Visions Du Reel: My Father's Prison
The son of a Venezuelan political prisoner tells the story of his father’s 15 year long imprisonment. Shot during house-arrest, father and son try to recover the stolen time through home-movies and challenging conversations. As both family and country fall apart, the father plots a risky escape.
Iván Simonovis Pertiñez
Iván Simonovis Pertiñez is a Venezuelan filmmaker exiled in Berlin. His work focuses on political persecution and exile. He has a degree in Communication Sciences from the University of Marburg and a Masters in Film from the Free University of Berlin. His documentary shorts for the web A LA DERIVA (2015), DESDE EL EXILIO (2017), and CARACAS 9 DE ENERO (2018) have appeared in international media outlets such as El País and Jungle World. His first feature documentary MY FATHER’S PRISON has been selected for the main competition at Visions du Réel 2023.
View all episodes
IDFA 2023 - This Blessed Plot14:40This Blessed PlotIn This Blessed Plot, which takes its title from John of Gaunt’s deathbed speech singing the praises of England in Shakespeare’s Richard II, director Marc Isaacs examines the social and cultural fabric of the United Kingdom, the subject of all his films. This time he creates an eccentric mix of documentary and fiction in Essex.Lori, a Chinese filmmaker, visits the historic village of Thaxted, where Pier Paolo Pasolini filmed part of the Middle English epic The Canterbury Tales. Looking for a subject for a film, Lori hears stories of ghosts from the past, including one about the 20th-century socialist vicar Conrad Noel. She is curious about how his socialism differs from the Chinese version, and has conversations with his spirit in the afterlife.Lori meets some remarkable locals, who talk to her about love, parting, grief and loss. Gradually she becomes involved in a plot between villagers Keith, Sue, Maggie, Norman and ”Uncle,” which is at times farcical, and at others dramatic, and she is introduced to English folklore and spirituality.Marc Isaacs Since 2001, Marc Isaacs has made more than 18 creative documentaries for the likes of BBC, Channel 4 and Film Festivals. His films have won Grierson, Royal Television Society and BAFTA awards, as well as numerous international film festival prizes. In 2006, Marc had a retrospective at the prestigious Lussas Documentary Film Festival in France. 2008 Marc received an honorary doctorate from the University of East London for his documentary work. Marc has been a guest tutor at numerous universities and film schools in the UK and overseas, including the London Film School and the National Film and Television School. A complete box set of his films was released by Second Run DVD in 2018. His current film, The Filmmaker's House, has recently become a hit on the international festival circuit.
IDFA 2023: Life is Beautiful23:30Life is Beautiful Young filmmaker Mohamed Jabaly is visiting a film festival in Tromsø in 2014, when the borders to his home Gaza close indefinitely and he is unable to return. Not only is he now considered stateless, but his application for an artist visa is rejected as it does not meet the qualification criteria, being a self-taught filmmaker. After several appeals, Mohamed decides to go to court and is backed by a growing group of supporters within the film industry and beyond. While waiting for the decision, Mohamed films himself and his friends and colleagues in the snow-covered serenity of the Nordic landscape as he tries to stay connected with his family in Gaza who have once again come under attack.Mohamed JabalyMohamed Jabaly is a Palestinian filmmaker, producer, and artist from Gaza City. He came to Norway in 2014 and has since made a name for himself in the international film industry. His first full-length documentary Ambulance, has been shown at several of the world's largest film festivals and has won several awards. These include the One World Media Award for Best Feature Documentary at BAFTA in 2017, the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award, the SunBird Award at Days of Cinema in Palestine, the FIPA D'or Award, and the Jury Award for Best Documentary at FIPA in Biarritz, France in 2017. In addition to his work in filmmaking, Mohamed has conducted filmmaking workshops for young people and served on juries for several film festivals. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Fine Art at the Oslo National Academy of Art. He holds a BA in Moving Images from Nordland Film & Art College in Northern Norway. In 2019, he joined Stray Dogs production as a director. His feature documentary Life is Beautiful - Al Haya Helwa is premiering at IDFA 2023 in its International Competition.
