Selected documentaries 2020

There will be 8 documentaries in competition at the 12th edition of SiciliAmbiente Film Festival directed by Antonio Bellia, with project manager Sheila Melosu, which recount the impact of man on the planet from the attentive eye of some of the most interesting international filmmakers.

These include the surprising Stalking Chernobyl: Exploration after Apocalypse (Ukraine, USA) by the Brazilian Iara Lee who moves between yesterday and today, recounting the clandestine culture of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, almost 30 years after what was probably the worst nuclear accident in history. From 1986 to today, wildlife has returned, but not human settlements. Meanwhile, illegal hiking adventurers known as “stalkers”, extreme sports enthusiasts, artists, tour operators, have begun to explore the spooky post-apocalyptic landscape.

The film La sangre de la tierra (Nicaragua / Spain) by Spanish Félix Zurita de Higes will have its world premiere at the festival. A documentary that recounts the relationship that the indigenous and peasant populations of Mexico and Central America have with the mountains, rivers, and lands sacred to them. Large companies – in the name of progress – rob and threaten those who oppose their mining and expansion plans. Construction of hydroelectric plants is among the industries that destroy, leaving a mark in the heart of the resistance of the communities that live there.

Watt the Fish (France) by Dorian Hays & Emerick Missud will have its Italian premiere. A terrible battle is fought by the fishermen of the North Sea to face the devastation of marine resources. Small-scale fishermen join forces with environmental activists. Together they clash with powerful industrial lobbies to ban electric impulse fishing: a battle that brings them to the European parliament.

Also as Italian premiere will be The condor and the eagle (USA) by Sophie and Clemente Guerra. Four indigenous environmental leaders embark on an extraordinary transcontinental adventure that takes them from the Northern Forests of Canada to the heart of the Amazon, to unite the populations of North and South America on the meaning of “climate justice”. The documentary offers a glimpse of resistance to colonialism, in defense of the territories threatened by transnational oil companies for the continuous expansion of gas pipelines. A movement of authentic spirtual rebirth supported by its protagonists.

There will also be the Italian premiere of the film Until we return (Italy) by South Tyrolean director Martin Telser. The island of Canna, a seven-by-two-kilometer strip of land in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, has undergone a strong depopulation over the years. The few remaining inhabitants, only 16, somehow feel ‘obligated’ to stay, but they also wonder what their future will hold.

Among the documentaries having their Sicilian Premiere, Golden fish, African fish (Senegal) by Thomas Grand and Moussa Diop. The Casamance region in southern Senegal is one of the last traditional fishing areas in West Africa, which faces the growing threat of industrial fishing companies, and with very harsh working conditions. Due to increase in foreign competition, men and women are resisting, contributing, thanks to their work, to food security in many African countries. But for how much longer?

Susan Kucera‘s Living in the Future’s Past (USA) is also premiering in Sicily. A real tour de force of original thinking about who we are, and the environmental challenges we face, conducted by Oscar winner Jeff Bridges. Bridges, together with eminent scientists and authors, intertwines evolution, emergence, entropy, dark ecology and what some call the “end of nature”, in a story that helps us understand our place among terrestrial species in the extraordinary complexity of the relationship between man and nature.

Also in competition is La Nostra Strada by Pierfrancesco Li Donni, a collective portrait of a group of Sicilian students. The director focuses on four young Palermo students engaged in the last year of middle school, struggling with daily life of the studio and with the first important reflections on their future. Between school and work, first loves, and family, the four protagonists face adolescence in search of their path. For them, the last year of middle school is dominated by change and uncertainty, and the neighborhood where they live, the Zisa, on the outskirts of Palermo, certainly does not help. Here, unemployment reaches peaks of 50%, school dropout rates are up to 8% peaks, and many children leave school once they reach compulsory school age.

The festival was also organized in 2019 thanks to the contribution of the Sicilian Region, Tourism, Sport and Entertainment Department – Sicilia FilmCommission, within the “Sensi Contemporanei” project, of the City of San Vito Lo Capo, of Demetra Produzioni and the Cultural Association Cantiere 7 , with the collaboration of ARPA Sicilia, Amnesty International Italia, Greenpeace Italia, and AAMOD.

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