The Netherlands 2014
directed by: Oeke Hoogendijk
In 2003, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the most important museum in all of the Netherlands, closed for a major renovation. The plan was to reopen in 2008, but what was to take five years took 10, with a budget that just kept on growing. Filmmaker Oeke Hoogendijk was able to follow this exciting, difficult and sometimes painfully funny process with the camera from behind closed museum doors. In beautiful images supported by powerful music, she captured the building as it was stripped to a bleak carcass, and as it gradually retrieved the old grandeur of yesteryear.
We watch from up close as various curators prepare the layout of their new rooms with tremendous passion and dedication. We follow the caretaker, who looks at the building as if it were his child and protects it against intruders, and the architects who constantly have to adjust their designs. And we follow the museum directors who must deal with financial setbacks, bureaucracy and squabbles – not to mention the activist cyclists. In the end, 400 hours of material was edited down to a single film that takes the viewer to the apotheosis: the reopening in 2013.
This exiting epic documentary took the award for Best Dutch Documentary in 2014 at the IDFA in Amsterdam, after the premiere at festivals and cinemas in USA. In the beginning of Decembar it’s theatre screenings started across the Netherlands.
Director's Word: What should have been a movie about the pride of Holland turned into nothing short of a Shakespearian drama, with failing project managers, cornered ministers and officials, quibbling contractors and foreign contract parties who were appalled to see how the slow decision-making process frustrated the renovations and eventually brought them to a complete halt. It was as if a great weight was pulling the project down and no progress could be made.
In 2008, when the management announced that the museum would be closed for another five years, I too realized that I was to spend another five years behind the walls of the Rijksmuseum and witness five more fascinating years of struggle.
Graduated theatre directing from the Academy of Arts in Utrecht (1990). She directed stage shows from 1990 until 1996 at numerous companies. In 1997 she studied television documentary at the Media Academy and worked as director for VPRO television programme. In 1998 she directed the documentary “A Happy Time” (Een gelukkige tijd) in conjunction with Paul Cohen, which was rewarded with the Dutch Academy Award and the Euro-Comenius Award (Vienna).
A HAPPY TIME (Een gelukkige tijd), 1998, with Paul Cohen
THE HOLOCAUST EXPERIENCE, 2002
THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUM (Het nieuwe Rijksmuseum), 2008
THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUM – THE FILM (Het nieuwe Rijksmuseum – De Film), 2014
Great Britain 2014
directed by: Orlando von Einsiedel
Depicting the best and the worst in human nature, Orlando von Einsiedel’s devastating documentary “Virunga” wrenches a startlingly lucid narrative from a sickening web of bribery, corruption and violence.
The setting is the magnificent — and protected — Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to many of the world’s last mountain gorillas and the region’s best hope for economic stability. In a country already weakened by a tumultuously bloody history, that hope became even more fragile with the 2010 discovery of oil beneath Lake Edward and the arrival of a British petroleum company, SOCO International. As multiple forces collided for control of the park — including a powerful rebel group seeking a percentage of oil profits — Orlando von Einsiedel and his crew members found themselves caught in a literal war between conservation and exploitation.
Using hidden cameras and the invaluable assistance of the fearless French journalist Mélanie Gouby, the director and the experienced editor, Masahiro Hirakubo, combine extraordinary footage of rebel tanks and clandestine palm-greasing with lush panoramas of serene wildlife. This is the film about true heroes: the gentle ranger who would die to protect the orphaned gorillas in his care; the park’s soft-spoken Belgian warden, whose astonishing courage calms everyone around him; a section chief trying to gather evidence of illegal oil company activities.
Director's Word: “Virunga” became a film about the cycle of violence and foreign interference that’s beleaguered Congo for the past 150 years and a film about arguably the most important conservation battle happening in the world at the moment. That said, I do believe that “Virunga” is still the ultimately uplifting and inspiring story I originally set out to make, charting how the dedication and integrity of a few African heroes can challenge powerful business interests and seemingly bottomless human greed. If Virunga National Park – Africa’s oldest national park and home to the world’s last mountain gorillas – falls in the face of shadowy business interests, we are effectively saying that nowhere on our planet is off limits to human greed. It’s for this simple reason that all of us have to make sure Virunga is protected.
