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105 films from 38 countries will compete in DOCUMENTA MADRID 08

Madrid, April 7, 2008

In its fifth year, DOCUMENTA MADRID continues it strong commitment to the Official Section.
Out of the 999 films received—nearly a hundred more than last year (570 full-length films and 429 short films), 105 have been selected to participate in the different categories. The total prize-winnings this year have gone up to 73,000€. By category, they will compete in: 53 in the Original Documentary Section (19 full-length films and 34 short films); 27 in the Documentary Reporting Section and 25 in the National Competition (11 full-length films and 14 short films).

These 105 films from 38 countries making up the Official Section are approximately one-third of the documentaries that will be screened at the festival, whose program this year will include around 300 films. This incursion into the different realities being lived on five continents features a large number of films representing Spain and Europe (Germany, France and Italy with the greatest number of participants as well as Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Montenegro, among others); the United States and Latin America (USA, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, and more) as well as others (India, China, Jordan, the Philippines, among others).

Documenta Madrid 08 will also have four Jury Committees judging the best films in the Competitive Sections. The Short Film Jury for Original Documentary will be made up of: the French filmmaker and video artist Jean-Gabriel Périot - director of short videos and films characterized by his personal editing style with file footage, of which we can see in the Special Jury Section as Under Twilight (2006) and Mijuman No Boreí (2007); Sally Berger - the organizer of art and communications projects and a specialist in contemporary independent film at the MoMa in New York; and the writer and journalist Carlos Reviriego - art critic and presently Editor in Chief of the legendary film analysis magazine Cahiers du cinema, in its recent Spanish version.

The members of the Full-length film Jury for Original Documentary will be: Yves Jeanneau - director of documentaries for French television and the producer of a hundred films including El caso Pinochet (2001) and Chile, la memoria obstinada (1996) by Patricio Guzmán and the head of the International Market Sunny Side of the Doc of Marseille; Mercedes Álvarez - professor of the Original Documentary Masters at Pompeu Fabra University, whose first full-length film El cielo gira (2005) (to be screened as part of the Special Jury Section), has won numerous international awards; and the Italian filmmaker Luciano Emmer -one of the most interesting documentary filmmakers of the 1950s, with a long filmography made up of films persecuted at the time due to censorship in that country, such as Destino d'amore (1942) and Domenica d'Agosto (1950); and for films based on the art world such as Picasso (1954) and La Musa Pensosa (2007). Those last two movies will likewise participate in the aforementioned Special Section.

The Jury of the National Competition will be made up of: Lázara Herrera - the widow of Cuban master documentary-maker Santiago Álvarez -whose short film Now (1965) will be screened as part of the Special Section - and since 1999 the President of the Santiago Álvarez In Memorian International Documentary Festival, held in his honor in the city of Santiago de Cuba; the director of the New Latin American Film Festival (FNCL) of La Havana, Iván Giroud; and the Chilean Cristián Venegas, director and founder of the documentary film festival Chile Reality and the producer of the documentary "1939 Chillán desaparece".

Lastly, on the Jury for the Reporting Competition will be the Colombian video and film director Luis Ospina -film writer and cofounder of the magazine Ojo al cine, and director of around thirty documentaries such as Un tigre de papel (2007), which made off with the Award for Best Documentary 2007 from the Ministry of Culture; Juan Carlos Frugone - current director of SEMINCI of Valladolid, after a long career as a journalist, critic and correspondent for the daily Clarín, as well as several radio and television programs; and the multi-talented French actress Hélène Chatelain, known for her performance in Chris Marker's La Jetée (1963), the film that inspired such diverse artists as David Bowie in his video Jump they Say, the innovative Japanese animator Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, 1995) and Terry Giliam (12 Monkeys, 1995) and in addition to her acting, she is also a journalist, writer, translator and director of documentaries such as Nestor Makhno, paysan d´Ukraine (1996), La cité des savants ou le principe incertitude (1994), Goulag (in collaboration with the Russian director Iossif Pasternak), and Public Song Before 2 Electric Chairs (2007), among others.


