Barbara Kopple's glorious Miss Sharon Jones! opened DOC NYC Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
2015 DOC NYC Lifetime Achievement Award honoree at the second annual Visionaries Tribute luncheon, Best Documentary Oscar winner for Harlan County, USA and American Dream, Barbara Kopple, presented Miss Sharon Jones! with Sharon Jones, who sang a gospel song for the audience.
DOC NYC Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen, Artistic Director Thom Powers, Director of Programming Basil Tsiokos and Senior Vice President and General Manager of the IFC Center, John Vanco, hosted the evening at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea.
John Vanco kicks off DOC NYC with Thom Powers, Raphaela Neihausen and Basil Tsiokos Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Sharon Jones has a powerful voice and an even more impressive personality. Barbara Kopple filmed the singer's battle with cancer, her comeback show at the Beacon Theater in New York and what lead up to the successful new album with her band The Dap-Kings. Miss Sharon Jones! is also a film about real friendship. During the singer's excruciating months of chemotherapy, she stays with nutritionist Megan Holken in rural upstate New York, and her friend takes care that she eats right and gets to recover. Kopple is right there, when at a salon in Albany, Jones shaves off all her hair before the therapy begins. Confronting these issues head on with so much dignity and honesty is healing to behold.
The performer recounts that years ago, she heard that she was "too fat, too black, too short and too old." The way Jones pokes fun at herself makes all the difference. A particularly wonderful sequence shows Sharon and Megan at Beekman Farm picking sour apples and relaxing in nature. When Sharon starts to sing to a goat, the animal, and soon another one too, is so mesmerised and puzzled by this visitor, it's hard to tell who has the greatest effect on whom. The goats love her and so will ewe.
The sixth DOC NYC runs from November 12 - 19.