The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) announced the slate of feature and short films for its 18th edition, which will take place in person from September 15-18 at venues in Camden and Rockland, Maine, and online from September 15-25 for audiences across North America.
“This year’s program celebrates the diversity of voices and forms in documentary and cinematic nonfiction,” says Ben Fowlie, Executive and Artistic Director of the Points North Institute, and Founder of the Camden International Film Festival. “These films help us make sense of an ever-changing world, and do everything we expect from great art – they ask provocative questions and interrogate the form. This year’s program emphasizes the international that represents the ‘I’ in CIFF, and reminds us time and again of the limitless creative potential and potency of the documentary form. Just as we have been for each of the past seventeen years, we are grateful to the filmmakers who have made these works of art and shared these stories.”
Major Festival highlights include the US Premiere of Tamana Ayazi and Marcel Mettelsiefen’s new Netflix release In Her Hands, a powerful film about Zarifa Ghafari, one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors filmed in the months leading up to the Taliban takeover in 2021; Sr., an endearing portrait of the life and career of Robert Downey Sr. and his relationship to his son and the latest film by award-winning filmmaker Chris Smith; and, a special sneak preview of My Imaginary Country, by acclaimed director and documentary icon Patricio Guzman, which chronicles the recent protests in Chile’s in which millions took to the street to demand democracy, dignity, and a new constitution. CIFF will also present two world premieres, an unlikely Western set in the world of the American national cowboy poetry gatherings called Cowboy Poets by Mike Day and This Much We Know by Lily Frances Henderson.
The festival will present seven North American Premieres from some of the most inventive filmmakers working across the globe, including Foragers by Jumana Manna, which will be one of two films opening CIFF and which recently took home the Green Dox Award at Dokufest Kosovo; recent Locarno premieres It Is Night In America by Ana Vaz and Matter Out Of Place, the latest from award-winning director Nikolaus Geyrhalter; the winner of Rotterdam’s prestigious Tiger Award EAMI by Paz Encina; Polaris by Ainara Vera, which recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; and the Visions du Reel special jury award-winning Herbaria, by Leandro Listorti.
In honor of Diane Weyermann, the widely beloved industry veteran and former Chief Content Officer at Participant who passed away last October, CIFF will screen several of the last films she Executive Produced. Films include A Compassionate Spy by Steve James which is set to premiere at Venice next month, Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power by Geeta Gandbhir and Sam Pollard, and the Sundance award-winning Descendant by Margaret Brown. Last November, Points North established a memorial fund for Diane, and is currently developing a filmmaker fellowship to honor her legacy and the impact she had on the global documentary community.
The feature slate also includes two alumni of Points North’s Artists Programs. Reid Davenport’s I Didn’t See You There, which received a Director prize at Sundance, was developed through the organization’s Points North Fellowship and received a grant from the American Stories Documentary Fund. Jon-Sesrie Goff’s After Sherman was also part of the inaugural cohort of American Stories grantees in 2020.
Storyforms, CIFF’s exhibition of immersive documentary experiences will feature a large-scale video installation of recent work by Colectivo Los Ingrávidos from Mexico, whose films and artworks have been exhibited across the world, including at the Whitney Biennial.
Organizers also announced that CIFF will continue with its Filmmaker Solidarity Fund for the third consecutive year. Established in 2020, this year the fund will provide $300 honoraria to all feature and short filmmaking teams participating in the virtual festival. The Filmmaker Solidarity Fund is presented by Bright West Entertainment.
This year also marks the return of in-person panels and masterclasses through the festival’s Points North Forum program, which will feature conversations around the ethics of film financing, an exploration of experimental filmmaking about the climate, a masterclass/performance with veteran editor Maya Daisy Hawke, and a special performance lecture on sensorial cinema led by award-winning Iranian artist Maryam Tafakory. The Forum program will conclude with a “town hall” gathering of the documentary community following the screening of Subject, which will include participants from Hoop Dreams, The Square, a sneak preview of the Documentary Accountability Working Group’s upcoming publication, “From Reflection to Release: A Framework for Values, Ethics, and Accountability in Nonfiction Filmmaking.”
