Documentaries: Human Interest
 
         


 
  LOVE HATE and Everything in Between (a film on empathy)    
Director:
Alex Gabbay
Category: Science
Production: U.K. 2012
Language: English  Subtitles: English 
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis: Man’s capacity for kindness and compassion is overshadowed only by his ability to be as cruel and destructive. Can empathy resolve issues of aggression and subjugation, where wars, politics and economic sanctions have failed?
''Love Hate and Everything in Between'' looks into the world of neuroscience, psychology, education and technology to explore the extraordinary relevance of empathy in today’s increasingly interconnected world.

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  JUST TRIAL AND ERROR: Conversations on Consciousness 
Director: Alex Gabbay / U.K. 2010 
Category: Popular Science
Language: English.
Length: HD/65 minutes

Synopsis: Consciousness defies definition. Perhaps no aspect of mind is more familiar or more puzzling than consciousness and our conscious world. ''Just Trial and Error'' takes a closer look at what divides and connects us, by exploring consciousness through cognitive and perceptual science, technology and art. Filmmaker Alex Gabbay invites a sculptor, two neuroscientists and a technology entrepreneur to explore the part consciousness plays in their respective fields.

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Festivals & Awards: Movie Review:
'' The film gives much food for thought. What seems to emerge is a meditation on consciousness in today's society and the overwhelming sense that we need to place greater value on qualitative approaches... Gabbay does a brilliant job by capturing candid personal anecdotes and stunning visuals.'' Sandrine Ceurstemont / Culture Lab

Alex Gabbay, Filmmaker and Director, discusses Just Trial and Error:
Video #1 (Just Trial and Error)
Video #2 (Art, Science and Consciousness)
Video #3 (Empathy, Instinct and Ethics ) 

URL
URL #1

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  FOOTBALL, COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE 
Director: Jean-Christophe Ribot
Category: Popular Science
Production:  Mosaïque Films, Pois Chiche Films / France 2006 
Language:  French, Subtitles: English
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis:In order to understand how collective intelligence develops in a team, we take a close look at the work and thoughts of Christian Gourcuff, a French Football (soccer) coach, who is using interesting ideas to create its strategy. This pragmatic approach is illuminated by the scientific concepts of Systems Theory. The film offers a new way of thinking about football as the organization of a complex system, by observing how a team develops a strategy over the course of training sessions and matches, and how the individuals on the team form a collective intelligence.

Festivals & Awards:
  • Winner: Prix Audace : PariScience International Science Film Festival - France 2006
  • ''Science and Society'': The Basel Karlsruhe Forum Contest - Switzerland 2007
  • International Popular Scientific & Documentary Film Festival - Czech Republic 2007 

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  TEA OR ELECTRICITY (Le Thé ou l'Electricité)
Director: Jérôme le Maire
Category: Human Interest
Production: Iota Production - Isabelle Truc (Belgium), Perspective Films (France), HKS Productions (France), K Films (Morocco) 2012
Language: Arabic (Moroccan), Berber. Subtitles: English / French 
Length: 52 / 93 minutes

Synopsis:'Tea or electricity' tells the epic story of the implementation of electricity in a tiny isolated village enclosed in the middle of the Moroccan High Atlas. Over more than three years and season after season, the director patiently reveals the outlines of the net that will inevitably end up closing on the people of Ifri. Before our eyes is drafted the image of the merciless modernity that the small village will now be connected to. 

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  THE NYMPHS OF HINDU KUSH 
Director: Anneta Papathanasiou
Category: Human Interest
Production: Mikis Modianos, Fotini Economopoulou : Modiano SA and with ERT / Greece 2011
Language: Kalashamondr, English, Greek. Subtitles: English / French 
Length: 56 / 80 minutes

Synopsis:In the mountains of Hindu Kush, in Pakistan, among 165 million Muslims, unfolds the unique story of 4,000 Kalasha, an ancient pagan tribe that worships nymphs, gods and fairies. The Kalasha women are strong, lovable and, oddly enough, free. Athanassios Lerounis, the president of the Greek Volunteers NGO who organizes developmental and educational projects in the region, is kidnapped by the Taliban. His abduction fills the Kalasha women with insecurity and fear. How will they cope with this? 

