LIDF20 Programme

Thursday 28th January

18.00 Tea Party | Andrada Neacsu | 2020 | UK | 11min

The observation of two friends spending an afternoon together for tea becomes in “Tea Party” a moment for reminiscing and contemplating a life-long friendship. Betty (91), and Dorothy (93) have been friends since childhood, when they met playing on the beach through pure chance. As Dorothy is now in the early stages of dementia and living in a residential home, the film focused on how their story is evolving under these circumstances.

London Premiere

Producer: Noé Mendelle
Cinematography & Editing: Andrada Neacsu
Sound Design: Gavin McCabe
Color Grading: Giulia Bragiotto

Director Biography

Andrada Neacsu is an editor and documentary maker, having completed an MFA in Film Directing at Edinburgh College or Art. Previously, she has studied at ‘Ion Luca Caragiale’ National University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest in the department of Multimedia: Motion Picture and Sound Editing.

18.13 When Mom is Gone | Zeynep Gulru Kececiler | 2020 | Turkey | 29min

‘When Mom is Gone’ is the story of a father and his six children trying to hold on to life. Mohammed is left alone with his six children, the oldest of whom is 11 and the youngest is 2, in the mountain village of Sumara, in the city of Bamyan in Afghanistan. 9-year old Masume has quit school and is trying to be a mother to her siblings. 11-year old Jumahan, the eldest son, is working far away from his family. What has happened to leave Mohammed and his children in this condition? Why is Masume taking care of her siblings? Why is Jumahan working as a shepherd at a distant village away from his siblings? Yes, a father and his six little children in Afghanistan have to struggle hard.

Filmed in 35 days, the documentary demonstrates the micro-scale reflections of the devastation caused by the war in Afghanistan that has been going on for a decade.


UK Premiere

Producer: Zeynep Gulru Kececiler


Director Biography 

Zeynep graduated from the Faculty of Communication of Ankara, Department of Radio and Television in 1996. The same year she began to work at TRT (Turkish Radio Television) as Assistant Director at the Directorate of Documentary Programs. In 1998 she studied Master’s Degree at the City University of London on ‘Mass Media Policies in Multi Cultured Societies’. Later she returned to TRT and continued with her work at this establishment. Since 2001 she has been working as producer at TRT. She has produced many documentaries for television and has won several international awards for her documentary ‘The Wrong End Of The Stick’

18.43 Above 592 Metres (592 Metroz Goiti) | Maddi Barber | 2019 | Spain | 24min

On the slopes of the Navarrese Pyrenees, the construction of the Itoiz dam in the 1990s flooded seven villages and three nature reserves. A strip of bare land, 592 metres above sea level, today marks a dividing line within the landscape of the valley. Below that level, the water; above it, life goes on.

Producer: Maddi Barber, Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, Doxa Producciones

Photography: Maddi Barber

Sound: Maddi Barber, Xanti Salvador

Editor: Maddi Barber, Mirari Echavarri

Director Biography

Maddi Barber collaborates with different cultural institutions, groups and universities on audiovisual creations. She holds a BA in Media and an MA in Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester. In 2015 she was invited to participate in Zinergentziak #15, promoted by Territorios y Fronteras and the ZINEBI film festival, where she co-directed the omnibus feature film Distantziak. In 2018 she directed and produced, together with Christopher Murray and Charlotte Hoskins, the short film ‘Yours Truly’, which premiered at the Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival. Her next short film, ‘Above 592 metres’, premiered at Visions du Reél 2018 and also participated in San Sebastián International Film Festival (Zabaltegi), Curtocircuito, Alcances, Porto Post Doc and Festival de Las Palmas, among others. In 2019 she premiered the medium-length film ‘Land Underwater’ at the San Sebastián International Film Festival (Zabaltegi), awarded at Curtocircuito and La Cabina, it also participated in Visions du Reèl. In 2019 she won the X-FILMS project of the Punto de Vista festival with which she produced the film Red.

19.15 Heimaey (Home Island) | Sonia Ladidà Schiavone | 2019 | Italy | 30min

There is a little island, close to the Southern coast of Iceland: its name is Heimaey. On this land, life has beauty and misery, charm and contradictions: that’s what this story wants to reveal. The project is divided in 2 parts. The first one depicts Heimaey from the outside: its landscapes, streets, houses. Slowly, the project gets to the second part, where the human presence is the protagonist: Heimaey is approached from the inside, depicting some of its inhabitants and their peculiarities.

UK Premiere

Producer: Sonia Ladidà Schiavone
Writer: Sonia Ladidà Schiavone
Cinematographer: Rosario Cammarota
Sound Recordist: Sonia G. Esposito

Editor: Nadia Islöda


Director Biography

Sonia Ladidà Schiavone was born and raised in Italy. She graduated in Photography & Film Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples. Because of her interest in the Nordic Film Industry, she moved to Iceland, studying film production at the Icelandic Film School. She also collaborated on Icelandic Film Productions such as “A White, White Day by Hlynur Palmason.

Sonia moves between Iceland, Denmark and Italy, developing personal short films as director. Her most recent project was selected for the European Workshop Nisi Masa 2020. She is currently based in Copenhagen, collaborating on documentaries for the Oscar-nominated company “Final Cut for Real”. She is also assisting the CPH:DOX Industry Dept. for the 2021 edition of the festival.
“Round 0” is her last short film. Based in Iceland and made in collaboration with the Icelandic Film School. The project had European premiere at Tromsø Intl Film Festival (Norway) and American premiere at Hamptons Intl Film Festival (NY).

Director Statement

As an island of an island, Heimaey reveals the peculiarities of a land surrounded by the sea, in a very personal way. Its particular location and geographical conditions deeply influence the daily life of the approximately 4500 inhabitants who persist in living on the island. Many of them, in fact, returned there despite the violent eruption of the Eldfell volcano, that, in 1973, covered houses and streets with magma and ashes, and forced the evacuation of the whole island. Heimaey was shot during different times of the year in order to capture the everyday life of the island and the islanders. This short documentary has no interest in telling the story of the island: the intent is to create a portrait of a place with a strong personality that deserves to be depicted in the purest way.

