Movie preview: Your handy guide to Columbus Documentary Week at Gateway Film Center

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

It's like Christmas in April for documentary lovers, as the Gateway Film Center's twice-a-year Columbus Documentary Week makes its spring return.

With a slate of 21 docs on the docket, there are almost too many options to wade through - and some are limited to only a handful of screenings, so here's a guide to help you plan ahead.


There's an eclectic and large mix of music docs on the slate, ranging from one about the experimental Russian electronic act Elektro Moskva to "Seymour: An Introduction," a bio of Classical pianist and teacher Seymour Bernstein directed lovingly by actor Ethan Hawke. The telling of the wild and weird 30-year career of first-wave British punks The Mekons is tackled in "Revenge of the Mekons," while the '80s hardcore scene in Washington D.C. that spawned Bad Brains, Minor Threat and more is the subject of "Salad Days."Filmmaker Jennie Matz will screen her "Rye Coalition," the story of the Jersey rockers who seemed destined to explode, but never quite got there. There's also an exploration of a great rock (maybe) urban legend, "Led Zeppelin Played Here."

Food and drink

Another filmmaker in attendance is Ohio State professor Michael Mercil, who will introduce his film "Covenant," which looks at the relationship between us and animals grown as food. "Plantpure Nation" - the follow-up to "Forks Over Knives" - makes the case for a national movement toward a plant-based diet. And you can wash it down with a look at the best of bubbly with "A Year in Champagne."

Social commentary

One of the most important documentaries of the year hit the Gateway a week ago, but the campus-rape exposé "The Hunting Ground" will continue its run. "Merchants of Doubt" looks at the uneasy connection between industries like tobacco and oil and the spreading of scientific skepticism. "Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine" is a personal look at the young victim of one of America's most infamous anti-gay hate crimes.

Other options

"An Honest Liar" follows former illusionist James "the Amazing" Randi who became an outspoken skeptic of psychics and the paranormal. "Our Man in Tehran" follows the wild true story that inspired "Argo." And "In Country" looks at a group of Vietnam War re-enactors in Oregon.

Gateway Film Center

Friday-Friday, April 17-24

1550 N. High St., Campus