A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Camden International Film Festival Program Announced
Camden International Film Festival Announces 2017 Festival Slate and an Expanded Storyforms Showcase of Nonfiction VR
CIFF opens with the World Premiere of Dustin Nakao Haider's Shot in the Dark, Executive Produced by Michael Gottwald and Josh Penn of Court 13 (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
Showtime Documentary Films joins as 2017 Headlining Sponsor.
CAMDEN, Maine, August 21, 2017 – The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) today announced the slate of feature and short films for its 13th edition, which will take place September 14-17, 2017 throughout Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine.
Recognized as one of the top documentary film festivals in the world, CIFF saw a 30% rise in submissions for its 2017 edition. This year, the festival will present 37 features, 35 short films, and a dozen virtual reality experiences from 30 countries.
CIFF will open with the world premiere of Dustin Nakao Haider’s Shot in the Dark, with the film’s director and special guests in attendance. The film program includes the presentation of 12 features making their North American or US Premieres, and 2 sneak preview screenings by award-winning filmmakers. Keeping with CIFF’s mission to discover and support new talent in nonfiction filmmaking, over half of the lineup’s 37 features are made by first- or second-time filmmakers.
Additional highlights include titles making their US debut following premieres at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (Love Means Zero, Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars, Cocaine Prison), the North American premieres of films coming from Locarno (Sand und Blut, Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?) and Venice (This Is Congo), award-winning films from Visions du Reel (Taste of Cement, All That Passes By Through a Window That Doesn’t Open) and Berlin (El Mar La Mar, House In The Fields, Devil's Freedom) alongside some of the year’s top documentaries (Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Whose Streets?, The Work). Nearly all screenings will be attended by the filmmakers.
“This year’s slate underscores documentary as a thriving art form, one that provides unique opportunities to engage with the world around us,” says Ben Fowlie, Executive Director of the Points North Institute, and founder of the Camden International Film Festival. “We’re honored to showcase over seventy of the most inspiring and creative voices from across the globe working in nonfiction storytelling today.”
“This formidable collection of documentaries offers unexpected moments of courage, humour, creativity, and affection to stories that are often difficult to access or to tell,” says Samara Chadwick, who recently joined the CIFF team as Programmer. “With so much to explore at the festival, this year we are highlighting currents across the CIFF, Storyforms and Forum programs with filmmaker talks, extended Q&As and thematic strands that explore issues of race in America, the refugee crisis, and the complicated intersections between documentary and journalism.”
The 13th Camden International Film Festival is a program of the Points North Institute, an expanded media arts organization established in July 2016. Building on CIFF’s long-established role in the nonfiction film community, the Points North Institute furthers its mission through programs that provide a launching pad for the next generation of nonfiction storytellers.
This year, eight projects that have participated in the Points North Institute’s Artist Programs will be screening at CIFF. These titles include All That Passes By Through A Window That Doesn’t Open, No Man’s Land, The Cage Fighter, The Family I Had, The Reagan Show, The Sensitives, Whose Streets? and Commodity City. These films have garnered awards and debuted at prestigious festivals including Sundance, Locarno, Tribeca, Rotterdam, and Visions du Reel.
“Screening at CIFF this year feels like a homecoming,” says Sabaah Folayan, Director of Whose Streets?, distributed by Magnolia Pictures. “This community believed in our project when it was still just an idea and it means everything to be able to come back and share the finished film.”
The incoming filmmakers selected for this year’s Artist Programs at CIFF will be announced onSeptember 5.
This year also features an expanded 2nd edition of Storyforms: Remixing Reality, CIFF’s exhibition of VR, immersive media, and installations. For the first time, Storyforms will present "room-scale" and "walk-around" VR experiences. Highlights include Tree by Milica Zec and Winslow Porter, which comes to CIFF after showing at Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes. Storyforms will also include a sneak preview of the latest groundbreaking walk-around VR experience produced in a new collaboration between FRONTLINE PBS and Nonny de la Peña’s Emblematic Group, which brings climate change to life as never before, allowing viewers to travel alongside NASA scientists to a place where the glaciers are melting faster and faster.
“The establishment of the Points North Institute provides a larger platform to explore the evolution of documentary in the digital age,” said Points North Institute’s Program Director, Sean Flynn. “The artists featured in this year’s Storyforms are using new tools and technologies to revolutionize the ways in which the real can be represented and shared with audiences.” The section will be open to festival passholders at 21 Winter Street in Rockland, Maine, betweenSeptember 14 – 17. For aspiring VR makers, CIFF is also partnering with Maine Media Workshops to offer a 2-Day Crash Course in Virtual Reality Filmmaking, which runs Sept 13-14and is now accepting enrollment. More info at: https://www.mainemedia.edu/workshops/filmmaking/2-day-360-filmmaking-vr
The Points North Institute announced that SHOWTIME®, under the Showtime Documentary Films banner, will serve as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2017 Points North Fellowship and a Headlining Sponsor for the Institute’s upcoming Camden International Film Festival.