19.47 Rust (Rdza) | Rafał Małecki | 2020 | Poland | 30min

Mariola Wawrzusiak-Borcz is an artist-welder. She roams post-industrial areas in search of scrap metal, which she uses in her artwork. During the process she creates sculptures of endangered animals and children affected by war. She fulfils her obsessive need to create art in spite of her painful hand condition.

European Premiere

Production Company: Moviematic

Producer: Michal Zolnowski

Cinematographer: Wawrzyniec Skoczylas

Music: Michal Wozniak

20.30 Men Inside (Des Hommes) | Alice Odiot, Jean-Robert Viallet | 2019 | France | 83min

Thirty thousand square meters and 2,000 inmates, half of them are under 30 years old. The Baumettes jail is about misery, violence and abandonments, hopes and regrets. Through screams and silence ‘Men Inside’ immerses us uncomfortably in the margins of society.

London Premiere

Production Company: Unité de Production 

Producer: Bruno Nahon 

Cinematographer: Jean-Robert Viallet

Music: Marek Hunhap

Directors Biography

Jean-Robert Viallet received the Albert London Prize in 2010 for his trilogy ‘La Mise à Mort du Travail’, an immersion in the heart of large globalised groups. His work focuses on the grey areas of power, neo-liberalism, its side effects and the fractures of contemporary society. Among other things, Jean-Robert Viallet worked on the business of the US youth recovery camps (Tranquility Bay), on international arms smuggling (Une femme à abattre). He was interested in the dangerous links between arms dealers and French political parties. After a film in France about the those forgotten in the margins of the global economy (La France en face), he co-wrote with Alice Odiot a diptych on two families facing justice (Jusqu’à ce que la mort nous sépare, Le mauvais oeil). He then directed a documentary on the commodification of the education system (Étudiants : l’avenir à crédit). His latest film (L’homme a mangé la Terre), tells of two hundred years of industrial capitalism in the face of the environmental crisis. 

Alice Odiot began her career as a journalist. She immersed herself for several years in the closed world of work and finance. Her first documentary lead her to demonstrate on several continents a vast mechanism of tax evasion. She received the Albert London Prize in 2012 for ‘Zambie, à qui profite le cuivre?’ She co-directed with Jean-Robert Viallet two films about women facing prison in Marseille, the region where she lives. She is currently pursuing a work that questions the functioning of international justice. 

Friday 29th January

18.00 Living there isn't hell, it's the fire of the desert. The plenitude of life that stayed there like a tree (Vivir allí no es el infierno, es el fuego del desierto. La plenitud de la vida que quedó ahì como un árbol) | Javiera Veliz Fajardo | 2019 | Chile | 58min

‘Living there ….’ is about the wind, birds, sweat, hands, a wheelbarrow, drought and burial. Could it be possible to disappear in the desert? Totoral is a town that disappears between its hills. a town that was born and raised by the land, by their animals and by survival. The desert is constantly mutating, the trees get drier and the men get older. These men, together with their animals, erase their footprints and their passage through time.


Le Prix Tenk, Cinema du Réel, Paris, 2019


Producer: Bárbara Pestan


Director Biography

Javiera was born in 1986 in Copiapo, Chile, Where she studied visual arts and cinema. In 2009 she founded Pocilga Productions with Bárbara Pestan. In 2013 she studied in EICTV, Cuba. In 2015 she studied for a Master’s in Direction of Photography at Escac, Spain. She has worked on several projects as a producer and DOP. ‘Living there .…’ Is her first film as director and had it ́s international premiere at Cinema du Réel where she won the Tenk`s Prize. Presently she is producing ‘To see is an act’ as well as working on her second film ‘Cuerpo en Agua’.


Director Statement

This documentary is about the wind, birds, sweat, hands, a wheelbarrow, drought and burial. Living there is not hell, it is the re of the desert. The plenitude of life, that stayed there like a tree.

I am from the desert, in Chile’s third region; but I had never been to Totoral until 2010, when I went there to make a short lm. Since then, I have wanted to go back to really understand the life of those men. I remember that the rst thing that caught my attention was the amount of olive, chañar, apricot and pear trees that were in the desert. Everything was on the ground rotting. When I asked why they did not pick them up, the answer was “Because there is no one to do it”.

So I felt the need to get involved with them and observe this land. Little by little, I am getting closer to them and following them in their daily tasks; and I have been able to watch how slowly the desert changes and its men are getting older, how living things wither and survive in the desert. It is said that when an old man retires from his land, he dies. In this place, where there are no more than 50 people, most of them older than 60, to me they are the faithful watchers of the desert. I mean that even if they do not have the strength to work the land–unlike their children who are leaving in search of new opportunities–they survive there without any intention of leaving.

Totoral, called “the oasis of the desert”, is a space that seems inert, but it is alive, just like its inhabitants. The force of nature is so strong, so just, that it is invisible to men. This is what is drives me to continue this search and go every- day to meet them, to get involved and meditate upon it. I think is crucial for us to talk about our ways of life and survival. I want to show, in a metaphorical way, the life of a man in the desert; a man that, for me, is like a tree that is slowly dying.

19.15 Eating an Elephant (Съесть СЛОНА) | Julia Saponova | 2020 | Russian Federation | 64min

“Do you know how to eat an elephant?” One bite at a time! ” 

Masha is 19 years old, and she dreams of becoming an actress, but it is difficult for her to overcome her shyness. However, a dream can push a person into amazing deeds. Masha comes to the inclusive theater “InterAction”, where each actor with Down syndrome has a suitable role in the new show. Now, all together, they dream of creating a vivid and beautiful performance and going on tour abroad. This is a fun story of the life of a theater troupe, youth, love and friendship, where everyone learns not only to play on stage, but passes a real test of courage, generosity and perseverance.    


