Masters of Dox

The Lion’s Mouth Opens

Lucy Walker
Screening time  
26.02. / Thursday, 20:00 - 22:00 Theatre 2  
“If the results are positive,” Marianne says, “it’s a death sentence. If the results are negative, I’m just like everyone else.”

At the age of 17, Marianne Palka moved to the United States, alone and with just 100 dollars to her name. Fifteen years later, she enters a hospital with the very same degree of courage to find out whether she has the hereditary Huntington’s disease. Even undergoing the tests was an act of bravery: her father has the disease, so Palka has a 50 percent chance of also bearing the gene associated with this terrible condition, sometimes referred to as “Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS in one.” The evening before the results are due, Marianne invites her best friends over and they share this last evening of not knowing. “If the results are positive,” Marianne says, “it’s a death sentence. If the results are negative, I’m just like everyone else.” The title of the film is taken from the poem Bob Dylan wrote after a visit to fellow folk singer Woody Guthrie, who died of the disease.


Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is an Emmy-winning British film director who has twice been nominated for an Academy Award and is renowned for creating riveting, character-driven nonfiction that delivers emotionally and narratively. The Hollywood Reporter has called her ”the new Errol Morris” and Variety has praised her unique ability to connect with audiences. Lucy grew up in England and attended Oxford University, where she graduated with top honors in literature, and directed theater and musical theater before winning a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the Graduate Film Program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. There she earned an MFA and directed award-winning short fiction films. While living in New York, she also enjoyed a successful career as a DJ and musician. Lucy's films include feature documentaries The Crash Reel (2013), Waste Land (2010), Countdown to Zero (2010), Blindsight (2006), Devil’s Playground (2002) and short films, notably The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011) and The Lion’s Mouth Opens (2014), most of them screened at ZagrebDox, with Waste Land winning the Audience Award. Her films have been shortlisted for five Oscars (nominated for two), nominated for seven Emmys (winning one), an Independent Spirit Award, a DGA Award, a Gotham Award, and have won over one hundred other film awards. For her advertising work she has been recognized with awards including three Cannes Lions, two Clios and two Association of Independent Commercial Producers awards. Lucy is also an acclaimed virtual reality director. Her first VR experience, A History of Cuban Dance (2016), premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and showed at SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has directed branded VR experiences for AirBnB, Toms Shoes, Vaseline, Vice, and the Buena Vista Social Club.

General sponsor

The Lion’s Mouth Opens

2014, 16', HD

Directed by:
Lucy Walker

Nick Higgins

Edited by:
Joe Peeler

Lucy Walker, Marianna Palka, Julian Cautherley

Produced by:
Tree Tree Tree

Festivals & Awards:

Sundance Film Festival 2014; Aspen Shortsfest 2014 – Special Jury Mention; Rincón International Film Festival 2014 – Director's Choice Best Short Documentary; Ashland Independent Film Festival 2014; Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2014; True/False Film Fest 2014; Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014; Sydney Film Festival 2014; Palm Springs Shortsfest 2014; Chicago Critics Film Festival 2014; Rooftop Films 2014; MountainFilm in Telluride 2014; Nashville Film Festival 2014; Maryland Film Festival 2014; Sun Valley Film Festival 2014; Napa Valley Film Festival 2014; Seattle International Film Festival 2014; Focus Film Festival 2014; Los Angeles Film Festival 2014; Vancouver International Film Festival 2014; AFI DOCS 2014; Provincetown International Film Festival; Tacoma Film Festival; Traverse City Film Festival