2007 DocFest Program Info

Posted by sfindie July 24, 2007 1192 views


A Skin Too Few

Jeroen Berkvens, 48m, US

“I always say that Nick was born with a skin too few”, tells actress Gabrielle about her brother, the English singer-songwriter Nick Drake (1948-1974). It took twenty posthumous years for his music to gain recognition and even proclaim him cult hero. The documentary A Skin Too Few approaches the silent landscapes, locations, people and music in the life of this unorthodox loner in the hope of understanding his state of mind. – SXSW (62)


A Walk Into The Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory

Esther Robinson, 78m, US

Virtually unknown today, Danny Williams shot more than 20 films at the Warhol Factory and designed the Velvet Underground’s groundbreaking light show before mysteriously disappearing in 1966. This intimate documentary unearths his films and explores his love and struggles with both Warhol and his legendarily dysfunctional Factory. (47) – Seattle

In 1965, promising young artist Danny Williams was living out his dreams. He quit Harvard to pursue filmmaking. He met and fell in love with Andy Warhol, and soon moved in with Warhol and his mother in their Fifth Avenue apartment. He became a central, though fleeting, figure in the Warhol Factory, and used the Factory’s Bolex camera to make about twenty extraordinary films. Yet, within a year everything fell apart. Warhol dumped Williams and relegated him to near-obscurity in the Factory scene. Soon, a recreational use of amphetamines took on more serious dimensions. One evening in 1966, while visiting family in the Northeast, Danny Williams got into his car and was never to be seen again.

Forty years later, the niece he never met—filmmaker Esther Robinson—uncovers a box of the never-before-seen 16mm films he made at the Factory. Looking for the truth behind her uncle’s mysterious and tragic disappearance, she reveals an extraordinary talent concealed behind his more discernible reputation as one of Warhol’s lovers.

This poignant and lyrical film gets beneath the facade of the Warhol mystique and reveals the cracks beneath the surface of the Warhol Empire. Artfully weaving contemporary interviews with Williams’ immediate family members and some of the Factory’s surviving members—Paul Morrissey, Brigid Berlin, Billy Name and Gerard Melanga—with footage from her uncle’s films, including what may be the earliest known footage of the Velvet Underground, the film presents a deeply touching and at times disturbing portrait of an extraordinary talent nearly lost forever.

-Sky Sitney (255)


American Scary

John Hudgens, 91m, US

American Scary is a look at the nation’s tradition of horror hosting, from Zacherley to A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Follow this American folk art form from its glamorous beginnings, through repeated waves of popularity, to its scrappy resurgence and survival in the age of cable access and the Internet. (48)

American Scary is a look at the nation’s tradition of horror hosting, from Zacherley to A. Ghastlee Ghoul. With interviews from major hosts from the 1950s to the present day, along with memories from celebrities and fans who were influenced by these hosts, you’ll follow this American folk art form from its glamorous beginnings, through repeated waves of popularity, to its scrappy resurgence and survival in the age of cable access and the Internet.

American Scary looks to remind people how much fun local TV could be – and maybe could be again. (93)



Audience of One

Michael Jacobs, 88m, US

Many filmmakers claim to have been “called” to their work, but few suggest that they received a “prophetic whisper” directly from God. Richard Gazowsky, longstanding pastor of the Voice of the Pentecost Church in San Francisco, believes just that. He convinces his faithful congregation that despite his never having made a film before—in fact, despite his never having even seen a film before the age of forty—they should invest in his 50-milliondollar venture to make GRAVITY: THE SHADOW OF JOSEPH, a religious sci-fi epic which he describes as “Star Wars meets The Ten Commandments.” With ambitions of, well, biblical proportions, Gazowsky sets up Christian WYSIWYG Productions (an acronym for “what you see is what you get”) and sets off to a production site in Italy with his family and the closest members of his congregation, who take shifts as spiritual supporters and lead actors. Equipped with all the accoutrements of a major epic—70mm camera, state-of-theart equipment, even the requisite German cinematographer—but none of the experience, Gazowsky and his film crew/congregation soon learn that even divine inspiration is not enough to overcome an increasingly mounting budget, overbearing extras, and technical snafus. Filmmaker Michael Jacobs presents a rollicking journey through the unlikely union of two religions—Christianity and filmmaking—and presents a subject who is not merely inspired, but inspiring in his refusal to give up. The film raises the question of how different Gazowsky’s passion is to that of any other passionate artist. And doesn’t all filmmaking require some leap of faith? – -Sky Sitney (255) Award Winning Doc at SilverDocs


