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International Features


UK / Afghanistan
2009 • 87min • Dir: Havana Marking

After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, pop culture has returned to Afghanistan. Millions are watching Afghan Star - a Pop Idol-style TV series in which people from across the country compete for a cash prize and record deal. 2 000 people audition, including three brave women. Now a national obsession - witness the workers scramble home to catch the latest installment and the assembly of makeshift aerials to unscramble TV signals - viewers vote for their favourite singers by mobile phone, and for many this is their first encounter with democracy.

This timely and inspired film is both an account of a nation torn between tradition and modernity and the moving stories of four young contestants, each the pride of the ethnic communities they represent, each looking for a new life. But their journeys take a terrifying turn as one young woman dances on stage, threatening her own safety and the future of the show itself. In Afghanistan you risk your life to sing.

Courtesy of the Director and the British Council.

Sundance 2009 - Audience Award and Directing Award, World Cinema Documentary

Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Tues 7 / 6.30pm • Mon 13 / 8.30pm


2009 • 90min • Dir: Franny Armstrong

The year is 2055. Deep in the not-so-frozen wastes of Norway’s northern sea a fortress protects the astonishing achievements of soon-to-be-extinct Mankind. In this captivating, powerful and intentionally portentous film, the lone Archivist compiles footage of the warning signs that we collectively ignored. In it are seven likeable, well-meaning people. One is a crusader for change that is thwarted at every turn. Two are striving for a better life - one for themselves against all odds, the other for millions of others, but at a cost to the planet. The fourth is fighting for a valley that has changed beyond recognition. The fifth, who has been through so much, has an uncertain future ahead of her, and a sixth (unsuccessfully) warns the world about the importance of keeping global warming within the 2-degree limit. There is nothing so chilling as death-knell, and this film might just be the one
for mankind.

Courtesy of the British Council

Sunny Side of the Doc 2008 - Best Green Doc
Grierson Award 2008 - Best Green Doc

Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Sat 4 / 8pm • Wed 8 / 6.30pm • Mon 13 / 6.30pm


Denmark / UK
2008 • 85min • Dir: Anders Høgsbro Østergaard

In 2007, Burma was on the brink of a popular uprising. Taking themselves and the repressive Generals by surprise, gentle and devout citizens took to the streets in their thousands, singing and clapping their displeasure at the political status quo. Then, unexpectedly, everyone held their breath as thousands of robed monks marched on the streets in solidarity. Subversively capturing this moment, when Burma teetered between joy and despair, were courageous, tenacious, amateur video journalists.

By turns enchanting, thrilling and sobering, this film uses collective footage to follow
the personal victories and agonies, the perils and the camaraderie of the small, tight-
knit counter-propaganda journalists of Burma. “Joshua” and his colleagues risk life and
limb, torture, incarceration and death to smuggle out their visual witness of events
from a closed and repressed country.

Courtesy of the Danish Film Institute

IDFA 2008 - Joris Ivens Award, Movies that Matter Human Rights Award •
Berlinale 2009 - Human Rights Award •
Sundance 2009 - World Cinema Documentary Editing Award, Grand Jury Prize nomination

Preceded by Goodman Gallery short

SCREENS: Tues 7 / 6.30pm • Tues 14 / 6.30pm • Fri 17 / 8.3


Germany / Israel
2007 • 90min • Dir: Nadav Schirman

The time is 1961 and Egypt, under Gamal Nasser, is Israel’s biggest enemy. German scientists are helping the country make weapons of mass destruction and tension is high. Into this dangerous powder keg, the Israelis plant Ze’ev Gur Arie, under the assumed name Wolfgang Lotz, as a prosperous horse breeder. He marries, lives the high life, and imbeds himself in the social hierarchy of Cairo. Except, unbeknown to that world, he was already married with a child.

His story is told by his son, who recalls his dislocated youth, the revelation of his father’s double life and the ultimate betrayal when Arie is caught and imprisoned. Schirman’s film, a surprisingly frank and detailed account of espionage in the 60s, is as much a poignant personal story as it is a look behind the Mossad curtain. Arie, Schirman contends, believed his cover, became it, loved it, forsook his real life and could not readapt to an unexceptional life once it was all over.