Former professional snowboarder. Started the London-based TV and film production company “Grain Media” with a friend. During next five years besides documentaries he worked on music videos and promo’s for a number of bands and international brands. His short documentaries from Africa, Asia, America and the Arctic, won numerous awards and were screened on the prestigious film festivals. His themes are ranging from a skateboard school in Kabul to the tracking and arresting of pirates in West Africa.
directed by: Álex de la Iglesia
When one of the most important Spanish directors, Alex de la Iglesia was asked to make a documentary about world famous footballer Lionel Messi, he decided not to make the film about the sport but to look for the mistery behind it, for what he calls the “rosebud” moment. De la Iglesia was fascinated by the way that Messi polarises opinion in spite of his astonishing ability. “Half of the world loves Messi. The other half hates Messi. There is not something in the middle.” If he searched hard enough, De la Iglesia was certain, he could discover just why Messi had pushed himself to become one of the greatest footballers of his age. When he was making the film De la Iglesia was thinking all the time about the legendary Orson Welles' “Citizen Kane”, about the boy with the sledge who grows up to become the all-powerful media magnate.
Thus he created extremely dynamic and fascinating docufiction puzzle consisting of the dinner scene with some of the iconic football figures and Messi’s closest friends and people from his youth and childhood, archive materials and specially directed fiction scenes based on true events. The idea of the dinner came to him from Woody Allen's film “Broadway Danny Rose” in which a group of old-time comedians reminisce about a person called Danny Rose – and he comes alive in their anecdotes.
The film was premiered at the Venice Festival as one of the best made documentaries in the past year – charismatic participants, exellent directing, camera and sound. Masterly edited!
Director's Word: What I've done is made a film that shows a story, but I also wanted to make a film that explains why Messi is the way he is. Why is he so shy? So reserved? What happened to him in childhood to make him that way? He is one of the most celebrated people in world, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, with some of the greatest opportunities to open himself up to the world. And yet he shuts himself off in his town with his family. This is a film in which we wanted to mark the life and biography of a personality. It's made for people to enjoy, along with Messi, and for people who care about him as a personality.
Born in Bilbao, Spain, in 1965. Graduated philosophy from the University of Deusto. Worked in the comic book field. Shortly worked in television. Got involved with filmmaking as a production designer. In 1993 received a big break when famous Spanish director, Pedro Almodóvar, produced his debut feature which won three Goyas. His big success was “El día de la Bestia” (The Day of the Beast) in 1995. It won 6 Goyas, including the Best Director award. He became worldwide acclaimed author. De la Iglesia directed 11 feature films that won numerous national and international prizes. He also directed short and TV films. “Messi” is the only documentary he has made so far.
directed by: Camilla Nielsson
One of the best Danish documentaries in past several years inspired by some legendary documentary masters like Richard Leacock who started new era in documentary filmmaking entering with his camera in strictly closed official spaces. And Camilla Nielsson does the same, but in a foreign country, without the knowledge of the native language and aunder the constant threat of possible violence.
Over the course of more than three years director Camilla Nielsson has been up close in the inner circles of politics in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. With the process of creating Zimbabwe's new constitution as the film's narrative backbone, “Democrats” tells the story of a political elite fighting a battle over the founding principles defining the country's possible future. Two political opponents are appointed to write the new constitution, and Camilla Nielsson has gained unique access to the thrilling political game being played between the two parties.
The film unfolds in ways that neither the director nor her main subjects could have foreseen. From unbelievably close range Camilla Nielsson develops her discrete and precise observing, transforming the political story into exciting and emotional anthropological study of main characters. Surprisingly she was immediately becoming invisible part of all events and cautiously revealing hidden conflicts that merge into thrilling drama, but finally into fantastic film twist with catharsis. A brilliant example of how documentary can make complex processes comprehensible in a way that a thousand expert’s reports can not.
Director's Word: The biggest challenge in making this film was filming a politically sensitive story in a country with a long history of both censorship and banning of foreign media. Also, being a country with no tradition for observational documentary filmmaking, roaming around in Zimbabwe as a white documentary-film crew, we caused quiet a circus at times, and our safety was often at risk. I think in my own case it has often been an advantage to be a woman, especially in some of the difficult places I have made my films. I think a male director would have had much more resistance in terms of access.
Born in Denmark in 1973. She graduated anthropology from the University of Copenhagen and an MA in visual anthropology from New York University. She studied documentary filmmaking at the Tisch School of the Arts, where her mentor was legendary Albert Maysles. Nielsson has worked as a producer and media consultant for UNICEF and UNESCO. She produced various projects concerning children’s rights.
