Moving Forest (2014)
Palm oil production is responsible for massive deforestation in Indonesia. Each year, the country loses 2 million hectares of forests. Entire ecosystems are threatened, orang-utans are facing extinction and many indigenous communities are losing their land to big palm oil companies. In order to grasp what is taking place in that area of the world, this film takes us to Borneo and Sumatra where NGOs and committed individuals lead actions on site and show us that solutions do exist.
Director: Emmanuel Coquelou and Yanette Shalter
Language: French, English and Indonesian | English subtitles
O Brasil de Pero vaz Caminha (2011)
Documentary based on the first historical and literary document of Brazil: The Letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha. After arriving to Brazil in 1500, Caminha writes to King Dom Manuel of Portugal to inform him of the discovery of a new land. On the letter Caminha describes the natives, their habits, and every fact detailing the navigators’ initial dealings with the unknown nature and population. Brazil by Pero Vaz de Caminha (“caminha” also means goes on) confronts two Brazils: the one described by Caminha and the Brazil of today.
Director: Bruno Laet
Language: Portuguese / English subtitles
Born to Run (500 miles) (2013)
Quirky T.V reporter Mark Simmons, visits an eccentric and volatile Scotsman who claims to be rock icon Bruce Springsteen, as he probes deeper into ‘Bruce’s’ mad world his quest for the truth becomes ever more elusive and reality as he knows it begins to slip through his fingers.
Director: Ewan Golder
Country: United Kingdom
Dreaming Mali (2010)
If it is true that art can be a universal language, why shouldn’t it be possible to use it with people of totally different social, religious, educational and cultural backgrounds? Two visual and performing artists from Berlin, we traveled to remote villages in Mali – villages without electricity or other comforts where people speak only Bambara. For our projects, we used traditional techniques of smelting ore, blacksmithing, music, dance and singing traditional songs from our different cultures. We were amazed to see how easily authentic contact could develop between different worlds.
Director: Barbara Kowa
Beatles Stories (2011)
A big fan of The Beatles growing up in the 60s, Seth Swirsky noticed that whenever he heard someone relating a story about themselves and The Beatles, he was “all ears”. So, starting in 2005, he sought out and filmed those with never before heard, “Beatles Stories”.
Directors: Seth Swirsky
Retour au Desert (Return to the Desert) (2008)
After his collaborator’s death, Kristof Bonfils, director Thierry Bugaud decides to pay tribute to their time in the desert while shooting their first film Azalai. The film tells the story of how shooting a film ended up being an educational and transformative experience.
Director: Thierry Bugaud
Language: French, Subtitles: English
Fields of Demeter (2008)
The Greek goddess of fertility, Demeter, lost her only daughter to the underworld for half the year. In this way, the seasons were born. Demeter gave agriculture to mankind, for them to survive winter. For thousands of years, agriculture has shaped Europe. Pristine nature no longer exists. The landscapes are heritage that contribute to culture and identity. “Fields of Demeter” is a voyage through the visible and invisible European landscape. With the power of the eagle, two young girls set out on a journey to experience the history, diversity, myths and people of the land. The challenge for the future is to maintain the fields of Demeter and the people who sensitively work the land. The landscape and its wonders belong to future generations.
Directors: Knut Krzywinski, Graham Townsley
On Gaza’s Mind (2011)
Adham Tobail is a social assistant who works in the only mental health institution existent in Gaza. His daily work leads us to Hakim, a nine year old kid who suffers post-traumatic stress due to an israeli attack upon his neighborhood. Or to Midhat, a family man hunted by phobias that won’t let him have a normal life as he unleashes his frustrations upon his wife and kids. We also meet Ashraf, a schizophrenic who can’t have regular access to medicine due to the Israel’s economic blockade for civilians goods. Or Taami, a deeply depressed elderly man who’s only means to survival is the support of his family. And Misho, a kid severely wounded after an attack of the israeli troops who fights to recover in a rehab center, completing the portrait of these five characters.
Directors: Arantza Diez, Carles de la Encarnación
Language: Multilingual, Subtitles: English
The Securitate Hunter (2010)
Marius Oprea exhumes the dead. His nickname is ‘Securitate Hunter’ because he chases the former officers of the communist political police. He travels through the country looking for the graves of 10.000 Romanians who were shot dead by the Securitate with no trial at the beginning of the 50’s. Marius researches the Securitate archives, contacts the families of those killed, makes his inquiry and then finds the common graves where the partisans were buried. This film is the story of a new generation with a new hope for their country.
