One of South America’s signature non-fiction events, Brazil’s It’s All True International Documentary Film Festival, kicks off its 18th edition this Thursday, April 4 and runs through Sunday, April 14 in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The event then goes on tour, presenting films in Brasilia (April 16-21) and Campinas (April 23-28), all for free. Featuring more than eighty films from over twenty-five countries, the festival includes competitions for international and Brazilian features and shorts, an overview of recent international work, special sidebars, and two retrospectives – one on seminal Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov and the other on 1980s’ Brazilian documentarian Silvio Tendler.
Among the dozen features included in the International Competition are: the world premiere of BEFORE AND AFTER DINNER (pictured), a film about the acclaimed theatre director André Gregory (of MY DINNER WITH ANDRÉ fame), directed by his wife, Cindy Kleine; Dana Ranga’s I AM IN SPACE, an exploration of life in space, assembled from the footage of a French astronaut; BORN IN THE USSR: 28UP, the latest installment of Sergei Miroshnichenko’s Russian version of the famed Michael Apted series; and JP Sniadecki and Libbie D Cohn’s PEOPLE’S PARK, a single tracking shot view of a Chinese city park.
Seven world premiering features vie for the festival’s Brazilian Competition. Those which sound the most intriguing are: Cristiano Burlan’s THEY KILLED MY BROTHER, a personal reconstruction of the death of the filmmaker’s brother by violence; Evaldo Mocarzel’s ANTÁRCTICA (pictured), an immersive, observational ridealong into the South Pole with a group of Brazilian geologists; and Victor Lopes’ NAKED MOUNTAIN – THE LEGEND OF THE GOLD MOUNTAIN, which explores the history of the biggest open-faced mine in the world, which employed 100,000 Brazilians to remove thirty tons of gold.
Non-competitive sections include “Special Programs,” which include a number of arts and culture focused films, and “The State of Things,” a global overview of recent documentary filmmaking, much of it social issue-oriented. Among the latter section are: Marcelo Mesquita and Guilherme Valiengo’s GREY CITY (pictured), which considers São Paulo’s crackdown on street art; Tiago Tambelli and Guilherme Canton’s OF SOULS, an exploration of the veneration a Brazilian fishing village pays to a Palestinian woman turned saint after her death; Kaspar Astrup Schroder’s RENT A FAMILY INC, in which a Japanese businessman rents out people to pose as temporary family members for those in need; and Pekka Lehto’s THE COMMISSIONER, a portrait of the EU’s economic commissioner over two years as he contends with crises in Spain and Greece.
It’s All True also presents five films in a Latin American Showcase this year. In addition to familiar titles like LA CAMIONETA and THE LAST STATION are José Pedro Charlo’s THE CALENDAR, the story of one man’s secret record of his twelve years in Uruguay’s Libertad Penitentiary for political prisoners; Rodrigo Reyes’ PURGATARIO, an exploration of the US/Mexico border; and Alejo Hoijman’s THE SHARK’S EYE (pictured), a coming of age portrait of two friends in a small Nicaraguan village.