COLCOA is proud to introduce in Hollywood six high-profile new French films, which will compete for the 2015 COLCOA Best Documentary Award. The series includes an International Premiere, a North-American Premiere and a US Premiere. More then ever, this largest line-up of documentaries ever offered reflects the dynamism of the production in France.
(Exact schedule, Box office and RSVP will be available April 1st on www.colcoa.org)
OF MEN AND WAR (2014 – West Coast Premiere)
Written and directed by Laurent Bécue-Renard
Presented in association with Cat & Docs.
(This profoundly unsettling documentary following a dozen Iraq War veterans in treatment for PTSD. Hewn from the raw material of group therapy sessions at The Pathway Home in Yountville, California, Of Men And War is a rigorous but rewarding monument to the courage of men who daily face down anger, resentments, fears, and shame in their quests for something most of us take for granted: a normal life. Never abusing the vulnerabilities of the protagonists, the unobtrusive fly-on-the-wall style candidly excavates each man's story over a period of months while he progresses, or not, as the case may be. As the film builds to a conclusion, the camera itself becomes an instrument of therapy, and the full impact of the struggle is felt, a struggle not limited solely to the men trying to make peace with war.)
THE SILENCED WALLS /La Cité muette (2015 – International Premiere)
Written and directed by Sabrina Van Tassel
Presented in association with DistriB Films US (US release scheduled in September 2015)
(In French with English subtitles)
(In the suburb of Drancy lies an unadorned block of low-income housing. With some of the cheapest rents to be had in Paris, it is the residence of some 500 impoverished retirees, recently homeless, and mentally disabled. On the surface everything seems normal enough, children improvise games beneath its stark façade. But what do the residents know of the site's dark history? What would they say if they knew their home was haunted - by 80,000 ghosts? COLCOA presents the International Premiere of this documentary exploring the building that in 1940 became the central internment camp for Jews during the Nazi occupation of France. Nearly every Jew arrested in France came through its austere lodgings, most on their way to the death camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Known to Jews as the "antechamber of death,"it remains the most notorious Holocaust site in all of France, at once damned and sacred. But what does all this mean to the people who live there now? Is it possible to find happiness between the selfsame walls that have born witness to such misery?)
STEAK (R) EVOLUTION (2014 – West Coast Premiere), Written and directed by Frank Ribière.
Presented in Association with Kino Lorber (US release scheduled in spring 2015)
(In French with English subtitles)
(The stakes are clear when documentarian Franck Ribière and preeminent Parisien butcher Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec set off on a journey around the world to reveal what it takes to make the cut in the evolving marketplace of ultra high-end beef. Our two bon vivants visit the newest players in the industry, from Argentina to the famous Kobe ranches in Japan - where cattle are massaged in Saki to the soothing sounds of classical music - ranking their steakhouse Top Ten as they go. This engrossing and unapologetic search for the meat-eater's holy grail fills the screen with enough sizzling porterhouse porn to leave herbivores weak at the knees. But Ribière, whose family raises prized Charolais cattle, is careful to remind us what it takes to manage livestock responsibly in the age of mass food production, and to show that those world-class cuts are not only the result of highly passionate chefs, but also humane ranching practices. )
CARTOONISTS, FOOT SOLDIERS OF DEMOCRACY / Caricaturistes - Fantassins de la Democratie (2014 – Los Angeles Premiere – Special Presentation Je Suis Charlie)
Written by Radu Mihaileanu, Stéphanie Valloatto
Directed by Stéphanie Valloatto
Presented in association with Kinology
(Subtitled in English)
(In the hunt for this year's Best Documentary César, this bitingly funny and sometimes tragic film crosses the globe exploring the surprising importance political cartoons have in the defense of democracy. This timely look at the personal stories of twelve endearing and eccentric satirists from countries as far flung as Russia, China, the United States, Palestine and Burkina Faso clearly illustrates that for some world leaders humor is no laughing matter. At the center of this comedic cabal is Le Monde newspaper cartoonist Plantu, who tellingly reveals that even in a country like France, he receives direct calls from the president whenever he disapproves of the day's offering. Censored, marginalized, in some cases imprisoned or worse, many of these artists pay a steep price for daring to draw attention to the foibles of power.)
SILVERED WATER, SYRIA SELF PORTRAIT /Eau Argentée (2014 – US Premiere)
Written and directed by Ossama Mohammed.
Presented in association with Doc&Films.
(Subtitled in English)
(War has always been hell, but we haven't always had cell phone cameras to capture it. Silvered Water, Syria Self Portrait documents the Syrian civil war in a way that war has never before been seen. With Expressionist editing from video postings on social media, the film achieves an immediacy that is powerful, shocking, and surprising. Organized into chapters, "1,001 Syrians" bear unblinking witness to the horrors, the senseless destruction, and chaos, but who would expect images of so many maimed and hobbled cats, or "freedom" written in blood on virgin snow? Exiled Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed compiles his found-footage Guernica from Paris, and advises young Kurdish filmmaker Wiam Simav Bedirxan, who volunteers to act as his eyes in Syria, all the while commenting on his own sense of despair and helplessness, and hoping against hope that film can still make a difference.)
WE DID IT ON A SONG /Chante ton bac d'abord!(2014 – North American Premiere)
Written and directed by David André.
Presented in Association with Cat&Docs.
(In French with English Subtitles)
(In this musical docudrama hybrid, five working class high school students prepare for graduation exams while looking for ways to escape the lean prospects of adulthood in their economically anorexic hometown. The story's attractive narrator Gaelle Bridoux sets the tone by applying for art school against her father's hopes. She and her quartet of friends sing their way through the dreams, anxieties and disillusionments of their senior year, giving voice to an ailing post-industrial France as they go. The risky format is surprisingly effective, contrasting a touching documentary sensibility with charming musical showstoppers written and performed by the kids themselves.)