MUMBAI DISCONNECTED, 2009, with Frederik Jacobi
directed by: Jorge Pelicano
Outstanding photography takes us into the space of masked passion and suffering in which we soon discover provocative framework of the cult film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” while the director delicately developes enchanting atmosphere that evokes famous Mann’s novel “The Magic Mountain”.
The documentary is about a facility for mentally ill in Lisbon. The viewer accompanies the patients in their daily lives and in their preparations for a play. The director of the play lives for this purpose for some time with the patients to build up trust and to simply understand them better. But the core of the film is the people. Pelicano creates with its sensitive camera the necessary space in front of the camera so that the characters unfold naturally. The patients themselves prove that they are amazingly aware about their own situation and not desperate. Instead, they use the opportunity to speak in detail about their crazy truths. These intimate confessions are what fascinates and allows the audience to identify with the events. This is the special power of the film, that the mentally ill are not perceived as a threat but as people who can enrich us and make us laugh even about ourselves.
Guided by magnificent poetry of Ângelo de Lima this film is also a precious insight into the space where lucidity and madness live together.
Director's Word: Here I return to my desire to film the unknown and try to demystify some myths. As a child I often heard “be good or you go to the Hospital for crazy.” The truth is that no one really knows what one will find inside. And I wanted to demystify some things, to update what is madness. We went there with some fears because, for me, it was all fog. I did not know what was inside that hospital. As time passed the fog disappeared and there were hard things, stronger, that could be represented by a storm. So there is a lot of rain during the film. But there are also moments of sun shining. As we advanced in our work, we gained the trust of our characters and the characters were gaining our trust to the extent that we became close and ended up being friends. This gained confidence was extremely important because that's what allowed us to look a little bit more into the mind of those people.
Born in Figueira da Foz, Portugal in 1977. Interested in camera and shooting since early youth. Studied at the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda where he graduated in Communication and Public Relations. MA in Communication and Journalism from the Faculty of Arts, University of Coimbra. Since 2001 a freelance camera reporter and editor for SIC Television in Coimbra region. From 2002 till 2006 worked on his first documentary which was presented on several TV channels and in cinemas. Moved to SIC Television in Lisbon. His second documentary won several awards and generated public interest as one of the most watched movies in the first half 2010 in Portugal. Since 2013 has been working for the production studio “Until the End of the World” (Até ao Fim do Mundo) as a documentary filmmaker.
ARE THERE SHEPARDS STILL? (Ainda há pastores?), 2006
STOP, LISTEN, LOOK OUT (Pare, Escute, Olhe), 2009
SUDDENLY MY THOUGHTS HALT (Pára-me de repente o pensamento), 2014
directed by: Virpi Suutari
One of the most important Finnish and European documentary authors, Virpi Suutari, is passionate about two things – documentaries and gardens. In this film she leads us into the beautiful and funny world “North of Eden”.
This is a documentary love story about couples who take care of their gardens together. The film looks behind the middle-class facades with a comic twist and listens to the couples’ stories about the conflicts and joys of long relationships. The setting is their own garden, a hobby that in many cases has gotten out of hand years ago. The film’s angle on the toiling and the passionate gardening is kind and humoristic: fellow human beings build and defend their territories, but also enjoy beauty in the paradise they have built for themselves and their spouses.
In the visually handsome film an invisible bond develops between the key couples. With their own stories they listen, comment and comfort each other – while also providing viewers with a chance to engage. The garden represents a door to the everyday struggles of human life, with joy, without moralizing and underlining. The film’s gardening stories celebrate fertility, play – and love.
This is a comic documentary about the necessity of gardening.
Director's Word: The process of making “Garden Lovers” was open, cheerful and liberated – a midsummer night’s play in a sense. As a director, I was happier than ever when making this film. At the same time I was bidding farewell to my father, who taught me everything about gardening. Thus, the film also became a personal journey toward accepting the idea of letting go and meeting death. With “Garden Lovers” I want to celebrate things that are temporary but necessary to the meaning of human existence. The main characters work like crazy – as I do – for their imaginary paradises, although the fruits of their labor may vanish in a moment. We cannot cheat death, but as long as our hands are buried in soil, we at least feel alive.
Writer and a director, whose works typically explore the boundary between fact and fiction. Her films have won awards and been screened at many international film festivals. Retrospectives of her films have been organized, among others, in Århus (Denmark), Rennes (France), Linz (Austria) and at Tampere Film Festival (Finland). Received a five-year tenure as honorary arts professor (2012–2016). Member of the European Film Academy.
