BIFF 2020

Style matters!

- Artistic Diversity of European Documentary Filmmaking


Already  a  long  time  ago,  European  documentary  filmmakers  stopped pretending that they “simply” record reality. In  this  day  and  age,  European  documentary  film  is  enjoying  an unprecedented heyday. Traditional themes regarded as its domain have been enriched with new areas of interest.

Contemporary documentaries boldly enter the realms previously reserved for feature, animated or even fantasy films. Traditional observational documentary gives waytonewsubgenres,such as mockumentary, docudrama, as well as experimental, investigative, and animated documentary. This change is accompanied by the shift in the role of the filmmaker. The director — once invisible — today often appears in front of the camera, inspires the course of events, and sometimes even makes attempts to help their protagonists. Modern-day documentary film hardly steers clear of provocationandstaging; increasinglyoften; itemploysshootingandeditingtechniques once reserved for avant-garde and experimental authors — or even animations which allow one to show what for various reasons cannot be captured on video.

“Style Matters!” is a set of diverse films produced in 2014 and 2015, which illustrate the scope of European documentarians’ formal interests. It features experimental films (A GERMANYOUTH, edited with the use of archival footage only, and I FOR IRAN, which is close to the tradition of video art), a creative investigative documentary (THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER), a film that employs animation techniques (LASTHIJACK), and a documentary essay (BATTLES). The common denominator of these formally diverse films is their authors’ interest in socio-political themes. In spite of appearances, form plays a crucial role in socially engaged documentaries as well.

The presented programme was prepared together by the Bergen International Film Festival and the WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film IFF. BIFF’s and WATCH DOCS’ joint project is supported by the “Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage” Programme grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.

Konrad Wirkowski


Director of Programming

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