Director: Mirel Bran
Language: Romanian, Subtitles: English
Memories of Old Awake (2012)
In this film Dr. Emily Lethbridge explores the centuries-old Sagas of Icelanders (Íslendingasögur) during a unique year-long research trip. Emily discovers that the sagas are closely intertwined with the landscapes and the people who live there. The sagas were copied in manuscripts in Iceland from the medieval period until the early 20th century, and the stories were passed down from one generation to another over many hundreds of years.
Director: Patrick Chadwick
On April 26, 1986, a security test at Chernobyl’s nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union, triggered the greatest civilian nuclear catastrophe in history. Unable to cope with this political, environmental and human disaster, the Soviets built a wall of silence around the event. The term ‘radiophobia’ came to define the symptoms of the people suffering from the fallout of the radiation, some kind of social ‘stigma.’ Radiophobia is a touching documentary entirely shot in Chernobyl’s “Forbidden Zone”. This documentary examines the Chernobyl disaster and its consequences 20 years later from the perspective of a group of survivors and people who were on duty at the reactor on the fateful night. This is the first time that they have returned to the ‘Zone’ to reconcile their past with the ruins of the present. Inside the ‘Zone’ we also meet many of the peculiar inhabitants who never left this highly radioactive and somewhat surreal area.
Director: Julio Soto
Language: Ukrainian/English, Subtitles: English
About what our generals were silent? What for Russian mothers have arrived on bow to the Afghani insurgents? What secrets were necessary to mojahedins? How many sheep cost data about the son? And how many captured cards of mine fields cost?
Director: Tatiana Krol
Language: Russian, Subtitles: English
My Beautiful Dacia is a documentary feature film that portrays a humoristic odyssey from Communism to Capitalism, seen from the perspective of one of Romania’s most charismatic symbols, the Dacia automobile.
Directors: Julio Soto, Stefan Constantinescu
Language: Romanian, Subtitle: English
Moving Gracefully Toward the Exit (2013)
American Choreographer Patrice Regnier and French Scientist Michel Gouilloud agreed to film the last years of Mr. Gouilloud’s life, after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. After Mr. Gouilloud passed away in 1997, Ms. Regnier put the footage away in a box, unable to touch the some 60 hours of film. In 2003, a young woman named Chloe, renting the home where the footage was shot, found the tapes. Chloe wrote to Patrice, asking her to share this story. ‘Moving Gracefully Towards the Exit’ is the result.
Countries: France, USA
Directors: Jean-Bernard Andro, Patrice Regnier
Language: English, Subtitle: French, English
How Do You Tell Somebody That You’re HIV+? (2011)
This short documentary follows a day in the life of a young African American woman named Haneefa who struggles to disclose her HIV+ status to the father of her daughter.
Director: Hima B.
Director: Franck Onouviet and Marc A. Tchicot
“The Rhythm of My Life” by filmmakers Franck Onouviet and Marc A. Tchicot is an official selection of ÉCU 2012. “The Rhythm of My Life” follows in an unconventional way the journey of ‘ISH’, a former Miami based rapper, who traveled to Africa to visit his family. Little did he know that Libreville, Gabon would be the place where the project of his dreams would fall in his lap.
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Director: Naga Kataru
Jyothsna Kaki was a bright and ambitious student at San Jose State University who was gonna graduate with honors in 2004. But, life dealt a serious blow. She woke up completely blind on her hospital bed one day, as a result of a medical error. Life became pitch dark, physically and emotionally. This story chronicles her struggle to graduate and lead a normal life. Fast forward to now, she plays an integral role in the ‘accessibility team’ at Google, meaning her group specifically works on making Google products accessible for people with disabilities.
The Russians on Crow Island (2013)
Director: Sulev Keedus
Language: Russian, Subtitles: English
Looked from the bridge, it is a gloomy and mysterious fortress. The island of river Narva stands in the middle of Russian-Estonian border river like a wrecked ship. The red brick walls of the abandoned textile factory look like torn skin. The Kreenholm factory, set up in 1857, was once the biggest in Europe and only two years ago the machines pounded in the halls. When the factory bankrupted, over 10.000 people lost their job and income, most of them Russian speaking folk of an Estonian city. Adults, youngsters and children walk past us telling their fate-bruised stories. We will see how the equation of unemployment and social exclusion has inevitably come true also here with fateful consequences such as orphanhood, drugs, and crimes, even expulsion.