Docs & Film Festivals

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August film festivals

In the soaring summer heat there are few places more convenient for refugee than dark and chilly cinemas. With several film festivals on the horizon in August, it´s ideal to take a break from the sun and enjoy a documentary or two.

1-11.August International Film Festival Locarno, Switzerland, is now running for the 65th time, making it one of Europe´s oldest film festivals. It´s also one of the most respected film festivals in the world and on FIAPF´s (The International Federation of Film Producers Associations) list of accredited film festivals for competitive feature films along with film festivals like Cannes, Berlinale, Karlovy Vary and more. Another thing that makes this a noteworthy film festival is the festival´s outdoor screenings at Piazza Grande seating up to 8.000 guests every night (see photo with post). Documentaries are in two of the competitive sections; Concorso internazionale and The Concorso Cineasti del presente which is a selection with director´s first or second films. Documentaries are also in non-competitive sections called Fuori concorso and Histoire(s) du cinéma. More info on all films at the festival can be found here and the daily program here.

4.-10. August Starting this weekend, Starigrad Paklenica Film Festival – International Music Documentary Festival will take place in Starigrad, a small town on the beautiful island of Hvar, Croatia. With documentaries about world known musicians like George Harrison, late Amy Winehouse, as well as bands like Queen and U2, this film festival will appeal to many. And there is more; a documentary about Vienna´s underground music scene, short documentary about the first mixed lesbian and feminist female choir in southeast Europe, and a documentary about the Belgrade street blues to name some of the noteworthy music documentaries at this film festival. More information about the program and the films can be found here.

7.-12 August Rhode Island International Film Festival – RIIFF – is held at various locations throughout the State of Rhode Island, USA. It has both features and documentaries and is ‘the largest public film festival in New England and an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences qualifying event.’  Information about schedule and screening times of all documentaries can be found here.

23.-26. August The Lebanese Film Festival – LFF– is at Metropolis Empire Sofil in Ashrafieh, Beirut. Short and medium length fiction films and animations as well as documentaries directed by Lebanese filmmakers in Lebanon or abroad are in ‘the competition section’ at the festival. In the ‘out of competition’ section are fictions, experimental or documentary films by foreign filmmakers that have a direct link to Lebanon. The festival program is not yet available on the website.

20-25. August The Mediterranean Film Festival in Široki Brijeg will be held for the 13th time in a small town in south Bosnia-Herzegovina 20-25. August. The festival has a special emphasis on documentaries, but it also screens feature films and shorts. 23 documentaries are in the official competition program. Another five american documentaries will also be screened at the festival. All documentary titles have been announced but further information on the films is not available yet.

August and ongoing New Zealand International film festival travels between 11 cities and towns in New Zealand. This month the festival is screening in seven cities.  The program varies slightly but some of the biggest documentary titles in 2011 and 2012 are screening in more than one city. These titles include Planet of Snail, Ballroom Dancer, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, Grandma Lo-Fi, Chasing Ice, 5 Broken Cameras and many more.


Auckland July 19. – August 5.

Dunedin July 26.- August 19.

Wellington July 27. – August 13.

Starting later this month;

Christchurch 9.- 26. August

Palmerston North August 16. – September 2.

Hamilton August 23.- September 16.

Nelson August 29. – September 16.

Following are trailers for George Harrison- Living in the Material World which is screening at Starigrad Paklenica Film Festival – International Music Documentary Festival and Bully which will screen in several cities in NZ as part of the New Zealand International film festival.

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