Film takes to the streets: Memories from May 68

In addition to the powerful Official Section, DOCUMENTA MADRID will also feature extensive Informative Sections. Looking Back is a section that nostalgically revives social, cultural and historical phenomena that have marked various generations: such as May 68, now turning 40 years old, and the era of social transgression of such an influential movement as La Movida in the 80s and its main players.

The legacy of that historic time is brought together by a series of films depicting how the socio-political movements in France, the United States, Latin America and Eastern Europe took to the streets to demand a more egalitarian society, films that also reflect what this movement meant for the documentary world thanks to a boom in urgent, militant film.

The series features three Epicenters of the movement: France, with films such as Grand soirs et petits matins (1978), in which William Klein films the dynamics of May 68 in his country; The USA with films such as Black Panthers (1968), an account by the director Agnès Varda on the activist struggle of African Americans; and Mexico with, among others, the emblematic El grito (1968) by Leobardo López Aretche, who filmed the repression and the terrible events of the Mexican student uprising that would end one year later with the massacre in the Tres Culturas Square.

As part of this political and social phenomenon, we also find the first experiences in collective documentaries such as Cinétract (1968) by Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker; Classe de lutte (1968) by the militant film collective Le Groupe, sponsored by Chris Marker, and Colombia Revolt (1968) by the Newsreel Collective. In addition, the citizens become spontaneous filmmakers as they shoot footage of what happens in the streets, as was done for Ian Pallach (1969). Raymond Depardon, the founder of the photography agency Gamma, traveled to Prague to film the people's grieving after the young Czech Ian Pallach burned himself alive. This latter film belongs to the section under which this film series finishes: Eastern Europe: Prague Spring

As the culmination, two Emblematic films that have become milestones in militant cinema will be screened: La hora de los hornos (1968) by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, in which we can see the first third of Neocolonialismo y violencia; and Le fond de l'air est rouge. Révision (1977), a film essay in which Chris Marker does a both critical and nostalgic overview of the broken dreams and struggles of those years.


What a Movement!: A revival of the Artistic, Aesthetic and Cultural phenomenon of the Movida

The second part of this informative section: Looking back: What a Movement! harkens back to artistic and musical phenomenon that marked Spanish cultural life in the 1980s, one that, thirty years later, is still posing contradictions and surprises.

Starting off in the Movida's core areas (Madrid, Barcelona, Vigo and Valencia), the films selected bring out the art and music of those times. The stories of artists such as Enrique Naya and Juan Carrero (Costus)- Costus, el documental (Ernesto de Chicote, 2007) and Pepe Sales- Pepe Sales: pobres pobres que els donguin pel cul (Albert Pla, Morrosko Vila-San-Juan, 2007)-, who disappeared into the whirlwind of drugs, AIDS, and social and sexual repression that took hold over those who founded, in part, the identity of this movement, which caught on more famously in Madrid, but which undoubtedly had ramifications and simultaneous parallel manifestations in other areas of the country.

With music as a central figure, the section also follows the careers of such legendary groups as Kaka de Lux, which tells us a part of the story of Spain and the Transition in A quién le importa (Nacho Pérez de la Paz, 2000), and unique performances by Parálisis Permanente, Alaska y los Pegamoides, Almodóvar & McNamara, Radio Futura and Zombies in La Movida: la edad de Oro (Jesús Ordovás, 2001). The series also takes us to Catalonia -Rock & Cat, més enllà de les cançons (Jordi Roigé, 2006)- and Galicia -Periféricos (Xosé Holgado, Carlos Méndez, Tamara Blanco. 2006)- and to those shrines in the movement, such as the legendary venue "Rock-ola" -Rock-Ola: una noche en la Movida (Antonio de Parda Arnau, 2007)- which brings together musicians, painters, photographers and filmmakers under one of the most typical slogans of the time: if you didn't go to Rock-ola, you didn't exist.


