Two talented sisters Nastia (13) and Polina (7) study in the most prestigious Academy of Russian ballet after being selected from 5500 kids. Acclaimed director Victor Kossakovsky portraits the tender and trustful relationship of the sisters, who share one big dream: to become a soloist ballet dancer. They are fully devoted to their 6 hours daily training at the Academy.
2015, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, 25 min
Director: Victor Kossakovsky
Producers: Tone Grøttjord-Glenne, Anita Rehoff Larsen
Alina has never been to children holiday camp. On the arrival day she is crying and later at night staying in the empty room while others are having fun at the party. But her frustration has gone after several days, and she is already marching with others and singing songs. Polina has also come to the camp recently, but she hasn't joined the group. She is on her own and lives in the world of fantasies. Two girls share the same room, sleep on beds side by side, but only noticed each other while making paper stars for the contest.
2016, Russia, 41 min
Director: Inna Omelchenko
Producer: Marina Razbezhkina
First-time filmmaker Bing Liu’s documentary Minding the Gap is a coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown hit hard by decades of recession. In his quest to understand why he and his friends all ran away from home when they were younger, Bing follows 23-year-old Zack as he becomes a father and 17-year- old Keire as he gets his first job. As the film unfolds, Bing is thrust into the middle of Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend and Keire’s inner struggles with racial identity and his deceased father. While navigating a complex relationship between his camera and his friends, Bing explores the gap between fathers and sons.
2018, USA, 98 min
Director: Bing Liu
Producers: Diane Quon, Bing Liu
“Ada for Mayor” follows Ada Colau for one year, from her time spent organizing the anti-eviction fight in Barcelona to the day she is sworn-in as its mayor. The intimate chronicle - featuring Colau’s own video diary - and privileged access to the inner-workings of a new citizen platform reveal an extraordinary journey in which two prevalent themes are united: a historic victory illustrative of the political changes taking place in southern Europe, and the inner struggle of someone who fears becoming what she has so often questioned.
2016, Spain, 86 min
Director: Pau Faus
Producer: Ventura Durall
Petr Pavlensky, artist and activist, is in the vanguard of forging social change in Russia. Through an array of courageous performances, he acts as society’s conscience in the face of an increasingly totalitarian state. From lying naked in a coil of barbed wire, to nailing his scrotum to the floor of Red Square, his acts of defiance aim to spark debate and catalyse reform. This doc follows his mission to challenge the state. “We want freedom! We want freedom!” With this as their chant, an angry crowd decries the regime's increasing intolerance of political dissent. It is in this climate of governmental oppression and public protest that artist Petr Pavlensky stages his forceful acts of defiance against a series of crackdowns on liberty.
2016, Latvia, Russia, 71 min
Director: Darya Khrenova
Producers: Guntis Trekteris, Darya Khrenova, Vlad Ketkovich, Alexandra Zhukova
“Animals and Other People” introduces viewers to Vienna’s animal shelter and its inhabitants. The encounters between human and animal and the individual stories and peculiarities are affectionate, sometimes sad, and then again, strange. A tender gaze at the nature of the animals and a critical look at human irresponsibility.
2017, Austria, 88 min
Director: Flavio Marchetti
Producers: Flavio Marchetti, Katharina Mückstein,
Michael Schindegger, Natalie Schwager
How could one woman steal $53 million without anyone noticing? As city comptroller of Dixon, IL, Rita Crundwell stole $53 million of public funds across 20 years – making her the perpetrator of the largest case of municipal fraud in American history. She used the funds to build one of the nation's leading quarter horse breeding empires, all while forcing staff cuts, police budget slashing, and neglect of public infrastructure. “All the Queen’s Horses” investigates her crime, her lavish lifestyle and the small town she left in her wake.
2017, USA, 70 min
Director: Kelly Richmond Pope
Producers: Kelly Richmond Pope
“My little son, it's me, your father…” The narrator tries to communicate with his unborn son and takes off on a journey were you see faces of apparitions of those outcasts, who find their solace of living only in the shadows; outside, but beside, the political and economical system; system that kills the individual and creates masses instead. These outcasts are bums, cripples, madmen, lunatics. They, in the eyes of the narrator, are the only ones that know what it means to be human. They are not corrupt by the masses or the system; they are so overwhelmed by their madness or dreams, that they have lost the relationship with the world. They live in a world of their own, thus enabling freedom from the system. What they do, is wait. They quietly wait for the day the kingdom of God will descend upon earth.
1994, Republic of Moldova, Russia, 140 min
Director: Artur Aristakisian
Producer: Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography
100 Risings focuses on the cultural space shared by Moldova and Romania, two countries that recently witnessed a flux of contemporary music inspired by folk music. This documentary is a music anthropology journey. It aims to explore our genuine folk through the eyes of a musician from a completely different cultural background, Stefan Haslebacher (Sha) - Switzerland, who will try to discover the authenticity of this cultural space by experiencing the daily routine in Moldova and Romania, interacting and jamming with our greatest musicians and by travelling through our beautiful landscape - including a legendary place at the border between Romania and Moldova named “100 Risings”, a destination left unknown even for many local people.
