Thessaloniki Doc Fest names its Masters of Documentary 2020

Thessaloniki Doc Fest names its Masters of Documentary 2020

The Kingmaker by Lauren Greenfield

Legendary Magnum photographer Raymond Depardon, avant-garde French-Colombian filmmaker Laura Huertas Millán and Lauren Greenfield, who chronicles the accumulation and expenditure of vast wealth, will be in the spotlight at Thessaloniki Doc Fest (5-15 March 2020).


French artist Raymond Depardon, whose work spans six decades, during which he has filmed dozens of documentaries as well as fiction films, will be lauded at the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival primarily for his documentary work. 


Inspired by cinema verité, Depardon’s documentaries narrate everyday stories. He claims that he considers himself to be a better reporter than photographer and notes that cinema has always been his greater passion. The festival will present his three latest documentaries.


Journal de France (2012, 100 minutes) is described as both a journal and  a voyage through time in which Depardon’s long-time partner and collaborator Claudine Nougaret rediscovers some of the unseen footage he has carefully kept: his first steps behind the camera, his TV reports from around the world, snatches of their memories and of our history. 


In France (2016, 84 minutes), Depardon delivers a unique picture of France today. Tender, moving, powerful – a film that will reveal the country’s intimate side, while 12 Days (2017, 87 minutes) captures the extraordinary encounters between the French judiciary and psychiatry community in determining whether patients should or shouldn’t be placed within care.


Lauren Greenfield, who documents extravagant wealth, especially in the US, will present some of her short and feature documentaries. Excess, abundance, popularity, power, the commodification of sex and the obsession with the perfect body are among the issues tackled by Greenfield in her photographic and cinematic work. 


Films within the tribute include The Kingmaker (pictured, 2019, 101 minutes) which centres on the indomitable character of Imelda Marcos and examines her family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. 


Generation Wealth (2018, 106 minutes) is described as Greenfield’s “postcard from the edge of the American empire” which captures a portrait of a materialistic, workaholic, image-obsessed culture. Simultaneously autobiographical and historical, the film bears witness to the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream, and the personal costs of late stage capitalism, narcissism and greed. 


Thin (2006, 103 minutes) is the story of four women suffering from anorexia and bulimia in South Florida, while The Queen of Versailles (2012, 100 mins) is a film about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis. 


Thessaloniki will also present the self-styled “ethnographic fiction” of Laura Huertas Millián. Deciding on an anthropological approach, the French-Colombian artist changes, in unexpected ways, the tradition of ethnographic documentary, exploring notions such as freedom and often documenting the encounter between traveler and indigenous people.


The retrospective includes Jiibie (2019, 25 minutes) in which the production ritual of the green coca powder (called mambe or jiíbie) unveils an ancestral myth of kinship. In the Muiná-Muruí community, the coca plant is not a product, but a sacred interlocutor, the beating heart of a collective body.


The Labyrinth (2018, 21 minutes) is a journey into the labyrinthine memories of a man involved in the spectacular rise and fall of the drug lords in the Colombian Amazon. Wandering through the forest and a mansion in ruins (a replica of the villa from the television show ‘Dynasty’), this man will soon become the protagonist of his own hallucinatory account.


In the 6-minute Jeny303 (2018), one single film roll intertwines two portraits: Jeny, the femme fatale alter ego of an anonymous millennial transgender, and a Colombian university space, the 303 building, about to be demolished.