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MTR Presents the Seventh Annual MTRDocFest

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New York, NY—The Museum of Television & Radio will present its seventh annual documentary festival in New York from October 12 to 22, 2006. The eleven-day MTRDocFest celebrates the art and craft of the documentary form with a variety of premieres, special screenings, and workshops. Most screenings will be followed by lively Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and special guests, which have become a hallmark of the Festival. By bringing exemplary works of nonfiction film and influential documentarians to the public, MTRDocFest continues MTR's vision to lead the discussion about the creative and social relevance of television, radio, and emerging platforms in today's world.

Opening this year's Festival, iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz joins her younger sister, film director Barbara Leibovitz, in presenting the world premiere of American Masters: Annie Leibovitz. In the long-awaited biography, the photographer lays bare, for the first time, her own artistic process and personal journey. Among the special guests at this year's Festival will be former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, who will present and discuss excerpts from CNN's Peabody Award-winning Cold War series; Ken Burns (The Civil War, Jazz), who will not only offer a look at his work-in-progress, The War (his highly anticipated documentary on World War II)  but will also join a group of fellow filmmakers for a tribute to the influential photographer-filmmaker Jerome Liebling; and cinema verite pioneer Albert Maysles (Salesman, Grey Gardens), who will screen rarely seen footage from the Maysles Films archives.

Building on the success of previous Festivals, in which MTR has premiered such award-winning films as Born Into Brothels and Street Fight, this year's slate of premieres includes such talked-about documentaries as The World According to Sesame Street, The Chances of the World Changing, 51 Birch Street, Maxed Out, and Life After Tomorrow. A new Sundance Channel documentary about the only son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker will be making its U.S. premiere, and the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Selling of the Pentagon will be commemmorated with a special screening and panel. The Festival will close with the New York premiere of Time Piece, an omnibus film, produced by the Full Frame Institute, that marks a landmark collaboration between American and Turkish filmmakers.

In addition to the films, the Festival will also feature two workshops devoted to the process of making documentaries. The prize-bearing workshop-competition The Art of the Documentary Pitch will enable emerging filmmakers (pre-selected from a call for entries) to pitch their projects to a panel of industry executives, while The Art of the Cut: Editing the Documentary assembles an elite group of the unsung heroes of filmmaking.

By way of acknowledging that the documentary is not only a visual experience, but an aural one as well, the Festival will also showcase three recent award-winning radio documentaries: The Wire: The Impact of Electricity of Music (CBC Radio); The Sonic Memorial Project (NPR); and Stories of Home (Chicago Public Radio), all of which will be available for listening throughout the duration of the Festival. 

As part of MTRDocFest's expanded line-up this year, also featured will be two sidebars. "Americana" delves into the rich cultural and socio-economic history of the country, from the self-proclaimed asparagus capital of the nation to a jumping frog contest to the origins of bluegrass music to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. Moving beyond U.S. borders, "Global Issues" explores such topics as female genital mutilation in Egypt; child trafficking in Cambodia; mixed marriage in Quatar; and the plight of Darfurian refugees.

A complete MTRDocFest schedule and ticketing information follows and available at

The MTRDocFest was inaugurated in 2000 with the mission of highlighting the role that television plays in bringing exemplary works of non-fiction to the public. Over the past six years, the Festival has explored the art, craft, and history of the documentary through screenings and dialogues that have included such participants as Jon Alpert, Peter Arnett, Zana Briski, Ken Burns, Ric Burns, Glenn Close, Kate Davis, Robert Drew, Eve Ensler, Liz Garbus, Taylor Hackford, Eugene Jarecki, Sebastian Junger, Susan Lacy, Ross Kaufman, Rory Kennedy, Al Maysles, Michael Moore, Gordon Parks, Alexandra Pelosi, D.A. Pennebaker, Alvin Perlmutter, Sam Phillips, Alan and Susan Raymond, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Weide, Gideon Yago, and many others. Now in its seventh year, MTRDocFest is the centerpiece of MTR's ongoing commitment to the documentary form.

Funding for this Festival has been generously provided by The Hearst Corporation, Landor Associates, A&E Networks, HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films, The History Channel, Continental Airlines, The Muse Hotel, The New York Sun, International Documentary Association, Court TV, Success Express, Inc., and Thirteen/WNET.                                                                                                                                               

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Founded by William S. Paley in 1976, MTR draws upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community to explore and explain the intersections between media and society. Through the MTR Media Center and the International Council, MTR develops new initiatives and fosters partnerships around the world. The general public and industry professionals can access the collection and participate in programs at both of MTR's locations that celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities and leaders who are shaping the media landscape. For more information, please visit

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at 212.621.6800, or in Los Angeles at 310.786.1000. Visit the Museum's website at