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CPH:DOX unveils its 2021 competition titles

CPH:DOX announces the full line-up of competition titles 2021. A total of 64 films have been nominated for this year’s awards taking place from April 21 to May 12.

CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, has today announced its entire line-up of competition titles for the 2021 event. This year, CPH:DOX has moved from March to end April due to the COVID-19 shutdown in Denmark and will be launched as a hybrid festival with an ambitious digital programme for national audiences as well as the international industry.

The full competition line-up consists of 64 titles and features 47 world premieres, 9 international premieres and 6 European premieres. The programme pays attention to gender representation with no less than 58% of the titles (or 37 films) being directed by one or more women (66% when including films co-directed by female and male directors). The selection both includes films from established, international, award-winning directors as well as new voices across the five competition sections.

‘’We have been looking forward to presenting this year’s official competition program. In the midst of a global pandemic, and after almost a year in isolation, our need for films broadening our horizons, is bigger than ever. This year’s line-up includes films focusing on important subjects such as the dominance of tech giants, new democratic movements, decolonization and climate change. It is a selection of films aiming to fight prejudice, offer new perspectives, and dive deeper into otherwise well-known conflicts. Films which offer solutions and give the stage to underrepresented voices, which would normally have a hard time being heard,” says Tine Fischer, Director of CPH:DOX.

CPH:DOX is scheduled for April 21 to May 12 with its industry activities unspooling between April 26-30 2021.

The full festival programme will be announced in the end of March.

See the full list of competition titles below.

 

DOX:AWARD

Strong personal expressions and cinematic quality are celebrated in the main competition, DOX:AWARD, for which 15 films are selected from all over the world.

15 films including 10 world premieres, 4 international premieres and 1 European premiere.

70/30 (Phie Ambo, Denmark, World Premiere)
This year’s opening film portrays the biggest challenge of our times through the creation of the Danish climate law and the young activists’ fight for a greener future.

A Man and a Camera (Guido Hendrikx, Netherlands, World Premiere)
The best way to see this film is not knowing anything about it beforehand. See it before it sees you!

Children of the Enemy (Gorki Glaser-Müller, Sweden/Denmark/Qatar, World Premiere)
One man’s lonely struggle to free his seven grandchildren from a prison camp in Syria in an unforgettable film about an inflamed political dilemma.

Gabi, Between Ages 8 and 13 (Engeli Broberg, Sweden/Norway, World Premiere)
Five years in the life of a child in an outstanding film about not recognizing yourself in either of the two genders the world offers you – with a singular Gabi center stage.

Life of Ivanna (Renato Borrayo Serrano, Russia/Norway/Estonia/Finland, World Premiere)
From the harsh, nomadic life on the tundra to an uncertain future with five children. Four years in the life of a strong and charismatic woman as vital, physical film art.

Our Memory Belongs to Us (Rami Farah & Signe Byrge Sørensen, Syria/Denmark/France/ Palestine, World Premiere)
On the 10th anniversary of the Syrian uprising, three exiled citizen journalists from Daraa reunite to watch footage from the beginning of the revolution.

Passion (Maja Borg, Sweden/Spain, World Premiere)
Christianity meets BDSM rituals in Maja Borg’s dark and deeply personal film about healing, which with theatrical intensity unites body and spirituality.

Skál (Cecilie Debell, Maria Guldbrandsø Tórgarð, Denmark, Faroe Islands, World Premiere)
Christian faith is entering new times in the Faroe Islands where two female friends stage their own youth revolt while respecting tradition.

The Last Shelter (Ousmane Samassekou, Mali/France/South Africa, World Premiere)
On the edge of the desert lies the House of Migrants, where a Malian filmmaker meets the travellers in a sensual film about the melancholy of exile.

The Mushroom Speaks (Marion Neumann, Switzerland, World Premiere)
Ecological science fiction and natural philosophy in a beautiful and generous film about mushrooms and about what we can learn if we listen to nature. (Co-presented with Visions du Réel).

In the Same Breath (Nanfu Wang, United States, International Premiere)
A clear-sighted and critical Chinese film about the COVID pandemic as a political tragedy on a global scale, but with the courage to see the future in the eyes.

Lost Boys (Sadri Cetinkaya & Joonas Neuvonen, Finland, International Premiere)
A journey to the end of the night through Thailand and Cambodia, in a fierce film that goes from a drug addict’s video diary to a pitch-black murder mystery.

