The Third Motherland, (Cyprus, 2011), Costas Constantinou & Yiorgos Kykkou Skordis – 55’
What does "belonging" really mean? How does it feel to be caught in between two motherlands? What burdens and what opportunities does belonging to an "other" motherland entail? How does ethnic conflict exacerbate identity issues and what kind of impact does it have on the cultural heritage of small minority groups? Filmed in Cyprus and Lebanon, The Third Motherland poses these questions by way of the Cypriot Maronite community. The film reveals the dilemmas of identification and belonging and documents opposing feelings and beliefs within and beyond the community. This is a film about cultural loss, cooption and human rights violations, but also national pride, cultural revival and taking pleasure in everyday life.
Family Matters, (Ελβετία 2010), Sarah Horst – 27’
Family Matters, (Switzerland 2010), Sarah Horst – 27’
In Competition at FIPA, Biarritz 2011
If it’s difficult for a father to find out his son is a homosexual, imagine what it must be like the other way around! All grown up now, Lukas tries his best to understand: did his parents really want him or did his eccentric father have him on a whim? The film sits us down at the family table, eavesdropping in on conversations that, at the end of the day, aren’t all that different from what we're used to. In fact, thanks to this adorably off-beat family, you might even start wondering whether love, sex, marriage, family, heterosexuality and reproduction are as interdependent as society would have us believe.
A Piece of Summer, (Πολωνία 2010), Marta Minorowicz – 23’ A Piece of Summer, (Poland 2010), Marta Minorowicz – 23’ Golden Dove Prize, Best International Short Documentary, DOK Festival, Leipzig 2010
Location: somewhere in the Polish countryside. Characters: grandfather and grandson.
Shot in a hut deep in the Polish woods, A Piece of Summer closely observes the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson, juxtaposing wisdom with childish fears. Time is standing still. It feels like an endless summer, just like the ones you used to dream of as a child. It’s a perfect marriage of idyllic landscapes and flawless framing, filled with golden sunlight that penetrates the trees and bounces off crystal waters.
Gaza We Are Coming, (Greece 2009), Yiorgos Avgeropoulos & Yannis Karypidis - 49’ Audience Award, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2010
The Greek-language section of the Festival is topped off with an Audience Award, as Gaza We Are Coming, courtesy of the Exandas team, dominated viewers’ preferences at the recent Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. A few short months before the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008, a handful of activists achieved an impossible feat: they broke the naval siege, illegally imposed by the state of Israel on Gaza, for the first time in 41 years. Yorgos Avgeropoulos, an old festival acquaintance, documents this life-affirming mission proving that history is sometimes made by dreamers.
What’s in a Name, (Belgium 2010), Eva Küpper - 70’
Student Documentary Award, International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam-IDFA 2010
Eva Küpper might be a recent entry in the European documentary scene, but she has absolutely no qualms when it comes to steering dangerous waters. What’s in a Name infiltrates the life of an infamous New York performance artist by the name of Jon Cory, who specializes in what he calls ‘gender terrorism’. Carpenter by day and transsexual performer by night, he knows exactly where he stands, until one day he decides to get breast implants to enhance his performance. Does that mean he should start going by the name of Rose even when he has his man-pants on?
Greenlit, (U.S.A.2010), Miranda Bailey - 50’
South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) 2010, International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam IDFA 2010
Greenlit is the story of a first-timer trying out her luck at the biggest movie industry in the world. Miranda Bailey, a young environmentally inclined producer, decides to change her ways after she realizes that Hollywood is the Los Angeles area’s No 1 polluter! In her first directorial effort, she documents her passionate - yet unintentionally hilarious - efforts to reform a small film crew that simply refuses to digest the concept of recycling. I guess Kermit the Frog was right after all: It's not easy being green!
Kinshasa Symphony, (Germany 2009), Claus Wischmann & Martin Baer - 95’
Berlin Film Festival-Berlinale 2011, In Competition at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam-IDFA 2010
Kinshasa Symphony, the real-life struggles of a 200-member orchestral outfit from Kongo, is sure to knock you off your feet. Starting each and every day with endless hours of manual labour, these natural born musicians still manage to wrap up their shift with a hop and a skip – even if they have to replace their violin strings with bicycle brake cables. Don’t be surprised if by the end of the film you start making out African beats in Beethoven concertos. Who knows, maybe that’s just what he had in mind!
Into Eternity, (Denmark 2009), Michael Madsen – 75’
Green Screen Award, International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam -IDFA 2010
Somewhere in Finland, below the earth’s surface, tons of nuclear waste is permanently stored, with the intention of remaining there for 100.000 years until it is rendered inactive. As soon as the tanks are filled, they will be sealed forever. But who’s going to warn our descendants of what we’re about to leave behind? How can we be certain future generations will still understand our language - or even recognize our symbols - in order to steer clear of danger? And if someday, thousands of years from now, some poor misguided soul mistakes it for some kind of treasure and breaks the seal before their time?
Nostalgia de la Luz, (France – Germany – Chile 2010), Patricio Guzmán - 90’
ARTE Award, International Documentary Festival DOK-Leipzig 2010, Special Screening Cannes Festival 2010
Veteran documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán is back with a giant undertaking that goes digging for memories at the Atacama desert. In a film so profound, it almost transcends the boundaries of non-fiction, Guzmán combines a nearly metaphysical approach to the human condition with a mystical astronomical journey laced with bottomless pain. Let us not forget the legendary Atacama, the driest desert in the world, was Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s favorite burial ground, where he disposed of thousands of dissidents, never to be heard of again. But that doesn’t mean their relatives have stopped looking...
Cinema Komunisto, (Serbia 2010), Mila Turajlic - 100’
Best Documentary Award, Trieste International Film Festival 2011, In Competition at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam-IDFA 2010
Cinema Komunisto quite wonderfully tracks the history of former Yugoslavia through its cinema, once a thriving industry, that reached its peak during Josip Broz Tito inspired presidency. The cinephile leader often spent the entire night watching Westerns, and was so determined that his country develop a bustling movie industry that soldiers often served their entire duty as extras in war films. Debut director Mila Turajlic beautifully recaps her country’s glorious film history only to come back to a crumbling reality, haunted by rotting old studio complexes filled with nothing but memories.