April 2012 films
FRIDAY, APRIL 20
6:00 p.m. – Chasing Ice
United States (2012), 76 minutes. Rated: NR
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Excellence in Cinematography Award, 2012 Sundance Film Festival
“Visually breathtaking….” – Variety
In this stunningly beautiful documentary, filmmaker Jeff Orlowski follows National Geographic photographer-scientist James Balog – once a climate-change skeptic – as he brings to life the Extreme Ice Survey, a massive photography project utilising 30 cameras across three continents to gather visual evidence of the Earth’s melting glaciers. Chasing Ice tells the story of this visionary artist and his band of adventurers as they bequeath the magic of photography and the thrill of expedition to a new generation while capturing the most visible sign of climate change on the planet today. These hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and document ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at an alarming rate. Part adventure, part environmental activism, and full of gorgeous photography unlike anything seen before, Chasing Ice is a one-of-a-kind documentary that both celebrates the beauty of our world and raises important issues of what is happening to it.
8.15 p.m. – Under African Skies
United States (2012) 102 minutes. Rated: NR
Director: Joe Berlinger
(English, and Afrikaans and Zulu with English subtitles)
Official Selection, 2012 Sundance Film Festival
“A pure-bliss celebration of Paul Simon’s landmark album.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Paul Simon’s historic Graceland album sold millions of copies and united cultures, yet divided world opinion on the boundaries of art, politics, and commerce. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Graceland’s release, Simon returns to South Africa for a reunion concert that unearths the turbulent birth of the album. Despite its huge success as a popular fusion of American and African musical styles, Graceland spawned intense political crossfire. Simon was accused of breaking the United Nations’ cultural boycott of South Africa.Renowned filmmaker Joe Berlinger brilliantly intertwines both sides of a complex story as Simon revisits old ghosts and gains insights on his own musical journey. With the compelling perceptions of anti-apartheid activist Dali Tambo, as well as the remembrances of musicians including Ray Phiri, Hugh Masekela and Joseph Shabalala, Under African Skies is both a buoyant chronicle of unparalleled artistic achievement and a profound rumination on the role of the artist in society.
SATURDAY, APRIL 21
2:00 p.m. – The Island President
United States (2011), 101 minutes, Rated PG
Director: Jon Shenk
People’s Choice Award, 2011 Toronto International Film Festival
“A wonderful documentary … plays more like a thriller.”– Awards Daily
On February 7, 2012, Mohamed Nasheed resigned the presidency of the Maldives, an island group situated in the Indian Ocean, under threat of violence in a coup d’etat perpetrated by security forces loyal to the country’s former dictator. This is the story of his first year in office as he confronted a problem greater than any world leader has ever faced – the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. After bringing democracy to the Maldives after 30 years of despotic rule, Nasheed knew that a rise of three feet in sea level due to global warming would submerge the 1,200 islands of the Maldives. His year in office culminated in his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit, where the film provides a rare glimpse of the political horse-trading that goes on at such a top-level global assembly – including a last-ditch effort by Nasheed to craft an agreement, and save his country.
Haiti Village Health
Director: Robert Zuill
Bermuda-based physician Dr. Tiffany Keenan has opened a medical clinic in impoverished Haiti.
Robert Zuill and Dr. Keenan will attend the screening.
5:00 p.m. – Robert Mugabe – What Happened?
England / Zimbabwe / South Africa (2011), 80 minutes. Rated: PG
Director: Simon Bright
Nominated, Best Documentary, 2012 South African Academy Awards
“A must-see for anyone who cares about Africa.”– The South African
In parallel narratives Simon Bright tells the stories of Rhodesia’s transition to Zimbabwe and the personal journey of Robert Mugabe. Branded a terrorist, then knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, Mugabe was once viewed as a Western- oriented, sophisticated gentleman. The film tracks his Shakespearean rise and fall, speaking to his closest comrades and assembling an archive of southern African images to powerfully track each of the decades of Mugabe’s reign. The film dramatically illustrates his successful liberation and development of the country but also his ruthless and cunning retention of power at all costs, and Zimbabwe’s subsequent decline. Giving credit where it’s due, the film is an exploration of what happened to a promising African politician, revealing the behind-the-scenes jostling for power and Mugabe’s emergence as unquestionably one of history’s most canny, devious leaders.
7:00 p.m. – In The Hour Of Victory
Bermuda (2012), 80 minutes. Rated: PG
Director: Lucinda Spurling
Untouched for 50 years, a family finds a bundle of letters setting them on a journey into their past, and the rediscovery of a tragic love story amid the turmoil of World War II. Bermudian, Major Toby Smith lost his life at the battle of Overloon during the final Allied push for victory. This film weaves a haunting portrait etched in Toby’s own words through the letters he lovingly and dutifully wrote to his wife and five children as he agonised over loyalty to them and the war against the Nazis during four years of service abroad. This first-hand account uniquely re-captures the war-time era and its impact on a family, leaving a lasting legacy of what it means to serve one’s King and Country. Based on the book by Major Smith’s grandson, Jonathan Smith. Lucinda Spurling and Jonathan Smith will attend the screening.
