CAMDEN – The Camden International Film Festival has announced the slate of feature and short films for its 15th edition, which will take place Sept. 12-15 throughout Camden, Rockport and Rockland.
A program of the Points North Institute, the festival is one of the top documentary film festivals in the world. This year the festival will present 38 features, 50 short films and 16 virtual reality and immersive experiences from over 35 countries. More than half of the feature films are presented as major premieres, including the US Premiere of Alex Gibney’s “Citizen K.”
The festival’s 2019 edition aims to advance industry-wide conversations about Story & Power — examining the ways in which power structures deeply embedded in society have continued to shape the documentary field, including which stories are told, by whom and for whom.
“Our 2019 slate celebrates documentary as a reimagining of the ways we engage with stories from both near and far,” said Ben Fowlie, executive and artistic director of the Points North Institute, and founder of the Camden International Film Festival. “As programmers, we have been transformed by these films. They take us beyond the headlines and into the hearts of people and their stories, while also engaging us with the creative, political, and ethical decisions that went into these unforgettable films.”
The festival will present eight World Premieres by award-winning filmmakers, including BAFTA winner Dan Vernon’s Changin’ “Times of Ike White,” Martha Shane’s “Narrowsburg,” Vytautas Puidokas’s “El Padre Médico,” and Michel Negroponte’s “My Autonomous Neighbor,” all films that set out to tell a story one way, only to uncover countless unexpected turns.
“We’ve been thinking a lot about how power is inherently embedded in the way films are made, in the stories we uphold about ourselves, our values, our places,” said senior programmer Samara Chadwick. “As a way of normalising the questioning of that power, we have curated constellations of works within the program that, together, offer varying approaches to common narratives.”
For example, a trilogy of Filipino films present very different angles on the interwoven histories of the US and the Philippines.The world premiere of Alexander A. Mora’s “The Nightcrawlers” offers a harrowing undercover look into the Duterte regime’s brutal war on drugs. Sung-A Yoon’s “Overseas,” a study of filipina domestic workers training to work abroad, is set in sharp contrast to Lauren Greenfield’s “The Kingmaker,” which tells the story of Imelda Marcos, exposing her family’s long history of corruption, extravagance, and brutality.
The conflict in Syria will be represented in a kaleidoscope of films, including the US Premiere of Feras Fayyad’s “The Cave” about a women-led underground hospital, Locarno title “Copper Notes of a Dream” in which director Reza Farahmand explores the indomitable spirits of children staging a concert in the rubble, and Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’s multiple award winning film, “For Sama,” documenting a journalist mother’s love letter to her war-born daughter.
As a leading showcase of international works, the festival welcomes the North American premieres of nine films, including the works of several emerging filmmakers, such as “The Giverny Document” (Single Channel) by Ja’Tovia Gary, “Lovemobil” by Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss, “Progress In The Valley of the People Who Don’t Know” by Florian Kunert, “Sankara is not Dead” by Lucie Viver and “La Vida en Común” by Ezequiel Yanco.
The festival will present new work by documentary luminaries including Agnès Varda, Brett Story, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Nanfu Wang, Steve Bognar, Julia Reichart, Juan Pablo González and Ian Cheney. Each of these films, in their own way, finds creative ways of asserting the filmmakers’ role within the story being told. Nearly all screenings will be attended by the filmmakers, with creators from Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa and Syria, as well as creators from over over a dozen indigenous tribes, all converging on the coast of Maine.
The Festival will also feature two award-winning alumni of the Points North Fellowship program: “Midnight Family” and “Midnight Traveler.” The filmmakers selected for this year’s Points North Institute’s Artist Programs at the will be announced in the coming weeks.
Storyforms: Remixing Reality is CIFF’s growing exhibition of immersive documentary experiences and installations. This year the program will feature four room-scale VR and AR installations, nine works of 360° cinema, and a series of large-scale projections that explicitly interrogate representations of race in America, including Garrett Bradley’s award-winning America and Whitney Dow’s “The Whiteness Project”
“For the 4th edition of our Storyforms exhibition, we’re showcasing how immersive media can create new spaces for reflection and interrogation of the invisible forces that shape our world,” said program director Sean Flynn.
Highlighted works include the World Premiere of Alex Suber’s virtual reality documentary, “Lux Sine,” Lisa Jackson’s “Biidaaban: First Light,” “Common Ground” by Darren Emerson and “Home with América” by Alvaro Morales.
The Points North Institute announced that SHOWTIME® Documentary Films will serve as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2019 Points North Fellowship and a Headlining Sponsor for the 2019 Camden International Film Festival.
The Points North Forum’s lineup of masterclasses, roundtables, panels and industry delegates will be announced in the coming week. The Forum’s centerpiece this year is the Agora: a daylong series of conversations and panels that explore how each facet of the nonfiction community – from filmmakers, to critics, to gatekeepers and even audiences – can take an active role in building and enjoying a more equitable, inclusive field that celebrates the art and craft of documentary filmmaking. The full Forum announcement and schedule will be released in the coming weeks.
Festival passes and a complete festival lineup can be found on the Points North Institute website at pointsnorthinstitute.org
The 15th Camden International Film Festival is a program of the Points North Institute. Building on the festival’s long-established role in the nonfiction film community, the Points North Institute’s filmmaker programs provide a launching pad for the next generation of nonfiction storytellers.