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  QADIR - an Afghan Ulysses 
Director: Anneta Papathanassiou 
Category: Current Affairs
Production: Haris Padouvas and Photini Economopoulou: Cinegram / Greece / Afghanistan 2008, Co-Produced with ERT and with the support of Al Jazeera 
Language: Dari, Greek.  Subtitles: English / French
Length: 55 / 79 minutes

Synopsis: The journey of Qadir, an Afghan refugee, who came to Greece after the Taliban's invasion. He returns home 9 years later, searching for his family, and his emotions are mixed. The country is destroyed. Qadir is torn between two worlds, the East and the West.

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Festivals & Awards:
  • Winner of the Japan Foundation President's Prize : Japan Prize International Contest for Educational Media - Japan 2009
  • Winner: Best Documentary Award: Miradas.Doc, Guía de Isora International Documentary Film Festival - Spain 2009
  • Winner: Best Documentary Award: Roma Fiction Fest - Italy 2008
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival - Greece 2008
  • International TV Festival Bar - Montenegro 2008
  • Corsica.Doc, Ajaccio International Documentary Film Festival - Corsica 2009
  • Romania International Film Festival RO-IFF, Bucharest - Romania 2010
  • Fajr International Film Festival, Teheran - Iran 2010
  • TRANZYT International Documentary Film Festival - Poland 2009
  • FIPA Festival Biarritz – France 2009 

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  FOOD FOR LOVE
Director: Marianna Economou / Greece 2013
Category: Society / Ethnology / Lifestyle
Production: Lilette Botassi: Inkas Film Productions; for ERT and supported by YLE.
Language: Greek. Subtitles: English 
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis: The all embracing love of the Greek mother stretches around the globe. However far away her child may be, she will always make sure that he will have a good supply of mother’s food! Food in the hands of Greek mothers is a powerful practical and symbolic tool that bridges any geographical and emotional distance and keeps the family bonds tight forever! By focusing on three Greek mothers and their use of food, the documentary opens a window onto the particularity of the Greek family with the powerful mother figure at the center and the children as kings and queens!

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Festivals & Awards:
  • MIFF Miami International Film Festival -  U.S.A. 2014
  • LAGFF Los Angeles Greek Film Festival - U.S.A. 2013
  • LGFF London Greek Film Festival - U.K. 2013
  • DIFF Delhi International Film Festival - India 2013  
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival - Greece 2013
Movie Reviews:
« ''Food for  Love'' made by renowned director Marianna Economou about Greek mothers, who send packages of good food to their grown-up children abroad. I have seen material from this film and if it keeps what is promised, it will be great fun to watch – as well as giving Greek family culture information. »
Tue Steen Müller / Filmkommentaren
« A portrait full of humor and tenderness of three Greek mothers who cook for their children who left home and how food becomes a powerful instrument of family cohesion. The Jewish Mother as a gurgling-like matriarch is a known stereotype. Now she is facing stiff competition - from Greece! »
Les recettes de l'amour / ARTE France / Food for Love / ARTE Germany
« Universal in its central premise is Marianna Economou's "Food for Love". As someone whose Greek mother loves to weigh me down with containers of all manners of home cooked goods every time a visit ends, I can absolutely relate on a cultural level, but despite its Hellenic specificity, Economou's film will assuredly connect with all manners of audiences. »
Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire
« Marianna Economou’s tender and hilarious ''Food for Love'', a portrait of three overprotective Greek mothers who express their love to their studying offspring by sending them parcels of home-made food abroad or in other Greek cities. »
Lydia Papadimitriou / Senses of Cinema

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  FAST FOOD OFF THE SHELF (Por qué quebró Mc Donald's en Bolivia ?)
Director: Fernando Martínez
Category: Society / Ethnology / Lifestyle
Production: Producen Bolivia, Azpurua Productions, Lagarto Cine / Bolivia / Venezuela / Argentina 2011
Language: Spanish. Subtitles: English / French 
Length: 60 / 73 minutes

Synopsis: In December of 2002, McDonald's had to shut down their restaurants in Bolivia. The company cited financial problems, but the real reasons were to be found elsewhere. Bolivia may be a small, poor nation on the global market, but a country's fierce local food culture can be sometimes a more powerful factor than economic clout. In his first feature-length documentary, Fernando Martinez shows what happened, a story driven by the characters behind the events and their life stories, such as renowned cooks and a review of popular sayings about the Bolivian food. The symbolism is obvious when a multinational giant is 'brought to its knees' by a country's traditions and heritage.

