International Panorama

Susana de Sousa Dias / Portugal / 2009 / 93 min / Portuguese
Photos. Faces. Voices. Each tells the story of the 48-year dictatorship in Portugal. A haunting depiction of oppression and torture. Film Critics Prize, Dok Leipzig 2010.

The photographs capture their subjects frontally and in profile. They are official pictures, part of the record of repression taken by the dreaded PIDE, the secret police. What can a portrait photograph reveal about a political system? What can a picture taken 35 years ago tell us about our own society? Based on photographs taken following the arrest of political prisoners during the Portuguese dictatorship (1926-1974), 48 aims to convey the mechanisms by which a dictatorial regime seeks to self-perpetuate. In place of a face lined with its terrifying memory marks, there are photographs, floating up out of the darkness, staring back relentlessly, pouring words out of their asymmetries, reflecting on their time spent in prison. By means of an innovative cinematographic approach Susana de Sousa succeeds in creating a film of universal impact. The film takes the viewers to the darkest realms of physical and psychological ordeals via words and still images. A poignant yet quiet outcry against oppression and inhuman treatment.

producer: Ansgar Schäfer
editor: Susana de Sousa Dias
camera: Octávio Espírito Santo
sound: Armanda Carvalho

production info:
Campo Pequeno, 50-2º Esq.
1000-081 Lisboa, Portugal
tel.: + 351 21 795 72 68

Still Life (2005)
Agnus Dei: Lamb of God
Alejandra Sánchez / France & Mexico / 2010 / 81 min / Spanish
Abused by a priest at the age of 11, Jesús, now 26, decides to bring criminal charges against his attacker, and confronts him in person. FIPRESCI Prize, Dok Leipzig 2010

Agnus Dei is a candid documentary on the thorny subject of pedophilia in the Catholic Church. As an 11-year-old altar boy Jesús, now 26, was abused by a priest. Father Carlos, a priest and paternal figure respected by the community and seen as an unimpeachable authority, intimidated Jesús into long years of silence. Years later, however, Jesús decides not only to tell his story but also to bring criminal charges against his aggressor, and confront him in person. This is the story of his journey, a mandatory hiatus on the road to forgiveness, born of a deep-seated need to come to terms with the past. Jesús is torn between brotherly love and anger toward his sexual predator in this film full of nuances that gives a name and a face to a problem stigmatized by silence.

producer: Carole Solive
editor: Ana García
camera: Érika Licea, Pablo Ramirez Duron
sound: Sylvianne Bouget, Ana Garciá Ana Garciá
music: Tareke Ortiz

distribution info:
Maëlle Guenegues CAT&Docs
18, rue Quincampoix Paris
75004 France
tel: +33 1 4459 6353

selected filmography
Bajo Juárez, the City Devouring its Daughters (2006)
Autumn Gold
Jan Tenhaven / Austria & Germany / 2010 / 94 min / Czech & English & German & Italian & Swedish
Five senior athletes prove that being 80, 95, or even 100 years old is just a minor inconvenience when becoming a world champion is at stake. A stunning film about human dignity and the power to live. Audience award, One World FF, Prague, 2011
This film offers a sensitive, formally elegant, and cheerful portrait of five athletes competing at the 18th international senior citizen World Masters Championships in the Finnish city of Lahti. The makers of this documentary convincingly show us how well one can preserve a healthy spirit, a vigorous mind and admirable levels of fitness in an aging body. The protagonists include the Viennese centenarian Alfred Proksche, who paints female nudes in his spare time, the 94-year-old Italian discus thrower Gabre Gabric-Calvesi, 93-year-old Herbert Liedtke, a ferocious sprinter from Stockholm, and Jiří Soukup, an 82-year-old high-jumper from Hradec Králové. For them, preparing for the championships, like the individual competitions themselves, is primarily a race against time. Despite this, they hope that their performances next year will be a little bit better.

producer: Christian Beetz
editor: Jürgen Winkelblech
camera: Marcus Winterbauer, Martin Langner
sound: Patrick Veigel, Oliver Grafe, Oliver Prasnikar
music: Andy Baum

production info:
Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion Köln GmbH & Co. KG
Heinrich-Roller-Strasse 15 10405 Berlin Germany
tel.: + 49 30 695 669 10

selected filmography
Why We Buy (2009) / The War In Me – The Sleeping Trauma (2008) / Tracing the Ancestors – My Ancestors the Deathsmen (2007) / The Poorest Pay the Bill – Debt Release for the Third World (1999)

Closing in on Tanja
Leo de Boer / The Netherlands / 2010 / 90 min / Dutch & English & Spanish
In 2002, Tanja, a young Dutch woman, joined the Colombian guerilla movement FARC. Years later, her diaries are found, describing her loneliness and disillusionment with the struggle. Is there a way out for her?

