Highlights from GFC's Documentary Week

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

It's Columbus Documentary Week at the Gateway Film Center, as the theater brings back its twice-yearly doc celebration.

The good news: It's overloaded with options (22, to be precise). The bad news: Limited screenings mean you need to make plans or you'll miss something. Here's a rundown of highlights.

For starters, there are four films included in the just-released Best Documentary Oscar shortlist. Be prepared to get choked up if you choose Steve James' amazing Roger Ebert doc "Life Itself." If you'd prefer a mix of paranoia and anger, pick "Citizenfour," a tense look at NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Those two are de facto Oscar frontrunners.

Rounding out the Oscar list are "The Overnighters"-the story of a hard-hit oil town and a pastor who opened his church to homeless workers - and "Last Days in Vietnam" - a PBS-produced doc that gives a new perspective on the war.

A soberingly timely release for a big sports weekend, "Happy Valley" turns an eye on the football-obsessed culture of Penn State in the year after assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child molestation chargers.

"Master of the Universe" is billed as a kind of documentary "Wolf of Wall Street," as former investment banker Rainer Voss shares the underbelly of international finance. "Food Chains,"from executive producer Eva Longoria,examines the plight of the American farm worker and is sure to make you think about what ends up on your plate.

"Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" director Judy Irving tells another bird tale with "Pelican Dreams," which chronicles an injured pelican's road to recovery. "Expedition to the End of the World" journeys to some of the last unexplored areas of the globe. Yeah, that's a thing.

A highlight of a sizable slate of arts documentaries is "Art and Craft," a portrait of a schizophrenic who is addicted to art forgery.

No Documentary Week would be complete without a good rock doc, and the most rocking offering here has to be "Inside Metal," a look at the rise of the hair band in '80s Los Angeles.

Gateway Film Center

Friday-Friday, Dec. 5-12

1550 N. High St., South Campus