SF Blues Fest Films

9/28 – 9/29, 915p

Every Beat of My Heart: The Johnny Otis Story

Dir: Bruce Schmiechen


The Blues According to Lightning Hopkins

Dir: Les Blank

9/30 – Oct 1, 915p

Sacred Steel

Dir: Robert Stone

Pedal steel guitar in the House of God


A Well Spent Life

Dir: Les Blank

The story of Texas bluesman Mance Lipscombe


Breaking Ranks

Michelle Mason, 56m, Canada, US Premiere

Breaking Ranks examines the current phenomena of US soldiers seeking refuge in Canada as part of their resistance to the war effort in Iraq. The film combines the gripping personal stories of young soldiers with political, cultural and historical analysis of the issues their actions raise for Canadians and the world. (51)


The Call of the Wild

Ron Lamothe, 100m, US, West Coast Premiere

‘The Call of the Wild’ retraces the travels of Chris McCandless, a 24-year-old “aesthetic voyager” who died in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. Over the course of his journey, filmmaker Ron Lamothe encounters an entire cast of McCandless-inspired characters, and uncovers new evidence that contradicts Jon Krakauer’s (‘Into the Wild’) interpretation of McCandless’s death. (54)

An experiment in reflexive direct cinema, this film retraces the travels of Chris McCandless, a 24-year-old ‘aesthetic voyager’ who starved to death in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. Over the course of his journey, through thirty U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and Mexico, filmmaker Ron Lamothe encounters an entire cast of McCandless-inspired characters–some who knew Chris, some who didn’t. He also keeps running into Sean Penn, who’s making a Hollywood version of the McCandless story at the same time this documentary is being shot. In Alaska, the film uncovers never-before-seen evidence that sheds new light on the case, and directly contradicts best-selling author Jon Krakauer’s (‘Into the Wild’) interpretation of McCandless’s death. (113)


Cowboys & Communists

Jessica Feast, 64m, New Zealand, US Premiere

The lives of a cowboy and a communist collide when brash American Wally Potts opens his late night burlesque burger bar, ‘White Trash Fast Food’ in the bottom floor of an East Berlin apartment block where Horst Woitalla has lived since the Communist era.

Horst lost everything with the fall of the Berlin Wall and now he is determined to take back some of his power and close down ‘White Trash Fast Food’. Wally meanwhile vies to defend his new found freedom any way he can.

Cowboys and Communists is the story of two clashing political systems, the reality of life behind the Berlin Wall, the collapse and aftermath of Communism, the tragedy of Bush’s America and the difference between Sauerkraut and cheeseburgers. (123)


Eat at Bill’s – Life in the Monterey Market

Lisa Brenneis, 67m, US
Eat at Bill’s: Life in the Monterey Market is a video documentary about the phenomenon that is the Monterey Market, a family owned produce market in Berkeley, CA. The focus is on Bill Fujimoto, the market’s owner. Bill’s enthusiasm and experience fuel the enterprise and illuminate the Market’s wide world of small growers and diverse customers. A homemade valentine to small enterprises everywhere. (63)

Eat at Bill’s: Life in the Monterey Market is a video documentary about the phenomenon that is the Monterey Market, a family owned produce market in Berkeley, CA. The focus is on Bill Fujimoto, the market’s owner.

Bill’s enthusiasm and experience fuel the enterprise and illuminate the Market’s wide world of small growers and diverse customers, which include a small army of well known chefs and food thinkers such as Alice Waters and Michael Pollan. This single store supports many dozens of small (and formerly small) farms.