Courtesy of the Producers and Films Transit

Israeli Ffilm Academy 2007 - Best Documentary
Palm Springs IFF 2008 - John Schlesinger Award
Riverrun IFF 2008 - Special Jury Prize

Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Sun 5 / 3.45pm • Sat 11 / 8.15pm • Sat 18 / 8.15pm


Israel / Denmark / Austria / USA
2009 • 91min • Dir: Yoav Shamir

Throughout Shamir’s controversial and balanced film you know that only an Israeli could have the chutzpah to unpack the delicate subject of anti-Semitism. On one side of the fence is the very powerful Anti-Defamation League (ADL), headed up by Abraham Foxman. His job is to sniff out and expose (the ADL has 27 branches in the US and high-profile missions globally) anything that could be construed as anti-semitic speech or behaviour.

On the other side is controversial author, professor and son of holocaust survivors, Norman Finkelstein. His radical theory is of an Israeli-orchestrated political red herring. Between are Israeli teens on a Mossad-protected school trip to Poland, devout Jews in Moscow, individuals that live in fear, and others that have no such belief. Although beguilingly and lightly played, this intelligent film does raise very interesting and potent debates, and is bound to raise a few eyebrows.

Courtesy of the Director and the Austrian Film Commission

Shamir is a guest of the Festival and will attend screenings on 9 July and 12 July. The Q&As after
screenings will be chaired.

He will also conduct a master class on Saturday 11 July.

SCREENS: Thu 9 / 8.30pm + Q & A • Sun 12 / 6pm + Q & A • Sat 18 / 5.45pm


USA / Canada
2007 • 104min • Dir: Werner Herzog

How difficult is it to document the most southern point in the world, without documenting penguin? Impossible, it seems.

This important, awe-inspiring, often surreal, always peculiar film is determined to turn the lens on the Antarctic through the fascinating scientific projects it hosts and the eccentric people driving them.

There are rocking, dry-suit divers who scan minus two degree depths for sci-fi one-celled creatures, there is the linguist that raises the daily salad in a state-of-the-art shed, the philosopher who drives the caterpillar truck around the devastatingly ugly McMurdo Station, and there is the Cambridge volcanologist who wears similar gear to Shackleton, whilst starting generators on Mount Erebus. And of course, there are penguins, playing a supporting role.

The quirky people and animals are infinitely beguiling, but the film’s main subject is Antarctica and its extreme beauty is captured in all its glory.

Courtesy of Discovery Enterprises International

Academy Awards 2009 - Best Documentary
Independent Spirit Award 2009 - Best Documentary

SCREENS: Tues 7 / 8.15pm • Wed 15 / 6.30pm • Sun 19 / 3.45pm


2008 • 97min • Dir: Velcrow Ripper

Velcrow Ripper is a social agitator and filmmaker who, after the death of a close friend at the hands of the Mexican police during the Free Trade riots, questions his activist path in life. His quest takes him on a journey through contemporary resistance, and the film becomes as much an examination of the new left as it is a journey into one man’s spiritual motivation. Ripper’s film is highly personal, taking him back to his Baha’i childhood and forward to the wisdom of Alice Walker, Gandhi and groups such as the GNSP, the Genesis of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, a forum working for the convergence of all activists.

Behind Ripper’s film is the central question - can spirituality and action converge, and his answer is a resounding “yes”, highlighting as he does Gandhi’s ‘soul force’ and ‘human sunrise,’ as well as the new ethos of activism: do not oppose, propose, be the revolutionary not the rebel.

Courtesy of the Director and the National Film Board of Canada

Ripper is a guest of the festival and travels courtesy of the Canadian High Commission. He will attend
screenings on 9 & 11 July and conduct a Master Class on Saturday 11 July.

