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What to Watch in November

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Dana Kendall

Turbulent family dynamics are at the heart of November’s slate of 2019 Sundance Film Festival releases—including Minhal Baig’s Hala, centered around a 17-year-old Muslim Pakistani American as she and her family navigate unstable ground.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t really see this character, and I really wanted to see her; it would have made me feel less alone,” explained director Minhal Baig about her titular character. Hala is a coming-of-age drama about a young woman learning to pave a path different from that of her parents, but it’s also the story of a tender mother-daughter relationship and their resilience in the face of the unraveling of their world.

Shia LaBeouf’s autobiographical Honey Boy highlights a very different parent-child relationship—with LaBeouf himself playing the role of his real-life abusive father in a heart-wrenching performance—while documentary Midnight Family follows a family whose morals are put to the extreme test as they struggle to make a living off of their private ambulance in Mexico City.

Check out the full list of Festival films coming to theaters and streaming platforms this month.

Nov. 1

Light From Light, directed by Paul Harrill (limited)

Shelia, a single mom and sometime paranormal investigator, is enlisted to investigate a possible “haunting” at a widower’s farmhouse in East Tennessee.

Nov. 8

Honey Boy, directed by Alma Har’el (limited)

A child television star and his ex-rodeo-clown father face their stormy past through time and cinema.

Nov. 15

Koko-di Koko-da, directed by Johannes Nyholm (limited)

As a couple goes on a trip to find their way back to each other, a sideshow artist and his shady entourage emerge from the woods, terrorizing them and luring them deeper into a maelstrom of psychological terror and humiliating slapstick.

Midnight Family, directed by Luke Lorentzen (limited)

In Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help. As they try to make a living in this cutthroat industry, they struggle to keep their financial needs from compromising the people in their care.

Nov. 22

Hala, directed by Minhal Baig (limited)

(Coming to Apple TV in December)

Muslim teenager Hala comes into her own while also coping with the unraveling of her family.

Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto (limited)

Sicilian Letizia Battaglia began a lifelong battle with the Mafia when she first pointed her camera at a brutally slain victim. Documenting the Cosa Nostra’s barbaric rule, she bore unflinching witness to their crimes. Her photographs, art, and bravery helped bring an end to a shocking reign of slaughter.

Nov. 28

Mike Wallace Is Here, directed by Avi Belkin (Hulu)

60 Minutes‘ fearsome newsman Mike Wallace went head-to-head with the world’s most influential figures. Relying exclusively on archival footage, the film interrogates the interrogator, tracking Wallace’s storied career and troubled personal life while unpacking how broadcast journalism evolved to today’s precarious tipping point.

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

In Memoriam: Diane Weyermann (1955–2021)

A singular force within the documentary film world with a global reach, Diane Weyermann passed away at age 66 after battling cancer. Over the course of her 30-year career as a funder and an executive, her work elevated the documentary form and expanded its cultural impact.

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