One of the largest documentary film festivals in the Nordic countries, DocPoint presents the most controversial, fascinating and talked about documentaries between January 27th and February 2nd, 2020. The 19th edition of the Helsinki Documentary Film Festival will present the Finnish premieres of Citizen K, the unbelievable story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Feras Fayyad’s touching hit The Cave, and the Cannes winner The Cordillera of Dreams by the veteran director Patricio Guzmán to name but a few. Kati Juurus, DocPoint’s new Artistic Director, is in charge of the festival’s international programme.
CITIZEN K, the new documentary by the Oscar-winning Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, 2007), tells the unbelievable story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an ex-oligarch and a current-day democracy activist, who was one of the richest people in Russia until he fell out of favour with Vladimir Putin. Sentenced on questionable grounds for financial crimes, he was sent to Siberia for ten years. After his release, Khodorkovsky has lived in exile in London where Gibney has interviewed him. CITIZEN K is a powerful depiction of the tumultuous contemporary history of Russia and of what it is like to live in Putin’s shadow.
DocPoint celebrates Patricio Guzmán, the acclaimed Chilean documentarist, by screening his illustrious Chile trilogy, in which the veteran director uses the magnificent Chilean nature as a metaphor for the painful political history of the country. THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS, the latest part of the trilogy and a Cannes winner from last May, depicts the Andes as an eternal witness to the atrocities committed in Chile. The festival will also screen the other two parts of the trilogy, NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (2010) and THE PEARL BUTTON (2015).
Fresh from the Toronto, London and IDFA film festivals, THE CAVE (dir. Feras Fayyad, Last Men in Aleppo, 2017) comes to Helsinki as one of the documentaries of the year. The cave is a safe haven of an underground hospital operated by a young female doctor Amani Ballour. The film is an homage to the victims of the Syrian Civil War and to the people who under extreme circumstances place the well-being of others above their own.
The Human and Other Species
The Human and Other Species selection of the DocPoint festival observes the relation between, well, human and other species. SPACE DOGS, directed by Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter, takes its viewers to other dimensions. It tells about the pioneering space dog Laika and her successors, stray dogs wandering about in modern-day Moscow. Shot in Canada, Mirjam Leuze’s THE WHALE AND THE RAVEN sets splendid images of nature to the song of majestic whales. THE LAST MALE ON EARTH by Floor van der Meulen describes the final years of Sudan, the only remaining male northern white rhinoceros, in a Kenyan nature reserve. What does it tell of mankind that it turns even the extinction of a species into a tourist attraction?
A New Artistic Director
The international DocPoint programme is compiled by Kati Juurus, the new Artistic Director of the festival. Prior to her new assignment, she has had a versatile career first in journalism and then in the field of documentary cinema. She came to DocPoint from the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (Yle) where she worked as a documentary filmmaker. As a journalist, Juurus has won e.g. a State Award for Public Information and a Bonnier Grand Journalist Prize. Her documentaries have been screened at both Finnish and international film festivals. For Kibera! (2015) was invited to the Mid-Length Documentary Competition of the prestigious International Documentary Film Amsterdam (IDFA).
The venues of DocPoint 2020 are going to be Bio Rex, Kinopalatsi, Maxim, Kino Regina, Orion, and Kiasma Theatre.
DocPoint’s full programme will be revealed and ticket sales will kick off on January 3rd, 2020, which is when the festival magazine will also appear. The DocPoint Christmas gift tickets will be available in December.