These nine positive and inspiring films from Happy Dox program will not leave you indifferent!
This year's Happy Dox section brings nine titles that document unusual personalities or appearances in a positive or stimulating manner.
The short Canadian documentary Bacon & God's Wrath by Sol Friedman documents the turning point in the life of Razia Brownstone, a 90-year-old Jew who has a crisis of faith and decides to try bacon for the first time in her life. The film won the jury award for best film at Sundance, as well as the best short documentary award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
Pickleis the short American documentary directed by Amy Nicholson, centring on a couple who has saved many animals during their 25 years of marriage. The most bizarre fact is that most of these creatures suffer from strange conditions: Pickle the fish can't swim, chickens are overweight, cats have heart problems, geese can't float, and a paraplegic opossum prefers scrambled eggs for dinner. Pickle has won a host of awards at festivals across the world, including the jury grand prix at Florida Film Festival and an audience award at Full Frame.
The short Swedish documentary Ten Meter Tower by Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck is an interesting analysis of human response to unusual situations. The authors, who describe their projects as studies of human nature, gave 43 participants a task: to climb a ten-meter tower and then decide whether to jump or not.
Papa called Allo is the head of the large Alaev family, a Tajikistani version of the Jackson family, which migrated to Israel in the 1990s. Directors Tal Barda and Noam Pinchas in their documentary The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Alaev follow this talented musician who manages all the segments of his musical family. The patriarchal Papa makes all the decisions and only takes his family's full loyalty and dedication. The only 'traitor' is his only daughter Ada, who sets out to make a new life away from her imposing father. Against a powerful soundtrack, all the amusing conversations among the members of this big family are charged with drama and the sound of drums.
Music is the focus of another happy doc: Singing with Angry Bird is the first feature documentary by Korean filmmaker Hyewon Jee, an Emmy-nominated director, following a vibrant opera singer known for his nickname Angry Bird on his long effort in keeping the children's choir in the slums of Pune, India. His intention is to introduce children to the music stretching beyond their everyday lives. Choir singing has an extremely positive effect on the children's lives, although some of the parents fail to realise that, which brings Angry Bird to despair. All things considered, music connects and moves both the parents and the children in a new and positive direction.
Cooltour by Miro Rem is a humorous, ironic but also serious film about the meaning and status of Slovakian culture, or what we perceive as culture, with a specific cross-section of society, while Rohan Spong's Winter in Westbeth takes us to the NYC artistic community Westbeth Artists Housing, among creative artists who don't give passionate and creative endeavours although they are senior citizens. This inspiring story about community, aging and need for creativity won a special mention of the jury at DOC NYC festival.
First Pole on Mars could be 68-year-old Kazimierz, the protagonists of the namesake documentary by Agnieszka Elbanowska. Kazimierz set up a device for communication with the universe. At the exact same time when the fight for participation in the historic Mars One project begins. Kazimierz has a chance to become one of the first colonisers of Mars, he only needs to beat three thousand other candidates.
Israeli director Ohad Milstein in Week 23 exposes his intimate life and personal story about his partner's pregnancy. In week 23 of her pregnancy, Rahel finds out that one foetus of her identical twins died and the doctors advise her to terminate pregnancy. Going through a dilemma, we witness their immense power of struggle while the couple faces their environment on the subject of their foetus's right to live and we forebode a possible happy ending, which is why the film was included in the Happy Dox section. Week 23 has won several awards of the Tel Aviv Documentary Directors Association: best film, best cinematography and best artistic expression.
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