During a raid on FARC rebel camps in 2007, a diary written by Tanja Nijmeijer is found. Enthralled by the vision of a leftist rebel movement fighting for the freedom of an oppressed people, this small-town student-teacher decided to join the guerilleros in the Colombian jungle. After the publication of her diaries, Tanja Nijmeijer hit the headlines worldwide. In her diaries she complains of patriarchal relations in her unit and her lost sense of purpose in continuing the fight. There were no more reports about Nijmeijer after the diaries came out. Filmmaker Leo de Boer makes contact with Dutch FARC-expert Liduine Zumpolle, who disclosed the diaries. For decades she has been working in a Columbian guerrilla reintegration program. De Boer visits her and decides to go and search for Tanja in Colombia. Tanja’s mother also arrives in Colombia and travels with the film crew to the front lines in an attempt to contact her daughter and convince her to return. Is Tanja still alive? What has happened to her since her diaries were discovered? Where is she now?

producer: Pieter van Huystee
editor: Patrick Janssens
camera: Leo de Boer
sound: Leo de Boer

production info:
Pieter van Huystee Film
Noordermarkt 37-39
1015 NA Amsterdam
tel.: + 31 (0)20 421 0606

selected filmography
The Vos Case (2008) / The Red Stuff (2000) / Sporen van beschaving - De Trein naar Grozny (2000) / Dreaming in October (1999) / The Russian Folk (1998) / Engelen des doods (1998) / The Road to Bresson (1984)
The Collaborator and His Family
Adi Barash & Ruthie Shatz / France & Israel & USA / 2011 / 85 min / Arabic & Hebrew
A Palestinian informer finds himself and his family trapped when his twenty years of services is not enough to earn a place in Israel.

The Collaborator and His Family is a chronicle of family, assimilation and espionage that follows the El-Akels, a Palestinian family whose father, Ibrahim, has been a collaborator for ideological reasons with the Israeli security services for 20 years. Branded as traitors by Palestinians, the entire family fled to Israel seeking the asylum that had been promised by Ibrahim's Israeli “operator.” Over a two-and-a-half-year period, as each day passes with no progress towards citizenship, tension builds within the family. Alienated and humiliated, Ibrahim's wife Yusra, three teenage sons and two daughters bear the consequences of Ibrahim's decision while struggling to assimilate into Israeli society. Co-directors Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz gain intimate access to the hardest moments the family face, observing as each connecting thread between family members unravels. This unflinching documentary highlights the experience of the many who risk their lives to collaborate with the enemy.

producer: Ross Kauffman, Adi Barash, Ruthie Shatz
editor: Janus Billeskov Jansen
camera: Adi Barash
sound: Zamir Shatz
music: Uri Frost

production info:
Yulari Films

selected filmography
Garden (2003) / Diamonds and Rust (2001)
Saaheb Collective / Israel / 2011 / 8 min / English
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seen through scrap-art. An inspiring look at an original artistic approach.

Eid is a Palestinian Bedouin living in a village in the southern Hebron hills. Ever since he can remember, Eid has picked up scrap materials and turned them into art. By following Eid's creative process, this film celebrates the optimism and integrity which enables him to transform occupation into an artistic expression of individuality and hope.

producer: Saaheb Collective
editor: Saaheb Collective
camera: Saaheb Collective
sound: Saaheb Collective

production info:
Saaheb Collective
Europolis, The Town of the Delta
Kostadin Bonev / Austria & Bulgaria / 2009 / 81 min / Romanian
The rise and fall of the town of Sulina, once the third largest port in Europe. An unsettling story of glory and decay set in the Danube Delta. Audience Award / London International Documentary Film Festival, 2011
There is no road to Sulina. You can only get to this bizarre place by river or by sea. Nevertheless, Sulina is not an island. Squeezed into the land between the many branches of the river, Sulina is the town of the Danube Delta. In the past, almost 100 years ago, the town was the third largest harbour in Europe. Today, Sulina is slowly dying, dreaming about a united Europe. What has happened to this place, isolated from the world? In 1933 Eugeniu Botez, a commandant of the harbour of Sulina, wrote a novel called Europolis under the name of Jean Bart. A year later he died. In this strange novel Jean Bart prophesies that one day nothing will be left of the town, once full of life. With the death of Europolis Europe will be slowly dying in agony. A few years later his prophecy started to come true.

producer: Penko Roussev, Alexander Binder
editor: Toma Waszarow
camera: Konstantin Zankov, Dimiter Mitov
sound: Eric Spitzer-Marlyn
music: Nikolai Ivanov

production info:
Kostadin Bonev
Compl. Nadejda 152 A, app.35
1220 Sofia, Bulgaria
tel.: + 359 888 465 735

selected filmography
War Correspondent (2008) / The Ships Are Full (2005) / Warming Up Yesterday’s Lunch (2002) / 1934 (1999) / The Patience of the Stone (1998) / Under a Cloud (1997) / Letters to the Nether World (1994) / Dream Hunters – A Documentary about Balkan Naïve Artists (1991)

Kaspars Goba / Latvia / 2010 / 70 min / English & Latvian & Russian
To Pride or not to Pride? A look at the years of battle between ‘Pride’ and ‘NoPride’ supporters in Riga, and the way political manipulation has shaped the debate.

