A festival of documentaries

Last updated 12:11 18/02/2011

Real life and reel life rarely coincide, except in the art of the documentary film.

Is She or Isn't He?
  Is She or Isn't He? - a new NZ documentary.

In this year's Documentary Edge Festival 2011 - which sadly only screens in Auckland (till March 16) and Wellington (March 1 - 27) this year - there are around 600 films to choose from, spanning a wide range, from very cinematic documentaries, to those which are more independent and more cinema-verite style, according festival co-director Alex Lee.

Here's his pick of this year's lineup. "I think a lot of us would remember the hippie generation Dirty Bloody Hippies, made by Dan Salmon [it's] a wonderful, joyous celebration and look back at the subculture that actually defined a lot of moments in our New Zealand history. It’s wonderful to see Tim Shadbolt  speaking about his days as a hippie. The documentary is irreverent, funny, but very, very worthwhile," Lee says.

The other festival director, Dan Shanan, has his own recommendation: "I Am the River is the story about a collection of old 19th-century Maori photographs found in an attic.  The collection was both very rare and very beautiful. The collection ultimately goes to auction, which causes controversy. The story then switches to become more of a story between Maori and Pakeha fighting over how this collection should be distributed and preserved."

There's everything from fanboys angry at George Lucas, South American revolution and transgender issues, to politics, standup comedy, genocide and "sweaty naked Finnish men crying". Sounds like a hoot.

To win a double pass to either the Auckland or Wellington Documentary Edge Festivals just tell us your favourite documentary and why. (Here's a link to their site.)

(If you're from another town other than Auckland or Wellington and win, we'll find you another film prize - tickets or DVDs, most likely.)

Post a comment
Pete   #1   12:39 pm Feb 18 2011

I can't go past 'The Fog Of War' - Errol Morris' documentary on Robert S McNamara's lessons on war from the Vietnam era. A genius mix of war-time archival footage and an interview with the then 85 year old. He gets close to seeking redemption in this, and it's clear the regrets he had at the decisions he made as U.S. Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson.

But, I also really like Charles Ferguson's docos too (Inside Job deserves the Oscar this year).

A domestic favourite is definitely Kaikohe Demolition - Florian Habicht's awesome 2004 doco - I can go back to that a lot! Go Uncle Bim!

Jennifer   #2   01:19 pm Feb 18 2011

I've seen some great documentaries and agree with Pete that Fog of War is fantastic. Inside Job was very good also.

I think I'm going to say "The Bridge" - an interesting documentary about suicide and jumpers off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was more fascinating to discover some of the filmmakers dubious methods in his interviews. It is an interesting look at one of the worlds suicide mecca's about how the issue could or should be dealt with.

uhoh   #3   02:35 pm Feb 18 2011

"Man on Wire". Amazing.

Alana   #4   03:08 pm Feb 18 2011

Dear Zachary - An incredibly moving and heartbreaking story, which is extremely well told. Best thing I saw last year.

Bob   #5   03:42 pm Feb 18 2011

I think "Hearts of Darkness - A Filmmamking Apocalypse" is a must for filmbuffs..It is a fantastic behind the scenes look at the troubled set of Apocalypse Now..It's interesting also to put into context Martin Sheen's then "exstential crisis" which weirdly seems to foreshadow Charlie Sheen's own recent troubles. Check it out:


Iain   #6   04:56 pm Feb 18 2011

My Favourite Documentary at this years Edge has to be the film "Stand Up" about modern Stand Up comedy in NZ. It told the story of the modern day comedy pioneers, and how they went from nervous raw talent doing shows for thrills, to professional comedians capable of making a living. One thing I enjoyed was seeing a little bit of the history of the Comedy Club which is now a Queen street icon. This influential club is instrumental in sustaining existing comedians and blooding new ones. The movie made me feel proud to think that I contributed (in a small way) to this by being a regular audience member! The second tread in the documentary followed two budding English comedians taking their first steps and after some knocks, finally becoming highly successful comedians. Their lively story echoed the experiences of the comedy veterans and demonstrated everything they were trying to do. While the movie is not a definitive story of modern comedy in NZ, it does capture and convey the important message: there is a place to perform comedy and you only have to have the courage to Stand Up!! I would recommend this movie to everyone who loves Comedy, Arts and Auckland.

Lemuel   #7   04:28 am Feb 19 2011

King of Kong is my favourite documentary. Such incredible characters and the best laugh out loud moments I have ever been privy to in a theatre. The perfect proof that fact can be stranger and funnier than fiction.

James   #8   01:14 pm Feb 19 2011

I hope you don't have to review Justin Bieber: Never Say Never lol

Andy   #9   01:31 pm Feb 19 2011

Have you seen Orwell Rolls In His Grave a really interesting documentary.

And can be can found it at : http://freedocumentaries.org/index.php

Jill   #10   01:33 pm Feb 19 2011

"The Thin Blue Line" was riveting and really a must for crime junkies and CSI addicts.

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