President (Camilla Nielsson, Denmark/United States/Norway/Zimbabwe, European Premiere)
An epic and captivating film about power games and the dream of freedom in Zimbabwe, in the weeks around the country’s first elections after the dictatorship.‍

The United States vs. Reality Winner (Sonia Kennebeck, USA, International premiere)
A 25-year old whistleblower becomes enemy number one of the Trump administration when she leaks a document showing Russian interference in the US elections.

White Cube (Renzo Martens, Netherlands/Belgium/DR Congo, International Premiere)
A provocative battle against colonialism in the world of both art and capital, as Congolese brothers take power.

 

NEW:VISION AWARD

In the NEW:VISION competition, the festival presents 12 short and midlength artists’ films.

12 films, including 8 world premieres, 3 international premieres and 1 European premiere.

All of your Stars are but Dust on My Shoes (Haig Aivazian, Lebanon, International Premiere)
A speculative mapping of Beirut, Paris and New York, where public lighting and social control is analyzed through internet footage and cellphone videos.

Best Year Ever (James N. Kienitz Wilkins, United States, International Premiere)
The children’s book classic ‘Best Busy Year Ever’, adapted to the screen in a deceptively simple and original gesture, in contrast to the past year’s realities.

Industries of Freedom (Freja Sofie Kirk & Esben Weile Kjær, Denmark, World Premiere)
Industries of Freedom portrays the work of a group of dancers at Privilege – the biggest night club in the world.

Listen to the Beats of our Images (Maxime Jean-Baptiste & Audrey Jean-Baptiste, French Guiana/France, International Premiere)
Based on audiovisual archives, the film deals with the establishment of the Guianese Space Center in French Guiana.

Look at Me (Christian Falsnaes, Denmark, World Premiere (festival)
An exploration of power relations between performer, viewer and camera, staged by artist Christian Falsnaes.

my favorite software is being here (Alison Nguyen, United States, European Premiere)
Video centering on a computer-generated woman living and working as a digital laborer in a virtual void. The domestic space from which she is constantly surveilled and monitored looks like the inoffensive love child of the results of a ‘Mid-century modern’ Pinterest search, a mental health hospital, and a perpetually sunny L.A. Airbnb. In other words: A kind of antiseptic neoliberal purgatory.

Night Splitter (Kaari Upson, United States, World Premiere (festival))
A haunting work centered around the artist’s childhood home in San Bernardino, a neglected suburb an hour east of Los Angeles.

Re-dit-en-un-in-learning (Laure Prouvost, France, United Kingdom, World Premiere)
New video work by the Turner Prize-award artist Laure Provoust. CPH:DOX is co-presenting Kunsthal Charlottenborg’s upcoming exhibition of Provoust’s work.

Shadow Codex (Saara Ekström, Finland, World Premiere)
Primitive graffiti drawings appear as cave paintings from a collapsed civilization on the walls of an abandoned prison in Ekström’s haunting b&w 16mm film.

Shelly Belly inna Real Life (Cecilia Bengolea, France, Argentina, World Premiere)
Shot in Jamaica between 2015 and 2019 by artist and ethnographer Cecilia Bengolea in collaboration with the Dancehall scene in Kingston and Bog Walk. 

Summer Night by the Beach (Kirsten Astrup & Maria  Bordorff, Denmark/Norway, World Premiere)
Artist duo Astrup & Bordorff revisit the Kongshavn baths and summer stage in Oslo in their colourful film cabaret.

Two Minutes to Midnight (Yael Bartana, Israel/Germany, World Premiere)
What if women ruled the world? In Yael Bartana’s staging, this urgent question is put into practice in a setting mirroring the masculine ‘War Room’ of ‘Dr. Strangelove’.

 

F:ACT AWARD

The festival’s F:ACT AWARD is dedicated to films in the field between documentary filmmaking, investigative journalism and activism.

12 films, including 8 world premieres, 2 international premiere, 2 European premieres.

Behind the Headlines (Daniel Sager, Germany, World Premiere)
Experience world-class journalism as two German investigative journalists are tipped off about a political scandal that ends up toppling a European government.

Invisible (Marianna Kakaounaki, Greece, World Premiere)
Loose accusations about terrorist sympathies force a Turkish couple from the Gülen movement to escape, with fatal consequences, to a new life under the radar.

Room without a View (Roser Corella, Germany/Austria, World Premiere)
Meagre wages, manipulation and a room without windows. Lebanon’s countless maids fight back in an examination of the mechanisms of modern slavery.

Sabaya (Hogir Hirori, Sweden, European Premiere)
On the front during a highly intense rescue operation to liberate Yazidi girls held as sex slaves by IS. But what life is awaiting them on the other side?

The Gig is Up (Shannon Walsh, Canada/France, World Premiere)
Behind the global gig economy in a film where the new app proletariat of Uber chauffeurs and bike messengers is allowed a say.

All Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony, United States, International Premiere)
Theo Anthony’s high tech essay about technology, vision and power, and about how new technologies might give new life to old prejudice.

The Other Side of the River (Antonia Kilian, Germany/Finland, World Premiere)
After hard training in the Kurdish women’s army and a war against IS, 19-year-old Hala has a new mission: to liberate her younger sisters from arranged marriages.

The Tiger Mafia (Karl Ammann & Laurin Merz, Switzerland/Kenya, World Premiere)
Undercover in the black market for endangered species. Nine years of shocking recordings with a hidden camera from a deadly underworld.

Too Fast to be True (Anna Thyrri & Stine Uldbjerg Hansen, Denmark, World Premiere)
Unveiling a comprehensive international cover-up in a world-leading sports environment where endurance and being fast are the two main components.

When a City Rises (Han Yan Yuen, Cathy Chu, Iris Kwong, Ip Kar Man, Huang Yuk-kwok, Jenn Lee & Evie Cheung, Hong Kong, World Premiere)
The protests in Hong Kong portrayed from the inside by young activists in a courageous film about an entire generation’s last chance for a democratic future.

Writing with Fire (Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh, India, European Premiere)
At work with India’s only news media outlet run by women. An inspiring film about how action can lead to hope.

As I Want (Samaher Alqadi, Egypt/France/Norway/Palestine/Germany, International Premiere)
The overlooked women’s uprising during the Arab Spring in a reflective film about freedom, motherhood and the director’s own sombre past.

 

NORDIC:DOX AWARD

The 12 films in the NORDIC:DOX competition are a careful selection of documentaries from the Nordic countries, reflecting the diversity in films with a clear vision and a personal touch.

12 films, including 11 world premieres and 1 international premiere.

Elsewhere (Vibeke Bryld, Denmark, World Premiere)
A sensually saturated hybrid documentary brings back the magic and the mystery to Danish nature north of the Limfjord.

Follow You Home (Kathrine Ravn Kruse, Denmark, World Premiere)
After 9 years apart two refugee brothers are reunited in Denmark. With a clergy couple as close allies, Popal fights not to lose his brother again.

He’s My Brother (Cille Hannibal & co-dir. Christine Hanberg, Denmark/Norway, World Premiere)
What does it mean to give your life to another person?

How to Kill a Cloud (Tuija Halttunen, Finland, World Premiere)
She has three years to make it rain in the desert. But at what cost? A Finnish woman in a dilemma between research, finance and freedom.

Julia&I (Nina Hobert, Sweden/Denmark, World Premiere)
The friendship between two women who live life to the extremes in Copenhagen, filmed by one of them during four intense and important years of their lives.

Oh, It Hertz! (Gunnar Hall Jensen, Norway, World Premiere)
A musicologist investigates the link between Nazi manipulation phantasies to all the music we listen to today. Is there something true about the obscure theory?

Raising a School Shooter (Frida Barkfors & Lasse Barkfors, Denmark/ Sweden/France/ Belgium, World Premiere)
Three parents of American youngsters who committed school shootings speak their minds in a film that tries to put an unimaginable trauma into words.

Seyran Ateş: Sex, Revolution and Islam (Nefise Özkal Lorentzen, Norway, World Premiere)
Imam, feminist and advocate of a new sexual revolution. Meet the passionate Seyran Ateş, who puts her life at risk in the holy name of tolerance.

Solutions (Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Denmark, World Premiere)
Some of the world’s leading scientists isolate themselves for 10 days in the desert of New Mexico. Their aim: to develop real solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

The Banality of Grief (Jon Bang Carlsen, Denmark, World Premiere)
An impressionistic love letter to his beloved wife after her passing, written with a camera as a pen by one of Danish cinema’s greatest adventurers.

The Hero’s Journey to the Third Pole – A Bipolar Musical Documentary With Elephants (Andri Magnason & Anní Ólafsdóttir, Iceland, International Premiere)
An odd Icelandic couple on a journey through Nepal in a wonderful, tragicomic and heart-warming docu-musical about mental health – and elephants.

Trust Me (Emil Trier, Norway, World Premiere)
The incredible cock-and-bull story about the Norwegian fraudster who fooled everyone from Oslo to LA. A great film with a really good story.

 

NEXT:WAVE AWARD

Emerging filmmakers from around the world are competing for the NEXT:WAVE Award 2021.

12 films, including 10 world premieres and 2 European premieres.

A Story of One’s Own (Amandine Gay, France, World Premiere)
Adoption as told by those who experienced it first-hand in a graceful and cinematic film composed a series of letters and diary entries.