World Premiere


Producer: Olesya Ovchinnikova, Igor Mishin, Dmitry Sergeev, Julia Saponova
Writer: Julia Saponova, Valeria Zadereeva

Director Biography

Julia Saponova graduated from St. Petersburg University, specialty – psychologist. In 2013, she taught a short film course at the Talantino children’s film school. In 2014, she graduated from the editing direction, in 2016 – the direction of Alexei Popogrebsky at the Moscow School of Cinema. During the training, four short films were shot: “Choked”, “Mermaid”, “Brownie” and the diploma film “Birthday”.

Among the director’s works are commercials and music videos. Specialising in filming with children and animals. Starting to work with actors with Down Syndrome, Julia became one of the creators of the inclusive multimedia project Interaction, in which she became the author of the idea and director of the lyrical documentary comedy Eat Elephant.


Director Statement

The film was made as part of our «InterAction» project, the mission of which is to change the attitude of society towards people with Down syndrome. That said, I didn’t try to make a direct social statement – I prefer not to separate people into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Through a simple, everyday story, I introduce my audience to characters that seem, at first glance, unusual.


With this film I wanted to share at least some of the unique and positive insights that I obtained from communicating with my protagonists. For me, this is an attempt to convey some of their joy of life, and travel in life’s diversity. I will be very happy if it also contributes to changing the attitude of society towards ‘different’ people.

20.30 The Bamboo Bridge | Juan Francisco Salazar | 2019 | Australia | 65min

Every dry season, a 1.5km bamboo bridge has been built across the Mekong River to the island of Ko Pen in Cambodia. Every year, the bridge is dismantled in the wake of the monsoonal tides and recycled for the following year. In 2017, this bridge was built for the last time when a massive new government funded concrete bridge was inaugurated as the country embraces China’s One Belt One Road initiative. Through a slow and gentle rhythm, the film engages with three generations of bridge builders who share stories of this unique sustainable infrastructure and the diverse community economies and ecologies it sustained. Focusing on the last master builder, Mr Oun, the film explores the subtle intricacies of traditional forms of sustainable living with the rhythms of local ecosystems and the cycles of bamboo. The river, the monsoon, the people, and the bridge all tell an urgent and primal story. Are we listening?


European Premiere


Production Company: Matadora Films

Producer: Alejandra Canales, Claire Fletcher

Director Biography

Juan Francisco Salazar is a Sydney-based, Chilean anthropologist, author and documentary filmmaker. He is a Professor at Western Sydney University where he teaches documentary film studies. For over 20 years he has undertaken ethnographic research and audiovisual work in Australia, Chile, Antarctica, Colombia, Cambodia, and Vanuatu. His previous films have been screened internationally in over 25 countries.


Director Statement

The river, the monsoon, the people, and the bridge all tell an urgent and primal story. Are we listening? The Bamboo Bridge has some lessons for us about living differently with each other and with nature. But in order to receive its teaching we might need to shift into an unfamiliar mode of thinking—one that calls forth speculation, also uncertainty, perhaps awe. And onto a bamboo bridge that undulates under foot, that squeaks and sighs. Under you is the mighty Mekong, one of the world’s longest rivers that supports the livelihoods of 70 million people. 


This film is a collaboration will the internationally known economic geographer Katherine Gibson to tell a story of how this infrastructure still operates within a dynamic community economy of ethically negotiated co-existence. Bridges are infrastructures that connect. As material forms they allow for the possibility of connection and exchange over space. Both the bamboo bridge and the concrete bridge are connecting two worlds. The rural village island world/s and the bustling city of Kampong Cham. However, they also shape the nature of diverse livelihoods, the speed and direction of movement, its temporalities, and its vulnerability to breakdown in very different ways. As a technopolitics, that seems far removed from formal political institutions, the concrete bridge imposes a rhythm of 24/7 connectivity, of modern development, bringing electricity and roads to the island but oblivious to the rhythms of the river, and the monsoon. It organises populations and territories through infrastructure. As a material-semiotic device, the bamboo bridge is instead a world in its own that brings forms of life together. It moves, it breaks, it repairs, it groans and howls, it smells, it changes colour. It has a sensory affect. People fish from it, people marry on it; people swim next to it; people are together on it and with it.

Saturday 30th January

12.00 Shining a Light | Environmental Justice Foundation | 2019 | UK | 9min

In Summer 2019, EJF investigators were able to document, illegal ‘saiko’ fishing. It costs Ghana tens of millions of dollars in revenue and threatens food security and coastal livelihoods. 


Producer: Environmental Justice Foundation

Cinematographer: Environmental Justice Foundation

12.11 Not for money, not for love, not for nothing | John Robert Lee | 2020 | UK | 15min

In the world of money and sex, this emotionally engaging documentary gives rare insight into the reflective personal struggle of sex workers. Using animation for anonymity, real questions are deliberated by real women, sharing their real stories. 


World Premiere


Production Company: Zebra Stripe Films

Producer: Christine Patterson

Cinematographer: John Robert Lee

Music: Jonathan Mason, Vytautas Franukevicius

12.28 Under the North Sea | Federico Barni, Alberto Allica | 2020 | UK | 18min

One kilometre underneath the cliffs of North Yorkshire, two very different tribes come face to face everyday. Since the late 80s, when the deepest dark matter research laboratory in the UK was built in the salt mine at Boulby, miners and research scientists have been working side by side in the underground network. In the darkness of this extreme environment, a young woman finds a new future. Scored with a soundtrack made entirely from underground recordings, this sensorial mosaic reveals a fragile equilibrium, a dimension in which utopian and dystopian futures coexist. 


