CPH:DOX 2018 Overview

The 15th CPH:DOX

March 15-25

This distinctive Danish event presents over 160 new feature documentaries in addition to retrospective screenings, installations, and more.


Among the dozen titles in the running for the festival’s international competition, the Dox:Award, are: Marcus Lindeen’s THE RAFT, which revisits an unusual, failed experiment from 1973; Jana Magdalena Keuchel and Katharina Knust’s LAST YEAR IN UTOPIA, which reunites the participants of an abandoned reality TV show/social experiment; Emma Davie and Peter Mettler’s BECOMING ANIMAL, an essay about man’s relationship to the natural world; Alexander Rynéus, Malla Grapengiesser, and Per Bifrost’s GIANTS AND THE MORNING AFTER, a visit to the “Swedish Twin Peaks;” Andreas Dalsgaard’s THE GREAT GAME, which follows a father and son as they excavate family history for secrets and adventures; and Salomé Lamas’ EXTINCTION, an essay following a Moldovan as he explores the unrecognized nation of Transnistria.


Regional filmmaking gets the spotlight in the Nordic:Dox Award competition, including: Jacob von Heland and Henrik Ernstson’s ONE TABLE TWO ELEPHANTS, an expansive Swedish ethnography about Cape Town; Max Kestner’s BAD CIRCUMSTANCES, about an amateur historian’s attempt to solve a 1907 mystery involving three dead polar scientists in Greenland; Jukka Kärkkäinen and J-P Passi’s THE PUNK VOYAGE, about a Finnish punk band made up of people with autism or Down syndrome; and Steffan Strandberg’s THE NIGHT, an animated recounting of the Norwegian filmmaker’s bittersweet childhood.


National nonfiction is showcased in Danish:Dox, which includes: Emil Næsby Hansen’s SKJOLD & ISABEL, following the complicated relationship between young exes; Jens Loftager’s FAITH, a contrasting look at religion through Danish confirmation students and Japanese Buddhists/former sect members; Emil Nørgaard Munk’s GUSHEGU EXILE, about a community of Ghanian women exiled for being witches; and Stig Guldberg’s THE ORIGINALS, about the friendship between four outcasts.


The F:ACT Award celebrates investigative docs such as: Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei’s LAILA AT THE BRIDGE, about an Afghan woman on a mission to get heroin addicts clean; Fritz Ofner’s WEAPON OF CHOICE, an investigation into the secretive company behind the Glock handgun; Karen Winther’s EXIT, which profiles several individuals who have broken with their extremist past, including the filmmaker herself; and Katrine Philp’s FALSE CONFESSIONS, following a defense attorney who works to prevent the titular practice.


Emerging filmmakers are feted with the Next:Wave Award, including: Frederik Sølberg’s DOEL, a portrait of the last 26 residents of a Belgian city; Frederick Paxton’s HARMONY, an exploration of Russian gender roles through ice hokey and rhythmic gymnastics; Lisa Truttmann’s TARPAULINS, a creative look at termites; and Iris Zaki’s UNSETTLING, in which the filmmaker sets up a space to have discussion with Israeli settlers. The New:Vision Award focuses on nonfiction straddling visual art, including: Jumana Manna’s WILD RELATIVES, about biodiversity and international politics; and Barbara Visser’s THE END OF FEAR, which looks back at a 1986 act of vandalism against a museum painting.


Among the out of competition sections are Special Screenings, with Jerry Rothwell’s THE SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD, about an Indian Professor Suguta Mitra’s theories of children’s self-learning; James Erskine’s THE ICE KING, a portrait of rebellious 1970s British ice skater John Curry; and Paul Van Carter’s FRED, the confessions of an octogenarian London gangster. Also noncompetitive are the festival favorites of the Highlights section, such as Lila Pinell and Chloé Mahieu’s KISS & CRY, about an elite French female ice skater; Nicolas Peduzzi’s SOUTHERN BELLE, a portrait of a self-destructive daughter of a Texan millionaire; and Terje Toomistu’s SOVIET HIPPIES, on the untold story of the Russian hippie movement.


Thematic sidebars include the impact-focused Change, with Olivier Peyon and Cyril Brody’s LATIFA: A FIGHTING HEART, following a French-Moroccan mother-turned-activist after the death of her son in a terror attack; Justice, with Gereon Wetzel and Melanie Liebheit’s THE ART OF ARGUMENT, a look at a moot court world championship; and Artists & Auteurs, with Andrew Kötting’s LEK AND THE DOGS, a retelling of a man’s time on the streets of Moscow as a four-year-old runaway raised by wild dogs; Donal Foreman’s THE IMAGE YOU MISSED, an essay constructed by the filmmaker from his father’s footage of the conflict in Northern Ireland; and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s hybrid KARL’S PERFECT DAY, a poetic imagining of a Swedish artist’s ideal day.


Additional thematic sections include CPH:Science, with Ian Cheney’s THE MOST UNKNOWN, a consideration of scientific phenomena beyond our perception; Mindaugas Survila’s THE ANCIENT WOODS, a wordless immersion into the biodiversity of the Baltic forests; and Noel Dockstader and Quinn Kanaly’s POINT OF NO RETURN, following an aerial circumnavigation solely on solar power; and music doc strand Sound & Vision, which offers Maciek Bochniak’s ETHIOPIQUES – REVOLT OF THE SOUL, a look back at forbidden music in 1960s Ethiopia; and Stuart Swezey’s DESOLATION CENTER, on the punk and industrial music scene of 1980s LA.

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