Now in its tenth year, the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced its 2014 lineup with over 60 features and short films.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with this years festival program,” said Ben Fowlie, Founder and Executive Director of the Camden International Film Festival. “Over the past ten years we’ve had the opportunity to share a selection of films that highlight both the creativity and unique ways artists are using to tell stories, and the impact these stories can have on community. This year is no exception.”
Camden International Film Festival will announce their Points North Documentary Forum line up of films, speakers and panels later this week.
Here’s the lineup (synopses courtesy of CIFF):
2014 CAMDEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FEATURES
A GOAT FOR A VOTE
Jeroen van Velzen | Netherlands | 2014
A Goat for a Vote follows three students in Kenya competing to become the next school president. Winning the election will not only earn them power and respect, but guarantees a role within Kenyan society in the future. Magdalene has to prove herself in a boy-dominated school that has never been led by a girl. She has the impossible task of uniting all girls in her fight for equal rights. Harry, from the poor side of town, hopes to win so he will be able to take care of his family in the future. He struggles against the popular Said, who is a natural born leader with a disarming smile.
Robert Greene | United States | 2014
Brandy Burre had a recurring role on HBO’s “The Wire” when she gave up her career to start a family. When she decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world she has carefully created crumbles around her. Using elements of melodrama and cinema verité, Actress is both a present tense portrait of a dying relationship and an exploration of a complicated woman, performing the role of herself, in a complex-yet-familiar story.
Michael Rossato-Bennett | United States | 2014
Alive Inside is an exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short. This documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.
APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT
Amanda Rose Wilder | United States | 2014
It is year one for students Lucy and Jiovanni, and school director Alex at the Teddy McArdle Free School in Little Falls, New Jersey, where classes are voluntary and rules are created by democratic vote. Wilder is there from the beginning, observing an indelible cast of outspoken young personalities as they form relationships, explore their surroundings, and intensely debate rule violations until it all comes to a head.
ART AND CRAFT
Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman, co-directed by Mark Becker | United States | 2014
Mark Landis has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in USA history. His impressive body of work spans thirty years, covering a wide range of paintings that could fetch impressive sums on the open market—but Landis isn’t in it for money. Posing as a philanthropic donor, a grieving executor of a family member’s will, and as a Jesuit priest, Landis has given away hundreds of works over the years to a staggering list of institutions. But after duping a tenacious registrar who discovers his ruse and sets out to expose him, Landis must confront his own legacy and a chorus of museum professionals clamoring for him to stop.
Sergi Cameron, Ventura Durall, Salvador Sunyer | Spain, Germany | 2014
Bugarach is a tiny village in southern France where everyone lives a quiet life, isolated from the world—until the day the international media spreads the news that Bugarach is the only place that will allegedly survive doomsday. The arrival of increasingly outlandish strangers soon begins to disturb the local population and what unfolds is a landscape of existential emptiness.
Sofie Benoot | Belgium, Netherlands | 2014
The American West.
A world where human life seems to be impossible. An arid, mythical landscape characterized by the absence of water. But traces start to appear and the film becomes a peculiar portrait of America, between present and past, myth and reality: astronauts preparing for future missions to Mars, Japanese country singers, military archeologists, and many other forms of life.
Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman | United States | 2013
E-Team is driven by the high-stakes investigative work of four intrepid human rights workers and offers a rare look at their lives at home and in the field. Anna, Ole, Fred, and Peter are four members of the Emergencies Team—or E-Team—the boots on the ground division of a respected, international human rights group. Arriving as soon as possible after allegations of human rights abuse surface, the E-Team uncovers crucial evidence to determine if further investigation is warranted and to give voice to thousands whose stories would otherwise never have been told.
FLORENCE, ARIZONA – Sneak Preview!
Andrea B. Scott | United States | 2014
Florence, Arizona is a cowboy town with a prison problem. Founded in 1866, this bastion of the Wild West is home to 8,500 civilians and 17,000 inmates spread over nine prisons. Through an unconventional lens, Florence, Arizona weaves together the stories of four key residents of Florence, whose lives have all been shadowed in some way by the surrounding prison industrial complex. The result is an intricately crafted cinematic tapestry, threaded through with deep strands of Americana, humor, intimacy, and pathos, revealing as much about ourselves as it does about our modern carceral state.
THE GREAT INVISIBLE
Margaret Brown | United States | 2014
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and causing the worst oil spill in American history. The explosion still haunts the lives of those most intimately affected, though the story has long ago faded from the front page. At once a fascinating corporate thriller, a heartbreaking human drama, and a peek inside the walls of the secretive oil industry, The Great Invisible is the first documentary feature to go beyond the media coverage to examine the crisis in-depth through the eyes of oil executives, survivors, and Gulf Coast residents who experienced it first-hand.
