Florence 13rd - 20th November 2010

International documentary film festival

Firenze capitale internazionale del documentario


Scheduled films about Jim Morrison, Bronzino, Lou Reed, Bin Laden, L’Aquila, Cuba…
Florence, capital of international documentary film
Festival dei Popoli and Italian doc screenings: directors and docu-films from around the world. For eight days.

“Never before has the Festival dei Popoli seemed so monumental in Florence, nor has the city seemed so much like the capital of international documentary film.” With these words, Luciano Barisone, director of the Festival dei Popoli – the international festival of documentary film – presented its 51st showcase of documentaries, the oldest in the world, organized within 50 days of international film in Florence, an event coordinated by FST – Mediateca Regionale Toscana Film Commission.

This year’s edition is special, given that, for the first time in Florence, the Festival will host Italian doc screenings, the largest event dedicated to documentaries in Italy, in which over 40 international broadcasters will participate. During the Festival, there will also be the Stati Generali del documentario, an event established for the appreciation of this precious art form. “Our goal,” says Barisone, “is to defend and distribute documentary film, a genre that has had a distinct impact on the medium’s ethics and ideas about the relationship between the self and the world.”

The 2010 Festival dei Popoli, held in Florence’s Cinema Odeon and Spazio Uno from November 13th to 20th, will present 73 documentaries, including 12 world premieres, 5 international premieres, 1 European premiere and 27 Italian premieres.
The Festival kicks off on November 13th with Tom Dicillo’s "When You’re Strange", a documentary about Jim Morrison, the legendary frontman of The Doors. The various documentaries slated to be shown include Lou Reed’s first film, "Red Shirley" (Sunday 14th); the world premiere of Richard Blanshard’s "Restoring Genius: Bronzino" (Sunday 14th), about the restoration of Bronzino’s work for an exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi; "The Oath" by Laura Poitras (Thursday 18th), in which Bin Laden’s former bodyguard gives a never before seen account of the leader of Al Qaeda.

The 2010 edition has several new additions! Panorama Italiano is a new section screening six feature films that represent the year’s best national productions. Each film will compete for the audience award. As happens every year, there will be a unique look at one director. This year is dedicated to filmmaker, photographer and multimedia artist Peter Mettler, with a complete retrospective and an exhibit of new photography. Voices from an Inner Space. Swiss Documentary Film: Travelers, Militants and Visionaries is a retrospective about the last 50 years of Swiss cinematography.

As mentioned above, Italian Doc Screenings, the largest event dedicated to Italian documentary film, with the participation of over 40 international broadcasters, will be held (for the first time in Florence) on November 17-20. The event is made possible thanks to the cooperation of Doc/it, Fondazione Sistema Toscana - Mediateca Toscana Film Commission, Ministry for Economic Development, ICE – International Institute for Foreign Commerce, Apt, the province of Florence and the Convention Bureau. Completing the portrait of Florence as the capital of documentary film is the Stati General del Documentario in Tuscany (November 21), organized by the group “Documentaristi Anonimi - Associazione Documentaristi Toscani”, whose goal is to evaluate the status of the art in a region that views “cinema of the real” as a major future prospect.

The Festival will be structured around the International Feature-Length Film Competition: 16 debut films compete for Best Film (10,000 Euro), Best Director (5,000 Euro, in collaboration with the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo) and the “Gian Paolo Paoli” Prize for Best Ethno-Anthropological film; the International Short Film Competition: 16 debut films compete for Best Short Film (2,500 Euro) and the Lorenzo de’ Medici Award (1,000 Euro), selected by a student jury; Free Style: a non-competitive section of 10 films that envisage the most original documentary filmmaking, with particular attention to contemporary life. All three sections compete for the audience award.

The jury for International feature-length films and short films is composed of cineastes Michelangelo Frammartino (Italy), Lech Kowalski (USA), Javier Packer-Comyn, director of the Cinéma du Réel (France), producer Tiziana Soudani (Switzerland) and Aliona Shumakova, consultant of the Venice International Cinematography Exhibit (Russia).

The competition includes films that tackle heated topics of the day. Events at home, such as the earthquake in Abruzzo ("Ju tarramutu" by Paolo Pisanelli), and events abroad, like contemporary Cuba as seen by dissidents ("Soy Libre" by Andrea Roggon). Marilia Rocha recounts the state of Brazil in "A falta que me faz". Paraguay is the protagonist of the personal and political film "Chucillo de palo" by Renate Costa. Alexandre Sokurov and Alexei Jankowski tell the story of Kurdistan and a Russian woman who witnessed the violence of war in "Il nous faut du bonheur". Fisherman from Niger encounter the effects of globalization in "Intérieurs du Delta" by Sylvain L'Espérance. A Japanese clinic that practices natural birthing is at the center of Naomi Kawase’s
"Genpin". Chile, then and now, is discussed in the documentary "Nostalgia de la luz" by Patricio Guzmán. India caught between modernity and tradition is the focus of
"Retours aux Éléments" by Velu Viswanadhan. Emma Rossi Landi and Alberto Vendemmiati tackle the psychological and social consequences of the American military presence in the Philippines in "Left by the Ship". A marginal neighborhood in an American city comes to life in the documentary "Foreign Parts" by J.P. Sniadecki & Véréna Paravel. Travel and contemporary life are the themes of Chris Petit’s "Content". Autobiographical memory signals the return of an Algerian family to its country of origin in "Et si" by Serge Lalou, just as the history of Germany lives on in the memories of everyday people in
"Wiegenlieder" by Johann Feindt and Tamara Trampe. "This is my land… Hebron" by Giulia Amati and Stephen Natanson is a trip to the West Bank, seeking out the most contradictory aspects of the human soul. In the end, Jennifer Fox’s "My Reincarnation" recounts the problematic relationship between a father and son in the backdrop of Buddhist-Tibetan culture in Tuscany.

