Sundance Updates: Political Documentaries Include MFF Alum Kirby Dick’s THE INVISIBLE WAR and Macky Alston’s LOVE FREE OR DIE

Bishop Robinson, sitting, and Macky Alston conduct Q//A after the screening of LOVE FREE OR DIE

Sundance was an early and important venue for nonfiction filmmaking; Michael Moore didn’t come through here, but SUPERSIZE ME and MARCH OF THE PENGUINS did.

Political advocacy has been a theme this year – we saw a precursor at MFF 2011 with BETTER THIS WORLD – and two different examples are Macky Alston’s LOVE FREE OR DIE and MFF alum Kirby Dick‘s THE INVISIBLE WAR. Both describe struggles inside big organizations – the Anglican church and the US military, respectively.

Kirby’s film documents the shocking level of sexual assault in the US military and the structural indifference to it. The activism is relatively recent, led a brave group of mostly female vets, and is feeling its way through Congress and a military justice system run by commanders.

LOVE FREE OR DIE is a snapshot of the ongoing discussion within the Anglican Church, specifically its Episcopal branch in the US. At the eye of the storm is NH Bishop Eugene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the church. One of the fascinating aspects of this struggle is that there is a long established and generally respected process, and the combatants are about equally trained in theology and in many cases have often known each other for decades.

–Jed Dietz, Friday 1/27


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