2016, Republic of Moldova, 60 min
Director: Max T. Ciorbă
Producer: Lidia Scarlat
Most of the people know Oxana, a trans woman from Chisinau, as a man. Fearing complete rejection from society, she is forced to lead a double life. When her cross-dressing friend was invited to DJ at a local queer party, Oxana decided to attend the event for the first time.
2018, Germany, Romania, Republic of Moldova, France, 17 min
Directors: Ion Gnatiuc, Artiom Zavadovsky
Producer: Raisa Răzmeriță
A portrait of a surgeon who got tired of Swedish bureaucracy and moved to Ethiopia. In a small field hospital, with limited resources, he uses anything at hand to help the patients. This film is an intimate portrait of him and his wife Sennait. After serving 30 years in a Swedish hospital Dr Erichsen was fed up with all the bureaucracy and administration. He decided to move someplace where he could make a difference and do what he loves the most - to operate. In Ethiopia, where there are only 3 doctors on every 100,000 inhabitants, Dr Erichsen and his wife Sennait work at a small field hospital in Aira. Resources are extremely limited so he is forced to operate using what is at hand, like a cheap power drill from the local supermarket, hose clamps, bicykle spokes and fishing line instead of suture thread. When Erik and Sennait think about Sweden they don’t always feel things are better at home: - The mental misery in Sweden is bigger than the material misery in Ethiopia. We can learn a lot from this culture, says Erik Erichsen.
2017, Sweden, 52 min
Director: Erik Gandini
Producers: Juan Pablo Libossart, Erik Gandini
Roghieh, a woman in Southern Iran, is trying to secure jobs for over 800 women in her community through a Bazaar she established and runs, but she continues to receive threats from the mayor. He wants to destroy the Bazaar and build a big shopping mall.
2016, France, Iran, Norway, Lebanon, 54 min
Director: Mina Keshavarz
Producer: Mina Keshavarz
In Cochabamba, Bolivia, the children “swim” excitedly in huge piles of coca leaves, like the Ball Room in a McDonald’s play area. Mediums tell fortunes by reading the leaves. When they grow older, the children help harvest the coca plants. The relationship between the coca plant and cocaine is akin to grapes and wine. While growing a certain amount of coca leaves is legal, making, taking or transporting cocaine isn’t. Amid this conundrum, teenagers may be paid $100 to transport cocaine, risking arrest and years in the notorious San Sebastian Prison. This is the life on display in Cocaine Prison, where the boundaries of legality are blurred, in a country where the coca crop by-product all but props up a “grey market” economy. Needing to pay lip service to the U.S. War on Drugs, the Bolivian government enforces drug laws, which allows it to charge powerless drug workers while often turning a blind eye to powerful “big fish.” As a result, half of all prison inmates in Bolivia are in for minor drug offences. In her film Indigenous filmmaker Violeta Ayala puts a human face – three of them in fact – on the vicious circle of life in and outside the notorious San Sebastian Prison. “Cocaine Prison” follows Daisy, a teenager who struggles to escape the lure to traffic cocaine, her brother Hernan arrested with two kilos of cocaine near the Argentinian border and his best friend Mario, a cocaine worker fighting for freedom.
2017, Australia, Bolivia, USA, France, 76 min
Director: Violeta Ayala
Producers: Violeta Ayala, Dan Fallshaw, Redelia Shaw
The latest trend among the Russian oligarchs is to purchase works of art, a way to get into the Kremlin's good graces, to gild their image... and to cover up the origine of their fortunes, often acquired in the shadow of post-soviet power. Following these new amateurs in the footprints of the well-known collectors of the early twentieth century, the film gives an unprecedented image of Russia, where art, easy money and an authoritarian state coexist.
2017, France, 52 min
Director: Tania Rakhmanova
Producers: Juliette Guinon, Patrick Winocour
When having a relationship with a real human being is too hard, where do you turn? Silicone Soul explores the emotional connection some men and women have to their synthetic companions and what that means for the future of human relationships. Ultimately, this is a film about love, loneliness, secrets and, perhaps, acceptance. Who are we to judge who...or what...people choose to love?
2018, USA, 71 min
Director: Melody Gilbert
Producers: Melody Gilbert, Dumitrița Pacicovschi
“Chişinău, a City Difficult to Pronounce” is Pavel Brăila’s running project for 2011, inspired by Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 film Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis. Brăila’s project is following the life of the city throughout one year, at the end of which he is editing the footage as one day, no narrative, no commentary, just the documentary material with the real sound. The constantly changing appearance of his city as well as the lack in the national archives of the country of any recorded visual material documenting these changes from the past 20 years determined the artist to embark on this memory project, which is at the same time an urban diary and a historical and anthropological filmic essay. More than the formal cinematic experience created by the different rhythms of the city, and in a multi-perspectival shift offered by the triptych presentation, the project constitutes itself in a document which allows the viewer not only to follow the city’s idiosyncrasies but also to become a witness of its irreversible transformation. Turning spectators into witnesses is a concern shared lately by performative and visual arts, and Pavel Brăila has a longstanding interest for and practice of both of them. His project is thus a chronicle of a present rapidly becoming history, with its public as the only – diffuse – keepers of a memory soon to be erased.
