Daring and Powerful Female Stories in Focus of Many ZagrebDox Titles


A series of fascinating and significant works convey real-life experiences of courageous women from all over the world

Personal stories of daring and strong protagonists and conveying important, empowering messages on the rights of women are a common denominator connecting many films to be screened in different sections of the upcoming edition of ZagrebDox, taking place 15-22 March at CineStar Zagreb – Branimir Mingle Mall. A series of fascinating and significant works convey real-life experiences of courageous women from all over the world: celebrating their achievements and successes, daring and uncompromising fight against social injustice or pointing to problems of gender inequality and violence, these films open up space for personal testimonies of women whose different life experiences cast a new and direct light on frequently neglected issues.

The famous Jewish Israeli human rights attorney Lea Tsemel, who devoted her five-decade long career to unrelenting fight for justice for Palestinian political prisoners, is in the focus of Advocate (international competition). The creative duo Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche for their work on the political importance of one feisty lawyer’s work and the personal price she pays playing the role of the devil’s advocate won award for best documentary at many festivals, including Thessaloniki, Tel Aviv, Krakow.

The documentary Daughter of Camorra by Siniša Gačić introduces audience to Cristina ‘Nikita’ Pinto, a former member of the infamous Italian mafia organisation Camorra who is out of prison after a 24-year sentence for murder of three people. She now has to face the challenges of everyday life and re-establish destroyed family ties. The film was screened at Sarajevo Film festival and Slovenian Film Festival, winning the best documentary award.

The film Little Star Rising by journalist and TV reporter Slađana Lučić follows the personal path of Nudžejma Softić, a proofreader from Sarajevo, the first veiled woman in Europe to run a marathon and take part in the semi-Ironman triathlon, to great, seemingly unattainable goals: from a shocking childhood marked by war, losses and exile, to athletic endeavours, successes and failures, to facing fears and often affirmative, but sometimes rough and hostile environment. The original score for the film was composed by the internationally acclaimed musician of Bosnian and Herzegovinian origin Merima Ključo.

Éva Fahidi is the protagonist of the Hungarian film The Euphoria of Being by director, dancer and choreographer Réka Szabó, honoured at a series of festivals, including a Grand Prix in Locarno, the best human rights documentary award at Sarajevo Film festival and two awards at the Trieste festival. It is a touching story about a 90-year-old Auschwitz survivor, who lost 49 family members. Seventy years later, Éva takes part in a dance stage performance in association with the sixty years younger internationally acclaimed dancer Emesa Cuhorka. The past and the present collide in a choreography of life, reflecting the entire complexity of a personal testimony. All the three films will be screened in regional competition.

The winner of IDFA, In a Whisper (international competition), speaks about the strength of female friendship through a tale of two women who grew up in Cuba together. Heidi Hassan and Patricia Pérez were raised with Che Guevara’s communist ideals, but the promised future never came true. They both left Cuba, moved to Switzerland and Spain, respectively, and lost touch. Today they are reconnected via videos. In their honest audiovisual communication they retell the events that marked their lives and mostly their own struggle with alienation and nostalgia about a country that no longer exists.

The acute issue of sexual violence is specifically and innovatively approached by That Which Does Not Kill (State of Affairs) by Alexa Poukine. Grounding her work on one woman’s letter, Poukine gathered twelve girls and two boys who reproduce the letters’ content to intertwine the experience with similar events from their own lives. Carefully protecting the victim’s privacy, the film gives the protagonists, as well as viewers, a chance for an introspective insight into all the layers of this sensitive and still tabooed issue. At Visions du Réel this documentary won the jury award for the most innovative film.

The film Woman (State of Affairs), directed by long-time collaborators – director Anastasia Mikova and the famous environmentalist, activist and filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand, compiled stories of 2000 women from 50 countries. Portraying their protagonists in an intimate manner, the film is trying to shed light on the daily injustice, at the same time highlighting their strength and potential to change the world with their actions, regardless of all the obstacles. Based on the interview method, this film project provides insight into private thoughts of women from around the world on issues such as motherhood, education, marriage and financial (in)dependence, as well as physicality and sexuality. Screened last year at Venice Film Festival, the film radically changes the existing paradigm of women as the ‘weaker sex’.

In the focus of Fat Front (Controversial Dox) by Danish directors Louise Detlefsen and Louise Unmack Kjeldsen is the activist movement trying to change stereotyped standards and idealised models of the woman’s body. Promoting body positivity, this film follows four young Scandinavian women who defied rigorous beauty ideals in today’s slenderness and youth-obsessed world.