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Camden International Film Festival Announces Feature Roster; 'Betting the Farm' and 'Chasing Ice' to Open & Close Fest

Indiewire By Chris Pomorski | Indiewire September 18, 2012 at 12:07PM

The Camden International Film Festival has announced its roster of feature films slated to screen September 27-30 in and around Camden, Maine. Recognized as one of the top regional documentary film festivals in the world, CIFF will offer over 70 movies this year, including features and shorts. A post-screening Q&A with directors and or producers will follow most events.
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"Code of the West"
The Camden International Film Festival has announced its roster of feature films slated to screen September 27-30 in and around Camden, Maine. Recognized as one of the top regional documentary film festivals in the world, CIFF will offer over 70 movies this year, including features and shorts. A post-screening Q&A with directors and or producers will follow most events.

Directors Jason Mann and Cecily Pingree will open the festival with their 2010 Points North Pitch winning "Betting the Farm," which looks at nine Maine dariy farmers as they attempt to launch a new milk company. "Chasing Ice," a chronicle of vanishing arctic glaciers by director Jeff Orlowski, which took home the award for excellence in U.S. documentary cinematography at Sundance, is set to close the festivities.

The rest of the line-up includes "Citadel," Diego Mondaca's 2011 look at a renegade prison in Bolivia, which will make its U.S. premiere alongside world premieres from William Kunitz and Benjamin Greene, whose films, "Goranson Farm: An Uncertain Harvest" and "Survival Prayer," focus on the plight of harvesters in the midst of climate change. Entries from Rebecca Richman Cohen ("Code of the West") and Pete Nicks ("The Waiting Room"), explore marijuana policy reform and public healthcare, respectively.   
 

This year's festival will see expansion of the Points North Documentary Forum. Now in its fourth edition, the two-day conference at the Camden Opera House will host representatives from the New York Times, PBS, Discovery, and other industry leaders.

Find the complete lineup on page 2.

2012 Features Include:

BALLROOM DANCER
Andreas Koefoed and Christian Bonke | Denmark | 2011 | New England Premiere
A decade after Slavik Kryklyvyy became the World Latin Dance Champion, he tries to regain the success that seemed to have slipped by him with a new partner and lover. Depicting their shifting dynamic through gestures, glances, and dance, this film evolves past the comeback, into a tragic love story, as Slavik's perfectionism drives a wedge between them.
 
BETTING THE FARM
Jason Mann and Cecily Pingree | USA | 2012 | New England Premiere
After being dropped by their main dairy processor, a group of nine Maine organic dairy farmers try to launch a new milk company, Maine’s Own Organic Milk. But in their first year, the farmers face mounting debts and money loss every week. Can the new company succeed, and fast enough to save them?
 
CALL ME KUCHU
Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall | USA, Uganda | 2012
In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato - Uganda's first openly gay man - and his fellow activists work against the clock to defeat the legislation while combating vicious persecution in their daily lives.
 
CANÍCULA
Jose Álvarez | Mexico | 2012 | East Coast Premiere
An engrossing ethnographic work, Canicula is a study of the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the Totonac people of Veracruz, Mexico, who have resided in this region for thousands of years. Beautifully photographed, this documentary features rare footage of the Totonac's "voladores" ritual ("the flying dance"), named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
 
CHASING ICE
Jeff Orlowski | USA | 2012 
Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Chasing Ice reveals Balog's hauntingly beautiful, multi-year time-lapse videos of vanishing glaciers across the Arctic, all while delivering fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet. 
 
CITADEL
Diego Mondaca | Bolivia, Germany | 2011 | US Premiere
CITADEL captures the disturbing and mysterious place of the male prison in La Paz, Bolivia. The film attempts to expose life inside a detention facility which does not adhere to the traditional mores of prison; here, some inmates’ wives and children live alongside the prisoners.
 
CODE OF THE WEST
Rebecca Richman Cohen | USA | 2012
Set against the sweeping vistas of the Rockies, the steamy lamplight of marijuana grow houses, and the bustling halls of the Montana State Capitol, CODE OF THE WEST follows the political process of marijuana policy reform. This is the story of the many lives and fraught emotions when politics fail and communities pay the price.
 
