Silverdocs announces films in competition for 2010

AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival has announced this year's line-up of films in competition, screening across five categories.
May 26, 2010

AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival, running from June 21 to 27 in Silver Spring, Maryland, has announced this year’s line-up of films in competition, screening across five categories.

This year’s model is screening films from around the world, selected from a record 2,163 international submissions. ‘This year we received more high-quality submissions than ever before, making it harder than ever to select the films for the 2010 program,’ says Sky Sitney, Silverdocs’ artistic director. ‘This Festival slate represents the very best the documentary form has to offer, covering a wide range of issues and voices, and focusing on cinematic excellence.’

The five sections for the films entered into competition are the Sterling U.S. Feature Competition, Sterling World Feature Competition, Sterling Short Film Competition, the Silver Spectrum and Spotlight programs. Films to screen in the U.S. Feature Competition include Beyond This Place, a U.S.-Swiss coproduction directed by Kaleo La Belle about his efforts to reconnect with his father, ‘quintessential hippie’ Cloud Rock La Belle, through a 500-mile bike trip around the Pacific Northwest. The film will have its U.S. premiere at Silverdocs.

On Coal River will be making its world premiere in this category. The film visits the residents of Coal River Valley who take action when they notice medical problems cropping up in their community after a coal-waste dumping ground is set up above a local elementary school.

Also listed in competition in this category are Camera Camera (Malcolm Murray); Circo (Aaron Schock); The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan (world premiere, directed by Henry Corra); Holywars (world premiere, directed by Stephen Marshall); The Kids Grow Up (Doug Block); Monica & David (Alexandra Codina); My Perestroika (Robin Hessman); Sons of Perdition (Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten) and Wo An Ni Mommy (Stephanie Wang-Breal). The U.S. Feature jury is made up of filmmakers Steve Bognar (A Lion in the House), Michael Palmieri (October Country) and Jenna Rosher (Junior).

The Sterling World Feature Competition category includes a number of U.S. premieres. The Woman with the Five Elephants, a German-Swiss-Ukrainian coproduction, follows Svetlana Geier, an 85-year-old woman who is considered the best translator of Russian literature into German, as she concludes the translation of Dostoyevsky’s five great novels, also known as the ‘five elephants.’

Also making their U.S. premieres at Silverdocs are Steam of Life and Familia. The former is a fly on the wall doc which listens in on mens’ conversations in Finnish saunas, while the latter follows an impoverished Peruvian family as it struggles to stay together in the midst of tribulation. Making its North American premiere in this category is The Arrivals, which follows some of the 50,000 refugees that show up on shores of France seeking asylum in Paris each year.

Other docs listed in this category include: As Lilith (Etan Harris); Budrus (Julia Bacha); A Film Unfinished (Yael Hersonski); Into Eternity (Michael Madsen); Presumed Guilty (Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith); Regretters (Marcus Lindeen) and Space Tourists (Christian Frei). The World Feature jurors are Simon Kilmurry, executive director of American Documentary/POV; Havana Marking, filmmaker (Afghan Star) and Andrea Meditch, executive producer (Man on Wire, Grizzly Man).

There are 41 films in the Sterling Short Competition category. The judges in the category are Ben Fowlie, founding director of the Camden International Film Festival; Elena Fortes, director of the Ambulante Documentary Film Festival and Aron Gaudet, filmmaker (The Way We Get By).

The festival has also named Frederick Wiseman as its Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree. Wiseman, director of such acclaimed films as Titticut Follies, High School and his recent La Danse, will have excerpts from his body of work shown during the Symposium and will take part in a discussion about his long career in doc-making. Also new this year is a new strand created in collaboration with the United States Institute of Peace, dubbed ‘Peacebuilding On Screen.’

The Silver Spectrum and Spotlight programs have yet to be announced. To see the full list of films in competition visit

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.