It is Night in America. 2022. Italy/France/Brazil. Directed by Ana Vaz. Courtesy the artist

The 22nd Edition of MoMA’s Annual Festival to Open with Amanda Kim’s Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV on February 22 and Close with James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s Still Film on March 6

The Museum of Modern Art announces the lineup for Doc Fortnight 2023, the 22nd edition of its annual showcase of adventurous new nonfiction cinema from around the world. Running from February 22 through March 7, 2023, Doc Fortnight 2023 will premiere 15 features and eight short films, with additional special programming, screening in the Museum’s Titus Theaters. Including films from over 20 countries, with many filmmakers participating in Q&As to engage with New York City audiences, the Doc Fortnight 2023 slate highlights thought-provoking perspectives on urgent political issues and untold histories, while attesting to the power of nonfiction as a mode for artistic experimentation. Many of the selected films—drawn from the best of festival programs over the last year or presented at MoMA fresh off world premieres—will be screening for the first time in North America. Doc Fortnight 2023 is organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Associate Curator, Department of Film, and Julian Ross, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, with Chandra Knotts, Filmmaker Liaison, Department of Film.

Opening the festival on February 22 is the New York premiere of Amanda Kim’s feature debut, Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV, a celebration of “the father of video art” and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, whose work will be included in MoMA’s major spring exhibition Signals: How Video Transformed the World. Kim’s film charts Paik’s remarkable history and legacy, from his beginnings as a classical music student and his membership in the international avant-garde movement Fluxus, to his early experiments with the emerging technology of video and his visionary predictions about the future use of international telecommunications networks. Closing this year’s festival on March 6 is the world premiere of James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s Still Filmwhich examines the very premise of documentary’s truth-telling nature through an imaginative, incisive excavation of Hollywood publicity stills circa 1981 through 2001. Doc Fortnight 2023 also features several special programs, including a double bill guest-curated by kekahi wahi, a grassroots film initiative from Hawaiʻi; a Modern Mondays evening with Morgan Quaintance; and a special evening with artist Sharon Lockhart, highlighting recent work and celebrating the recent 25th anniversary of her seminal film Goshogaoka (1997), which is in MoMA’s collection.

This year’s selection attests to the documentary form’s enduring ability to bear witness to social changes and history-altering events through the experiences of everyday people, and to enrich our understanding of the world far beyond news headlines. Urgent social topics are explored through a personal lens in Our Body, an observational, rousing study of women’s healthcare in France; Calls from Moscow, which follows the experience of a group of Cuban youths whose path to emigration via Russia is disrupted by the war in Ukraine; and A Long Journey Home, a frank and poignant portrait of family life and socioeconomic shifts in contemporary China. Other directors revisit historical events—both those in the history books and others that went previously unrecorded. The Eclipse reflects on remembrance and erasure of war in Serbia, Love Is Not an Orange uses 1990s home videos to tell the story of a Moldovan family separated as a result of economic migration, and La Bonga revisits the fate of villagers forced to flee violence during Colombia’s civil war.

Filmmakers included in this year’s Doc Fortnight also bring new perspectives and urgency to archives and untold histories. The Trial is a tour de force masterfully culled from over 500 hours of archival footage from Argentina’s 1985 post-junta trials, Red Africa considers Soviet-era investment and soft power in the African continent in the 1960s, while Of Conquest is a meditative appraisal of the French colonial project in Algeria. Being in a Place: A Portrait of Margaret Tait offers a vital portrait of a seminal, enigmatic Scottish artist through the poetic assemblage of private archives, interviews, and sound recordings.

The festival’s celebration of hybrid and daring cinema show how artists’ dynamic, experimental approaches to nonfiction push the medium to new heights, whether reflecting on memory in Forms of Forgetting, on the politics of sound in The Tuba Thieves, or on the presence of non-human or other-than-human protagonists in It Is Night in America. Other highlights include a short film selection that features Kevin Jerome Everson, Parastoo Anoushahpour, and a film codirected by Simone Leigh and Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich on the occasion of Leigh’s 2022 US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Other new talents showing shorts films are Hana Vojáčková, Rodrigo Ribeiro-Andrade, and Asli Baykal.

A curated selection of films included in Doc Fortnight 2023 will be available for steaming on MoMA’s Virtual Cinema platform, where films are available for free to MoMA members.


Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, and Karen and Gary Winnick.