In the summer of 2005, the first festive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s parade took place in Riga. Following the example of similar LGBT parades in Western Europe, they decided to call it “Pride.” Yet the good intentions spiraled into a chain of conflicts and controversies. Powerful emotions dramatically split Latvian society; the people involved were showered with human excrement and holy water, families were torn apart, jobs lost, and a priest expelled from the church for openly admitting his homosexuality. Jesus, the devil, patriotism, and human rights were invoked to support different views on the issue, and the press had a field day reporting on the ongoing scandal. Kaspars Goba followed the events for five years, starting from the first Pride Parade in 2005 to the decision not to hold Pride in Riga in 2010. The extensive footage collected over this period offers unprecedented insights into the opinions and life stories of the individuals on both the ‘Pride’ and the ‘NoPride’ fronts.

producer: Ieva Ūbele
editor: Gatis Belogrudovs, Visvaldis Zarakovskis
camera: Kaspars Goba, Marģeris Eglītis, Inese Apse
sound: Oskars Doma, Jānis Zaneribs
music:, Edgars Ozoliņš

production info:
Elm Media
Ganību dambis 15
Rīga, LV 1045, Latvija
tel: +371 283 66800

selected filmography
City of Sweets (2010) / Exploring Nature: Five Stories (2009) / Engure. Lake given by the Sea (2005) / Seda. People of the Marsh (2004) / The Green City (2003)
Arnaud Gaillard & Florent Vassault / France / 2011 / 68 min / English
Crime and capital punishment. Does executing the criminal bring solace to the victim’s family?

At nightfall, on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, surrounded by his family, a grandmother will attend the execution of her husband's murderer. In Oklahoma, a former death row inmate exonerated after 22 years in prison tells his amazing story. In Texas, a woman struggles against the criminal justice system for her son to survive, while he awaits execution for 14 years. In Huntsville, a small provincial town in eastern Texas, the Department of Correction performs the executions by lethal injection as an almost weekly ritual. This inquisitive documentary looks at the various aspects of the death penalty from victims to perpetrators. Highlighting the numerous absurdities of the system Honk! ignores the crimes committed for a moment, in order to ask one single question: is lethal injection a humane death?

producer: Arnaud Dommerc, Jean-Baptiste Legrand
editor: Léa Masson
camera: Arnaud Gaillard, Florent Vassault
sound: Matthieu Deniau, Sandy Notarianni

production info:
62 rue de Notre Dame de Nazareth
75003 Paris
tel.: +33 950 65 23 05

Florent Vassault: Bernard Thomas, les secrets de la gloire (2007)
I love you
Pavel Kostomarov & Alexander Rastorguev / Russia / 2011 / 81 min / Russian
Three young Russian men make a film about themselves: hangouts, dates, break-ups, and a lot of bad language.
Viewer discretion advised

Pavel Kostomarov and Alexander Rastorguev join forces with their protagonists in search of a new film language and methods of documentary filmmaking. The protagonists were chosen in Rostov-on-Don from among fifty open-minded non-professionals who were eager to use a camera and who agreed to record their daily lives as part of the documentary film project. Three of them became central characters in the film. The directors have arranged the real-life stories of three friends into a dynamic mosaic, with love as the leitmotif. The result is a fascinating and humorous melodrama, building strongly on the amateur video language. A low-budget film with collegial authorship that marks the contemporary era.

producer: Sergey Melkumov, Alexander Rodnyansky
editor: Pavel Kostomarov, Aleksandr Rastorguev, Susanna Baranzhieva
camera: Evgeniy Barabashev, Evgeniy Borisov and Stanislav Cherkasov
sound: Georgi Yermolenko

production info:
Non-stop Production
1, Mosfilmovskaya
119991 Moscow, Russia
tel.:+ 7 916 641 67 19

selected filmography:
Alexander Rastorguev:
You Too (2011) / Tender’s Heat: Wild Wild Beach (2007) / Clean Thursday (2003)
Pavel KostamArov:
You Too (2011) / The Mother (2007) / Transformator (2003)
Into Eternity
Michael Madsen / Denmark & Sweden & Finland & Italy / 2010 / 75 min / English & Swedish & Finnish
The world's final resting place for nuclear waste is soon to be sealed for 100,000 years. How can we prevent distant future generations from thinking they have found hidden treasure, or the pyramids of our time?