2010, Republic of Moldova, 57 min
Director: Pavel Brăila
Producer: Pavel Brăila
The emergence of Russian capitalism following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 allowed oligarchs – businesspeople with political power – to make money by the bucket-load. They bought up state property on the cheap, built mansions and flew around in private jets. Competitors were soon eager to dethrone them, and used any means they had at their disposal. Now, these so-called “raiders” are in power themselves, forming an organized criminal group of politicians, former KGB members, judges and lawyers – and the gangs of thugs brought in to help them. With the help of the “right” connections and using blackmail, threats and worse, they seize ownership of buildings and profitable businesses. What’s more, they do it all in broad daylight. This revealing documentary features several of the raiders’ victims, such as the founder of a thriving chain of cell phone stores who fled to London, the former owner of a succesful restaurant, artists who were nearly driven from their building and an American who until recently was a successful investor in Russia. The interviews are punctuated with shocking footage from eyewitnesses to violent raids. How exactly do these hostile takeovers take place, and what can be done about these criminal figures and their goon squads with their close connections to the Kremlin?
2014, Israel, Germany, 82 min
Director: Alexander Gentelev
Producers: Simone Baumann, Sasha Klein
In “Baronesa”, two friends, Leid and Andreia, navigate perilous daily grind: Leid raises small children while her husband is in jail, and Andreia dreams of moving to a safer neighborhood, “Baronesa”, while she earns her living as a beauty stylist to the poor. Juliana Antunes, along with her all-women crew, spent five years embedded in the shantytown of Belo Horizonte, often living and sleeping in the same house as the women she filmed. Baronesa’s artistic economy runs deep, conjuring up maximum magic on a shoestring budget, and never forgetting the grit of its subject. This is in large part to Antunes’s strong sense of storytelling, and to brilliant editing and Fernanda de Sena’s intimate cinematography, who bolsters the film’s depiction of the women’s love being as precious, but also as rough, as their lives.
2017, Brazil, 70 min
Director: Juliana Antunes
Producers: Juliana Antunes, Marcella Jacques, Laura Godoy
As society's belief systems are seemingly changing or even reverting in time, one Ohio Tattoo artist Billy Joe White is challenging his community by saying, "bring me your mistakes". Inspired by recent events, Billy Joe White and his Red Rose Tattoo Studio are promoting one simple concept...ERASE THE HATE. Beneath the Ink is a timely look at hate and racism in the western foothills of this Appalachian region that reveals heartfelt stories of change and redemption.
2018, USA, 13 min
Director: Cy Dodson
Producers: Cy Dodson, Torin Scott
In order to escape a life of poverty Mona and Georgiana come to Bucharest and get into the erotic chat industry. Both girls make life changing decisions in order to pursue their goals but the live chat industry left its mark on both of their lives.
2017, Romania, 53 min
Director: Mihai Gavril Dragolea
Producers: Tudor Giurgiu, Radu Mocanu
A Moldovan, a Transnistrian and a Russian soldier are standing guard at the riverbank. Not a particularly dramatic situation – more a sort of “Waiting for Godot”. The procedure poses some puzzles. Where is the enemy? The documentary sets out in search of the “frozen conflict” between the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria. Starting from the observation at the trilateral post, the film zooms outward onto the political level. Contradictory and self-serving views of politicians have kept the conflict alive and condemned it, and the region as a whole, to a quasi-permanent stalemate of hearts and minds that reflects global East-West relations as much as the lived experiences of people on both banks of the Dniester. Intertwining big and small narratives, the film searches for basic patterns that keep the conflict alive and determine our thinking.
2018, Germany, Republic of Moldova, 60 min
Director: Steffi Wurster
Producer: Steffi Wurster
“And the Party Goes on and on” gives an unflinching look at the masquerade that takes place in Bulgaria. The former Soviet Republic has joined the European Union with the American Dream deeply ingrained into its psyche. The journeys of a star news anchor, a muscular bodyguard turned representative, a former secret service agent and an anti-communist dissident collide in an interwoven tragicomedy. With a sharp humor, director Gueorgui Balabanov reveals how fossilized systems are perpetuated. A tale eerily close to us.
2015, Bulgaria, France, 90 min
Director: Gueorgui Balabanov
Producer: Helene Badinter
From acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself), Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.
2017, USA, 88 min
Director: Steve James
Producers: Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman