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MILLENNIUM DOCS AGAINST GRAVITY 2020

The 17th Millennium Docs Against Gravity homes in on documentary hits

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- One of the biggest documentary festivals in Poland is unspooling from 4-13 September in seven Polish cities, while the programme will move online from 19 September

The 17th Millennium Docs Against Gravity homes in on documentary hits
Photographer of War by Boris Benjamin Bertram

Millennium Docs Against Gravity is one of those events in Warsaw – and, since 2009, other cities as well, now seven of them, to be exact – that is like a box of chocolates: no matter what you pick, it is sure to be a treat. There are new films that were previously presented at Berlin, Sundance, Hot Docs and IDFA, and the topics range from pop culture to high culture, and from ecology to economy.

The 17th edition was postponed from May, owing to the coronavirus, and is now running in hybrid form – from 4-13 September, the films are being presented in cinemas in Warsaw, Wrocław, Lublin, Poznań, Bydgoszcz, Katowice and Gdynia, and on the 19th, the event will fling open the digital screening rooms. The theme of this year’s festival, “tenderness to the world”, was inspired by Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech and is very poignant, as the social situation in Poland becomes ever more tense.

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The full programme of approximately 150 films is being shown in Poland’s capital, while other cities are presenting up to 80 documentaries and are also hosting Q&As with the filmmakers. The programme is divided into a number of competitions; there is also an Audience Award and other accolades due to be given out by, for example, Zwierciadło magazine and the Polish public broadcaster’s channel TVP Kultura.

The main competition includes 13 films, to be weighed up by a jury made up of Paweł Pawlikowski, Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz and Sigrid Dyekjaer. The documentaries in the running for the €8,000 cash prize are: For Sama [+see also:
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interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
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by Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts, La Mami [+see also:
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by Laura Herrero Garvin, The Earth Is Blue as an Orange [+see also:
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interview: Iryna Tsilyk
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by Iryna Tsilyk, Adolescentes [+see also:
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by Sébastien Lifshitz, Punks [+see also:
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by Maasja Ooms, State Funeral [+see also:
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by Sergei Loznitsa, Lessons of Love [+see also:
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interview: Małgorzata Goliszewska and …
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by Małgorzata Goliszewska and Kasia Mateja, Scars [+see also:
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by Agnieszka Zwiefka, Epicentro [+see also:
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by Hubert Sauper, The Wall of Shadows [+see also:
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interview: Eliza Kubarska
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by Eliza Kubarska, Welcome to Chechnya by David France, Rebuilding Paradise by Ron Howard and The Painter and the Thief [+see also:
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interview: Benjamin Ree
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by Benjamin Ree. There is also the Best Polish Film Award competition, including no fewer than 12 contenders. Apart from Lessons of Love, Scars and The Wall of Shadows, the following films have a chance to scoop €3,000: From Within [+see also:
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by Cezary Grzesiuk, Kystian Kamiński and Tomasz Szwan, Scandal [+see also:
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by Bartosz Paduch, Let’s Try to Jump into the Well (medim-length film) by Piotr Stasik and Dorota Wardęszkiewicz, The Time Busters [+see also:
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by Aleksandra Kutz, Tony Halik by Marcin Borchardt, Say Yes/No by Pawel Hejbudzki, The Whale from Lorino [+see also:
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by Maciej Cuske, Between Us by Dorota Proba, and Quebonafide: Romantic Psycho Film by Red Bull Media House, Quebonafide and Warsaw Production Team.

All of the movies from the programme are also divided into thematic sections: We Can Be Heroes, Cinema, Mon Amour, Man in Film, The Fourth Eye, Fetish and Culture, Intimate Stories, Climate for Change, Places, Masters, Muse and Inspiration, Oki Doki, Money and Power, Laws of Metaphysics, From Home Movies, and Understanding China.

The festival is also organising Q&As, either in person or online, with at least half of the directors, and will host debates. Special master classes are dedicated to Hubert Sauper and war photographer Jan Grarup (the protagonist of Photographer of War by Boris Benjamin Bertram) – the gathering is also curating an exhibition of his works, called Our Daily Genocides.

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