Every day, large quantities of highly radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants are placed in interim storage, which however is vulnerable to natural disasters and societal changes. In Onkalo, Finland, the world’s first permanent repository is being hewn out of solid rock to bury this waste. Onkalo is a gigantic network of tunnels being carved out of bedrock that will start receiving Finland’s nuclear waste in 2020. Once the repository is full, in about 100 years, it will be closed and will hopefully remain sealed for at least 100,000 years. Into Eternity takes viewers deep into the Onkalo facility as it is being constructed and asks Onkalo representatives, scientists, theologians and others to address fundamental but challenging questions, including how to warn distant generations of the deadly waste our civilization left behind? How do we prevent them from thinking they have found the pyramids of our time, mystical burial grounds, or hidden treasures? The film not only raises questions about the possibility of long-term nuclear waste storage, but also invites reflection on the limits of science and human knowledge, along with our responsibility to future generations and the heritage we leave behind.

producer: Lise Lense-Møller
editor: Daniel Dencik, Stefan Sundlöf
camera: Heikki Färm
sound: Nicolai Linck, Øivind Weingaarde

production info:
Magic Hour Films in co-production with Atmo Media Network & Film i Väst & Mouka Filmi
DK-Baldersgade 6
2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
tel.: +45 3964 2284
Producer Lise Lense-Møller

selected filmography
To Damascus (2005) / Celestial Night: A Film on Visibility (2003)
Kabul Dream Factory
Sebastian Heidinger / Germany / 2011 / 83 min / Dari
One woman, three careers: actress, policewoman, filmmaker. Saba Sahar fights to make Afghan society see its women without their veils.

At an advanced training course, all in uniform, Afghani provincial policemen watch a film: dressed in bright red, a woman defeats arrogant machos and fights off their violent attacks with Bollywood-style martial arts. Kabul Dream Factory tells the story of an exceptional Afghani woman, Saba Sahar, who combines a career as a policewoman with one as an actress and film director as she fights for society to recognise the independence of Afghani women. The film accompanies her as she tries to bring her new film project to fruition. Meetings with potential financial backers and attempts at getting support from western aid organizations sketch out the positions of the western donors as well as internal power hierarchies. Only gradually does Sahar lift the veil of privacy and, with her nine-month-old baby on her lap, open herself up to an almost idyllic future at the end of the story. Her utopian dream of the autonomy of woman becomes embedded in hopes and memories as Sahar taps out the rhythm of a song by an old Afghani singer on her little daughter’s temple.

producer: Nils Bökamp, Felix Kriegsheim
editor: Alexander Fuchs
camera: Alexander Gheorghiu
sound:, Sebastian Heidinger

production info:
Boekamp & Kriegsheim GmbH
Eisenbahnstrasse 11
10997 Berlin, Germany
tel.: + 49 30 609 800 880

selected filmography
Drifter (2007) / Lichtenberg (2004) / Der Prinz / Ludwig Zwo / Harakiri (2003) / Pelikanismus – Das Tobias Delius 4tet (1999) / Ahab im Altersheim (1998)
Karla’s Arrival
Koen Suidgeest / Belgium & Spain & USA / 2010 / 90 min / Spanish
A 19-year-old and her baby daughter live in a park in the Nicaraguan capital. How does she survive, homeless with a newborn baby?

Karla's Arrival follows 19-year old mother Sujeylin Aguilar and her baby Karla, as they struggle through the first year of the child's life. One day after beiong born, Karla travels in a cardboard box straight from the hospital to her future home: a park in the Nicaraguan capital Managua. Her underage mother Sujeylin ran away from home, became a drug addict and ended up on the streets, where she met Karla's father Juan Carlos. The story starts three months before Karla's birth and ends around her first birthday. For eight years now, Sujeylin has been living off the generosity of her wheeling-and-dealing boyfriend and the NGO's peppering the city. She doesn't expect the arrival of her baby to change much in her own life, planning to raise her in the park where she forms part of a group of colorful characters she considers her only family. Karla's Arrival takes its audience on the intense personal journey of a young woman's venture into motherhood under extreme circumstances. Narrated by the protagonist herself and told with gracious intimacy, the film offers a story full of hope, covering a universal issue we have not yet been exposed to.

producer: Koen Suidgeest, Emily Lobsenz
editor: Jan De Coster
camera: Koen Suidgeest
sound: Gerardo Pietrafesa
music: Martin Rasskin

production info:
El Rayo Films S.L.
Calle Infantas 21, 3° 1°
28004 Madrid, Spain
tel.: + 34 913 604 828

Casting (2006)
Cyril Tuschi / Germany / 2011 / 111 min / English & German & Russian
From socialist activist to innovative capitalist, and then to prisoner of conscience - Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s story highlights the struggle over justice in post-Soviet Russia.

For many young Russians, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of oil giant Yukos, is someone who stole a lot of money from their country. Others see him as a martyr, who stood in President Vladimir Putin's way and was therefore "removed" for political reasons to a Siberian jail, where his sentence was recently extended. But why did Russia's richest man return to the country from abroad when he had been given clear signals that he would be arrested and convicted? The director sets out to examine the circumstances surrounding the entire case, and even succeeds in recording a short interview with Khodorkovsky himself, the only one that was given during his imprisonment and court hearings. By way of interviews with relatives, colleagues and politicians, the filmmaker tries to ascertain the real reasons behind Khodorkovsky's detention.

producer: Cyril Tuschi
editor: Claudia Simonesci
camera: Cyril Tuschi
sound: Martin Frühmorgen
music: Arvo Part

production info:
LALA Film, Cyril Tuschi
Sophienstr. 18, 101 78 Berlin

selected filmography
Slight Changes in Temperature and Mind (2004) / TURN! (1997) / Nightland (1996) / Windrush (1995) / Excuses (1994) / Close (1993) / Frankfurt am Meer (1992)
Loving Sophia
Ohad Itach / Israel / 2010 / 72 min / Hebrew & Russian
From promising singer in a rock-band to drug addict and prostitute: how long is the road back?

