1000 screenings, meetings with 80 filmmakers and film protagonists, debates, concerts… We’re announcing the complete program of the 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity – Poland’s biggest film festival and the only European film festival held in 6 cities simultaneously.
The program encompasses nearly 160 movies, including the best documentaries of the last 12 months. Most of these films will premiere at our festival. As always, the programming is very diverse, featuring documentaries about psychology, art, science, sport, architecture, and fashion. The motto of this year’s festival is “Check whether you understand the world and whether the world understands you”.
We’ll be screening the works of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, including Werner Herzog: his “Meeting Gorbachev” is an extensive interview with the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Agnès Varda, the recently deceased cinematic icon and New Wave pioneer, created an unconventional self-portrait in “Varda by Agnès”. “They Shall Not Grow Old”, Peter Jackson’s documentary debut, utilizes astonishing archival footage from the times of World War I, depicting the daily life at the front and the horrors of war in extremely realistic detail. Archival footage was also used in Sergei Loznitsa’s The Trial, documenting a Stalinist show trial in the 1930s. Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s Honeyland, the tale of Hatidze, a rural beekeeper living in harmony with nature in the north of Macedonia, won numerous accolades at Sundance. Roberto Minervini, an Italian director capturing the diverse reality of the United States, shows the daily lives of African-Americans fighting for justice and dignity in his latest work “What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?”; his earlier films, “Stop the Pounding Heart” and “The Other Side”, will be screened at the festival as well. Minervini, a longtime Texas resident, is going to teach a master class at the festival.
PSYCHOLOGY: UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF
The Intimate Stories section under the patronage of the “Zwierciadło” magazine features psychological movies. “The Magic Life of V”, directed by Tomislav Hristov, whose “The Good Postman” won a prize at the 14th edition of MDAG, is an intimate portrait of young Veera who participates in LARPs (live-action role-playing) to confront the demons of her past. Anna Eborn’s “Transnistra” focuses on the friendship between teens living in Transnistria – an unrecognized republic on the territory of Moldova. Inspired by Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run”, Sanjay Rawal’s “3100: Run and Become” follows the course of the world’s longest ultramarathon and highlights the spiritual approach to running.
LONG-AWAITED POLISH MOVIES
Paweł Ziemilski’s “In Touch” is set in Massurian village Stare Juchy; over 30% of its residents have emigrated to Iceland, but Skype lets them stay in touch with their relatives in Poland. Ewa Kochańska’s “Compulsory Figures” follows an Ukrainian couple living in Poland with their three children; the family’s future might be brighter if their daughter Julia wins a skating competition. Shortly before his death in 2009, Marek Edelman, the last leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, asked: “Why doesn’t anyone ever ask me if there was love in the ghetto?” Jolanta Dylewska made “Marek Edelman… And There was Love in the Ghetto” in an attempt to answer this question; Agnieszka Holland helped write the script and Andrzej Wajda co-directed the reenactments. Jaśmina Wójcik commemorates the employees of a Warsaw agricultural tractor factory in “Symphony of the Ursus Factory”. Ewa Podgórska’s Diagnosis focuses on the psychology of cities. “Kobro/Strzemiński. A Fantastic Tale” by Borys Lankosz (“The Reverse”) is a cinematic/theatrical visual essay about Poland’s most famous creative couple, starring Agata Buzek and Łukasz Simlat. Tomasz Knittel’s “Zlota” might cause a stir with its incisive look at the process of property reprivatization in Warsaw; the movie follows the heir of a prewar apartment building, as well as its residents.
NEW FILM SECTION: THE FOURTH EYE
Awarded the direction prize at Sundance, “Cold Case Hammarskjöld” is the latest work by “performative journalist” Mads Brügger. Alex Winter’s “The Panama Papers” covers the biggest tax evasion scandal in recorded history.
Hans Pool follows the first-ever citizen investigation website in “Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-Truth World”, showing how the mysteries of the Malaysia Airlines 17 crash or the poisoning of Sergei Skripal were solved. Kim Longinotto’s “Shooting the Mafia” depicts Letizia Battaglia, the Palermo photojournalist who documented the atrocities of the Sicilian Mafia. Under the patronage of the OKO.press portal, the Fourth Eye section showcases engaged journalism in our times.
NEW FILM SECTION: FASHION FOR THE PEOPLE
“Jean Paul Gaultier Freak And Chic”, directed by Yann L’Hénoret, portrays the innovative fashion designer – the enfant terrible of French high fashion. Olivier Meyrou’s “Celebration” follows the life of legendary style icon Yves Saint Laurent. Roy Halston Frowick, known simply as Halston, was the beloved fashion designer of the 1970s; his creations were worn by Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Lauren Bacall, and other celebrities. Frédéric Tcheng’s “Halston” tells the tale of his turbulent life. “Vogue Poland” is the patron of this section.
