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DocGeeks » Festivals » IDFA documentary review overview from DocGeeks

IDFA documentary review overview from DocGeeks

Though IDFA are no doubt the pioneers when it comes to seeking out new quality docs with cinematic appeal, DocGeeks hasn’t been sitting still this year either and we have already reviewed a lot of docs featuring on this year’s programme. Here’s an overview.

Anton Corbijn: Inside Out

For a man who has made a career out of making the famous more famous, Anton Corbijn seems to find it difficult to deal with being in the limelight himself, as the new documentary “Anton Corbijn: Inside Out” shows us.

Bear 71
The National Film Board of Canada’s interactive documentary tells us about the relationship between nature and technology in a pioneering, unconventional way. Kristy Hutter reviews Bear 71, the story of a tagged grizzly bear who roams the great wide north under constant protection and threat of developing technology.

Beware of Mr Baker

When watching a film and confronted with a frenetic editing style the thought often springs to mind that this technique is being used to hide the lack of anything very interesting. In total contrast Director Jay Bulger and editor Abhay Sofsky have used this style to great effect on the illuminating documentary Beware Of Mr Baker, writes Ben Unwin.

The Central Park Five

Ken Burns is a filmmaker with a reputation to rival any contemporary director and Final Cut Pro’s ‘Ken Burns effect’ is testimony to his revolutionary approach to archive material. Strangely, his work is rarely shown on this side of the pond and it’s relatively difficult to find ways of watching his films. Luckily Jason Harbord was fortunate enough to catch this documentary earlier this year and see first-hand how he approached a topic now firmly established as a staple of documentary cinema: the story of the wrongfully imprisoned.

China Heavyweight

Award-winning director Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze) takes us back to China in his new documentary China Heavyweight and shows us the other side of China’s sporting successes.

Focus Forward: The Invisible Bicycle Helmet

Design students Anna and Terese took on a giant challenge as an exam project. Something no one had done before. If they could swing it, it would for sure be revolutionary. The bicycle is a tool to change the world. If we use bikes and travel safe: Life will be better for all.

The Imposter

1994, San Antonio, Texas, a 13-year old Nicholas Barclay disappears without a trace. His family is left distraught, broken and scared. Who has taken their beloved son, is he still alive? Then, just over three years later, miraculous news is delivered; their boy has been found – in Spain. But instead of the end of it, this is merely the beginning of a story so unbelievable that it can only be true.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

In his latest documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Oscar winning director Alex Gibney delves into the horrific scandal of child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Position Among The Stars

During his first film, The Eye of the Day, director Leonard Retel Helmrich followed the three generations of the family as the country shook off the rule of President Suharto. In his second feature, Shape of the Moon, he was let in on their feelings while they experienced a rise of Islamic power. Now, in the last film of Helmrich’s trilogy about the Shamshudin family, he highlights the changes in individual values that come hand in hand with a widening income gap and an increasing Western influence.

The Queen of Versailles

What can go wrong when you try to build the largest house in the world on the eve of the financial crisis? Director Lauren Greenfield takes us behind the scenes of the mad Siegel household, an American extravagant billionaire who is on the verge of losing everything he’s got, including his privately owned real sized copy of Versailles.

The Reluctant Revolutionary

After a turbulent political year in the Middle East and Northern Africa, several documentaries about what has been dubbed ‘the Arab Spring’ have emerged. The Reluctant Revolutionary, directed and filmed by Sean McAllister, gives us a personal eye-witness account of the revolution in Yemen, where civilians protesting the 33-year long dictatorship of president Ali Abdullah Saleh were met with violence and bloodshed.

Room 237

When Volkwagen came up with their cinema campaign phrase ‘See Film Differently’ they obviously just talked to Rodney Ascher, whose latest conspiracy documentary Room 237 offers us a bizarre new set of ideas about Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film The Shining.

Searching for Sugar Man

Malik Bendjelloul’s debut feature Searching for Sugar Man definitely has all the ingredients for a great documentary: the story is one you have never heard of, it is leading you to places you had never imagined it would take you and it reveals something to you which you didn’t know existed. In fact, the whole story is just so good that you can watch this doc over and over again without getting bored.

If you want to know where at IDFA and when you can catch any of the documentaries  mentioned above then please visit the festival’s website by clicking here.

And of course this isn’t everything yet. Right now we have a team of motivated – and yes, I dare say –  top class film critics who are working hard to provide you with a lot more reviews throughout the festival.

Enjoy IDFA!


Written by

Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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