Fragments of the USA

Three unique letters that are stirring the global stream of political, economic and cultural events; three letters that have defined the western hemisphere and become the symbol of power and physical strength. However, what are the symbols of contemporary America oscillating between a temple of consumerism, a self-appointed watchdog of democracy and a utopian paradise of dreams come true? Compose the film fragments of contemporary America with! Spin your documentary kaleidoscope from May 4 to 10, 2015.

The selection of six documentary, slightly experimental films explores the stories of diversity found in contemporary American society. American countryside, censorship holes in the inviolable freedom of speech as well as the history of common multicultural coexistence represent mere film fragments of the constantly changing tangle of North American relations. Look at them through the eyes of original film narrators and observers and pay a tribute to the unique project of Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth 66 SCENES FROM AMERICA for a whole week!

The fact that politics can be an ironic and absurd world from the top to the bottom is openly proved by the film experiment PUBLIC HEARING by American director James N. Kienitz Wilkins. Being close to the method of re-enactment due to its powerful creative approach, the film re-performs the authentic record of a town meeting from the American East dealing with the replacement of a local Walmart with a super-Walmart. The original film form, based on long portrait shots and black-and-white aesthetics of 16mm camera, was premiered at the Danish Doc Alliance festival CPH:DOX in 2012. It was screened at MoMA’s PS1Contemporary Art Center among others.

RIP IN PIECES AMERICA by Dominic Gagnon is not afraid of expressive film language either. Composed of unedited webcam clips, the film offers a free value space for all participants in online “performances”, featuring primarily political activists, military radicals, conspiracy theorists and religious fanatics; all of whom have been censored on online servers. While the American society is fighting for the freedom of speech and silent virtual censors are doing their job, the director creates and presents an original “salon des refusés”.

NIGHT LABOR tells the story of a single lonesome protagonist. The visually impressive observation immerses itself in the depth of the process of work while entering the inner space of the life experience of the protagonist with a minimum of words being said. The film has won a Special Jury Prize at the Swiss Doc Alliance festival Visions du Réel as well as a Special Jury Prize at the documentary competition of Canada’s RIDM festival.

The intimate space of an individual is also entered by American director and artist Shelly Silver. In her visually impressive essay TOUCH, she develops her interest in a free creative play straddling the line between fiction and reality set in a place she knows very well: New York’s Chinatown. Although the film follows the central narrative line, its rich associative character rather alludes to a free movement between strong social themes, with the viewers becoming the authors of the story.

Compose the film fragments of American life from May 4 to 10 for free!

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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