2014 Documentaries

Edinburgh International Film Festival has long been committed to cinema as an art that reveals the nature of reality and challenges assumptions about the world. In their variety, boldness and originality, the documentaries at EIFF 2014 show the strength of documentary filmmaking today.


Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

Directors’ Showcase/ UK Premiere
Andreas Johnsen/Denmark/2013/87 min

TUE 24 June 18:20 Cineworld
FRI 27 June 20:30 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

Making art is a dangerous business. Following his 2011 arrest by Chinese authorities, artist Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in solitary confinement. He was then released but put under house arrest and banned from exhibiting his work in China. But art prevailed: Ai’s own new sculptural series portraying his imprisonment and this compelling documentary from Danish director Andreas Johnsen, who spent a year with Ai and shared not only the stress and anguish he went through
but also the moments of joy and solidarity. [15]



No Limits / UK Premiere
Antoine d’Agata/France/2013/75 min

FRI 20 June 22:15 Filmhouse 3
SUN 29 June 15:30 Filmhouse 2
PRICE: £5.00

Intense visions of a world where flesh and drugs are antidotes to death. In Cambodia, India, Cuba, Ukraine and elsewhere, filmmaker/photographer Antoine d’Agata gathers nocturnal images of prostitutes on streets and in hotel rooms. He also records monologues in which they speak quietly of their lives, of the men who frequent them and of their fears of death and illness. This astonishing film advances no political position on prostitution and neither glamourises normoralises on the lives of its subjects. Instead, Atlas celebrates them as tragic heroines of a universe with its own laws. [18]


Ballet Boys

Teen Spirit / UK Premiere
Kenneth Elvebakk/Norway/2014/75 min

FRI 27 June 20:50 Cineworld
SUN 29 June 13:45 Odeon Lothian Road 2
PRICE: £5.00

Lukas, Syvert and Torgeir love to dance, but have they got what it takes to be the best? This warm-hearted, inspiring film introduces us to three very different young friends who are all passionate about ballet. As the boys near the end of high school, they must decide whether they have the commitment and skill to make a career in dance. In a field dominated by girls, the boys have forged a strong friendship, brilliantly captured here, which will be challenged by the choices they make at this vital stage in their lives. [12A]



New Perspectives / UK Premiere
Davi Pretto/Brazil/2014/95 min
Cast: João Carlos Castanha, Celina Castanha

Sat 21 June 18:20 Cineworld
Sat 28 June 22:00 Filmhouse 2
PRICE: £5.00

The portrait of an endearing 52-year-old cross-dresser who performs in underground gay clubs. The hero of this dark documentary is João Castanha, a cross-dresser who lives with his mother and spends his nights singing in the underground gay clubs of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Haunted by ghosts from the past, João moves between the harsh reality of daily life and his moments of glamour on stage. Set against a backdrop of shifting realities, director Davi Pretto captures his protagonist’s rapidly swirling emotions and merges them into a new fiction, defying the rules of documentary filmmaking. [15]

Cathedrals of Culture

Directors’ Showcase/ UK Premiere
Karim A?nouz, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Robert Redford, Wim Wenders, Margreth Olin/Germany/2014/165 min

SUN 22 June 13:15 Filmhouse 1
PRICE: £5.00

If buildings could talk, what would they say about us? This 3D project from six acclaimed filmmakers allows six iconic and very different buildings to speak for themselves. Bringing their own visual styles and artistic approaches to the project, the directors examine architecture as the material manifestation of human thought and action. The six buildings are the Berlin Philharmonic, the National Library of Russia, Halden Prison in Norway (called the world’s most humane prison), the Salk Institute in coastal California, the futuristic Oslo Opera House and the Centre Pompidou, each a guardian of our collective memory. [PG]


Chantier A

New Perspectives / UK Premiere
Lucie Dèche, Karim Loualiche, Tarek Sami / Algeria, France/2013/103 min

SAT 21 June 15:45 Cineworld
MON 23 June 18:30 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

An imaginative personal documentary on the reshaping of a nation. A chronicle of co-director Loualiche’s travels back to his Algerian homeland after ten years’ absence. As he wanders through the northern coastal area of Kabylia, the memories of a burning house and the reasons for his departure come back to him. The film becomes a continuous forward movement anchored in physical space, and a profound reflection on the past. The genres of documentary and fiction effortlessly melt together, and a new entity emerges: a personal Algeria shaped by history and memory. [12A] TICKETS


#ChicagoGirl - The Social Network Takes On a Dictator

Teen Spirit/ UK Premiere
Joe Piscatella/USA, Syria/2013/74 min
Cast: Ala’a Basatneh

