image STF launches its eleventh season on September 29, 2009 with a sneak preview of AHEAD OF TIME (see photo on left), including a Q&A with director Bob Richman and film subject Ruth Gruber (on the eve of her 98th birthday). This documentary examines the adventurous life of Ruth Gruber whose accomplishments included covering the 1947 Jewish refugees on the boat Exodus for Life Magazine. The film marks the directorial debut of Bob Richman, known for his work as a cinematographer on acclaimed docs such as THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE and MY ARCHITECT. “We’re delighted to bring this wonderful film to New York soon after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival,” said STF artistic director Thom Powers (who also programs docs for TIFF). Other STF fall titles coming out of TIFF 09 include VIDEOCRACY, COLONY, and COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS.

These sneak previews represent one aim of the STF mission: to present the most exciting new work in documentary. Another STF aim is to bring fresh attention to older work. A notable example is THE GOOD FIGHT (1984), about the members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War, celebrating the film’s 25th anniversary with a STF screening on Oct 27.

Stranger Than Fiction: Fall 2009 Season: Sept. 29 – Dec. 1
8pm on Tuesdays at IFC Center (unless noted otherwise)

SEPT 29: AHEAD OF TIME (2009) This directorial debut from acclaimed cinematographer Bob Richman (The September Issue) creates a vivid portrait of Ruth Gruber, the adventuress who took the iconic Life Magazine photos of the Exodus ship in 1947 and remains an engaging presence at age 97. This screening takes place on the eve of her 98th birthday, fresh from its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Q&A w. dir. Bob Richman & film subject Ruth Gruber

OCT 5: Mon. night special – OCTOBER COUNTRY (2009) Winner of the Silverdocs Jury Prize, October Country is a stunning directorial debut from Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher about a family in upstate New York haunted by ghosts of war, teen pregnancy, foster care and child abuse.
Q&A w. dirs. Michael Palmieri & Donal Mosher

OCT 6: THE REAL SHAOLIN (2008) Rich with dazzling displays of Kung Fu, this film follows two Chinese and two western students as they undergo a year of rigorous training in martial arts at the Shaolin temple in Central China. 
Q&A w. dir. Alexander Sebastien Lee

OCT 13: VIDEOCRACY (2009) This penetrating look at the media empire of Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi reveals how his reality TV shows full of bikini-clad women enriched his friends and beguiled a nation.
Q&A w. dir. Erik Gandini

OCT 20: STILL BILL (2009) Bill Withers rose to unexpected fame with the hit songs “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” and “Just the Two of Us,” then left behind the industry and gave up performing. This beautifully crafted film explores the man behind the music.
Q&A w. dirs. Damani Baker & Alex Vlack

OCT 27: THE GOOD FIGHT (1984) Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its original release, The Good Fight examines the American soldiers who fought in the Spanish Civil War with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
Q&A w. dirs. Noel Buckner, Mary Dore & Sam Sills

NOV 3: COLONY (2009) Several beekeepers around the U.S. cope with colony collapse disorder – the phenomenon that has caused millions of bees to mysteriously disappear – in this beautifully shot debut from a gifted directing duo.
Q&A w. dirs. Carter Gunn & Ross McDonnell

NOV 10: COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS (2009) As musicians and artists find new ways to appropriate old works, this film explores the creative and legal issues around copyright, featuring interviews with heavily sampled musicians such as George Clinton and James Brown’s drummer Clyde Stubblefield.
Q&A w. dirs. Benjamin Franzen & Kembrew McLeod; Co-presented with POV

NOV 16: Mon. night special, Docurama copresentation – THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (2002) Former members of one of America’s most notorious radical movements finally speak candidly about how they “brought the war home,” eluding one of the largest manhunts in FBI history.
Q&A w. dirs. Sam Green & Bill Siegel and special guest WU member Mark Rudd; Co-presented with Docurama

NOV 17: IRAN: IMAGES FROM THE UPRISING – Film and video have played an important role in chronicling modern Iran, including the past tumultuous months of street protests. In this special STF presentation, Iranian director Hamid Rahmanian (“The Glass House”) will be joined by other filmmakers and observers to present and discuss clips that deepen our understanding of the country.

NOV 24: DOUBLE DARE (2004) A rollicking film about the friendship between two stunt women from different generations Jeannie Epper (most famous for doubling Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman) and Zoe Bell (who did stunts for Lucy Lawless on Xena). 
Q&A w. dir. Amanda Micheli