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17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Highlights & main sidebar events
5 March 2015
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Another year of courageous documentary filmmaking is about to reveal itself: the 17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century offers some of the most striking samples of the genre. 

One of this year΄s highlights will be Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro΄s Oscar nomination for Best Documentary, The Salt of the Earth (Recordings of Memory programme), where a Brazilian photojournalist fills the screen with his images and life story. Blending the genres of ecological documentary and political thriller, Orlando von Einsiedel’s Virunga (Environment programme, with Leonardo DiCaprio as executive producer) on the other hand, chronicles the story of a group of park rangers and their struggle to protect the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Some of TDF regulars - Heddy Honigmann, Kim Longinotto, Joshua Oppenheimer and Barbara Kopple - return with their latest work: Heddy Honigmann’s Around the World in 50 Concerts (Music & Dance programme), is a road-movie with one of the world’s best orchestras, while, Joshua Oppenheimer, after his ground-breaking Act of Killing, delves once again into Indonesia’s tragic recent history with The Look of Silence (Recordings of Memory programme), a “poem about a silence borne of terror”. In Kim Longinotto’s verité style Dreamcatcher (Society programme), a former prostitute is now a guardian angel for neglected and exploited women and young girls.

The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer

The Portraits programme has included the film Running From Crazy, by Oscar winner and documentary legend Barbara Kopple, an intimate portrait of Ernest Hemingway΄s granddaughter, actress Mariel Hemingway. There΄s also André Singer’s Night Will Fall (Recordings of Memory programme) a British Holocaust film overseen by Alfred Hitchcock, shelved for 70 years for political reasons. On the Society programme, Michael Matheson Miller’s Poverty Inc. showcases  talking heads, who expertly and roundly present the workings of global poverty.

Beside the films mentioned above, the 17th Thessaloniki Doc Fest is presenting approximately 185 films (shorts and features) by directors from all over the world, as well as a full parallel events program. Of those, 5 are world, 9 international, 3 European and 125 Greek premieres. The festival will open with Hip Hop-eration by Bryn Evans from New Zealand, a documentary that celebrates the joy of life. 

The International Federation of Film Critics΄ Jury (FIPRESCI) on the other hand, will again award a Greek documentary and a foreign one. The five-member FIPRESCI Jury is composed of Massimo Lechi from Italy (President) and members Yoana Pavlova from Bulgaria, Kirsten Kieninger from Germany, Mo Abdi from the U.K. and Gia Giovani from Greece.

The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro

On the Sidebar Events, one can easily single out the Live Cinema: The Measure of All Things event. Academy-nominated filmmaker Sam Green (The Weather Underground) will be presenting a new live-cinema performanc. Part of Greene΄s ongoing exploration of the “live-documentary” genre, The Measure of All Things is a project that combines his own narration onstage with photos, film footage and interview clips, while a live band performs the soundtrack. The film will be screened with a live soundtrack performed by the chamber group yMusic. There΄s also the screening of Thomas Kiaos’ documentary Out Here, realized on the occasion of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s “Initiative Against the Crisis” program, followed by a relevant discussion. Mostly discucssions (between world filmmakers and producers) includes the Just Talking event. Daily meetings around issues that concern documentary filmmakers, and, apart from the groups, all other accredited festival attendees are admitted to the sessions and can either simply listen or participate. 

Some really great German documentaries are programed for the German Docs Tribute – the other major tribute of Thessaloniki Doc Fest 2015, beside those of Alexandru Solomon and Hubert Sauer. The representative selection of the recent German documentaies includes the latest works of Andrew Davies and Rieke Brendel, Heidi Specogna, Oswald von Richthofen, Alexander Gentelev, Kordula Hildenbrand, Maximilian Haslberger and Agnieszka Zwiefka, among others.

Source: Thessaloniki Documentary Festival official website
  Alexandru Solomon
  Yoana Pavlova
  Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
  The 16th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival Awards
  17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2015 - Main Tributes
  17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2015, Greek programme
  Thessaloniki Doc Fest on Facebook
  Thessaloniki Doc Fest on Twitter
  Thessaloniki Doc Fest official website
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