COLOMBIANOS
Tora Mårtens | Sweden, Colombia | 2012 | US Premiere
Fernando's life in Stockholm seems to be going nowhere. He is struggling with substance abuse and his mother wants him to go and spend time with his older brother Pablo in Colombia. Pablo has a plan on how to get Fernando clean in six months. They set out on a journey filled with trials and tribulations that put their relationship to the test.
 
DOWNEAST 
David Redmon and Ashley Sabin | USA | 2012
Set during an era of U.S. post-industrialization in which numerous factories have been exported, Downeast focuses on Antonio Bussone's efforts to open a lobster processing factory in rural Maine.
 
DROUGHT
Everardo González | Mexico | 2011 | East Coast Premiere
Desert cowboys "Cuates de Australia" face death every year, avoiding the drought that threatens the ranch. While the community is forced into an exodus, the Ejido is abandoned and eventually the desert animals take over the place. They wait for the first drops of rain in order to return.
 
EAST HASTINGS PHARMACY
Antoine Bourges | Canada | 2011 | US Premiere
In a Vancouver pharmacy, patients arrive for their dose of methadone, to be taken in front of the pharmacist. Over-the-shoulder shots forcefully convey the furtiveness and tension of this daily face-to-face.
 
GORANSON FARM: AN UNCERTAIN HARVEST
William Kunitz | USA | 2012 | World Premiere
The 2009 season for the Goranson Farm in Maine began like most: full of hope for the year, until the wettest June on record arrived. July 4th brought hail and late potato blight. The film follows the farmers, as they struggle through the harvest and into the following year.
 
HARDWATER
Ryan Brod and Daniel Sites | USA | 2012
HARDWATER sheds light on the insular, diverse and oft-misunderstood ice fishing community in Maine, revealing their quirky habits and long standing traditions. 
 
HERMANS HOUSE
Angad Singh Balla | Canada, USA | 2012
The injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art are explored in Herman’s House, a feature documentary that follows the unlikely friendship between a New York artist and one of America’s most famous inmates as they collaborate on an acclaimed art project.
 
THE IMPOSTER
Bart Layton | UK, USA | 2012
A 13 year-old Texas boy vanishes without a trace. Three and a half years later, staggering news arrives: the boy has been found, thousands of miles from home in Spain, saying he survived a mind-boggling ordeal of kidnap and torture by shadowy captors. His family is ecstatic to have him back no matter how strange the circumstances – but things become far stranger once he returns home.
 
JOURNEY TO PLANET X
Myles Kane and Josh Koury | USA | 2012 | New England Premiere
Eric Swain and Troy Bernier are scientists by day and amateur filmmakers by night. Over the years these two friends have turned out many of their own amateur, sci-fi inspired movies. Journey to Planet X follows the filming of Planet X, the duo’s most ambitious endeavor to date, and sheds light on their unique brand of “movie magic.”
 
THE LIST
Beth Murphy | USA | 2012
THE LIST tells the story of Kirk Johnson, a modern-day Oskar Schindler who is fighting to save Iraqis whose lives are in danger because they worked for the U.S. government and military to help rebuild Iraq.
 
MEANWHILE IN MAMELODI
Benjamin Kahlmayer | Germany, South Africa | 2011 | East Coast Premiere
Extension 11 is one of many districts in the Mamelodi township in South Africa. Running water, paved roads, and electricity are nowhere to be found. But even here there is daily life, which the Mtsweni family masters with routine and integrity. Will the 2010 Soccer World Cup hosted in their country have an impact on their hopes and dreams?
 
NIGHT LABORER
David Redmon | USA | 2012 | Work-in-Progress
NIGHT LABORER follows Sherman Frank Merchant, a forty-six year old 6'6" Downeaster during his transition from an independent and rugged clam digger by day to a laborer inside a factory at night. With his white smock, arsenal of knives, and signature black beret, Sherman performs the tasks of preparing and arranging tools for the day laborers.
 
