EFP spotlights outstanding European documentaries with the launch of a new showcase in New York City
TRUE STORIES: NEW NON-FICTION FROM EUROPE
For the first time, EFP (European Film Promotion) spotlights outstanding European documentaries with True Stories: New Non-Fiction from Europe in New York City. For the launch of the programme, running from May 3 – 7, 2017 EFP has teamed up with the New York based cinema Metrograph, home to a prolific and finely curated world of cinema. The majority of EFP’s 38 member organisations enthusiastically suggested films that push the visual and narrative boundaries of traditional non-fiction filmmaking. The final selection – curated by Metrograph – presents nine productions including four US premieres and three NY premieres.
To provide access to a broader audience, EFP is also cooperating with VoD platform Kanopy on the non-theatrical distribution of the films. This new EFP initiative is financially supported by Creative Europe – Media Programme of the European Union and the participating EFP member organisations.
The Opening Night film on May 3 is the NY premiere of Last Man in Aleppo (Denmark/Syria), winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. U.S. premieres include Come Back Free (Estonia), Funeral (On the Art of Dying) (Belgium/France/Canada), Spira Mirabillis (Italy/Switzerland), and Tinselwood (France), while Mister Universo (Austria/Italy) and Stranger in Paradise (Netherlands) will receive NY premieres. Completing the list is Ama San (Portugal/Japan).
With a special invitation from Metrograph, the Closing Night will be dedicated to the award-winning work of late filmmaker Michael Glawogger with a screening of Untitled (Austria/Germany).
"We are thrilled to collaborate with Metrograph in presenting EFP’s first showcase of European documentary films in New York” said Martin Schweighofer, EFP President. “Metrograph’s Jacob Perlin and Aliza Ma have curated an uncompromising lineup of films. The selection challenges the boundaries of traditional documentary filmmaking with visually arresting images and thought-provoking content, representing the latest trends in European non-fiction filmmaking”.
Jacob Perlin, Artistic Director and Director of Programming at Metrograph, said “We’ve wanted to partner with EFP before the construction of Metrograph was even finished. For True Stories: New Non-Fiction from Europe, with EFP, we’re bringing some of the strongest and most vital non-fiction films to New York, in a time where our horizons needs to be broadened, and our bonds to film strengthened.”
The following EFP members are supporting True Stories: New Non-Fiction from Europe: Austrian Films, Danish Film Institute, Estonian Film Institute, Eye International, ICA – Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual, I.P. (Portugal), Istituto Luce Cinecittà (Italy), UniFrance, Wallonie Bruxelles Images.
FULL LIST OF TITLES
Opening Night Selection
Last Man in Aleppo – NY Premiere
(Steen Johannessen/Firas Fayyad, Denmark/Syria)
Syrian filmmaker Firas Fayyad and Danish co-director Steen Johannessen’s breathtaking work is an imperative piece of boots-on-the-ground reportage, following the exploits of the White Helmets, a search-and-rescue organization who indefatigably struggle on amidst Aleppo’s humanitarian catastrophe, looking for signs of life amid the rubble of a ruined city. Displaying remarkable calm and compositional clarity amidst chaos, Last Men in Aleppo embodies the agony and euphoria of its subject’s life-and-death work. EFP Member: Danish Film Institute. A Grasshopper Film release.
(Cláudia Varejão, Portugal/Japan)
Every day, in an obscure corner of Japan’s Shima peninsula, traditional pearl hunters dive beneath the waves to harvest from the ocean floor. Varejão’s remarkable film follows three female divers of varying ages out onto (and under) open water and back into their homes, describing the little routines which make up their lives, in a poetic film that seems to obey the coaxing rhythm of the ocean from which these women take their livelihoods. EFP Member: ICA - Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual, I.P.
Come Back Free – U.S. Premiere
(Ksenia Okhapkina, Estonia)
Shot in the rugged mountains of Chechnya, Come Back Free looks firsthand at the lives of Muslim Chechens unreconciled to the supposed peace with Russia. Filmmaker Okhapkina records rituals of joy and of mourning in a village where life seems to center around a cemetery filled with the war dead, the title of her poetic film taken from a common goodbye exchanged by these proud, determined people. EFP Member: Estonian Film Institute
Funeral (On the Art of Dying) – U.S. Premiere
(Boris Lehman, Belgium/France/Canada)
The last episode of Lehman’s ongoing “auto-cine-biographic” work Babel, through which Lehman has documented thirty years of his own life, Funeral finds the filmmaker-essayist getting ready for the end, his customary wry humor still very much intact he attends to the business of trying a coffin on for size, preparing for the ceremony, and putting together a brilliant, blazing pyre of worldly possessions. Wistful and wise, the capstone to an awesome feat of ongoing cinematic self-analysis.
EFP Member: Wallonie Bruxelles Images.
Mister Universo – NY Premiere
(Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel, Austria/Italy)
Covi and Frimmel use real carnival performers to play out this endearing fable from what’s perhaps the end of the circus era, in which Tairo, a sweet-but-surly young lion tamer with a ragtag outfit travelling the Italian provinces, goes into a panic after losing his bent-steel lucky charm, and sets out to find the man who bent it for him years ago—Arthur Robin, the first black Mister Universe. A lovely, loving dispatch from the tatty fringes of show biz. EFP Member: Austrian Films.
Spira Mirabillis – U.S. Premiere
(Massimo D'Anolfi & Martina Parenti, Italy/Switzerland)
An extraordinarily rich, nearly wordless onrush of footage culled from all around the world—marine biologists in Japan, Lakota Sioux shamans, the hidden world of single-cell organisms—Spira Mirabilis is perhaps the most ambitious work to date by D’Anolfi and Parenti (The Castle, Dark Matter), a film of swarming multitudes that moves nimbly between the micro and macro while circling the appropriately massive idea of immortality. EFP Member: Istituto Luce Cinecittà - Filmitalia
Stranger in Paradise – NY Premiere
(Guido Hendrikx, Netherlands)
A bracing study in politics and power dynamics set in a refugee detention center on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, Hendrikx’s confrontational docu-fiction experiment breaks down the crisis in contemporary Europe over the course of three acts in which real migrants present their stories in a classroom environment where they’re confronted by an instructor who represents different European attitudes: One forbidding, one open-armed, one the actual tangle of European Union policy. EFP Member: EYE International.
Tinselwood – U.S. Premiere
(Marie Voignier, France)
Observing the quotidian lives of the people of southeast Cameroon from the demarcated position of an outsider, cinematographer and filmmaker Vognier searches through the tropical overgrowth to discover where she can identify the psychic and the physical legacy of colonialism among a people existing at a level of bare subsistence, where young men still search the old German cemetery for buried treasures. A patient, scrupulously honest film, which gives its subjects time and space to reveal themselves in all their complexity. EFP Member: UniFrance.
Closing Night Selection – Special Screening
(Michael Glawogger, Monika Willi, Austria/Germany)
When the great Michael Glawogger (Workingman’s Death, Whores’ Glory) died of malaria in Monrovia, Liberia, he was in the midst of a yearlong period of footloose travel, at work on a new kind of open-ended movie. Untitled is comprised of the globe-trotting material he shot on this pilgrimage-without-a-destination and the notes he took along the way, an immensely affecting testament to the artist’s boundless curiosity and cinematographic virtuosity that vibrates with vitality before arriving at a coda of gentle resignation. EFP Member: Austrian Films.