The List of Films in Competition for Best Feature Length Documentary at 2012 IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam)
There are sixteen films in competition for the VPRO IDFA Best Feature Length Documentary Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2012. The winner gets a € 12,500 cash prize. The five member jury panel consists of Susan Froemke (USA), Michael Glawogger (Austria), Maria Goos (the Netherlands), Jørgen Leth (Denmark) and Kenneth Turan (USA).
Films in Competition:
- Bad Boy High Security Cell - Directed by Janusz Mrozowski (France/Poland) - The deeply personal diary of a Polish bank robber who is in solitary confinement and, deprived of every form of human contact and, even, of sunshine, is trying to keep himself from going insane.
- First Cousin Once Removed - Directed by Alan Berliner (US) - Filmmaker Alan Berlin focuses on his first cousin once removed and life long mentor, the poet and scholar Edwin Honig, who is in his 80s and suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Berliner's love and respect for his cousin is evident in every sequence, as the filmmaker observes his cousin's increasing disability and memory loss and the inherent wisdom that (surprisingly) shines through the disorientation. This is a deeply moving, beautiful and humane approach to covering a deeply distressing human condition. The film will be broadcast in the US by HBO Documentaries in the future.
- The Gatekeepers - Directed by Dror Moreh (Israel/France/Germany/Belgium) - In interrotron type interviews, six former leaders of the highly secretive Shin Bet, Israel's state internal security and anti-terrorism service, present information and express opinions that put a very different spin on Israeli policy and Middle Eastern affairs. A must see film to be released in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics in 2013.
- Housemaids - Directed by Gabriel Mascaro (France/Lebanon/Brazil) - Affluent Brazilian yuppies take a cinematic tour of the lives of their live-in maids, studying how differences in class and education influence their relationships with women servants who are almost like family members -- but are quite clearly not.
- I Am Breathing - Directed by by Morag McKinnon and Emma Davie (England/Scotland/Denmark) - A very inspiring and deeply affecting biographical documentary profiling Neil Platt, a 33-year old Englishman, lives in London, is terminally ill, has recently become a father, and writes boldly candid, often humorous observations about his life and concerns on his well-followed blog.
- In the Dark Room - Directed by by Nadav Schirman (Germany/Israel/Romania/Finland/Italy) - A documentary profile of Magdalena Kopp, the German wife of Carlos the Jackal, one of the world's most feared and determined terrorists.
- The Lost Fighters of Vietnam - Directed by Lê Lam (France) - In this compelling legacy documentary, elderly Vietnamese men tell true tales about their experiences as forced laborers in France during World War II, about their constant hunger and how gambling fit into their lives, and, ultimately, about their emancipation and reclaiming pride in their cultural identity.
- Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls - Directed by Juliet Lamont (Australia) - Released from the repression imposed by Burma's military dictatorship, the country's first all girl rock group experiences a real challenge in trying to figure out what it wants to sing about, now that it's not being told exactly what subjects and situations are or are not taboo.
- Missing in the Land of Gods - Directed by Davor Dirlic (Australia) - The documentary follows an Australian married couple as they travel through India, searching for their son, who was last seen in 2005 after leaving an ashram at which he had been staying.
- My Afghanistan - Life in the Forbidden Zone - Directed by Nagieb Khaja (Denmark) - Like Burma VJ, this Danish documentary uses footage shot secretly by local Afghani people who were given cell phones equipped with cameras, so that they could record and share events in their daily lives in their war-torn country.
- Rafea: Solar Mama - Directed by Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief (US/Denmark/Jordan/India) - The wonderfully inspiring story of Rafea, a Bedouin woman who gets the opportunity to leave her rural home and her impoverished, represses circumstances in Jordan to attend a training program in India to become a solar engineer. Overcoming major resistance from her unemployed and ultra conservative husband and a number of other challenges, including her own self doubt, Rafea prevails and becomes a woman of independent means. Bravo! This film will be broadcast as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS.
- Selection: Who Will Be a Gurkha? - Directed by Kesang Tseten Lama (Nepal/Finland) - In spite of the arduous and arguably cruel selection process, thousands of young Nepalese join the elite Gurkhas, a special unit of the British army. It's a long standing colonial tradition that continues, although times have changed.
- Smash & Grab - The Story of the Pink Panthers - Directed by Havana Marking (England)- If you've loved the narrative features that fictionalize the story of the 'Pink Panthers,' the most successful and most wanted diamond thieves in the world's history of heists, you'll find this inside famous crimes documentary fascinating. It's the real story, as told from the perspective of the police and press, and, most unusually, from the culprits themselves.
- The Sons of the Land - Directed by Edouard Bergeon (France) - The filmmaker follows the struggles of one French farmer to preserve his traditional way of life and relationship to his land in the face of increasing economic pressures. The problems faced by this farmer are used as a point of departure or framework in which the filmmaker examines his own family background. Bergeon is the son of a farmer who committed suicide.
- The Staircase 2. The Last Chance - Directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (France) - Like Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost series, this compelling crime documentary is the product of years of tracking the conviction and incarceration of alleged murderer Michael Peterson. After eight years in prison, there is hope for release.
- Wrong Time Wrong Place - Directed by John Appel (Netherlands) - What role did chance play in placing people in the line of fire during the shocking July 2011 shootings on the Norwegian island of Utøya? Survivors speak candidly about what they went through during that fateful day, and their feelings about fate.