The Points North Forum’s robust lineup of masterclasses, roundtables, panels, and industry delegates will be announced on Thursday, August 24, with additional programs and Fellows being announced shortly thereafter. The complete lineup of 2017 Features and Shorts may be found on the Points North Institute website. Festival passes are now on sale: http://pointsnorthinstitute.org/ciff/
2017 Camden International Film Festival Features
SHOT IN THE DARK - Opening Night Film Dustin Nakao Haider | United States | 96 mins Orr Academy’s basketball court is a haven. Outside, it’s a neighborhood racked with gangs and violence. Though each player has his own struggle, they’ll need to fight together if they ever want to break out. World Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
69 Minutes of 86 Days Egil Håskjold Larsen | Norway | 71 mins A 3-year-old girl and her family's long journey from a Greek refugee centre to Uppsala, in a film that gives the tragedy both a form and a face. US Premiere
A River Below Mark Grieco | USA, Colombia | 86 mins A River Below captures the Amazon in all its complexity as it examines the actions of environmental activists using the media in an age where truth is a relative term. Filmmaker in Attendance
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail Steve James | USA | 88 mins From acclaimed director Steve James, ABACUS tells the incredible family saga of the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Filmmaker in Attendance
All That Passes By Through a Window That Doesn't Open Martin DiCicco | USA, Qatar | 70 mins A journey by rail where workers reflect upon opportunity and regret, floating through a Eurasian expanse striving to fill their days and dreams, as much as their pockets. North American Premiere / PNI Alumni | Filmmaker in Attendance
Behold the Earth David Conover | USA | 63 mins A feature-length musical documentary film that inquires into America's divorce from nature, built out of conversations with leading biologists and evangelical Christians. Filmmaker in Attendance
Bobbi Jene Elvira Lind | Denmark. Sweden, Israel, USA | 96 mins A love story, and a film about a woman's fight for independence, a woman trying to succeed with her own art in the extremely competitive world of dance. Filmmaker in Attendance
Cocaine Prison Violeta Ayala | Australia, Bolivia, France & USA | 76 mins From inside one of Bolivia’s most infamous prisons, comes the story of the foot soldiers of the drug trade. US Premiere | Filmmakers in Attendance
Common Carrier James N. Kienitz Wilkins | USA | 78 mins A mix of artists struggle to perform their roles, at once connected and alienated by the plague of modern life. Filmmaker in Attendance
Devil's Freedom Everardo González | Mexico | 74 mins A deeply compelling investigation into the phenomenon of Mexico’s “disappeared” from the perspectives of those bereaved by, and those responsible for, some truly barbaric acts.
Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? Travis Wilkerson | USA | 90 mins This isn't a White Savior story. It's a White Nightmare story. North American Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
Do Donkeys Act? Ashley Sabin, David Redmon | UK | 72 mins A film that subtly subverts the notion of the “dumb beast” as it captures donkeys communicating emotionally with each other in the midst of healing from human cruelty and neglect. Filmmakers in Attendance
El Mar La Mar Joshua Bonnetta, J.P. Sniadecki | USA | 94 mins A portrait of the Sonoran Desert along the United States border with Mexico. Filmmakers in Attendance
Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars Lili Fini Zanuck | USA | 95 mins A look at the life and work of guitarist Eric Clapton told by those who have known him best, including BB King, Jimi Hendrix, and George Harrison. US Premiere
House in the Fields Tala Hadid | Morocco, Qatar | 86 mins House in the Fields is the first part of a triptych set in Morocco, that starts in the Atlas Mountains, journeys through Casablanca and finishes beyond the borders. US Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
In the Waves Jacquelyn Mills | Canada (Québec) | 60 mins An expressive documentary that depicts the life of 80 years old Joan Alma Mills in her aging coastal village as she finds herself confronted by the fragility of life. North American Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
Let There Be Light Mila Aung-Thwin, Van Royko | Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, USA | 90 mins Let There Be Light follows the story of dedicated scientists working to build a small sun on Earth, which would unleash perpetual, cheap, clean energy for mankind. After decades of failed attempts, a massive push is now underway to crack the holy grail of energy. Filmmaker in Attendance
Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell | USA | 80 mins A cinematic portrait of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. Through his eyes, we see both the changing landscapes of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture and the redemptive beauty in taking the unworn path.
Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle Gustavo Salmerón | Spain | 90 mins A bustling, loose-limbed portrait of actor-director Gustavo Salmerón's large family, especially his unforgettable mom. US Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
Love Means Zero Jason Kohn | USA | 89 mins Nick Bollettieri coached a generation of tennis champions, but his relentless desire to win cost him the relationship he valued most. US Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
Maineland Miao Wang | China, USA | 89 mins Chinese students now account for over one-third to one-half of international secondary school students, including in a small liberal arts college in Maine. Filmmaker in Attendance
No Man's Land David Byars | USA | 83 mins Embedded with the militants of the 2016 occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, NO MAN'S LAND provides a vivid depiction of events that have become emblematic of the current political divide. PNI Alumni | Filmmaker in Attendance
Purge This Land Lee Anne Schmitt | USA | 80 mins Contemplating the culpability of White America in the ongoing disenfranchisement of Black America, this film combines images of sites of white racial violence with anecdotal history of John Brown’s radical ethics. Sneak Preview | Filmmaker in Attendance
Quest Jonathan Olshefski | USA | 104 mins The moving portrait of a family in North Philadelphia who open the door to their home music studio, which serves as a creative sanctuary from the strife that grips their neighborhood.Filmmaker in Attendance
Resurrecting Hassan Carlo Guillermo Proto | Canada, Chile | 100 mins A blind family is haunted by the tragic death of their son Hassan and seek to resurrect his spirit and transcend their suffering, while singing in the subways of Montreal. Filmmaker in Attendance
Sand und Blut (Sand and Blood) Matthias Krepp, Angelika Spangel | Austria | 90 mins Private video footage narrated by refugees now living in Europe offers a new and intimate perspective on Syria and Iraq's recent history: a montage of haunting images of devastation, fear, and hatred. North American Premiere | Filmmakers in Attendance
Secret Screening Academy-Award Winning Director | USA A gripping investigation by one of the country's most celebrated directors. Sneak Preview | Filmmaker in Attendance
Shot in the Dark Dustin Nakao Haider | USA | 96 mins Orr Academy’s basketball court is a haven. Outside, it’s a neighborhood racked with gangs and violence. Though each player has his own struggle, they’ll need to fight together if they ever want to break out. Opening Night Film | World Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
Stranger in Paradise Guido Hendrikx | Netherlands | 72 mins A blunt film essay on the power relations between Europe and refugees. Filmmaker in Attendance
Taste of Cement Ziad Kalthoum | Germany, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar | 85 mins In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. North American Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
The Cage Fighter Jeff Unay | USA | 83 mins Although a man promises his wife and daughters that he will not return to competitive mixed martial arts fighting, he secretly begins training for the dangerous sport that gives him a sense of purpose. PNI Alumni | Filmmaker in Attendance
The Departure Lana Wilson | USA | 87 mins Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk-turned-Buddhist-priest in Japan, has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. Filmmaker in Attendance
The Family I Had Katie Green, Carlye Rubin | USA | 77 mins How does the mother to a murdered child and the murderer himself move forward, and what kind of relationship can she forge with her now incarcerated son? PNI Alumni | Filmmakers in Attendance
The Reagan Show Pacho Velez, Sierra Pettengill | USA | 75 mins Made up entirely of archival news and White House footage, this documentary captures the pageantry, absurdity, and mastery of the made-for-TV politics of Ronald Reagan. PNI Alumni | Filmmakers in Attendance
The Sensitives Drew Xanthopoulos | USA | 83 mins What if modern life made you sick? PNI Alumni | Filmmaker in Attendance
The Work Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous | USA | 87 mins Set entirely inside Folsom State Prison, "The Work" follows 3 men during 4 days of intensive group therapy with convicts, revealing an intimate and powerful portrait of authentic human transformation that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation. Filmmakers in Attendance
This is Congo Daniel McCabe | USA | 93 mins Following four compelling characters, the film offers a truly Congolese perspective and an immersive exploration into Africa’s longest continuing conflict. North American Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
Whose Streets? Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis | USA | 90 mins "Portrait of Ferguson May Be the Doc of the Year: Powerful you-are-there portrait of how a community raged in the aftermath of tragedy – and reacted with activism – could not be more vital" - Rolling Stone PNI Alumni | Filmmakers in Attendance
Established in 2016, the Points North Institute is a launching pad for the next generation of nonfiction storytellers. Building on the success of the Camden International Film Festival, which is now entering its 13th season, the Points North Institute’s mission is to bring together a unique, interdisciplinary community of filmmakers, artists, journalists, industry leaders and local audiences, forming a creative hub on the coast of Maine where new stories and talent are discovered, collaborations are born, and the future of nonfiction media is shaped. Programs include the annual Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum, as well as a year-round calendar of artist development initiatives that nurture the careers of diverse nonfiction storytellers and help them develop a stronger artistic voice.
Founded in 2005 and recognized as one of the top documentary film festivals in the world, the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) brings the finest non-fiction cinema to the coast of Maine, showcasing nearly 80 documentary films from around the globe each fall. Running concurrently with CIFF, the Points North Forum provides filmmakers and media artists with opportunities for professional development and creative inspiration. Past industry participants include representatives from HBO, A&E, BBC,CNN, Discovery, PBS, Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute, Vimeo and Kickstarter.
The 2017 Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum will take place September 14 - 17 in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine. Major support provided by Showtime Documentary Films, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Office of Tourism.