Each October, Pickford Film Center presents Doctober, our month long celebration of the art of the documentary featuring some of the most diverse and varied programming offered all year. With over 50 films in the lineup, something for everyone is hardly an exaggeration.

Doctober gives us an opportunity to work with other organizations in Bellingham to bring important issues to the community, frequently with filmmaker visits, special guests, pre-screening receptions and guided discussions.

Join our email list to get weekly updates on Doctober events, films, and newly added encores.


Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story

The documentary ftells the story of Frank Morgan's life and transformation through interviews with fellow musicians and people who were close to him. These are intercut with footage of Frank, and tracks of his very emotional music. Holding the story together is footage of the preparation and performance of a tribute concert in a prison. The years Frank spent in San Quentin were significant because there were so many great musicians "in residence" there that the far-sighted warden of the...
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Harry and Snowman

Dutch immigrant, Harry deLeyer, journeyed to the United States after World War II and developed a transformative relationship with a broken down Amish plow horse he rescued off a slaughter truck bound for the glue factory. Harry paid eighty dollars for the horse and named him Snowman. In less than two years, Harry & Snowman went on to win the triple crown of show jumping, beating the nations blue bloods. They were famous for their day and traveled around the...
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Characters with Character – Shorts Program

Featuring an in-theatre concert by Lavender Coumtry before the show

It occurred to us that so many documentary films that people are drawn to are about characters. We want to know what makes people tick. It’s true that everyone has a story and that’s exactly what you will witness with these remarkable people who have moving stories to tell. You will be lifted by their determination to do what they love, to overcome obstacles, or simply to find joy...
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A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home: these scenes and others are woven into Cameraperson, a tapestry of footage collected over the twenty-five-year career of documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality and...
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The Seventh Fire

When gang leader Rob Brown is sentenced to prison for a fifth time, he must confront his role in bringing violent drug culture into his beloved American Indian community in northern Minnesota. As Rob reckons with his past, his seventeen-year-old protégé, Kevin, dreams of the future: becoming the most powerful and feared Native gangster on the reservation.

From executive producers Terrence Malick, Natalie Portman, and Chris Eyre comes this haunting and unflinching debut feature directed by Jack Pettibone Riccobono....
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After stumbling upon a bizarre "competitive endurance tickling" video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company. But the reply he receives is shocking-the sender mocks Farrier's sexual orientation and threatens extreme legal action should he dig any deeper. So, like any good journalist confronted by a bully, he does just the opposite: he travels to the hidden tickling facilities in Los Angeles and...
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Women He’s Undressed

During the Hollywood boom years the legendary Orry-Kelly was costume designer on an astonishing 282 motion pictures, designing for Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Rosalind Russell, and many more stars. Orry was as big a legend behind the scenes as the on-screen legends he adoringly dressed. Three times an Oscar winner, Orry was talented, daring, brash, bold and the toast of Hollywood, yet the thorn in the side of many a studio head. Women He's Undressed celebrates his story....
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On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand. Combining archival footage with rotoscopic animation in a dynamic, never-before-seen way, TOWER reveals the action-packed untold stories of the witnesses, heroes and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting,...
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Speed Sisters

Presented by The Roller Betties

The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, Speed Sisters takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you...
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The Prison in 12 Landscapes

More people are imprisoned in the United States at this moment than in any other time or place in history, yet the prison itself has never felt
further away or more out of sight. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes excavates the hidden geographies of the modern prison system by offering
a film about the prison in which we never see an actual penitentiary. Instead, the film unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of seemingly
ordinary landscapes across the...
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SMART is a groundbreaking feature-length documentary about a group of highly trained, adrenaline-fueled professionals who risk life and limb to rescue animals! They’re Los Angeles’ Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team, and they save anything and everything, wild or domestic, from an array of dangerous situations. Shot over the course of three years, SMART follows team lead Armando Navarrete as he helps lift a horse from a river by helicopter, tranquilizes a deer in Pee-Wee Herman’s back yard and falls five...
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SEED: The Untold Story

With Director Taggart Siegel in attendance for a post-screening Q+A.

Pre-screening reception presented by The Community Food Co-op

Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous...
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Yarn + Threads – Double Feature!

Threads:A 30 minute short film presented by Social Fabric
A visionary leader in Bangladesh helps hundreds of destitute women overcome social and economic hardships by creating timeless works of art.

Yarn:Meet the artists who are redefining the tradition of knit and crochet, bringing yarn out of the house and into the world. Reinventing our relationship with this colorful tradition, YARN weaves together wool graffiti artists, circus performers, and structural designers into a visually-striking look at the women who...
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The IF Project

Filmmaker Kathlyn Horan and Detective Kim Bogucki will be in attendance for a Q+A
In the United States, there are over 6.8 million people in prison, jail, on probation or parole. That is 1 in every 35 adults. Perhaps even more alarming is that women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985.

The If Project is a feature length documentary that explores the reasons behind these staggering...
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Command and Control

Woven through the Damascus story is a riveting history of America's nuclear weapons program, from World War II through the Cold War, much of it based on recently declassified documents. A cautionary tale of freak accidents, near misses, human fallibility and extraordinary heroism, Command and Control forces viewers to confront the great dilemma that the U.S. has faced since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you manage weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them?...
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Fire at Sea

The Italian island of Lampedusa has become the front line of the refugee crisis in Europe, with some 400,000 desperate migrants from Africa and the Middle East having landed there in the past 20 years. This strangely beautiful, sometimes bleak documentary contrasts their existence with the lives of the islanders, now forever altered.

Preceded by the short film HOW WE CHOOSE Directed by Alexandria Bombach
After years of war, concrete blockades, corruption, suicide bombings and the departure of...
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Sweet Crude

Presented as part of Cascadia International Women's Film Festival. Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi in attendance for a Q+A after the show!

In a small corner of the most populous country in Africa, billions of dollars of crude oil flow under the feet of a desperate people. Immense wealth and abject poverty stand in stark contrast. The environment is decimated. The issues are complex, the answers elusive.

The documentary film Sweet Crude tells the story of Nigeria’s Niger Delta....
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Drawing the Tiger

Presented as part of Cascadia International Women's Film Festival

Filmed over seven years, Drawing the Tiger is an intimate portrait of a family in Nepal who get a
chance to break their cycle of poverty: Their brightest child is awarded a scholarship to attend
school in the city. When she doesn't return home, the family is forced to survive without her
and the opportunity they believed would change their ill fate....
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Peter and the Farm

Peter Dunning is the proud proprietor of Mile Hill Farm, which sits on 187 idyllic acres in Vermont. The land’s 38 harvests have seen the arrivals and departures of three wives and four children, leaving Peter with only animals and memories. The arrival of a film crew causes him to confront his history and his legacy, passing along hard-won agricultural wisdom even as he doubts the meaning of the work he is fated to perform until death. Haunted by alcoholism...
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The Queen of Ireland

Pandora 'Panti" Bliss is many things: part glamorous aunt, part Jessica Rabbit, she’s a wittily incisive performer with charisma to burn who is regarded as one of the best drag queens in the world. Created by Rory O’Neill, Panti is also an accidental activist and in her own words ‘a court jester, whose role is to say the unsayable’.

Over the last few years Rory has become a figurehead for LGBT rights in Ireland and since the recent...
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