MON 23 June 20:30 Filmhouse 2
SAT 28 June 16:40 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

A story of social activism and social media proving that anything is possible with an internet connection. The story of a 19-year-old student who leads the marches in Syria from her bedroom, #ChicagoGirl documents a new kind of revolution not just taking place in the streets. Through testimonial footage and homemade YouTube videos, we learn what it’s really like for rebels on the ground and the people trying to help them. A raw and often inspiring look at how the Facebook generation is making a political impact on a global scale. [15] TICKETS


A Dangerous Game

Special Screenings / SCOTTISH Premiere
Anthony Baxter/UK/2014/98 min
Cast: Donald Trump, Michael Forbes, Alec Baldwin, Karine Polwart, Robert Kennedy Jr

TUE 24 June 20:35 Cineworld
SAT 28 June 15:30 Cineworld
PRICE: £9.50 (£7.90 concs )

Luxury golf courses benefit a few and hurt the rest of us. This follow-up to the award-winning You’ve Been Trumped takes up where the previous film left off with the saga of American billionaire property developer Donald Trump’s incursion into Scotland. Filmmaker Anthony Baxter journeys to Croatia and the United States to probe the disastrous environmental effects of the development of luxury golf courses. Then he returns to Scotland to confront Trump. You won’t stay on the fence on the issue after this hard-hitting documentary. [U] TICKETS


Displaced Perssons (Familjen Persson i främmande land)

Dead New Perspectives/ UK Premiere
Åsa Blanck, Johan Palmgren/Sweden/2013/85 min
Cast: Pelle Persson, Shahmin Persson, Mia Persson, Zahra Persson

SUN 22 June 20:50 Cineworld
FRI 27 June 18:10 Cameo 3
PRICE: £5.00

Can you go home again? Forty years ago Pelle Persson left Sweden and travelled the world in search of adventure. He settled in Pakistan, fell in love, married and had two daughters. Now the girls have grown up into young women, he wonders if they might all have a better life in Sweden. So the four of them up sticks and set off back to the family he hasn’t seen in decades. A hilarious and deeply touching culture-clash comedy. [12A] TICKETS


Doc of the Dead

Films on Film / EUROPEAN Premiere
Alexandre O Philippe/USA/2014/82 min
Cast: George A Romero, Simon Pegg, Bruce Campbell, Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman

SAT 21 June 20:45 Cineworld
SAT 28 June 18:15 Odeon Lothian Road 2
PRICE: £5.00

A sprightly zombie walk through the world of the undead. Alexandre O Philippe, director of The People vs. George Lucas and The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus, explores the history of the zombie in popular culture with clips galore and an impressive line-up of interviewees (including Simon Pegg, Bruce Campbell and, of course, George A Romero), and asks for tips from the experts on how to survive a zombie outbreak. Because, you know, it could really happen... [PG] TICKETS


Finding Vivian Maier

American Dreams / UK Premiere
John Maloof, Charles Siskel/USA/2013/84 min

THU 19 June 18:00 Filmhouse 1
FRI 20 June 20:15 Cineworld
PRICE: £9.50 (£7.90 concs )

The gripping investigation of the life of a brilliant photographer. A winning bid on a box of photographic negatives at a Chicago auctionhouse leads to the discovery of the massive body of work of a recently deceased, hitherto completely unknown photographer named Vivian Maier. In this thrilling and fascinating film, John Maloof, the lucky buyer of the treasure trove, follows the traces of the French-born Maier, who lived secretively in the United States as a professional nanny. A combination detective story, complex psychological portrait, and in-depth study of what makes great photography great. [PG] TICKETS


A Fuller Life

Films on Film/ UK Premiere
Samantha Fuller/USA/2013/80 min
Cast: Joe Dante, William Friedkin, James Franco, Monte Hellman, Buck Henry, Tim Roth, Constance Towers, Wim Wenders

THU 26 June 18:00 Filmhouse 2
FRI 27 June 16:30 Filmhouse 3
PRICE: £5.00

A gripping tribute to a true American maverick. Samuel Fuller’s adventure-filled life as journalist, infantryman, novelist and filmmaker spanned the entire world and encompassed major turning points in 20thcentury history. His body of work as a director, writer and producer is one of the most radical and exhilarating in the history of American cinema. Twelve prominent Fuller admirers use his own words to narrate his life story, accompanied by clips from his great films and never-before-seen images from his personal archive. [12A] TICKETS


