Our competition selection for extraordinary documentaries from all over the world. The winner film receives a prize of 30 000 NOK given by VGTV.
The winner will be announced at BIFFs price ceremony Wednesday 2rd of October. The audience will get the opportunity to watch the winner films as reruns on the last day of the festival.
The following films are nominated for DOCUMENTAIRE EXTRAORDINAIRE:
In the Lithuanian UNESCO World Heritage site of the Curonian Spit, a population of cormorant birds have transformed an ancient pine forest to a ghostly wasteland with their acid-rich droppings. These dead woods have in turn become a tourist attraction, and by giving us a bird’s eye view of the tourists, ACID RAIN serves up a funny, atmospheric and thought-provoking metaphor for man’s relationship with nature. With its original perspectives on ecology, this is a remarkable combination of art film and nature documentary.
AQUARELA is a film about water – and nothing else. That, however, turns out to be more than enough. After an opening shot depicting a car falling through a frozen lake, director Viktor Kossakovsky dispenses with human subjects entirely, focusing instead on capturing the power and majesty of water in its many forms – from glaciers and tsunamis to raindrops flying at hurricane speed. Filmed in 96 frames per second and featuring a massively powerful soundtrack, AQUARELA is a nature documentary quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
When you give 17 filmmakers free reign to document Pope Francis’ 2018 visit to Chile, you get GOD – a series of satirical, politically poignant and highly entertaining tableaus. Despite the Catholic church’s best efforts, the pews are increasingly empty, while in the streets, people are protesting for LGBTQ rights, the depenalisation of abortion and in support of the Mapuche people. As a symbol of religious and worldly power, Francis becomes a focal point for the tensions that define modern day Chilean society.
Science, faith and grief intersect in the remarkable documentary HOPE FROZEN. The film tells the story of Thai scientists Sahatorn and Nareerat Naovaratpong and their fight to save their two year old daughter Einz from cancer – and when that fails, to cryogenically freeze her body in the hope of resurrecting her some time in the future. Touching on fundamental questions regarding life and humanity, this touching family portrait won the prize for best international documentary during this year’s Hot Docs documentary festival.
It’s hard to fathom the scale of the healthcare crisis in Mexico City. MIDNIGHT FAMILY opens with the horrifying statement that the city of 9 million citizens is serviced by only 45 state run ambulances. This adrenaline-pumping documentary follows the Ochoa family, who operate as paramedics on the fringes of the health care system with their own private ambulance. Mixing edge-of-your-seat car chases with revealing glimpses of social and personal dynamics, director Luke Lorentzen has made a tender family portrait which is as exciting as it is socially conscious.
MOTHER, I AM SUFFOCATING. THIS IS MY LAST FILM ABOUT YOU. defies categorization. Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s angry, enigmatic and deeply personal cinematic essay hooks the audience with its grainy black-and-white cinematography and biblical imagery – and mesmerizes them with its evocative soundtrack made up of analogue hisses, hypnotic sound loops and a lyrical monologue about Africa, colonialism and religion. This Qatari-Lesothonian co-production is cinematic poetry quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Summer is at its peak in Scania in southern Sweden. The seasonal workers have arrived, the locals are celebrating the harvest and the young people are drinking in the woods. The Swedish summer itself is the protagonist in this beautifully atmospheric film, which also gives fleeting insight into the lives of seasonal worker Beata, youngster Aaron, and Billie, who is on her first summer vacation. John Skoog masters the balance between visual art, abstract fiction and documentary, and the summer mood permeates every frame, floating through lives and forests.
Starting out as a film about homing pigeons, SCHEME BIRDS quickly pivots to focus on the charismatic Gemma, an orphaned teenager growing up among decaying high-rises in Motherwell, Scotland. Since the closing of the town’s steel plant, poverty and unemployment have been on the rise, and the local youth seem doomed to a life marked by crime and substance abuse. Drawing comparisons to the work of Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay, SCHEME BIRDS is a grim yet hopeful portrait of a young woman determined to transcend the circumstances she was born into.
Eva Collé is a Berlin-based model and sex worker who has dedicated her life to breaking taboos and challenging conventions. In an age where the constant presence of cameras exert a growing influence on how people present and understand themselves, Eva attempts to live a 100 % transparent life online. But how does this lack of privacy affect her on a psychological and emotional level? The intimate and highly stylized SEARCHING EVA explores questions of identity, performance and self in the 21st century .
The follow-up to Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s audience favourite HUMAN, WOMAN asks a simple yet impossibly difficult question – namely: what does it mean to be a woman? In order to answer this query directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Anastasia Mikova travelled the world and interviewed two thousand women from fifty different countries. The resulting film is a rich tapestry of viewpoints, life experiences and schools of thought, which will no doubt give audiences much to reflect on, disagree with and discuss.
Lasse Gallefoss, director, Pandora Film
Hans Andreas Fay, Head of Acquisition, VGTV
Børrea Schau-Larsen, former journalist and Director Product Management, Schibsted