Documentaries in Golden Gate Awards Competition at 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival

Docs from Around the World Among Contenders for $60,000 in Prizes


The 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 22-May 6) announced today its Documentaries in Competition for the prestigious Golden Gate Awards. The International will award close to $100,000 in total prizes this year. Sixty thousand dollars will be awarded to winners in three categories: investigative documentary feature ($25,000), documentary feature ($20,000) and Bay Area documentary feature ($15,000). Winners will be announced at the Golden Gate AwardsWednesdayMay 5.

SFIFF53 Golden Gate Award Feature Documentary Competition Films 

Colony directed by Ross McDonnell and Carter Gunn, Ireland/USA 2009
In this compelling and beautifully photographed documentary, the mystery surrounding the vanishing of honeybees, or Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is explored through a variety of portraits of those affected within the beekeeping industry.

The Invention of Dr. Nakamats
 directed by Kaspar Astrup Schröder, Denmark 2009
A legend in his own time-and his own mind-the fascinating, forbearing 80-year-old Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats holds 3,400 patents, including the floppy disk, bouncing jogging shoes and the impossible-to-resist Love Spray.

Last Train Home directed by Lixin Fan, Canada/China 2009
This visually stunning documentary follows a family of migrant factory workers on a grueling holiday journey back to their rural village-and the resentful child they left behind-in an intimate portrait of modern China.

Marwencol directed by Jeff Malmberg, USA 2010
West Coast Premiere    
Creativity, longing, healing and the surprising way all three can merge together underscore this engrossing documentary about Marwencol, a miniature World War II Belgian town created by Mark Hogancamp while recovering from injuries he suffered after a vicious attack.

Mugabe and the White African directed by Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson, England 2009 
A white African farmer in Zimbabwe fights to retain his land in opposition to the policies of the Mugabe administration. With no recourse in Zimbabwe, he takes his case to the African court.

The Peddler directed by Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Macheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich Argentina 2009
U.S. Premiere
Itinerant and tireless filmmaker Daniel Burmeister travels from village to village in rural Argentina, making feature films with a cast of untrained locals and building community through collective acts of cinema.

PianoMania directed by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis, Austria/Germany 2009    
Stefan Knüpfer, Steinway & Sons' captivating concert technician and piano tuner, assists an assortment of famous concert pianists, including Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel and Rudolf Buchbinder, in the quest for the perfect sound. 

Presumed Guilty directed by Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith, Mexico 2009
A young man wrongfully convicted of homicide pursues justice in a system in which guilt is presumed and the conviction rate is 95 percent, in this taut documentary about the criminal court process in Mexico.

Restrepo directed by Sebastian Junger, Tim Hetherington, USA 2010    
As harrowing as it is illuminating, Restrepo follows an Army platoon as it takes a turn on one of the most dangerous assignments in the military, a post in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. Viewers are given unfettered access to the dangers, toils and absurdities of war.

Russian Lessons directed by Olga Konskaya and Andrei Nekrasov, Russia/Norway/Georgia 2010
With access to conflict zones rarely shown, this film uncovers damning evidence of Russian violence to Georgian citizens, and constructs a portrait of a leadership willing to engage in secret wars and manufacture conflicts and media reports to consolidate power.

Simonal: No One Knows How Tough It Was directed by Cláudio Manoel, Micael Langer and Calvito Leal, Brazil 2009
Who was Wilson Simonal? This deft documentary interweaves memorable songs by the onetime star of Brazilian popular music with interviews and masterful photomontage to explore the dramatic rise and fall of one of Brazil's most popular singers in a time of military dictatorship.
In addition to these 11 documentary features, the Golden Gate Awards also will include competitors in eight other categories. These films will be announced at the Festival press conference on Tuesday, March 30.  

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