UK Premiere


Writer: Federico Barni
Producer: Alberto Allica
Editor: Federico Barni
Development Producer: Sara Archer, Elly Steinberg
Sound Design: Federico Barni, Lars Koens
Location Sound Recordist: Rory Smith


Director Biography 

Federico Barni is an Italian-British filmmaker. His films have been shown internationally at film festivals including DocLisboa and DIFF as well as art institutions such as the South London Gallery, Cryptic Glasgow and on Nowness. He has years of experience as an editor of documentary and fashion film. His work and interests have developed alongside his cell biology and anthropology studies at UCL and Imperial College. 


Alberto Allica is a Spanish-born, London-based filmmaker who since 2016 has been helping established directors and production companies make films – from documentary, to branded, to narrative – for the likes of the BBC, Channel 4 and Netflix, among others. Federico and Alberto met while studying at the Science Media Production unit at Imperial College. 


Director Statement

Underneath the cliffs of North Yorkshire, two very different tribes come face to face everyday. Since the late 80s, when the deepest dark matter research laboratory in the UK was built in the salt mine at Boulby, miners and research scientists have been working side by side in the 1.1 km deep underground network. In the darkness of this extreme environment, a young woman finds a new future.


Scored with a soundtrack made entirely from underground recordings, this sensorial mosaic reveals a fragile equilibrium, a dimension in which utopian and dystopian futures coexist.

12.48 Portrait of an Artist | Simon Krietem | 2019 | UK | 23min

Unravelling the stories behind some of the most evocative portrait paintings ‘Portrait of an Artist’ brings together artist and sitter, who talk about their deeply personal experiences behind the paintings. Exploring the fabric of their insecurities around self-doubt, body image, depression, we learn how the process of portraiture allows both the artist and sitter to go on a journey of discovery.


Production Company: Lonely Leap

Producer: Sara Archer

Cinematographer: Simon Krietem and Benson Neilan

Music: Erased Tapes and Artlist 


Director Biography

Simon Kreitem comes from the explicit world of photojournalism and in his documentary filmmaking brings with him an ability to cut through to the core of any story.

13.15 Unlocking Doors of Cinema (Fath Abwab As-sinima) | Nezar Andary | 2019 | Lebanon | 61min

‘Unlocking Doors of Cinema’ explores fifty years of artistic output by the daring Syrian auteur Muhammad Malas. An exile from his home town of Quneitra Malas dwells on the themes of loss, memory, and home. From the 1967 War and Palestinian Camps in Beirut, to the songs of Aleppo, and the political tragedies of Syria, Malas exemplifies what it means to be an auteur and public intellectual. ‘Unlocking Doors of Cinema’ takes you on a unique cinematic journey that is a visual conversation with the auteur’s own five decades of work.


Producer: Hana Makki


Director Biography 

Nezar Andary grew up all over the Arab world after leaving Lebanon during the Civil War. He received his bachelors from Columbia University, and his PhD from UCLA. An Associate Professor at Zayed University, Andary has over the last four years produced over 10 documentary shorts for Arab Film Studio that have screened in over 50 festivals. Andary is the artistic director of the Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival, the first of its kind in the Arab World. He is the co-editor of a book series, ‘Focus on Arab Cinema’ for Palgrave MacMillan, and has recently published a book entitled ‘Cinema of Muhammad Malas: Visions of a Syrian Auteur’. Andary’s first feature documentary entitled ‘Unlocking Doors of Cinema’ pays respect to a well known film auteur and his fundamental passion for cinema.


Director Statement

The films, writings, and life of Muhammad Malas are a testament to the heroism of persistence and expression. Even though they reflect an existential melancholia and yearning for what has been lost he is not a victim. 

Since the early 1970 Malas’s cinema has spread around the world to film festivals, television, schools, libraries and bookstores. Now, ‘Unlocking Doors of Cinema’, presents his work and life in a cinematic vision that I developed while writing the book, ‘Cinema of Muhammad Malas’. The documentary replicates aesthetic ideas of mise-en-scene and cinematography to reveal Malas’s creative work and confront Malas’s 50 years of filmmaking in Syria and the Arab world. 

This feature documentary develops a greater understanding of his achievements as a filmmaker and intellectual from a country that, to most, has become a metaphor for war, refugees, and geo-political conflict. What has happened in Syria is a disaster beyond comprehension.

Yet this disaster of Syria is not a simple theoretical or aesthetic construct. The mere mention of Syria and an understanding of its present status is a starting point that requires a cinematic and humanist approach to contextualise historical and cultural realities, to search for truth between the cinema of the past and the values that Muhammad Malas still embodies to this day.

14.30 The Stone Guest (Каменный гость) | Marina Fomenko | 2018 | Russia | 8min

In Russia the key figure of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 is Lenin. After his death in 1924 Lenin’s image was immortalised in countless monuments. There is neither a living nor a dead Lenin in this film; only ‘the stone guest’, monuments of birth and passing.


UK Premiere


Producer: Marina Fomenko

Cinematographer: Marina Fomenko

14.40 Dragon Blood Tree (Sang-dragon) | Erika Meda | 2019 | Belgium | 36min

Josée grew up in the islands, among mangoes and dragon-blood trees. She now lives in the Belgian countryside, and takes care of her kindergarten. Season after season, trees and children are growing.


European Premiere


Production Company: Roue Libre

Producer: David Borgeaud

Cinematographer: Erika Meda

Music: Organ Mug

15.30 Sea Angels (Angeli del Mare) | Simone Gandolfo | 2018 | Italy | 52min

The daily tasks of all the men and women who are working in the frontline, rescuing thousands of migrants who are fleeing from war, slavery, rape, torture, hunger. Boatloads of people pushed out to sea on a desperate journey that often turns into the deadliest route. With the crucial support of the Italian Coast Guard, together with the Italian Red Cross and other NGO, the film reports on their efforts to provide search and rescue activities, first aid, emergency shelters and all the humanitarian and psychological support that the migrants need. The largest refugee crisis of our time is taking place right here and right now.