Once again the festival will run concurrently with Points North Artist Programs. 21 projects will be supported through four fellowship programs, 15 indigenous filmmakers will be present for a special alumni gathering of our 4th World Media Lab collaboration with Nia Tero, and nearly twenty additional fellows on the ground via continued partnerships with Bay Area Video Coalition and Brown Girls Doc Mafia. Dozens of industry leaders will be in attendance for the Points North 1:1 programs, making the CIFF weekend the most dynamic and intimate documentary market experiences in the US.
A complete list of the program’s feature and short films can be found below.
2022 Camden International Film Festival Features
5 DREAMERS AND THE HORSE
Aren Malakyan & Vahagn Khachatryan | Armenia, Georgia, Germany | US Premiere
A portrait of four modern Armenians aspiring to fulfil their dreams while awaiting revolution – the lift operator who wants to travel into space, the farmer in search of a perfect wife, and two young feminists who simply want to live their lives.
A COMPASSIONATE SPY
Steve James | USA, United Kingdom
The youngest physicist recruited on the Manhattan Project, Ted Hall didn’t share his colleagues’ elation after the detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb. Concerned that a U.S. post-WWII monopoly on the weapon could lead to nuclear catastrophe, he began passing information about its construction to the Soviet Union. The only person he told – while proposing marriage – was his college girlfriend, Joan. A Compassionate Spy reveals this real-life spy-and-love story, and its profound impact on nuclear history.
Jon-Sesrie Goff | USA
A story about inheritance and the tension that defines our collective American history. The director’s exploration of coastal South Carolina as a site of pride and racial trauma through Gullah cultural retention and land preservation is interrupted by the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
ALL OF OUR HEARTBEATS ARE CONNECTED THROUGH EXPLODING STARS
Jennifer Rainsford | US Premiere
On March 11, 2011 the largest earthquake in modern history hit Japan and then, thirty minutes later, dark tsunami waves roared in over the coast of North-Eastern Japan. Since then, everyday Japanese people have found ways to mourn, and connect with, those lost in the surf.
ALL THAT BREATHES
Shaunak Sen | India, USA, UK
Against the darkening backdrop of New Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating violence, two brothers devote their lives to protecting one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as the black kite.
Emilija Škarnulytė | Lithuania, Norway | US Premiere
From the point of view of a future archeologist, BURIAL gazes through the radioactive ruins we’re making into the haunted depths of inaccessible places and the time we bury there.
Mike Day | UK, Scotland, US | World Premiere
Cowboy Poets is an unlikely Western set in the world of the American national cowboy poetry gatherings. The film is at once a celebration of the creative process and our need to create, and is an impressionistic look at the modern Western world wrangling with its identity, environmental threats, and change.
CROWS ARE WHITE
Ahsen Nadeem | Japan, Ireland, USA
After decades of living a secret life, a filmmaker travels to a strict Japanese monastery in search of guidance – but the only monk who will help him prefers ice cream and heavy metal over meditation.
Kamar Ahmad Simon | Bangladesh, France, Norway
A philosophical ballad along the rivers of Bangladesh transporting the rich and poor, young and old, East and West in a century-old paddle steamer.
Margaret Brown | USA
Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown (“The Order of Myths”, “The Great Invisible”) returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans.
Ekaterina Selenkina | Russia, Netherlands | US Premiere
Physical and virtual realities live layered on top of one another, creating new avenues for dealing illicit drugs. The poetics and politics of space are explored in this sprawling meditation on the choreography of bodies in Moscow.
Juan Pablo González | México, with France, USA
In the bucolic hills of the Jalisco Highlands, iron-willed businesswoman María García fights the impending collapse of her tequila factory.