This movie is a celebration of the Monterey Market’s diverse network of customers and suppliers, and a valentine to small enterprises everywhere. (109)


El Mechanico Loco

Chad Jackson, 94m, US, West Coast Premiere

The story of a punk an the American dream. Jeff Milburn is a tatooed up punk rock guy who builds hot rods, runs his own race team, idolizes General Patton and used to race motorcross… until he broke his back in a crash and was told he’d never walk again. There’s nothing he’d rather do than prove the world wrong. Watch him and the people he loves refuse to quit on their dreams. Tattoos, cars and rock & roll. Featuring Oliver peck and Kat Von D of Elm Street Tattoos and Jim ‘The Reverend Horton Heat’ Heath. (97)


Extraordinary Measures

Travis Sutton, 60m, US, World Premiere

A family shares their experience of caring for a son and brother with rare birth defects and how those challenges, fears, and experiences relate with an unexpected health crisis with their father. (32)

Tom and Laraine Sutton managed their home of six young boys despite typical challenges of arguments and personality clashes.

Laraine discovered she was pregnant with a seventh child, which led to a birth unlike any of her previous children. Their seventh son, Thad, was born with a neurological handicap. A large section of his skull was missing, which severely deformed his brain and head.

Things changed significantly for the family. Heightened attention from the public, life-threatening seizures, and day-to-day inconveniences impacted the older brothers in various ways. Thad continued to grow and appear healthy. Tom and Laraine had three more children, two of whom were girls, completing the family with a total of ten kids.

The years would go by and Thad would always be there and need care. Tom and Laraine assumed they would take care of him forever; however, one Friday night, Laraine received a phone call that Tom collapsed into cardiac arrest.

The ten children, now grown and living throughout the country, returned home with fears and concern for their father. It would be confirmed that Tom suffered severe brain injuries from his oxygen deprivation during the arrest. His recovery level would be uncertain.

In this time, Tom’s family drew upon their experiences with Thad — the communications, the songs, and the love — in attempt to reach their father and ease their fears for the years ahead. (231)


Flesh & Blood

Larry Silverman, 65m, US, West Coast Premiere

Flesh and Blood is the story of American underground artist and cult figure Steve Haworth who spawned a subculture fixated on his inventions of extreme forms of body modification. It is an unflinching glimpse into a mysterious world he helped to create, and the obsessed people who inhabit it. The film was shot over a 5 year period and covers 15 years of Haworth’s evolution as an artist. (68)

Flesh and Blood is the story of American underground artist and cult figure Steve Haworth who spawned a subculture fixated on his invention of an extreme form of body modification. People who’ve become bored with traditional tattoos and piercings, flock to his Phoenix, Arizona home from around the world for freakish surgical procedures that for instance allow them to screw and unscrew stainless steel objects into their bodies. Flesh and Blood is an unflinching glimpse into a mysterious world he helped to create, and the obsessed people who inhabit it. Some come for the pain, some for the sexual charge, some just to be different. And eventually, one pretty 18 year-old girl gets in way over her head. (118)


Free Spirits

Bruce Geisler, 99m, US

The amazing 20-year odyssey of the Renaissance Community, one of the largest and most controversial new-age communes, and its charismatic, ill-fated leader Michael Metelica Rapunzel. (25)

Beginning with high school/Hell’s Angels dropout/spiritual visionary Michael Metelica and eight friends in a treehouse in 1968, the Renaissance Community grew into the largest, most controversial New-Age commune of its era.

At its peak, it boasted 400 residents, its own airplane, national rock band, and a million dollar yearly income.

The commune’s story, both humorous and tragic, and that of the rise and fall of founder, Michael Metelica, reflected a generation. It survived the intense hostility of the world around it – governmental attempts to throw them off their land, the burning of communal buildings, and the brutal murder of a commune member – only to fail because of internal forces, not least of which sprung from the negative changes in Metelica himself. (123)


Ghosts and Numbers

Alan Klima, 92m, Thailand/US, World Premiere

Haunted trees, possessed cellphones, ghost stories, childhood memories, eerie half-built high rises and other wreckage from the Asian financial crash set the mood for this hallucinatory documentary on the Thai National Lottery. (32)

The Thai lottery is definitely haunted. But it is not certain whether it haunted by ghosts or machines. In this poetic documentary, farmers from the depressed countryside roam the Kingdom of Thailand selling lottery tickets, amidst the half-built and abandoned buildings of the Asian financial crash, the alleys of Bangkok, the spirit halls of the countryside, and in the haunting imaginary of the neoliberal dreamworld. The government threatens to switch to a digital lottery that will shut them out, a predicament of outsourcing that many of us face—but only some will find a response in the spirit world. (99)


Golden Days

Chris Suchorsky, 95m, US, West Coast Premiere

A struggling indie rock band signs a major record deal only to have their album and their career nearly destroyed by the people who signed them. (26)

In 2001, Alex Dezen asked a couple friends to record a few songs with him. Shortly thereafter they would form the rock band THE DAMNWELLS. Two years later they had toured the country, opened for rock legends, and had a song featured in a major motion picture. By 2004, they had signed a major record deal with EPIC Records.

