CANADA SHOWCASE: CONTEMPORARY CINEMA
Cinemex – 17:00 hrs
Times to confront prejudice
Founded in the 1990’s in Toronto, the HotDocs Festival has become the most important documentary film event on the American continent: more than 170 films from around thirty countries are screened in 10 days. Far from being just a showcase for cinema, HotDocs has become increasingly involved in masking of socially relevant films.
A similar case is in the development of Unikkat Studios Inc., an independent production company dedicated to making films celebrating the Inuit culture in their language. Leading a generation of Inuits with technological knowledge, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, winner of the Doc Vanguard Award from the Documentary Organization of Canada, is the director of this production company as well as the director of this film we’re recommending.
Angry Inuk challenges the obsolete perceptions of the Inuit, an indigenous culture from the Arctic tundra of Northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland. Environmental organizations that seek to eradicate the killing of seals question these people’s lifestyle, for which hunting these animals plays a central role in their food consumption and social construction. The director gives a voice to entire families to defend themselves against cultural prejudices, allowing us to hear for the first time a people struggling to preserve their ancestral rights, as well as to observe how these communities that try to find their place in today’s globalized world are organized.
As part of the Canada program that GIFF has prepared this year, films that seek to involve the audience with realities from distant places that are unfamiliar to said audience are of vital importance. Angry Inuk is the best opportunity to know a little more about the world, while enjoying an excellent film.
OFICIAL SELECTION: ANIMATION SHORTFILMS
Bellas Artes – 20:00 hrs
20 years of animated celebration
If I had to choose a section of the festival that embodied the spirit of diversity, I would, without hesitation, choose animation; the section in which 20 short films from 14 countries compete for the Silver Cross, each of which show off different techniques with very unique themes and approaches.
What for a long time was considered a minor artform, because “animation is for children” and “cartoons are a small genre”, is now more highly regarded thanks to a higher number of animation festivals. Advances in technology, multiple platforms and the meteoric rise of the video game industry have positioned animation in the realm of art.
The proof is in this year’s selected films, which have been screened and have been awarded at Cannes, Clermont-Ferrand, SXSW, BAFTA, Sundance and Berlinale. These include short films by Julia Pott, a writer on Adventure Time, and David O’Reilly, a writer on South Park and a developer of several video games.
So, whether you’re interested in traditional 2D animation or the most advanced 3D computer animation technologies; whether you seek the ecstasy of happiness, the joy of an encounter, the hope within a promise, a romantic awakening or a terrifying memory; whether your life is governed by sober order or surreal chaos, whether you prefer drama or a musical, this year’s animation program has something for everyone. Everyone is invited to watch the 20 animated short films and to join us in celebrating 20 years of animation.
MUSIC + CINEMA SHOWCASE
Long Strange Trip
Teatro Ángela Peralta – 19:00 hrs
The Long Trip into yourself
The Music + Cinema program contributes to strengthening the rich relationship between cinema and music, because it is impossible to deny that sound is an important factor when making a film. The choice of music or how you edit sound go a long way toward applying meaning to the film. This program consists of mostly free concerts which usually act as an opening activity for outdoor screenings of music-themed films in the Main Garden or at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas.
In the previous edition, the mission was accomplished with the Latin American premieres of documentary films Panoramas, Contemporary Color and We Are X. This year, GIFF returns with the firm intention of further strengthening a program that, despite being a relatively new program, has quickly become a mainstay of the Guanajuato International Film Festival. In addition to 5 free concerts and the incredible Closing Concert, this program presents screenings of Man in the Camo Jacket, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World and Long Strange Trip, which promise to make this year’s edition unforgettable.
Long Strange Trip is a documentary about legendary rock band Grateful Dead which premiered this year at Sundance and was recently acquired by Amazon Video for streaming. Directed by Amir Bar-Lev, director of My Kid Could Paint That, The Tillman Story and Happy Valley, and produced by Martin Scorsese, the film spans almost four hours which is barely enough for this Incredible work. The film leads us through interviews with the band’s current members and friends like Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, John Perry Barlow, Steve Silberman and Alan Trist, to hear the story of an inspiring, complicated and frankly disorganized band, a tribe of contradictory beings who drove art along the path of chaos and succeeded, surprisingly, in achieving success on their own terms. With never-before-seen interviews, this documentary offers a crude and unprecedented look at the life of the Deads.
OFICIAL SELECTION DOCUMENTARY: PROGRAM 1
City of Ghosts / White Riot: London
Teatro Ángela Peralta – 13:00 hrs
Permission to subvert order
One of the most important aspects of documentary filmmaking, something that relates it to journalism, is that it disseminates information, especially when it can help a society to question its reality through learning the truth. Thanks to filmmakers who are not afraid to blur the line between documentary and fiction, as well as producers who decide to invest great resources in making these films, the documentary industry has grown so much that it already represents a lucrative option in film festivals and virtual platforms such as Netflix, Vimeo and Youtube. On this occasion we are pleased to recommend a program that includes documentaries that show creativity and technical development, but also a commitment to transmiting ideas, seeking to generate change and raise awareness in our society.
Matthew Heineman gained worldwide recognition with Cartel Land, a documentary that investigates drug trafficking issues on the US-Mexico border, while gruesomely analyzing the “narco” culture. What can undoubtedly be considered one of the most courageous journalistic works in recent history, earned him Academy Award, BAFTA, Gotham and Emmy nominations. His new film City of Ghosts is a story about courage, brotherhood and a call for resistance. In this film Heineman follows a group of young Syrians who create the RBSS, a group of anonymous activists who risk their lives to denounce the abuses perpetrated by ISIS, a terrorist group that took over their city in 2014.
Director Rubika Shah, who has developed documentaries about characters such as Spike Lee and David Bowie and has triumphed in Tribeca, Berlinale and HotDocs, introduces her latest film White Riot: London. To the rhythm of The Sex Pistols and echoing The Clash, this film mixes an avant-garde collage with personal testimony to take us through the history of a punk publication that championed the subversive struggle against the National Neonazi Front that ravaged Great Britain in the early second half of the 20th century, when any demonstration of communist or anarchist protest was violently suppressed by the “forces of order.”
Take your seat and prepare to be out of breath by witnessing the strategies to spread horror, as well as the importance of information journalism that finds the strength to cope with the unspeakable and face it through images and words.