WestDoc to Kick Off Conference with Trio of Screenings

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WestDoc: The West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference will kick off next month's conclave with the screenings of a trio of films from festival circuits.
Jason Becker, Not Dead Yet, Off Label and Big Boys Gone Bananas!* will be exclusively screened for attendees on Sunday, Sept. 9, to start the third annual convention that brings together the creative and business sides of the documentary film and reality TV communities.
This year's selections were picked from some 100 possible films discovered at Hot Docs Canadian International and Full Frame documentary film festivals, according to WestDoc co-founders Chuck Braverman and Richard Propper.
The conference's film screenings, panels, keynote presentation, "PitchFest" competition and vendor area all will be located at the Pacific Culver Stadium 12 Theaters in Culver City, from Sept. 9-12

Programmers participating include: ABC, A&E, Animal Planet, BBC, Bravo, CMT, Discovery Channel, Documentary Channel, ESPN, GSN, KCET, MTV, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, OWN, Ovation, Oxygen, PBS SoCaL, Spike TV, Style, Sundance Channel, Syfy, TLC, Veria Living, VH1 and We TV.

"These three films are the best of the best curated from popular documentary festivals worldwide," said Braverman, the Academy Award-nominated producer/director, in a statement. "The three will be eligible for this year's Oscars."

Descriptors for the three documentary films scheduled to be screened at West Doc 2012 on Sept. 9:

2 p.m. - Jason Becker, Not Dead Yet (http://www.jasonbeckermovie.com/#) -- Directed by Jessie Vile, the feature-length documentary tells an incredible story of a guitar legend who refuses to give up on his dream of being a musician despite the most incredible odds. When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig's Disease, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn't live to see his 25th birthday. Twenty-two years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes. It has been recognized with honors at five film festivals thus far, including the winner of outstanding achievement in Music at the Newport Beach Film Festival and best documentary at Chicago International Movies and Music Festival 2012.

5 p.m. - Off Label (http://offlabelfilm.com) -- Off Label uses the personal stories of human guinea pigs - those who test and take pharmaceutical drugs - as a launching pad for a deeper exploration into the ways these drugs are marketed, sold, consumed, and ultimately treated with the same reverence as a religious belief in the United States. The film incorporates a multitude of visual styles and presents deeply personal stories set against a uniquely American landscape haunted by the ever-present commercialization of medicine and personal identity. An official selection at the Tribeca, Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc/Fest and the San Francisco International Film Festival, Off Label was directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher and produced by Anish Savjani and Vincent Savino.

8 p.m. - Big Boys Gone Bananas!* (http://www.bigboysgonebananas.com/trailer) - Directed by Fredrik Gertten and produced by Margarete Jangård, this documentary chronicles the true story of their small Swedish film production company being forced to face off against multi-billion dollar fruit giant Dole Food Company, Inc. when their controversial 2009 film "Bananas!* was to be stopped at any cost. From lawsuits to bullying scare tactics and media control, the story altogether reveals a dreadful eye-opener about what a big corporation will do in order to protect its brand. The film has been an official selection of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and Sundance Film Festival.