In March of 2005, THE DAMNWELLS went into the studio to record their first professional album. They immersed themselves in preproduction, recording, and mixing. But as months passed, their release date was moved further and further away. In January 2006, Alex received a call they never expected. The band was being released from their contract and the fate of the album and their career was unknown. (125)


Hell On Wheels

Bob Ray, 90m, US, West Coast Premiere

Hell on Wheels is a from-the-trenches look at the dizzying clash of athleticism, exhibitionism, egos, politics and business that is modern-era roller derby. From the beginning, these hard-hitting Texas women confront myriad obstacles in reviving the sport, only to find internal strife ripping the fledgling league apart. (47)

Hell on Wheels takes a from-the-trenches look at the dizzying clash of athleticism, exhibitionism, egos, politics and business that is modern-era roller derby. A group of hard-hitting Texas women overcome myriad obstacles in resurrecting and revamping the sport, only to find internal strife ripping the fledgling organization apart. Two leagues emerge from the clash, and what follows ignites an international roller derby revival. (63)


If You Succeed

Augusta Palmer, 55m, US, West Coast Premiere

If You Succeed follows young Brooklyn entrepreneurs Christian Dennery and Dolores Lagdameo as they struggle to open a new business and save their failing marriage. Will their calculated risk build a business empire or destroy their family? Pursuing “success,” Christian and Dolores find out what’s most important to them. (49)

If You Succeed follows black restaurateur Christian Dennery and his estranged wife, Filipina-American dancer Dolores Lagdameo, as they risk everything to open a new bistro called Bodegas on a troubled Brooklyn block. They raise and run out of money, survive construction nightmares, and finally succeed in both opening Bodegas and saving their failing marriage. But opening Bodegas is far from the end of the story. Bad seeds planted with shady investors bring their businesses tumbling down, and they wonder what “success” really means. If You Succeed is a suspenseful tale about balancing love, work, family and dreams, but it also embodies a story being played out across the U.S., as the number of small businesses sky-rockets despite the personal and financial risks for entrepreneurs. (124)


Living Goddess

Ishbel Whitaker, 87m, UK, West Coast Premiere

Set amidst the rich local colors and striking architecture of Nepali dwellings and temples, LIVING GODDESS transports us deeply into a world of rituals, omens and unwavering faith. In the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, three virgin girls are worshipped as goddesses in the Hindu-Buddhist tradition. The youngest goddess, Sajani, lives in the city of Bhaktapur, where she is venerated by the people. When she is not the elaborately adorned centerpiece of religious rituals and festivals, many of which include animal sacrifices, Sajani is a normal little girl who enjoys playing games and having tea parties with her friends.

The political climate of Nepal is a sharp contrast to the peaceful worship of these young deities. A decade-long civil war has seen 12,000 people killed and provokes violent protests between Maoists and the police. An ancient prophecy unfolds as the king hands power back to the people in 2006. The living goddesses observe a conflict that threatens their secluded world of devotion— throughout history, the Nepalese kings have used them to legitimize their rule. As Sajani’s father reveals, “Peace won’t come without democracy… But if a republic comes the religion may no longer exist.” With a powerful musical score and beautiful cinematography, LIVING GODDESS is an intimate look at a spiritual world at a crossroads.

