Enjoy a fantastic selection of world-class documentaries at the Glasgow Film Festival's Stranger Than Fiction events!
When, Where & How Much...
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About Glasgow Film Festival 2017: Stranger Than Fiction
The best documentaries allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes, gain a fresh perspective on matters of life and death, or provide you with the chance to experience a side of the world way beyond your comfort zone. Stranger Than Fiction is the place to find these documentaries, fusing together entertainment and education, wielding truth as a weapon and transporting us on the most incredible journeys. This year’s prime crop once again underline the rude health and diversity of the art form, including Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, an urgent, award-winning exploration of what it means to be black in today’s America, The Lost City of Cecil B DeMille, an epic quest through the California desert in search of forgotten movie history, and the incredibly tasty The Chocolate Case, a film that guarantees you will never approach that comforting hit of cocoa in quite the same way again. It’s time to get real.
GFT / Sun 19 Feb (16.00)
An eye-opening documentary following the first ever performance by pioneering Deaf and disabled theatre company, Graeae (pronounced Grey Eye) at London’s National Theatre. #sugarwater gives us a behind the scenes peek at the rehearsal process for Jack Thorne’s “The Solid Life of Sugar Water”, a searing two-person drama about a miscarriage and its ramifications in a couple’s relationship through the film, and we learn firsthand how and why Graeae are making innovative and accessible theatre.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Jo Lewis
UK 2016, 55m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Breakneck Films
Access Film Club: Swim Team
GFT / Tue 21 Feb (18.00)
GFT, together with Scottish Autism, is delighted to provide Access Film Club: a monthly screening and post-film discussion in a friendly and welcoming environment, that is open to anyone. New Jersey parents, Maria and Michael McQuay take action in this inspiring and extraordinary documentary charting the dives and rolls of the New Jersey Hammerheads, a competitive cohort of autistic teenagers who have the will to win at life.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Lara Stolman
USA 2016, 1h40m, N/C 15+ Thanks to Lara Stolman
All These Sleepless Nights
CCA / Wed 22 (20.30) & Thu 23 Feb (13.15)
After Krzysztof breaks up with his long-term girlfriend, anything seems possible. He and Michal, young, handsome, wide-eyed and on the precipice of adulthood, dive headfirst into the Warsaw nightlife. As they wander the streets of this dynamic metropolis, floating from party to party, smoking, drinking and dancing with abandon to the pulsing DJ rhythms, their friendship is tested, with emotions, sex and romance in the air. The latest genre-bending documentary from Michal Marczak is a visceral and exuberant film about the freedom of being in your twenties, inventing yourself in the rush of the moment and the many ways to fall in love.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Michal Marczak
Poland 2016, 1h40m, Polish with English subtitles, N/C 15+ Thanks to HanWay Films
All This Panic
CCA / Sun 19 (18.30) & Mon 20 Feb (13.00)
Filmed over a period of three years, All This Panic is an astonishingly intimate portrait of seven teenage girls from Brooklyn, as they navigate their turbulent ‘panic’ years. Jenny Gage follows sisters Ginger and Dusty, and a small group of their friends and peers, as they take tentative steps towards adulthood. The teens share their vulnerabilities, hopes and fears for the future with surprising candor and maturity, while supporting each other through familial tensions as they make forays into their first relationships. All This Panic reveals itself to be incredibly moving and personal, as we see these young girls narrating the story of their lives.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Jenny Gage
USA 2016, 1h19m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Dogwoof
GFT / Sun 19 Feb (15.45)
No less an authority than Pelé called George Best “the single best player in the world”. Naturally gifted, charismatic and thrilling to watch, Best turned the beautiful game into an art form. His time at Manchester United is legendary, his ability to carry the hopes of a nation unrivalled, but by the age of 29 his career at the very top level of the game was over. The pressures of fame and Best’s constant struggle with alcoholism forced him to walk a line between a blaze of achievement and the blight of addiction. A compelling insight into the life of a sporting icon.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Daniel Gordon
UK 2016, 1h30m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Dogwoof
Brasilia: Life After Design
GFT / Wed 22 Feb (18.15)
A meditation on living in one of the most planned cities on earth, this documentary looks at how the residents of the visionary, brutalist city of Brasilia seek to connect in today’s Brazil. Brasilia is a mythical place: a concrete utopia, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and urbanist Lúcio Costa, spawned out of the desert. But despite the population growing every year, the city plan itself cannot change as it’s protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Featuring a haunting, intimate score and images that take us deep into the city, Brasilia: Life After Design brings a human face to the utopian ideal.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Bart Simpson
Canada / UK 2016, 1h18m, Portuguese with English subtitles, N/C 8+ Thanks to Creative Scotland and Aconite Productions
CCA / Fri 24 Feb (18.15)
Fed up with being the victims of hate crimes, a group of gay and trans teens form a gang in Washington DC. Calling themselves ‘Check It’, they seem unlikely gang members at first glance. Some of the boys wear lipstick and carry handbags but they also carry knives and brass knuckles. Led by an ex-convict named Mo, this one-time group of victims have not only turned the tables on anyone trying to hurt them but are also trying to break free from the cycle of poverty and violence they grew up in. Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer’s documentary is a gritty and intimate portrait of marginalisation and gang violence in the United States.
