The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith – Bob Hercules
Bob Hercules (USA), The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith, Doc Feature – Peabody Award-winner Bob Hercules delivers a compelling doc featuring potent expert interviews, lush scenery and stunning reenactments. In the midst of today’s religious intolerance and extremism – this groundbreaking doc tells the amazing, little-known story of the origins this faith and the prophet who advocated for peace. In the mid-1800s, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike were awaiting the imminent arrival of a Divine Messenger. A Persian Prophet known as The Báb arrived and preached then-controversial ideas like the oneness of all, major religions as merely different sources of the same light, the path to peace and the empowerment of women – which spread like wildfire across the region. This new message presented a threat to religious and political leaders, resulting in relentless persecution of The Báb and His followers. Filmed in Spain, Israel and the U.K., The Gate transports viewers back to 1844 Persia – combining dramatic reenactments with interviews of renowned historians and religious scholars. It delivers artistic production, solid acting and exceptional technical delivery including lush cinematography, sound design and soundtrack. Narrated by Yaani King Mondschein (Mad Men, Saving Grace). (Aired on ABC)
The Lost Kings of Bioko – Oliver Goetzl
Oliver Goetzl (Germany), LOST KINGS OF BIOKO, Doc Feature – In terms of filming difficulty – wildlife docs could be named among the hardest to make. No CGI, no actors, nothing but unpredictability and often taking weeks in bizarre places to get even one shot. Goetzl and film partners Ivo Nörenberg and Justin Jay deliver exceptional work on Bioko. Informative with an amusing and entertaining script, stunning visuals, excellent sound design and a soundtrack that is alternatively poignant and playful. Bioko is an isolated island off the coast of Africa, covered by primeval rainforest and inhabited by a greater variety of species than nearly any other place on Earth. The ruler of this realm is one of the world’s least known primate species, the drill. Indigenous folklore tells us of a drill king who ruled the island’s forests, a place where drills still play a critical role in the health of this important biodiversity hotspot. This film explores the secret lives of drills and their mysterious island home as we follow a family group and a newborn who discovers this tropical paradise with all its challenges for the first time. Narrated by voice actor Colin Solman Producers: Gulo Film Productions for NDR Naturfilm / Doclights. Co-produced by NDR, WDR, ARTE, ORF, SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL, SVT.
Dianne Fukami (USA), Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story, Doc Feature – Emmy-nominated Fukami’s deft direction of the story of Norman Mineta – the son of immigrants incarcerated in a Japanese internment camp who became a 10-term Congressman and served in two cabinets. A poignant reminder about the importance diversity. Executive producer Oscar nominee Lawrence R. Hott. (Aired PBS)
Jonathan Blank (USA), Sex, Drugs & Bicycles, Doc Feature – Looks at Dutch social democracy and answers the question: is having month-long double paid vacations, no fear of homelessness and universal healthcare the nightmare we’ve been warned about? Blank creatively delivers meaningful commentary – a poignant and provocative romp through important social issues of our times – delivered in a spirited and imaginative style.
Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher (USA), Right to Harm, Doc Feature – Emmy-nominees Wechsler & Speichers’ exposé on the public health impact of factory farming in the USA, told through the eyes of residents in rural communities. When pushed to their limit, these disenfranchised citizens band together to demand justice from their legislators. Eye opening and disturbing with a fresh take on yet another atrocity of factory farming.
Tom Shepard and Jen Gilomen (USA), UNSETTLED: Seeking Refuge in America, Doc Feature – Well directed by award-winning director Shepard and produced by Emmy-nominated Gilomen – it follows the heartbreakingly challenging stories of LGBT refugees and from Africa and the Middle East as they flee persecution. Witnessing their different experiences it poignantly examines the systems in place to help them.
Debi Lang (USA), Cornerstone, Doc Feature– Well directed and inspiring with high photo journalistic standards – the moving story of Twesigye Jackson Kaguri and the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project. Nyaka uses a comprehensive and creative holistic approach to combat hunger, education, illness and poverty. With a focus on empowering girls and women as the hope for the future – this doc uplifts and portrays positive models.