Garnet’s Gold

New Perspectives/ EUROPEAN premiere
Ed Perkins/UK/2014/76 min

WED 25 June 20:25 Cineworld
SAT 28 June 13:30 Odeon Lothian Road 2
PRICE: £5.00

A very special man on a life-changing mission. Garnet Frost is a middle-aged dreamer, devoted to his mother and given to singing old showtunes in pubs. With the aid of a few friends, he sets off on a quixotic expedition to the Highlands in search of a cache of gold sent in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie. This revealing documentary is both an exciting account of an unusual journey and a candid portrait of a man who has never accepted the rules of life. [12A] TICKETS

The Incomplete (Der Unfertige)

No Limits/ UK Premiere
Jan Soldat/Germany/2013/48 min

SAT 21 June 20:30 Cineworld
THU 26 June 22:10 Filmhouse 2
PRICE: £5.00

A man who wants to be the perfect slave. The Incomplete is a documentary portrait of Klaus Johannes Wolf, a self-described 60-year-old gay slave. Chained on his bed, he talks about his decision to be a slave, his parents and what it means to be naked. Finally he leaves everything behind on a quest to become the perfect servant. A startling look at a way of life with its own laws, sacrifices and pleasures. [18] Screening with: Pierrot Lunaire TICKETS


Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?

Directors’ Showcase/ UK Premiere
Michel Gondry/France/2013/89 min

FRI 20 June 18:10 Filmhouse 1
FRI 27 June 20:30 Odeon Lothian Road 2
PRICE: £9.50 (£7.90 concs )

An inventive new way of probing perennial questions about language and the mind. This new work by the endlessly exploratory Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is an inspired, hand-drawn animation set to a series of conversations between Gondry and philosopher/linguist Noam Chomsky. As Chomsky patiently recounts his life and discusses his views on language acquisition and memory, Gondry translates his words into a stream of playful, constantly morphing imagery. Great fun for both the eyes and the mind. [PG] TICKETS


Joy of Man’s Desiring (Que ta joie demeure)

Directors’ Showcase/ UK Premiere
Denis Côté/Canada/2014/70 min
Cast: Guillaume Tremblay, Emilie Sigouin, Hamidou Savadogo, Ted Pluviose, Cassandre Emmanuel, Olivier Aubin

SAT 21 June 20:40 Cineworld
SUN 29 June 13:40 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

A startling new look at the universe of work. This exploration of the rhythms, systems and routines of factory work makes vibrant and fascinating cinema out of the repetitive interactions between humans and machines. Director Côté, in this multi-layered artistic documentary, focuses on the private inventions that enable those who perform factory labour to assert their humanity. The high-definition images and a dense musique concrète soundtrack combine to produce an overwhelming impact. [12A] TICKETS


Life May Be

Directors’ Showcase / WORLD Premiere
Mark Cousins, Mania Akbari/UK, Iran/2014/85 min

SAT 21 June 20:30 Filmhouse 1
MON 23 June 20:20 Cineworld
PRICE: £9.50 (£7.90 concs )

A heartfelt meditation on art and identity. Two filmmakers carry on a correspondence in the form of essayistic films in which they consider some themes that are at the core of their personal and artistic lives: exile, the body, representation. As each filmed letter responds to and spirals off from the previous one, the film becomes increasingly fervent and complex, interrogating the artistic process and identity itself. A free and bold film that unites two EIFF veterans: Mania Akbari (From Tehran to London, EIFF 2013) and Mark Cousins (A Story of Children and Film, EIFF 2013). [12A] TICKETS



No Limits / UK Premiere
Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez/USA,Nepal/2013/118 min

THU 19 June 17:50 Filmhouse 2
FRI 20 June 20:20 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

Technology and spiritual belief meet aboard a Nepalese cable car. Manakamana is set in a cable car that transports passengers to and from the holy temple of Manakamana in Nepal. The film is a spellbinding adventure in which a constant physical and emotional negotiation unfolds between the camera and each passenger. This interaction produces a strong sense of wonderment as the eleven journeys up and down unfold. Each ride produces strong relationships with the characters – and each incidentally lasts about 10 minutes, or the length of a roll of 16mm film. [U] TICKETS


My Name Is Salt

New Perspectives/ UK Premiere
Farida Pacha/Switzerland/2013/92 min

MON 23 June 18:20 Cineworld
TUE 24 June 18:10 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

A strikingly beautiful portrayal of an extraordinary world. Every year, just after the monsoon season has finished, thousands of families travel to a bleak desert in Gujerat, India, where they will stay for the next eight months and extract salt from the earth, using the same painstaking, manual techniques as generations before them. Director Farida Pacha and cinematographer Lutz Konermann spent a season with one of these families, observing the very particular rhythms of their lives and crafting an exquisite, lyrical film in the process. [12A] TICKETS


