DETROPIA is a cinematic tapestry that chronicles the lives of several Detroiters trying to survive the D and make sense of what is happening to their city. An owner of a blues bar, a young blogger, an auto union rep, a group of young artists, an opera impresario and a gang of illegal “scrappers” make up an unlikely chorus that illuminates the tale of both a city and a country in a soul-searching mood, desperate for a new identity.
Director: Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady Year: 2012 Country: USA
Despite a lack of obvious similarities between Siberia and Tokyo, a thriving model industry connects these distant regions. Girl Model follows two protagonists involved in this industry: Ashley, a deeply ambivalent model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market, and one of her discoveries, Nadya, a thirteen year-old plucked from the Siberian countryside and dropped into the center of Tokyo with promises of a profitable career.
Director: David Redmon & A. Sabin Year: 2012 Country: Russia/Japan
DANCING BOYS OF AFGHANISTAN
As the West pours billions of dollars into the fight against the Taleban in southern Afghanistan, an ancient tradition has re-emerged across the rest of the country. Many hundreds of boys as young as 10, living in extreme poverty, lured off the streets on the promise of a new life away from destitution, unaware their real fate is to be used for entertainment and sex.
Director: Najibullah Quraishi Year: 2010 Country: Afghanistan
WE WERE REBELS
The documentary film WE WERE REBELS tells the story of Agel, a former child soldier who returns to South Sudan to help build up his country. The film accompanies him over a period of two years – from South Sudan gaining its independence in 2011 to the renewed outbreak of civil war in December 2013.
Director: Katharina von Schroeder & Florian Schewe Year: 2014 Country: South Sudan
GIDEON’S ARMY follows Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make “justice for all” a reality?
Director: Dawn Porter Year: 2013 Country: USA
The moving story of two young boys as they attempt to escape the civil war in Syria. The film follows them as they desperately try to become reunited with their families in Europe.
Director: Firas Fayyad & Henrik Grunnet Year: 2016 Country: Denmark
AT HOME IN THE WORLD
Magomed is a thoughtful 10-year-old boy from Chechnya, who has just arrived in Denmark to seek asylum. Magomed goes to school, where a teacher quickly notices the bright but shy boy, who slowly starts to make new friends and learn from the teaching. But his new life with new friends takes on a dark and heartbreaking turn when the decision about the family’s application for asylum comes with both good and bad news.
Director: Andreas Koefoed Year: 2015 Country: Denmark
Rocking Cambodia: Rise of a Pop Diva
In a Phnom Penh karaoke bar in 2009 Australian musician Julien Poul- son hears the extraordinary voice of poor village girl Srey Thy. The result is tempestuous cross-cultural romance and the birth of The Cambodian Space Project, a thrilling musical explosion that wows audiences world- wide with sounds from the 1960s and ‘70s golden age of Cambodian rock. Filmed over ve years this intimate documentary tells the story of perform- ers whose struggle to overcome poverty, trauma and obscurity has never been easy.
Director: Marc Eberle Year: 2015 Country: Cambodia
GOD LOVES UGANDA
With God Loves Uganda, Academy Award-winning lmmaker Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence) explores the role of the American Evangel- ical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic re- ligious leaders and a well- nanced campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that peddle them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them aren’t coming from Africa; they’re being imported from some of America’s largest meg- achurches. Using vérité, interviews, and hidden camera footage, the lm allows American religious leaders and their young missionaries that make up the “front lines in a battle for billions of souls” to explain their positions in their own words. Shocking and enlightening, touching and horrifying, God Loves Uganda will leave you questioning just how closely this brand of Christianity resembles the one you think you know.
Director: Roger Ross Williams Year: 2013 Country: Uganda
Would you risk your life to flip a switch? In Kanpur, India, putting oneself in harm’s way to deliver electrical power is all too common. Powerless sheds light on the opposing corners of this political ring, from an electrical Robin Hood tapping wires for neighbors to the myopic utility company whose failure to understand economics forces it deeper into financial disarray. This vibrant exposé gives a whole new meaning to the words “power struggle.”
Director: Deepti Kakkar, Fahad Mustafa Year: 2013 Country: India
Samurai and the Idiots
The Olympus scandal remains one of the most polarizing and mystifying corporate scandals in the world. It also tells the story of the ultimate East- West cultural showdown where different sets of values collided.
