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October 6, 2005 8:31 AM
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Sheffield Int'l Doc Fest Set for 12th Edition

A scene from Lisa Munthe and Ellen Ahlsson's "The Armwrestler from Solitude," which will close the upcoming Sheffield Documentary Festival. Image courtesy of the festival.

The Sheffield International Documentary Festival recently announced its line-up, with screenings and other events taking place in the northern England city October 10th - 16th. The festival is one of the UK's most prominent events in the documentary film arena, featuring more than 75 films from 23 countries this year for its 12th edition. Opening night will kick off with a gala screening of Marilyn Agrelo's Slamdance '05 opener, "Mad Hot Ballroom," about kids from New York City's public schools who take up ballroom dancing with an eye towards an upcoming competition. There will be 14 world, five European and 25 UK premieres.


The world premieres will include "Enemy Images," a film by Mark Daniels that examines how television has covered war over the years and the reasons behind image censorship.


European premieres will include Rick Munnich's "Homemade Hillbilly Jam," a documentary that follows neo-hillbillies who are descendents of the original homesteaders who staked their claim in the Ozark Mountains 150 years ago. Another European premiere will be Marjan Safina and Joseph Boyle's "Seeds," which focuses on 10 teens from Israel, Palestine, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan who come face-to-face at Maine's Seeds of Peace International Camp.


UK premieres will include: "Brasileirinho" by Mika Kaurismaki, a film that takes a look at the history and present cultural influence of choro, a type of Brazilian urban music that is the predecessor to the samba and bossa nova; Michael Klint's "Dogumentary: Get a Life," which takes its filmmaking cues from Lars Von Triers' cinematic movement to build a story about the effects of a fatal disease on poverty-stricken children in a remote hospital in northern Nigeria.


Ellen Perry's U.S. festival fav "The Fall of Fujimori," a profile of the former president of Peru Alberto Fujimori who left for Japan four years ago at the end of his 10-year-long run in office, will screen. Also on tap is Mercedes Moncada Rodriguez's "The Immortal," about brothers who come to fight on opposite sides of the conflict in Nicaragua and Mohammad Shirvani's "President Mir Quanbar," focuses on a 75-year-old Iranian man who travels from village to village with his sidekick to campaign for nomination to the presidency of the Islamic Republic.


Also screening as UK premieres are: Manel Mayol's "Switch Off," which examines the politics behind the flooding of land in the Chilean Andes once the world's third-largest dam was built there; Mark Wexler's "Tell Them Who You Are," a film about the complex, strained relationship between Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler and Mark, his photojournalist son, and Elle Flanders' "Zero Degrees of Separation," which follows two gay, mixed couples of Israeli and Palestinian backgrounds in an attempt to offer insight into the Mideast conflict.


Closing the festival is Lisa Munthe and Ellen Ahlsson's "The Armwrestler from Solitude," a look at the 16 residents of a northern village in Sweden whose shared passion is arm wrestling. The festival will also feature discussions on production and distribution topics.


For more information, visit the festival's website.


[EDITORS NOTE: indieWIRE Editor-in-Chief is serving on a jury at this year's Sheffield International Documentary Festival.]

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