-Helena Robinson Fuisz (217)



Noelle Stout, 55m, US, World Premiere

Luchando offers a first-ever look at Cuba’s gay sex trade through the lives of four unforgettable hustlers who set out to resolve their touching, and at-times humorous, predicaments in Havana’s gay underground. (32)

Luchando chronicles the lives of four Cuban hustlers—two hyper-heterosexual men, a lesbian rapper, and a transgender woman—who each set out to resolve their touching, and at-times humorous, predicaments in Havana’s gay underground. Shot illegally over the course of sixteen months in Havana, the film reveals the realities of late-socialist Cuba, a nation torn between the ideals of socialist equality and a growing gap between rich and poor. Luchando artfully combines cinema verité footage, informal interviews, and location sound to offer an intimate window into a growing community of sex workers. The title “Luchando,” has historically meant the fight for the Cuban revolution, but toady, sex workers use the term to refer to their new struggle—having sex for survival. (121)


Manufacturing Dissent

Debbie Melnyk/Rick Caine, 96m, Canada/Australia

Manufacturing Dissent seeks to separate fact, fiction and legend tracks Michael Moore on tour during the release of the explosive Fahrenheit 911(and the subsequent Slacker Uprising Tour and 2004 US election), all the while chronicling the politically supercharged climate in America that has fueled Moore’s transition from mere filmmaker to icon of the political left.-SXSW (55)

Michael Moore, world famous muckraker and flag bearer for the documentary renaissance, has the camera turned on him in this revelatory critical biography by Canadian filmmakers Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine. They follow Moore on the cusp of the release of Fahrenheit 9/11, the subsequent Slacker Uprising Tour and the 2004 US election. But even as they doggedly pursue an elusive interview with Moore (sound familiar?), the filmmakers find many former associates and subjects willing to talk. Some of the findings are quite shocking, calling into question not only Moore’s practice as a documentarian, but also the effectiveness of his self-centred approach to political filmmaking. Seeking to separate the fact, fiction and legend that surrounds Moore, Melnyk and Caine ultimately offer a balanced portrait and an effective starting point for further discussion of Moore’s contentious work and political filmmaking in general. –HotDocs (142)


New Urban Cowboy: The Labors of Michael E. Arth

Michael Arth & Blake Wiers, 100m, US, World Premiere

Michael E. Arth, an artist and home & urban designer, sets out to save the world, one town at a time. Armed with nothing more than nail guns and determination, this documentary shows what one person can do. (38)

Michael E. Arth is an artist, home & urban designer, and founder of New Pedestrianism, a more idealistic version of New Urbanism. He writes a book on how to fix the problems of the world and then realizes that he needs to climb down from his ivory tower to make his points. He drags his pregnant wife from their comfortable Santa Barbara home to a dangerous crack slum in DeLand, FL. With money from 20 private investors, and armed with nothing more than nail guns and determination, he transforms the neighborhood and wins acclaim from the previously skeptical citizenry. He then goes on to design new towns. Shot in HD, complimented with graphic archival footage, this documentary answers the question, ‘What can one person do?’ (125)


Nico Icon

Susanne Ofteringer, 67m, US

A striking and harrowing documentary about fame, drugs, pop culture, and celebrity, Nico Icon casts a harsh light on the underground world of pop art and music in the 1960s and 1970s through the prism of a girl who lived too hard and died too young. The German-born Nico is presented as someone who never fit in, no matter what she was doing, from her career as a fashion model in the 1950s (including an appearance in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita) to her tenure in the 1960s as one of the cast of characters in artist Andy Warhol’s “Factory” to her stint as a backup singer for Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. (114)


Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa

Jeremy Stulberg, 65m, US, West Coast Premiere

Twenty-Five miles from town, a million miles from mainstream society, a loose-knit community of radicals live in the desert, struggling to survive with little food, less water and no electricity, as they cling to their unique vision of the American dream. (41)


Look out the window while you’re driving through the Southwest. You’ll see stark beauty, but you won’t see the underground community living in the distance.

The Mesa has no electricity, running water, or police. It draws a cross-section of Americans from veterans to old hippies and teenage runaways. They all live on the fringe in “the last part of America that is truly free.”

Anti-establishment beliefs are tested when rebel runaways called “the nowhere kids” begin to steal from other residents. Mesa elders form a council. This self-imposed government is exactly what they have come to the Mesa to escape. (100)


Orange Winter

Andrei Zagdansky, 72m, Ukraine/US, West Coast Premiere

They poisoned the opposition candidate. But he survived.

They exerted full control over the media. But one rebelled.

They stole the election. And streets erupted.

This is Orange Revolution.Kiev, Ukraine. (30)

In November 2004 the people of Kiev, Ukraine, took to the streets in thousands, protesting the official results of the Election Committee, after a rigged presidential election.

