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Happy new year everyone!
It´s fitting to start the new year with a list of the best documentaries of 2012. 2012 was a good year for documentaries and putting this list together was a real challenge. But here goes, the list of best documentaries of 2012 by Docs & Film Festivals;
10. Queen of Versailles (dir. Lauren Greenfield). The credit crunch as experienced by American billionaire family who needs to adjust to major changes in lifestyle. Greenfield respect for her characters shines through in this funny and entertaining documentary.
9. 5 Broken Cameras (dir. Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi). 5 Broken Cameras is a personal portrait of a Palestinian village resisting encroaching Jewish settlements, as recorded with 5 cameras by Burnat over a number of years in his village. The outcome is a personal documentary and with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi the two created an extraordinary multi-award documentary.
8. Bully (dir. Lee Hirsch). This character driven documentary about bullying gives shocking insight into lives of young kids and teenagers who have been victims to serious bullying by their fellow schoolmates. Incredible stories but hope and optimism is never far away.
7. Harbor of Hope (dir. Magnus Gertten). Irene, Ewa and Joe are three of roughly 30.000 survivors who were rescued from German concentration camps in 1945 and brought to harbour in Malmö, Sweden where they started a new life. The documentary is based on archive footage along with interviews with survivors who’s heartbreaking stories should not be forgotten. And more stories have been found so to speak and the research continues. Numerous more survivors have now been identified in the archive footage and stills because of screenings of the film around the world. More about that on the film´s website.
6. Big Boys Gone Bananas!* (dir. Fredrik Gertten). Dole Food Company threatened Gertten lawsuit for his film Bananas!* (2009), a documentary about a legal battle of Nicaraguan banana workers who sued Dole Food Company for using banned pesticide on the banana plantation in Nicaragua. Big Boys Gone Bananas!* is a story of Gertten´s battle against the Food company, a classic David vs. Goliath story and the freedom of speech.
5. The Punk Syndrome (dir. J-P Passi & Jukka Kärkkäinen). Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät is a Finnish punk band like no other. It´s four members are all mentally handicapped men and the film follows them on their journey to popularity. It´s no wonder this heartwarming, funny documentary got nominated by Nordic Council Film Prize as the best Nordic film of the year.
4. Ballroom Dancer (dir. Christian Holten Bonke & Andreas Koefoed). This observational documentary tells the story of latin American ballroom dancer Slavik Kryklyvyy, a former world champion and his partner Anna Melnikova. Kryklyvyy is making a comeback and wants to win the world champion title again, which means sacrifices of many kinds. Ballroom Dancer is packed with passion and drama, love, ambition and last but not least beautiful dance scenes.
3. The Invisible War (dir. Kirby Dick). A shocking investigative documentary about rape and sexual assaults within the U.S. military, but the Department of Defense estimates that in 2010 there were 19.000 violent sex crimes in the U.S millitary. The Invisible War is a classical example of how documentary that can make a difference. Not only to inform people but also to start awareness and change. See the film´s website for information about how to take action.
2. Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present (dir. Matthew Akers). A portrait of performance artist, The film follows Abramović around as she is preparing one of her biggest exhibitions in her career, a retrospective of her works and a new performance piece ‘The Artist is Present’ at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York for three months in 2010. A truly moving and beautiful documentary about a remarkable artist. See also previous post about the film here.
1. Searching for Sugar Man (dir. Malil Bendjelloul). Unbelievable story about musician Sixto Rodriguez, a musician in 1970s Detroit. He never ‘made it’ in America, but his records sold very well in South-Africa, without him knowing. He stopped making records and a lot of mysteries rose about his fate and some thought he had committed suicide. Two decades later, two South-Africans started researching to find out what really happened to Rodriguez. This incredible documentary is simply put the best documentary of 2012. It´s no wonder the documentary is one of the 15 documentaries on the list for preliminary round of voting for the 85th Academy Awards as Best Documentary Feature, along with 5 Broken Cameras, Bully, The Invisible War
Docs & Film Festivals is looking forward to a new year filled with more great documentaries and film festivals. Exciting new things are in the air for followers of Docs & Film Festivals. Docs & Film Festivals will have a make-over in the new year, do plenty of film festival hopping, and much, much more. Hope you will enjoy the ride as well!