Little Rock Film Festival announces 2013 Golden Rock Documentary Competition Lineup
The 7th Annual Little Rock Film Festival is pleased to announce the competition lineup for the 2013 Golden Rock Documentary Category.
“This year’s lineup represents the very best in documentary work being made around the World. Each of these 17 films examine a wide range of issues and characters from secret wars around the globe, ganglife in Baltimore, Maryland to the entertainment industry in Branson, Missouri. Many of the films challenge the traditional forms documentaries have long been known for”– Brent Renaud, LRFF co-founder and Artistic Director
Each of these films will compete for the LRFF2013 Golden Rock for Best Documentary Film. Some films in this category will also be eligible for the $10,000 Heifer International Humanitarian Award and the $10,000 Oxford American Best Southern Film. Many of the documentaries featured this year are making one of their first appearances since premiering in festivals like Sundance Film Festival and SXSW.
Special announcements will continue to be made as the festival approaches.
12 O’Clock Boys – directed by Lotfy Nathan
Pug, a young boy growing up on a combative West Baltimore block, finds solace in a group of illegal dirt bike riders known as The 12 O’Clock Boys. Converging from all parts of the inner city, they invade the streets and clash with police, who are forbidden to chase the bikes for fear of endangering the public.
After Tiller – directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson
An in-depth look at the rapidly unfolding stories of four doctors still willing to provide third-trimester abortions in the wake of the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller. After the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller the number of doctors willing to provide third-trimester abortions in the U.S. shrank to four. Each a close colleague of Dr. Tiller these doctors, targets of persecution and violence from anti-abortion radicals, risk their lives daily to do work that many believe is murder because of their dedication to something that they believe is profoundly important to their patients’ care. After Tiller follows the rapidly unfolding stories of these doctors and their fight to keep this service available in America.
Ain’t in it for my Health – directed by Jacob Hatley
Starting with the image of a tour bus warming its engine in the stillness of an empty lot, this haunting, personal portrait of music legend Levon Helm evokes the mood of a lifetime spent on the road. Jacob Hatley’s extraordinarily intimate documentary finds Helm, a founding member of The Band, at home in Woodstock in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. The ultimate survivor, he’s overcome drugs, bankruptcy, the bitter breakup of The Band and a bout of throat cancer -but then, as the rueful title indicates, he wasn’t in it for his health.
Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker – directed by Lily Keber
Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker’ explores the life, times and music of James Booker, the legendary New Orleans performer who Dr. John proclaimed ‘the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.
Blood Brother – directed by Steve Hoover
Rocky Braat went to India as a disillusioned American tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV/AIDS, he decided to stay. He never could have imagined the obstacles he would face. Or the love he would find. Winner of the U. S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award – Sundance Film Festival 2013.
Bridegroom – directed by Linda Bloodworth Thomason
Bridegroom is a documentary directed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason that tells the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship — a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof. The story of what happened after this accidental death– of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized– is poignant, enraging and opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever will. Winner of the Audience Award-Tribeca Film Festival 2013.
Dirty Wars – directed by Richard Rowley
Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. With a strong cinematic style, the film blurs the boundaries of documentary and fiction storytelling. Part action film and part detective story, Dirty Wars is a gripping journey into one of the most important and underreported stories of our time. What begins as a report into a U.S. night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly turns into a global investigation of the secretive and powerful Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Winner of Cinematography Award: U. S. Documentary – Sundance Film Festival 2013.
Gideon’s Army – directed by Dawn Porter
Gideon’s Army follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year. Nearly 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon vs. Wainwright that established the right to counsel, can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make “justice for all” a reality?
Muscle Shoals – directed by Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River,” the music of Muscle Shoals helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the “Muscle Shoals sound” and The Swampers, the house band at FAME that eventually left to start their own successful studio, known as Muscle Shoals Sound. Gregg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith. Richards, Percy Sledge, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential today.
