Local Docs Reveal the Invisible


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Guangzhou Dream Factory still.

The most natural programming fit around, given the multitude of documentary filmmakers in the East Bay and the theater’s commitment to community, is Doc Night at the New Parkway. The January calendar features not one but two screenings followed by discussions with the filmmakers, both focused on subjects who are defined, in part, by their invisibility to the wider population.

Cyn Lubow’s eye-opening, gender-bending, consciousness-raising A Womb of Their Own (Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.) introduces us to six masculine-identified people who’ve chosen to give birth. Their experiences of being pregnant—much like everyone’s—are both endearing and upsetting, complicated by the expectations and norms of mainstream society, health care providers and even LGBTQ folks. The post-film conversation with Lubow, a psychotherapist and one of the doc’s subjects, is bound to be equally provocative.

On the other side of the globe, hundreds of thousands of intrepid Africans fly to China every year to purchase goods to resell in their home countries. Christiane Badgley and Erica Marcus’ Guangzhou Dream Factory (Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.) focuses on those determined entrepreneurs from Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda who decide to stay and establish ongoing businesses. Just like the great majority of immigrants who saw the United States as the land of opportunity, these men and women grapple with the language barrier, the visa process, unfamiliar food, and the indifference of the local population. Their biggest challenge, however, is the vast might of global capitalism. The filmmakers have remarkable stories to share about the production as well as their screening at the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival last month.

A Womb of Their Own, 7 p.m., Jan. 16; and Guangzhou Dream Factory, 7 p.m., Jan. 30, New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St., Oakland, 510-658-7900, NewParkway.com.

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