Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 5:50 PM on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

8th Doc Fest brings the usual variety

Homer Theatre owner and 8th Annual Homer Documentary Film Festival organizer Jamie Sutton has a film fan's dream job. To select the annual batch of movies, he watches — and watches — as many documentary films as he can.

"I worked at it a little harder this year and saw more," Sutton said.

Not every film makes the selection. Sutton balances quality with what he thinks would appeal to Homer audiences. For example, he rejected "Page One," about the changing news business at the New York Times, as being too specialized.

Sutton sought advice from other film organizers, like Karina Rotenstein, program director for "Hot Docs," the Toronto International Film Festival. Making the cut are nine films, including the world premiere — and this year's musical selection — of "Soul Resonance," Laurel and Doug Epps' story of how African marimba music came to North America. The 8th festival also includes three biographies, "Senna," "Buck" and "Bill Cunningham New York"; an inside look at a Muppets puppeteer, "Being Elmo"; two films in the social commentary tradition, "I Am" and "The Interrupters"; and two films that look at what it means to be human, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" and "Project Nim." "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," opening at 8 p.m. Friday, marks the debut of 3-D on the theater's new digital film system.

Rotenstein suggested a "must see" for Homer, "I Am," Sutton said. Directed by a Hollywood comedy director, Tom Shadyac, "I Am" asks the question "What is wrong with the world?" and "How do you fix it?"

"She just thought the tone of the movie was really superb," he said. "The tone of it, and the story line and evolution of it is quite nice."

"Buck," about "the cowboy's cowboy" and a man who trains horses, also should appeal to Homer audiences.

"It's a cool movie," Sutton said. "It's probably going to be the most popular."

A movie that exemplifies the spirit of documentary films is "Bill Cunningham New York," about a New York street fashion photographer, Sutton said.

"It's the nature of documentary film: You walk into the movie saying, 'This is nothing I know about — I'm going to go somewhere unexpected,'" Sutton said. "Bring it. It's a wonderful movie."

The series continues next week through Oct. 6.

Senna: An audience favorite at the Los Angeles Film Fest, Sundance and Melboure film festivals, Senna is three-time world champion and Brazilian Formula One race car driver Ayrton Senna.

6 p.m. Sept. 30 • 8 p.m. Oct. 23 2 p.m. Oct. 4 • 6 p.m. Oct. 6

Cave of Forgotten Dreams: The first film to be shown at the Homer Theatre in digital 3-D, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" explores the 32,000-year-old cave paintings of Chauvet, France, the oldest visual art ever discovered. "Grizzly Man" filmmaker Werner Herzog directs the film.

8 p.m. Sept. 30 6 p.m. Oct. 4 • 4 p.m. Oct. 6

I Am: After a near-fatal accident, Hollywood comedy director Tom Shadyac ("AceVentura," "Liar, Liar") sets out to figure out what is wrong with the world and how to fix it. In the process, he also discovers what is right with the world.

6 p.m. Oct. 2 • 4 p.m. Oct. 3

8 p.m. Oct. 4 • 2 p.m. Oct. 6

Being Elmo: Kevin Clash is known worldwide as the Sesame Street puppet, Elmo. "Being Elmo" looks at the heart and soul of the character in the Sundance 2011 Special Jury award winner.

2 p.m. Oct. 1 • 4 p.m. Oct. 2 6 p.m. Oct. 5

Buck: An audience award winner at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, Buck Brannaman is a cowboy's cowboy who travels the country teaching people about their horses — and sometimes something about themselves.

7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 6 p.m. Oct. 1 • 8 p.m. Oct. 3

2 p.m. Oct. 5

The Interrupters: "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James looks at three formerly violent people, the "violence interrupters," who try to protect the most dangerous streets of Chicago.

4 p.m. Oct. 1 • 2 p.m. Oct. 3 8p.m. Oct. 5

Bill Cunningham New York: Follow the simple life of New York's beloved shutterbug and street photographer Bill Cunningham. Winner of audience awards at the Sydney, Abu Dhabi and Nantucket festivals.

4 p.m. Sept. 30

2 p.m. Oct. 2 • 6 p.m. Oct. 3 • 4 p.m. Oct. 7

Soul Resonance: After learning to play marimba with Homer's Zimbabwean music community, former residents Doug and Laurel Epps became enthused by the music Jamie Sutton calls "at once simple and joyful and yet varied and complex." Their love for the music led them to understand how marimba music started in Zimbabwe and spread to North America and around the world. A marimba extravaganza follows the world premiere 8 p.m. Oct. 1, with musical consultant Tendai Muparutsa also attending.

8 p.m. Oct. 1 • 4 p.m. Oct. 4 2 p.m. Oct. 6

Project Nim: By James Marsh, the director of "Man on Wire," Nim is a chimpanzee raised as a human child and then subjected to a study on animal intelligence and language acquistion.

2 p.m. Sept. 30

4 p.m. Oct. 5

8 p.m. Oct. 6