THE IDLE ONES (Joutilaat), 2001, with Susanna Helke
ALONG THE ROAD LITTLE CHILD (Pitkin tietä pieni lapsi), 2002, with Susanna Helke
AUF WIEDERSEHEN FINNLAND, 2010
GARDEN LOVERS (Eedenistä pohjoiseen), 2014
directed by: Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard
There’s a rumour that the employment market is looking for bold individualists. Within limits, of course. The reality is: if it doesn’t fit, it’s made to fit – or rejected.
The unique pains of finding a job are almost universally relatable. In order to succeed, you must present a certain marketable version of yourself, place yourself in unnatural situations and, above all, play by the rules. It’s even harder when you have neither experience nor qualifications to your name. Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard’s observational documentary takes on this very subject, focusing on a small group of disenfranchised young adults as they attend an employment consultancy firm in northern France. Through a series of vignettes we are effectively positioned to empathise with their frustrations, failures and successes over a number of months as they are coached through various stages of the employment process. Through their apprenticeship, the film reveals the absurdity of these new rules of the game.
This exquisite film done by true masters had a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and won one the most prestigious documentary prices in Europe – The Golden Dove at DOK Leipzig. The critic of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Bories and Chagnard have produced a piece that is urgent in its mission, nonjudgmental in its depiction of its subjects and entirely theatrical in its mise-en-scene and dialogue - a remarkable feat.”
Clodine Bories: One could say that “Rules of the Game” represent a follow-up to “The Arrivals”. The principle is the same: to film closely, with no preconceptions, what happens to people who are confronted on daily basis with major social issues of general concern. Chapter one: asylum seekers. Chapter two: jobseekers.
Patrice Chagnard: Our wish is to tackle realities everybody talks about, everybody believes they are familiar with, while hands-on, concrete approaches are rarely offered. “How does it feel to live through this?” That’s the question we ask ourselves, whether our film is about welcoming immigrants or about coaching unemployed youth. Major social issues are always a minefield littered with stereotypes and partisan rhetoric. The job of cinema is to demine the field by showing things as they are.
Claudine Bories began her career in theatre. Between 1970 and 1976, she took part in the movement of the decentralisation of theatre in France. In 1968, she directed her first documentary, followed with “Juliette du côté des hommes”, which was selected for Cannes Film Festival. Between 1990 and 2002, she helped run Péripherie, a creative centre dedicated to documentary cinema in Seine Saint Denis, and started the Documentary Cinema Meetings. In 1994 she was vice-president of ADDOC, the association of French documentarists; there she met Patrice Chagnard and started collaboration with him.
JULIETTE FROM THE MEN'S SIDE (Juliette du côté des hommes), 1981
IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF GABRIEL BORIES (Portrait imaginaire de Gabriel Bories), 1984
SIR AGAINST MADAM (Monsieur contre Madame), 1999
WOMEN OF TWELVE FRONTIERS (Les femmes des douze frontieres), 2003
AND OUR DREAMS (Et nos rêves?), 2007
THE ARRIVALS (Les arrivants), 2009
RULES OF THE GAME (Les Règles du jeu), 2014
At the age of 17, he ran the Grenoble Film Club, with the biggest membership in the whole of France. At 19 he moved to Paris to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. Worked as an editor in chief at the magazines about television and directed documentaries for TV. In 1969, he became a hippie and spent four years travelling to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Became interested in the plights of the farmers in Brazil, Africa and Bangladesh. Since 1977, has dedicated himself to directing documentaries. In 1992 he was one of the founders and the first president of ADDOC, the association of French documentarists. Meeting with Claudine Bories in 1995 marks the beginning of their collaboration and a new stage in his work.
A FEW THINGS ABOUT THE TREE, ABOUT THE RIVER AND ABOUT THE CRY OF PEOPLE (Quelque chose de l'Arbre, du Fleuve et du Cri du Peuple), 1980
SWAMI-JI, AN INNER VOYAGE (Swami-ji, un voyage intérieur), 1983
CONVOY (Le Convoi), 1995
IMPRESSION, MUSEUM OF ALGIERS (Impression, Musée d'Alger), 2003
IN THE RED TRUCK (Dans un camion rouge), 2005
AND OUR DREAMS (Et nos rêves?), 2007
THE ARRIVALS (Les arrivants), 2009
RULES OF THE GAME (Les Règles du jeu), 2014