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DocsBarcelona 2021

International Documentary Film Festival

Festivals + Audiovisuals

DocsBarcelona, committed to engaged and transformative cinema, celebrates its 24th edition from May 18th to 30th, in a hybrid format with over forty productions.

An extraordinary exhibition of the best of the world's documentary production, with a program made up of 33 feature films from 33 different countries, 11 short films and 4 titles from the Docs&Teens section. This year, the festival will have a hybrid format, combining screenings at the CCCB and the Aribau Cinemas also in Barcelona, with an online program for all of Spain with Filmin as its virtual venue.

The festival will open on May 18th with the Catalan production Balandrau by Guille Cascante, which chronicles one of the worst tragedies caused by a blizzard in the mountains that ended the lives of nine hikers in Balandrau, in the Ripollès.

Competing for the DocsBarcelona Award for Best Documentary in the Official Panorama Section, sponsored by ARTE, there will be 19 feature films; also competitive is the Official Latitude Section with 8 Latin American films. Four feature films in special sessions, DOC-U (a space dedicated to documentary talent in higher education centers throughout Spain, with 11 short films) and Docs&Teens (dedicated to a teen audience and in virtual format) will complete the festival’s 24th edition.

Within the comprehensive program of DocsBarcelona 2021 one of the highlights is half a dozen titles that focus on the environment, threats to nature and the future of the planet: Gunda, the return to the festival of the prestigious Russian filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky; Taming the Garden, directed by Georgian Salomé Jashi; Playing with Sharks by Sally Aitken, which follows the extraordinary life of Valerie Taylor, a pioneer in scuba diving; Arica, by Lars Edman and William Johansson Kalén, about the trial of the Swedish multinational Bolinden, responsible for the illegal dumping of toxic waste in the Chilean city of Arica; and also the Brazilian feature film The Last Forest by Luiz Bolognesi.

The Panorama Section of DocsBarcelona will screen a handful of titles centered in Middle Eastern countries, many of them dedicated to women who suffer different forms of violence. Films such as The Return: Life After ISIS by Alba Sotorra; Sabaya by Hogir Hirori, a stunning Swedish production that won the Best Direction Award at Sundance 2021; As I Want, by filmmaker Samaher Alqadi; Children, by Ada Ushpiz; Les Enfants Terribles, Radiography of a Family, Best documentary at IDFA 2020; Mothers, by Myriam Bakir, and Notturno, the latest work by the documentary master Gianfranco Rosi, awarded at the Venice and Seville film festivals.

In the Latitude section, Catalan filmmaker Roser Corella brings us A Room without a View, a co-production between Austria and Germany that shows the harsh reality of migrant women working as domestic workers in Lebanon, in a form of hidden slavery.

In addition to Dani Karavan, the closing film, the festival shows different approaches to the art world: with The Man Who Paints Drop Waters, by Brigitte Bouillot and Oan Kim, we get to know the fascinating and complex figure of Kim Tschang- Yeul. In Cuban Dancer, by Roberto Salinas, we follow the adventures of dancer Alexis Valdés as he emigrates with his family from Cuba to Florida. And a couple of immortal artists feature in Truman & Tennessee, the exciting encounter between two of the most iconic writers in history in the documentary by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, which DocsBarcelona will screen in a special session.

All the festival films can be viewed online from May 18th until May 30th on Filmin and some of them will be offered as in-person screenings at the CCCB Theater and Aribau Cinemas on the same dates.

Tickets will go on sale on May 6th.

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