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Six of the Fest: Documentaries

Since its inception in 1947 as a documentary film festival, the EIFF has annually championed the most innovative and eclectic documentaries. The 2006 selection are competing for the inaugural Feature ...

Since its inception in 1947 as a documentary film festival, the EIFF has annually championed the most innovative and eclectic documentaries. The 2006 selection are competing for the inaugural Feature Documentary Award and we have a hot half-dozen that are certainly contenders.

Wide Awake charts the attempts of filmmaker Alan Berliner to conquer his insomnia. Unusually for a first-person doc, Berliner cuts found footage, movie clips and home movies into his smartly constructed narrative. Illuminating and fascinating, sleep will be the last thing on your mind.

Walking to Werner sees filmmaker Linas Phillips pay homage by hiking from Seattle to Los Angeles to visit his hero, the mercurial Herzog. A deeply involving tale of obsession and self-discovery, Phillips tangles with a series of emotionally and physically damaged strangers en route. What does Werner think? See it and find out.

Air Guitar Nation pays tribute to the would-be masters of the invisible axe. This is a top notch observational documentary that’s high on humour and plays out as much more than a one note joke. Watch out for announcements on upcoming ‘Aireoke’ contests during the festival.

The Railroad All-Stars are a football team comprising prostitutes from a Guatemalan ghetto. Tired of the regular beatings and poverty that accompany their trade, they form the outfit to raise awareness of their plight. This is a moving and inspirational account of their attempts to conquer prejudice and win support for their cause.

Voices of Bam is an elegiac observation of the aftermath of the disastrous earthquake that devastated the eponymous Iranian city. An unobtrusive and impressionistic style perfectly captures the material and spiritual struggle of the inhabitants.

Who Needs Sleep? is activist and filmmaker Haskell Wexler’s investigation of the dire and dangerous work practices imposed upon movie crews by Hollywood studios. Wexler was inspired to make this following the death of a sleep deprived co-worker and persevered through 8 years of question dodging by the powers that be. Vital and insightful.

Wide Awake, Air Guitar Nation, The Railroad All-Stars and Who Needs Sleep? are part of our terrific Documentary Package of 8 documentaries for only £28 – that’s only £3.50 each! 

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