A day after the BFI has released their 56th London Film Festival programme, DocGeeks has composed a list of documentaries that have made the cut. Find out here what you can look forward to.
The programme, launched under the new creative leadership of BFI’s head of exhibition and festival director, Clare Stewart, brings a rich and diverse programme of international films and events from both established and upcoming talent over a 12-day period.
The festival, which will run from 10-21 October, will screen a total of 225 fiction and documentary features, including 14 World Premieres, 15 International Premieres and 34 European Premieres.
Kicking off the documentary strand of the festival during the American Express Gala is the world premiere of Crossfire Hurricane; a documentary directed by Brett Morgen celebrating 50 years of rock legends The Rolling Stones (who are also expected to attend the festival!). And for those who can’t get a ticket – read: most of us – for the first time this year the red carpet event will be screened simultaneously to cinemas across the UK.
Another first this year is that the venues have expanded further from the traditional Leicester Square cinemas. Besides the Odeon West End, Vue West End, Odeon Leicester Square, The Empire and the BFI Southbank in the West End plus the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Ritzy Brixton and Ciné Lumière, films will also screen in four new venues; the Hackney Picturehouse, Renoir, Everyman Screen on the Green and the Rich Mix.
The awards have also undergone a significant change by introducing competitive sections that are given much more prominence in the festival campaign and programme. The Best Film award; the Sutherland award for Best First Feature and the Grierson Award for Best Documentary will now be presented to the winning films from three programme sections: Official Competition, First Feature Competition and Documentary Competition. Each section is open to international and British films and 12 films have been shortlisted.
In the Documentary Competition category, in partnership with the Grierson Trust, recognising documentaries with integrity, originality, and social or cultural significance, the festival is screening:
4 World premieres:
Charlie Paul’s – For No Good Reason
Nick Ryan’s – The Summit
Sarah Gavron’s – Village at the End of the World
Greg Olliver’s – Turned Towards the Sun
1 International premiere:
Sébastien Lifshitz’s – Les Invisibles
4 European premieres:
Jay Bulger’s – Beware of Mr Baker
Shola Lynch’s – Free Angela & All Political Prisoners
Alex Gibney’s – Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Amy Berg’s – West of Memphis
3 UK premieres:
Katja Gauriloff’s – Canned Dreams
Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns’ – The Central Park Five
Ulises Rosell’s – The Ethnographer
The festival has been structured around the themes of Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family.
Here are some of the highlights:
In the Love section Liz Garbus’ film Love, Marilyn will make fans of the icon skip a heartbeat. During the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death this beautifully-made documentary provides a lucid, distillation of Marilyn’s life story based on the discovery of Monroe’s diaries and letters that were buried in Lee Strasberg’s archives up to now.
In the Debate section Sophie Fiennes’ The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (European Premiere) makes for an absorbing documentary sequel to The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, featuring renegade philosopher and bionic cineaste Slavoj Žižek who also takes part in an ‘In Conversation’ event during the festival.
In the Cult section we see three docs highlighted, these are My Amityville Horror, The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (Jeff) and Room 237. The latter is a documentary by Rodney Ascher that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining (1980). According to IMDb, five very different points of view are illuminated through the use of film clips, animation, a compelling voice-over and dramatic reenactments.
The Jeffrey Dahmer Files also makes use of a selection of footage, including archival, interviews, and reenactments, in order to tell the story of the people around Jeffrey Dahmer during the summer of 1991 when he was arrested.
Documentary filmmaker, Eric Walter touches upon another well known ordeal; the Amityville haunting. For the first time in 35 years he get’s Daniel Lutz (George and Katleen’s son) to recount his version of the infamous haunting that terrified his family in the mid seventies.
The journey strand will feature Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret’s documentary Journal De France, a six-year in the making travel diary of our neighbour’s landscapes, habits and history. In the same section we also find another world premiere; Marc Isaac’s A5 –The Road: A Story of Life and Death, in which Isaacs presents stories from people who have made their way to London from all over the world.
For the full list of films please check the BFI London Film Festival website or pick up one of the free guides (available in various stores and cinemas). For reviews and more news do check back with DocGeeks in the coming month as we prepare to review the festival’s top docs.