Phie Ambo, director, retrospective guest
Danish Phie Ambo is known for her sometimes poetic, sometimes personal style. DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival will screen one of her short films, Songs from the Soil, and five features: Gambler, Mechanical Love, Free the Mind, Good Things Await, …When You Look Away.

(image: Anastasija urake)

Selected filmography:
…When You Look Away (2017)
Good Things Await (2014)
Free the Mind (2012)
Mechanical Love (2007)
Gambler (2006)
The Diver inside Me (2003)
Family (2001)

Cédric Bonin, producer, Braguino; co-producer, Tarzan’s Testicles
Cédric Bonin studied both producing and economics. Bonin’s work has taken him from Paris to Ludwigsburg Germany but the films he produced travel further than that. Braguino is a depiction of a family in Siberia and Tarzan’s Testicles takes place in Abkhazia, a controversial area in Caucasus.


Olga Darfy, director, I Am Gagarin
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Olga Darfy was around twenty years old. Soon her friends started organizing raves that grew into an underground cultural melting pot. These historical parties as well as the director’s personal history are the subjects of Darfy’s film I Am Gagarin. Moscow-based filmmaker has also done fiction films.

Alexandre Dereims, director,
We Are Humanity
French director Alexandre Dereims has a strong societal approach to cinema. He has depicted Khmer Rouge trials, North Korean escapees and African refugees. His latest documentary We Are Humanity tells the story of a small community of indigenous people. 

We Are Humanity (2017)
Another Life (2011)
Escaping North Korea (2009)
A Secret Genocide (2006)
The Khmer Rouge : A Trial Against Oblivion (2005)

Ramona S. Diaz, ohjaaja, Motherland
Ramona S. Diaz’s documentary Motherland was awarded best documentary at Sundance Festival last year. It depicts the everyday at a busy maternity ward in Manila. Philippine-born American director’s previous film Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey was screened in Finland as well. It tells the story of a Philippine cover band.

Anniken Hoel, director,
Cause of Death: Unknown

Norwegian director has traveled widely for her film Cause of Death: Unkown. It’s partly a piece of investigative journalism and partly a personal story about her sister’s untimely death. Anniken Hoel takes a critical look at psychopharmaceuticals.

Chris Kelly, director, A Cambodian Spring
A Cambodian Spring is the first feature film of British journalist, photographer and documentarist Chris Kelly. The documentary depicts a grass root movement in Cambodia where the government started expropriating the land in 2013, and follows the private lives of the activists. Kelly shot his film during a six year period. A Cambodian Spring won a jury prize in Hot Docs Festival in Toronto.


Kiur Aarma, director,
Rodeo – Taming a Wild Country
Estonian tv journalist, producer, writer and director has participated in making of documentaries Disko ja tuumasõda (2009) and Kullaketrajad (2013). Kiur Aarma will bring his latest feature Rodeo – Taming a Wild Country to DocPoint Festival which he has directed together with Raimo Jõerand. The documantary is full of archival material and fresh interviews about the first years of Estonia’s independence. 


Minji Ma, director, Family in the Bubble
Minji Ma will be visiting Finland with a very personal documentary. Family in the Bubble tells the story of her parents who made a lot of money during the real estate boom in South Korea – then lost it all. The documentary was co-produced by Liisa Juntunen (FI) and edited by Nina Ijäs (FI). Family in the Bubble won the main prize in EBS International Documentary Festival in Seoul. It was the first Korean movie to get rewarded in EBS.

Oliver McGarvey, director, Romantic Road
British born but Edmonton raised director Oliver McGarvey got his first movie camera at the age of nine. It was a cine film camera. Later he studied film making in Paris. His first feature Romantic Road takes place in Asia, where he follows a retired married couple Rupert and Jan Grey, driving a Rolls-Royce through India to Bangladesh. The Grey couple will also be guests at the DocPoint Festival.


Boris Mitić, director, In Praise of Nothing
Boris Mitić was born in southern Serbia but lived all over the world before settling in Belgrad. Mitić worked in international media but has since, according to his own words, dedicated his life to “creative parenting, creative football and creative documentaries.” In Praise of Nothing falls to the last category. It is a “film about nothing” narrated by Iggy Pop and shot in 70 different countries by 50 different cinematographers.

Marta Prus, director, Over the Limit
Marta Prus used to train rhythmic gymnastics as a child in Warsaw. Rhythmic gymnastics is also the subject of her documentary feature Over the Limit. It follows Russian superstar Margarita Mamun and her coaches as they prepare for the Olympics. The documentary has been co-produced by Mika Kaurismäki (FI), who is also regognised this year’s with a Aho & Soldan lifetime achievement award.


