The 26th International Airport of Thessaloniki. Documentary Festival has revealed the line-up for the International Competition section, which includes “A new kind of wild nature”, winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema – Documentary section of Sundance Film Festival. Thessaloniki Documentary Festival It will take place from March 7 to 17.
The films participating in the section have their world, international or European premiere at the festival.
Films compete for various awards, accompanied by monetary prizes. Among them are the Alejandro de Oro award, accompanied by 12,000 euros, and the Alejandro de Plata award, accompanied by 5,000 euros.
The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival is an Oscar-qualifying festival and the film that wins the Golden Alexander Award will automatically be eligible to apply for Academy Awards consideration in the Documentary Feature category.
The documentaries that will participate in the International Competition section are the following. (Descriptions provided by the festival).
“A new type of wild nature”
Silje Evensmo Jacobsen, Norway
“A new kind of wilderness”, directed by Silje Evensmo Jacobsen, won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema – Documentary section of the Sundance Film Festival. Evensmo Jacobsen previously directed “Faith Can Move Mountains,” which was in the Newcomers Competition section of the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival in 2021.
Far from the hustle and bustle of the world, in the heart of the dark Norwegian forests, Maria and Nik raise their four children in complete harmony with nature, seeking a fuller existence at a more relaxed pace. However, Maria’s unexpected death will disrupt the family’s peace of mind and expose them to new challenges, the greatest of which includes their inevitable return to “civilization.”
This documentary transforms the viewer into a member of the family, making us aware of the tenderness, love and pain that this family experiences within it. Through these new challenges and the idyllic moments of the past, captured by María’s camera lens, the film delicately and deeply explores the ties that unite us and how to confront loss, along with our precarious relationship with nature and our responsibility to the planet. in a film that is both surprisingly simple and extremely complex at the same time.
“And so it begins”
Ramona S. Diaz, United States-Philippines
Amid the traditional pomp and circumstance of Philippine elections, a peculiar popular movement emerges to defend the nation against deepening threats to truth and democracy. In a collective act of joy as a form of resistance, hope flickers in the context of a growing autocracy. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance.
Lidia Duda, Poland-Czech Republic
Asia and Marek bought an old house near the eastern border of Poland, in the Białowieża Forest, the oldest forest in Europe. This is your own paradise: a place where your children can grow up safely, away from the problems of today’s world. For Marysia, Ignacy and Franek the forest is their second home, domesticated and reliable. However, one day, their forest changes when strangers and other people appear. Refugees who are not welcome in both Poland and Belarus. The whole family helps the refugees, although this is against Polish law. But how can you not help another person in need? The world of children changes radically. They no longer play a knight and a princess, but a refugee and a border guard. Big politics knocked on his door and nothing was ever the same again.
“Forest” took home the New Visions award for most promising European project at the Ji.hlava Film Festival.
“Johatsu – In the air”
Andreas Hartmann and Arata Mori, Germany-Japan
In Japan, people disappear without a trace with the support of so-called “night moving” companies, which help people disappear from their current lives. Known as the Johatsu, or “the evaporated ones,” these people leave everything behind to start a new life somewhere else.
“My stolen planet”
Farahnaz Sharifi, Germany-Iran
“My Stolen Planet” tells the story of Farah, a woman forced to emigrate “inwards”, to her own home to be free. During the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, she captures moments of joy and challenge in her daily life, navigating the contrast between internal freedom and external oppression.
At the same time, he collects 8mm files from people he doesn’t know. Based on the recordings of others, he gains a new perspective on memory loss. His connection to Leyla, an Iranian professor who left Iran during the revolution, adds a name and a story to one of the faces in her archive.
Farah’s mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, motivates her to fight against oblivion.
In the fall of 2022, the Women, Life and Freedom uprising became a turning point in Farah’s life, as well as in the lives of many other people in Iran. This is a home story.
“My Stolen Planet” has its world premiere in the Panorama Dokumente section of the Berlin Film Festival.