Our Nixon – directed by Penny Lane
Throughout Richard Nixon’s presidency, three of his top White House aides obsessively documented their experiences with Super 8 home movie cameras. Young, idealistic and dedicated, they had no idea that a few years later they’d all be in prison. This unique and personal visual record, created by H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin, was seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigation, then filed away and forgotten for almost 40 years. OUR NIXON is an all-archival documentary presenting those home movies for the first time, along with other rare footage, creating an intimate and complex portrait of the Nixon presidency as never seen before.
Pussy Riot – a Punk Prayer – directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin
Filmed over the course of six months, this film tells the incredible story of three young women: Nadia, Masha and Katia. As members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, they performed a 40 second “punk prayer” inside Russia’s main cathedral. This performance led to their arrest on charges of religious hatred and culminated in a trial that has reverberated around the world and transformed the face of Russian society forever. Moving from farce to tragedy and back again, the film explores how political and religious forces contrived to make an example out of three young artists who stepped out of line. Are you a ready for a “Pussy Riot”? Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award – Sundance Film festival 2013.
Spies of Mississippi – directed by Dawn Porter
Enter the chilling world of anti civil rights espionage. Spies of Mississippi reveals in shocking detail the state of Mississippi’s effort to undermine the civil rights movement using a vast network of spies. Their identities will shock you. Whites and Blacks spied for Old Dixie. And the Sovereignty Commission would stop at nothing, even murder, to retain the “Mississippi way of life”.
In Karachi, Pakistan, a runaway boy’s life hangs on one critical question: where is home? The streets, an orphanage, or with the family he fled in the first place? Simultaneously heart-wrenching and life-affirming, “These Birds Walk” documents the struggles of these wayward street children and the samaritans looking out for them in this ethereal and inspirational story of resilience. Winner of the Best Documentary and Special Jury Award – Nashville Film Festival 2013.
The Kill Team – directed by Dan Krauss
In 2010, the media branded a platoon of U.S. Army infantry soldiers “The Kill Team” following reports of its killing for sport while stationed in Afghanistan. Two years later, Dan Krauss examines this heinous war crime from the perspective of the accused. Firsthand accounts from four of the implicated soldiers provide insight into the circumstances that inspired the gratuitous killing of Afghan civilians. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary – Tribeca Film Festival 2013.
Village at the End of the World – directed by Sarah Gavron
Lars is the only teenager in town who, in a community of hunters doesn’t want to hunt. Niaqornat in North West Greenland has a population of only 59, with no local industry people are being forced to leave to find jobs in the nearest town. Whilst the rest of the community pull together to try and re-open the fish-factory, Lars begins to plan his escape. Like all villages, Niaqornat has its supporters and detractors amongst the local populace. For some it is paradise, they can’t imagine living anywhere else, for others it’s the last place on earth they want to be.
We Always Lie to Strangers – directed by AJ Schnack and David Wilson
“We Always Lie To Strangers” is a story of family, community, music and tradition set against the backdrop of Branson, Missouri, a remote Ozark Mountain town that is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the United States. Here, millions from around the country, and particularly from the American Midwest, flock for a return to “old fashioned, traditional values” and the family-style entertainment of Branson’s 100+ staged music shows, many of which feature families performing together. As Branson faces economic uncertainty and changes in attitudes on social issues, the interwoven sagas of these performing families form a composite both of Branson and of contemporary America. Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Directing – SXSW 2013.
William and the Windmill – directed by Ben Nabors
Young Malawian William Kamkwamba teaches himself to build a power-generating windmill from junk parts, successfully rescuing his family from poverty and famine. He becomes an energy icon for the developing world and meets American entrepreneur and mentor Tom Rielly, who helps him imagine a new future. Fame, opportunity, stress, and isolation follow his invention, and his life is transformed. As William struggles with the potential of his promising future, he privately yearns to distance himself from his windmill, that which made him famous. This is a story about a complex young man straddling two cultures, carrying the burdens of his past achievements while boldly pursuing a bright future. Winner of the Grand Jury Award – SXSW 2013.
All screenings for the LRFF2013 (May 15th – May 19th, 2013) will be held in downtown Little Rock/NLR this year. The full festival schedule will be announced soon. Stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates as we close in on LRFF2013.
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