Magnificent 7 - European Feature Documentary Festival
January 25 - 28, 2009
The festival gives the audience an opportunity to see the seven most interesting feature-length documentary films made in the past year. The first edition of the festival took place in January 2005. The selector of the first MAGNIFICENT 7 was Tue Steen Muller, consultant and Ex Oriente Film Head of Studies, former director of the European Documentary Network – EDN. The idea behind the festival is that authors present their own films and discuss their work with the audiences. Also, seven master classes are organized as part of the festival program, both for film professionals and students.
Venue: Sava Centar, Milentija Popovića 9, Belgrade
Sun, January 25 - 20:00 - Blind Loves
Mon, January 26 - 19:00 - The Mother
Mon, January 26 - 21:15 - Shake the Devil Off
Tue, January 27 - 19:00 - Vesterbro
Tue, January 27 - 21:15 - Oblivion
Wed, January 28 - 19:00 - All White in Barking
Wed, January 28 - 21:15 - Sleep Furiously
Slovakia 2008, 77 min
D: Juraj Lehotský
Lyrical mosaic composed of four different stories about four characters and four different ways of loving. This film specialty is that the characters are as blind as their loves. Being shot in a period of almost five years, the film takes us in hard to reach, intimate worlds of persons who substitute sight with increased sensitivity of other senses. And in these worlds unusual dreams, perceptions and ideas are revealed. In order to present visually the fine weaving behind dark glances the author upgraded his documentary style with modern and attractive film elements – animation, digital and sound effects. It's a film about power of love and also about power of human need to be loved. The film premiere was at Cannes Film Festival and that was as a very special honour to values of new Slovak documentary film. This is the first Juraj Lehotský's feature documentary, but he has already created his author's profile in several awarded short films.
Juraj Lehotský and Marko Škop developed the film during Ex Oriente Film 2006, under the working title "Searching".
Switzerland 2007, 80 min
D: Antoine Cattin and Pavel Kostomarov
This is the story that resembles novels by Dostoevsky. The main character is called Lyubov – that means Love in Russian. When she was a girl, her mother sold her for a bottle of vodka. At the moment, many years later, she is raising on her own her own children, nine of them and she wants to adopt the tenth one. Over the three-year period filmmakers have been recording the life of Lyuba and her children, presented in the spirit of cinéma vérité. They have made unusually strong, raw yet also poetic portrait of a woman who, despite her ill fortune, manages to express her love for her children and live a dignified existence. It's a story about an “ordinary woman” with strength of a super hero. This remarkable record of the dramatic and intimate moments in Lyuba’s life at the same time offers a highly authentic look at the bleak reality of today’s Russia. The film has given new perspectives even to the Russian audience. Equally successful in the West and in the East, the film has gained big and important awards all over Europe and it has been winning at all leading festivals in Russia.
SHAKE THE DEVILL OFF
Switzerland 2007, 99 min
D: Peter Entell
It is six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. People have lost their families, homes, and work. And now, when everybody at St. Augustine Church was preoccupied with offering help and comfort, the archdiocese has decided to close the parish and send the old, beloved priest away. The people from the neighbourhood considered that a new catastrophe. St. Augustine Church is an important symbol. Here, for the first time, slaves, free black people and whites sat side by side. Many say this is where jazz was born. And at this spot where legends live, the unusual fight begins. The parishioners join forces with local musicians to resist. But God sometimes works in mysterious ways. This is the film of unexpected twists, wonderful music and vivid rhythm. Author Peter Entell discretely follows events letting the camera to become finally the unseen participant in order to reveal all true reasons for making unacceptable decisions. Colourful and dramatic scenes form the image of America that we couldn't see before.
Denmark 2008, 78 min
D: Michael Noer
When Noer gave a digital video camera to his 20-year-old neighbours, simply briefing them to film the dramatic events of their daily lives, he hardly imagined what he had set in motion. Like many their age, Julie and Martin are impulsive, wild, and constantly on the lookout for stimulation. The camera acts as a faithful companion through their constant ups and downs. 'Vesterbro' is their story, and exactly because it is seen through their eyes. Subsequently told through Michael Noer's film interpretation this story goes straight to the bone of the transition from youth to adulthood with a rarely seen degree of honesty, intimacy and accuracy. This is the story about love, but also the story about young Danes who fight for their independence. Their start is connected with hiring an apartment in more and more popular Copenhagen area called Vesterbro. This is the path for their entire generation. The way this film is shot overcomes radically limits of the contemporary documentary and that is why “Vesterbro” has continued in a series of short documentaries for Internet project “Doxwise”.
