Born in Detroit; based in Montclair, N.J., with extended stays in Toronto and Miami.
Programming for the Festival since:
Secret film love:
I love and live in nostalgia for old movie palaces. Each summer I pay a visit to Traverse City, Michigan and its State Theater, which Michael Moore led the community to restore. Every town deserves a theatre like that.
Should have seen it by now but haven’t:
In the 1980s, Kevin Brownlow’s restored version of Abel Gance’s Napoléon played at the Detroit Institute of Arts and I missed it. Then in 2012, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival showcased it and my temptation to fly across country was squelched by other commitments. I’ve read that a new restoration is forthcoming and I hope not to squander the next opportunity.
Favourite television series:
When did the verb “binge” become a source of pride? I can’t get into most of the hot TV dramas and I’m dismayed by how many of their plots are driven by torture and violence. However I think the world is a better place for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; and I’m devoted to Veep for lessons in profanity.
Your secret Toronto begins...
My favourite escape is inside bookstores. I’m sorry for their dwindling numbers and I take every chance I can to patronize the cluster that remain near the Bloor Theatre.
Thom Powers has served as an International Documentary Programmer for the Festival since 2006. He created and oversees the Festival’s two-day Doc Conference and is responsible for Mavericks, the Festival’s discussion series featuring cinematic innovators. Along with his wife, Raphaela Neihausen, Thom runs PowersHausen, a company that leads the DOC NYC festival, the weekly documentary series Stranger than Fiction at Manhattan’s IFC Center, and the Montclair Film Festival.
The 50 Year Argument
Martin Scorsese co-directs this documentary tribute to the New York Review of Books, whose six-decade history saw it frequently on the frontlines of cultural and political debate.
This subtly comic blend of fact and fiction follows a middle-aged married couple in Tblisi, Georgia, as they deal with the fallout from an unclear, potentially fatal prognosis.
Do I Sound Gay?
Director David Thorpe and columnist Dan Savage discuss Thorpe's frank and funny documentary about the cultural history of the gay voice.
The Look of Silence
Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to his extraordinary documentary The Act of Killing follows a family who, after viewing the previous film, discovered and confronted the former right-wing militiamen who murdered their son during Indonesia's anti-communist purges of the mid-1960s.
Merchants of Doubt
Documentarian Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) investigates the shadowy world of professional skeptics, whose services are bought and paid for by corporations, think tanks and other special interests to cast doubt and delay public and governmental action on climate change.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
An immersive cinematic record of director Julie Taymor’s (The Lion King) virtuosic stage production of Shakespeare’s immortal fantasy.
Director Dieudo Hamadi follows a group of teenagers in his hometown of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose struggles to pass the state exam that is the key to their future are further complicated by their country's endemic culture of corruption.
Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman (La Danse, Crazy Horse, At Berkeley) takes us inside the inner workings of London’s National Gallery.
Jonathan Nossiter follows up his hit 2004 documentary Mondovino with this profile of four radical vineyard proprietors in Italy, who are striving to produce all-natural wines in the face of market and governmental pressure.
A smash hit at this year’s Cannes, director Gabe Polsky’s exhilarating documentary chronicles the rise and fall of Soviet hockey in the 1980s.
Roger & Me
Presented in a new digital restoration to mark its 25th anniversary, Michael Moore's brash, bold and often hilarious documentary heralded a new generation of activist filmmaking.
Seymour: An Introduction
Ethan Hawke directs this intimate documentary portrait of classical pianist, composer, author, teacher and sage Seymour Bernstein.
A heart-racing documentary portrait of Carl Boenish, "the father of BASE jumping," whose early passion for skydiving led him to ever more spectacular — and dangerous — feats of foot-launched human flight.
Tales of the Grim Sleeper
Perennially provocative documentarian Nick Broomfield (Aileen Wuornos: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Biggie and Tupac) digs into the case of the notorious serial killer known as the "Grim Sleeper," who terrorized South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years.
This Is My Land
Israeli-born director Tamara Erde visits six independently-run Israeli and Palestinian schools to investigate how history is taught in this contested region.
The Yes Men Are Revolting
The sequel to the hit 2003 documentary follows activist-pranksters Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano as they pull the rug out from under mega-corporations, government officials and a complacent media in a series of outrageous stunts designed to draw awareness to the issue of climate change.