by Scott Feinberg
The seventh annual 'Docs to Watch' panel on Oct. 25 will feature the helmers of 'Boys State,' 'Crip Camp,' 'Dick Johnson Is Dead,' 'The Dissident,' 'The Human Factor,' 'MLK/FBI,' 'Time,' 'The Truffle Hunters,' 'The Way I See It' and 'Welcome to Chechnya.'
Ten of 2020's top documentary features will be represented by their directors on this year's 'Docs to Watch' panel, a highlight of the annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival.
This one-of-a-kind gathering — like the rest of the 23rd edition of the fest, which will run from Oct. 24 through Oct. 31 — will take place virtually this year due to the pandemic, from 6pm-7:30pm EST/3pm-4:30pm PST on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 25. For the sixth year in a row, it will be presented by The Hollywood Reporter and moderated by yours truly.
Panelists will include Amanda McBaine on behalf of Boys State (A24 and Apple TV+), which was co-directed by Jesse Moss, a film about a mock government program for Texas teens; Nicole Newnham on behalf of Crip Camp (Netflix), which was co-directed by James Lebrecht, a film about the activists who emerged from a 1970s summer camp for children with disabilities; Kirsten Johnson on behalf of Dick Johnson Is Dead (Netflix), a film about the director and her elderly father confronting the inevitably of his death; Oscar winner Bryan Fogel (Icarus) on behalf of The Dissident (Briarcliff), a film about the life and death of a Saudi-born Washington Post journalist; Oscar nominee Dror Moreh (The Gatekeepers) on behalf of The Human Factor (Sony Classics), a film about the Arab-Israeli conflict through the eyes of the American negotiators who have tried but failed to broker a lasting peace in the region; Oscar nominee Sam Pollard (4 Little Girls) on behalf of MLK/FBI (IFC), a film about the FBI's efforts to smear the leader of the American civil rights movement; Garrett Bradley on behalf of Time (Amazon), a film about the impact of a questionably long prison sentence on an African-American family; Michael Dweck on behalf of The Truffle Hunters (Sony Classics), which was co-directed by Gregory Kershaw, a film about the eccentric pursuers of white truffles in the forests of Italy; Dawn Porter on behalf of The Way I See It (Focus), a film about the career and activism of a former official White House photographer; and Oscar nominee David France (How to Survive a Plague) on behalf of Welcome to Chechnya (HBO), a film about LGBTQ activists fleeing and fighting persecution in a closed Russian republic.
Ticketholders will be able to view the panel live. It will also be recorded and air exclusively on THR's website shortly after it takes place. (The THR website currently showcases the panels from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019; in five of those six years, the eventual best documentary feature Oscar winner was represented on the panel.)
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which is usually held in Georgia on the campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, is the nation's largest university-run film fest. In recent years, under the oversight of artistic director Christina Routhier, the event, long known for its beautiful setting and Southern hospitality, has become an important stop on the awards circuit.
Tickets to the 2020 'Docs to Watch' panel and all other festival offerings will go on sale at 10 a.m. EST on Oct. 1 at https://filmfest.scad.edu.