(San Francisco)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) has announced that seven of its productions have been chosen as official selections for the 23rd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Running from November 17 to 29, 2010, the prestigious festival is the largest showcase of documentary film in the world. Many ITVS films have screened to great audience and critical acclaim at IDFA, including last year’s best feature length film winner, Last Train Home, directed by Lixin Fan, and The Most Dangerous Man in America, directed Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, which walked away with a special jury award to a film not in competition.
The seven ITVS International productions and domestic productions to be featured at IDFA 2010 are as follows:
The Boy Mir (Afghanistan/UK, directed by Phil Grabsky)
Co-production of Seventh Art Productions Limited and ITVS International
The Boy Mir follows Mir — starting from age 8 and continuing for the next 10 years — in post-9/11 Afghanistan. A social document of life in this extraordinary country, the film reveals in a deeply moving and intimate fashion what has been happening in Afghanistan since the November 2001 fall of the Taliban. What difference has the presence of America and its allies had on this country? Will Mir end up as a soldier or an opium farmer? If so, can this cycle ever really be changed?
Boxing Gym (USA, directed by Frederick Wiseman)
Co-production of Thirteen/WNET in association with ITVS
Lord's Gym was founded 16 years ago by Richard Lord, a former professional boxer. People of all ages, races, ethnicities, and social classes train at the gym: men, women, children, doctors, lawyers, judges, business men and business women, immigrants, professional boxers, and aspiring pros alongside amateurs who just love the sport, and teenagers who are trying to develop strength and assertiveness. The gym is an example of the American melting pot where people meet, talk, and train.
I Was Worth 50 Sheep (Afghanistan/Sweden, directed by Nima Sarvestani and Maryam Ebrahimi)
Co-production of NIMAFILM and ITVS International
Following a long-practiced tradition in Afghanistan, 10-year-old Sabere was sold to a man in his fifties. For the next six years she was both slave and wife, miscarrying four times. Now 16, she is fighting for her freedom.
Our Summer in Teheran (USA, produced/directed by Justine Shapiro)
Over the course of three months, Jewish filmmaker Justine Shapiro and her 6-year-old son Mateo experience the daily life of three middle-class families from very different backgrounds in the political capitol of Iran. Our Summer in Teheran goes behind the traditional mainstream media headlines and explores the fascinating, yet strikingly familiar home of the "enemy."
Pushing the Elephant (USA, directed by Beth Davenport and Elizabeth Mandel)
Co-production of Arts Engine, Inc. and ITVS
When civil war came to Rose’s Congolese village, she was separated from her 5-year-old daughter, Nangabire. Rose managed to escape with nine of her 10 children and was eventually resettled in Phoenix, Arizona. More than a decade later, mother and daughter are reunited in the U.S. where they must come to terms with the past and build a new future.
The Team (Kenya/Canada, directed by Patrick Reed)
A White Pine Pictures production in association with ITVS International
In the wake of Kenya's 2007 election violence, Kenyans scramble to produce a dramatic TV soap opera series about a fictional soccer team, hoping taboo storylines can bridge deep ethnic divisions. The Team explores whether the lowliest of art forms can achieve the loftiest of ideals: transformative social change.
This Is My Picture When I Was Dead (Jordan/Netherlands, produced/directed by Mahmoud Al Massad)
Co-production of iSee Film, KeyDocs B.V., and ITVS International
Athens, Greece 1983 — media outlets around the world reported on the assassination of a top PLO lieutenant and his four-year-old son Bashir. But what would happen if the boy came back to life today? This Is My Picture When I Was Dead looks at this crucial moment in history and how death isn't the end of one's journey.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly PBS series Independent Lens. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue, and reach underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information can be found at itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
ABOUT ITVS INTERNATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CALL
ITVS International promotes the exchange of compelling documentary films between the United States and other nations, going beyond stereotypes and headline news to provide television audiences around the world with new insight into the cultures and people who make up our global community. ITVS International Call enables independent producers from outside the United States to create documentaries for U.S. television. Through the call, storytellers from other countries introduce U.S. audiences to their global neighbors, opening a window into unfamiliar lives, experiences, and perspectives from around the world. ITVS International Call seeks films in the production or post-production phase and encourages independent producers to submit their projects for consideration. For more information about guidelines, eligibility, and how to apply, please visit www.itvs.org/funding/international. The deadline to apply is December 10, 2010. ITVS International Call is an initiative of ITVS and funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. CONTACT: Voleine Amilcarvoleine_amilcar@itvs.org 415-356-8383, ext 244