The dark side of growing up as a new immigrant are powerfully explored in this intense documentary. Out on assignment to do a reportage on a prostitute for TV, filmmaker Ohad Itach meets Sophia, a drug-addict who prostitutes herself to earn money for yet another dose. Sophia is both strong and weak, vulnerable and impervious. Arriving in Israel from Moldova in the 1990s left her unstable and yearning for more. Sophia’s well-educated parents were unable to control their only daughter as she rapidly descended from singer in a rock-band to drug addict. Yet the family does give up hope of seeing their daughter come clean. Sophia’s wrenching journey into darkness and her struggle to come back to life without drugs is intimately documented by Ohad Itach, whose chance meeting with Sophia led not only to a powerful film, but to the possibility of moving forward.

producer: Ohad Itach
editor: Yoav Raz
camera: Haim Asias, Ohad Itach
sound: Alex Claude
music: Ophir Leibovitch

production info:
True production Ltd.
14 Chen Blvd
64071 Tel Aviv, Israel
tel: +972 50 759 0060
Marathon Boy
Gemma Atwal / India & UK / 2010 / 98 min / English & Hindi & Oriya
A four-year-old boy is plucked from the slums of India to become the country’s greatest runner. A tale of greed, aspiration, and broken dreams.

Gemma Atwal's dynamic epic follows four-year-old Budhia, rescued from poverty by Biranchi Das, a judo coach who runs an orphanage for slum children in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. When Budhia displays an uncommon talent for long distance running, Biranchi nurtures his gift, heralding him as a folk hero for the impoverished masses, and maybe even for India itself. But after golden child Budhia breaks down during a world-record 65 kilometer run at the age of four, public opinion begins to turn against the guru and his disciple, and soon the two are swept up in a maelstrom of media controversy and political scandal. Following Budhia's roller-coaster journey over five years, Marathon Boy is a Dickensian tale of greed, corruption, and broken dreams set between the heart-pounding world of marathon running, the poverty-stricken slums and the political intrigue of a modernizing India.

producer: Gemma Atwal, Matt Norman
editor: Peter Haddon
camera: Matt Norman
sound: Ajay Bedi, Subramanian Mani
music: Garry Hughes

production info:
Gemma Atwal
One Horse Town Productions
5 Downs Park West, Westbury Park, Bristol. BS6 7QQ
tel.: +44 7870 603926
Miner’s Day
Andrey Gryazev / Russia / 2010 / 62 min / Russian
Unemployment, drugs, violence, and love in a deserted Russian mining town. A film about the astonishing strength it takes to survive in the harshest conditions.
Viewer discretion advised

A small mining town in central Russia. 15 years ago it offered a secure life and a place to work. The mine has closed, but the old residential blocks remain, still housing families of ex-miners, many of whom lost their jobs and direction in life. How do these families survive if there are no jobs for anybody over 35? The film focuses on the relationship between Sasha and Irina. After an unsuccessful attempt to find work in Moscow, 37-year-old Sasha returns home to his disabled wife and looks for a job, receiving continuous rejections on the grounds that he is “too old.” Irina’s brother, recently released from prison after serving a sentence for homicide, moves in with them. His desire to start a new life is challenged by prison traumas and addictions. A poignant portrait of a family striving for normality under unbearable conditions.

producer: Natalya Manskaya
editor: Andrey Gryazev
camera: Andrey Gryazev
sound: no info
music: M. Tarivderviev, lyrics N. Dobronravov

production info:
Studio Vertov

Lednikoviy Period (2009) / Sanya and Sparrow (2009) / Street-Cleaner SP (2008)
The Other Chelsea – A Story from Donetsk
Jakob Preuss/ Germany & Ukraine / 2010 / 87 min / Russian
A real billionaire has to own a soccer team. Shakhtar Donetsk is Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov’s pet project. Big money and high hopes in Ukraine.

These days, a real billionaire has to own a football team. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the English club Chelsea, Georgian Merab Jordania bought the Dutch Vitesse; and Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov pumped millions into his hobby, Shakhtar Donetsk. This documentary is about two of the team’s fans: coal miner Sasha sits among the common people in the terraces, while local politician Kolya is proud to share the VIP box with the Ukrainian political and business elite. The billionaire Akhmetov invests heavily in the club, which is becoming a major European force during the season followed by the film. Yet this sporting success funded by an oligarch’s fortune only seems to highlight the wider social and political stagnation of the region. While following the ups and downs of Shakhtar, the director looks beyond soccer to where politics, showbiz and economics meet.

