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March 13

Land of the Free

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Three out of four prisoners released in the United States will sooner or later find themselves behind bars again. What chances will 42-year-old Brian have after his return to freedom? The majority of the population of South Central Los Angeles are African American. The community is dominated by drug dealers and gangs, and shootings are a daily occurrence. When portraying this neighbourhood, Danish documentarist Camilla Magid focused on the lives of several individuals who have recently returned from prison and are searching for their place in society. Brian spent 24 years in jail, and there is no one is waiting for him on the outside. He doesn’t know how to send an email or ask a girl out on a date, much less how to look for a job when he has a criminal record. In another situation, young parents find it difficult to re-establish a loving relationship with their children. Will all of them successfully return to the “Land of the Free”? Show more

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When the War Comes

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The controversial group Slovenskí branci (Slovak Conscripts) recruits young men from across Slovakia. Is this just an innocent game of playing soldiers? Or is it a militia flirting with extremism that presents a security threat? Eighteen-year-old Peter Švrček lives with his parents and, at first glance, is not different from his peers. However, he feels that he is a patriot and several years ago established the organisation Slovenskí branci (Slovak Conscripts). Over 200 young men looking for guidance and their own identity have gone through the intensive military training he provides in the middle of Slovakia’s forests “to defend and preserve the nation”. Dressed in cammies and carrying machine gun mock-ups, they subject themselves to Peter’s authoritative tendencies. Peter believes that his organisation has a future. He plans to one day set aside his uniform and address the masses as a politician. This documentary, presenting the disturbing rise of nationalism in Slovakia and how power functions, premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival. Show more

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Piripkura

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The last two members of the Piripkura rainforest tribe live in the middle of Amazonia. Fire is their most valuable possession, and their survival depends on the fate of the jungle they inhabit. Jair Candor, the coordinator of a rainforest protection project, travels with the film crew to the depths of the jungle to meet Pakyî and Tamandua – the last members of the Piripkura tribe. They were the only ones to survive a clash with the logging companies that are destroying the Amazon forest bit by bit. The two of them venture forth into civilisation only when their fire dies out. This film provides important proof that members of aboriginal tribes still live in the forest. At this point, this evidence is the only legal barrier saving the rest of the Amazon Rainforest from complete destruction. Show more

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Lady of the Harbour

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Suzanna Chen, a gutsy Chinese woman, arrived in Greece in the early 1990s. Her journey was by no means simple. Now, during the current migration crisis, she provides assistance to other people just arriving in Europe. She left China thirty years ago and arrived in Greece with the vision of a better life. Suzanna encountered many hardships during the illegal crossing of borders, but she also found unexpected generosity. Now it is her turn to express her thanks to her second home, and to improve the Greeks’ perception of China. With her Greek husband Takis, she leads a group of Chinese volunteers who help refugees – they help to navigate incoming boats, distribute blankets and dry clothing, and cook rice for the new arrivals. Quite often they run into absurd conflicts with the official aid system. This refreshing documentary about a Chinese community involved in helping immigrants offers a new point of view regarding the current humanitarian crisis, and even offers a few humorous moments. Show more

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Fonko

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Perhaps the greatest musical revolution today is taking place far away from the news cameras – on the African continent. The film is a wild ride through the hottest musical trends that are getting people moving from Dakar to Cape Town. "Music is the weapon of the future." Africa is no longer the Third World, as it continues to be portrayed by the European mainstream media. The last few years have seen turbulent social and political changes in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Senegal, Burkina Faso and South Africa, which naturally are reflected in the art created by the local populations. Music is a means for them to strengthen their identity, a catalyst for historical and personal traumas, and offers space for voices that are not otherwise heard. Show more

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Becoming Who I Was

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Five-year-old Padma Angu is no ordinary boy. He was recognised as the reincarnation of a spiritual teacher in Tibet. The boy is taken under the wing of an old monk and healer, who for seven years acts as his mentor. Padma first enjoyed the reverence in his native village in northern India. However, the honourable title of Rinpoche begins to represent a burden rather than a privilege for the small boy. His mentor, follower and friend, the aging Urgyan, unselfishly subordinates his life to the boy's. Together, they travel all the way to Tibet, facing many trials and tribulations. This time-lapse documentary on the relationship between a young boy and an old monk set in the Indian Himalayas shows the powerful bond of Tibetans in Indian exile to a long-lost home. Show more

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