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  TURF WAR IN NO MAN'S LAND 
Director: Suvi Andrea Helminen / Denmark 2009
Category: Ecology 
Production: Oshri Hayun and Hila Cohen and the Sapir College
Language: Danish, Russian, English. Subtitles: English
Length: 70 minutes

Synopsis: "Turf War in No Man's Land" is about man's attempt to leave its fingerprints on the last spots of unspoiled nature. Five countries are trying to make claims to the Arctic Ocean’s underground and its natural resources, Russia, Canada and Denmark have interests in overlapping areas around the North Pole. Borders have to be drawn - the territorial war of today is scientific - it is about collecting the most convincing data to prove that the underwater bedrock is an extension of the respective countries. Should every spot on the planet be divided and conquered? 

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Festivals & Awards:
  • CPH:DOX Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival - Denmark 2009

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  FREEDOM IS HERE -living on the ice in Greenland 
Director:  Sidse Larsen / Greenland/Norway 2007
Category: Discoveries / Nature / Ethnology
Production: Visual Culture Studies, University of Tromsø (Norway)
Language: Greenlandic (Kalaallisut).  Subtitles: English
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis:Throughout the winter months Junnguk, a 45 year-old man from Ilulissat in the Northwestern part of Greenland and his fellows travel by dog sledge to the ice fiord where they spend days in each other’s company catching halibut and hunting seals, as it has been done in generations. The film is a story about friendship, tradition and modernity as found in contemporary Greenland and most important of all: choosing one’s way of living.

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  THIS LAND MY LAND  
Director: Alex Gabbay and Stefano Cassini
Category: Discoveries / Nature / Ethnology
Production:UK / Kenya / Tanzania / 2010
Language: Hadza, Kiswahili, English. Subtitles: English
Length: HD / 65 minutes

Synopsis: Baallow is a proud and educated Hadza, one of the last tribes of hunter-gatherers in Africa. The survival of his people has become a matter of great urgency to him after the Tanzanian government’s latest ploy to try and lease their ancient land for sports hunting. The film follows Baallow, a powerful figure and a charismatic self-appointed leader of the Hadza, as he travels long distances across unspoilt tribal territory in Central Tanzania, to drum up their support for a change.

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Festivals & Awards:
  • Edinburgh African Film Festival ''Africa In Motion'' (AiM) - Scotland 2010

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  VORGA - a path of two banks 
Director:  Zdeněk N. Bričkovský 
Category: Discoveries / Nature / Ethnology
Production: Zdeněk N. Bričkovský: DÓM Film / Czech Republic 2006
Language: Russian, Czech. Subtitles: English
Length: 69 minutes

Synopsis: The film introduces the less known area of tundra and its civilization, with everything what this reality brings up. Vorga is the Nenets' sacred trail, which the herdsmen have used for centuries to move their herds across tundra, all the way to the Barents Sea shore. ''Vorga'' looks at an original nomadic life deep in the tundra of the European Nenets.  

Festivals & Awards:
  • Winner: Best Documentary Award: Tourfilm Film Festival - Czech Republic 2007
  • Winner: Turoň Award: Čadca International Film Festival - Slovakia 2008
  • Winner: Special Jury Award: Nadotek/Closer Film Festival - Czech Republic 2008
  • Karlovy Vary International Documentary Festival - Czech Republic 2007
  • International Tourfilm Festival Castello di Copertino - Italy 2007
  • TRANZYT Documentary Film Festival - Poland 2009
  • Green Film Festival, Seoul - Korea 2008

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  THEM, US AND SKITSKOJ - a dialogue in the editing room 
Director: Zdeněk N. Bričkovský 
Category: Creative Documentary / Human Interest
Production: Zdeněk N. Bričkovský: DÓM Film / Czech Republic 2008 
Language: Russian, Czech. Subtitles: English
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis: In an inaccessible forestland on the river Pizhma lives a community of Old Believers, in the island of Skitskoj - located in the North of European Russia. They are hidden from civilization and the changing outside world. The film is about isolation, prejudice and building “bridges” to bring people together.