UK Premiere


Production Company: Samarcanda Film


Director Statement

Samarcanda Film was established in 2013. It is the innovative brain-child of friends who have pooled their experience and expertise in media entertainment to discover new talent in the market. The company operates in the market for the worldwide distribution of audio-visual products (Format and Ready Made) and has recently developed partnerships in North America, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Samarcanda is specifically targeting: creative freedom, enthusiasm and expertise in contents development.

16.30 The Mortician of Manila | Leah Borromeo | 2019 | Qatar/UK/Philippines | 25min

Since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June 2016, nearly 30,000 people have been killed by vigilantes and police in a campaign to “neutralise” the country’s alleged widespread crystal meth addiction. Duterte has promised to fill the country’s morgues. Orly Fernandez manages and lives at ‘Eusebio’s’ – a 24-hr funeral parlour in Manila.


London Premiere


Jury Award – Best Documentary Short Film: Austin Film Festival 

Best Cinematography of a Documentary Short Film: Asian Cinematography Awards

Best Documentary Short: Indie Short Fest

Best Short Documentary: Sydney Short Film Awards

Best Documentary Short: Ibizacinefest


Production Company: Disobedient Films

Producer: Leah Borromeo

Cinematographer: Joshua Reyles

Music: Jamie Perera / Audio Network

16.57 Bread or Life | Jamshid Mojadaddi, Anson Hartford, Ladan Anoushfar | 2020 | UK, Iran | 29min

When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit Iran, amongst ongoing international sanctions, a filmmaker cut adrift from his crew began documenting his life from lockdown. An intimate portrait of life in Iran during the coronavirus outbreak.


World Premiere


Production Company: Banyak films

Producer: Anson Hartford, Ladan Anoushfar

Cinematographer: Jamshid Mojadaddi

17.30 One Word | Viviana Uriona | 2019 | Germany | 83min

‘One Word’ is a participatory documentary about the impact of Climate Change. The movie was developed and filmed with the Marshallese People over a period of nine months. Most of the Marshall Islands are less than 5.9 feet above sea level. Negative forecasts predict the uninhabitability of the islands by 2050. The filmmakers trusted the Marshallese people to be the only reliable experts when it comes to the story of their land. 


World Premiere


Production Company: Studio Kalliope

Producer: Maria Kling

Cinematographer: Mark Uriona

Music: Boris Löbsack

19.00 Land Underwater (Urpean Lurra) | Maddi Barber | 2019 | Spain | 50min

Nearly two decades ago the Itoiz reservoir flooded seven villages and three nature reserves on the slopes of Navarre Pyrenees. The environmental group Solidari@s with Itoiz documented on video the fight against its construction. Today, those who were there dream of the land that remains underwater. Their voices and gestures intertwine to account for an individual and collective mourning that extends to the present.


Producer: Maddi Barber

Screenplay: Maddi Barber

Photography: Maddi Barber

Editor: Gerard Ortin, Mirari Echavarri López, Maddi Barber

Music: Peru Galbete


Director Biography

Maddi Barber collaborates with different cultural institutions, groups and universities on audiovisual creations. She holds a BA in Media and an MA in Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester. In 2015 she was invited to participate in Zinergentziak #15, promoted by Territorios y Fronteras and the ZINEBI film festival, where she co-directed the omnibus feature film Distantziak. In 2018 she directed and produced, together with Christopher Murray and Charlotte Hoskins, the short film ‘Yours Truly’, which premiered at the Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival. Her next short film, ‘Above 592 metres’, premiered at Visions du Reél 2018 and also participated in San Sebastián International Film Festival (Zabaltegi), Curtocircuito, Alcances, Porto Post Doc and Festival de Las Palmas, among others. In 2019 she premiered the medium-length film ‘Land Underwater’ at the San Sebastián International Film Festival (Zabaltegi), awarded at Curtocircuito and La Cabina, it also participated in Visions du Reèl. In 2019 she won the X-FILMS project of the Punto de Vista festival with which she produced the film Red.

20.00 48 Hours with Dad | Gal Dor | 2019 | Israel | 43min

Director Gal Dor’s father is in prison. He sometimes receives a 48-hour furlough, quarantined in a small apartment and under her court-ordered supervision. Gal fears she might end up as her dad and decides to use “imprisonments” to learn how to avoid it. With the usage of archived videos, their past and current lives are revealed as the camera documents their relationship’s development.

UK Premiere


Writer: Gal Dor
Producer: Gal Dor
Cinematographer: Or Azulay
Editor: Nir Dvortchin
Sound: Gal Dor, Elad Dvortchin, Yarin Plotnik

Director Biography

Gal Dor graduated from The School of Visual Arts at Sapir College. During her studies she directed a number of short fiction films, and a short documentary, which was screened in the International Cinema South Film Festival in 2017 and is the basis for her current film. In the same year, Gal won the DocAviv Pitching competition and participated in the in the JFW Project, where she produced a short documentary which was screened in The Jerusalem Film Festival. Before that, in 2016, Gal produced a short fiction film, ‘Asa Turns 13’, which won Best Film in Cinema South Film Festival and was screened around the world. At present Gal is studying video therapy at Tel-Aviv University and is the producer of a student film with the support of the Gesher Foundation and yes Docu channel. 


Director Statement

Up until two years ago, when asked about my father’s doing I always changed the subject. Sometimes I said “economist” even though he stopped practicing 10 years earlier. I resented any mention of resemblance to me. Actually, I felt that I did not know who my father truly was. This uncertainty led me to an identity crisis and fear of our biological connection. My father was obsessed with lies and fraud, are those “qualities” in my genes too? My fears drove me to turn the camera on and confront them. The camera re-established relations with my father. It gave me the courage to open up past issues, discuss and share them with him. The goal was to come to a closure with my father through this new acknowledgment. The film and following months after the filming gave me that closure. I learned to know his two sides, good and bad. I am not afraid of those genes anymore. This therapeutic journey put me in a better place related to myself and my father.