Avani Rai, director, Raghu Rai: an Unframed Portrait
Avani Rai wanted to know her father, the famous photographer Raghu Rai and the way to do it was by filming. Avani Rai went along to her father’s trip to Kashmir and shot the documentary film Raghu Rai: an Unframed Portrait on the road. It tells both the story of Raghu Rai’s career and the story of a father and a daughter. Avani Rai and her father Raghu Rai will both visit the festival. Make sure to see his exhibition at Rajala, Postitalo 31st of January.


Elí Roland Sachs, director, Brother Jakob
Elí Roland Sachs was born in Germany, but spent his childhood in different parts of Africa and has since worked all over the world. His latest feature Brother Jakob is a personal film about his brother who converts to Islam and alienates himself from his old friends and habits. The documentary is a way for Elí to get more closer to his brother. Brother Jakob is Elí Roland Sachs’ third documentary feature. 



Giovanni Totaro, director, Happy Winter 
Italian Giovanni Totaro filmed his first feature in the beaches of Palermo. The only thing shadowing the seaside is the financial crisis suffered both by the country and individual families. Happy Winter had it’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival. 

Ross Whitaker, director, Between Land and Sea
Irish documentarist Ross Whitaker captures the waves in his latest documentary Between Land and Sea. The documentary depicts surfers on the Irish coast as they reach adrenaline spikes but also as they face the mundane, every day life.

Selected filmography:
Between Land and Sea (2017)
Unbreakable (2014)
Blind Man Walking (2010)
Bye Bye Now (2009, lyhyt)
Saviours (2007)

Simon Lereng Wilmont, director,
The Distant Barking of Dogs
Danish Simon Lereng Wilmont has made documentaries with children as main characters. Chikara – The Sumo Wrestler’s Son (2014)
was about Chikara who wanted to become a sumo wrestler and Over Jorden, Under Himlen (2008) told the story of Mahmoud in training to be an acrobat. His latest film The Distant Barking of Dogs follows 10 year old Oleg in the middle of the war in Ukraine. The film received the First Appearance Award in IDFA festival.

Anna Zamecka,director, Communion
Polish Anna Zamecka has a background in journalism, anthropology and photography before studying documentary film. Her first feature Communion tells a story of a dysfunctional family, where a 12 year old Ola tries to keep the family – an autistic brother, alcoholic father and alienated mother, together. European Film Academy chose Communion as the best documentary feature of 2017. 




Irina Zhuravlyova, director
& Vladislav Grishin,director,
Kamchatka Bears. Life Begins
Kamchatka Bears. Life Begins has its world premiere in DocPoint Festival and the directors Irina Zhuravlyova and Vladislav Grishin are coming to celebrate it. They spent seven months studying and filming bears and their cubs searching
for food, playing, surviving and looking for adventures.


Mika Kaurismäki, director, Aho & Soldan
Mika Kaurismäki is known both for his fiction and documentary features. He will be awarded the Aho & Soldan Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s DocPoint Festival. His retrospective will be focus on music and his latest documentary Ryhmäteatteri will be completed just in time for the festival. The films screened in his retrospective are Saimaa-ilmiö, Moro no Brasil, Brasileirinho, Tigrero – a Film That Was Never Made and Mama Africa.

Selected filmography:
Mama Africa (2011)
Vesku (2010)
Malê Debalê (2009)
Sonic Mirror (2008)
Brasileirinho (2005)
Moro no Brasil (2002)
Tigrero – A Film That Was Never Made (1994)
Saimaa Gesture (1981, together with Aki Kaurismäki)

Other Finnish guests:
Q&A-sessions will be held after the screenings of Finnish Premieres and New Visions Student Films: Matteo Maggi and Cristiana Pecci (The Fifth Sun), Perttu Saksa (Animal Image), Sophia Ehrnrooth (Dream of Championship), Markku Heikkinen (No Road Home), Jenny Timonen (For One More Moment), Niklas Kullström and Martti Kaartinen (Eastern Memories), Jenni Nyberg (Siéva), Tuuli Teelahti (A Life From Death), Milja Härkönen (Belle du Jour), Liinu Grönlund (To the Unknown), Jani Kauta (Tingles), Sanni Priha (Prime Time Rage), Iona Roisin (People Assume I’m an Only Child), Jussi Lehtomäki (Chimney Boys) ja Ina Immonen (Silva).