OFF LABEL
Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher | USA | 2012 | New England Premiere
OFF LABEL is a powerful and unconventional coast-to-coast exploration of pharmaceuticals and American life. The film thoroughly investigates off-label use of medication, in the process revealing the tremendous influence psychiatric drugs in particular have on the greater population.
 
ONLY THE YOUNG
Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet | USA | 2012| New England Premiere
In a small desert town just beyond the shadow of magic mountain, children are the gods of foreclosed homes and underpasses. Three teenagers find things to do in a place that offers nothing. They discover first love, friendship and avoid the realities of becoming an adult.
 
PEAK
Hannes Lang | Italy, Germany | 2011 | New England Premiere
The mountains are calling! Each year hundreds of thousands of tourists come to the white winter paradise of the mountains. A portrait of the Alps in a changing environment, PEAK questions the relationship between nature and technology. How artificial is a landscape allowed to be? How artificial must it look in order to fulfill and justify our archaic desire for paradise on earth?
 
PLIMPTON! STARRING GEORGE PLIMPTON AS HIMSELF
Tom Bean and Luke Poling | USA | 2012
Plimpton! tells the story of writer, editor, amateur sportsman and friend to many, George Plimpton. Using Plimpton’s own narration – along with thoughts and stories from friends, family and contemporaries – the film is a joyful celebration of a life lived fully, richly, strangely, and, at times, a life that is hard to believe was actually lived by just one man.
 
QUESTION ONE
Joe Fox | USA | 2011
In May 2009 Maine became the first state in the US to legislatively grant same-sex couples the right to marry. Seven months later Maine reversed, becoming the thirty-first state in this country to say “no” to gay and lesbian marriage. QUESTION ONE chronicles the fierce and emotional battle that took place during that time.
 
THE REVISIONARIES
Scott Thurman | USA | 2012
The theory of evolution and a rewrite of U.S. history are caught in the crosshairs when an unabashed creationist seeks re-election as chairman of America’s most influential board of education.
 
SPECIAL FLIGHT
Fernand Melgar | Switzerland | 2011 | New England Premiere
The community of rejected asylum seekers and illegal migrants in Switzerland’s Frambois Detention Centre share friendships, fears, and a similar fate. While the staff serve as caretakers, counselors, and friends to the men there, in the end, they reflect society’s attitudes towards migrants, making them simultaneously friend and foe – a fact made most evident when staff must prepare one of the men to leave on a “special flight” – a situation of extreme humiliation and despair.
 
SURVIVAL PRAYER
Benjamin Greené | Canada, Haida Gwaii | 2012 | World Premiere
Survival Prayer is a journey to the edge of the world. Following individual food harvesters as they gather and prepare for the winter, the film celebrates the modern lifeways of a remote indigenous community and bears witness to a sacred relationship between individuals and the land that sustains them.
 
THE WAITING ROOM
Pete Nicks | USA | 2012
A character-driven documentary film that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. The film – using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover – offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices.
 
WAVUMBA
Jeroen van Velzen | Nigeria, Netherlands | 2012 | New England Premiere
In search of the reality behind the memories the filmmaker has of his youth in Kenia, he once again allows himself to be led by an old fisherman to a world where fantasy, dreams, belief and reality cannot be differentiated from one another.
 
SECRET CINEMA 1
How can a human being be illegal? What would the world be like if borders did not exist? And what do we do with all the pitiless power that surrounds us?  This film raises these fundamental questions, but rather than offering simple answers, it chooses to illustrates the complicated situations that arise when we construct a social world over our natural one.
 
SECRET CINEMA 2
This experiential and atmospheric film drops viewers in contemporary Lapland in the Arctic Circle, which is simultaneously the fairy tale that we might have imagined and something much more real. Using astonishing, vivid imagery, colors, and precise, evocative sound design, the filmmakers make the experience of family life and work life in the legendary North country so real to us that we become part of the story, not just observers.
 
THE SECRET CINEMA 3

From an Academy Award winning director comes a story of an investigation into a cover-up in one of the world's most powerful institutions. This film documents four heroes who attempt to expose a devastating abuse of power despite the denials of authority figures who believe that because they stand for good they can do no wrong. 

This article is related to: Camden International Film Festival, Lineups, Chasing Ice