Documentary films continue their surge to the front and centre of international festival exhibition as former Sydney Film Festival director Clare Stewart’s first edition of the London Film Festival includes a first-ever non-fiction competition section.
Presented in partnership with the doco-centric Grierson Trust, named in honor of pioneering Scottish documentary maker John Grierson (1898-1972), the dozen shortlisted feature-length documentaries include four world premieres. They are Sarah Gavron’s UK/Denmark/Greenland co-production Village at the End of the World, about a remote village in Northern Greenland that is home to 59 hearty souls; Greg Oliver’s look at the eventful life of British writer and poet Micky Burn MC, the British/French/German collaboration Turned Towards the Sun; Charlie Paul’s profile of artist Ralph Steadman, the UK production For No Good Reason; and Nick Ryan’s Irish/Swiss anatomy of a K2 mountaineering disaster, The Summit.
Sébastien Lifshitz’s French documentary on older gays and lesbians, Les Invisibles, makes its international premiere, whilst the four European premieres in the section encompass familiar titles: Amy Berg’s US production West of Memphis; Jay Bulger’s US/South African Beware of Mr. Baker; Alex Gibney’s US/Irish co-production Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God; and Shola Lynch’s American/French Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.
Rounding out the section are three UK premieres, The Central Park Five from Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns; Katja Gauriloff’s Canned Dreams from Finland; and Ulises Rosell’s Argentine presentation The Ethnographer.
The Grierson Award, says the festival, “recognises films with integrity, originality and social or cultural significance.” The 56th London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, will be held 10-21 October in an expanded number of cinemas in and around London. Ticketing information and procedures may be found here.
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