21.00 Dear Child | Luca Ammendola | 2020 | UK, Brazil | 79min

Off the coast of Brazil a journalist writes a letter to his unborn child. He has returned from a drug rehabilitation centre in Rio De Janeiro, where he met a missionary priest who shelters teenagers on the run from the drug cartels. He witnessed a group of teenagers trying to turn their lives around from a past of drugs and violence. The boys spend time together playing football, flying kites and catching lizards …. and slowly, they began to open up and tell their stories. 


World Premiere


Production Company: Advantage Pictures Ltd

Producer: Nikolai Galitzine

Cinematographer: Nicolas Villegas

Music: Zbigniew Preisner

Sunday 31st January

12.00 Good Tidings (La buona novella) | Sebastiano Luca Insinga | 2018 | Italy | 15min

When the climate in the Mediterranean turns mild, boats full of migrants leave from the coasts of Africa and Asia trying to reach Europe, the ‘promised land’. On a summer night, ‘Bochra’ arrived on a beach in Sicily with over 100 people on board. All soon escaped but ‘Bochra remained, alone in the limbo between sea and earth…. until the tourists arrived.


Production Company: Jump Cut

Producer: Paolo Borraccetti, Simone Cargnoni, Sebastiano Luca Insinga

Editor: Sabino Parise

Sound Design & Mix: Philippe Gozlan

Assistant Director: Simone Cargnoni

Assistant Editor: Giorgia Pasolli

VFX: Valerio Oss

Color Grading: Pierpaolo Ferlaino

Set Photographer: Simone Cargnoni

Associated Production: Wasabi


Director Statement

During my studies in Literature, I began to use film as a mean of expression. I was selected for Berlinale Talent Campus in 2012 and for Film Factory Italia in 2013. In 2016 I finished my first feature documentary “Complimenti per la festa” (MK OK) that marked the end of my youth. Since my early works the main theme was migration. My research is always focused on the role of hope and death in human societies.

12.17 Florian's Last Climb (Florians letzter Aufstieg) | Harold Chapman | 2018 | UK | 25min

An Austrian aristocrat employs two filmmakers to help him uncover the mystery of his grandfather’s disappearance who went missing whilst climbing in Corsica more than 90 years before.


UK Premiere


Golden Maple for Best Documentary, Jahorina Film Festival, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Special Festival Mention, 8th Bangalore Short Film Festival, India

Best Experimental Film, Trujillo Independent Film Festival Peru

Jury Award for Best Documentary, Indian World Film Festival, India


Production Company: Primal Screen

Producer: Harold Chapman

Cinematographer: Mike Robinson

Music: Stu Reid

12.45 The Last Song of the Nightingale | Katie Stacey | 2020 | UK | 57min

The Last Song of the Nightingale tells the tale of one of Europe’s most well known birds; its natural history, its role in literature, art and music, as well as its cultural importance and its future. Using a unique storytelling blend of animation, natural history, documentary style filmmaking and archive footage.


Director of Photography: Luke Massey
Design, Animation & Illustration: Will Rose
Sound Design & Field Recording: Nicholas Allan
Narrator: Samuel West
Additional Photography: Austin Ferguson, Ben Andrew, Daniel Trim, Mick Jenner, Russell Savory, Craig Reed, RSPB, British Pathé

Director Biography

‘The Last Song of the Nightingale’ is the debut feature length documentary by Katie Stacey (Director) and Luke Massey (DOP). The wildlife filming pair wanted to raise awareness of the threats against migratory birds and their habitats, but appeal to a much wider audience. With its cross-sector influence the Nightingale was the perfect poster bird to represent the plight of all migrating birds. 


Katie is co-owner of the production company Sunbittern Media, whose short film ‘Singing With Nightingales’ was shortlisted for the 2018 Research in Film Awards – Inspiration Award. Katie’s episode of ‘Undercover Tourist – Thailand’s Tiger Selfie Trade’, a self-shot conservation series produced for BBC3, won the Ron Tuckman Youth Award at The Flagstaff Film Festival 2018. Katie worked as a researcher and camera-assistant on the 2019 ‘BBC Natural World: Super Fast Falcon’.


Director Statement

‘The Last Song of the Nightingale’ was about creating a documentary that appealed to more than just the natural history lovers. By incorporating history, literature, art, music, animation as well as the science and conservation of the nightingale, myself and Luke Massey hoped to appeal to a broader audience. After crowdfunding the money to make the documentary, we put together a crew who are passionate about birds, and in turn our aim was to create a film that inspired that passion in others. As the great Sir David Attenborough said, “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”.

13.45 Mother’s of the Land (Sembradoras de Vida) | Diego Sarmiento, Alvaro Sarmiento | 2020 | Peru | 74min

‘Mother’s of the Land’ accompanies five women from the Andean highlands in their daily struggle to maintain a traditional and organic way of working the land. In the Andean Cosmovision, women and earth are strongly interrelated. Both, a women’s body and the earth’s soil are capable of giving and nurturing life. In the context of an ever-growing industrialisation of agriculture, the use of chemical pesticides and genetically modified seeds it is women, who, connected to earth through bounds of sisterhood, take on the role of protectors.


