IDFA 2018 Overview, Part Two

The 31st IDFA

November 14-25

Yesterday’s post on the largest documentary festival in the world covered its competitive sections, while today’s looks at non-competitive programming.


The fest’s Masters section presents 24 new and recent films from established filmmakers, including Barbara Kopple’s DOC NYC debut NEW HOMELAND, following refugee boys at a Canadian summer camp; Xiaoshuai Wang’s CHINESE PORTRAIT, a look at modern China through a series of artfully composed long shots of its people; Virpi Suutari’s ENTREPRENEUR, a contrasting profile of two Finnish businesses; Ivars Seleckis’ TO BE CONTINUED, which follows Latvian children during their first year of school.


In Best of Fests, IDFA showcases more than 40 films that have been making the rounds at other notable festivals, including work like: Marie Losier’s CASSANDRO, THE EXOTICO!, on the “Liberace of lucha libre;” Tuki Jencquel’s IT’S ALL GOOD, which explores the impact of Venezuela’s financial crisis on health services; Rikun Zhu’s ANNI, following a Chinese dissident whose daughter is barred from education because of his political activity; and Guillaume Massart’s IN THE OPEN, a profile of a Corsican prison that houses sex offenders.


New section Luminous offers immersive nonfiction, including Ewa Kochańska’s COMPULSORY FIGURES, a portrait of a mother on a mission to make her daughter a figure skating champion; Fabio Caramaschi’s DARK CORNER, an intimate portrait of an Italian boxer; Ben Asamoah’s SAKAWA, an exploration of Internet scams enabled by e-waste in Ghana; Ksenia Elyan’s HOW BIG IS THE GALAXY?, an observational film about the homeschooling of an indigenous Siberian family’s children; Alexandra Westmeier’s LOST REACTOR, about the unlikely community that has made an abandoned nuclear power station their home in Crimea; and Guillermo Rocamora’s FREEDOM IS A BIG WORD, which follows a former Guantanamo Bay detainee as he tries to adjust to a new life in Uruguay.


Frontlight is another new section offering unique stories not otherwise covered in media, including: Henry Singer and Rob Miller’s THE TRIAL OF RATKO MLADIC, on the notorious Serbian general of the Bosnian War; Fred Peabody’s THE CORPORATE COUP D’ETAT, an exploration of the corporate takeover of the US government; Manuel III Mesina and Banuk Amante’s BEASTMODE, A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT, an experimental dual portrait of Philippines strongman Rodrigo Duterte and a hotheaded Filipino actor; and Hans Pool’s BELLINGCAT – TRUTH IN A POST-TRUTH WORLD, which follows citizen journalists as they try to unearth the truth in an era of fake news.


Other strands include Serialized, which offers episodic content like Bruno Masi’s THE BARRICADE, a revisitation of the Paris student protests of May 1968; and Paradocs, works in the intersection of film and art, with projects like Melanie Bonajo’s PROGRESS VS SUNSETS, which explores children’s perception of the world as informed by animal videos; and Meiro Koizumi’s BATTLELANDS, about the experiences of American veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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

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