Camden 2011 Overview

The Camden International Film Festival begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Sadly, I won’t be able to make it. Hopefully next year. Despite its closeted name, Camden is a doc festival (C’mon Ben Fowlie! How about CamDocs?). Over four nights, the fest presents about forty programs, including thirty feature-length docs. In addition, over Friday and Saturday, the Points North Documentary Forum conference takes place, offering New England-based filmmakers access to key industry for professional development.

Camden’s 2011 programming has culled a number of standout docs that I’ve previously written about here out of other festivals, including Sundance (HELL AND BACK AGAIN), SXSW (DRAGONSLAYER, BETTER THIS WORLD, and CONVENTO), True/False (AT THE EDGE OF RUSSIA and FAKE IT SO REAL), IDFA (DONOR UNKNOWN), Hot Docs (PHNOM PENH LULLABY and THE CASTLE), Docuweeks (UNFINISHED SPACES), and Tribeca (OUR SCHOOL, GIVE UP TOMORROW, and BOMBAY BEACH).

Beyond these, other films in the lineup I would recommend or would be interested in checking out include:

The world premiere of Gabriel DeLoach’s THE HARVEST, about a wish-granting organization that fulfills the hunting dreams of terminal or sick kids. Without being polemical, the well-shot film features a likeable range of characters on a Hunt of a Lifetime-sponsored adventure with their families, in some cases despite additional physical challenges due to their illnesses.

Making its US premiere at Camden, Scott Kirschenbaum’s YOU’RE LOOKING AT ME LIKE I LIVE HERE AND I DON’T, a look into Alzheimer’s through sufferer Lee Gorewitz. Strangely compellingly watchable and emotionally affecting, the film provides the viewer with an approximation of what the disease must feel like – reality isn’t always crystal clear and times moves at an unusual, fragmented pace.

I’m also curious what the makers of GIRL MODEL have coming up next. David Redmon and Ashley Sabin present a work-in-progress screening of their new project DOWNEAST, which examines the local fishing industry and the impact of the recession by focusing on one seafood processing plant.

Additional selections catching my eye include: Lyda Kuth’s LOVE AND OTHER ANXIETIES, making its world premiere, which suggests a different spin on universal themes explored in films such as Doug Block’s THE KIDS GROW UP; AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE, Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault’s Cannes entry about a family of belly-dancers in Cairo, making its US premiere; and, from the fest’s Made in Maine Showcase, DEAD RIVER ROUGH CUT (pictured), local filmmakers Stu Silverstein and Richard Searls’ portrait of four seasons in the life of two backwoodsmen.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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