9.15 p.m. – The Four-Year Plan
United Kingdom (2011), 96 minutes. Rated: R
Director: Mat Hodgson
Best Documentary, 2011 Marbella International Film Festival
“Superb … Briatore dominates the film like Tony Soprano…”– The Independent
In 2007, Queens Park Rangers Football Club, facing relegation and bankruptcy, was rescued by billionaires Flavio Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone, Lakshmi Mittal, and Amit Bhatia. Their vision: to take a community of reluctant fans, semi-talented players and a roster of ever-changing managers from the Championship to the Premiership – the most lucrative promotion in competitive football. The new owners, risking ridicule and commercial failure, allowed cameras unprecedented access to record the roller-coaster ride. Filmmaker Mat Hodgson observes and listens in – eavesdrops, even – recording meetings, telephone conversations, matches and private chats that reveal the turbulent and dramatic developments in four seasons of QPR. Witness one of modern football’s most extraordinary stories, as manager after manager is fired and the club’s fans grow increasingly impatient. But when Neil Warnock becomes manager it looks like the tide might be turning.
SUNDAY, APRIL 22
3:00 p.m. – First Position
United States (2011), 90 minutes. Rated:PG
Director: Bess Kargman
Audience Award, 2011 DOC NYC
“Touching … enormously satisfying … an inspiring human interest story.”– Variety
Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman’s award-winning documentary, First Position, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted young ballet stars of tomorrow.
5:00 p.m. – Mrs. Carey’s Concert
Australia (2011), 95 minute. Rated: PG
Directors: Bob Connolly, Sophie Raymond
Best Documentary, 2012 Australian Academy Awards
“Well worth every exhilarating minute.”– Sydney Morning Herald
At a Sydney girls’ school, music director Karen Carey prepares her young orchestra for a performance at the Opera House. Believing in the transformative power of music, Carey insists upon a classical repertoire. She sets a dauntingly high performance standard and requires the participation of every girl in the school. The difficulty lies in convincing the girls to care as much as she does. Teenage rebel Iris delights in identifying and exploiting her instructors’ weaknesses. Star pupil Emily is outwardly more compliant, taking on leadership duties and performing a stunning solo. Technically brilliant, she must overcome her shyness and restraint to achieve genuine greatness. This moving and inspirational film is about talent, courage, rebellion, passion – and coming of age. Ultimately, it is about what is possible when you strive rather than taking the easy way out.
7.15 p.m. – Semper Fi: Always Faithful
United States (2011), 76 minutes. Rated: PG13
Directors: Rachel Libert,Tony Hardmon
Shortlisted for Best Documentary, 2012 Academy Awards
“A profile in pure courage.” – Washington Post
For nearly 25 years, Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger lived and breathed the “Corps” and was responsible for indoctrinating thousands of new recruits with its motto Semper Fidelis or “Always Faithful.” When Jerry’s nine-year-old daughter Janey died of a rare type of leukemia, his world collapsed. Grief-stricken, he struggled for years to make sense of what happened. His search for answers led to the shocking discovery of a Marine Corps cover-up of one of the largest toxic water contamination incidents in U.S. history. His fight reveals a grave injustice at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune – the base where Bermuda Regiment soldiers have trained annually since 1981 – and a looming environmental crisis at military sites across the country. Director Rachel Libert and Master Sgt. Ensminger will attend the screening. Winner of six festival awards.
9.30 p.m. – Fightville
United States (2011), 85 minutes. Rated: 14A
Directors: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker
Official Selection, 2011 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
“Nothing short of incredible.” – Sound on Sight
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has grown from a controversial sideshow into a billion dollar enterprise promising fame and fortune for the men who emerge as champions. This exhilarating sports documentary tracks young hopefuls Dustin Poirier and Albert Stainback as they try to fight their way to MMA’s big leagues. Training at the Gladiators Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana under the watchful eye of trainer, resident philosopher and UFC fighter Tim Credeur, they travel the state taking on all comers presented to them by promoter Gil Guillory. The film is an intelligent treatment of a controversial subject, humanising and making sense of a sport that some think as brutal. There are plenty of fights for MMA enthusiasts – but, at its heart, this rousing and suspenseful film is about the value of hard work, the importance of dreams, and the challenge of finding meaning and purpose in adversity. Who has what it takes to be the best?