DC/DOX Film Festival explores Christopher Reeve, Luther Vandross, psychics and hummingbirds

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the DC/DOX Film Festival (Part 1)

Get ready to watch the best documentaries in the world right here in the nation’s capital.

The opening night screening of DC/DOX is "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story." (Courtesy DC/DOX)

The DC/DOX Film Festival returns this Thursday, June 13 through Sunday, June 16.

“DC/DOX is really filling the void of SILVERDOCS, which evolved into AFI DOCs, returning a major documentary platform to this city,” Festival Director Sky Sitney told WTOP. “We’re very excited to be embarking on our second edition. We have 100 films precisely, representing 17 countries behind the camera and many dozens on screen. We are welcoming every single filmmaker to town, including a wonderful group of D.C.-based filmmakers.”

The festival kicks off Thursday with the opening-night screening of “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story,” followed by a special Q&A discussion with his surviving daughter Alexandra Reeve Givens.

“This film premiered at Sundance to tremendous acclaim,” Sitney said. “It follows the extraordinary story of Christopher Reeve, who most people know for his iconic portrayal of Superman, Clark Kent. … Yet many of us know the extraordinary tragedy he endured when a near-fatal horse-riding accident left him paralyzed from the neck down, becoming a quadriplegic. … Reeve brought such resilience, hope and advocacy to this new position.”

Friday brings the music documentary “Luther: Never Too Much” about the late great Luther Vandross.

“This is an incredible film made by an incredible filmmaker, Dawn Porter, who can do no wrong,” Sitney said. “It follows the incredibly talented Luther Vandross and his work sustained over many decades. He was the opposite of an overnight success, it took many years. … This film literally sold out within a few hours of putting it up and opening up tickets to the point where we needed to create an encore screening, so dear audiences, fret not.”

Saturday brings the centerpiece film “Look Into My Eyes” by filmmaker Lana Wilson, who previously directed the Taylor Swift documentary “Miss Americana” and the Brooke Shields documentary “Pretty Baby.”

“This is such a fascinating film where you get a birds-eye-view on intimate interactions between psychics and the people who they are reading,” Sitney said. “They are giving readings of people whether they’re looking to connect with lost loved ones, even lost pets or to forecast the future. The film really moves us through a significant series of intimate readings with a variety of psychics, some questionable, others mind-blowing who are engaging in this extraordinary experience of trying to bring this other-worldly understanding to our very grounded lives.”

It all culminates Sunday with the closing-night screening of “Every Little Thing.”

“It’s an Australian filmmaker, but it’s actually based in Los Angeles,” Sitney said. “One particular woman, Terry Maeser, who will be joining us at the festival, is taking it upon herself to care for and rehabilitate nearly every injured hummingbird in this big city of Los Angeles. She has become an expert in hummingbird care. Many people who encounter injured hummingbirds who might fly into a glass skyscraper or be attacked by a pigeon or coyote, know now to bring them to Terry, who treats these birds like her own children and nurses them back to health.”

Screenings will mostly be held at the Landmark E Street Cinema, the Burke Theater and the U.S. Navy Memorial and the Eaton Cinema at the Eaton Workshop Hotel. There will also be additional events held at the National Archives, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, among other prestigious venues.

“We are so thrilled and proud of the venues that we take place in,” Sitney said. “We’re largely located in the Downtown, National Mall, Gallery Place and Penn Quarter [areas] deliberately to keep an easy footprint so that people can literally run from one theater to another with ease and see a maximum number of films a day.”

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the DC/DOX Film Festival (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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