International Films 2016


Dreams Behind the Wall

Elena Herreros/ Documentary/ Spain/ 2015/ 71 min

Can anyone live in jail, within a land surrounded just by walls and prohibitions? Can you figure out what it is like not knowing what is there on the other side, to be a prisoner in your own city? Dreams behind the wall is the story of two kids: Shada, born in Gaza and Ahmed, in Cisjordania, who talk us through their fears, but also through their dreams. They, as starring roles, are the link that helps us get to know the life of their families, and hence, that of the entire Palestinian people.

Daughter of the lake

Ernesto Cabellos Damián/ Documentary/ Peru/ 2015/ 87 min

Peru, a village in the Andes. The locals worship the life-giving Mother Water present in the lakes and rivers. The excavation plans of a gold mining company will disrupt the ancient unity; the lake, sacred to the locals, may dry up forever. The young law student Nelidasymbolises the villagers’ resistance and their connection with nature. Bolivia, another Andean village. The result when multinational prospectors win: a parched, less fertile landscape. The third story completing the picture presents a Dutch jeweller, who re-evaluates how she purchases precious metals after visiting the Amazonian gold mines. The film combines meditative shots of the breathtaking Andes with a record of civic activism reminiscent of the battle between David and Goliath.

A Syrian Love Story

Sean McAllister/ Documentary/ UK/ 2015/ 75 min

Activists Raghda and Amer met in prison – through a hole in the wall. They fell in love, got married, and had three sons. Well-know documentarist Sean McAllister started filming their story in 2009. At the time, Raghda was in prison again and Amer had to care for their family. When Raghda is finally released, the filmmaker is imprisoned. The family is in imminent danger, but Amer convinces the hesitant Raghda to leave Syria. They flee through Lebanon to France. In exile, Raghda must deal with her dual identity: she is a wife and mother but she is also a political activist. Dreams are shattered; love turns into anger and despair. The marriage is as fragile as the situation in Syria.


Zhao Liang / Documentary/ France, China/ 2015/ 90 min

Behemoth is a biblical monster, the beast of an invincible country. Today, the beast could be seen as man himself, raping the earth to obtain its wealth. He is unaware that the destruction of the land is far from over. The beast eventually begins to devour itself. This film operates as a cinematic parable, training its focus on Chinese mines, with their giant machines, noise, dirt, destroyed nature, sick and dying miners. It leads to a newly built city, where nobody lives. The allegory relies on the power of images and words from Dante's Divine Comedy, the inspiration for the filmmakers.

Cartel Land

Matthew Heineman / Documentary/ USA, Mexico/ 2015/ 100 min

A riveting look behind the scenes at the battles with the Mexican drug cartels, which plays out almost like a feature film. The filmmakers follow the stories of two characters, the Mexican doctor Jose Mireles and the American war veteran Tim Foley, who fight against the mafia, each on their side of the border. Mireles forms an armed civilian militia, which pushes the cartels out of several cities, but the situation is gradually getting out of hand. Foley's paramilitary unit tries to uncover the traditional smuggling routes, but the mafia can still find new ways. The film won the prize for best American documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar.

Frame by Frame

Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli/ Documentary/ Afghanistan, USA/ 2015/ 85 min

This documentary follows a foursome of Afghan photojournalists who are in the country after the fall of the Taliban and were among the first to create free media. From the personal perspective of people who were born in Afghanistan and have their families and friends there, they capture the contemporary face of Afghanistan. They do not choose their photographic shots based on what news agencies might want, but instead they look for the authentic face of a troubled country, where photography was, until recently, a crime. This breath-taking spectacle is a tribute to the power and beauty of images. The film project, by two American filmmakers, has won several prestigious film awards.

The Swedish Theory of Love

Erik Gandini/ Documentary/ Sweden/ 2015/ 76 min

Sweden appears to be a model social state, but there is a surprising hidden drama unfolding in this new paradise on earth. In 1972, politicians introduced the groundbreaking Family of the Future programme, aimed at creating a modern society, where focus is placed on individual independence and not even family relationships can threaten personal happiness. After 40 years of this social engineering experiment, Sweden is a country of broken family ties. People often live alone and die alone; no one misses them. Artificially created social groups have replaced natural solidarity. A shocking testimony in the form of a film essay.