Harun Farocki: the Image as an Instrument of Power

DOCUMENTA MADRID 08 dedicates one of its sections to exploring the conceptual universe of Harun Farocki, the German filmmaker and essayist whose work seems to encompass the field of pure film theory. A contemporary of Herzog, Wenders, Fassbinder and other filmmakers related to "New German Film", Farocki stands apart from this movement since his work has unique subject matter and offers a constant and broader reflection on the state of the visual image in today's society.

He openly reflects on the function of the image as an instrument of power through his visual collages, and he concerns himself with the social control by the state, as shown in such films as Nicht löschbares Feuer/ Fuego inextinguible (1969) -which became a key film for the Agitprop of the generation of '68-; Erkennen und verfolgen / Reconocer y perseguir (2003), about the Iraq war; and Gefängnisbilder / Imágenes de prisión (2000), which turns the spectator into a witness of prisons depicted as killing machines.

Another one of the central themes of his work is massive consumer society, as illustrated in films such as: Stilleben/Naturaleza muerta (1997), which delves into the details of the advertising industry; Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik /Trabajadores saliendo de la fábrica (1995); and Nicht ohne Risiko / No sin riesgo (2004), which will also be screened as part of this broad retrospective on one of the most interesting and charismatic artists today.

Other outstanding Parallel Sections this year are:

Latin American Film: a section that brings together some of the most interesting documentary films made in Latin America today, such as; Made in L.A. (2007) by Almudena Carracedo, the extraordinary story of three Latin American immigrants who work in a sewing factory in Los Angeles, and who embark on a three-year odyssey to get basic working conditions, a film that won the Special Jury Mention at the Seminci Festival; La frontera infinita (2007) by Juan Manuel Sepúlveda, an intimate portrait of the dreams held by thousands of Central Americans who emigrate to Mexico every year in the hopes of crossing to the United States, which earned the Joris Ivens and Young Jury Awards at the Cinéma du Réel Festival; and M by Nicolás Prividera (2007), an encounter with the difficult past of the disappeared during the Argentinean dictatorship, a film that won the Best Film Award at the last Festival Mar del Plata.

Arabic Film: the Casa Árabe opens its doors for the first time to the festival with a program reflecting the most innovative in contemporary Arabic documentary film, which is undergoing one of its best moments in history. Such films will be screened as; Akhy Arafat / My Brother Arafat (2005) by Rashid Masharawi, director of the Gaza Strip, which tells of the adventures of trying to make a movie about Yasser Arafat; Ard Alnesaa/ Land of Women (2004) where Jean K. Chamoun depicts the hard life of several women exiled to Southern Lebanon and united in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine; and Salata baladi / Mixed Salad (2007) a film about cultural diversity by the Egyptian director Nadia Kamel, winner of the Noor Award from the Arabic Film Festival of San Francisco 2007.

Tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni: a retrospective of the unknown documentary work by this member of an unrepeatable generation of Italian filmmakers such as Vittorio de Sica, Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini and Federico Fellini, who exploited film's possibilities to show reality in a unique way.

Intimate Elegies: a series of documentaries travels through film history, from its beginnings to the present day, from the point of view of its creators, with films by Abbas Kiarostami, Jean-Luc Godard and Federico Fellini, among others.

Nicolas Philibert Retrospective: this retrospective, made in collaboration with the French Institute of Madrid and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offers a trip through the most important films by one of the most prestigious directors working today. Philibert will present a workshop at the French Institute on May 9.

Marin and Osa Johnson: a series of films by these two adventurer filmmakers, naturalists and photographers, who spent more than twenty years traveling around the Salomon Islands, Borneo, and the African continent in the style of the old discoverers of unexplored paradises.

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Chatelin Bruno
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