Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End (2017) [Doc NYC 2017]

The life of cartoonist Mr. Fish has seen through his eyes and those of his loved ones, co-workers, and a few other people.

From director Pablo Bryant, this documentary mixes interviews with a lot of visual material, giving a good idea of who Mr. Fish is, how he thinks, and how he creates. The film covers his life from childhood until now and shows not only how he works but also his home life which has an influence on his work and vice versa. This is done in a way that gives a good, unobstructed view of things and lets the viewer make their own mind as to if Mr. Fish is doing things right or not. Of course, the film does come at the subject from a specific angle and has its own agenda, but that does not keep it from having an openness about its subject.

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Black Cats and Broomsticks (1955)

“Each year a hundred Americans die because they go to a wizard instead of a doctor.” Ah yes, the great Wizard epidemic of 1955, I read about that in the text books. Americans had wizards and sorcerers, where as today we have Goop. Oddly enough, this short subject PSA for Americans fearing witches and Satanism confuses pseudo-science and superstition with actual witchcraft. A lot of Americans were under the idea that sacrificing animals to Satan was just the same as crossing your fingers for a dose of good luck. Those wacky Americans!

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There is a Place (2017)

Tania Ku’s documentary short focuses on Lior Tsarfaty, an Israeli-born singer/songwriter who offers music therapy sessions for Alzheimer’s patients at San Francisco-area memory care facilities. Arriving with a guitar and a suitcase full of instruments, he quickly brings his audience into a circle of music-minded participants, with exercises ranging from Native American-style tribal drumming to a sing-along of old favorites like “You Are My Sunshine.”

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Geek Girls (2017)

What is it like to be a geek girl? How does the rest of the geek world welcome you? This documentary looks to explore and shine a light on what it’s like to be a woman in a very particular men’s world, the way they are treated, how they have to adapt to basically survive. In a world where people are threatened with doxxing, rape, and murder for being different, women find a way to make it work and get to enjoy their fandoms and interests.

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The Houses October Built 2 (2017)

Bobby Roe’s “The Houses October Built” was a solid Halloween entry that mixed a documentary with a horror mystery quite well. The follow up years later, practices the very same formula but further explores the back story of its villains “Blue Skeleton” from the first film. Are they evil? Are they anti-heroes? Are they a cult? Are they Halloween fanatics that work to the extremes of Banksy? The first film was a surprise indie horror hit and the sequel seeks to touch on the same narrative ebbs and flows, while also packing in some refreshing twists and turns that I very much appreciated. Like the first film, “The Houses October Built 2” is partly a documentary and partly a mystery horror film that takes off directly from the first film.

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