UK Premiere


Best Documentary – 25 Dreamspeakers Indigenous Film Festival. Canada, 2019

Alanis Obomsawin Award for Best Documentary – 20 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Canada, 2019

Best Film Audience Award – 17 Latinamerika i Fokus Latin American Film Festival. Sweden, 2019

Best Documentary Audience Award on Food Cultures – 11 Tutti Nello Stesso Piatto – Cinema Food & Diversity Film Festival. Italy, 2019

Best Documentary Audience Award – 6 Cine de las Alturas Film Festival. Argentina, 2020

Best Indigenous Documentary Award – 6 Documenta Caracas Film Festival. Venezuela, 2019

Best Latin American Documentary – 5 FINCA Ecological Film Festival. Argentina, 2020

SIGNIS Prize – 5 FINCA Ecological Film Festival. Argentina, 2020

Best Documentary Audience Award – 3 AricaDoc Documentary Film Festival. Chile, 2019

Best Documentary – 2 Jumara Indigenous Film Festival. Panama, 2019


Producer: Diego Sarmiento, Alvaro Sarmiento

Associate Producer: Jorge Constantino

Cinematography: Diego Sarmiento

Screenwriter: Alvaro Sarmiento, Annemarie Gunkel

Direct Sound: Marco Panatonic

Music: Horacio Camargo

Editor: Alex Cruz, Fabrico Deza, Diego Sarmiento

Colorist: Johan Carrasco

Mix Sound: Fonica Studio

Photography: Miguel Palomino

Animation: Kati Egely


Director biography

Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento are two Peruvian filmmaker brothers. ‘Green River: The Time of the Yakurunas’ their debut feature premiered at the 67 Berlin Film Festival (Forum 2017) and the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight in New York. Diego has directed several short films, two of which screened previously at the Berlinale: ‘Earth’s Children’ (Generation 2014) and ‘Sonia’s Dream’ (Culinary Cinema 2015). Alvaro is a visual artist and screenwriter recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts & Literary Arts Residency and the MacDowell Colony Fellowship.


Director statement

‘Mother’s of the Land’ takes place in the context of climate change, in which Peru is predicted to be among the three most affected countries in the world. Female farmers in this highland region struggle to adapt to extreme changes in weather and the ravages these produce, by using both traditional and modern agricultural techniques that allow them to maximise clean energy.

We devote our life to produce independent documentaries focused in the defence of human rights and environmental conservation in the Andes and the Amazon of Peru, because we believe that films have the power to change the world.

The target audience of the film are the native population of Peru and South America. We expect to make them feel proud of our indigenous heritage and influence farming communities from developing countries who are fighting poverty and inspire them to make changes in their lives.

15.15 Earth’s Children (Hijos de la tierra) | Diego Sarmiento | 2019 | Peru | 14min

Early in the morning, young Jorge sets off with his machete to harvest bananas, making every blow count. After the bananas have been boiled it’s time for breakfast. After that, Jorge and his friends are free to wander the lush vegetation that surrounds their home – climbing, having fun, singing harvest songs and splashing about in the headwaters of the Amazon. Seen through the eyes of children, these everyday scenes describe the peaceful lives of an indigenous village community.


Best Documentary Short Film – Adult Jury Prize. Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. USA

Best Documentary Film. Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival. Sharjah, UAE.

Best Short Film. FICWallmapu – Indigenous People Film Festival. Chile. 

Special Prize – Moscow International Film Festival for the Young Audience CAT. Russia.

Special Prize – Cochabamba International Film Festival. Bolivia.


Executive Producer: Álvaro Sarmiento

Script: Jorge Tapullima & Alvaro Sarmiento

Photography: Álvaro Sarmiento, Diego Sarmiento & Lucía Czernichowsky

Sound: Renerio Tapullima, Watson Sangama & Harry Sangama

Editor: Alex Cruz

Color Correction: Jorge Sabana


Director Statement

As a descendent of Quechua farmers, I dedicate my life to making films that help defend the rights of indigenous peoples of the Andes and the Peruvian Amazon. My audiovisual work also helps preserve our intangible cultural heritage.


‘Earth’s Children’ came into creation as part of the Indigenous Amazonian Video Project, which aims to teach documentary filmmaking skills to indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon. This workshops took place in the Kechwa-Lamista native community, in San Martin. The goal of the project is to produce short-documentaries created completely by the inhabitants of the indigenous Amazonian community.


Conscious of the threats facing Peru’s cultural heritage this project hopes to utilise video technology to preserve and amplify the voices of the participating indigenous communities. This project give to indigenous citizens the opportunity to transmit the richness of their culture, their customs, and local traditions with the world.


Director Biography

Diego Sarmiento’s feature debut as director and cinematographer, GREEN RIVER. THE TIME OF THE YAKURUNAS was premiered at the Berlinale Forum 2017 and the MoMA Doc Fortnight 2018.

MOTHERS OF THE LAND (2019), his second feature documentary was premiered at the 69 Berlin Film Festival. In 2020, HDPERU won the  Berlinale Talents Footprints – Mastercard Enablement Programme award, having Wim Wenders as president of the jury, with “The Seed Project” where he will take the film to schools in rural communities in the Peruvian Andes.

Diego has directed several short films, two of which premiered at the Berlinale: EARTH’S CHILDREN (Generation K-Plus 2014) and SONIA’S DREAM (Culinary Cinema 2015).

Diego studied Media Production at the Universidad Catolica in Peru and a Documentary Filmmaking Master at EICTV in Cuba.

15.31 L’Ultimu Sognu - Last Dream in Petra Bianca (L’ultimu Sognu - Dernier rêve à Petra Bianca) | Lisa Reboulleau | 2019 | France | 33min

At night in the heart of a Corsican forest a woman dreams of hunting. After killing, as she looks into the eyes of dead wild animals, she can see faces. Those of people who in real life are about to die. This is an ancient gift that has been passed on to her and comes from the depth of the island. She is a Mazzera. Today no one seems to care about her visions except one shepherd who is still paying attention.


UK Premiere


Production Company: Les Films du Bilboquet

Producer: Eugénie Michel-Villette

Cinematographer: Lisa Reboulleau

Music: Pierre Reboulleau

16.06 Sleepwalker | Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung | 2020 | USA | 9min

What does it take to stay awake when the reality is tough and home is far away? Using

archival footage of the Sunflower Movement that took place in Taipei, Taiwan in 2014 as a

starting point, the filmmaker reflects on her ideas of home, politics, and the importance of being present.