producer: Stefan Kloos
editor: Markus CM Schmidt, Philipp Gromov, Lena Rem
camera: Eugen Schlegel, Pavel Kazantsev, Roman Yelensky, Maxim Kuphal-Potapenko, Philipp Gromov, Felix Korfmann
sound: Oleg Goloveshkin
music: Dominik Sprungala

production info:
Kloos & Co. Medien GmbH
Schlesische Str. 29/30
10997 Berlin
tel.: +49 (0) 30 4737 2980

The Unburied War – Srebrenica, a Decade On (2005) / Torn Iran – Young People’s Worlds in the Islamic Republic (2003)
Our School
Mona Nicoara & Miruna Coca-Cozma / Switzerland & USA, / 2011 / 94 min / Romanian
Can EU money stop segregation of the Roma in school? 4 years in the life of a town in northern Romania: an in-depth look at generational prejudice, squandered opportunities, and good intentions gone awry. Sterling Award, Best US documentary, Silverdocs, Silver Spring, 2011

Our School follows three Roma children from a small Transylvanian town in Romania who are among the first participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. In 2006, Alin, Benjamin, and Dana set out from their dead-end segregated school for the city, optimistic for education and new friendships with Romanians. The children’s hopes and innocent optimism quickly soured as they met with low expectations and further isolation. Shot over four years, this tender vérité portrait fosters an intimacy in the children's profound reality and admiration for their indomitable spirit, which is punctuated by shocking instances of prejudice and ignorance. Their story touches on issues ranging from institutionalized racism, public education, and the intractability of poverty, culminating in an outrageous finale that cements the Roma children's struggle in the annals of egregious human rights violations. Our School is an absorbing, infuriating, and ultimately bittersweet story of tradition and progress.

producer: Mona Nicoara, Miruna Coca-Cozma
editor: Erin Casper
camera: Ovidiu Marginean
sound: Miruna Coca-Cozma, Mona Nicoara
music: Sasha Gordon

production info:
Mona Nicoara
Sat Mic Film
124 First Place
Brooklyn NY
11231 U.S.A.
tel.: + 1 917 574 2329
Out of Reach
Jakub Stożek / Poland / 2010 / 30 min / Polish
Two teenage girls abandoned by their mother fourteen years ago attempt to reestablish contact. Will they find each other?

For most of their lives Klaudia and Karolina were raised without a mother. Growing up with a rough and self-centered father, the sisters had to learn to be more responsible and independent than other teenagers. The girls are impressively mature, they solve their own problems, support each other in all circumstances. When the younger sister’s health begins to deteriorate, they make another attempt to rebuild family relations that have been neglected by adults for years. Having established telephone contact with their mother, who was deprived of her parental rights, they learn that she has moved to France. Inspired by the hope to see their mother again, one of the girls decides to travel to Paris and meet the long-lost mother in person. The film accompanies Karolina, the older sister, as she sear¬ches for someone she hasn’t seen for 14 years and whose telephone always goes straight into voicemail. Will the daughter be able to establish a bond with the mother she has not seen for more than a decade?

producer: Bartkowicz- Koszalka Natalia
editor: Jakub Stożek
camera: Michał Sosna
sound: Mikołaj Kaczmarczyk
music: Zbigniew Kowalski

production info:
Darklight Film Studio
Natalia Bartkowicz-Koszałka
ul. Normandzka 38, 30-383 Kraków, Poland
tel.: + 50 1 622 810

No Collapse (2008) / Everything Will Be Fine (2006) / From a Distance (2006) / I Am (2005)
Pablo’s Hippos
Antonio Von Hildebrand & Lawrence Elman / Colombia & UK/ 2010 / 81 min / English & Spanish
The rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the most notorious of the Colombian drug lords – through the eyes of his pet hippopotamus. A satirical look at Colombia’s bloody and painful recent history.

In the mid 1980's, Pablo Escobar was the world's most powerful drug dealer, and the third richest man in the world. He built a two–thousand-acre secure compound, deep in the Colombian jungle, complete with a lavish mansion and guest houses, stables, nightclub, a full-size concrete dinosaur park, and a private zoo housing hundreds of exotic animals, including two hippos that were settled into a man-made lake. Following his assassination in 1994, Escobar's assets were seized by the Colombian Government. 'Hacienda Napoles' was pillaged and destroyed: now only ruins remain and the animals have all disappeared. Except for the hippos. Far from starving to death, they have thrived and multiplied, making local fisherman fear for their lives and livelihoods. Pablo’s Hippos follows the 30-year career of the hippos -from their arrival from Africa through their gradual development into the new lords of the rivers - a parallel to Colombia’s own socio-economic adaptation and survival through 30 years of narco-trafficking and times of civil war and struggle. A story of unimaginable wealth, unabated sex, political intrigue, death, destruction, corruption, treachery and the ultimate legacy of a life dedicated to crime.

producer: Lawrence Elman, Antonio Von Hildebrand
editor: Francesco Bogino, Chris Peterson
camera: Mateo Londoño, Craig Kieff
sound: Andres Velasquez
music: José Villalobos, David Harrington, Ray Russell

production info:
Amber Entertainment/Drive Thru Pictures
Ileen Maisel, Lawrence Elman
21 Ganton Street, 4th Floor
London, United Kingdom
W1F 98N
tel.: +44 207 292 7170

selected filmography
Freeman (2011) / Coca Inc. (2011)
Position among the Stars
Leonard Retel Helmrich / Indonesia & The Netherlands / 2010 / 111 min / Indonesian
A film about the sweeping changes in modern Indonesia, following three generations of a family from a Jakarta slum. Best Documentary at IDFA 2010