All-In (Volkan Üce, Belgium/Netherlands/France, World Premiere)
An existentialist tragicomedy with palm trees from an all-inclusive holiday resort in Turkey, where two young employees are struggling to feel at home.

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest (Mads Hedegaard, Denmark, World Premiere)
Can Kim Kanonarm beat the world record and play arcade games for 100 hours non-stop? A Danish feelgood film about friendships, dreams and high scores.

Captains of Zaatari (Ali El Arabi, Egypt, European Premiere)
Two young Syrian friends are given the chance of a lifetime when a professional soccer scout visits the Zaatari refugee camp where they have lived for years.

Dark Blossom (Frigge Fri, Denmark, World Premiere)
The deep friendship between three young outsider Goths is threatened when one of them falls in love and eyes a possible escape from the Danish province.

Eastwood (Alireza Rasoulinejad, Iran, World Premiere)
An Iranian Don Quixote in search of Clint Eastwood in a witty and warm satire of Hollywood’s cultural dominance; also in the Islamic Republic.

Fiasco (Nicolas Khoury, Lebanon/Netherlands, World Premiere)
With candid humour, the director Nicolas Khoury embarks on a cinematic rebellion against his family’s and society’s expectations of the correct life.

Holgut (Liesbeth de Ceulaer, Belgium, World Premiere)
Mammoth tusks unite a long-gone past and an apocalyptic present far out in the Siberian tundra, where myths and eras melt together. (Co-presented with Visions du Réel). 

Reconciliation (Marija Zidar, Slovenia/Serbia/Montenegro/Kosovo, World Premiere)
Can the men involved in a bitter family feud in the Albanian mountains break the vicious circle and reconcile?

So Foul a Sky (Álvaro F. Pulpeiro, Colombia/Spain/United Kingdom/Venezuela, World Premiere)
A dark and sensory road movie through Venezuela, based on Joseph Conrad. A visionary mood report from a country on the brink of collapse.

The Soldier (Nikolaj Møller, Denmark, World Premiere)
A Danish war veteran with a scarred soul travels to the Amazon jungle to find himself with the help of natural remedies and ayahuasca trips.

You and I (Fanny Chotimah, Indonesia, European Premiere)
An unusual, lifelong relationship between two ageing women is nearing its end in a simple, beautiful and deeply moving Indonesian debut.

 

POLITIKEN DANISH:DOX AWARD

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest (Mads Hedegaard, Denmark, World Premiere)
Can Kim Kanonarm beat the world record and play arcade games for 100 hours non-stop? A Danish feelgood film about friendships, dreams and high scores.

Dark Blossom (Frigge Fri, Denmark, World Premiere)
The deep friendship between three young outsider Goths is threatened when one of them falls in love and eyes a possible escape from the Danish province.

President (Camilla Nielsson, Denmark/United States/Norway/Zimbabwe, European Premiere)
An epic and captivating film about power games and the dream of freedom in Zimbabwe, in the weeks around the country’s first elections after the dictatorship.‍

The Soldier (Nikolaj Møller, Denmark, World Premiere)
A Danish war veteran with a scarred soul travels to the Amazon jungle to find himself with the help of natural remedies and ayahuasca trips.

Raising a School Shooter (Frida Barkfors & Lasse Barkfors, Denmark/ Sweden/France/ Belgium, World Premiere)
Three parents of American youngsters who committed school shootings speak their minds in a film that tries to put an unimaginable trauma into words.

Too Fast to be True (Anna Thyrri & Stine Uldbjerg Hansen, Denmark, World Premiere)
Unveiling a comprehensive international cover-up in a world-leading sports environment where endurance and being fast are the two main components.

70/30 (Phie Ambo, Denmark, World Premiere)
This year’s opening film portrays the biggest challenge of our times through the creation of the Danish climate law and the young activists’ fight for a greener future.

Skál (Cecilie Debell, Maria Guldbrandsø Tórgarð, Denmark, Faroe Islands, World Premiere)
Old Christian faith is entering new times in the Faroe Islands where two female friends stage their own youth revolt while respecting tradition. 

Loves Me, Loves Me Not (Andrine Moland, Caroline Mathilde Salic, Kathrine Skibsted, Denmark, World Premiere)
Honest conversations about love, emotions and expectations with 20 young Copenhageners in a film where everyone can recognise thoughts from their own lives.

From the wild Sea (Robin Petré, Denmark)
The relationship between humans and animals seen from the animals’ perspective – in a film from the European coasts, where volunteers are fighting to save nature.