×

Cannes Plays Host to Plethora of Documentary Features

While only a handful of documentary features have been selected for Cannes’ Official Selection, plenty of non-fiction action can be found in Cannes Market’s Doc Corner and environs, where doc professionals converge to get first looks at — or the first word on — titles with potential to connect with audiences on screens, large and small, in the near future.

The Docs-in-Progress series, running May 18-20, a main attraction of Doc Corner, presents four works-in-progress apiece from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Norway, Palestine and South Africa. These sessions are programmed with documentary or film partner organizations from the respective countries. This year the Monaco-based International Emerging Film Talent Assn. is sponsoring a €10,000 ($11,200), jury-selected prize that will be given to one of the projects to support completion.

Last month, at the close of the pitch program of Visions du Reel, the Swiss rendezvous for documentary film, filmmaker Alessandra Celesia’s “The Flats (Once We Were Terrorists)” won the Cannes Market-Cannes Festival Award. This gave Celesia and her producer access to Doc Corner, where they’ll be chatting up their feature about residents of a Catholic area in the heart of Belfast, and what their lives are like more than 20 years after the Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement.

With gender parity a goal for many film presenting companies and organizations, decision-makers are on the lookout for films by or about women. So it’s no surprise some of most fascinating non-fiction titles in production fit the bill.

Peabody Award-winning director Maria Finitzo’s “The Dilemma of Desire” will explore the “clash between the power of gender politics and the equally powerful imperatives of female sexual desire.” “Minding the Gap” producer Diane Quon and Cynthia Kane (formerly an executive at Sundance Channel and ITVS) serve as producers; Ro*Co Films is handling sales.

Dogwoof’s slate includes “Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema,” Mark Cousins’ 13-decade and five-continent spanning celebratory canon — narrated by Jane Fonda and Tilda Swinton, its executive producer — about the history of cinema through the world’s great female directors.

Dogwoof is also repping Midge Costin’s “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound,” which is screening as an Official Selection in Cannes Classics, the 3-D documentary “Cunningham” (Magnolia acquired it for the U.S.), which includes never-before-seen footage of famed choreographer Merce Cunningham, as well as Tim Travers Hawkins’ Tribeca-premiering “XY Chelsea,” about the controversial whistleblower.

Altitude Film Sales’ slate includes James Erskine’s “Billie,” which is anchored on material from 200 hours of never-before-heard audio interviews with Billie Holiday that were recorded in the 1970s by journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl.

The company also has Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s “Chasing Chaplin,” which uses newly discovered audio recordings and other material from Chaplin’s personal and creative archive.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • WGA Agents Packaging Fight Placeholder

    Writers Guild Withdraws State Suit Against Agencies, Refiles in Federal Court

    The Writers Guild of America has withdrawn its state court suit against WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners alleging packaging fees are illegal and re-filed suit in federal court. The WGA also responded to antitrust claims brought against the guild by the three agencies. Those agency suits alleged that the WGA abused its power in [...]

  • Tim Roth to Receive Honorary Heart

    Tim Roth to Receive Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award

    British actor Tim Roth is to receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to the art of film.” The ceremony at the Sarajevo Film Festival will be held on Tuesday. He will hold a masterclass on the same day. His first screen role was the lead in the controversial [...]

  • Isabelle Huppert, receives the Honorary Heart

    Isabelle Huppert on Fateful Encounters, the Nature of Acting and Judging a Good Script

    Celebrated actress Isabelle Huppert, speaking at the Sarajevo Film Festival on Sunday, looked back on her illustrious career in a candid discussion that touched on her acting, the many renowned directors with whom she’s worked, and the importance of dialogue. The festival honored Huppert with its Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award “in recognition of her [...]

  • Inauguracion SANFIC 2019

    15th Sanfic Touts Attendance Rise, Hosts Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura

    Chile’s Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic) launched its 15th edition Sunday Aug. 18 with three of Latin America’s best-known actors, Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura (“Narcos”) and Graciela Borges (“La Cienaga”), to which it bestowed career recognition awards. “It’s been 15 years in which we have presented more than 1,400 films,” noted Francisca Saieh, director [...]

  • Sarajevo, Intl. Casting Directors Network Look

    Sarajevo Film Festival and International Casting Directors Network Look to Launch Local Stars

    The Intl. Casting Directors Network (ICDN) and the Sarajevo Film Festival are joining forces to turn the popular Bosnian film fest into a springboard for regional actors looking to launch international careers. After kicking off with a pilot version last year, the initiative expanded to include a series of masterclasses with leading casting directors and [...]

  • Kristen Stewart Underwater

    Watch Kristen Stewart Fight Sea Monsters in 'Underwater' Trailer

    Vampires, ghosts and now sea monsters? Clearly there is no monster actress Kristen Stewart cannot tame. In the first trailer for the submerged thriller “Underwater,” Stewart is a member of a stranded submarine crew. The trailer begins with the radio message: “You are now 5,000 miles from land and you are descending seven miles to [...]

  • Romanian Director Catalin Mitulescu on Sarajevo

    Romanian Director Catalin Mitulescu on Sarajevo Competition Film ‘Heidi’

    A leading figure of the Romanian New Wave, Cătălin Mitulescu has had a heralded career since winning the Palme d’Or for his 2004 short film “Traffic.” His first two features, “The Way I Spent the End of the World” (2006) and “Loverboy” (2011), both premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar. He also co-produced and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content