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Fifteenth Annual Documentary Film Festival begins next week

Courtesy of Homer Theatre

Homer Theatre’s Fifteenth Annual Documentary Film Festival will begin next week. Jamie Sutton owns the theater, and he said when the festival first started, it showed just four documentaries.

Now, the week-long festival shows nine. Sutton said it’s easier and cheaper to make documentaries than ever before making it the genre’s golden era.  

“There are a lot more stories that can be told, which is really the notion and so you ended up with a diversity like this that you wouldn't have otherwise,” he said.

He’s referring to documentaries such as “Pick of the Litter,” which follows five dogs training to become guide dogs.

“Guide dogs for the blind, I mean they'd would have never done a documentary back in the day, but now they can have people with handheld cameras following the dogs around the streets of San Rafael and watching them come to an intersection,” he said.

The movie is premiering in Homer on the same night it opens in both New York and Los Angeles. The other nine movies range from biographies like “The King” which follows the rise and fall of Elvis to political thrillers such as “Dark Money,” about the influence of corporate money on elections and elected officials. There will also be comedies and feel-good stories. Sutton says he chose movies by calling the major documentary film directors in the United States and Canada.

“I say ‘okay, so what was the audience favorite?’” he said. “’What was the jury award winner? If I'm only going to play nine documentaries, what do you think I have to have in my lineup?’ I get from that about 40 movies and from those I choose nine.”

Tickets for the Documentary Festival are on sale now at the Homer Bookstore and the Homer Theatre's box office. The festival’s opening gala on Thursday, September 20 will show “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about Fred Rodgers.

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