Anupama Srinivasan and Anirban Dutta, India-United States
In the dense forests of the eastern Himalayas, moths whisper to us. In the darkness of the night, two curious observers illuminate this secret universe.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema – Documentary section.
Dutta and Srinivasan’s documentary “Flickering Lights” won the cinematography award at IDFA last year.
“Pol Pot Dance”
Enrique Sánchez Lansch, Germany-Cambodia
A star dancer at Cambodia’s royal court lovingly raises her husband’s little brother as her own son. Decades later, as a forced laborer under the oppressive Khmer Rouge regime, she discovers that her adopted son is none other than Pol Pot.
The regime’s massive purges (from 1975 to 1979: Pol Pot annihilated 25% of Cambodia’s population) are intertwined with the painful memories of the bloodthirsty dictator’s relatives, who today perform an impressive dance show that represents the encounter between the leader of the Khmer Rouge and his adoptive mother.
In this documentary, valuable archival material is perfectly combined with images of the dancers, traditional costumes and descriptions of the meaning behind this cultural expression of the Cambodian people, offering an impeccable result, deeply melancholic, beautiful and at the same time at the same time tragic. Art serves to alleviate the pain of the greatest open wounds in history.
Sánchez Lansch’s films include “Rhythm Is It!” from 2004, directed with Thomas Grube, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, and “Inside the Uffizi,”directed with Corinna Belz.
Elina Psykou, Greece-Switzerland-Italy-Bulgaria
Robin is pregnant but doesn’t want to be a mother. Katerina and Gaia are single but want a child. Kiki suffers from an incurable illness and wants her life to end with dignity. The procedure they hope to have access to (abortion, IVF and euthanasia) is available and legal in neighboring countries, but not in their own. For this reason, they resort to so-called medical tourism. Meeting with those who defend the rights to bodily autonomy and with many of their opponents, “Stray Bodies” takes audiences on a road trip through Europe, where life and death lurk around every corner.
Psykou’s first feature film, “The eternal return of Antonis Paraskevas”, won the Works in Progress award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 2012 and premiered in the Forum section of the Berlinale in 2013. She was named one of the “10 European Directors to Watch” that same year. Her second feature film, “Sofia’s son,” won the Works in Progress award at Les Arcs in 2015, competed at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, and won Best International Narrative Feature.
“Two strangers trying not to kill each other”
Jacob Perlmutter and Manon Ouimet, United Kingdom-Denmark-United States
When unrecognized artist Maggie Barrett, 75, breaks her femur, her husband Joel Meyerowitz, 84, a world-famous photographer, busier than ever, becomes her caregiver. But as her resentment over his success surfaces, the couple vows to maintain equanimity in the face of the existential weight of mortality.
An accidental discovery at an Athens hospital reveals personal and collective trauma about hundreds of patients who died of tuberculosis between 1945 and 1975 and were buried unnamed in mass graves on the hospital grounds. Eighty years later, his controversial story comes to light through his personal belongings and the search for living relatives.
Economou won the FIPRESCI award for a Greek film at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival in 2019 for “When Tomatoes Met Wagner.”
“Cannot be clicked”
Babis Makridis, Greece
Welcome to the murky world of digital ad fraud, the largest source of income for organized crime after drug trafficking. A former industry executive pulls back the curtain to expose how it’s done, who the victims are, and what role Google and Facebook play in the game.
Makridis’ credits include “l”, which premiered in the World Cinema – Dramatic section of the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, and “Pity”, which was also presented at Sundance in the same section, in 2018. “Birds (or How to Be One)” appeared in 2020 at the Rotterdam and Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival.
“Where we used to sleep”
Matthäus Wörle, Romania
A long time ago, Geamăna was a Romanian village in the Apuseni Mountains, where about 1,000 people lived. Today, only the church’s spire rises from the poisonous mud of a neighboring copper mine. Almost all the houses have collapsed and their inhabitants have fled. On the brink of the past, Valeria Praţa fights for her present and finds herself threatened by the future.