‘The Girl On The Bridge’.

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) will be one of eight organisations to present a curated selection of docs-in-progress as part of Cannes Docs.

Running June 22 – 26 as part of the now virtual Marché du Film, the in progress showcase is designed for decision makers such as festival programmers and sales agents looking for new titles.

The films will be presented by a video pitch and 10-minute sequence of the rough cut.

The four New Zealand documentaries and filmmakers are:

The Girl on The Bridge – director Leanne Pooley, producers Cass Avery and Alex Reed. The story of a young woman with the weight of a generation on her shoulders. Having survived her own suicidal struggles Jazz Thornton is a mental health activist, fighting to change how society and the system are dealing with young people like her. This is a film about hope. It is a film about redemption. It is a challenge to all of us to try to understand. This is a very rare and personal insight into the cost of advocacy.

Fiona Clark: Unafraid – director Lula Cucchiara, producers Matt Noonan, Siobhan Proce and Cucchiara. When Fiona Clark, a young queer photographer exhibits her photography of the LGBTQI community in 1975, she and her friends face the systemic backlash of an oppressive New Zealand society. Unafraid, Fiona gives the middle finger to the patriarchy and we discover how her documentation and contribution to the queer community has helped transform New Zealand society.

James & Isey – director/producer Florian Habicht. 99-year-old Isey lives with her adult son James on their small farm in Kawakawa, New Zealand. They are descendents of Ngāti Manu – the Bird People. Isey is turning 100 in a week. In their unique relationship, James has devoted the last 20 years to looking after his mum. He is a tohunga (shaman) and brings the spirit world onboard to get her over 100. A joyous celebration of the sacred and the profane.

Till the Lights Go Out – director Julia Parnell, producers Nicola Peeperkoorn and Parnell. In a collision of rugby and music, five young men formed SIX60. With Māori roots as different as their upbringings, racist critics compound on young male egos struggling to break internationally, putting the band on a collision course with each other. Exploring what happens when aggressive ambition meets the vulnerability of creative expression, this is a contemporary story of culture, pop music and masculinity.

“Factual stories told by and about New Zealanders are a critical form of cultural expression and have been screened to large audiences at home and abroad,” said NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan.

“We are proud to have New Zealand documentaries showcased at Cannes Docs, giving these films an opportunity to build a global profile.”

Other organisations to present films as part of the showcase are CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator; Festival dei Popoli and Torino Film Festival (in collaboration with Toscana Film Commission and Piemonte Film Commission); FIDBA – Festival Internacional de Cine Documental de Buenos Aires; Film Development Council of the Philippines; ParisDOC – Cinéma du réel; Telefilm Canada, in partnership with RIDM & Hot Docs; and Docudays UA in cooperation with the Ukrainian Institute.

Four prizes will be awarded to the winning docs-in-progress on June 26 during an online Closing Ceremony.

Prizes are comprised of the Docs-in-Progress Award, in partnership with The International Emerging Film Talent Association, with a €10,000 cash prize and professional project follow-up by IEFTA; the Impact Award, in partnership with Nordisk Panorama, providing a two hour consultation on the film’s impact and outreach strategy; the Cineli Digital Award, with a DCP offered by Cineli Digital; and the VOSTAO Award, with French and/or English subtitles offered by VOSTAO.

The Docs-In-Progress jury will be composed of head of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries Zane Balčus; French-Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker and actor Lina Soualem, winner of the 2019 Docs-in-Progress Award with her project Their Algeria; and Nordisk Panorama impact and workshop manager, Lea Maria Strandbæk Sørensen.

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