IDFA 2023: Girl Away from Home18:00World premiere: IDFA 2023 / Competition for Youth Documentary The 13-year-old Nastia is part of an elite gymnastics team in Kiev with four other girls. The girls are a tight knit group and they are best friends. Together they train hard for the upcoming Ukrainian championship. They win the championship but just one month later, war breaks out in Ukraine. Nastia has to flee with her grandmother to Germany, leaving her parents and teammates in Ukraine. In the German suburban industrial town of Gelsenkirchen Nastia has to try to create a new life. Nastia struggles to find her way since she has no idea if she will ever be able to return to Kiev, her parents and friends. But when she joins a German gymnastics team, things slowly start to brighten up. Alisa KovalenkoAlisa Kovalenko is a Ukrainian award-winning documentary director. She was born and raised in Zaporizhzhia, South-Eastern Ukraine and studied documentary cinema at the Karpenko-Kary National University of Theatre, Cinema and Television in Kyiv and at the Andrzej Wajda School in Warsaw. Her debut feature-length documentary Alisa in Warland, a personal diary through revolution and war in Ukraine, had its world premiere at IDFA 2015 First-appearance competition. Home Games, a social fairy-tale about the broken dreams of a young female football player, appeared at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018 and was again at IDFA (Best of Fests 2018). In 2021 Home Games was the first Ukrainian creative documentary acquired by Netflix. In 2018, Alisa directed and coordinated Beautiful Game, a 10-parts documentary series commissioned by Current Time TV. Her latest documentary We Will Not Fade Away had its world premiere at Berlinale Generation 2023 and was nominated for the Berlinale Documentary AwardSimon Lereng WilmontSimon won numerous prizes among other Best First Appearance at IDFA with the feature documentary The Distant Barking of Dogs and his two previous films The Fencing Champion (2014) and Chikara – The Sumo Wrestler’s Son (2013) both premiered at IDFA, won the Jury Award for Medium length Documentary and Best Short Children Documentary Award at Al Jazeera Film Festival 2015. In 2022 Simon won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award for A House Made of Splinters at Sundance Film Festival. The same film also got him an Academy nomination at the Oscars 2023. Simon Lereng Wilmont graduated as a Documentary Film Director from The National Danish Film School in 2009.
DOK Leipzig: While the Green Grass Grows Parts 1 & 624:59While the Green Grass Grows Parts 1 & 6 An audio-visual, trance-like, epic diary that looks at the miracles contained in everyday things and occurrences. Peter Mettler follows and weaves, with his own unique cinematic signature, the flow of rivers and lives that include the magnitude of the passing of his own parents and the questions of where do we all go from here – both on a personal and on a global scale.Peter MettlerFrom the very beginning of his career, Peter Mettler has created films deemed impossible to make, yet readily appreciated once they exist. A key figure in the critical wave of 80's Canadian filmmakers, Mettler produces works which elude categorization. Melding intuitive processes with drama, essay, experiment or documentation, his films hold a unique and influential position in creative expression not only in film but also in new art forms where cinema and other disciplines merge. Additional artistic activities include a wide range of ongoing engagements in music, dance and photography. Over the years Mettler has presented photographic gallery exhibitions in Europe and Canada. More recently he has been experimenting with live sound and image mixing performances with a diversity of musical artists in an extremity of locales ranging from radio theatres to dance clubs and wilderness locations. Based both in Switzerland and Canada, Mettler is a strong supporter of independent creativity, having collaborated with numerous filmmakers, artists and musicians. He is active in the development of community networks which foster and share the growth of innovative creative forms and new means of production and distribution which will allow the independent artist to reach his or her particular audience while lightening the financial and ideological pressures of the commercial market. Meditations on our world, rooted in personal experience, his works reflect the visions and wonder of their characters and audiences alike. Mettler’s films have garnered many prizes and been the focus of several retrospectives internationally.https://www.facebook.com/GrimthorpeFilmhttps://twitter.com/GrimthorpeFilmhttps://www.instagram.com/petermettlerfilm
