2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: AQUARELA

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Photo by Victor Kossakovsky

AQUARELA
Victor Kossakovsky travels around the world to immerse audiences in an exploration of water in its many forms.

Festival Section:
New Frontier

Sundance Program Description:

AQUARELA is a deeply cinematic journey through the transformative beauty and raw power of water. From the precarious frozen waters of Russia’s Lake Baikal to the throes of Hurricane Irma in Miami to Venezuela’s mighty Angel Falls, water is AQUARELA’s main character. Director Viktor Kossakovsky captures the element’s many personalities in startling cinematic clarity at 96 frames per second.

A true experience in the movie theater, Kossakovsky’s use of stunning imagery and sounds creates powerful moments of nature. Cars trapped under ice. Icebergs falling. Waterfalls towering above the clouds. An ocean rejecting its borders. AQUARELA evokes complex emotions: the visceral images show the intensity of the many worlds of water, but the film is also incredibly beautiful. Alongside all this are the strange ways humans try to cope – with dire results captured on camera. This film is a warning.

Some Background:
Director/Screenwriter/Editor:

  • Victor Kossakovsky

    Kossakovsky is a critically acclaimed Russian filmmaker whose past work includes ¡VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS!. He also served as director of photography for this project, which received support from the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program.

Producer/Screenwriter:

  • Aimara Reques

    Aconite Productions’ Reques is a BAFTA-winning producer based in Glasgow. This is her first Sundance project.

Producers:

  • Heino Deckert
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE 3 ROOMS OF MELANCHOLIA (2005)

    Deckert is the CEO of Leipzig-based Deckert Distribution and ma.ja.de. He previously produced ¡VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS! and the Sundance fiction feature alum KHADAK.

  • Sigrid Dyekjær
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE MONASTERY: MR VIG AND THE NUN (2007)

    The prolific Dyekjær is a founder of production company Danish Documentary.

Co-Producers:

  • Joslyn Barnes and Danny Glover
    Past Sundance docs:

    HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING (2018)
    STRONG ISLAND (2017)
    CAMERAPERSON (2016)
    CONCERNING VIOLENCE (2014)
    THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (2012)
    THE BLACK POWER MIX TAPE 1967-1975 (2011)
    TROUBLE THE WATER (2008)

    Barnes and Glover are co-founders of Louverture Films. Their past films have picked up multiple awards at Sundance. Barnes was nominated for an Academy Award and won an Emmy for STRONG ISLAND.

  • Susan Rockefeller
    Past Sundance docs:

    HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
    STRONG ISLAND
    CONCERNING VIOLENCE

    Rockefeller is an entrepreneur, filmmaker, and philanthropist, and a partner in Louverture Films. She associated produced Sundance fiction feature alum CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR.

  • Tony Tabatznik
    Past Sundance docs:

    HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
    STRONG ISLAND
    WE ARE THE GIANT (2014)
    KZ (2006)

    Tabatznik is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder of Bertha Foundation. His background was in the generic pharmaceutical industry, including serving as a past CEO of Merck Generics.

  • Emile Hertling Péronard:

    This marks the first Sundance credit for the Greenlandic producer.

Executive Producers:

  • Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann
    Combined recent past Sundance docs:

    AMERICA TO ME (2018)
    THE PRICE OF FREE (fka KAILASH) (2018)
    AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (2017)
    MELTING ICE (VR) (2017)

    Philanthropist and social entrepreneur Skoll is the founder and chairman of Participant Media. His Skoll Foundation has been a major partner of the Sundance Institute for several years. He is also an executive producer of 2019 US Documentary Competition title AMERICAN FACTORY and of Premieres title THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND.

    Weyermann, Participant Media’s president of documentary films and television, was previously the director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program for several years and the director of the Open Society Institute’s arts and culture program before that. She also executive produced AMERICAN FACTORY.

  • Mark Thomas and Isabel Davis

    This is the first Sundance credit for both Creative Scotland’s screen officer and executive director, respectively.

  • Sawsan Asfari

    Asfari produces through Cactus World Films. She is the executive director of the Galilee Foundation, which supports the development of the Palestinian community in Israel, and a co-founder of the Asfari Foundation, which focuses on empowering youth from the Levant and UK through education.

  • Maya Sanbar
    Past Sundance docs:

    TROUBLE THE WATER

    The Clarity World Films producer has a background in international law and diplomacy.

  • Madge Bray

    This is the first Sundance credit for Bray, who has worked with Aconite Productions on past projects.

  • Matthias Ehrenberg
    Past Sundance docs:

    This is also the first Sundance project for the Rio Negro Producciones CEO.

  • Frank Lehmann

    Lehmann previously associate produced Sundance fiction feature alum HELEN.

Editors:

  • Molly Malene Stensgaard

    Stensgaard previously cut Sundance fiction alums LAND OF MINE, NYMPHOMANIAC, and DOGVILLE.

  • Ainara Vera

    Vera previously edited one of Kossakovsky’s short docs.

Why You Should Watch:
Kossakovsky’s latest bears his distinctive stamp, full of jaw-dropping cinematic moments of sheer beauty, punctuated by an unexpected soundtrack. The doc debuted at the Venice Film Festival last year and will be distributed theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics.

More Info:
Website

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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