Stranger Than Fiction / Directors Dana Flor, Toby Oppenheimer
USA 2016, 1h30m, N/C 12+ Thanks to The Film Collaborative
The Chocolate Case
CCA / Sat 18 (18.00) & Sun 19 Feb (15.45)
Is there such a thing as consumerism with a clear conscience? When chocolate-loving Dutch journalist Teun van de Kueken discovered the cocoa industry relied on child slavery he realised that every bite of his favourite bar made him complicit. He decided to report himself to the police and await prosecution. A clever prank blossomed into a serious cause as Teun and his colleagues set out to challenge the industry and create a guaranteed 100% slave-free chocolate bar. An entertaining, inspirational documentary that will provoke you to never accept the Fair Trade label in quite the same way again.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Benthe Forrer
Netherlands 2016, 1h30m, Dutch, French, English and German with English subtitles, N/C 12+ Thanks to Offbeat Cinema
David Lynch: The Art Life
Cineworld / Fri 24 (20.30) & Sat 25 Feb (13.00)
Who better to tell the David Lynch story than the man himself? In a lengthy interview recorded at his painting studio in the hills above Hollywood, Lynch recalls his youth among the white picket fences of suburban America, his awkward adolescence and all the individuals (including artists Bushnell Keeler and Jack Fisk) and formative experiences that shaped him as an artist. An essential insightinto Lynch that is entrancing and unpredictable and all set to a brooding score by Jonatan Bengta. The perfect curtain raiser for the return of Twin Peaks in 2017
Stranger Than Fiction / Directors Jon Nguyen, Olivia Neergaard-Holm
USA / Denmark 2016, 1h33m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Soda Pictures
GFT / Mon 20 (15.45) & Fri 24 Feb (15.45)
If ever there was an inspirational figure it is Steve Gleason. A star player with the New Orleans Saints, he was only 34 when he was diagnosed with ALS, a neuro-muscular disease. The grim blow was followed by the news that his wife Michel was pregnant with their first child. Clay Tweel’s amazing documentary uses Gleason’s extensive video journals alongside other footage to chart the battle against inevitable physical decline, Gleason’s campaigns to help other ALS patients and his desire to enjoy every possible moment as a bad-ass dad to his newborn son. Honest, unflinching and deeply moving.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Clay Tweel
USA 2015, 1h51m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Arrow Films
The Good Postman
CCA / Sat 18 (13.15) & Sun 19 Feb (13.30)
Compassion is a luxury that few feel they can afford in The Good Postman, a sad, timely documentary capturing conflicting responses to migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Great Dervent is a tiny village on the border between Bulgaria and Turkey. The population is ageing, poverty is rife and the village is facing extinction. Kindly postman Ivan decides that the solution lies in inviting refugees from Syria to settle in the village. The refugees gain a home and the village has a future. Opposition starts to grow, revealing a deep-rooted prejudice and fear of the outsider.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Tonislav Hristov
Finland / Bulgaria 2016, 1h22m, Bulgarian with English subtitles, N/C 12+ Thanks to Cat N Docs
I Am Not Your Negro
GFT / Wed 22 Feb (18.00)
Fifty years after the Civil Rights movement, race remains a defining issue in America. James Baldwin’s final book Remember This House was due to address the lives and assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The unfinished manuscript has been entrusted to director Raoul Peck who uses Baldwin’s powerful words, narrated by Samuel L Jackson, along with a wealth of archive footage to reflect on the legacy of these men and contrast with the present day killings of young African-Americans. The result is a vital, award-winning exploration of what it means to be black in America.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Raoul Peck
USA / France / Belgium / Switzerland 2016, 1h33m, N/C 15+ Thanks to Altitude
CCA / Fri 17 (18.15) & Sat 18 Feb (13.00)
When the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea invited a western rock band to play in their country for the very first time, they chose Slovenian metal band Laibach. The potential culture clash couldn’t be more extreme as a totalitarian regime plays host to a band notorious for their deadpan cover versions of songs from The Sound of Music and their supposedly ironic obsession with fascistic and military iconography. The result is a funny and thoughtful documentary that winds up revealing more about life in Kim Jong-un’s North Korea than you could possibly have imagined.
