Docs & Film Festivals

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Docs ‘Down under’ and magic under the Midnight Sun

Although not a major film festival month, there are still some interesting film festivals to visit this month around the world. Here are some film festivals to attend in June;

* Sydney Film Festival 6-17th of June, Sydney, Australia.  Starting in 1954 and fast approaching it´s 60th anniversary, the Sydney Film Festival is certainly one of the main film festivals ‘down under’. Although primarily a feature film festival, there are two documentary sections FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize and International Documentary Section. Eight documentaries are competing for the FOXTEL prize, one of the most interesting ones being Missing in the land of the Gods, a documentary about a young Australian, Ryan Chambers, who went missing in northern India in 2005. He was last seen walking out of an ashram in Rishikesh, a holy city in the Himalayan foothills. The final note in his diary; “If I’m gone, I’m not dead. I need to free minds, but first I had to free my own” made his parents go search for him yet again,  six years later in India. Missing in the land of the Gods is directed by Davor Dirlic (2012). The doc has a Facebook page.

The International Documentary Section has 28 titles, some of which have already been traveling between several other film festivals like Ballroom Dancer, ¡Vivan las Antipodas! and First Position.

Some other interesting titles include Side by Side, a documentary narrated and co-produced by Keanu Reeves and directed by Chris Kenneally (2012). Reeves interviewed directors like James Cameron, George Lucas, Lars von Trier and Christopher Nolan along with cinematographers, editors and technicians about the technology shift in filmmaking from celluloid to the pixels.

Another interesting documentary at Sydney Film Festival is without a doubt a documentary about Woody Allen, simply called Woody Allen: A Documentary, directed by Robert B. Weide (2011). With interviews with Allen himself, his family members, managers, actors and many other people along with countless clips from his films, the documentary gives you a portrait of a remarkable filmmaker whose career spans more than four decades.

You can find info on all films at the Sydney Film Festival here.

* Midnight Sun Film Festival 13.-17th of June, Sodankylä, Finland. It´s not a documentary film festival, but Docs& Film Festivals is making one exception with it´s June film festival shortlist because this film festival is one of the most exotic and interesting film festivals in Northern Europe. The festival is held in Sodankylä, Lapland, some 120 km north of the Arctic circle meaning the sun doesn´t set at all in the summertime. Midnight sun is unforgettable to anyone who has experienced it. Those unfamiliar with it might have trouble sleeping, others love every second of it. But probably all film festival guests can sense the magic about the midnight sun.

The festival was founded in 1986 by Kaurismäki, the famous Finnish film brothers and the municipality of Sodankylä, according to the film festival´s Facebook page. It also states; ‘This festival is meant for people who truly love the art of cinema, there are no formalities or fancy cocktail parties, one doesn’t have to be afraid of getting lost in the jungle of bureaucracy. Films are screened in three venues for 24 hours a day, and the actual time is easily forgotten: the sun shines as brightly at 4 a.m. as at 4 p.m.‘

Unfortunately for those not fluent in Finnish, the English version of the film festival´s website seems not to be working, but probably will in the coming days. However, according to their Facebook page there are three sections of films, films by the most famous film directors of all times, pearls of the new cinema and silent movies with live music.

* Sunny Side of the Doc; The International Market for Documentaries, 26-29th of June in La Rochelle in France. The Sunny Side of the Doc is a great venue for everyone searching for documentary co-productions, but 300 international key decision makers and 2000 professionals from 50 countries attend the festival according to the market´s website. This year marks the 23rd edition of the Sunny Side. Check out their interactive magazine for this year´s edition.

And last but not least, Sheffield Doc/Fest which is starting next Wednesday! More on Sheffield later.

Following are the trailers for Woody Allen: A Documentary, Side by Side and  ¡Vivan las Antipodas! The photo with this post is a still frame from the trailer for Woody Allen: A Documentary. Film Festival logos are from the festivals´websites.

2 comments on “Docs ‘Down under’ and magic under the Midnight Sun

  1. g2-3035e93bb41b396c0ceec5dc24fe46c9

    Hi. I’m the Producer of ‘Missing in the Land of Gods’. Thanks for the mention. Especially from a country at the other side of the world. Our screening went very well. I’ve puts some photos up on the Facebook page. Cheers.

  2. Liz Burke

    Woops! My name is Liz Burke, not that weird string of letters and numbers. Thanks again.

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