Pablo Iraburu, Migueltxo Molina/ Documentary/ Spain/ 2015/ 83 min

As the Berlin Wall and Eastern Bloc fell, people eagerly hailed a new borderless world. Over 25 years later, they seem more divided than ever before. Nations are separated by new walls, fences and barbed wire. On each side are people with their own lives and hopes. Directors Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina link the fates of folk on opposite sides of the borders between Mexico and the US, Spain and Morocco, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This successful film experiment offers more than intimate personal portraits – it examines walls as a present day phenomenon.

A Haunting History

Femke van Velzen, Ilse van Velzen/ Documentary/ Netherlands/ 2015/70 min

--- South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after a long civil war. Anuol returns home after more than 20 years in Britain, where he studied law. He wants to use his knowledge to improve the new country’s legal system. As he deals with authorities and daily problems to establish his company, another bloody conflict starts. Anuol is again on the run. This documentary captures the reality of South Sudan through the eyes of a man whose whole life is framed by the violent history of a country that has until now been governed by one law: the law of the strongest.


Pankaj Johar/ Documentary/ India/ 2015/ 84 min

An affluent couple from New Delhi – a filmmaker and a lawyer – have a quiet family life; at least until they learn about the mysterious death of the daughter of their maid, Cecilia. She comes from the poorest parts of Bengal, where child slave labour is sadly commonplace. The couple begins to investigate the circumstances of the tragedy, motivated among other things by the guilt they feel in sharing in the whole perverse system as "end customers". Soon it is clear that Cecilia’s daughter had been a victim of human trafficking. Is Cecilia willing to speak out against her home community? Will she fight for the truth, to protect other children who might end up like her daughter?


Marco Huertas/ Documentary/ Spain/ 2016/ 28 min

Three children struggle to get 56 kg of rice: the price of primary scholarship in Soavinarivo, a small village isolated in the Madagascar inland.


A Moment

Naghi Nemati / Short/ 2015/ 13 min

Unexpecetd events is determined a few minutes before death of some people.....

Tea Time

Blanchet Guillaume/Animation/ France/ 2015/ 4 min

They go by millions , to escape danger, conflict , often risking their lives. Their dreams wither sometimes , but they are still trying . As these two tea bags, doomed to a slow infusion, but decided otherwise . We are all made of hope .

The Longest Race

Javier Triana, Ruben San Bruno/ Documentary/ Spain/ 2015/ 51 min

Can legs change the world? The victories of hundreds of Kenyan and Ethiopian female athletes are transforming the socio-economic landscape in two traditionally macho countries. Men who cook and women who bring home their livelihoods are the new roles in the marathon towards equality.


Victoria Vellopoulou/ Documentary/ Greece/ 2014/ 54 min

In Kenya, in the year 2014, girls from 6 to 15 years of age are being “cut”. 85% of them undergo total mutilation of their external genitalia for non medical reasons. Long before the completion of their growth, girls get in line, and undergo this operation, without any anesthetic or analgesic and under conditions of no hygiene. With the same blade, with no kind of sterilization, all of them will be “cut”. Some will die of bleeding, some will get HIV.“Excision” examines the consequences of FGM (female genital mutilation) through female portraits and demonstrates the effects of this action on millions of girls and women worldwide.


Salim Abu Jabal/Documentary/ Palestine/ 2015/ 70 min

An elderly Palestinian couple in a final standoff with the Israeli authorities to maintain their lifestyle in Roshmia, the last natural valley in Haifa. Yousef and his wife Amna, originally descendents from the Gypsies of Palestine, have lived in a shack since 1956 in what seems to be a life of serenity; far away from the loudness of modern life. Life remains peaceful in Roshmia until the Israeli authorities endorse a new road project and order their land to be confiscated and for them to be thrown out. A friend of the couple tries to secure a compensation from the municipality but the shack is Yousef’s home that he insists on keeping; living in bliss and comfort as ever, however the negotiations continue and tension grows among the three. Furthermore, besides the physical displacement and despair they are nearly facing, Yousef and Amna are about to go on.

While They Watched

Jake J.Smith/ Documentary/ North Korea / 2015/ 93 min

Harness the power of hindsight. While they Watched is a 90-minute feature documentary about North Korea set in the future, that looks back at the collapse of the Kim dictatorship. The film questions the morality of the current inaction by regional and global powers towards the North Korean dictatorship.

