It begins as a documentary about "The Amazing Johnathan", a uniquely deranged magician who built a career out of shock and deception in the 1980s—but becomes a bizarre story about the unravelling of his documentarian.
After Johnathan is diagnosed with a terminal heart condition and given one year to live, he’s forced to retire his act. Cut to three years later: Johnathan is not dead, much to everyone's amazement, and documentarian Ben Berman films the illusionist on an epic comeback tour. But as their mutual journey kicks off, Johnathan drops a bombshell that sends the film spiraling into uncertainty. Embracing this unforeseen obstacle, Ben delves deeper to determine what is truth and what is illusion.
NASA's vaults open for the first time to spill this exquisite, never-before seen audio and 70mm film footage of the Apollo 11 mission. The meandering cameras in Cape Canaveral capture a dreamy-eyed portrait of America as it stepped into the future, and from inside the Apollo 11 spacecraft, the amazingly jocular conversation of the astronauts punctuates each stage of the mission with lightness and charm. Yet the crowds watching the rockets are oblivious to the enormous pressure mission control is under to succeed.
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing
Don't let her small stature fool you. Standing at under five feet tall, Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a force. A pioneer in the field of sex therapy, she became a household name in the '80s and '90s. At 90 years old, she hasn't stopped working—and still promises the best sex you've ever had if you listen to her. Filmmaker Ryan White captures Dr. Ruth's exuberant and snappy personality as she hopscotches from speaking engagements to TV and radio appearances. Alongside her optimism, however, are storybook-like animations that bring Dr. Ruth's childhood as an orphan of the Holocaust to life. The film is an inspiring and entertaining portrait of a trailblazer that reveals the darkness Dr. Ruth emerged from to bring light to so many people.
What kind of religious expression should be permitted in a secular nation? Holy hell, something is brewing! Just a few years old, the Satanic Temple has risen from the depths to become one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. Hail Satan? bears witness as the temple evolves from a small-scale media stunt to an internationally recognized religion with hundreds of thousands of adherents. Naked bodies writhe with snakes on altars as protesters storm the gates of state capitols across the country. Through their dogged campaign to place a nine-foot, bronze Satanic monument smack dab next to the statue of the Ten Commandments on the Arkansas State Capitol lawn, the leaders of the temple force us to consider the true meaning of the separation of church and state.
Irene Taylor Brodsky builds on her powerful first feature, Hear and Now (Audience Award winner at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), by delving into an intergenerational exploration of living with deafness. Brodsky's son Jonas began losing his hearing as a baby and underwent cochlear-implant surgery as a toddler. Now 11 years old, Jonas has adjusted to a world with sound and is learning to play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Brodsky's parents also have cochlear implants, but unlike Jonas, the majority of their lives were shaped by silence. While Jonas explores what silence means to him, his grandfather grapples with a new transition of his own.