Sundance Film Fest 2008: Documentary Films in All the Sections

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

The films represent a broad section of new documentaries by American independent filmmakers. From examinations of the American political system and the country's use of natural resources to explorations of cultural development and intimate portraits of legendary artists, these films represent a thematic and artistic variety. This year's 16 films were selected from a record 953 submissions. Each film is a world premiere.

AN AMERICAN SOLDIER (Director and Screenwriter: Edet Belzberg)Uncle Sam really wants you! A compelling exploration of army recruitment in the United States told through the story of Louisiana Sergeant, First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful recruiters in the history of the U.S. Army. World Premiere

AMERICAN TEEN (Director and Screenwriter: Nanette Burstein)This irreverent cinema vrit chronicles four seniors at an Indiana high school and yields a surprising snapshot of Midwestern life. World Premiere

BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER (Director: Christopher Bell; Screenwriters: Christopher Bell, Alexander Buono, Tamsin Rawady)A filmmaker explores Americas win-at-all-cost culture by examining his two brothers' steroids use…and his own. World Premiere

FIELDS OF FUEL (Director and Screenwriter: Josh Tickell)America is addicted to oil and it is time for an intervention. Enter Josh Tickell, a man with a plan and a Veggie Van, who is taking on big oil, big government, and big soy to find solutions in places few people have looked. World Premiere

FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER (Director: Irena Salina)Water is the very essence of life, sustaining every being on the planet. FLOW confronts the disturbing reality that our crucial resource is dwindling and greed just may be the cause. World Premiere

GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON (Director: Alex Gibney)Fueled by a raging libido, Wild Turkey, and superhuman doses of drugs, Thompson was a true “free lance,” goring sacred cows with impunity, hilarity, and a steel-eyed conviction for writing wrongs. Focusing on the good doctor's heyday, 1965 to 1975, the film includes clips of never-before-seen (nor heard) home movies, audiotapes, and passages from unpublished manuscripts. World Premiere

THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO (Director and Screenwriter: Lisa F. Jackson)Jackson travels to remote villages in the war zones of the Congo to meet rape survivors, providing a piercing, intimate look into the struggle of their lives. World Premiere

I.O.U.S.A. (Director: Patrick Creadon)Few are aware that America may be on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. explores the countrys shocking current fiscal condition and ways to avoid a national economic disaster. World Premiere

NERAKHOON (THE BETRAYAL) (Director: Ellen Kuras; Co-Director: Thavisouk Phrasavath; Screenwriters: Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath)The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Kuras has spent the last 23 years chronicling the family's extraordinary journey in this deeply personal, poetic, and emotional film. World Premiere

THE ORDER OF MYTHS (Director: Margaret Brown)In 2007 Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras is celebrated…and complicated. Following a cast of characters, parades, and parties across an enduring color line, we see that beneath the surface of pageantry lies something else altogether. World Premiere

PATTI SMITH: DREAM OF LIFE (Director and Screenwriter: Steven Sebring)An intimate portrait of music icon Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself. World Premiere

ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED (Director: Marina Zenovich; Screenwriters: Marina Zenovich, Joe Bini, P.G. Morgan)Marina Zenovich's new documentary examines the public scandal and private tragedy which led to legendary director Roman Polanski's sudden flight from the United States. World Premiere

SECRECY (Directors: Peter Galison, Robb Moss)Amidst the American hunger for instantaneous news and up-to-date facts, this unflinching film uncovers the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. World Premiere

SLINGSHOT HIP HOP (Director: Jackie Reem Salloum)The voice of a new generation rocks and rhymes as Palestinian rappers form alternative voices of resistance within the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. World Premiere

TRACES OF THE TRADE: A STORY FROM THE DEEP NORTH (Director: Katrina Browne; C0-Directors: Alla Kovgan, Jude Ray; Screenwriters: Katrina Browne, Alla Kovgan)History finally gets rewritten as descendants of the largest slave-trading family in early America face their past, and present, as they explore their violent heritage across oceans and continents. World Premiere

TROUBLE THE WATER (Directors: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal)An aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband, armed with a video camera, show what survival is all about when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, and seize a chance for a new beginning. World Premiere

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

The 16 films selected from 620 submissions represent 8 countries including Pakistan, Jordan, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Canada. The range of human experience is played out in these engaging stories about the artistic process, the cost of conflict, faith and nationalism, and the triumph of personal spirit.