Sacred Sperm

Ori Gruder / Documentary /Israel /2015 / 74 min

An eye-opening documentary explores one of the biggest taboos in Judaism. It offers a daring exposure of the way parents and rabbis within the Orthodox Jewish community educate their male children to avoid spilling their sperm. Throughout the film, the director seeks a proper way to explain to his teenage son why he should keep this commandment perceived by many as unreasonable and even impossible to fulfill.

The Trials of Spring

Gini Reticker/ Documentary/ USA, Egypt/ 2015/ 80 min

In 2011, HendNafea and thousands of other young Egyptian women arrived in Cairo to support protests against decades of military rule. Hend was arrested and tortured. Although her family asked her to not talk about her experience, she persevered. Instead, in a country where the army and Islamists are fighting for power, she sets out to find freedom and justice. The violence against women during demonstrations shows how much worse the position of women is compared to men. This documentary tracks the battle of Hend and other women against the judicial system and prejudice, presenting the society-wide events, which started with hope during the Arab Spring and ended in the agony of new oppression.


Twilight Over Burma

Sabine Derflinger/ Fiction / 2015/ 99 min

At a gathering of foreign holders of U.S. scholarships, the Austrian student Inge catches the eye of a dashing young mining student from Burma, Sao Kya Seng. The adventurous Inge and the gentle man from a far-away country fall in love and marry. But it's only at the lavish wedding ceremony in Sao's homeland that Inge discovers Sao's true identity: He is the ruling prince of the Shan state of Burma
For Inge, it's the start of a new, exotic life as a Shan princess. Aware of the many unwritten rules, Inge nevertheless tries to improve the lives of her subjects and often runs into problems among her own people: They are unwilling to challenge age-old conventions that discriminate against women and members of the lower classes.
After a coup staged by the Burmese military, Sao is imprisoned. With her forceful nature, Inge proves to be an ideal spokeswoman for her country and does everything she can to free him. Ultimately she and her children are forced to leave the country. With the Burmese Secret Service just one step behind, Inge catches a plane and flies to safety – but she will not sleep peacefully again until she finds her husband Sao.

YANMAGON-Faces of Yangon

Francois Le Pivain/ Documentary/ France/ 2015/ 50 min

Yangon, Myanmar/Burma, a few years after the opening of the country, while the victory of the democratic party of Aung San Suu Kyi was confirmed through the ballot, the documentary film Yanmagon drew up a portrait of a changing city. Architects, photographers, activists, journalists, poets, the actors of the change bring us at the heart of their city.

Siam Burma Death Railway

Kurinji Vendan / Documentary /2014/64 min

This is a documentary film about the Asian Labourers (Indian Tamils, Burmese& Javanese) who worked like slaves in Siam (Thailand) on the Burma death railway line during WWII.

Nobel Nok Dah

Emily Hong,Miasarah Lai ,Mariangela Mihai/ Documentary/ USA/ 2014/ 23 min

Nobel Nok Dah offers an intimate view into the lives of three refugee women from Burma,whose migratory paths cross in Thailand and eventually meet when they resettle to central New York. Drawing upon methods of feminist oral history and ethno-fiction, the film traces glimmers of subjectivity that complicate any singular narrative of the refugee experience. As camera movements follow the textures of everyday life and work, a weave of sensorial fragments immerse audiences in women's narratives of self, place, and belonging.

OSCAR Award-winnning Documentary Films

The Cove

Louie Psihoyos/ Documentary/ USA/ 2009/ 92 min

The Cove tells the amazing true story of how an elite team of activists, film makers and free divers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove in Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. The shocking discoveries uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg.

The lady in Number 6

Malcolm Clarke/ Documentary/ Canada,UK,USA/ 2013/ 39 min

THE LADY IN NUMBER 6 is one of the most inspirational, uplifting stories of the year. At 109 years old, Alice HerzSommer still practiced the piano for two and a half hours each day. She remained fiercely independent and attributed her long life, less to "good genes" than to "good music". A relentlessly positive and optimistic outlook plus her deeply held belief in the essential goodness of her fellow man kept Alice HerzSommer alive for over a century. Not only was she the oldest living person in London, England, but she was the oldest survivor of Hitler's Holocaust. It has often been said that fear and hatred eat the soul – but conversely might it also be argued that love – of life, of those around us – and in Alice's case – of music, can nourish the soul and liberate the spirit? To the end day Alice never tired of saying; "Music saved my life and Music saves me still" (Alice HerzSommer November 26, 1903 – February 23, 2014).