Academy Award®-nominated Filmmaker Joe Berlinger tapped to receive The American Documentary Film Festival’s Annual Seeing The Bigger Picture Award; Festival to Highlight Four Films by Berlinger.


February 5, 2016, Palm Springs, CA – The American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs) announced today that the 2016 recipient of its annual Seeing The Bigger Picture Award is Academy Award®-nominated Filmmaker, Joe Berlinger. Past winners of the award include Oliver Stone, Peter Coyote, Harvey Weinstein and Peter Bogdanovich.

Joe Berlinger, whose new film, TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU, is the Opening Night feature for the festival’s Fifth Anniversary Edition, has quite an impressive body of work,” said Ted Grouya, AmDocs Founder and Festival Director. “Joe is one of today’s most important auteurs in the world of documentary film, and we are thrilled to be able to honor him at this year’s festival.”

“As we have done with other recipients of the Seeing The Bigger Picture Award,” Grouya continued, “we will be screening three of Berlinger’s other documentaries during the festival, including BROTHER’S KEEPER, WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER, and UNDER AFRICAN SKIES.”

BROTHER’S KEEPER, made with Bruce Sinofsky in 1992, is an outstanding documentary that details the murder trial of Delbert Ward – a member of a family of four elderly brothers, working as semi-literate farmers and living together in rural New York state, in isolation from the rest of society until William’s death. A police investigation and Medical Examiner’s autopsy suggested that William may not have died from natural causes, and Delbert was arrested. Under questioning, Delbert appears to have signed a confession, but the film suggests that he may not have been competent to do so, and explores a variety of possible motives for the crime.

2014’s biographical documentary, WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER, chronicles the sensational trial of infamous gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, using the legal proceedings as a springboard to explore allegations of corruption within the highest levels of law enforcement. Pulling back the curtain on long-held Bulger mythology, the film challenges conventional wisdom by detailing shocking, new allegations. With unprecedented access, Berlinger’s latest crime documentary offers a universal tale of human frailty, opportunism, deception, and the often elusive nature of truth and justice.

The fourth of Berlinger’s films to be screened this year at AmDocs, UNDER AFRICAN SKIES (2012), follows Paul Simon as he returns to South Africa twenty five years after the release of his seminal album GRACELAND. When it was first released, GRACELAND broke open musical boundaries and brought together diverse cultures, but it split public opinion as Simon was accused of breaking the United Nations’ cultural boycott of South Africa, then a linchpin in the strategy to fight the nation’s intolerable system of apartheid.

What is the role of the artist when society is in upheaval? Who does music belong to? Whose rules, if any, should artists play by? Do cultural collaborations matter? And what will be the legacy of GRACELAND’s indelible songs in a world that has since been politically, and musically, transformed? These questions fuel the multi-layered probing of UNDER AFRICAN SKIES, that Berlinger captured as Simon reunited with the South African musicians whose work became the heartbeat of GRACELAND. New insights and old ghosts emerge as Simon prepares for his twenty fifth anniversary GRACELAND concert. The film includes revealing interviews with Paul Simon, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Maya Angelou, Paul McCartney and David Byrne – all of whom measure the breadth of GRACELAND’s musical, political and cultural impact.

Passes and Tickets for Opening Night are available online at  HYPERLINK
http://www.american-documentary-film-festival.com/ or at the Camelot Theatres Box Office.

The American Documentary Film Festival, powered by Renova Solar, is a Palm Springs Cultural Center program.