One family, three generations, facing globalization in Indonesia. At the start of the film, grandmother Rumidjah has left the bustle of Jakarta to live in the countryside. But when her adolescent, smart Tari granddaughter turns out to be too much for her son Bakti to handle, Bakti asks his mother to return to the city’s slums to provide the girl with a sense of values and purpose in life. Tari is growing up in a time of increasing openness. The people around her are allowed, and even expected, to express their opinion about everything. Indonesia is experiencing the growing pains of a Western-style generation gap, a new phenomenon in the Muslim country. The entire family sees in the intelligent Tari a chance to raise their status and escape the slums of Jakarta. Rumidjah is pressuring Tari to finish school with honors and be the first in their family to go to university. However Tari wants what all teenagers want – mobile phone, fun with friends while her family works themselves to the bone to pay her tuition fees. Using the microcosm of this family, which is presented in great detail, this documentary also reflects all the fundamental issues concerning life in contemporary Indonesia - corruption, conflict between religions, generation gaps and a growing divide between rich and poor.

producer: Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich
editor: Jasper Naaijkens
camera: Leonard Retel Helmrich, Ismail (Ezther) Fahmi Lubish
sound: Ismail (Ezther) Fahmi Lubish
music: Fahmy Al-Attas, Danang Faturahman

production info:
Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich
Lloydstraat 5
5052 WP Netherlands
tel: +31 13 530 0276

selected filmography:
Promised Paradise (2006) / Shape of the Moon (2005) / Flight from Heaven (2003) / The Eye of the Day (2002) / Jemand auf der Treppe (1994) / Moving Objects (1992)
Marcus Lindeen / Sweden / 2010 / 60 min / Swedish
Two men who went through sex-change operations, but later changed their minds, talk about their lives, gender, and regrets. Best Documentary, Prix Europa, Berlin, 2010

Orlando and Mikael, born as men, go under the knife in the hope of finding their true selves, only to realize that life on the other side isn’t what they dreamed of. Mikael underwent surgery in the mid-90s as a 50-year-old, while Orlando was one of the very first sex change patients in Sweden in 1967. Mikael now dresses as a man again and is trying to persuade his doctors to restore his original gender. The surgery done, he finds himself trapped inside a strange body that isn't his, and feels lost between genders. Orlando tells the story of his 11-year marriage to a man who presumed that he was a biological woman, until one afternoon his secret was revealed. Today, Orlando is an androgynous dandy, donning a single diamond earring. He enjoys living as both: sometimes man, sometimes woman. Now well into their 60s, the two meet for the first time to talk about their lives as well as the one defining regret they share, their sexual reassignment.

producer: Kristina Åberg
editor: Marinella Angusti, Kristin Grundström
camera: Erik Persson, Andréas Lennartsson
sound: Agnieszka Lewalski, Jens Johansson
music: Martin Willert

production info:
Kristina Åberg
Atmo Media Network
tel.: +46 8 462 26 90
Sons of Perdition
Tyler Measom & Jennilyn Merten / USA / 2010 / 87 min / English
How many mothers do you have? How many wives would you dream of? A behind-the-scenes look into Warren Jeffs’ polygamous community and the lives of those who decided to escape from it.

Remote Colorado City on the Utah-Arizona border is home to the "Crick," a Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) community. This is the oldest polygamist compound in the United States; here men have several wives and raise their children by the strict code imposed and guarded by the FLDS’ prophet Warren Jeffs. In 2003, Jeffs began a systematic effort to cleanse his flock in preparation for the end of the world. He banned public schooling, gentile books, recreations, and excommunicated all his rivals and critics, marrying their women and children to other men. Hundreds of teenage boys escaped the community, giving up their families and salvation in the hope of an independent life. Sons of Perdition follows three boys after they leave the isolation of Colorado. With limited educations and rarely a stable address, they face enormous obstacles. All the boys have big dreams – starting with the hope of attending high school – yet they long desperately for contact with their families. With unprecedented access, directors Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten follow the teenagers for three years after their departure, creating powerful portraits of individualities struggling to be born despite the challenging traumas of the past. A timely, critical look at faith, family and religious exile in mainstream America.

producer: Julie Goldman, Tyler Measom, Jennilyn Merten
editor: Jenny Golden
camera: Tyler Measom
music: Mark Geary, Karl Odlum

production info:
Left Turn Films
205 E. Vidas Ave.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
tel.: +1 801 836 1578
Julie Goldman
tel.: +1 917 744 1355

selected filmography
The Furniture (2004) / Fall of Man (2003)
Staging a Revolution
Mathew Charles & Albina Kovalyova / UK / 2010 / 27 min / Belarusian & English & Russian
The Belarusian Free Theatre is officially banned but continues to perform in secret locations. The troup has become a vehicle for political resistance in Europe’s last dictatorship, and it proves why the show must go on.

