MoMA’s 17th Doc Fortnight Sets Opening And Closing, Jonathan Demme Tribute

The 17th Doc Fortnight, the Museum of Modern Art’s annual showcase of recent documentary film, will open with Julien Temple’s Habaneros and close with the experimental Hibridos, The Spirits of Brazil.

The festival, slated for Feb. 15-26, will also honor the late Jonathan Demme with a retrospective of his non-fiction features. The tribute to Demme will include screenings of Stop Making Sense, Swimming to Cambodia, Haiti: Dreams of Democracy, Neil Young Journeys and I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful.

Temple’s Habaneros, which had its world premiere at IDFA in Amsterdam last month, is an homage to Cuba and its capital city, Havana. It blends together archival footage, animation, movie excerpts and interviews and is set to a soundtrack of son cubano, salsa, jazz, rumba, mambo and hip-hop. Temple is known for his long association with the music industry and for directing documentaries about the Sex Pistols, the Clash’s Joe Strummer and the Kinks’ Ray Davies.

Hibridos, which will close the festival, is a multi-platform, “trans-cinema” work directed by artists Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon. It explores spiritual practices and trance forms in Brazil, through three elements: a feature-length film, an open-source website and a live cinema experience. The closing-night event will feature a live performance by Moon and Telmon that reconstructs the project from the source material and builds what promoters describe as “an immersive, sensory experience that resembles a trance state.”

Doc Fortnight, overseen by guest curator Kathy Brew, will announce its full lineup in the coming weeks.

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