The traditionally silent, former Soviet republic erupted: protesting against the corrupted regime of the current president, his appointed ‘heir’ and pressure from neighboring Russia.

That was the beginning of the Orange Revolution.

Once again the eternal conflict between the powers and the people cast the dark threat of bloodshed upon the country.

The feature documentary essay chronicles these crucial days in the history of the country and reflects on the fate of the nation. (101)


The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

Faith Morgan, 53m, US

The collapse USSR was an economic disaster for Cuba. Oil and food imports were cut drastically and people were desperate. From hardships to creativity, from industrial to organic farming and urban gardens, Cuba, is an example of options and hope. (40)

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba’s economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cuban’s share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis which they call ‘The Special Period.’ The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope. (153)


Radiant City

Gary Burns, 86m, Canada, West Coast Premiere

Filmmaker Gary Burns pushes the boundaries of the documentary genre in unanticipated ways in this study of modern suburbia.

The suburbs – the dominant form of community planning in North America for over 50 years – come under the microscope in Radiant City.

Taking a close look at what some call ‘growth’ – and others call ‘sprawl’ – the documentary examines the allure and the bleak realities of the suburban model. Perspectives run the gamut from developers and cultural theorists to the residents themselves as we follow a typical suburban family through their daily life.

By turns critical and satirical, Burn’s Radiant City moves beyond its subject matter to become an oblique comment on the nature of documentary film. Also featured is an atmospheric soundtrack from Joey Santiago (The Pixies). –Melbourne Film Festival (126)

Something’s happening on the edge of town.

There’s a desperate housewife in the parking lot, a musical chorus line mowing the lawn – and a loaded gun in the upstairs closet.

Welcome to Radiant City, an entertaining and startling new film on 21st century suburbanites.

Gary Burns, Canada’s king of surreal comedy, joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing to the burbs. Venturing into territory both familiar and foreign, they turn the documentary genre inside out, crafting a vivid account of life in The Late Suburban Age.

Sprawl is eating the planet. Across the continent the landscape is being levelled – blasted clean of distinctive features and overlaid with zombie monoculture. Politicians call it growth. Developers call it business. The Moss family call it home.

While Evan Moss zones out in commuter traffic, Ann boils over in her dream kitchen and the kids play sinister games amidst the fresh foundations of monster houses.

A chorus of cultural prophets provide insight on the spectacle. James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere, rails against the brutalizing aesthetic of strip malls. Philosopher Joseph Heath fears the soul-eating burbs but admits they offer good value for money. And urban planner Beverly Sandalack dares to ask, Why can’t we walk anywhere anymore?

The dark era of resource scarcity is looming fast, threatening to strike suburbia “off the menu of history.” But like a juggernaut, it sails intractably forward, flattening all in its path.

Burns and Brown rummage through a toybox of cultural references, from Jane Jacobs to The Sopranos, to create a provocative reflection on why we live the way we do. Riffing off sitcoms and reality TV, they play fast and loose with a range of cinematic devices to consider what happens when cities get sick and mutate.

Cinematographer Patrick McLaughlin transforms drab suburbia into great painterly cloudscapes, mesmerizing rivers of traffic and eerie tableaux of dystopia while the soundtrack features songs from Joey Santiago of The Pixies.

Something’s happening on the edge of town. They call it Radiant City. Welcome to the neighbourhood. (342)


Sanctuary- Lisa Gerrard

Clive Collier, 90m, UK

Having achieved worldwide recognition with a Golden Globe award for her work with Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack for ‘Gladiator’, Lisa Gerrard’s life and work has influenced and touched many people. From her beginnings with the 1980’s group Dead Can Dance, through to her success as a Hollywood film composer and a solo artist, Lisa Gerrard’s powerful vocal and musical style has captivated fans and filmgoers alike for the past twenty years.

From her childhood amongst the multi-cultural sounds of 1960’s Melbourne, her musical influences range from her Celtic ancestry, native Australia, her years living and working in Europe through to the middle east. Treating her voice truly as an instrument, used alongside orchestration, playing the yang chin and cymbalon, she is able to create musical emotions, which are timeless and cross ethnic and spiritual divides.

Sanctuary’ contains music, performances, photographs and footage never seen or heard before including exclusive material due for release later in 2006. (157)

Music is a place to take refuge. It’s a sanctuary from mediocrity and bore-

dom. It’s innocent and it’s a place you can lose yourself in thoughts and

memories and intricacies’.