Stranger Than Fiction / Directors Ugis Olte, Morten Traavik
Norway / Latvia 2016, 1h40m, Korean with English subtitles, N/C 12+ Thanks to Dogwoof
The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille
GFT / Thu 23 Feb (16.10) | CCA / Sat 25 Feb (11.15)
Cecil B DeMille’s silent epic The Ten Commandments (1923) was one of the most spectacular and expensive films ever made, employing more than 2,500 people. Its “City of the Pharaohs” set in the Guadalupe Dunes north of Los Angeles rose 120-feet into the air and featured 35-foot tall statues and five-tonne sphinxes. After the filming, DeMille is reported to have ordered the sets buried in the sand. In 1983, Peter Brosnan began an epic quest to discover the fate of the sets. His documentary is a film buff’s delight, bringing old Hollywood’s past to life and recounting a kind of obsession that Herzog might admire.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Peter Brosnan
USA 2016, 1h28m, N/C 8+ Thanks to Lost City Productions / Peter Brosnan
CCA / Wed 22 (18.30) & Thu 23 Feb (15.45)
In 2010, prosperous art dealer Forrest Fenn buried a crate containing millions of dollars in the middle of the American desert. Publishing a cryptic poem alleged to contain clues to the crate’s whereabouts, Fenn started a national treasure hunt, leading tens of thousands to don their mountain boots and trek through the wilderness in the hope of discovering a better future. Produced by Errol Morris, this is the story of a real American treasure hunt and those willing to risk everything for the reward, many driven by something more than just wealth alone.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Thomas Leach
USA 2016, 1h27m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Thomas Leach
Remembering the Man
CCA / Fri 24 (15.45) & Sat 25 Feb (15.30)
Recent box office success Holding the Man dramatised Timothy Conigrave’s celebrated queer memoir, telling the story of his love for high school sweetheart John Caleo at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Australia. Remembering the Man is the real deal; a drama/documentary in which a tight-knit circle of friends offer their memories of Tim and John, and a love that transcended violent opposition and illness. A lengthy audio interview recorded shortly before Tim’s death in 1994 allows him to narrate events in an elegiac tale that offers a timely reminder of the constant need tofight prejudice.
Stranger Than Fiction / Directors Nickolas Bird, Eleanor Sharpe
Australia 2016, 1h23m, N/C 15+ Thanks to Peccadillo Pictures
Small Town Rage: Fighting Back in the Deep South
CCA / Thu 23 Feb (18.30)
The initial impact of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s has been the basis of some excellent documentaries, generally focused on big city stories from New York or San Francisco. Small Town Rage offers an emotional account of how it felt in the American heartland, as we hear the story of the ACT UP coalition in Shreveport, Louisiana, deep in the heart of the highly conservative South. There are heart-wrenching memories of prejudice and fear, government inaction, of those who died, those who endured and those who made a difference by standing up to be counted.
Stranger Than Fiction / Directors David Hylan, Raydra Hall
USA 2016, 1h39m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Nekkidmonkey Films
Spectres Are Haunting Europe
GFT / Sat 25 Feb (15.15)
In early 2016 the European Commission decided to close the so-called Western Balkans route, leaving thousands of people stranded on the Greek side of the Greece/Macedonia border. The Idomeni Refugee Camp became their makeshift home as they tried to make their way into Europe. Maria Kourkouta’s ambitious and powerful documentary examines the day-to-day reality of living as a refugee, before turning to the protest that followed as the ‘residents’ of Idomeni occupied the train tracks when the Greek police tried to close the camp. Spectres Are Haunting Europe is more humanistic than political, but still makes a powerful statement about European society’s most recent failure.
Stranger Than Fiction / Directors Maria Kourkouta, Nick Giannari
France / Greece 2016, 1h39m, Arabic with English subtitles, N/C 12+ Thanks to Maria Kourkouta
CCA / Tue 21 (20.15) & Wed 22 Feb (13.15)
In the midst of the Egyptian Arab spring, Bassem Yousef faced an unusual choice: heart surgeon or full-time satirist. The established doctor chose the latter and went on to become one of the most famous men in the Arab world. Dubbed “the Egyptian Jon Stewart”, Bassem created one of the most viewed television programmes in the Middle East, Al Bernameg. Sara Taksler’s documentary examines this pivotal moment in history through the eyes of a political satirist, while following Bassem and his team as they battle to stay on the air, using comedy to comment on the hypocrisy in media, politics and religion.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Sara Taksler
Egypt / USA 2016, 1h51m, Arabic with English subtitles, N/C 12+ Thanks to Sara Taksler
Where to, Miss?
CCA / Thu 16 (18.30) & Fri 17 Feb (13.15)
An inspiring tale of the fight against adversity, Where to, Miss? is the story of Devki, an Indian woman who is constantly fighting against the odds. Brought up in a conservative Indian family, she upholds traditional values but also wishes for independence. All she wants is to become a taxi driver, to live life her own way and provide other women safe and independent passage. The film, which follows Devki from young adulthood through to motherhood, is a striking feminist portrait of a woman fighting for her goals, and the challenges she faces along the way.
Stranger Than Fiction / Director Manuela Bastian
Germany / India 2016, 1h23m, Hindi with English subtitles, N/C 15+ Thanks to Film Akademie
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