Vancouver IFF 2008 - Best Documentary Feature

SCREENS: Thu 9 / 6.30pm + Q & A • Sat 11 / 8pm + Q & A


Canada / France
2007 • 81min • Dir: Nick de Pencier

First there was the March of the Emperor penguins, now it’s the Flight of the Monarchs! With bright orange wings that span no more than 10cms, the Monarchs are intrepid, epic and unlikely long-distance travelers facing every obstacle nature and man can put
in their way. As they leave their dispersed breeding grounds in North America with synchronised precision every autumn, the sheer number of moving Monarchs reflects as a weather system on radar.

Their journey, which includes crossing the Gulf of Mexico, ends 3 000 km to the south in the threatened pine trees of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Revered by the Mexicans as the dearly departed returning, the Monarch is an amazing creature that mixes scientific intrigue, religious symbol, awesome display and heroic struggle for survival.

This ode to the butterfly is not only an exceptional and in-depth view into the life and journey of this spectacular insect, but is also a reminder of the power that man continues to wield over all living things.

Courtesy of the Director and the National Film Board of Canada

Gemini Awards - in Direction and Photography categories

Preceded by Goodman Gallery short

SCREENS: Sat 4 / 4pm • Sat 18 / 4pm


2004 • 90min • Dir: Daniel Anker

Nominated for an Academy Award in 2000 (Scottsboro: An American Tragedy - Best Feature Documentary), director Anker’s point in this beautifully crafted ode to music is simple - what is the essence of music and how does its powerful driving force
shape and influence the people who make up the Philadelphia Orchestra?

The various members of the company take very personal journeys in their quest to answer those questions; Jewish and Arab members who segue into traditional music to better understand each other’s spirit; the dancer-turned musician who underscores the similarities with choreography; the child prodigy, Concertmaster David Kim, the only American violinist to win a prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow; the biker who likens a great ride to a well-wrought adagio - “Lean the bike into a corner, get it right and it’s so satisfying”.

The film follows the company on tour through Europe and China and, through a number of pivotal symphonies, draws out an explanation about the transcendental power of music. Sensitive editing means the interviews are part of, rather than interrupt, the music.

Courtesy of the Director and Films Transit

Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Sat 11 / 5pm • Mon 13 / 8.30pm • Sat 18 / 3.45p


2008 • 90min • Dir: Nahid Persson Sarvestani

Farah, Shabanou, Queen, Empress of Iran, sparks acute emotions in filmmaker Sarvestani. Initially it was childlike awe when, while growing up in extreme poverty, she watched Farah’s spectacular wedding to the Shah. Then it was hatred when as a teenager she joined Khomeini’s revolution. Now they both live in exile: Farah deposed by Khomeini, Sarvestani fleeing Khomeini’s violent betrayal.

Thirty years on, she remains fascinated by this tarnished symbol of her homeland. She approaches Farah for an interview and, though cautiously welcomed, gains unprecedented access. Together they work on a film that Sarvestani initially intended as an exposé of Farah and all she represents. But the process forces (seduces?) Sarvestani to challenge her own expectations, ideals and political mindset.

A gripping, poignant and gentle exploration of personal history and the truths we construct.

Courtesy of the Director and the Swedish Film Institute

Academy Awards 2009 - Best Documentary
Independent Spirit Award 2009 - Best Documentary

Preceded by Goodman Gallery short

SCREENS: Sun 5 / 7.45pm • Sun 12 / 3.30pm


2009 • 85min • Dir: Brett Gaylor

In what is essentially the bizarre story of recent copyright law, director Gaylor examines music, medicine and other copyrights to make an impassioned plea for the reintroduction of free speech and ‘fair use’ in all areas of culture. His film, as funky as it is arresting, uncovers some disturbing truths - Disney Corporation’s successful lobbying of the US Congress to tighten copyright substantially, the rapid centralisation of all copyright ownership, the dizzying breadth of contemporary copyright (even Happy Birthday is ‘owned’).

He contends that for culture to progress, society must be able to develop that which already exists. With corporations’ fingers in all pies, will ideas be determined by the public domain or private corporations? Central to his film is the advent of the remixers in music - those that ‘borrow’ only to create anew and who are, under the law, criminals.

