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87 films premieres from 30 countries at Documenta 10

In its 7th year, DOCUMENTA MADRID continues its commitment to quality in its Competitive sections, which for the second consecutive year will be making their premieres in Spain. Of the 1153 documentaries submitted to competition, 87 have been selected. By category, there will be: 38 films in the Original Documentary Film Competition (18 full-length and 20 short films); 22 in the Documentary Competition and 27 in the National Competition (11 full-length and 16 short films).

The 87 movies from 30 different countries competing in the Competitive Sections are just some of the documentaries to be screened at the festival, which will also feature numerous films in its Parallel Sections. This year’s exploration into the different realities existing all over the world will feature significant representation from Spain, with 33 films in competition; Europe (with diverse representation from such countries as France, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Poland and Austria, among others); America (United States, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Cuba and Peru); in addition to other parts of the world (Iceland, Palestine, Iran, China and Israel).

Major figures in world cinema to compete with their most recent films

As part of the programming in competition for this year’s event, there are some worth pointing out because of the directors’ careers, or awards that have been won at prestigious international competitions, or the originality of their approach. They will all be opting for awards in the different categories, the prize-winnings of which total 73,000 €.

Frederick Wiseman, who last year was featured in a retrospective at the festival, will compete for the Award for Best Full-length Film in the Original Documentary Film Competition with his thirty-eighth film, La Danse (2009). In this documentary, which also participated in the festivals of Toronto and Venice and has won a nomination for the César Awards, Wiseman shows the concerns of the members of one of the greatest ballet companies in the world: the Ópera of Paris.

DOCUMENTA MADRID 10 will screen the Oscar candidates

The 2010 Official Section will also give audiences the chance to see other award winning films. In addition to the winner of the Oscar Award for Best Documentary Feature The Cove (Loise Psihoyos, 2009), the festival program will also feature three other nominees for that same statuette: the American full-length films Which Way Home (Rebecca Camissa, 2009) and The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith, 2009) and the Polish-German short film Rabbit à la Berlín (Bartek Konopka, Piotr Rosolowski, 2009). The first tells of the adventures of a group of children from Honduras and El Salvador, who cross Mexico accompanied solely by the director’s camera and face serious danger in their attempt at illegally crossing the border into the USA. In addition to other international awards, this film (which has John Malkovich as an executive producer and soundtrack composed by Alberto Iglesias) won the Award for Best Director of a Documentary Film at the Sundance Festival. The second tells about the daring act of conscious that in 1971 led Daniel Ellsberg, an important strategist in the Vietnam War, to leak 7,000 pages of top secret documents to the New York Times to prove that the conflict was based on decades of lies. Direct consequences of this act were the Watergate scandal, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the war. These two full-length films will compete to win in the International Documentary Competitive Section.

For its part, Rabbit à la Berlín, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film, has received the Award in this category from the Hot Docs Festival of Canada for the never-before-told story of the wild rabbits living between the Berlin walls. For twenty-eight years, the “Death Strip” was their safest habitat. This will compete for the Award for Best Short Film in the Original Documentary Competition.

One of the most notable curiosities of this year’s festival is the Italian feature shot entirely on a mobile phone, La Paura (2009). It is also worth pointing out under this same heading Hunky Blues, The American Dream (Péter Forgács, 2009), which uses evocative archive footage to show us the pursuit of the American Dream undertaken by Hungarian emigrants in the early 20th century. Likewise, the veteran filmmaker Ermanno Olmi’s film Wine’s Rocks (2009) shows the beauty of the vineyards and the harmonious relationship between wine-maker and nature.
All these will be competing alongside the Spanish film El Sueño del Baobab (Laura Hernández, 2009) for the Award for Best Full-length Film in the Original Documentary Competition. In this one, an African man explores the contradictions of the “European Dream,” which he discovers in his struggle to create a business in the shadow of a centuries-old tree. Another highlight of the numerous Spanish films in the different competitive sections is American Greyhounds (Mario Aranguren, Héctor Muniente, 2009). This road movie following the Obama campaign from afar, aboard a fleet of buses traveled by low-income citizens, will be competing in the Documentary Competition.


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