In Oct. 2011, Olympus Corporation, a multi-billion dollar Japanese optical company, suddenly dismissed its president and CEO, British-born Mi- chael Woodford after 6 months into his tenure…for blowing the whistle on the 1.7 billion dollar fraud that the company had been keeping secret for more than 20 years. But Woodford’s relentless appeal for truth eventually led to arrests of the top three executives of the company…
Director: Hyoe Yamamoto Year: 2016 Country: Japan
A highway is waiting to go through a quiet village in Hunan, a province in central China where Mao was from. Due to the high cost of construction, construction companies and migrant workers who live on road work rush to here like the tide. In the following four years, they root in this strange place for interests, paying sweat and blood, even their lives. With their arrival, local village and peasants are forced to change their lives. Many hidden interest lines and hidden rules about road construction of the na- tion are unveiled, together with the shocking truth and emerging secrets.”
Director: Zhang Zanbo Year: 2015 Country: China
Putin’s Forgotten Children
Ten-year-old Yula has but one dream – to escape the largest garbage dump in Europe and lead a normal life. For 14 years, Oscar-nominated director Hanna Polak follows Yula as she grows up in the forbidden ter- ritory of Svalka, the largest garbage dump in Europe, 13 miles from the Kremlin in Putin’s Russia. ‘Something better to come’ is Yula’s story and is a dramatic cinema story about coming of age, and maturing to the point of taking destiny into one’s own hands. It is a universal story of hope, courage, and life.
Director: Hanna Polak Year: 2015 Country: Russia Original title: Something better to come
A Syrian Love Story
Comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda met in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago. When McAllister rst meets their family in 2009, Raghda is back in prison leaving. Amer to look after their 4 boys alone; but as the ‘Arab Spring’ sweeps the region, the family’s fate shifts irrevocably. Filmed over 5 years, the lm charts their incredible odyssey to political freedom. For Raghda and Amer, it is a journey of hope, dreams and despair: for the revolution, their homeland and each other.
Director: Sean McAllister Year: 2015 Country: Syria
Coach Zoran & His African Tigers
South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011, following al- most 50 years of civil war. This lm follows veteran Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic as he seeks to forge the rst national football team in the new country. Zoran had coached the national teams of Bangladesh, Phillipines, Sudan and Yemen, but nothing could prepare him for attempting to build a team from scratch in a country rated the most undeveloped in the world by many development indices. The lm follows Zoran’s team over its rst year, from scouting for players in the wilderness to signing up a sheep called Champion as the team mascot. When South Sudan loses the oil money that makes up a staggering 98% of government revenue, nancial meltdown beckons. And as the money supply for the national team dries up, Zoran nds himself in a bitter con ict with the local of cials over his aggressive and even dictatorial management style.
Director: Sam Benstead Year: 2014 Country: South Sudan
Steam of Life
Fat men, thin men, t men, men who dress as Santa, vagrants: all of them go to the Finnish sauna. If they don’t have a sauna nearby, they build one. Scenes of men in an old, beat-up mobile home, car or phone booth seem like they’re straight out of an absurdist play. But once the men are in the sauna, usually with a drink in hand, the stories start owing. Naked and sweaty, surrounded by steam, the Fins reveal their sensitive sides. In between sobs, a heavyset fellow talks about his troubled youth. Another discusses how thankful he is for his simple life, after an adolescence of alcohol and crime. A father cries over his deceased child. In the steam of the sauna, tears blend in better. Beautiful, touching stories are inter- spersed with footage of the Finnish landscape. Our image of the Scandi- navian male as a tough guy who is rough around the edges will never be the same after watching Steam of Life.
Director: Joonas Berghäll, Mika Hotakainen Year: 2010 Country: Finland
School Time For Miss Roma
Every summer, a few brave Roma girls will enter a beauty pageant in the bid to be called Miss Roma. But what if their dream is not a marriage pro- posal, but to go to high school and get a diploma?
With an extraordinary access and seldom seen intimacy, we follow three young women on their journey of high stakes and self-discovery.
Director: Vesna Cudic Year: 2015 Country: Croatia Original title: Razred