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7 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch, 2017 LA Film Fest Lineup

As we continue to enjoy the golden age of documentary one particular trend that has come to light is the growing number of directors that alternate between narrative and documentary genres. From Ava DuVernay to Oliver Stone, filmmakers successfully combine the notions of character and plot development between the fiction and nonfiction worlds.

Following on from our series on emerging filmmakers screening at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival, we highlight 7 directors to watch with films in competition as part of the documentary lineup, many of whom alternate between narrative and documentary.

Directors Arshad Khan and Julia Meltzer

Documentary Competition

1. Arshad Khan – Abu – WORLD PREMIERE

As a gay man, Pakistani filmmaker Arshad Khan examines his troubled relationship with his devout, Muslim father Abu. Using family archives and movies, Arshad explores his struggle with his identity and compares it to his parents attempts to fit into Canada. Arshad, who is based on Canada, studied film at Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University.

Follow Arshad on Twitter or see his portfolio on Vimeo.

2. Julia Meltzer – Dalya’s Other Country – WORLD PREMIERE

American documentary filmmaker Julia Meltzer is screening Dalya’s Other Country. The  documentary follows Dalya and her mother Rudayna, who fled Aleppo for Los Angeles in 2012, and the struggle to assimilate in unfamiliar surroundings. Julia’s other documentary credits include The Light in Her Eyes (2011) and the short It’s Not The Memory of It (2003).

Follow Julia on Facebook.

Directors Aaron Kopp and Ema Ryan

3. Aaron Kopp – Liyana –  WORLD PREMIERE

Liyana is the documentary animation from filmmaker Aaron Kopp. Liyana is based on his 2009 short about a group of orphans in Swaziland who dive into their imaginations to create their own modern African fairytale. The short won the People’s Choice Award for Best Short Film at the Denver International Film Festival in 2009.

Follow Aaron on Facebook.

4. Ema Ryan – Monkey Business – WORLD PREMIERE

Ema Ryan’s Monkey Business is a new documentary film exploring the extraordinary lives of Hans and Margret Rey, the authors of the beloved Curious George children’s books. Ema’s previous credits include the shorts Monk By Blood (2013) and Neither Here Nor There (2011)

As an editor, Ema worked on Chicagoland and was a co-producer and editor of Class Divide, a HBO Documentary directed by Marc Levin, which won the Grand Jury Prize at DOC NYC in 2015.

Follow Ema on Twitter or see her portfolio on Vimeo.

Directors Yatri N. Neihaus, Ciara Lucy and Leyla Nedorosleva

5. Ciara Lacy – Out of State – WORLD PREMIERE

Hawaiian documentarian Ciara Lacy is screening Out of State which is the story of native Hawaiian prisoners shipped 3,000 miles across the ocean to a for-profit prison in the Arizona desert. Ciara has produced both nonfiction and scripted projects and holds a BA in psychology from Yale University.

Follow Ciara on Twitter or Facebook.

6.Yatri N. Niehaus – Stella Polaris Ulloriarsuaq – WORLD PREMIERE

Stella Polaris Ulloriarsuaq from filmmaker Yatri N. Niehaus takes us on a cinematic meditation on the fast changes of our planet, the magic of the slowly disappearing big ice of Greenland. Yatri is German and studied at the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film in Munich.

See Yatri’s portfolio on Vimeo.

7. Leyla Nedorosleva – Two Four Six – WORLD PREMIERE

Russian documentary filmmaker Leyla Nedorosleva is screening Two Four Six. The documentary is about teenagers who come to the United States from Haiti using basketball as means to get an education and help their own country change. Although some of them will become top basketball players, this is not a sports documentary, this film is about the kids’ quest to come back home – as new, much more capable persons.

Follow Leyla on Facebook or see her portfolio on Vimeo.