CPH:DOX opens its 12th edition tonight, Thursday, November 6, with the simultaneous screening in more than 50 venues across Europe of Anders Østergaard and Erzsébet Rácz’s 1989, about the world-changing events of that singular year. The well-regarded festival will play host to nearly 200 features, as well as scores of shorts, discussions, debates, and concerts through its wrap up on Sunday, November 16. The lineup includes a large number of debuts in addition to a curated selection of favorites from other notable festivals. The following offers highlights from the fest’s various sections:
Østergaard and Rácz’s film joins thirteen other features for the event’s main prize, the DOX:AWARD. Other new titles among the contenders are: Camilla Nielsson’s exceptional inside look at the creation of Zimbabwe’s new constitution, DEMOCRATS (pictured); Philip Widmann and Karsten Krause’s dissection of an affair in 1970s Germany, SCENARIO; Hannes Lang’s xeno-ethnographic exploration of life on Earth, I WANT TO SEE THE MANAGER; Måns Månsson’s hybrid exploring African/Chinese dynamics, STRANDED IN CANTON; and Lav Diaz’s portrait of the aftermath of a disastrous storm, STORM CHILDREN – BOOK ONE.
The Nordic:Dox Award celebrates regional filmmaking, including: Anders Riis-Hansen’s THE CIRCUS DYNASTY, a love story set within Scandinavia’s largest circus; Lasse Barkfors and Frida Barkfors’ PERVERT PARK, about a Florida trailer park for sex offenders; Anders Jedenfors’ IN THE COUNTRY (pictured), which reveals an unexpected secret in the lives of a rural, elderly Swedish couple; Gunnar Hall Jensen’s A CUP OF TEA, following the efforts of a Norwegian man to build a Japanese teahouse; Trond Nicholas Perry and Erik Pirolt’s A DREAM AT SEA, in which two Norwegians construct a boat as an art project; and Johan Jonason’s CONQUERING CHINA, about a Swedish musician trying to make it in Shanghai.
Even closer to home are the local filmmakers of Danish Dox, among them: Theis Molin’s HORNSLETH – DEEP STORAGE PROJECT, detailing the stumbling blocks facing a controversial Danish artist’s unusual conceptual project; Nicole Horanyi’s NAKED, following a Danish porn star’s struggle to return to the business; Nitesh Anjaan’s FAR FROM HOME (pictured), a personal film about the filmmaker’s father; and Kathrine Ravn Kruse’s ME AND DAD – NO EXPECTATIONS OF APPLAUSE, in which the director contends with her newly sober father.
Investigative journalism is at the center of the films vying for the F:ACT Award, such as: Mikala Krogh’s inside look at a Danish tabloid, THE NEWSROOM – OFF THE RECORD (pictured); Tonje Hessen Schei’s exploration of the consequences of remote control killing, DRONE; Andreas M Dalsgaard, Nicolas Servide, and Vivana Gomez’s chronicle of an unorthodox Colombian presidential candidate, LIFE IS SACRED; and Nanna Frank Møller’s exposé of torture sanctioned by the Danish government, A CIVILIZED COUNTRY.
Other thematic programming falls under subdivisions of CPH:DOX’s Megatrends, such as “Rethinking Resources,” which includes Maarten van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal’s Russia vs Greenpeace story, BLACK ICE; “Africa Rising,” with Robbie Fraser’s FAMILY GOLDMINE (pictured), about a naive French family’s plan to open an environmentally-friendly gold mine in Mali; “Movers and Makers,” with Nicholas Mross’s exploration of the misunderstood digital currency, THE RISE AND RISE OF BITCOIN; “Polarized,” with Markus Lenz’s portrait of a community formed within an abandoned Venezuelan skyscraper, RUINA; and “We are the Robots,” which includes Pernille Rose Grønkjær’s study of personality and genetics, GENETIC ME; Christian von Borries’ essay comparing Apple and China, IPHONECHINA; and Niels-Christian Bolbrinker’s profile of mind control conspiracists, REALITY CHECK.
The Special Screenings section offers films like Marc Schmidt’s THE CHIMPANZEE COMPLEX (pictured), following the process of preparing trained chimps to live as animals again; Florent Tillon’s LAS VEGAS MEDITATION, an exploration of the strange city and its stranger residents; and Mak CK’s LITTLE PEOPLE BIG DREAMS, about China’s Dwarf’s Empire theme park.
Other programming explores the intersection of visual art and documentary, festival favorites, music docs, a selection of films about Russia, biographies – including fiction films, retrospectives exploring violence, and a series guest-curated by Laura Poitras.