2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: PRESIDENT

Courtesy of Sundance Institute


PRESIDENT
Camilla Nielsson follows the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party as he seeks a free and fair election.

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition

Country:
Denmark/USA/Norway

Sundance Program Description:

When Robert Mugabe was removed from power, Zimbabwe military leaders promised they would not seize control for themselves but would ensure democracy in a national election. Against a backdrop of economic crisis, food shortages, and political violence, the stakes could not be higher. Working to defeat the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), which has controlled Zimbabwe since independence, is the young and charismatic Nelson Chamisa and the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance. After decades of a corrupt group clinging to power using any tool available—legal or not—can a free, fair, and transparent election be truly possible?

Director Camilla Nielsson is in familiar territory with this follow-up to her wildly acclaimed documentary DEMOCRATS (2014), which followed the political battle to establish Zimbabwe’s first democratic constitution. Nielsson once again brings viewers into the heart of the struggle for power in a nation closely monitored by the entire world. PRESIDENT is a riveting and epic reminder that, while individuals and their specific ideals may differ, the fight for democracy is never-ending and universal. 

Some Background:

Director:
Camilla Nielsson
Nielsson received support from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film program for this project, just as she did for DEMOCRATS, which followed its successful festival run with broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens.

Producers:
Signe Byrge Sørensen
Past Sundance docs:
STRONG ISLAND (2017)

CEO/producer, Final Cut for Real. Sørensen also produced fellow 2021 World Cinema Documentary Competition title FLEE. She previously co-produced THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT, and is a two-time Oscar nominee as producer of THE ACT OF KILLING and THE LOOK OF SILENCE, as well as a News & Documentary Emmy winner.

Joslyn Barnes
Past Sundance docs:
AQUARELA (2019)
EASTER SNAP (short, 2019)
HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING (2018)
STRONG ISLAND
CAMERAPERSON (2016)
CONCERNING VIOLENCE (2014)
THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (2012)
THE BLACK POWER MIX TAPE 1967-1975 (2011)
TROUBLE THE WATER (2008)

Co-founder/COO, Louverture Films. Barnes is a twice Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning producer and a past recipient of the Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producer Award. She has served as a creative advisor to the Sundance Institute’s Creative Producing Documentary Lab. Barnes also co-produced Sundance fiction feature alumni project CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR.

Executive Producers:
Susan Rockefeller
Past Sundance docs:
AGGIE (2020)
AQUARELA
EASTER SNAP
HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
STRONG ISLAND
CONCERNING VIOLENCE

Principal, Louverture Films. Rockefeller is an entrepreneur, filmmaker, conservationist, and philanthropist. She previously associate produced CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR.

Danny Glover
Past Sundance docs:

AQUARELA
EASTER SNAP
HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
STRONG ISLAND
CAMERAPERSON
CONCERNING VIOLENCE
THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
THE BLACK POWER MIX TAPE 1967-1975
TROUBLE THE WATER

Co-founder/CEO, Louverture Films. Glover is an acclaimed actor, filmmaker, and political activist. In addition to acting in numerous past Sundance fiction features, he also previously produced or executive produced alumni titles CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR, TO SLEEP WITH ANGER, 3AM, and GOOD FENCES.

Co-Producers:
Anne Köhncke
Past Sundance docs:
PERVERT PARK (2015)

Producer/co-owner, Final Cut for Real. Köhncke is also an associate producer of this year’s FLEE. She also produced or associate produced THE ACT OF KILLING and THE LOOK OF SILENCE. Before co-founding the acclaimed Danish production company, Köhncke had a background as a commissioning editor and sales agent.

Anita Rehoff Larsen
First Sundance credit. Producer/co-owner, Sant & Usant. Larsen most recently produced the critically-acclaimed feature doc GUNDA.

More Info:
Website

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

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