My Red Shoes (Mes souliers rouges)

Focus on Iran/ EUROPEAN premiere
Sara Rastegar/France/2013/80 min
Cast: Kaveh Rastegar, Fariba Rastegar, Ava Rastegar, Roxana Rastegar, Pantéa Kian

TUE 24 June 20:15 Filmhouse 2
THU 26 June 18:15 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

A heartfelt account of love during revolution and the quest for purpose in life. Kaveh and Fariba were 20 years old in 1979, when the Iranian revolution turned their country and their ideals of liberty upside-down. After years of struggle and imprisonment, they found their way to France, where they brought up their daughters to value freedom and art. Combining gripping personal accounts, scenes of daily life, metaphysical digressions and home-movie footage in Super 8 and Hi8, My Red Shoes is a warm and luminous film about commitment, exile and the transmission of values after private and political catastrophe. [PG] TICKETS

Norman McLaren: Boogie Doodler

Jenny MacLeod/UK/2014/30 min

FRI 20 June 16:45 Filmhouse 2

Who was Norman McLaren? To mark his centenary, this BBC Scotland documentary heralds Norman McLaren as a pioneer of animation, electronic music and experimental film. From his early years at the Glasgow School of Art through to his work with the National Film Board of Canada, it charts McLaren’s filmmaking career and his influence on contemporary artists. Featuring contributions from Michel Gondry, members of McLaren’s family and his collaborators at the NFB, Norman McLaren: Boogie Doodler celebrates his remarkable innovation, playfulness and passion for music and dance. www.mclaren2014.com [U] TICKETS

An official Culture 2014 event and part of the year of Homecoming Scotland 2014 celebrations. The McLaren 2014 Programme has been produced by the Centre for the Moving Image, in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada.



Focus on Germany/ UK Premiere
Thomas Heise/Germany/2014/82 min

THU 26 June 20:10 Cineworld
SAT 28 June 13:00 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

The everyday life of inmates and guards at a juvenile prison in Mexico. In a calmly observational style, the film portrays scenes from the daily life of the Comunidad San Fernando, a juvenile prison in Mexico City. We get to know a few of the prisoners through their matter-of-fact talks about how they landed in prison and what they plan to do when they get out. Meanwhile, preparations are under way for Christmas celebrations. The latest crisply elegant, thought-provoking work by documentary master Thomas Heise (Consequence, EIFF 2013). [12A] TICKETS

‘Til Madness Do Us Part (Feng Ai)

Directors’ Showcase/ UK Premiere
Wang Bing/Hong Kong, France, Japan/2013/ 228 min

FRI 27 June 15:30 Filmhouse 2
PRICE: £9.50 (£7.90 concs )

An unforgettable work by one of the most uncompromising and influential documentary filmmakers. In a dilapidated mental institution in southwestern China, a motley group of inmates spend their lives shuttling between dormitory rooms and a spartan common space. Some of them are there because they are truly mentally ill; others perhaps have committed crimes or displeased some authority, or were denounced and abandoned by their families, or simply don’t fit in anywhere else. With great compassion and unflinching lucidity, Wang Bing immerses us in the lives of people who have been forgotten by society. [15]


That Guy Dick Miller

Films on Film/ UK Premiere
Elijah Drenner/USA/2014/91 min
Cast: Dick Miller, Lainie Miller, Joe Dante, Roger Corman, William Sadler, Corey Feldman

THU 26 June 20:00 Filmhouse 2
FRI 27 June 14:15 Filmhouse 3
PRICE: £5.00

Look! There’s that guy! Yeah, him! What’s his name again? Having appeared in literally hundreds of feature films, and worked with some of the most famous directors and actors in the world, Dick Miller is not a household name, but he is a cult icon. Featuring contributions from Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Sayles and Miller’s own family, this light-hearted documentary provides a cheerful, charming insight into his life and times, and firmly puts a name to the famously familiar face. [U] TICKETS


Tony Benn: Will & Testament

Special Screenings / WORLD PREMIERE
Skip Kite/UK/2014/90 min
Cast: Tony Benn

FRI 27 June 18:00 Filmhouse 1
PRICE: £5.00

The heart and soul of Britain’s left, portrayed through the turbulent post-war period. Throughout this vivid portrait of a man whose career transcended politics, Tony Benn reviews the triumphs and the upsets of his personal and his private life, from his fight to retain his seat in the House of Commons after his elevation to the peerage, to his championship of the 1971-72 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders’ work-in, to his battles with a hostile mainstream press. The long-time Labour MP participated in the making of this moving and informative tribute shortly before his death in March 2014. [U] TICKETS

