World Documentary Feature CompetitionTribeca Film Festival is presenting twelve films from eight countries in its 2012 World Documentary Feature Competition. All films are eligible for the festival's awards for Best Documentary Feature, Best New Documentary Director and Best Editing. The films (listed in alphabetical order) are:
- Ballroom Dancer - Directed and written by Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed, Denmark - North American Premiere - The film profiles Slavik Kryklyvyy, the World Latin American Dance Champion in 2000, as his career goes into a downward spin, and is renewed when he becomes entangled with Anna, his new partner and lover. Ballroom Dancer is a stunning documentary about a career comeback that's accompanied by a troubled romance. In Russian with English subtitles.
- Downeast - Directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, USA - World Premiere - In Gouldsboro, Maine, the closing of the sardine canning factory has put residents -- many of them elderly -- out of work, putting them at risk financially. They are desperate to get back to work. An Italian immigrant named Antonio Bussone is trying to open a new lobster processing plan, but he's having difficulty getting federal funding to start the business. The film deals with the hard subject of restoring the American economy by putting hard working people back to work -- or not.
- Fame High - Directed and written by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, USA - World Premiere - In his follow up to his Oscar-nominated The Garden, filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy follows students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as they struggle to learn their crafts, compete for recognition and try to prepare themselves for their careers.
- The Flat (Ha-dira) - Directed and written by Arnon Goldfinger, Israel and Germany - North American Premiere - When filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger's grandmother passed away at age 98, he had the task of cleaning out the Tel Aviv apartment she'd lived in with her husband since they immigrated to Palestine from Nazi Germany during the 1930s. While going through his grandmothers papers, he discovers unexpected and troubling family secrets about his forebears' past. In Hebrew, German, English with subtitles.
- High Tech, Low Life - Directed by Stephen Maing, USA and China - World Premiere - Censorship of the media in China has given rise to a legion of underground bloggers who write about taboo subjects and news, standing up to the Chinese government that employs 40,000 "internet police" to prevent half a million websites from being accessed in the country. The film focuses particularly on bloggers Zola and Tiger Temple as they risk political persecution to become China's uncensored eyes and ears. In Mandarin with subtitles.
- The List - Directed by Beth Murphy, USA - World Premiere - After working to rebuild war-torn Iraqi cities, Kirk Johnson returns to America to advocate for Iraqi citizens who aided the US reconstruction efforts, and are now targeted by their radical anti-US countrymen. In English and Arabic with subtitles.
- Off Label - Directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher, USA - World Premiere - The filmmaking team that created October Country now focuses on the widespread use of pharmaceuticals in ways counter to their prescribed dosage and function. The practice is known as "Off Labeling," and it's dangerous and costly. Palmieri and Mosher turn their lens on misdiagnosed patients, professional drug testers, recreational drug users, and soldiers struggling with PTSD, among others, to reveal an American citizenry that is overmedicated, misdiagnosed, and drug-addled.
- Planet of Snail - Directed by Seung-Jun Yi, South Korea - North American Premiere - A mesmerizingly moving, beautiful and powerful profile of the loving relationship between a deaf and blind man, Young-Chan, and a disabled woman, Soon-Ho, who find harmony, balance and joy in and through each other. Winner of Documentary Feature Competition at IDFA in 2011. In Korean with subtitles.
- The Revisionaries - Directed by Scott Thurman, written by Jawad Metni and Scott Thurman, USA) - World Premiere - Politicization of education is in focus as the filmmakers document the once-in-a-decade conference at which the 15 members of the Texas State Board of Education revise the textbook standards for five million schoolchildren. Led by Don McLeroy, a Young-Earth Creationist and Evangelical Christian, the panel implements standards that will ultimately go into effect in science and history textbooks for schoolchildren across the nation.
- The Virgin, the Copts and Me (La Vierges, les Coptes et Moi) - Directed by Namir Abdel Messeeh, written by Namir Abdel Messeeh, Nathalie Najem, and Anne Paschetta, France and Qatar - North American Premiere - French-Egyptian filmmaker Namir Abdel Messeeh begins by investigating allegedly miraculous Virgin Mary apparitions that are seen in Egypt's Coptic Christian community. But when there's nervous opposition from his producers and his Coptic family, Namir transforms his first feature into a family profile, starring his funny and feisty mother. In Arabic and French with English subtitles.
- Wavumba - Directed by Jeroen van Velzen, written by Jeroen van Velzen and Sara Kee, Netherlands - North American Premiere - Set in Kenya, the film presents local folklore about fishermen, based on the fairy tale of a spirit-filled island with the magic to either bless or curse a fisherman's journey, Dutch filmmaker Jeroen van Velzen follows Masoud, a legendary shark hunter who relives his youthful adventures through storytelling and nostalgia. In English and Swahili with subtitles.
- The World Before Her - Directed by Nisha Pahuja, Canada - World Premiere - In this insightful look at the role of women in today's India, filmmaker Nisha Pahuja follows the stories of women who represent ways of coping with rapidly transforming culture. The women competing in the Miss India beauty pageant and those involved with a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls represent very different perspectives and possibilities for women in modernizing India. In English, and Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati with English subtitles subtitles.
Tribeca Film Festival 2012 takes place from April 18 to 29 at various venues throughout New York City. For schedules of screenings, panel discussions and other festival events, visit the Tribeca Film Festival Website.