As the European Union's sanctions seal Belarus from the outside, Lukashenko's control of the media closes it from the inside. But an oddball band of thespians are determined to fight the censorship. Banned by the state, Free Theatre performs in secret locations and texts the venue to audiences. Every play could be their last. Husband and wife team Nikolai Khalezin and Natalya Kolyada have devoted their lives to the theatre. They give voice to the outsiders of Belarusian society: the gay, the disabled, the mentally ill, and they provide a vehicle for political resistance in Europe’s last dictatorship. Actors such as Jude Law and Sienna Miller have expressed their support for the members of the Free Theatre. The dramatist Tom Stoppard has provided financial support to the ensemble. Staging a Revolution provides an intimate look into this underground world; a world that, for their own safety, Nikolai and Natalya may ultimately be forced to leave behind.

producer: Mathew Charles
editor: Juan Luis Passarelli
camera: Mathew Charles, Albina Kovalyova
music: Lucy Mulgan, Sergei Shnurov

production info:
Mathew Charles Daffodil Media
25 Church Crescent, London
N10 3NA U.K.
tel: +44 773 791 2505

selected filmography
Mathew Charles: Beyond the Pink Curtain (2009)
Ronit Kertsner / Israel / 2010 / 72 min / English & Hebrew & Polish
Is it possible to be both a Catholic priest and an observant Jew? Romuald Waszkinel’s amazing journey from a Polish church to a religious kibbutz in Israel.

Can you be a Catholic priest and an observant Jew at the same time? 12 years after he was ordained as a Polish Catholic priest, Romuald Waszkinel discovers that he was born to Jewish parents, and that his name was Jacob Weksler. The film follows his amazing journey: from saying mass in a church in Poland to life as an observant Jew in a religious kibbutz in Israel. Romuald is torn between his two identities, between being Romuald Waszkinel and being Jacob Weksler. He is unable to renounce either, and is therefore rejected by both religions and by the state of Israel. Choosing one faith seems to be the only possible answer. But which one? And how?

producer: Ronit Kertsner
editor: Ronit Kertsner
camera: Ron Katzenelson, Shalom Rufeizen, Oded Kimchi
sound: Sharon Shama
music: Barak Hanoch

production info:
Go2Films Distribution & Marketing
37/8 Issar Natanzon St.
Jerusalem 97787 Israel

selected filmography
Menachem & Fred (2008) / I, The Aforementioned Infant (2006) / Haktana Hanal (2006) / The Secret (2002)
Waste Land
Lucy Walker / Brazil & UK / 2010 / 98 min / English & Portuguese
Garbage into art, art into life: photographer Vik Muniz works together with locals at the world’s largest garbage dump in Rio de Janeiro. The power of art to transform and the alchemy of the human spirit. Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival, Berlinale, IDFA, 2010

Filmed over nearly three years, Waste Land follows successful art photographer Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to the world's largest garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in his native Brazil. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. What begins as a search for artistic inspiration quickly develops into a deeper level of social engagement - for the artist, for the filmmaker, and for the audience. Muniz manages something that modern art rarely does: he changes their lives. Just as the garbage is transformed into art, these human rejects gain a new sense of self-worth.

producer: Angus Aynsley, Hank Levine
editor: Pedro Kos
camera: Dudu Miranda
sound: Patrick O’Sullivan
music: Moby

production info:
Almega Projects
Angus Aynsley
tel.: +44 207 4797 410

selected filmography
Countdown to Zero (2010) / Blindsight (2006) / Devil’s Playground (2002)
When China Met Africa
Marc Francis & Nick Francis / France & UK / 2010 / 75 min / English & Mandarin
On the front line of China’s growing presence in Africa, the lives of a Chinese farmer, a road builder, and the Zambian trade minister reveal the expanding footprint of a rising global power.

When China Met Africa observes three men who represent different aspects of the budding relationship between China and Zambia. The Chinese propensity for hard work impresses Zambia's Trade Minister Felix Mutati, who is resolved to to secure millions of dollars of investment into the Zambian economy by providing China with every opportunity it needs to mine and build. Mr Liu is one of thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs who have settled across the continent in search of new opportunities. He has just bought his fourth farm and business is booming. His attitude resembles that of a neo-colonialist landowner as he instructs his workers from behind a fence. Engineer Li Jianguo is a project manager in northern Zambia. He is a loyal servant of the Chinese state-owned company commissioned by the Zambian government to lay a road. The intimate portrayal of these characters reveals the expanding footprint of a rising global power - pointing to a radically different future, not just for Africa, but also for the world.

producer: Marc Francis, Nick Francis
editor: Hugh Williams
camera: Marc Francis
sound: Nick Francis
music: Florencia Di Concilio

production info:
Speak-it Media Studio 2U
Leroy House, 436 Essex Road
London N1 3QP, UK
tel.: +44 20 7226 0444

Black Gold (2006)