Films in World Cinema Documentary Competition:

ALONE IN FOUR WALLS (ALLEIN IN VIER WNDEN)/ Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Alexandra Westmeier)Adolescent boys struggle to grow up in a home for delinquents in rural Russia where life behind bars may be better than the release to freedom. North American Premiere

THE ART STAR AND THE SUDANESE TWINS/ New Zealand (Director and Screenwriter: Pietra Brettkelly)Vanessa Beecroft is obsessively determined to adopt Sudanese twin orphans. Her consuming passion drives her marriage to a breaking point and fuels her controversial art, raising troubling questions about exploitation, culture clash, and the imposition of the West on Africa. World Premiere

BE LIKE OTHERS/ United Kingdom (Director: Tanaz Eshaghian)An intimate and unflinching look at life in Iran, seen through the lens of those living at its fringes, BE LIKE OTHERS is a provocative look at a generation of young Iranian men choosing to undergo sex change surgery. World Premiere

A COMPLETE HISTORY OF MY SEXUAL FAILURES/ United Kingdom (Director: Chris Waitt; Screenwriters: Chris Waitt and Henry Trotter)Chris is a useless boyfriend. Determined to find out why, he consults his ex-girlfriends, medical practitioners, producers, and mother to find out how women really see him. Has this journey made him potential boyfriend material or is he staring a life of loneliness square in the face World Premiere

DEREK/ United Kingdom (Director: Isaac Julien)A film involving two courageous and innovative artists one the subject and one the filmmakerprovides a cinematic journey that illuminates the work and enduring importance of the late Derek Jarman. World Premiere

DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT/Pakistan (Directors and Screenwriters: Sabiha Sumar and Sachithanandam Sathananthan)From on-the-street interviews to audiences with religious leaders to dinner with the President of Pakistan, the film takes the temperature of a culture on issues from politics to womens rights. U.S. Premiere

DURAKOVO: THE VILLAGE OF FOOLS (DURAKOVO: LE VILLAGE DES FOUS)/ France (Director and Screenwriter: Nino Kirtadze)-Russian nationalism percolates in a castle outside Moscow, where Mikhail Morozov rules autonomously over young initiates, laying the groundwork for a rapidly growing right-wing movement. North American Premiere

IN PRISON MY WHOLE LIFE/ United Kingdom (Director: Marc Evans; Screenwriters: Marc Evans, William Francome)A curious young filmmaker attempts to understand the true story behind award-winning journalist Mumia Abu Jamals death row sentence, and comes to startling realizations about American history and its justice system. With William Francome, Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Mos Def, Smoof , Snoop Dogg, Angela Davis . North American Premiere

MAN ON WIRE/ United Kingdom (Director and Screenwriter: James Marsh)In 1974, Philippe Petit, a young Frenchman, dances on a wire suspended between New York's Twin Towers. Consequently, Philippe is arrested and thrown into jail for what would become known as the artistic crime of the century. World Premiere

PUUJEE/ Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Kazuya Yamada)Against the backdrop of a magnificent but harsh natural landscape, a Japanese photojournalist encounters puujee, a young girl who tames wild horses on the Mongolian plains. North American Premiere

RECYCLE/ Jordan (Director and Screenwriter: Al Massad)A Jordanian family man living in the hometown of Muslim leader Al-Zarqawi struggles to support his family and define his identity in a tense political climate. World Premiere

STRANDED: IVE COME FROM A PLANE THAT CRASHED ON THE MOUNTAINS/ France (Director and Screenwriter: Gonzalo Arijon)For the first time ever, survivors of the famous 1974 Andes plane crash tell in their own words their harrowing story of survival. North American Premiere

