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Documentaries in Competition in San Francisco Fest

The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23 - May 7) announced today its Documentaries in Competition for the prestigious Golden Gate Award. The International will award over $100,000 in total prizes this year. $60,000 will be awarded to winners in three categories: investigative documentary feature ($25,000), documentary feature ($20,000) and Bay Area documentary feature ($15,000). The jury's selection of winners will be announced at the Golden Gate Awards on Wednesday, May 6.

SFIFF52 Golden Gate Award Feature Documentary Competition Films:

The Age of Stupid
directed by Franny Armstrong, England 2008
An archivist (Pete Postlethwaite) on the dying planet Earth circa 2055 looks back at our species' current reluctance to address climate change in this cautionary, apocalyptic tale that blends verité storytelling, cutting-edge graphics and gallows humor.

Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country
directed by Anders Østergaard, Denmark 2008
This harrowing, breathless documentary revisits the 2007 protests by hundreds of silent monks and thousands of chanting citizens against Burma's military dictatorship, using stunning concealed-camcorder footage smuggled abroad by a cadre of courageous young reporters.

California Company Town
directed by Lee Anne Schmitt, USA 2008
A portrait of forgotten California industrial towns unsparingly documents their current condition with poignant commentary amid a backdrop of vast horizons and vacant factories.

City of Borders
directed by Yun Suh, USA/Israel/Palestine 2009
U.S. Premiere
At Jerusalem's only gay bar Israelis and Palestinians share common need for belonging and acceptance while facing extraordinary risks for challenging society's greatest taboos.

directed by Joe Berlinger, USA/Ecuador 2008
This lively and gripping documentary directed by Joe Berlinger follows the shifting course of a lawsuit that pits 30,000 Ecuadoreans against Chevron over the contamination of a large region in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador.

D tour
directed by Jim Granato, USA 2009
Pat Spurgeon, charismatic drummer for local indie rockers Rogue Wave, needs to keep playing music-and a new kidney. This remarkable travelogue follows his double quest during an eventful US tour, mixing interviews with performances by Rogue Wave and Ben Gibbard, among others.

directed by N.C. Heikin, USA/South Korea 2009
Through a series of extraordinary interviews with North Korean refugees, N.C. Heikin's stylistically inventive documentary presents a devastating indictment of Kim Jong Il, one of the world's most controversial and elusive dictators.

My Neighbor, My Killer
directed by Anne Aghion, USA 2009
A documentary about the justice process currently taking place in Rwanda where those who committed genocide have been returned to their community but are asked to confess to their crimes.

New Muslim Cool
directed by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, USA 2009
World Premiere
From behind the headlines of the War on Terror comes this unexpected yet utterly American story, an intimate portrait of Hamza Pérez, Puerto Rican-born former gang member turned politically conscious hip-hop musician, community activist, family man and devout Muslim.

Nomad's Land
directed by Gaël Métroz, Switzerland 2008
Gaël Métroz, inspired by the writings of the famous Swiss adventurer/philosopher Nicolas Bouvier, discovers a deep connection to nomadic peoples and the physical and spiritual beauty of their worlds. A travel film unlike any you've seen.

The Reckoning
directed by Pamela Yates, USA 2009
The International Criminal Court's attempts to prosecute instigators of mass genocide who acted with impunity is examined through accounts of victims, prosecutors and human rights activists in this fascinating, often encouraging, account of the pursuit of justice.

Speaking in Tongues
directed by Marcia Jarmel, Ken Schneider, USA 2009
World Premiere
Veteran documentarians Marcia Jarmel-Schneider and Ken Schneider tangle with the debate over bilingual education by following the diverse stories of four San Francisco public schoolchildren enrolled in Chinese and Spanish language-immersion programs.

directed by Avi Mograbi, Israel 2008
North American Premiere
Israeli "docu-essayist" Avi Mograbi reveals the deepest longings of a nation in conflict in this genre-breaking and original work in which a young Israeli soldier examines his participation in a revenge operation and anonymously speaks of his experiences to his girlfriend.

In addition to these thirteen documentary features, the Golden Gate Awards will also include competitors in eight other categories. These films will be announced at the opening press conference on Tuesday, March 31.

For tickets and information go to or call 925-866-9559.

52nd San Francisco International Film Festival
The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 23 - May 7, 2009 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the Castro Theatre and Landmark's Clay Theatre in San Francisco; and the Pacific Film Archive Theater in Berkeley. Held each spring for 15 days, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in the country's most beautiful city, featuring 25 juried awards, 200 films and live events with upwards of 100 participating filmmakers and diverse audiences of 75,000+ people.


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