The Uprising

No Limits/ UK Premiere
Peter Snowdon/Belgium, UK/2013/79 min

THU 26 June 18:30 Filmhouse 3
SUN 29 June 13:15 Cameo 3
PRICE: £5.00

Experiencing the Arab revolutions from the inside. How does one present such a complex phenomenon as the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings? This feature-length documentary mines the extensive archive of YouTube videos made by citizens and long-term residents of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The film skilfully weaves together this footage, not to recount the actual chronology of events or analyse their causes, but to create an imaginary pan-Arab uprising that exists (for the moment) only on the screen. [15] TICKETS


New Perspectives/ UK Premiere
Orlando von Einsiedel/UK/2014/90 min
Cast: Melanie Gouby, Dr Emmanuel de Merode, Andre Bauma, Rodrigue Mugaruka

TUE 24 June 18:30 Cineworld
THU 26 June 20:30 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

On the front lines of the battle to save the planet. The Virunga National Park in eastern Congo is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas. But oil has been discovered beneath the park. A courageous young journalist, an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a carer of orphaned gorillas and a Belgian conservationist risk their lives to protect this precious land from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. [15] TICKETS

What Now? Remind Me (E Agora? Lembra-me)

Directors’ Showcase/ UK Premiere
Joaquim Pinto/Portugal/2013/164 min
Cast: Joaquim, Nuno, Jo, Deolinda, Cláudia, Nelson, Rita

WED 25 June 20:00 Cineworld
SAT 28 June 13:20 Cineworld
PRICE: £5.00

A filmmaker creates a poetic video diary of his memories and his struggle with HIV. Joaquim Pinto has been living with HIV and hepatitis for almost twenty years. The film is his notebook of a year of clinical studies with unapproved mind-altering drugs; an open and eclectic reflection on time, survival beyond all expectations and absolute love; and a tribute to friends departed and those who remain. A delicate, breathing organism, this multi-layered self-portrait becomes a snapshot of our times. [18] TICKETS


75 min
WED 25 June 16:30 Cameo 3
SUN 29 June 18:30 Cameo 3
PRICE: £5.00

A collaboratively curated programme of powerful experimental documentaries that oscillate between intellectual objectivity and discomforting proximity. Confronting past events, present predicaments and potential futures, the films grouped together here deal with issues of race, discrimination, marginality, cultural difference, technology and science. Rather than asking the spectator to take up a fixed position, these works open up a space for personal reflection. With films by Monica Saviron, Kevin Jerome Everson, Maryam Tafakory, Mahdi Fleifel, Per Eriksson, and Guillaume Cailleau.[15]

Bridging the Gap

100 min
THU 19 June 15:45 Filmhouse 1
PRICE: £5.00

Five new films from the Scottish Documentary Institute’s unique talent programme. This diverse collection of shorts pieces together stories from across our nation, exploring a breadth of Scottish life. Meet characters as varied as an inner-city 17-year-old political activist, and an 86-yearold female crofter in the remote outer Hebrides. Consider the grandfather-grandson relationship through the filmmaking process, delve under the surface of a blind woman’s life, and examine the legacy of colonialism through the aerial photography of Kenya. [15]

Interrupted Revolution: Iranian Cinema, 1962 to 1978
Truths Beyond Truth: Three Masterpieces

105 min
SAT 21 June 18:30 Filmhouse 3
PRICE: £5.00

The House Is Black (Khaneh siah ast)
Forugh Farrokhzad/Iran/1962/22 min
The only directorial effort by famed poet Forugh Farrokhzad, this film has not infrequently been called one of the greatest films of all time. A documentary about conditions at a leper colony becomes a haunting and dazzling flight into a cinema of pure poetry.

The Night It Rained (An shab ke barun amad)
Kamran Shirdel/Iran/1967/35 min
A young small-town boy becomes a national hero for saving a passenger train from derailing. Commissioned to make a patriotic celebration of the boy’s act, filmmaker Kamran Shirdel instead provides a sharply ironic interrogation of documentary truth.


Waiting (Entezar) [this is not a documentary, but is showing as part of Truths Beyond Truths]
Amir Naderi/Iran/1974/48 min
Cast: Hasan Heidari, Zohreh Ghahremani, Farzaneh Yousefi
A little-known masterpiece by one of the great talents of the New Wave of Iranian cinema. A poor young boy in southern Iran lives for the moments when he receives pieces of ice offered through a part-opened door by a woman’s beautiful hands. Told without dialogue, the film is an astonishing visual tour de force. [15]

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