World Premiere


Producer: Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung

Cinematographer: Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung

16.15 Niblock's Sound Spectrums - Within Invisible Rivers | Thomas Maury | 2019 | France | 110min

‘Niblock’s Sound Spectrums – Within Invisible Rivers’ follows Phill Niblock, one of the popes of minimalist music, over the course of eight years. We follow him during his endless tours, and steal a glimpse of the secret parts of one of the smartest composers alive. From his New-York loft, a laboratory that is, since the sixties, both his home and a concert hall, we end up in the suburbs of Paris to witness a peculiar meeting. 


UK Premiere


Production Company: Digital District Production

Producer: Claire Marquet

Cinematographer: Thomas Maury

Music: Phill Niblock


Director Biography

Thomas Maury (Sarlat, France, 1986). Graphic Designer, filmmaker and composer.
He directed the feature film Niblock’s Sound Spectrums – Within Invisible Rivers on Phill Niblock, one of the main American minimalist music composers. In 2014, he created the Hydraphonies festival which focuses on audiovisual performances in churches, chapels and cathedrals.
Major figures of the experimental scene participate such as Phill Niblock, Christian Fennesz, Pierre Bastien, Paul Clipson, Carl Stone, Jozef Van Wissem, etc. He is an art educator teaching currently graphic design and digital studies in Paris. 


Director Statement 

The feature film I made is a meeting between two image-makers (Phill Niblock and me). It is a co-creation. A bridge, that crosses over different generations. I made this film to participate at the elaboration of a vision. In the film, the images trigger the music and the music trigger the images.
Images, that tell a composer and his musical impetus mixing real and fiction, conscious and unconscious. Images, which tell his images. Images, which tell his music. Images, that tell a way of seeing, hearing and making music. Images to follow the dreamlike state of the music and to flood our listening. Musicians that tell of the impact of this composer and his music on their practice and the way they think about music afterwards. A film, that tells how this music goes present perceptibly and imperceptibly, with permanence and impermanence. Images to get close to the composer’s dreams. The ones, that makes his music tangible. Images to reflect the life that feeds those dreams. I made this film to give shape to those intangible realities by giving them textures, forms, colours and temporalities. I made this film to practice other narrations to coordinate what we believe we can’t see and what we believe we can see.

18.15 The Institute | Alexander Glandien | 2020 | Austria, Germany | 13min

‘The Institute’ is about the importance of biodiversity for the cultural identity and the economic independence of Latin America. It shows the connections between the historical research expeditions of Humboldt, Mutis and Caldas in South America with genetic research and contemporary biology in today’s Colombia. The long-awaited peace in the country has not only opened up unreachable territories for research, but also sparked a debate about how to deal with the country’s biological heritage. This animated documentary is based on a conversation with the leading biodiversity expert and transgender activist Brigitte Baptiste, which was recorded in Bogota in 2019. She is the head of the “Instituto Humboldt”, the world’s only institute for biodiversity research. 


World Premiere


Production Company: Glandienale

Producer: Alexander Glandien

Cinematographer: Alexander Glandien

18.30 Fram - Forward (Fram - Vorwärts) | Thomas Freundlich, Valtteri Raekallio | 2019 | Finland, Norway, Svalbard | 28min

Two friends journey to the end of the earth, in order to dance in the polar wilderness of Svalbard. En route, they explore our ideas of the Arctic, along with the grand questions of life and art. ‘Fram’ is a unique and engaging journey to a place where few have been and even fewer have danced.


UK Premiere


Producer: Thomas Freundlich, Valtteri Raekallio

Cinematographer: Thomas Freundlich, Valtteri Raekallio

19.00 The Qilin | David Lale | 2019 | UK/Germany | 19min

An animated short about the precarious lives of African migrants in China – seeking their fortunes in the booming global market in counterfeit goods.


UK Premiere


Production Company: Fruitmarket Films

Producer: Sam Hopkins

Cinematographer: David Lale

Music: Chu-Li Shewring

19.30 The Small World (Le Petit Monde) | Benjamin Poumey | 2020 | Switzerland | 112min

“Leave the child the time and space to live his childhood” is the motto of La Madeleine des Enfants, a daycare nursery in downtown Geneva. Everyday, from 7am to 7pm, more than a hundred children are accompanied towards individual autonomy and collective life by a team of fifty professionals. A year of immersion behind these stone walls to explore how the first steps in society are made, how this small world reflects and reacts to the fast evolving one outside, how a whole institution struggles to leave children the space and time to live their childhood.


World Premiere


Producer: Benjamin Poumey
Cinematography: Séverine Barde, Raphaël Frauenfelder, Erika Irmler, Nicolas Wagnières, Julien Roby
Sound: Masaki Hatsui, Nicolas, Martin Stricker, Charles Menger
Editing: Damián Plandolit
Sound Mixing: Martin Stricker


Director Biography

Benjamin Poumey studied filmmaking and theater at Bordeaux III University, while working with various theatrical companies. In 2001 he started work for Quo Vadis Cinéma in Paris, where he takes his first steps in film production. Settled in Geneva in 2006, he starts working for C-Side Productions (then still known as Perceuse Productions Image), a company created in the 90’s by artists emerging from the alternative scene. With an inclination for Cinéma Direct, Essay forms and bold experiments, he develops and produces documentaries selected, and sometimes even awarded, at festivals worldwide like the recent Hotel Jugoslavija by Nicolas Wagnières (Sao Paulo Mostra, Berlinale, TIDF, Thessaloniki, etc.) and Baracoa by Pablo Briones & The Moving Picture Boys (Berlinale, CPH:DOX, Locarno, FIDBA, etc.). In between projects as a producer, he likes to conduct personal experiments with Super 8 film and also just completed The Small World, his first feature doc as director.

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