Our Origins: NHdocs came together in 2014 when four filmmakers from New Haven gathered together for the first time . . . in Missoula, Montana. That’s right: The Big Sky Documentary Festival in Missoula. And despite being from the same town, a few of us had never met before. It made us realize how desperately New Haven needed a film festival that could bring filmmakers together and help build community.
Our Philosophy: NHdocs seeks to build a sense of community among documentary filmmakers from the greater New Haven area (and we are quite inclusive in our reach!). Many of these filmmakers work as independents, some teach at universities in the area, while others rely on various kinds of day jobs. We look forward to showing work that has been or will be shown at prominent International Film Festivals, but we also want to show work being done in the city’s schools and by students at nearby universities. We are resolutely democratic in our embrace of the documentary tradition on the local as well as the international level. We can learn from and support each other.
Our Audience: NHdocs wants to help filmmakers find audiences for their documentaries. And we are presenting documentaries for audiences with a wide range of interests. This year this will include historical documentaries; music docs; portraits of artists; documentaries about social issues such as immigration, animal rights, and LGBT students in New Haven schools; and others that grapple contemporary realities such as the war in Afghanistan and computer geeks seeking to undermine the world of government secrecy. Our line up is filled with remarkable surprises. Come and find out what your neighbors have been doing.
The Organizers: NHdocs co-directors Gorman Bechard and Charlie Musser are veteran filmmakers who span the infamous town-gown divide. New Haven-born Bechard has been making documentaries (and some fiction films) since 1983. Charlle Musser has been teaching documentary filmmaking and a range of courses on film history/theory and criticism at Yale since 1992. The other two filmmakers we met in Missoula (Lisa Molomot and Jacob Bricca) taught at Wesleyan but have moved to Arizona. Now we have been teaming up with other local New Haveners. Watch our organization grow.
Gorman Bechard (co-founder/co-director) is the director of 14 feature films, including the acclaimed animal rights documentary “A Dog Named Gucci,” the critically acclaimed rock documentaries “Color Me Obsessed, a film about The Replcaements,” “What Did You Expect? The Archers of Loaf live at Cat’s Cradle,” and “Every Everything: the music, life & times of Grant Hart,” as well as the indie features “Broken Side of Time” (2013), “Friends (with benefits)” (2009), “You Are Alone” (2006), and the horror comedy cult-classic “Psychos in Love” (1986). He is also the author of six novels, including the beloved “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told.” The prolific Bechard’s latest is “Who is Lydia Loveless?” which profiles the alt-country punk rocker as she and her band tour and record their fourth album. The film is due on DVD in the Fall of 2017. He is currently filming five other features, including: “Seniors,” a documentary that celebrates the brains, energy & sass of some of the coolest senior dogs on this planet and the people who love them, “Pizza, A Love Story,” which tells the history of the three greatest pizza places in the world: Sally’s, Pepe’s, & Modern, all in his hometown of New Haven, CT, “Normal Valid Lives,” which looks at a horrible case of bullying in a Minnesota school district which led to a civil rights lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law center, and “What It Takes,” which takes an in-depth look at the songwriting process with alt-country rocker Sarah Shook and her band the Disarmers.
Charles Musser (co-founder/co-director) worked for two years as first asst. editor on the Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds (1974). He subsequently produced, directed and edited the 36-minute documentary An American Potter (1976) on studio potter Gerry Williams, which was honored with a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival and “Best in Category-Fine Arts” at the San Francisco Film Festival among other awards. His next film, Before the Nickelodeon: The Early Cinema of Edwin S. Porter (1982), premiered at the New York Film Festival and was cited as one of the year’s best documentaries by Carrie Rickey of the Village Voice. After publishing three books on the first two decades of cinema in the United States, Charlie moved into academia and has taught at Yale University since 1992. Errol Morris: A Lightning Sketch (2014) is his return to documentary filmmaking and the third in his trilogy of films on important American artists. He is currently a professor of American Studies, Film Studies and Theater Studies—teaching courses in film and media history as well as documentary filmmaking.
Karyl Evans (festival organizer) is a six-time Emmy Award winning director/producer/editor/writer of historical documentary films. In 2016 Ms. Evans won the National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s Outstanding Director Emmy Award for her work directing the one hour documentary, “Letter from Italy, 1944: A New American Oratorio” narrated by Meryl Streep. Her most recent film, “The Life and Gardens of BEATRIX FARRAND” chronicles the career of 20th century landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, the niece of Edith Wharton, whose commissions included those for the White House, the Rockefellers, and Yale University. Ms. Evans, owner of Karyl Evans Productions LLC in North Haven, CT, has produced many historical documentaries over the past 30 years about Connecticut history including “The New Haven Green: Heart of a City”, narrated by Paul Giamatti, the history of the Yale School of Medicine, as well as a series of documentaries for public television including the History of African-Americans in Connecticut and the History of Connecticut cities. Ms. Evans was a full-time Professor at Southern Connecticut State University for two years and she is currently a Fellow at Yale University. For more information about Karyl Evans visit her website at: karylevansproductions.com