The film itself becomes a poster child for its own point - by being ‘remade’ by other filmmakers Gaylor illustrates his idea of building a recreative culture, something that has always been, save for this century when the lock up of ideas began.

Courtesy of the Director and the National Film Board of Canada

Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Mon 6 / 6.30pm • Fri 10 / 6.30pm • Wed 15 / 8.45p


2008 • 103min • Dir: Kim Longinotto

Child abuse is not an easy subject to digest, let alone watch a film about. But this remarkable, gut wrenching, yet uplifting documentary about a group of resolute, tough, outspoken, fervent and endlessly compassionate women reveals both the worst
and the best of human kind.

Set in Durban, this film from award-winning Longinotto (Encounters 2007 guest, currently being honoured by MoMA), follows the work of an NGO called Bobbi Bear.

Crossing social and racial divides, Thuli, Mildred, Sdudla, Eureka and Jackie crusade for the rights of abused children by securing the child and then pursuing each perpetrator. They fight apathy, greed, corruption, the system and cultural stigmas all the way, making sure that perpetrators do not violate another child again. Despite crippling personal tragedies, these five exceptional women battle on, learning, growing and bringing comfort and hope to those children that have little of either.

Courtesy of the Director, Rise Films and the British Council

Sundance 2009 - Grand Jury Prize World Cinema Documentary
Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Sat 11 / 5.30pm • Thu 16 / 8.15pm


Cameroon / France
2009 • 70min • Dir: Jean-Marie Teno

Every year Africa’s biggest film event, the FESPACO Film Festival in Burkina Faso, draws celebrities and crowds from across the continent and the globe. But few realise the rich film history of the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, or the passion of its people
for the medium.

Teno’s film steps into a parallel world and focuses on St Leon, a shantytown community in the heart of the city that lives and breathes film. He reconnects with the pioneering spirit of the festival of the 1980s - before its inevitable commercialisation, and remembers what inspired him to take his message of an African cinema to an audience that truly understood it.

The film’s triumph is its ability to paint, through the comings-and goings at the tiny Bouba cine club, a vivid picture of a contemporary African community in all its complexity, while at the same time making the point that entertaining film can educate as well as enthrall.

Courtesy of the Director

SCREENS: Sat 4 / 4pm


2008 • 90min • Dir: James Toback

Tyson is acclaimed indie director Toback’s stylistically inventive portrait of the mesmerizing baddest boy of boxing and undisputed heavyweight champion of all time, Mike Tyson.

Toback allows an ungloved Tyson to reveal himself without inhibition and with eloquence and a pervasive vulnerability.

Through a mixture of original interviews and archival footage and photographs, a startlingly complex, fully-rounded human being emerges. The film ranges from Tyson’s earliest memories of growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn through his entry into the world of boxing, to his rollercoaster ride in the funhouse of worldwide fame and fortunes won and lost.

It is the story of a legendary and uniquely controversial international athletic icon, a figure conjuring radical questions of race and class. In its depiction of a man rising from the most debased circumstances to unlimited heights, destroyed by his own hubris, Tyson emerges as a modern day version of classic Greek tragedy. Courtesy of VideoVision

Cannes 2008 - Regard Knockout Award

Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Fri 3 / 6.30pm • Fri 10 / 8.30pm • Thu 16 / 8pm • Sat 18 / 6.15pm


Israel | Germany | France | USA | Finland | Switzerland | Belgium | Australia
2008 • 90min • Dir: Ari Folman

Nominated Best Foreign Film at the 2009 Academy Awards this atypical animated ‘memoir’ subtly explores the brain’s ability, both individual and collective, to suppress a horrifying incident conducted under the guise of war. An old friend has a recurring nightmare from when he was a conscripted soldier in Israel’s 1982 invasion of the Lebanon. Folman realises he has suppressed his memories of the events and becomes obsessed with excavating that which his brain found too horrific to retain. Slowly, painfully, his memory of the shocking massacre of Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Chatila is restored. The film is suffused with the eerie, bilious yellow of the
night flares the Israeli army used to light the camps as the Phalangists, supporters of the murdered Bashir Gemayel, slayed 3 000 men, women and children. The distancing, surreal technique of the animation proves a stark contrast to the bright news footage that exposes this dark history.

