Catch movies on young activists, an Arctic excursion and martial arts Sept. 7-9.

“Exposure” follows the dangerous travels of 11 women in the Arctic as they strive to reach the North Pole before melting ice makes the journey impossible. (Photo courtesy Doc5 Festival)

Films are coming back to the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park. The former movie theater that was recently renovated into an intimate music venue will soon have a big screen and extra seats set up on the dance floor for guests attending the Doc5 Film Festival, a series of five documentaries showing Wednesday, Sept. 7, through Friday, Sept. 9.

This event is the second Doc5 offered by CMP (short for Community, Media, Philanthropy), a not-for-profit that puts on the Doc10 Documentary Film Festival in Chicago each spring. After every screening, the audience participates in Q&A sessions with the directors and others involved in the films or issues. The festival focuses on films that raise awareness around issues such as climate change and human rights.

CMP members Jane Solomon and Dana Eckert of Woodside and Daisy Tinsley Barnett of Menlo Park say they jumped at the opportunity to bring the film festival to the Peninsula, and helped handpick the selection of documentaries to appeal to local interests. They hope Doc5 will become a regular event in the Bay Area.

“The Cave of Adullam” is a documentary that follows a group of teenage boys and their personal stories as they train at a martial arts academy in Detroit. (Photo courtesy Doc5 Festival)

The festival opens at 3 p.m. on Sept. 7 with a showing of “Cave of Adullam,” a Tribeca Film Festival-winning, coming-of-age Black in America story about boys at a martial arts academy in Detroit.

“My So-Called High School Rank” is next in Wednesday’s lineup at 7:15 p.m. The film depicts musical theater students at Cupertino High School and two other schools in different regions of the United States, and the pressure they feel to get into college.

After the screening, Chloe Boyan and Shelby Wulfert will sing “Come Up For Air,” a song from the musical “Ranked,” which is featured in the film.

“Bad Axe,” an award-winner at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival, will show on Sept. 8 at 1:30 p.m. The story revolves around the struggles a Cambodian-Mexican family faces in rural America in 2020. The film is followed at 4:30 p.m. by “Exposure,” a documentary about 11 women from Arab and Western countries and their harrowing experience exploring the Arctic, aiming to reach the North Pole.

“The Janes” tells of a collective of young activist women in Chicago in the late 1960s who help others get access to safe abortion care. (Photo courtesy Doc5 Festival)

Doc5 closes on Sept. 9 with a screening of “The Janes” at 10:30 a.m., followed by a luncheon talk with the directors and some of the original members of the Jane Collective, the subject of the film. The underground network of women helped provide care when abortion was illegal in the late 1960s.

Earlier this year, Solomon heard some of these women speak at a CMP screening of the film in Chicago.

“They are so committed, they’re very inspiring,” she says.

CMP has been showcasing and supporting documentary films for close to 10 years. Solomon says one reason she joined CMP is “my dollars will impact socially, and (highlight) social justice to thousands, because these films are seen by people around the country and world.”

Doc5 takes place Sept. 7-9 at the Guild Theatre, 949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. A pass to see all five films, plus attend a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception on opening night, costs $75. Single film tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for students, seniors, active-duty military and first responders. Tickets are available online at and at the Guild Theatre box office.

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