Thomas Balmes | France, Finland | 2013
Peyangki is a dreamy and solitary eight-year-old monk living in Laya, a Bhutanese village perched high in the Himalayas. Soon, the world will come to him: the village
Amir Bar-Lev | United States | 2014
The town of State College, the home of Penn State University, lies at the heart of an area long known as Happy Valley. Its iconic figure for more than 40 years was Joe Paterno, the head coach of the school’s storied football team, who took on mythic national stature as “Saint Joe.” But then, in November 2011, everything came crashing down. Former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse. Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky’s arrest, Happy Valley chronicles the ensuing firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect Happy Valley’s children. Director Amir Bar-Lev creates a parable of guilt, responsibility, and identity for a small town caught in the glare of the national spotlight.
Mike Attie, Meghan O’Hara | United States | 2014
War is Hell. Why would anyone want to spend their weekends there? Few would mistake Oregon’s grassy fields for the jungles of Vietnam, but war re-enactors try. Dressed in fatigues, these men willingly recreate a war most choose to forget. This at times humorous, but ultimately disquieting, trip into the men’s minds and private lives blurs fantasy with trauma, therapy with nostalgia. The effect is purposefully disorienting—is this harmless enthusiasm for a hobby or unhealthy fandom for a brutal war? In Country is a powerful commentary on a culture that venerates a past from which it hasn’t yet recovered. Points North Pitch alum!
THE IRON MINISTRY
J.P. Sniadecki | United States | 2014
Filmed over three years on China’s railways, The Iron Ministry traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, language and gesture. Scores of rail journeys come together into one, capturing the thrills and anxieties of social and technological transformation. The Iron Ministry immerses audiences in fleeting relationships and uneasy encounters between humans and machines on what will soon be the world’s largest railway network.
GUIDELINES (LA MARCHE A SUIVRE)
Jean-Francois Caissy | Canada | 2014
Guidelines (La marche à suivre) is a series of tableaux illustrating the occasionally trying existence of young people at a rural secondary school. Emphasizing the contrasts between the regulated environment of the classroom and the beckoning freedom of the great outdoors, the film gradually reveals the interior drama of adolescence, with its shifts from fragility to reckless abandon.
THE LAST SEASON
Sara Dosa | United States | 2014
Amid the bustling world of central Oregon’s wild matsutake mushroom hunting camps, the lives of two former soldiers intersect. Roger, a 75-year-old sniper with the U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, and Kouy, a 46-year-old platoon leader of Cambodia’s Khmer Freedom Fighters who battled the brutal Khmer Rouge, come together each fall to hunt the elusive matsutake mushroom, a rare mushroom prized in Japanese culture and cuisine. In the woods, the pair discovers more than just mushrooms: they find a new life, and livelihood; and a means to slowly heal the scarring wounds of war. Told over the course of one matsutake mushroom season, The Last Season is a journey into the woods, into the memory of war and survival, telling a story of family from an unexpected place.
Aaron I. Naar | United States | 2014
Matthew Stoneman dreamed of pop stardom. Instead, he went to jail, learned Spanish, and emerged as “Mateo,” America’s first white mariachi singer. Mateo is on the brink of completing an album of original songs in Havana. But his estrangement from friends and family, his criminal past, and his love for Cuban women could derail him on his quest for fame. Points North Pitch alum!
MR. DYNAMITE: THE RISE OF JAMES BROWN
Alex Gibney | United States | 2014
James Brown changed the face of American music. Soul Brother Number One, as he was known, pioneered the journey from rhythm and blues to funk. More than that, this American legend—who willed himself to life after he was stillborn—was a classic embodiment of the American dream. The son of a “turpentine man” from rural South Carolina, Brown became one the greatest live performers ever known, the “hardest working man in show business,” and a self-made millionaire. With unique cooperation of the Brown estate, this is a definitive documentary biography of the James Brown story and legend, 1933–1974.
NE ME QUITTE PAS
Sabine Lubbe Bakker, Niels van Koevorden | Netherlands, Belgium | 2013
Ne Me Quitte Pas is a tragicomic ode to failure. Set in a village on the edge of Belgium, Bob (Flemish) and Marcel (Walloon) share their solitude, sense of humor and craving for alcohol. They have agreed that suicide is the best way out if worse comes to worst. In that case, they have chosen the perfect spot to do so: under the tree of life of Bob, a retired cowboy. Ne Me Quitte Pas is a Belgian drama about life on the brink of society in all its beauty, modesty and irony. The authenticity of the main characters is painful and confronting, yet entertaining and utterly charming. It is a story about mortality in a place where time seems to stand still.
THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT
Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin | Russia, United States | 2014
Viktor Bout was a Russian entrepreneur, a war profiteer, an aviation magnate, an arms smuggler and, strangest of all, an amateur filmmaker. Until three days prior to his 2008 arrest on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, Bout kept the camera running, documenting a life spent in the gray areas of international law. Dubbed the “merchant of death,” and portrayed by Nicolas Cage in Lord of War, Viktor Bout can justifiably be called the world’s most famous arms dealer. With unprecedented access to Bout’s home movies and DEA surveillance material gathered during the sting operation to bring him down, The Notorious Mr. Bout is a portrait of a life much mythologized but little understood.
Jesse Moss | United States | 2014
When hydraulic fracturing unlocks a vast oil field in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, tens of thousands of unemployed men descend on the state with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck. In the tiny town of Williston, busloads of newcomers step into the sad reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is hell-bent on delivering the migrants some dignity. Night after night he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to allow the “Overnighters” – as he calls them. The Overnighters engages and dramatizes universal themes: the promise and limits of re-invention, redemption and compassion.
Marshall Curry | United States | 2014
In 2006, Matt VanDyke, a timid 26-year-old with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, left home in Baltimore and set off on a self-described “crash course in manhood.” He bought a motorcycle and a video camera and began a three-year, 35,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East. While traveling, he struck up an unlikely friendship with a Libyan hippie, and when revolution broke out in Libya, Matt joined his friend in the fight against dictator Muammar Gaddafi. With a gun in one hand and a camera in the other, Matt fought in—and filmed—the war until he was captured by Gaddafi forces and held in solitary confinement for six months. Two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry tells this harrowing and sometimes humorous story of a young man’s struggle for political revolution and personal transformation.
Tracy Droz Tragos, Andrew Droz Palermo | United States | 2014
Rich Hill, Missouri could be any of the countless small towns that blanket America’s heartland, but to teenagers Andrew, Harley and Appachey, it’s home. As they ride their skateboards, go to football practice, and arm-wrestle their fathers, they are like millions of other boys coming of age the world over. But faced with unfortunate circumstances—an imprisoned mother, isolation, instability, and parental unemployment—adolescence can be a day-to-day struggle just to survive. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Rich Hill is a moving examination of the challenges, hopes, and dreams of rural America’s youth.
THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO
Ian Cheney | United States | 2014
Who was General Tso? And why are we eating his chicken? The Search for General Tso explores the phenomenon of Chinese American food through the lens of America’s most popular Chinese takeout meal. On a lively journey through restaurants, Chinatowns, and American popular culture, the film unravels the mysterious origins of General Tso’s Chicken—and in the process explores a larger story of immigration and cultural exchange. A quest brimming with mystery and humor ends in a surprisingly poignant visit with the 92-year-old inventor of the chicken that conquered America.
SEEDS OF TIME
Sandy McLeod | United States | 2014
A perfect storm is brewing as agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler races against time to protect the future of our food. Gene banks of the world are crumbling, crop failures are producing starvation-inspired rioting, and the accelerating effects of climate change are already affecting farmers globally. But Fowler’s journey, and our own, is just beginning: From Rome to Russia and, finally, a remote island under the Arctic Circle, Fowler’s passionate and personal journey may hold the key to saving the one resource we cannot live without: our seeds.
James Spione | United States | 2014
In Silenced, Academy Award nominated documentarian James Spione investigates what really happened inside the USA security establishment after the events of September 11th, 2001 that caused it to radically change course in profound and lasting ways. Exploring the unique courage and character it takes to challenge unethical behavior from within the American national security establishment, Silenced offers a provocative critique of systemic failures of the U.S. government and its draconian over-reactions. The film, through its vivid characters, challenges the national narrative from which our mainstream discourse seldom deviates: of America the victim, of America protecting liberties at home and abroad.
SONG FROM THE FOREST
Michael Obert | Germany | 2014
As a young man, American-born Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that never let him out of its grasp. He followed the mysterious sounds back to the Central African rainforest, found his music with the Bayaka pygmies, and never came back. Today, 25 years later, Louis is a full member of this community of hunters and gatherers and now has a son, 13-year-old Samedi. Louis travels with his son from the African rainforest to a jungle made of concrete, glass, and asphalt: New York City. Song From the Forest is a modern epic in which the shared journey of father and son steers towards a surprising reversal of roles and gives the viewer an intimation that the African rainforest and urban America, apparently separated worlds, are not all that separate after all.
TOMORROW WE DISAPPEAR
Jimmy Goldblum, Adam Webber | United States | 2014
Tomorrow We Disappear is a documentary about Kathputli, India’s last colony of magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers. Since the 1970s, New Delhi’s magicians, puppeteers, and acrobats have called the tinsel slum, the Kathputli Colony, their home. Last year, the government issued relocation permits to the colony residents; the slum is to be bulldozed, cleared for development. Experience the last remnants of this culture born out of folk art and molded by poverty.
