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The Port Jefferson Documentary Series

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The Port Jefferson Documentary Series
Photo © Debbie Lum

Seeking Asian Female

Photo © Debbie Lum
Started in fall of 2005, the Port Jefferson Documentary Series, the first documentary series on Long Island, New York, showcases some of the most acclaimed documentary films from the United States and beyond. Many of the films shown have won awards at leading film festivals here and abroad. Every year, seven fact-based films are selected from dozens of films by volunteer members of the series. Audience members enjoy a screening of each film, and afterwards, producers, directors and other guest speakers who have relevant experience in the film world join in for a question and answer period. The film series, sponsored by the Greater Port Jefferson - Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, is shown in the spring and the fall at a number of venues in Port Jefferson, including the Charles B. Wang Center Auditorium at Stony Brook University, Theatre Three and other local places. Tickets, usually $5 per film, are sold at the doors of the various venues, and are usually available 30 minutes before the showing of each film.

Among the many films that have been shown in this documentary series are Spellbound (2002), directed by Jeffrey Blitz. It chronicles the story of eight competitors in the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in 1999. The film was nominated for an academy Awards in 2002, among other nominations, and won the award for Best Documentary at the Newport Beach International Film Festival 2003. Wordplay (2006) takes a look at Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor at The New York Times and his faithful fans. The movie was nominated for several awards at the Sundance film Festival 2006, the Tribeca Film Festival 2006, the Chicago Film Critics Association 2006 and the Broadcast Film Critics Association 2006.

Kumare (2011), described as "The true story of a false prophet," tells the story of filmmaker Vikram Gandhi who impersonated an Indian guru and managed to build a following of devotees. The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival, the Best Documentary Feature 2011 from the Napa Valley Film Festival and the Best Documentary Feature 2011 at the Dallas Video Fest. Seeking Asian Female (2012)won tit tiel fo Best Feature Documentary at the San Diego Asian Film Festival 2012, the Best Female-Directed Documentary, Alliance of Women Film Journalists - at the St. Louis International Film Festival 2012, the Outstanding Director Award, Documentary at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2012, among other awards.

To join the series mailing list or to become a volunteer, please visit http://www.portjeffdocumentaryseries.com/contact.html. You may also call (631) 473-5220 or email portjeffdocumentaryseries@gmail.com.

To find out about the latest lineup of the series, please also check my homepage at longisland.about.com, where the blog focuses on current events and more around Long Island, New York.

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