Kerry David (USA), Breaking Their Silence: Women on the Frontline of the Poaching War, Doc Feature – The horrific world of wildlife trafficking and poaching is orchestrated by ruthless crime syndicates. David creatively spotlights the issue through dynamic women fighting on the front lines. They share their journeys giving insights into the physical and mental costs – risking all with fierce dedication despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
Malcolm Brabant and Trine Villemann (United Kingdom), Malcolm is a Little Unwell, Doc Feature – Constructed with real time footage of psychosis, it charts the descent into madness of Peabody Award-winning correspondent Brabant after a yellow fever vaccination. Painfully honest insight of the damage mental illness wreaks on victims and families – and nuanced arguments in the global debate about vaccine safety.
Danny Ben-Moshe (Australia), China’s Artful Dissident, Doc Feature – An exiled Chinese political artist uses his art to protest China’s human rights abuses. Traveling incognito around the globe he meets survivors and dissidents who share powerful first-hand testimonies of the horrific occurrences – all the while risking his life and that of his family members to bring this story to the world. A tense and impactful story of an artistic hero. (Aired ABC)
Bar Tyrmi and Dag Mykland, Hacienda Film (Norway), Code of Trust, Doc Feature – Explores how the Blockchain can change the way human beings trust one another. Not only between two individuals, but also in business and between institutions. Fusing fiction and documentary, this story follows a refugee of war forced to leave her home country and thrown into a society where this new technology reigns – raising important questions of human nature and our future.
Anthony Sarracco (Canada), Montecassino: The Indestructible Abbey, Doc Feature – The last living Italian-Canadian survivors tell the story of the Battle of Montecassino one of the most important military operations of WWII. A unique take on the subject of war from the perspective of the children who lived through it – recounting first hand the events and how they shaped their lives. With Italian professor and TV host Gianni Blasi.
Alexis Spradic (USA), The Last Harvest, Doc Short – A glimpse into the hopes, hardships and uncertain futures of family food growers in the U.S. and the critical labor shortage of harvesters. Workers are now facing a harsh reality of tightened immigration control and inefficient guest worker programs and no clear path to citizenship. An important perspective of the threats to the availability of fresh food and a thriving agricultural community. Alejandra Alcala, Francisco Alcala, Ed Kashi and Carolyn Goldman, Home Storytellers (USA), Hot Dogs on a Tricycle, Documentary Short
Alessandro Leonardi and Elena Horn (United Kingdom), Pizza, Democracy & the Little Prince, Documentary Short
Andrea Trivero (Italy), THE MAN OF THE TREES, Documentary Short
Caglar Malli (Turkey), The Final Hour, Documentary Feature
Caroline Cory (USA), SUPERHUMAN: The Invisible Made Visible, Documentary Feature
Cheryl Allison (USA), Shatter the Silence, Documentary Feature
Conrad Weaver (USA), Heroin’s Grip, Documentary Feature
Cory Trépanier (Canada), INTO THE ARCTIC: AWAKENING, Documentary Feature
David Swift and Scott Owen (USA), Beers of Joy, Documentary Feature
Debi Lang (USA), PATHBREAKERS, Documentary Short
Jasvir Kaur Rababan, Raj Academy (United Kingdom), Sikh Musical Heritage – The Untold Story, Documentary Feature
Katie Teague (USA), RE:MEMBER, Documentary Feature
Louie Schwartzberg (USA), Fantastic Fungi, Documentary Feature
Lucía Valverde (Spain), Behind the threads / Detrás de los hilos, Documentary Short
Marcos Negrao (Canada), Child of Nature, Documentary Feature
Maxim Privezentsev (Russia), The Scottish Wind of Lermontov, Documentary Feature
Nathan Beer (USA), The Bounty for Basura, Documentary Short
Pablo Miralles (USA), Can We All Get Along? The Segregation of John Muir High School, Documentary Feature
Peter Hutchison (USA), Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation, Documentary Feature
Tom Shepard and Jen Gilomen (USA), UNSETTLED: Seeking Refuge in America, LGBT
Vera Hong (Australia), No Distance Between Us, Documentary Short
Vladimir Miketa (Croatia), It is not too late, Documentary Short