LRFF2014 Announces Golden Rock Documentary Competition Lineup
The 2014 Golden Rock Documentary Competition is the most diverse and challenging in our festival’s history. Among the selections this year are the Sundance Grand Prize winner Rich Hill; The Sundance Best Director winner The Case Against 8; and the Libyan War based Point and Shoot from Academy Award nominated director Marshall Curry. This year the LRFF will be one of the first festivals in the country to award a special jury prize for “Cinematic Non-Fiction”. Guest programmer, critic and filmmaker Robert Greene, has put together a lineup of films from around the World that are pushing the boundaries of the documentary form. Selections from the program include the Sundance Jury Prize Winner The Overnighters, and Manakamana, the latest film out of the Harvard Sensory Ethnography lab that produced last year’s Leviathan. The full list is below, with more special selections to be added in the lead up to the festival.
LRFF2014 Documentary Competition Line Up Includes:
The Case Against 8 (109mins) – Directing Award: U.S. Documentary, Sundance
Director: Ben Cotner & Ryan White, Producer: Ryan White
A behind-the-scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The high-profile trial first makes headlines with the unlikely pairing of Ted Olson and David Boies, political foes who last faced off as opposing attorneys in Bush v. Gore. The film also follows the plaintiffs, two gay couples who find their families at the center of the same-sex marriage controversy. Five years in the making, this is the story of how they took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.
E-Team (88mins) – Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary, Sundance
Director: Katy Chevigny & Ross Kauffman, Producer: Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman, & Marilyn Ness
Anna, Ole, Fred and Peter are four members of the Emergencies Team — or E-Team — the boots on the ground division of a respected, international human rights group. Arriving as soon as possible after allegations of human rights abuse surface, the E-Team uncovers crucial evidence to determine if further investigation is warranted and, if so, to investigate, document, and capture the world’s attention. They also immediately challenge the responsible decision makers, holding them accountable. Human rights abuses thrive on secrecy and silence, and the work of the E-Team, backed by their international human rights organization, has shone light in dark places and given voice to thousands whose stories would never otherwise have been told.
Fish Tail (61mins)
Director: Andrew Renzi, Producer: Brett Potter, Tylee Abbott
The iconic voice and noble philosophies of Harry Dean Stanton accentuate this authentic look at life on the edge of the wilderness. Cowboys, roaring campfires, and vast landscapes—those hallmarks of the American West—punctuate director Andrew Renzi’s glimpse into a rugged lifestyle few Americans still pursue. Following the cowboys of Montana’s Fishtail Basin Ranch as they survive another calving season, Renzi captures the texture of pastoral life, highlighting its cyclical and untainted essence. Suffused with rustic beauty, this atmospheric documentary observes this idealized occupation with an honest eye. Set to a seraphic score, Stanton would agree, this is a film for “those of earth-born passion.” (Source: Tribeca Film Festival)
Happy Valley (98mins)
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
The town of State College, home to Penn State University, lies at the heart of an area known as Happy Valley. Its iconic figure for more than 40 yearsJoe Paterno, the head coach of the school’s football team, took on mythic national stature as ‘Saint Joe.’ But in November 2011, everything came crashing down when former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with child sex abuse. Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky’s arrest, Amir Bar-Lev creates a parable of guilt, responsibility, and identity for a small town caught in the glare of the national spotlight.
Killing Time (54mins)
Director: Jaap van Hoewijk, Producer: Eric Velthuis
Filmed in a ‘cinema direct’ style, the film witnesses how a family is killing time while waiting for the execution of their loved one in Huntsville, Texas. Killing Time is ‘a naked’ film: no music, no effects. Nothing to amplify or influence the images. Just the story, just the facts. May the viewer make up his own mind.
Life After Death (74mins)
Director: Joe Callander, Producer: Dave Munson & Suzette Munson
Somewhere in Kigali, Rwanda, Kwasa and his sidekick Fils are best friends in their early 20’s, trying to navigate life in the wake of a genocide. Fils offers Kwasa prudent advice on work and life, while Kwasa, the hilarious, savvy, heart-broke hustler howls at the ghosts of his past while grasping at some kind of stable future.
Living Stars (63mins)
Director: Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat, Producer: Juana García
Living Stars is a documentary film coming from the mythic and avant-garde TV show, “Televisión abierta” which was created by the same directors (Cohn and Duprat) and which broke into Argentine television in the 90s. The film focuses on one of the central aspects of the show, probably the most essential and most loaded with symbolism in the whole series: common people dancing to popular music in their own homes.
Manakamana (118mins) – Golden Leopard: Cinema of the Present, Locarno Film Festival
Director: Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez, Producer: Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel
High above a jungle in Nepal, pilgrims make an ancient journey by cable car to worship Manakamana.
