10 films racing for the “What’s Up, Doc ?” award for the first time at TIFF 2022

For the first time in the history of the Transylvania International Film Festival, the documentary genre will have a dedicated competition. What’s Up, Doc?, a long-standing section at TIFF, is being reconfigured at the 21st edition of the festival, addressing exclusively directors from all over the world who are in their first or second feature-length documentary in their careers. The new competitive section includes 10 titles competing for the Best Film Award (worth 2,000 euros), offered by a jury of three personalities from the film industry and world culture.

“At first it was the idea of ​​a documentary competition, but I didn’t know exactly what we were looking for or where we would end up with it. Together with the same team responsible for the Official Competition, we watched dozens, hundreds of documentaries and gradually, the profile On my own, I have discovered more and more hybrid documentaries and productions that deviate recklessly and sometimes even blasphemously from the conventions of the genre. With the risk of upsetting purists, almost anything is allowed in What’s Up, Doc ?, including those movies that blur the line between fiction and documentary to the point where you don’t know exactly what you’re watching,” Mihai Chirilov, Artistic Director of TIFF.

A local production opens the list of the 10 titles selected in the program: For me you are Ceausescu is a real meta-film, located on the slippery and experimental ground between fiction and documentary. Awarded at the Doclisboa and Ji.hlava profile festivals, Sebastian Mihăilescu’s innovative debut is not so much about the dictator in title and his authoritarian regime, but about his years of revolutionary youth, reconstituted in a hangar by a group of millennials chosen after a casting.

Brotherhood, directed by Francesco Montagner, won a Golden Leopard at the 2021 Locarno International Film Festival with the engaging story of three brothers from Bosnia, born into a family of shepherds. Their lives have undergone a dramatic transformation when their father, a preacher of Islam known for his radical beliefs, is sentenced to prison.

Bucolic, the first feature film by director Karol Palka, explores the universe of an isolated village in Poland, where Denusia and her daughter live in the same rhythm as the laws of nature, surrounded by animals and the spirits of those who are no longer with us. Far from idealizing rural life, the documentary builds a mesmerizing image of loneliness and the need to belong. The village world is analyzed, with a lot of black humor and fictional interventions, by the director Morgane Dziurla-Petit, who documents her return to her homeland in Excess Will Save Us. Getting closer to the people at home and to her crazy family will show her that most of them share a common dream, that of leaving the village where they have lived all their lives.

Filmed almost entirely in a car with a fixed camera placed in the back seat, The Plains by David Easteal is an existential road-movie that makes us witness, for three hours, the conversations that the man has from the steering wheel either on the phone or with the passenger on the left. From Venice Critics’ Week arrives at TIFF The Chase for Gold / Mother Lode, the hybrid documentary by Italian debutant director Matteo Tortone, about a young man who ventures into the ruthless world of gold mines in the Peruvian Andes. Splendidly filmed in La Rinconada, at an altitude of over 5,000 meters, this brutal black-and-white poem describes the extreme sacrifices desperate people make for a better life, at the risk of losing their lives.

With the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the locals on the island of Ostrov, fishermen from father to son, remained nobody. Isolated and abandoned, they live on poaching today, risking their daily lives and freedom to survive. Ostrov-Lost Island (directed by Svetlana Rodina, Laurent Stoop) will show TIFF viewers a rough snippet of their existence, in a ruined world on the border between utopia and dystopia. Between the waters, the visual artist Yuri Ancarani places his story from the fascinating Atlantis / Atlantis, in which a young Venetian dedicates all his time to the obsession of building a motor boat to help him set a new record in the community of boat enthusiasts. Provocatively manipulating reality, hence the perplexity of many critics, the film premiered in Venice in the Horizons section.

Following in the footsteps of a clandestine radio broadcast, Channel 54, the debut of Argentine director Lucas Larriera, reveals a whole series of bizarre characters and conspiracy theories born around the landing. Strange characters also abound in the mysterious case of a crime in a dubious suburb of Brussels that seems to put the police in trouble. Filmed in black and white, the procedural documentary For a Fistfull of Fries (directed by Jean Libon, Yves Hinant) is a mix of detective thriller and black comedy in which a gastronomic detail sheds light on a complex investigation and thorough.

What’s up, Doc? will be available at TIFF 2022 based on TIFF Card subscriptions, already available online, in limited edition, on the Eventbook platform.

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