On Our Doorstep21:40On our Doorstep ON OUR DOORSTEP delves deep into an aspect of the ongoing refugee crisis that rarely reaches the press. With NGOs being blocked by red tape and with the absence of any positive action by French or British authorities, this film is a behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary grassroots movement that rose to aid the Calais ‘Jungle', and the community that sprang up there, before it was forcefully demolished.Originally arriving in the 'Jungle' as a volunteer carpenter, Thomas Laurance ended up embedding himself for a year, documenting what he saw up until the camp’s destruction. Upon returning to the UK, Thomas sourced footage from other filmmakers, activists, volunteers and refugees, weaving together a patchwork of intimate frontline experience that offers unique access to the communities of the 'Jungle'.This is the story of what happens when young and inexperienced civilians are forced to devise systems and structures to support 10,000 refugees; and are left unguided to face the moral and emotional dilemmas, blurred lines and frequent grey areas of giving aid to vulnerable people. ON OUR DOORSTEP stands as a reminder of the continuing work ordinary civilians do to help those forced to seek safety away from home.Thomas Laurence Thomas Laurance is an award-winning, UK-based writer/director of documentary and fiction.After studying direction at the Northern Film School in Leeds and screenwriting at FAMU in Prague, his graduation short, THE BOTTLE, won Best Film at the 2013 Horizon Film Festival. He followed up with the deeply personal, vérité documentary, WILLIAM LAURANCE & SONS MARINE ENGINEERS, which featured at Sheffield Doc Fest 2015. In addition to writing and directing, Thomas has worked as a a set and scenery carpenter and a model and prop maker on films such as Tim Burton's DUMBO. This skillset proved very useful in the informal refugee camp known as the Calais 'Jungle' where Thomas volunteered in 2016.Initially planning to stay for just a week, Thomas ended up embedding himself in Calais for a year, compelled to continue helping the people he met there and to bear witness. ON OUR DOORSTEP is the product of that endeavour and a reminder of the continuing work ordinary civilians do to help those forced to seek safety away from home.Thomas is currently working on a screenplay that will be the basis for his return to directing fiction.
1. Prince of Muck16:40Prince of Muck The hilly island of Muck, just off the west coast of Scotland, has been owned by the MacEwen family for more than a century. After decades of devoting himself to caring for the island, Lawrence MacEwen has now passed it on to his son. Lawrence still takes a cold bath every day, and writes in his diary—though the pages are not as full as they once were.Days in the life of this formal but cheerful man unfold to the rhythm of the island in Dutch filmmaker Cindy Jansen’s calm, observational shots. Lawrence hugs the cows, drives cattle with his grandchildren, and reads out extracts from his diaries that span decades, applying the same methodical approach to his notations of wind directions and deaths.The younger generation is taking its own path, and Lawrence must accept that he is reaching the end of his own. In the growing awareness that the future belongs to others, he casts his gaze back in time, reciting the poetry and tide tables that he learned by heart as a child.Cindy Jansen CINDY JANSEN (Veghel, NL, 1976) Lives and works in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Jansen graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem (NL), Milan (I) and the International Script Development and Directors Program of the Binger Filmlab in Amsterdam (NL). Jansen showed her films at several national and international film festivals, among which Hamburg, Rotterdam and Edinburgh. Her videos and photo works were presented in multiple group- and solo-exhibitions, like Loop '05 Barcelona (ES), Noorderlicht Photo Festival Groningen (NL), and Gerhard Hofland Gallery, Amsterdam.After Jansen’s attendance of the Binger Filmlab (2007), she was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus and started to build an international network that has resulted in a prize winning cooperation with Addie Reiss, the cinematographer on her short film Come Spring. In the years that followed, Jansen made controversial films such as Don’t hit me I love you and With Love. The documentary Auld Lang Syne premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in 2015 and was nominated for a Golden Calf at the Netherlands Film Festival in the same year. In cooperation with production company De Productie and Faction North (UK). Jansen’s first full length feature documentary, Prince of Muck had a World Premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2021 and an International Premiere at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam. The film will was released in Dutch cinemas in January 2022, shown on BBC Scotland and BBC4 and can be seen worldwide via Amazon Prime Video. Together with production company Witfilm, Jansen is now developing the feature fiction film Clockwork Universe.Jansen's films and videos vary from non-linear narrations to more fragmented artworks that find their platform in both the art scene and film festivals. She is known for her cinematic framing, contemplative style and slow-burn reveal editing.