Festivals & Awards:
  • Winner: Special Jury Award: Nadotek/Closer Film Festival - Czech Republic 2008
  • Karlovy Vary International Documentary Festival - Czech Republic 2008
  • One World International Documentary Festival - Czech Republic 2008
  • TRANZYT Documentary Film Festival - Poland 2009
  • RAI Film Festival, Leeds - U.K. 2009 

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  YOU NAME IT  
Director:  Sigi Marx-Arditi / Israel 2008
Category: Creative Documentary
Production: Yifat Prestelnik: Yifat Prestelnik Films 
Language: Hebrew, English. Subtitles: English
Length: 59 minutes

Synopsis :Film maker Sigi Marx-Arditi, sets out on a journey to the depths of her name in order to find out why we place so much importance on our name, and if there is a connection between someone's name and the course of their life and destiny. During this journey she meets characters that have changed, or would like to change, their names, in order to change and improve their lives.

Festivals & Awards:
  • Remi Award Winner: Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, Texas - USA 2009
  • Delray Beach Film Festival, Florida - USA 2009
  • TRANZYT Documentary Film Festival - Poland 2009
  • Doc Aviv International Documentary Film Festival - Israel 2008 

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  DOES HUMOUR TRAVEL?  
Director: Lucia Rikaki / Greece 2007
Category: Creative Documentary
Production: Lucia Rikaki: Tricky Trick Films 
Language: English, Greek. Subtitles: English
Length: 50 minutes.

Synopsis: The British Council, in cooperation with Comedy Nights the Comedy Club, presented, for the first time in Greece, stand up comedy from Britain. The thought behind the British comedy month was mainly based on the entertainment of the public in Athens through its contact with three of the brightest talents of British comedy today. Does humour travel? If it does, what language does it speak? If it has a language, what is its nationality? 

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  THE MIRACLE YEAR
Director:  Simha Lev / Israel / Ukraine 2010 
Category: Religion / Spirituality
Language: Hebrew. Subtitles: English 
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis: Four Jewish women are getting ready for a journey. They are about to travel to Ukraine and reach a holy man's grave. They believe that if they pray on his grave, all their wishes will come true within a year.
These women go to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who died 200 years ago and is considered to be a "Miracle Man" and founder of the Breslov Hasidic dynasty. This branch of Hasidic Judaism, which celebrates life and joy, swept tens of thousands of followers in the last ten years. When the four women return to their day to day life, they have to find out if the miracles will happen. 

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Festivals & Awards:
  • TRANZYT International Documentary Film Festival - Poland 2010
  • Religion Today - International Festival of Cinema and Religion, Trento - Italy 2010
  • Jewish Eye World Jewish Film Festival - Israel 2011

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  CHACUN CHERCHE SON CHAMAN / THE SHAMAN SEARCH 
Director: Roland Pellarin 
Category: Ethnology / Spirituality
Production: Roland Pellarin: Stratis SA / Switzerland 2006 
Language: French. Subtitles: English
Length: HD / 64 minutes

Synopsis: Thanks to the testimonies of several specialists and individuals captivated by shamanism, this documentary covers the growing interest in the West for shamanism. Illustrated by video clips supplied by ethnologists, recordings of shaman music concerts and sequences shot during a training course in shamanism, this film will try to understand the why and the how behind the renewal in this quest of the individual. 

