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Claus Mueller

Claus Mueller is  Senior New York Correspondent

He is based in New York where he covers the festival scene, professor at Hunter University, accredited member of the Foreign Press Center,  U.S. Department of State NY.


New York DOC NYC 2020 Wrap

The New York City Documentary film festival (DOC NYC) was held from November 11 – December 9 including an Encore period and the new short list selection. For more than 19 days the, 11th edition of DOC NYC and its new online format served an audience throughout the United States and Puerto Rico which has grown significantly compared to last year’s theatrical edition.

The program had 122 features and 102 shorts from 35 countries which were selected from 2000 productions, including shorts, reflecting a relatively small decline from the 2200 submissions and the selection of 261 productions in 2019. The new streaming format did not significantly impact the provision of productions from filmmakers and distributors.  Most sponsors returned and continued their backing of the festival, supporting the shift to the online format and were impressed by the innovative ways in which the festival recreated elements of traditional interactions with audiences at a film festival in the new format. The biggest change for the festival has been the adoption of the new format, but more importantly, reaching for the first time a nationwide audience.  As some other festivals like the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and the Asian American International Film Festival have reported, many viewers who streamed 2020 festival programs had attended the festivals before in person and others welcomed the opportunity to explore the programs using digital access and plan to do so again next year. This gives programmers the opportunity to building a national captive digital audience and generates sponsorship interests for major and minor streaming platforms.

DOC NYC attracted more than 38,000 viewers to its streaming platform and more than 250,000 visitors from 189 countries to its website, a significant increase in its website growth.  The noted NYC PRO, a professional development program for established and emerging filmmakers presented webinars before the festival. There were some new program initiatives before and during the festival.   The pre-festival Road Trip arranged virtual visits with film professional from ten documentary hubs in America.  Documentary New Leaders honored 16 industry leaders focusing on diversity.  DOC NYC Live featured daily sessions during the festival with more than forty   online discussions with film makers, a new festival component which had more than 70,000 viewers from 123 countries.

Among this year’s awards are

Audience Award: La Madrina, The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla, by Raquel Cepeda

Viewfinders Grand Jury Prize: Landsfall, directed/produced by Cecelia Aldarondo & Ines Hofmann Kanna

Metropolis Grand Jury Prize: Five Years North, directed by Zach Ingrasci & Chris temple, produced by Jenna Kelly

There were 2 special jury recognitions and nine awards for shorts.


Majors sponsors of the 2020 edition were A&T, Apple Original Films; Netflix; Warner Media and nine Supporting and Signature Sponsors including National Geographic and Showtime Documentary Films, Bloomberg Philanthropies, NYC’s Mayor Office, Participant; Technicolor PostWorks; Topic Studios


Claus Mueller

New York




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