Filmmaker Shaunak Sen discusses how his Oscar-nominated doc All That Breathes took flight. “There is no film, in a way, without Rise Films. They’re phenomenally important,” the director says of the production company whose other credits include Icarus and The Invisible War. “Teddy [Leifer] and I became like a pitching machine. We pitched ad infinitum…”
Available on The New Yorker website, the short doc Haulout highlights the ongoing crisis faced by migratory animals living in the Arctic, among them 100,000 walruses, whose very existence is threatened by global warming. “What is happening in the Arctic Ocean will impact us here in the UK, in America, in the south, everywhere…this is what our film is about,” says Evgenia Arbugaeva.
British editor/director Giles Gardner talks to Business Doc Europe about the film he co-directed with Oscar-winning US filmmaker James Ivory, about the hitherto unseen footage of Afghanistan that the latter shot over 60 years ago, and how his identification with eastern culture proved to be life-changing. “I wanted to find out what he was thinking at the time, and who he was at the time,” says Gardner of his illustrious friend.
On February 5, Docpoint (Helsinki) will screen In Spring, a joyful silent film depicting life in Kyiv in 1929, to raise funds for the Ukrainian Docudays festival. It will be accompanied by a live score composed and performed by Ukrainian Roksana Smirnova and Misha Kalinin. Leading doc consultant Martijn te Pas appeals to more European festivals to programme this film for Ukraine, and interviews musicians Roksana and Misha for BDE.
It’s 13 years since Flore Cosquer joined the Scottish Documentary Institute, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. Last summer, she became SDI Director, taking over from irrepressible founder Noe Mendelle. Now Cosquer is promising a new “chapter” at the organisation which has been at the heart of the Scottish doc scene for these two past decades.
Artist and filmmaker Guido van der Werve, who nearly died in 2016 following a terrifying cycling accident, talks about his searingly honest and highly audacious new film. “It wasn’t easy work,” van der Werve concedes of the process of making it. “I was so badly injured, so at the beginning I was nothing. Then I tried to figure out what happened, as we humans do.”
Roman Liubyi’s film concerns the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014, for which the Russians were responsible but have done everything they can to cover their tracks and shift the blame. “One of the central goals from the very beginning was [to show] the Russian media activity round it [the tragedy],” he tells BDE of his determination to examine how the Russian propaganda machine works.
“The main thing that I feel sets Is There Anybody Out There? apart from a lot of other disability films (if I may be so bold), is that it is nothing to do with a medical condition really, and all to do with disabled people being perfect just as we are,” UK filmmaker Ella Glendining tells Business Doc Europe on arrival in Park City for the world premiere of her autobiographical doc.
B2B Doc, in collaboration with the Institute of Documentary Film and with the support of the International Visegrad Fund, has put out a call for Ukrainian documentary projects to take part in the B2B Doc-arranged workshop and pitch sessions (24-28 March), aimed at industry professionals from the Visegrad countries, and held during East Doc Platform (Prague). Submissions close February 28, 2023.
The Impact Days Industry programme of FIFDH (International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights) will this year run 12-14 March. “Through targeted partnerships, its ambition is to use the power of documentary film as a tool for concrete social and policy change,” write organisers. The 21st FIFDH takes place 10-19 March in Geneva.
The traditional presentation of the Ji.hlava festival selection will commence with Czech Joy 2022 competition winner Kapr Code as part of the Festival Cinema de Ville. The official opening of ‘Echoes’ will take place in the seat of the European Parliament on February 7 with the screening of Pongo Calling. Further Echoes of 26th Ji.hlava IDFF are planned to take place over the following months in Bucharest, Paris, New York, and Bratislava.
The financing market has 3 different activities in 2023: the Public Pitch, the Speed Meetings and the Rough-Cut Pitch, all of which are open to projects from across the world. All DocsBarcelona Industry activities will be conducted in English. The deadline for project submission is February 28. DocsBarcelona Industry will run 23-26 May.
The Greenland-Denmark doc Twice Colonized by Lin Alluna will open this year's CPH:DOX on March 15. The film will also compete in NEXT:WAVE competition. “Twice Colonized deals with the personal consequences of colonialism and gives us a much-needed new perspective on the colonial history of Denmark, as well as in the rest of the world,” comments CPH:DOX Artistic Director Niklas Engstrøm. The festival runs March 15-26.
The next edition of Sunny Side takes place June 19-22 in La Rochelle (France). “Viewers will hold center stage as Sunny Side of the Doc will address some of the industry's most burning issues through the lens of audiences,” write organisers. This year, pitches will be divided into two main categories: Specialist Factual and Focus of the Year. The deadline for submissions is midnight CET on April 6.
Leading sales outfit Deckert Distribution will be selling the recent Sundance title at the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin, alongside Indian Sarvnik Kaur’s Against the Tide (Special Jury Award for Verité Filmmaking at Sundance 2023) and Eastern Front by Vitaly Mansky and Yevhen Titarenko, world-premiering in Berlinale Encounters. Deckert Distribution also welcomes new sales & acquisitions exec Tommaso Priante.
Greek filmmaker Stavros Psillakis and Austrian Nikolaus Geyrhalter will be the subjects of tributes during the upcoming Thessaloniki documentary celebration, March 2-12. The Festival will also bestow honorary Golden Alexander on the directors. “They both share the common vision of exploring the truth, the boundaries and the unseen aspects of our world,” write organisers.
Even for those, like me, unfamiliar with the later Turkish filmmaker Ömer Kavur’s oeuvre, this hybrid road movie which bears his name is a compelling and gorgeously shot meditation on how to live, travel and work. Melancholic and seemingly outside of time, Kavur, which world-premiered in Rotterdam’s Cinema Regained section, is a rare find.
An engaging, charmingly candid and ultimately warm-hearted film that depicts the complex lives within a neurodiverse working-class Australian family. We have seen verité-style documentaries that follow families before…but this family is unlike any other, and the film appropriately offers them a lovely (and loving) filmic platform.
Less about protestors on the streets and more about the personal and emotional impact of fighting against a brutal regime, Syrian filmmaker/journalist/campaigner Lina’s film is a moving and thoughtful look into how protests are planned, how friendships are challenged and how fear of violence is a terrible constant.
A brotherly bond on the sea is tested by tradition, family, global warming and changing ways in Sarvnik Kaur’s absorbing and beautifully shot documentary Against The Tide, which premiered in Sundance’s World Cinema Documentary Competition. Two good friends, a pair of indigenous Koli fishermen in Bombay, find themselves on different sides of the increasingly desperate debate as to how best to fish within a sea that no longer offers up catches in abundance.
TRAILERS AND FILMS