Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival is the biggest documentary film festival in Poland. This year marks our fourteenth journey around the world and into the depths of our own selves. Our motto – FREE YOUR MIND – is meant to inspire you to cast off habits and labels, and thus open up to the world as it is shown via documentaries: the most interesting cinematic genre, one that develops the most dynamically. Our festival is the only one in Poland to take place in five cities simultaneously: Warsaw, Gdynia, Wrocław, Bydgoszcz, and Lublin. This year’s edition features more than 140 non-fiction works which offer the essence of cinema – emotion.
The 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Documentary Film Festival will take place May 12-21, 2017, in Warsaw and Wrocław, May 17-26 in Gdynia, May 15-21 in Bydgoszcz, and May 11-14 in Lublin.
14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival – Selected Highlights
The 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival makes the most recent and outstanding documentary films available to Polish audiences. Among these works you will find an Oscar®-nominee “I Am Not Your Negro” – Raoul Peck’s story about racial segregation, persecution, and Afro-Americans’ fight for their rights in the US; and Sergei Loznitsa’s latest film “Austerlitz”, a complex portrayal of tourists visiting memorial sites founded in former concentration camps.
The festival program includes late Michael Glawogger’s last film “Untitled”, finished by his longtime editor Monika Willi. Another film star adored by the Polish audiences is Ulrich Seidl – this year, we will show his “Safari”, an observation of Austrian hunters enjoying killing animals in an African reserve. In his new film “Zero days”, the Oscar®-awarded director Alex Gibney studies the phenomenon of Stuxnet – a self-replicating computer worm that allowed the Iranian jihadis to succeed against the US military.
This year’s edition will be an opportunity to take a closer look at the achievements of two exceptional and appreciated creators. The screenings include a retrospective of, and a masterclass by Bady Minck, experimental filmmaker whose works are regularly shown at Cannes Film Festival, at Berlinale, and in Locarno. Our other heroine will be Helena Třeštíková, whose working method is consequence in observing the life of her protagonists for many years. We will show her latest film “Marriage Story” and her previous works: “Private Universe” and “Mallory”.
We will see films on great avant-garde artists and revolutionaries of art – i.a. Joseph Beuys, a German artist and theorist whose ideas defined the shape of modern thought in contemporary art (“Beuys. Art is a revolution” by Andres Veiel). This year’s program draws the audiences’ attention to China – in the new section, Chinese dream, you will find among others “Children Are Not Afraid of Death” by Ronga Guanga Ronga, awarded at the 46th FF in Rotterdam. Another new festival section Doc Dance focuses in particular on dance movies. Here you will find e.g. “La Chana” by Lucija Stojevic, a film about a legendary gypsy flamenco star back on the stage after years of absence. Kyoko Miyake in “Tokyo Idols” explores the phenomenon of girl bands’ popularity in Japan, and depicts social obsession with female sexuality. In “To Stay Alive – A Method” by Erik Lieshout, Arno Hagers, and Reinier van Brummelen, we witness an encounter between the famous French writer Michel Houellebecq and his fan… Iggy Pop. What will that turn into? A brilliant and moving “feel-good movie” on suffering.
The 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity features several motion pictures that will make us think harder about our present. The program includes “Stranger In Paradise” by Guido Hendrikx – pronounced by IDFA “2016’s most important film on refugees”. In his “Pehsmerga”, Bernard-Henri Lévy, prominent French thinker and intellectual, pays homage to the Peshmerga forces’ courage and idealism, while engaging into a philosophical essay on contemporary wars. Tonislav Hristov in “The Good Postman” reflects on what it means to be European in the age of shifting political systems and migration on the increase. The protagonists of the film are inhabitants of a small town in Bulgaria on the Turkish border.
As each year, we also invite you on a journey to far away corners of the world. Yuri Ancarani (“The Challenge”) crosses the Persian Gulf accompanying falconers in their preparations for a major tournament in a Qatar desert, thus unveiling a lesser known facet of Arab culture. In “Machines”, Sundance Film Festival award holder this year, Rahul Jain shows the horrendous working conditions in one of the many textile plants in India. “Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad (World Cinema Documentary Winner at Sundance 2017 and first prize at CPH:DOX Festival in Copenhagen) portrays the White Helmets’ volunteers scouring the ruins of an erased Syrian city in the hope of finding survivors.
The 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Festival remains faithful to its motto: “FREE YOUR MIND!”. Part of the featured works find quite a literal reference to this message – like Max Kestner’s “Amateurs in Space” about the first space rocket in human history built by non-professionals. But 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity includes so much more!
Choose the films you do not want to miss by yourselves. Sections will guide you through the themes of the films presented at the festival:
Accompanying Events in Warsaw
The Festival will hold debates organized in collaboration with the most prominent NGOs (i.a. Amnesty International, WWF Poland, Fundacja Panoptykon) and media partners such as TVP Kultura, “Zwierciadło”, or VICE.
Our audiences will get the chance to meet special guests, i.a. Cicciolina (Ilona Staller, the first porn star in history elected for parliament), Siergiej Loznitsa (“Austerlitz”, “My Joy”), Andreas Dalsgaard (“The Human Scale”, “The War Show”), Bernard-Henri Lévy („Peshmerga”), Bady Minck („MappaMundi”, “In the Beginning Was the Eye”), Helena Třeštíková (“Mallory”, “Private Universe”), and Guido Hendrikx (“Stranger In Paradise”).
Our music stage, with events closely associated to the films being screened, will feature – among others – Unlocking the Truth which brings new life to metal music and speed punk, Blade & Beard (aka Anoosh and Arash) – two DJs who organized illegal raves in Teheran, Aidan Moffat – Scottish singer and musician (best known from the Arab Strap project) and Pogodno, a living legend of Polish alternative music.
Documentary Academy in Warsaw, Gdynia, and Wrocław
As each year, an offer aimed at a variety of audiences is presented via the DOCUMENTARY ACADEMY — an educational program based on documentaries. The festival will hold special screenings for parents with babies and small children, screenings within the OKEY DOC series aimed at grade schoolers, as well as films for high school teenagers, seniors, and intergenerational screenings and workshops.
50 films in Wrocław, Gdynia, Bydgoszcz, and Lublin; Contests and Debates
The screenings of over 50 films in these locations will be accompanied by competitions and debates. We are in close cooperation with local authorities, to which we owe their support in the two competitions held within the Festival with the following awards: the Lower Silesia Grand Prix in the Wrocław edition (the Jury: Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało – poet, author, columnist, Robert Gonera – actor, Konrad Imiela – actor, director, head of the Capitol Musical Theater in Wrocław) and the Mayor of the City of Gdynia Award (the Jury: actress Katarzyna Figura, musician Mikołaj Trzaska, film theoretician Prof. Mirosław Przylipiak).
The Wrocław, Gdynia, Lublin and Bydgoszcz venues will also hold the Readers’ Award “Co Jest Grane 24” Contest.
Corporate/visual identity of the 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival is a continuation of identity authored by Karolina Kotowska. This year’s graphics by Marta Lissowska.