CPH:DOX 2017 Overview

CPH:DOX, the popular, eclectic Danish documentary festival, returns tomorrow, Thursday, March 16 for its 14th edition, having skipped its 2016 event as it shifted its dates from November to its new berth in March. More than 170 documentary features will screen at this year’s event, which will wrap on Sunday, March 26, including the highlights below:

Thirteen features vie for the Dox:Award, the fest’s top honor, including: Phie Ambo’s …WHEN YOU LOOK AWAY, an experiment in metaphysical human connections; Austin Lynch and Matthew Booth’s hybrid GRAY HOUSE, about the American working class; Thomas Fürhapter’s THE THIRD OPTION, about the ethical dilemmas raised through technological advances; Jeppe Rønde’s THE JOHN DALLI MYSTERY (pictured), a doc detective story about a murdered government official; Soudade Kaadan’s OBSCURE, which follows a Syrian refugee boy traumatized by war; and David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s DO DONKEYS ACT, about our relationship, and anthropomorphization, of donkeys.

The Nordic:Dox Award recognizes regional filmmakers, including Danish entries A MODERN MAN, Eva Mulvad’s portrait of a seemingly perfect musician, MY MOTHER IS PINK (pictured), Cecilie Debell’s road trip movie following a performance artist and his mother, STAY BEHIND – MY GRANDFATHER’S SECRET WAR, Ida Grøn’s investigation into her family’s secret Cold War activities, and LIDA, Anna Eborn’s portrait of an octogenarian Swedish woman in Ukraine; Swedish/Japanese entry THE STRANGEST STRANGER, Magnus Bärtås’ profile of a Tokyo performance artist with an elaborate, fictionalized life story; and Norwegian films CHILDHOOD, Margreth Olin’s observational study of a kindergarten class, and 69 MINUTES OF 86 DAYS, Egil Håskjold Larsen’s chronicle of a refugee family’s journey through Europe.

Additional Danish films are showcased in Danish:Dox, including: MISS ROSEWOOD (pictured), about an outrageous NYC trans performance artist; Sven Vinge’s IN MY FATHER’S HANDS, in which the filmmaker reconstructs his father’s life to make sense of family history; Frida Matilda Barkfors and Lasse Barkfors’ DEATH OF A CHILD, which explores parental grief; and Sami Saif’s THE ALLINS, about punk legend GG Allin.

Investigative docs competing for the F:ACT Award include: John Archer and Clara Glynn’s ACCIDENTAL ANARCHIST, about a former British diplomat turned anarchist; Lotte Mik-Meyer’s RETURN OF A PRESIDENT (pictured), which follows Madagascar’s exiled president over five years; Lars Feldballe-Petersen’s THE UNFORGIVEN, in which a war criminal reckons with his past; Mitchell Stafiej’s THE DEVIL’S TRAP, accompanying a former cult member as he seeks to reconnect with his family; and Joakim Demmer’s DEAD DONKEYS FEAR NO HYENAS, exploring World Bank-supported Ethiopian agricultural investments which have led to land grabbing and displacement.

The New:Vision Award recognizes nonfiction on the border between visual art and film, including: Emily Wardill’s NO TRACE OF ACCELERATOR (pictured), which reconstructs a mysterious rash of fires in a small French village; Lee Anne Schmitt’s PURGE THIS LAND, a retelling of the history of racism in America; and James Kienitz Wilkins’ COMMON CARRIER, on NYC artists’ lives on the margins. Meanwhile the new Next:Wave Award honors emerging filmmakers, such as Wattanapume Laisuwanchai’s PHANTOM OF ILLUMINATION, on the last days of a Thai movie theatre; Marcos Migliavacca and Nahuel Lahora’s hybrid 1996 LUCY AND THE CORPSES IN THE POOL, about a woman’s trip to a music festival; and Ginan Seidl’s SPIN, a philosophical exploration of science and religion.

Out of competition sections include Top Dox – primarily highlights which premiered at other notable festivals – and Special Screenings, such as: Torstein Grude’s MOGADISHU SOLDIER (pictured), filmed by African soldiers facing off against radical Al-Shabaab forces; Solveig Melkeraaen’s TONGUE CUTTERS, which follows a nine-year-old Norwegian learning traditional fishing work; Jérôme le Maire’s BURNING OUT, about the impact of staff burnout on a French hospital; Christian Tod’s FREE LUNCH SOCIETY, exploring the concept of guaranteed basic income; and Bernard-Henri Lévy’s THE BATTLE OF MOSUL, on the struggle against ISIS.

Thematic sidebars include Artists & Auteurs, with hybrid work like Margaret Salmon’s EGLANTINE (pictured), a child’s-eye view of nature, and Gastón Solnicki’s KÉKSZAKÁLLÚ, about young women on summer holiday; while Sound & Vision presents music docs like John Edginton’s portrait, JOE COCKER: MAD DOG WITH SOUL; Lisa Nordström and Pether Lindgren’s look at the universal language of music, SONICA SEQUENCE; and Maja Friis Kristensen’s look at the lead up to a jazz bar’s opening, REHEARSAL NIGHT.

Additional sections include Kids & Youth, with work like Mats Ågren’s MIRANDA – THE MAKING OF A POLITICIAN, about a 14-year-old youth politician running afoul of her party’s dirty tactics; Before and After Science, featuring Wayne Walsh and Sean Blacknell’s THE FUTURE OF WORK AND DEATH, a sardonic essay on technology’s impact on fundamental aspects of life; and Power to the People, which includes Timothy George Kelly’s BREXITANNIA (pictured), offering the perspectives of both sides of the controversial referendum.

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