Paz Encina | Paraguay, Argentina, Mexico, USA, Germany, France, The Netherlands | North American Premiere
The Asojá flies, the bird-god-woman who transmutes spirit. She was a tiger, she was a plant, she was a jaguar, and today she is a girl who must heal her pain. EAMI is a story of the displaced.
Jumana Manna | Palestine | North American Premiere
Moving between documentary and fiction, FORAGERS depicts the dramas between Israeli nature protection authorities and elderly Palestinians foraging for wild edibles listed as endangered species.
GEOGRAPHIES OF SOLITUDE
Jacquelyn Mills | Canada
An immersion into the rich ecosystem of Sable Island and the life of Zoe Lucas, a naturalist and environmentalist who has lived over 40 years on this remote sliver of land in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.
Carlos Pardo Ros | Spain | North American Premiere
In 1969 a bull killed H. Today his ghost drinks, laughs and dances, trying to escape from a body that is coming to an end.
Leandro Listorti | Argentina, Germany | North American Premiere
HERBARIA reveals the woven relationship between plants, films, and memories, inviting the audience to consider the process and purpose of image preservation.
I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE
Reid Davenport | USA
Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on spectacle, (in)visibility, and the corrosive legacy of the Freak Show.
IN HER HANDS
Tamana Ayazi, Marcel Mettelsiefen | USA, Afghanistan | US Premiere
At 26, Zarifa Ghafari is one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors. Filmed across two turbulent years, IN HER HANDS tells the story of Ghafari’s fight for survival against the backdrop of her country’s accelerated unraveling.
IT IS NIGHT IN AMERICA (É Noite na América)
Ana Vaz | Italy, Brazil, France | North American Premiere
A young anteater found dead by the side of a road, a boa constrictor wanders in the suburbs, a capybara swims in the water mirror of the Itamaraty Palace. The question is: are animals invading our cities, or rather are we occupying their habitat?
LOWNDES COUNTY AND THE ROAD TO BLACK POWER
Geeta Gandbhir, Sam Pollard | USA
Through first person accounts and searing archival footage, LOWNDES COUNTY AND THE ROAD TO BLACK POWER tells the story of the local movement and young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers who fought not just for voting rights, but for Black Power in Lowndes County, Alabama.
MATTER OUT OF PLACE
Nikolaus Geyrhalter | Austria | North American Premiere
Waste on the shores, waste on the mountains. On ocean floors and deep down in the earth. MATTER OUT OF PLACE is a film about rubbish, which has spread across the world, to the most remote corners of the planet.
MY IMAGINARY COUNTRY (Mi País Imaginario)
Patricio Gúzman | Chile, France | Sneak Preview
In 2019, a protest exploded in Santiago when 1.5 million Chileans took to the streets to demand democracy, dignity, and a new constitution. With great optimism and hope, master documentarian Guzmán captures the revolution he had been waiting for his whole life.
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER
Jason Kohn | USA
Hidden from public view, a war is raging inside the diamond industry. Featuring some of the most colorful and powerful industry insiders, NOTHING LASTS FOREVER launches us deep inside a criminal investigation, daring to deconstruct and dissect the diamond and reconsider the creation of value itself.
Ainara Vera | Greenland, France | North American Premiere
Hayat, an expert sailor in the Arctic, navigates far from humans and her family’s past in France. When her little sister Leila gives birth to a baby girl Inaya, their worlds are turned upside down; we witness their journey, guided by the polar star, to overcome the family’s fate.
REWIND & PLAY
Alain Gomis | France, Germany
The machine is on the move, holds the microphone without listening, makes as many stereotypes as images. Monk recorded a French TV show in 1969. We found the rushes.
Chris Smith | USA
A tender and fittingly irreverent portrait of the life and career of Robert Downey Sr., the fearless, visionary American director who set the standard for counterculture comedy in the sixties and seventies.
Jennifer Tiexiera, Camilla Hall | USA
SUBJECT explores the life-altering experience of sharing one’s life on screen through the participants of five acclaimed documentaries.
Alejandro Alonso & Alejandro Pérez | Cuba | North American Premiere
The city of Havana is portrayed as a ghostly, magical and sensory space.