16 debut films make up the section. "E invece era una volpe" provides a panorama of life in a small, sleepy village in Valtellina. "Amanar Tamasheq" is a plea for help for the people of Tuareg, victims of a genocide ignored by the international community. "Blue sky. Dark Bread", filmed in Russia during the wheat harvest, is an epic poem that celebrates nature and its fruits. "Cotonov Vanished" is the story of the disappearance of a brilliant Russian interpreter during a summit between Gorbachev and Reagan. "The Darkness of Day" is a reflection on the effects suicide can have on those left behind. "Greek Salad" is an ensemble of images and stories about the memory of the 1900s and film. "Holding Still" is the story of a wounded woman who observes the outside world from a surveillance camera. "Inwentaryzacja" is a film of gestures and glances for those who want to remember the names of those forgotten. "Irma" tells the story of an elderly wrestler, whose body bears the signs of a life in the ring. "Lovely planet" is a film about crisscrossing the world without a break. "Milltown Montana" is a silent fresco of a city in Montana. "Maye et fils" takes a look at the generational strife in a family of Swiss winemakers. "O estrangeiro" is a film about the search for the other, which inevitably transforms into a search for oneself. "Safar-e-sabz (Green Journey)" depicts Iran through the eyes of a young boy’s impressions and memories. "Si yo fuera tú, me gustarían Los Cicatriz" is a film about the Basque music scene in the early Eighties, when the punk group Cicatriz made its first appearance. "Sur les pavés, l’Altaï" is the portrait of a band of Mongolian musicians who play in the squares and clubs of Paris.

The “Free Style” section includes some of the most original contemporary films, films that show documentaries can have mass appeal. Beside Tom Dicillo’s "When You’re Strange", Lou Reed’s "Red Shirley", Laura Poitras’ "The Oath" and David Sieveking’s "David Wants to Fly", that investigates the catalysts that inspired David Lynch, the section offers "Cesky Mir" by Vit Klusàk and Filip Remunda, abot a small town in the Czech Republic that opposes the construction of the 762nd American military base (the film is shown in conjunction with CCCS for the exhibit “Portraits of Power” currently on view at the Palazzo Strozzi), and "Deus ex Boltanski", a short film that witnesses the meeting of two masters, Robert Gardner and Christian Boltanski, for the installation of "Personnes" shown at the Grand Pavilion in Paris. Room is made for Tuscany in Nicola Bellucci’s "Nel giardino dei suoni", shot in the countryside of Casentino, the stomping grounds of a strange figure, half magic piper, half therapist. Among the events in the EXPLORE section, the website for Charles Annenberg Weingarten’s documentary research, two short films will be screened: "Raindrops over Rwanda" and "Traveling with Jihad". Furthermore,
"Storie mobili", a project by Simona Baldanzi, Federico Bondi and Leonardo Sacchetti and financed by Unicoop Firenze will be presented. The project depicts the day to day lives of Florentines and Tuscans through a series of interviews which are accessible to all each thanks to the web.

This section offers six feature-length films that represent the best contemporary films in the country. Along with Italian films in the Official Selection, they will compete for the “Selezione CINEMA.DOC Firenze” Award. The winning film will be shown in theaters around Rome. The section includes "Oro splendente. Ritorno in Cambogia" by Giovanni Donfrancesco, set in a profoundly changed country, the film examines the massacres under Pol Pot’s regime; "Tra terra e cielo" by Joseph Péaquin, about natural medicines practiced in Valle d’Aosta; "Cielo senza terra" by Giovanni Maderna, centered around a father-son relationship over a long walk through the mountains; "La Valle della luna" by Giovanni Buccomino, the portrait of a hippie community in Sardinia; "El sicario. Room 164" by Gianfranco Rosi, the terryifing confession of a Mexican drug-trafficking mercenary; and "I am Jesus" by Valerie Gudenus and Heloisa Sartorato, the portrait of three visionaries claiming to be Jesus.

Swiss Documentary Film: Travellers, Militants and Visionaries
A retrospective of 14 films that have made an impact over fifty years of Swiss cinematic history, and the world’s. Better known through its authors (Alain Tanner, Daniel Schmid, Richard Dindo), Switzerland is a country with a surprisingly rich production of documentary films. The films chosen break down into three categories: politics, aesthetics and vision, and the propensity to travel as a means to know oneself and the other. The section, curated by Carlo Chatrian in collaboration with Jean Perret e Frédéric Maire, is sponsored by Swiss Films and Cinémathèque Suisse.

A trip through the world and film of Peter Mettler, the Canadian cineaste capable of capturing the most subtle nuances of reality. The retrospective combines his scholarly work, fiction films and documentaries, allowing the audience to come into contact with a constantly changing cinema, a cinema that makes us rethink our place in the world, as well as our relationship to images. Curated by Giona A. Nazzaro, the section is made in collaboration with Swiss Films.

Photography Exhibit by Peter Mettler
Selection of images from a new film project by Peter Mettler, End of Time. The event is in collaboration with Swiss Films, Florens 2010, Museo Marino Marini and the Swiss Embassy in Italy.

see all news