RECENT HISTORY OF EUROPE
Rob Miller and Henry Singer’s “The Trial of Ratko Mladić” asks whether it’s possible to compensate the pain and loss of the Balkan war 20 years after the conflict which claimed the lives of about 100 000 people. Vitaly Mansky, whose “Under the Sun” won the festival prize in 2013, covers the Russian leader’s march to power in “Putin’s Witnesses”; employed at the state TV station at the time, Mansky was in the perfect place to watch the historical events unfold.
NEW FILM SECTION: SCIENCE NON-FICTION
Isa Willinger’s “Hi, A.I.” showcases the talents of robots who are already working with humans. In “Do You Trust This Computer?”, Chris Paine uncovers the dark side of technology and the risks associated with the development of artificial intelligence. Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting built their own robot to find out whether it could replace them as movie directors; the results are shown in “More Human than Human”.
THE ELECTRIFYING CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CINEMA AND ART
Our program, as always, contains movies about the world of art. Jill Magid’s “The Proposal”, part thriller and part romance, documents the attempts to regain access to the archives of Mexico’s most famous architect, Luis Barragán. In “Srbenka”, Nebojša Slijepčević takes us behind the scenes of the play about the 12-year-old Serbian girl murdered in Zagreb in 1991; the play, written by Oliver Frljić (known to Polish audiences from his controversial “Curse”), kicked a hornet’s nest of the Serbian-Croatian conflict. Suhaib Gasmelbari’s “Talking About Trees”, the winner of the Best Documentary award at this year’s Berlinale, follows the four elderly members of a Sudanese film club who decided to renovate an old cinema near Khartoum. Giacomo Durzi’s “Ferrante Fever” portrays the unusual personality of Elena Ferrante, the most famous Italian novelist of our times who hides her true identity.
No barriers at our festival! The movies are accessible to everyone, including the visually impaired and hard of hearing. This year’s program includes four movies with visual description and subtitles for the deaf: David Batty’s “My Generation”, Isa Willinger’s “Hi, A.I”, Suhaib Gasmelbari’s “Talking About Trees”, and Michał Sulima’s “Piano to Zanskar”. The screenings with visual description and subtitles for the deaf, created with AudioMovie, are sponsored by Bank Millennium..
The Documentary Academy is a series of over 30 debates, discussions, and workshops accompanying festival movie screenings. These events will create a space to encounter and learn about the diverse subjects depicted in the films. This year’s Academy strives to answers numerous questions, among them: Why do we radicalize? How to live with a robot? Will humankind destroy all life on Earth? The audience can participate in human-canine communication classes or train their memory and time-management skills. Like every year, our children’s movie screenings are open to families as well as teachers and students.
THE CONCERT STAGE
Join us at a silent disco – the Britpop Brexit Party – on May 10. Who knows, maybe British music will be banned on the Continent once the United Kingdom leaves the EU! Let’s enjoy it while we can. Each channel will broadcast the hits from a specific decade. On May 11, following the premiere of Jaśmina Wójcik’s “Symphony of the Ursus Factory”, score composer Dominik Strycharski will perform on stage with pianist Barbara Drążkowska and the director. Improvised music and tireless dancing will recreate the atmosphere at the Ursus factory. Antoha MC, who lives in a Communist-era flat with his parents and girlfriend, will perform on May 18; his videos have millions of views and he’s hailed as one of the best newcomers in Russian music. The trumpet-playing Antoha MC blends jazz-inspired melodies with hip hop and dance beats, Russian folk music with Jamaican sounds. This year – as always – Millennium Docs Against Gravity emphasizes that our world wouldn’t be the same without movies and music alike.
Millennium Docs Against Gravity is the biggest documentary movie festival in Poland and the only movie festival in Europe to be held in 6 cities simultaneously: May 10-19 in Warsaw (Kinoteka, Luna, Iluzjon, Muranów, Polin Museum), Wrocław (Dolnośląskie Centrum Filmowe) and Lublin (Centrum Spotkania Kultur), May 15-24 in Gdynia (Gdyńskie Centrum Filmowe), May 11-19 in Bydgoszcz (Kino Orzeł), and for the first time in Katowice on May 12-19 (Kosmos, Rialto, Światowid).
Passes for the Warsaw edition are available until April 30: https://mdag.pl/16/pl/warszawa/page/Karnety-Warszawa
Tickets will be available from April 27.