Netherland/Germany 2008, 93 min
D: Heddi Honigmann
“Oblivion” is the story about Lima, the capital of Peru; about it's colourful area around the Presidential Palace and about people that you meet there. As we wander through the streets, we visit old restaurants and some small shops, we enter a few smart bars and we sit down in various plazas to watch and observe. We meet some moving characters who use poetry, real or mental juggling, dreams and creativity to resist being consigned to oblivion and against those who have sworn for centuries that they love their people, but who in reality they despise. The characters of the film look at history with a sense of humour and irony and give a twist to reality. In the big street circus we'll find metaphors for much bigger circus that gives shows for decades on political scene and that shakes Peru and lives of people like devastating earthquakes. All that is mixed into an exotic cocktail, by a firm hand of the very witty film character, and the audience drinks it with big pleasure, but with bitter under-taste. A film about poverty and poetry in a country plundered by the powerful.
ALL WHITE IN BARKING
UK 2007, 73 min
D: Mark Isaacs
Filmmaker, Marc Isaacs, examines modern attitudes towards race in Barking, a white working class town to the East of London. Through the lives of five key characters from different ethnic backgrounds, film author, a prominent but unseen presence, questions prejudices, and pries at preconceptions with remarkable results. The film at times plays like a Mike Leigh comedy, mostly in scenes of directly suggested, unexpected meetings between people of different ethnic background. The racial composition of Barking is in rapid flux, with immigrants from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Balkans arriving and many longtime white residents leaving. Through revealing interviews, alternately shocking and humorous, this documentary profile of a white working-class community east of London offers a timely snapshot of an increasingly multicultural Britain. "Skillfully illuminates the absurdity of racism... it is often not racism at all but rather bewilderment, ignorance and frustration."
UK 2007, 94 min
D: Gideon Koppel
Destroying many of usual concepts of dramaturgy and film, Gideon Koppel spent months filming simple, lyrical, enchanting sights of small Wales community of Trefeurig. “I wanted to make a film in which moments of intimacy and human gesture became juxtaposed with the infinite space and time of the landscape...” Almost without dialogue, this film is plunging into the world in which the time is measured with seasons, with greenery of the grass, with yellow van that carries stories, with sheep jumps. But also the world that is fast disappearing. After long conversations with Peter Handke, Koppel found himself in a scenery of his childhood, also in the space of the famous lyrical play by Dylan Thomas “Under Milk Wood” with an intention to make, as he said, a film “for Thomas if not a contemporary translation”. It's life transformed into pure cineastic form accompanied with the film score of the cult composer of electronic music, Aphex Twin. The film title is taken from the famous sentence of Noam Chomsky: “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. It's absurdity and poetry have provoked many different artists from 1957 until today.
MAGNIFICENT 7 WORKSHOP
For the fifth time the festival organizes a workshop with guests, as a number of master classes which will be held in the afternoon, starting from the second day of the festival. The workshop is intended mainly for young filmmakers, film students and students of similar art disciplines. The main mediator of the workshop will be the festival’s selector, Tue Steen Müller and the director of the festival Zoran Popović. Master classes include a wide range of themes dealing with documentarism – just because the authors themselves create the each master class. Depending on their sensibility, style and the way they treat the theme and the structure of the film – each of these master classes is a specific experience on its own.
Mon, January 26 - 15:30 All Guests
Mon, January 26 - 16:30 Juraj Lehotský (Blind Loves)
Tue, January 27 - 14:30 Antoine Cattin (The Mother)
Tue, January 27 - 16:30 Peter Entell (Shake the Devil Off)
Wed, January 28 - 14:30 Julie Pedersen (Vesterbro)
Wed, January 28 - 16:30 Carmen Cobos (Oblivion)
Thu, January 29 - 10:00 Gideon Koppel (Sleep Furiously)
Thu, January 29 - 12:00 Marc Isaacs (All White in Barking)