Twenty feature films are in the lineup for the inaugural Britdoc festival kicking off this week in Oxford, England in the British university town. The event will run from July 26 - 28. American, British and international titles are slated for the fest's international in competition section, including Tribeca 2006 best doc award-winner, "The War Tapes" by Deborah Scranton. The film captures the lives of U.S. National Guard servicemen in Iraq through their point-of-view. The guardsmen were given digital video cameras offering a personal perspective on the war.
Sundance 2006 competition doc "A Lion in the House" by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert will also screen in competition. The film chronicles five families as they navigate the challenges of cancer treatment over six years. Toronto '05 doc "51 Birch Street" by Doug Block is a touching portrait of an American family and of a son who learns more about his parents' turbulent marriage over the course of the film's shoot. Lynnette M. Myers and Eric Steel's "The Bridge" records suicides on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge over a year, while "We Feed the World" by Erwin Wagenhofer focuses on the disturbing system of food supply.
Marc and Nick Francis' doc "Black Gold" also takes up the subject of consumption market, focusing on coffee. The Sundance '06 film, screening in the British competition at Britdoc, turns the lens on coffee and global trade. Stevan Riley's "Blue Blood," also in British competition, takes a look at an Oxford/Cambridge tradition that has lasted over a century. The two famous university cities have squared off every year in a boxing match, and the film follows the 2005 Oxford team.
SXSW Film Festival '06 audience award-winner "Air Guitar Nation" by Alexandra Lipsitz will play as a special screening at Britdoc. The film captures the rise of the US Air Guitar Championships and the personal stories of the contestants who took part in the first World Air Guitar Championships in Finland. Filmmakers Richard Leacock, James Lipscomb, DA Pennebaker and Hope Ryden's doc "Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment" will also show as a special screening. The 1963 film captures the showdown between Alabama Governor George Wallace and President John F. Kennedy, who is determined to integrate an all-white university. Wallace himself stood at the entrance of the school to block two African American students from entering, triggering a confrontation with the federal government.
[For more information and a full line up, visit the Britdoc website.]