Charlie Shackleton | UK
Fragments of hundreds of films from around the world bring together an ensemble cast of actors with one thing in common: each is no longer alive.
Alex Pritz | Brazil, Denmark, USA
When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes an area of protected Indigenous territory, a young native leader and his mentor must find new ways to fight back.
THIS MUCH WE KNOW
Lily Frances Henderson | USA | World Premiere
While investigating the suicide of Las Vegas teenager Levi Presley, a filmmaker uncovers the story of a city with the highest suicide rate in the country, and a nation scrambling to bury decades of nuclear excess in a nearby mountain.
WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND (LO QUE DEJAMOS ATRÁS)
Iliana Sosa | USA, Mexico
As Julián quietly starts building a new house in rural Mexico, his granddaughter crafts a personal and poetic love letter to him and his homeland.
2022 Camden International Film Festival Shorts
Daniel Asadi Faezi, Mila Zhluktenko | Germany, Uzbekistan | North American Premiere
Amira Louadah | Algeria, France | North American Premiere
Noah David Smith, Elizabeth L. Smith | USA | World Premiere
Alex Coppola | USA
BIGGER ON THE INSIDE
Angelo Madsen Minax | USA | Sneak Preview
Wilmarc Val | France | US Premiere
CALL ME JONATHAN
Bárbara Lago | Argentina | US Premiere
CONGRESS OF IDLING PERSONS
Bassem Saad | Lebanon, Germany
Beny Wagner, Sasha Litvintseva | Germany, United Kingdom
Nehal Vyas | USA
DEERFOOT OF THE DIAMOND
Lance Edmands | USA | World Premiere
Nadia Shihab | USA
EVERYTHING WRONG AND NOWHERE TO GO
Sindha Agha | USA, United Kingdom | World Premiere
THE FAMILY STATEMENT
Grace Harper, Kate Stonehill | USA
FIRE IN THE SEA
Sebastián Zanzottera | Argentina | North American Premiere
Cynthia Wade, Sharon Liese | USA | World Premiere
LA FRONTIÉRE (THE BORDER)
Katy Haas, Megan Ruffe | USA, Canada | Sneak Preview
Pavel Mozhar | Germany, Belarus
Maryam Tafakory | Iran, Singapore, United Kingdom
Katy Haas & Megan Ruffe | USA | work in progress
LIFE WITHOUT DREAMS
Jessica Bardsley | USA, France
Alexandra Cuesta | Mexico, Ecuador | North American Premiere
Olivier Smolders | Belgium | North American Premiere
Maxime Jean-Baptiste | Belgium, French Guiana, France
MURMURS OF THE JUNGLE
Sohil Vaidya | India
MY COURTYARD (NE SOTAL)
Shrutiman Deori | India | North American Premiere
Maryam Tafakory | Iran
ONE SURVIVES BY HIDING
Esy Casey | USA, Philippines
Dalissa Montes de Oca | Dominican Republic
PARADISO, XXXI, 108
Kamal Aljafari | Palestine, Germany | North American Premiere
João Vieira Torres | Brazil, France | North American Premiere
Violeta Mora | Cuba, Honduras | North American Premiere
Morgan Myer | USA
THE SOWER OF STARS (EL SEMBRADOR DE ESTRELLAS)
Lois Patiño | Spain | US Premiere
Mohammadreza Farzad | Poland, Germany, Iran | North American Premier
Lynne Sachs | USA
Lamia Lazrak, Josie Colt | USA | North American Premier
WECKUWAPOK (THE APPROACHING DAWN)
Jacob Bearchum, Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Chris Newell, Roger Paul, Kavita Pillay, Tracy Rector, and Lauren Stevens | USA
WECKUWAPASIHIT (THOSE TO COME) Weckuwapasihtit (Those Yet to Come)
Geo Neptune, Brianna Smith | USA
WHEN THE LAPD BLOWS UP YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Nathan Truesdell | USA