From her beginnings in Melbourne, Australia to the creation of the cult

band Dead Can Dance during the ’80s and her recent successes scoring

films, Lisa Gerrard’s voice and music draws the individual and collective

emotions of her audience to the surface.

As a child she decided she wanted to learn to sing. Her teacher told her

mother ‘I can’t train her voice, I don’t know where it’s coming from’. Lisa’s

voice is completely untrained. She can create sounds that if you didn’t

know who was singing you would be sure came from a different body. And

when she sings, you may not hear words you can understand but her lan-

guage is an expression of her very soul.

This is a well-produced intimate portrait of woman and the music she

creates. We are given insights and anecdotes from the people who have

worked with her such as Michael Mann, Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott and

long time Dead Can Dance collaborator, Brendan Perry. If you don’t know

Lisa Gerrard you will come away wanting to hear more. If you do know her

music you will be fascinated to meet the woman behind the sound. -Raindance (226)


Shakey’s Hill

Norman Lloyd, 60m, US

In 1970, one cameraman follows a battalion of American soldiers into the Cambodian jungle. His footage and interviews capture the taking of a substantial weapons/supplies cache used by the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. This operation was considered one of the most successful missions of American forces during the war. To those who were there, the climax of the operation became known as the taking of ‘Shakey’s Hill,’ named after the young soldier who lost his life discovering the cache. (82)



Taxi To The Dark Side

Alex Gibney, 106m, US, West Coast Premiere

This documentary murder mystery examines the death of an Afgan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by US soldiers. In an unflinching look at the Bush administration’s policy on torture, the filmmakers behind ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM takes us from a Village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House. (50)

Best Doc award at Tribeca



What Would Jesus Buy

Rob VanAlkemade, 90m, US, West Coast Premiere

No one has ever consumed as much as Americans today. And at no time do we consume more than at Christmastime. As the holiday shopping season grows longer, and the malls open earlier, we’re losing something we may never get back.Performance Activist Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping are on a mission to Save Christmas from the Shopocalypse. Backed by his Gospel Choir, the Reverend travels coast to coast to address the shopping addictions which afflict us. The Church saves souls through parking lot revivals, cash register exorcisms, and more; ultimately leading to the Reverend’s arrest on Christmas Day.Our exploration also includes informative visits from psychiatrists, politicians, kids and their overspent parents, and others, each helping to examine our holiday season and other conditions challenging Americans year-round. – SXSW (131)


Wiener Takes All: A Dogumentary

Shane MacDougall, 87m, Canada, US Premiere

‘Best in Show’ meets ‘Spellbound’ in this behind the scenes documentary about the surprisingly cut throat world of competitive wiener dogs. (21)

Welcome to the surprisingly cutthroat world of competitive wiener dogs, a world that boasts healthy dachshunds and rabid owners. Unleash the truth as we track America’s sexiest and fastest weenies on the professional dachshund circuit.

Crisscross the continent and get the inside scoop on what makes these champion dogs and their colorful owners tick as we visit dachshund races, field trials, hilarious “earthdog” competitions, and the Westminster dog show. Candid interviews with the world’s top showdog personalities give us a crash course in wiener dog politics, and a glimpse into the divisive controversies that have long dogged the dachshund community. (100)


wtf: an okaymentary

Leslye James, 53m, US, West Coast Premiere

wtf: an okaymentary is the story of how one online community, okayplayer.com, has crafted a network of meaningful relationships among ‘strangers’ with a common passion for music. By sharing their lives online day after day, community members have formed a virtual family that affects their lives in unexpected ways. (49)

wtf: an okaymentary explores how online community, okayplayer.com, has vaulted the digital divide, connecting a diverse range of music lovers in ways that defy expectations. The universal language of music has brought fans of urban artists like The Roots, Common, D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli and Erykah Badu online together. By sharing their words day after day, year after year, the users of okayplayer.com have formed a virtual yet very real family.

The film explores what binds this group of people who interact through their computer screens and promote trust in an anonymous environment. This film also showcases the various roles that music plays for contemporary twenty- and thirty-somethings. It addresses the complex nature of online communities and their real-world effects. (121)