The Hearing23:45The Hearing Four asylum seekers reenact their conversations with the authorities in a role-playing game that reverses the roles. What happens when your future depends on your ability to tell your own life story in a convincing way? In an ordinary and grey office like any other, four people are waiting to be called in for a hearing. The bureaucratic setting is closer to a theatre stage, however, for in ‘The Hearing’ the participants re-enact their own real-life conversations with the government officials who will assess their case. A Nigerian woman, a man from Cameroon, a transgender woman from Sri Lanka, and a young Afghan man – all four are in the same situation with everything at stake. What happens when your future depends on your ability to tell your own life story in a convincing and compelling way? The tension between reality and staging, between role-playing and reality, does not make their life stories any less moving or relevant. In a simple but brilliant move, however, debut director Lisa Gerig reverses both the roles and the balance of power. The result is a (thought)provoking film of great dignity that uses the performative interventions not as a conceptual gesture, but to give a form to four individuals’ subjective experience of a system that is alien to most.Lisa Gerig Lisa Gerig (*1990) studied film in Zurich and Geneva, majoring in editing. Her thesis film ZAUNGESPRÄCHE is a radically subjective look at the situation of people held in Zurich’s deportation detention center. Since graduating from the Zurich University of the Arts in 2015, she has been working as a freelance filmmaker.THE HEARING is her first feature-length documentary.
Red Herring34:58Red Herring In the midst of shocking family revelations, a young filmmaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer. What follows is an intimate and darkly humorous journey of a family’s attempt to make sense of their upended past and disrupted future.Kit Vincent Kit Vincent is an award winning filmmaker based in London and the South West. He is a Film Independent Fellow and JFI Fellow. His films have been supported by BFI Doc Society, Sundance Documentary Film Program, The Whickers, France TV, Jewish Story Partners and Jewish Film Institute. His debut feature Red Herring (2023) is a documentary that walks the line between humour and grief in an exploration of the nuances of living with a terminal illness. It premiered at True/False 2023, screened at Thessaloniki Film Festival where it won the 'Human Values' award.(https://www.cinephil.com/films-111/red-herring).Kit holds a first class degree in Anthropology and Visual Practice from Goldsmiths University of London and has spoken on many industry panels, most recently for Docsociety and FWD docs with James LeBrecht and Lyndsey Dryden about disability inclusive filmmaking.Previously, Kit worked making films and music videos and on Channel 4's flagship documentary series 24 Hours in A&E.
On The Line: The Richard Williams Story27:11On The Line: The Richard Williams StoryIn this emotional reckoning featuring unaired interviews spanning the 1980s to now, Richard Williams — the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena and the son of a cotton picker — retraces his family’s journey from the poverty-stricken streets of Shreveport, Louisiana to the grass courts of Wimbledon, fighting back against systems of racial oppression and violence and breaking every rule of the lily-white tennis establishment to forever change the sport.Stuart McClaveStuart McClave is known for On the Line: The Richard Williams Story (2022), Chappaquiddick (2017) and Friday Night Tykes (2014).