Sundance 2017 Profiles: World Cinema Documentary Preview

By Grater, Tom; Parfitt, Orlando | Screen International, January 14, 2017 | Go to article overview

Sundance 2017 Profiles: World Cinema Documentary Preview


Grater, Tom, Parfitt, Orlando, Screen International


WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

The Good Postman (Fin-Bulg)

Dir Tonislav Hristov

Premiering in competition at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in November, The Good Postman is about a man who runs for mayor in a small Bulgarian village, convinced they should do more to help with Europe's refugee crisis. Bulgarian director Hristov's credits include Spaghetti Western doc Once Upon A Dream, while producer Kaarle Aho's credits include Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look Of Silence. Backers include the Bulgarian National Film Centre, the Finnish Film Foundation and Bulgarian National Television. The project participated in the 2016 edition of the Prague-based Dok.Incubator programme.

Contact: Cat & Docs cat@catndocs.com

In Loco Parentis (Ire-Sp)

Dirs Neasa Ni Chianain, David Rane

For their new project, co-directors Ni Chianain and Rane spent a year in the Hogwarts-like Headfort boarding school in Ireland. The film focuses on the long-serving teachers John and Amanda Leyden, who are nearing retirement. In Loco Parentis became the first Irish doc to make the 15-film main competition shortlist at IDFA. Co-director Ni Chianain is best known for her controversial 2007 film Fairytale Of Kathmandu, about the poet Cathal O Searcaigh's ethically dubious relationships with Nepalese teenagers.

Contact: Soilsiu Films david@soilsiu.com

It's Not Yet Dark (Ire)

Dir Frankie Fenton

The Irish Film Board backed this doc about filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice, paralysed with motor neurone disease (also known as ALS), who went on to direct a feature film using eye-gaze technology. The result of which, My Name Is Emily, opened Galway Film Festival in 2015. It's Not Yet Dark is a doc about the making of that film and went on to win the best Irish feature documentary prize at Galway in 2016. Fenton is an experienced TV director who also has The Good Reactor, about the energy crisis, in post. Both films are produced by Kathryn Kennedy of Ireland's Kennedy Films.

Contact: Autlook Film Sales salma@autlookfilms.com

Joshua: Teenager Vs Superpower (US)

Dir Joe Piscatella

Piscatella's documentary is about Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a prominent student activist in Hong Kong who has become one of China's best-known dissidents. Piscatella's credits include #chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes On A Dictator, which was an award winner at IDFA in 2013. Joshua was produced by Piscatella with Matthew Torne and Mark Rinehart.

Contact: June Pictures cchidsey@junepictures.com

Last Men In Aleppo (Den)

Dirs Feras Fayyad, Steen Johannessen

This Danish-produced documentary follows Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud, founding members of the White Helmets, the volunteer civil defence organisation that operates in rebel-controlled areas of Syria. Most of the footage comes from local reporters and photographers working for Aleppo Media Center (AMC), an independent news organisation covering the civil war. Larm Film's Soren Steen Jespersen produced in collaboration with AMC, and the film also received funding from the Danish Film Institute.

Contact: DR Sales kimc@dr.dk

Machines (India-Ger-Fin)

Dir Rahul Jain

Jain's debut feature premiered at IDFA in November to much acclaim. He paints a stark but non-judgmental picture of the lives and working conditions of men and women in an enormous textile factory in Gujarat, north-west India. Jain studied at the California Institute of Arts in Los Angeles, and Machines was selected for the Work-In-Progress Lab at Film Bazaar in Goa in 2015.

Contact: Autlook Film Sales salma@autlookfilms.com

Motherland (US-Phil)

Dir Ramona Diaz

Diaz returns to Sundance some 13 years after her film Imelda, about former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, played in the World Cinema Documentary Competition strand. Her latest film is also set in the Philippines, inside the world's busiest maternity hospital, which every day faces an uphill battle due to the Catholic country's ongoing struggle with its reproductive health policy. …

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