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  IN SEARCH OF ZHANG ZHUNG - a journey across the Himalayas
Director: Alex Gabbay
Category: Travelogue / Ethnology / Spirituality  
Production: Thomas Kelly and the Kalpa Group / Tibet/Nepal/Switzerland 2003 
Language: English, Tibetan. Subtitles: English narration
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis: Gelek, a Bon monk, accompanied by an American photographer, Thomas Kelly, undertakes a journey from Kathmandu to discover for himself the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung where the Bon religion flourished centuries ago. In search of mythical palaces and holy sites, they journey to the shadows of Mount Kailash in far Western Tibet. Along the way they are joined by dhamis (oracles) and shaman priests, and together they make an odd group of contrasting characters. It is a pilgrimage where both the spiritual and temporal realms are fluid, realities and obstacles constantly need to be overcome.

Festivals & Awards:
  • Globians world and culture Documentary Film Festival, Potsdam - Germany 2008
  • Special Jury Mention: Trento Mountain Film Festival - Italy 2004
  • International Mountain and Adventure, Film Festival Graz - Austria 2004

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  A MAN CALLED NOMAD  
Director: Alex Gabbay / China/Nepal/UK 2003/2006
Category: Ethnology / Nature and Environment
Language: Chinese. Subtitles: English
Length: 40 min./ 52 min.

Synopsis: A Man Called Nomad is a story of a man trying to adjust to the shifting realities of the modern world, whilst retaining within his family a sense of place. Looking into the life of 30-year old Choegatar, father and provider, we get a glance into a world where temptations of the town interfere with natural life. This is an honest portrayal of life, shown with an unrivaled backdrop of beauty.

Festivals & Awards:
  • Himalaya Film Festival Tokyo- Japan 2006
  • Planet in Focus: International Environmental Film Festival Toronto - Canada 2005
  • Winner of the Special Jury Prize: Trento Mountain Film Festival - Italy 2003
  • Mario Ruspoli Prize: Comité Du Film Ethnographique - France 2004
  • Grand Prix - Prix de la TSR: Festival International du Film Alpin des Diablerets, FIFAD - Switzerland 2003
  • Honorable Mention: International Mountain and Adventure, Film Festival Graz - Austria 2003
  • Best Mountain Film on Culture: Banff Mountain Film Festival - Canada 2003
  • Best Film on Mountain and Culture: Kendal Mountain Film Festival - United Kingdom 2003
  • Best Cinematic Award, Best Script Award, Best Mountain Film Award: Torello Mountain Film Festival, - Spain 2003 

 
  A PEACE CARAVAN / UNE ROULOTTE POUR LA PAIX 
Director: Aude Weisberger / France 2005 
Category: Creative Documentary
Production: Mosaïque Films 
Language:  French, Hebrew French version / English version  
Length: 52 minutes

Synopsis: "A Peace Caravan'' is a road movie and personal diary. In June 2003, Amit and Aude Weisberger with their six months old baby, set out on a 6000 km journey to Jerusalem in a caravan drawn by their horse, crossing .Western and Eastern Europe . Amit is Israeli and as a pacifist, has given himself 24 months to return to his country, to which, along with his horse-drawn caravan, he will bring a message of peace, an appeal to recognize the other side. 

Festivals & Awards:
  • ''Science and Society'': The Basel Karlsruhe Forum Contest - Switzerland 2007

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  CONQUISTADORS OF CUBA 
Director: Arto Halonen / Cuba/Finland 2005 
Category: Creative Documentary
Production:
Language: Spanish. Subtitles: English
Length: 55 minutes / 88 min

Synopsis: Nearly blind Maximiliano, 62, has been asked to fix Che Guevara‘s old car in Havana and bring it back to life. Maximiliano‘.s good friend, Mario Borges, owns an old American car that used to belong to mobster Meyer Lansky whose fate interlaced closely with Batista and Che Guevara. ''Conquistadors of Cuba '' is a film about three historical cars and their current owners. It is a film about the beauty and greatness of ordinary people under the pressure of totalitarian regimes.

Festivals & Awards:
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival - Greece 2008
  • Calgary International Film Festival - Canada 2006
  • DOCSDF Mexico City Documentary International Film Festival - Mexico 2006
  • Asuni Film Festival Film Festival -Italy 2006
  • Visions du Réel Nyon - Switzerland 2005
  • Tampere International Film Festival - Finland 2005
  • DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival - Finland 2005

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