Doc Edge announces its full programme this week, with tickets on sale from tomorrow (Tuesday).
The programme features 64 titles all up, with 10 local offerings including James Brown’s Red White Black & Blue about the NZ tour of a south Los Angeles high school rugby team. The film was produced by This Way of Life’s Sumner and Tom Burstyn.
The festival’s opening night presentation will be Jon Shenk’s The Island President, about Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed attempt to save one of the world’s lowest-lying nations from disappearing under the sea.
Of the NZ titles, a couple have previously screened on TV. Kathleen Mantel’s The Green Chain screened on MTS in 2011. At what have been our last TV Awards it took out the award for Best Popular Documentary. For Doc Edge it’s paired with Debbie Matthews’ Hens’ Night, about the work of three animal rights activists to put the plight of battery hens in NZ in the spotlight.
Robyn Paterson’s journey through Zimbabwe in search of a childhood friend and fellow poster-girl for Zimbabwe’s new regime, Finding Mercy, will screen in its 75-minute festival cut, not the previously-screened TV cut. Finding Mercy was presented at SPADA’s 2009 Big Pitch by producer Leanne Pooley and taking out the prize. It premiered at the Austin Film Festival and has since screened at Amsterdam’s IDFA.
Also Africa-set is the world premiere of Hap Cameron & Richard Sidey’s Bikes for Africa, in which Cameron and Mandy Todd build a self-sustainable bike workshop in rural Namibia. Sidey previously made the 2011 Doc Edge-screened short Landscapes at the World’s Ends, a mesmeric meditation which won a Special Mention and later picked up a Best Cinematography gong at the Reel Earth Festival.
This year’s Doc Edge Festival doesn’t feature a NZ section, the rationale being that our documentary filmmakers look for subject matter beyond our shores as much as at home.
The Festival Awards (18 April) will continue to offer NZ-specific awards but, being spread around the programme rather than contained in a single national strand, NZ titles now get to compete for the awards in each of the festival’s themed strands: World Cinema, Culture Vultures, Generation Next, The American Dream, Sign of the Times, Human Rights, and Game On
Two NZ titles get special presentations, which is festival-speak for you only get one shot at seeing them.
Tony Burt’s four preservation-themed stories make up The Snapper Sandwich, made in NZ and Australia.
Slavko Martinov’s IDFA-premiered Propaganda, a spoof North Korean propaganda film and ”an antidote to the giant dose of bullshit we’re fed”, made the news recently because one of its NZ-resident South Korean participants was ostracised by the local community and has been accused of being a North Korean spy.
Equally combative but with less at stake, Monica de Alwis’ Pretty Brutal follows three self-titled girl skaters into the full-contact world of New Zealand’s first Roller Derby league.
Joey Bania & James Blake’s A Delicate Canvas continues a long run of documentaries about the arts in the Doc Edge programme with two shorter works, the first of which focuses on the work of environmental artist and photographer Martin Hill.
Screening with A Delicate Canvas is Mike Jonathan’s Road to the Globe, the journey of Rawiri Paratene’s te reo production of Troilus and Cressida on its way to Shakespeare’s renovated home theatre, London’s Globe.
The Doc Edge Festival runs at Q Theatre in Auckland, 11 – 21 April; at Reading Cinemas Courtney and The Film Archive in Wellington, 9 – 19 May. The Doc Edge Forum runs at AUT in Auckland, 18 – 19 April.