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Source:  CBS News

Non-fiction is the star attraction on screens in New York City beginning today with the start of DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival.

The week-long festival includes more than 250 features and short films (including many world, US and NYC premieres), as well as special events, including panel discussions, appearances by noted documentary directors, and workshops for aspiring filmmakers.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival is the Opening Night feature, The Biggest Little Farm,” the sweet story of a young couple who decide to chuck their lives in the city and start a 200-acre farm north of Los Angeles.

Over seven years, filmmaker John Chester and his culinary writer-wife Molly Chester transformed an arid plot of land that had long ago seen any productivity into the lush, verdant Apricot Lane Farms, home of sustainable agriculture and a panoply of livestock.

Another highlight is “Of Fathers and Sons.” Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema – Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film is Syrian-born director Talal Derki’s deep dive into the personal lives of radical Islamist fighters – men, he says, “who long for war.”

Posing as a journalist sympathetic to their cause, Derki was able to gain incredible access to the homes of members of the Al-Nusra Front (one of the competing Islamist groups fighting Syrian government forces). Over the course of two years Derki followed these fathers as they shape their young children into prospective warriors.

The disconnect between parental tenderness and cold-blooded training in military-style camps is jarring, while scenes of the kids playing amid the ordnance and ruins of battle are crushing.

Read the story at CBS News.

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