THE CHILDREN OF LENINGRADSKY

Dir: Andrzej Celinski & Hannah Polak

This raw and heartbreaking documentary follows a group of orphans and runaways just about existing in Moscow's Leningradsky station, whose miserable days consist of the grim horrors of prostitution, begging, glue-sniffing and dealing with the direct threats of police brutality and AIDS. Oscar-nominated and bearing unflinching witness to the terrible reality of child-homelessness, this is a must-see insight into one of our most desperate urban conditions.

GIGI, MONICA...AND BIANCA

Dir: Yasmina Abdellaoui & Benoît Dervaux

The films shows the life of Gigi and Monica. They are in love and live with a gang of other street children in the district surrounding the Northern Station in Bucarest. It would be more to the point to say they survive, from day to day, doing small, poorly paid jobs. They have learned to live with insecurity and marginalisation, yet enjoy their freedom with the carefree attitude of youth. Monica discovers she is pregnant and their precarious existence takes a sharp turn.

In Association With The London Children's Film Festival.

OCCUPATION: DREAMLAND

Dir: Garrett Scott & Ian Olds

One year on to the day from the beginning of the devastating US assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja, an assault that saw hundreds killed, tens of thousands displaced and the majority of the city destroyed, this special screening and discussion considers the political implications of such strategies.

One of the most violent acts of the current occupation of Iraq was the almost complete destruction of the city of Falluja in last November's siege and assault by US forces. There were no Western news crews inside the city, even Al-Jazeera had left. This film comprises video testimonies from inside the besieged city, along with footage of injuries and civilians under fire. It provides a concise introduction to the historical roots of resistance to the occupying forces in the city and it conveys a real sense of what such attacks can do to a community.

SHOOTING UNDER FIRE + Director Q&A

Dir: Sacha Mirzoeff & Bettina Borgfeld

In a part of the world where perspective dictates politics, it's critical for the photojournalist to capture stories without prejudice or bias. This shocking and revealing film follows Reinhard Krause, the head of the Reuters photo bureau in Israel...

THE DEVIL'S MINER

Dir: Ross Kauffman & Zana Briski

The Bolivian silver mines of the Cerro Rico mountain have been exploited for over 450 years. It is estimated that over eight million people have died in the mines. It is known as "the mountain that eats men". The Devil's Miner is the story of 14 year-old Basilio Vargas and his 12 year-old brother Bernardino, as they work in one of these mines. Through the children's eyes, we encounter the world of devout Catholic miners who sever their ties with God upon entering the mountain. It is an ancient belief that the devil, as represented by hundreds of statues constructed in the tunnels, determines the fate of all who work within the mines. 

BORN INTO BROTHELS

Dir: Ross Kauffman & Zana Briski

In Calcutta's red light district appear a group of unforgettable children. Feisty, resilient and wickedly funny - they are the children of prostitutes. Trying to evade a doomed future, they embark on a transformational journey with New York based photographer Zana Briski, who teaches them photography. This humorous and heartfelt story portrays the power of art and the courage of those willing to change their own lives.

Robben Island began as a place of banishment for social outcasts and in the 1960s it was turned into a notorious high security prison for political prisoners who opposed the apartheid regime. The film reveals the great courage of some of its prisoners, who survived despite unimaginable physical and emotional suffering. We hear remarkable personal accounts from those sentenced to a lifetime on Robben Island, including Mandela, Sisulu, and Mbeki, who managed to transform a seemingly hopeless situation into a positive experience. A story of the triumph of freedom and dignity over repression and humiliation.

Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Angus Macqueen, gained extraordinary access to the drug gangs in Rio, Brazil to make Leo and Ze, an unsettling story of violence, poverty and wasted lives. Ze, a former gang leader who has managed to get out and survive, tries to help his nephew, Leo, to do the same. Through the lives of this family, a picture emerges of the way in which the gangs, financed by cocaine sales, have taken over the favela. These are adolescent boys who rule by terror. The normal inhabitants can do nothing in the face of the guns bought on the proceeds of 'the white stuff.'

Multi award-winning documentary conveying the grueling reality of Israeli occupation through a series of encounters between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and humiliated Palestinians, at military checkpoints. The impression is one if an endless situation, in which people on both sides are forced into positions that leave little room for human dignity.

This powerful documentary follows the lives of three Palestinian boys from the Dheisheh refugee camp after their thirteen-year-old friend is shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. The children amuse themselves by throwing stones at Israeli tanks. 

Both a classic documentary and a vital pop-cultural artifact, D.A. Pennebaker's portrait of Bob Dylan captures the seminal singer-songwriter on the cusp of his transformation from folk prophet to rock trendsetter. Shot during Dylan's 1965 British concert tour, Pennebaker employs an edgy vérité style. His incredible access to the legendarily private star enables us to witness Dylan's shifting moods as he performs, relaxes with his entourage and jousts with fans, press and fellow musicians. It's a measurement of the filmmaker's acuity that the conversations are often as gripping as Dylan's solo performances. A rare and timeless classic.

Directly inspired by the Pennebaker classic Don't Look Back, I am trying to break your heart is a compelling study of seminal rock band, Wilco as they record the best music of their career. Shot in luminous black-and-white by photographer Sam Jones, the film pays respect to Pennebaker's intimate vérité style. Jones tempers the backstage dramas and unfathomable corporate shenanigans with inspired live performances, as the band perform songs from their beleagueredbeleaguered "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" album, now considered a modern classic.

The Moscow skyscraper was Stalin's pet project, envisioned in the spirit of a Communist utopia but in reality built by prisoners of war and Gulag detainees to house KGB agents and the Moscow Intelligentsia. Shot in the ghostly corridors, and told through the stories of the residents, this is an ironic, off-beat portrait of modern-day Russia.

 

DETROIT: RUN OF A CITY

Dir: Michael Chanan & George Steinmetz

Motor City was built upon the social concept of 'Fordism'. Through interviews and photographs as well as a remarkable variety of archive footage - Ford plants, mass protests of the Depression years, Diego Rivera painting his famous mural 'Detroit Industry', the struggle for trade union rights, the riots of 1943 and 1967 - this film traces the company's ideological roots and the effect of its ruthless progress on the city.