Director: Leon Gast & Ryan Moore, Producer: Ryan Moore, Ken Mayer
Narrated by Liam Neeson and directed by Ryan Moore and Academy Award winner Leon Gast (“When We Were Kings”), “Manny” is an inspirational tale of a man who overcame insurmountable odds to become one of the most loved and respected athletes of all time. From a starving teenager who fought to feed his family, to a Congressman working tirelessly to improve the lives of his people, “Manny” is a feature length documentary film that explores the many triumphs and tribulations of Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao.
Ne Me Quitte Pas (107mins)
Director: Sabine Lubbe Bakker & Niels van Koevorden, Producer: Pieter van Huystee
The crisis of masculinity subgenre gets reworked in this one-of-a-kind documentary, which follows, with surprising humility and hilarity, the downward spiral of two Belgian farmers’ mid-life crises. Left by his wife for another man, Marcel falls into a deep depression and alcoholism, with only his friend Bob, also an alcoholic, to look after him. Ne Me Quitte Pas is a tender, funny, and disturbing examination of the fragile male ego. Set against the beautifully photographed Belgian landscape, Dutch filmmakers Sabine Lubbe Bakker & Niels van Koevorden deliver an unforgettable portrayal of the true meaning of friendship. (Source: TIFF)
The Notorious Mr. Bout (90mins)
Director: Tony Gerber & Maxim Pozdorovkin, Producer: Tony Gerber & Maxim Pozdorovkin
When he was arrested in 2008 in Thailand as a result of a U.S. government sting operation, the career of internationally known arms smuggler Viktor Bout came to a decisive end. Veiled by the obscurity of post-Soviet Russia, Bout had built an empire of aerial delivery so vast he was called “the merchant of death” and was even the subject of a Hollywood film. In sharp contrast to the widely known, super-villain persona, however, was another Bout: a philosophical businessman who simply enjoyed travel, his work, his family, and filming it all with his video camera. (Source: Sundance)
The Overnighters (100mins) – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, Sundance Film Festival
Director: Jesse Moss, Producer: Jesse Moss & Amanda McBaine
Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.
Point and Shoot (82mins)
Director: Marshall Curry, Producer: Marshall Curry, Elizabeth Martin, & Matthew VanDyke
In 2006, Matt VanDyke, a timid 27-year-old with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, left home in Baltimore and set off on a self-described “crash course in manhood”. He bought a motorcycle and a video camera and began a three-year, 35,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East. While traveling, he struck up an unlikely friendship with a Libyan hippie, and when revolution broke out in Libya, Matt joined his friend in the fight against dictator Muammar Gaddafi. With a gun in one hand and a camera in the other, Matt fought in — and filmed — the war until he was captured by Gaddafi forces and held in solitary confinement for six months. Two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry tells this harrowing and sometimes humorous story of a young man’s struggle for political revolution and personal transformation.
Rich Hill (91mins) – U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, Sundance Film Festival
Director: Tracy Droz Tragos & Andrew Droz Palermo, Producer: Tracy Droz Tragos & Andrew Droz Palermo
Rich Hill, Missouri (population 1393). Off the highway, next to the railroad track. ANDREW, 14, works on his bike, talks dreams with his dad, practices dance moves with his twin sister. He’s just like a lot of American teenagers, except that his days are often also about survival. HARLEY, 15, lives with his grandma and eight other members of his extended family because his mom is in prison for attempted murder. Still, Harley is the first guy in the room to crack a joke and make you laugh when you least expect it. APPACHEY, 13, finds solace in skateboards and, despite his intelligence, has had to repeat the 6th grade, which doesn’t come close to fixing what’s broken in his life. These boys can be tough – they know how to walk with a clenched-jaw stare like they have nothing to lose. But when you get to know them up-close, you see their insight, their humor, and their determination to survive. And despite the isolation and brutality of their circumstances, their hope for a brighter future persists. They imagine that their hard work will be rewarded, and that, although there is no road map or role model, even they can live the American dream.
Stop the Pounding Heart (101mins)
Director: Roberto Minervini, Producer: Roberto Minervini
Sara is a young girl raised in a family of goat farmers. Her parents homeschool their twelve children, rigorously following the precepts of the Bible. Like her sisters, Sara is taught to be a devout woman, subservient to men while keeping her emotional and physical purity intact until marriage. When Sara meets Colby, a young amateur bull rider, she is thrown into crisis, questioning the only way of life she has ever known. In a stunning portrayal of contemporary America and the insular communities that dot its landscape, Stop the Pounding Heart is an exploration of adolescence, family and social values, gender roles, and religion in the rural American South.
Director: Orlando von Einsiedel, Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara
Virunga is the incredible true story of a group of brave individuals risking their lives to save Africa’s oldest national park in the midst of renewed civil war and a scramble for the region’s natural resources.