Courtesy of Ster Kinekor

Golden Globes Award 2009 - Best Foreign Language Film
Cannes 2008 - Official Selection
National Society of Film Critics (USA) 2009 - Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film
British Independent Film Awards 2008 - Best Foreign Independent Film

Panel Discussion details on Sunday 5 and Tuesday 14 July.

Preceded by Slaves

SCREENS: Sun 5 / 2.30pm + PD • Sun 12 / 8.30pm • Tues 14 / 8.30pm + PD • Sun 19 / 8pm


2009 • 52min • Dir: William Karel

In 1990, after 11 years as one of Britain’s most influential and controversial leaders, Margaret Thatcher was ousted by her own party in a ‘Grecian tragedy of matricide.’

Now, nearly 20 years later, Karel tells the brutal story of the extraordinary events of her last few weeks, through commentary from all the major players - the executioners Geoffrey Howe, Nigel Lawson, Kenneth Clarke, as well as the cabinet and the inside commentators. Karel’s tale begins with Thatcher’s notorious, alienating Poll Tax and her party’s growing realisation that with her at the helm, the Conservatives could not win another election. Her savaging of her Deputy, Howe, sparked the revolt. He exacted revenge with a pivotal, bloody resignation speech in Parliament, which led to a challenge for the leadership by Michael Heseltine, a series of ballots and her ignominious departure, literally overnight, to rural banishment. Karel’s film brilliantly captures the tension and tumult of the time and pulls no punches as it goes beneath the surface of a democracy, inelegantly, fascinatingly and frantically at work.

Courtesy of the French Embassy

Karel is a guest of the festival and travels courtesy of the French Embassy.

FIPA d’Argent 2009 - Best Documentary

SCREENS: Wed 8 / 8.30pm + Q & A • Fri 10 / 8.30pm


Senegal / France
2009 • 52min • Dir: Angèle Diabang Brener

The official griot (praise singer and oral historian) to the first President of Senegal, Sedar Senghor, is the legendary Yandé Codou. Years after his reign and her retirement, director Brener tracks down the icon on the eve of the Tabaski festival, to discover the soul behind the great voice. Though clearly a shadow of her former self, the power of the woman is still evident and Brener follows a path through her life in the small community where she has settled.

There is illuminating detail about the complex structure of polyphonic praise singing as well as the history of call-and-response and spoken poetry in African music. Indeed, this is a film as much about a West African musical heritage as it is about a powerful woman and a cultural West African richness. The traditional dress itself, ever present and vivid, is a character of its own in the film.

Courtesy of the French Embassy

Brener is a guest of the festival and travels courtesy of the French Embassy.

Preceded by Bronx Princess

SCREENS: Wed 8 / 6.30pm • Fri 10 / 8.30pm • Tues 14 / 8.00pm


USA / France / Egypt / Senegal
2008 • 102min • Dir: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

This music-infused cinematic journey is about the power of one man’s voice to inspire change. One of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and called “the rare rock star whose music matters”, Senegalese singer Youssou N’dour is beloved internationally and at home.

In 2005, the Grammy winning artist defied expectations and produced his most personal album, Egypt, presenting his Islamic faith as a peaceable and tolerant religion. While the record received international acclaim, it was denounced as blasphemy in his native Senegal.

Director Vasarhelyi followed N’dour for over two years, filming in Africa, Europe and America, to tell the story of how he faces these challenges and eventually wins over audiences both at home and abroad.

São Paolo IFF 2008 - Audience Award
Bahamas IFF 2008 - Audience Award & Spirit of Freedom Award
Middle East International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi 2008 - Special Jury Prize

SCREENS: Mon 6 / 8.30pm • Fri 17 / 8.15pm • Sun 19 / 6pm