TRIAGE: DR. JAMES ORBINSKIS HUMANITARIAN DILEMMA/ Canada (Director: Patrick Reed)Acclaimed doctor James Orbinski, former head of Doctors Without Borders, returns to Africa to confront the harsh reality of conditions there and explores what it means to be a humanitarian. North American Premiere

UP THE YANGTZE/ Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Yung Chang)At the edge of the Yangtze River, not far from the Three Gorges Dam, young men and women take up employment on a cruise ship, where they confront rising waters and a radically changing China. U.S. Premiere

THE WOMEN OF BRUKMAN (LES FEMMES DE LA BRUKMAN)/ Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Isaac Isitan) Amidst Argentinas financial collapse, workers take over a Buenos Aires mens clothing factory and continue producing clothing on a self-management model. As the formerly poor become business managers, their lives are changed forever. U.S. Premiere

YASUKUNI/ Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Li Ying)Controversy abounds as Japanese officials honor the deceased at the legendary Yasukuni shrine, where swords used to kill Chinese soldiers were famously forged. Few know about the shrines eerie past and the mysterious sword inside. Cast: Kariya Naoji, Sugawara Ryuken, Gaojin Sumei. North American Premiere

PREMIERES

To showcase the diversity of contemporary independent cinema, the Sundance Film Festival
Premieres section offers the latest work from American and international directors and world premieres of highly anticipated films.

Documentary films screening in Premieres are:

CSNY DJ VU/ U.S.A. (Director: Bernard Shakey; Screenwriters: Neil Young, Mike Cerre)The war in Iraq is the backdrop as the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young “Freedom of Speech Tour” crisscrosses North America. Echoes of Vietnam-era anti-war sentiment abound as the band connects with today's audiences. Cast: David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Mike Cerre, Stephen Colbert. World Premiere, Closing Night Film

U2 3D/ U.S.A. (Directors: Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington)A 3-D presentation of U2s global Vertigo tour. Shot at seven different shows, this production employs the greatest number of 3-D cameras ever used for a single project. World Premiere

SPECTRUM

A tribute to the abundance of compelling new voices and the creative spirit in independent
filmmaking, the Spectrum program presents out-of-competition dramatic and documentary films from some of the most promising filmmakers in the world today. For 2008, Sundance Film Festival features a new sidebar, Spectrum: Documentary Spotlight. Unfulfilled dreams, storybook heroes, joyful octogenarians, and gangsters with a heart are revealed in these new films.

films screening in Spectrum Documentary Spotlight are:

ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL/ U.S.A. (Director: Sacha Gervasi)At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the “demi-gods of Canadian metal,” influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams. World Premiere

THE BLACK LIST/ U.S.A. (Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Screenwriter: Elvis Mitchell)Journalist Elvis Mitchell interviews twenty African American leaders, ranging from athletes and academics to politicians, social activists, and artists, providing a series of living portraitsa unique glimpse into the zeitgeist of black Americaand redefining traditional notions of a “blacklist.” World Premiere

KICKING IT/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Susan Koch)The lives of homeless people are changed forever through an international soccer competition. This film follows six players as they set off for Cape Town, South Africa to play in the Homeless World Cup. World Premiere

THE LINGUISTS/ U.S.A. (Directors: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger; Screenwriter: Daniel A. Miller)David and Greg are “The Linguists,” who document languages on the verge of extinction. In the rugged landscapes of Siberia, India, and Bolivia, their resolve is tested by institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest. World Premiere

MADE IN AMERICA/ U.S.A. (Director: Stacy Peralta; Screenwriters: Stacy Peralta, Sam George)With a first-person look at the notorious Crips and Bloods, this film examines the conditions that have led to decades of devastating gang violence among young African Americans growing up in South Los Angeles. World Premiere

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN/ France (Director: Morgan Spurlock; Screenwriters: Jeremy Chilnick and Morgan Spurlock)Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores every nook and cranny of the Middle East on a quest to find the world's most wanted man. World Premiere

YOUNG@HEART/ United Kingdom (Director: Stephen Walker)A choir of Massachusetts senior citizens delights audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash and Coldplay to Jimi Hendrix and Sonic Youth.