TWO RAGING GRANNIES
Havard Bustnes | Norway, Denmark, Italy | 2014
A combination of curiosity and frustration with the status quo drives Shirley and Hinda, two gutsy, nearly 90-year-old American women, to seek answers to the burning question on everyone’s mind: How do we get out of this economic mess? Two Raging Grannies is a touching and thought-provoking documentary that challenges the idea that we must continue to shop, consume, amass, and keep the economy growing. Armed with courage, humor, a long friendship and a zest for life, Shirley and Hinda take to cities and towns across the USA and demonstrate that it is never too late to make a difference.
Orlando von Einsiedel | United Kingdom | 2014
In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers— including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas, and a Belgian conservationist—protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers, and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war in May 2012, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect.
WAITING FOR AUGUST
Teodora Ana Mihae | Belgium | 2014
Georgiana Halmac is turning 15 this winter. She lives with her six siblings in a social housing condo on the outskirts of Bacau (Romania), and their mother Liliana, an economic migrant in Torino, will not be back until the summer. During her mother’s absence, Georgiana is catapulted to the role of new head of the family, and her adolescence is brutally cut short, as she is now responsible for her brothers and sisters. Caught between puberty and responsibility, she moves ahead improvising. Intimate scenes from the daily life of Georgiana and her siblings show both their ingenuity and their fragility.
WALKING UNDER WATER
Eliza Kubarska | United Kingdom, Germany, Poland | 2014
Alexan, the last compressor diver on Mabul Island near Borneo, teaches 10-year-old Sari everything he knows, from dangerous fishing techniques and the temptations of the tourist economy to wisdom about the underwater world. Walking Under Water presents the Badjao tribe’s ancient traditions and collective experience as a magical narrative, spinning the urgent pressures and problems they face into a hybrid of fantasy, fiction and fact. The Badjao people once lived like fish, spending the majority of their time in the water, but with the encroachment of modern civilization, that way of life has become nearly extinct. Breathtaking underwater photography emphasizes this loss and the drought of enchantment on dry land.
Jack Schurman, Robert Schurman | United States | 2014
Wild Home is a documentary film about Bob Miner, a Vietnam Veteran who has found his way back to the world by rehabilitating abused and abandoned animals deep in the woods of Maine. Along with his wife, Julie, they’ve built a kingdom where they care for lions, tigers, hyenas, kangaroos, black bears, and more than 200 other species of animals. Wild Home was created in the tradition of intimate, character documentaries like The Cruise and Little Dieter Needs to Fly. The film follows the quiet redemption of a man who has found peace by creating his own kingdom in the most unusual of places and sharing it with the world.
2014 CAMDEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL SHORT FILMS
3 ACRES IN DETROIT
Nora Mandray | United States, France | 2013
A MARRIAGE TO REMEMBER
Banker White and Anna Fitch | United States | 2014
Frederik Jan Depickere | Belgium, Columbia | 2013
THE ANIMATED LIFE OF A.R. WALLACE
Flora Lichtman, Sharon Shattuck | United States | 2013
Hunter Snyder | United States | 2014
Konrad Kästner | Germany | 2013
CHANGING HANDS: Rocky Ridge Organic Dairy
Bridget Besaw | United States | 2014
Andrew Rodgers | United States | 2014
THE DOGWALKER (HUNDVAKTEN)
Caroline Ingvarsson | Sweden | 2014
FOUNDRY NIGHT SHIFT
Steven Bognar | United States | 2014
Deborah Stratman | United States | 2014
Lena Freidrich | United States | 2014
Thomas Gleeson | New Zealand | 2012
Taylor Dunne | United States | 2014
THE LAST DAYS OF PETER BERGMANN
Ciaran Cassidy | Ireland | 2014
Steven Bognar | United States | 2014
THE LION’S MOUTH OPENS
Lucy Walker | United States | 2014
THE MURDER BALLAD OF JAMES JONES
Jesse Kreitzer | United States | 2014
David Redmon, Ashley Sabin | United States | 2014
NOTES ON BLINDNESS
Peter Middleton, James Spinney | United Kingdom, United States, Australia | 2014
ONE YEAR LEASE
Brian Bolster | United States | 2014
Alan Magee | United States | 2014
PHOEBE’S BIRTHDAY CHEESEBURGER
Will Lennon | United States | 2013
PIG NOT PORK: Farmers Gate Market
Bridget Besaw | United States | 2014
PINK HELMET POSSE
Benjamin Mullinkosson, Kristelle Laroche | United States | 2014
SANTA CRUZ DEL ISLOTE
Luke Lorentzen | United States | 2014
SEEDING A DREAM: Sheepscot General Store & Uncas Farm
Bridget Besaw | United States | 2014
TWENTY EIGHT FEET: LIFE ON A LITTLE WOODEN BOAT
Kevin A. Fraser | United States | 2013
UNLOCKING THE TRUTH
Luke Meyer | United States | 2013
Lukasz Konopa | United Kingdom | 2013