Last updated May 8th 2016

Fire at Sea - Gianfranco Rosi/Photo courtesy of PR

Fire at Sea – Gianfranco Rosi/Photo courtesy of PR

The Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival will take place from May 19 – 28, 2016, with an emphasis on films that reflect a world in flux, taking as its theme: New World Disorder. Political extremism; the growing number of people living in poverty and the ever-widening gap between rich and poor; waves of migration and refugees; terrorism; lack of consensus on civil rights and social mores; the impact of technology on all aspects of life and the resulting accelerated pace of social change: the festival will feature international and Israeli documentary films that are the testimony and commentary on these themes.

Foucoammare (Fire at Sea) by Gianfranco Rosi, winner of the Golden Bear 2016, is set on the Sicilian island Lampedusa, depicting the peaceful life of its inhabitants through 12 year old Samuelle, his family and neighbors, and the thousands of African refugees who risk their lives trying to reach the safety of its shores. Rosi’s previous film, Sacro GRA (2013), won the Golden Lion at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, the first documentary ever to win this award. The film depicts life along the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the ring-road that encircles Rome. In 2011, Rosi participated in Docaviv 2011, where his film El Sicario Room 164 won the First Prize in the International Competition. An artistic, suspenseful, film, it takes place almost entirely in one room: hood covering his features, an assassin who had been simultaneously in the service of Mexican drug cartels and the police, relates his past history of murder, abduction and torture, in the same hotel room where he used to hold his victims.

A film by Gianfranco Rosi is something to anticipate, and in this vein, Docaviv has established a new category of films – the Masters Section, showcasing new films by renowned directors. Fire at Sea will be the opening film in this category, which will also include: Between Fences by Avi Mograbi, Junun by Paul Thomas Anderson, Homo Sapiens by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine by Alex Gibney, To the Desert by Judd Neeman, Unlocking the Cage by D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, De Palma by co-director Noah Baumbach, and He Named Me Malala by David Guggenheim.

Mograbi’s Between Fences examines the refugee situation from an Israeli perspective. Asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan can’t be sent back to their own countries, yet current policies in Israel prevent their integration into Israeli society, hence they are housed in a detention center near the Egyptian border. While it is not a prison, its isolation makes it resemble one. Chen Alon and Avi Mograbi initiated a theatre workshop at the center, to give the asylum seekers the opportunity to explore and give voice to their own experiences.

Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter offers a unique and poetic approach to documentary film. His most recent film, Homo Sapiens looks at the traces of humanity left behind when the people are long gone. The skeleton of a roller coaster as the tide comes in and floods its pillars, an abandoned hospital room with beds askew – all seen with a sensitive, attentive gaze. In addition to Homo Sapiens, Geyrhalter’s Abendland (2011) an unusual tour of Europe by night, looking at the working world of the service industries, will also be shown as part of the Masters Section.

The full program for Docaviv 2016 with screening times and ticket information may be found on the Docaviv website.

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