tong will take part in an on-stage conversation and audience Q&A following the screening.

Opening Night Party following screening and onstage conversation will be held at the San Rafael Elks Lodge.

Closing Night
16 BARS – World Premiere
Saturday, May 5 | 6:30pm | Smith Rafael Film Center

In Sam Bathrick’s transformative film, Todd “Speech” Thomas of hip-hop group Arrested Development is involved with a unique rehabilitation program in Richmond, Virginia, helping prisoners write and record their own songs. The filmmaker lovingly follows four inmates battling cycles of incarceration and addiction. Through superbly produced recording sessions, the men reach out from behind bars to bring their poignant stories to life through music.

Director Sam Bathrick will be joined on-stage by film subjects Todd “Speech” Thomas of hip-hop group Arrested Development (Tennessee, Mr. Wendell), Teddy Kane and Loretta Simmons-Jackson following the premiere of 16 Bars for an on-stage conversation and special performance featuring Speech and Kane.

Closing Night Party following the screening, onstage conversation, and special performance will be held at Art Works Downtown.

DocLands Honors Award: Louie Psihoyos
Friday, May 4 | 6:30pm | CinéArts Sequoia

Presented to a filmmaker in recognition of exceptional storytelling within the documentary genre, an artist whose films resonate universally, emphasizing our common humanity – no matter the subject.

The inaugural DocLands Honors Award is presented to iconic photographer and award-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos (The Cove, Racing Extinction, The Game Changers) for his dogged determination and tenacity in exposing wrongs and expanding awareness. We also show our appreciation for his astounding efforts in outreach, bringing some of our most pressing environmental and social issues to a worldwide audience.

DocLife Events

Metamorphosis Journey
Friday, May 4 | 3:00 – 4:00pm | Smith Rafael Film Center

An experiential workshop, lead by award-winning filmmakers and certified coaches, Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper, explores transformation in the face of planetary emergency. Participants move through the stages of Chrysalis, Crisis, Catharsis, Symbiosis, and Metamorphosis, personalizing this arc, and applying it to their own lives. Short films representing each of the stages are integrated throughout the workshop.

Saturday, May 5 | 11:00am – 1:00pm | Smith Rafael Film Center

Five filmmakers with feature documentary projects currently in development will present a three minute verbal pitch, three-to-five minute trailer and participate in a ten-minute Q&A with an audience comprised of potential funders, distributors, fellow filmmakers, and the general public. All members of the audience will be given a ballot prior to the presentations and will vote for their favorite pitch. Winning project will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Story Arc, Music Arc – Do They Follow the Same Beat?
Sunday, May 6 | 12:30 – 1:30pm | Mark Fishkin Room, Smith Rafael Film Center

The story-enhancing power of music and score is palpable in the films that stick with us. But how do you achieve this sought-after influence and emotion? Join our panelists for an intimate conversation as they share their strategies for hitting all the right notes.

• Alexandria Bombach, On Her Shoulders
• Connie Field, Have You Heard From Johannesburg: Oliver Tambo
• Louie Psihoyos, Racing Extinction
• Velcrow Ripper, Metamorphosis
• Todd “Speech” Thomas, 16 Bars

To view the entire program and purchase tickets on April 7 at noon, visit