Search VIFF Films

Nonfiction Features

Representative of the best new face of eco-tourism, Jessica Oreck’s (Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo) exquisite documentary examines the skilled humble lives and rugged routines of one enterprising Finnish family, celebrating the uncommon relationship they’ve forged with nature. "A work of ethereal beauty… utterly engrossing…"—Variety

Adventures Outdoors, Animals, Environment, Food, Farm & Garden, Women Directors
Nonfiction Features

An African-American gospel choir goes to Palestine to sing in a Palestinian play about Martin Luther King Jr. It isn’t just the glorious strains of gospel music that wash over the West Bank in Connie Field’s (Freedom on My Mind) scintillating new film. An impassioned cultural exchange ensues, new friendships are forged, eyes are opened and attitudes are altered.

Fine Arts & Theatre, History, Islamic World, Jewish Interest, Music & Dance, Women Directors
Nonfiction Features

Heroes rarely fall from grace with the velocity of Lance Armstrong. Aiming to capture the cancer survivor’s bid for an eighth Tour de France title, Alex Gibney (Oscar winner for Taxi to the Dark Side) found himself documenting one of sports’ most infamous doping scandals. Gibney’s access and characteristic rigour culminate in a compelling investigation of the ethics of winning.

Biography, Science & Technology, Sport
Nonfiction Features

Mia Engberg’s personal docu-essay is a sly model of the genre—it weaves memory, love, loss, politics, class, aging, cynicism and hope into one deeply affecting tapestry. When Engberg was young and living in Paris’ Belleville district, she fell in love with an Algerian crook, who disappeared. Back in Sweden many years later, she gets a call from him…

Experimental & Avant Garde, Romance, Women Directors
Nonfiction Features

"Rachel Boynton’s compelling documentary follows what happens when Texas oil exploration firm Kosmos Energy makes an enormous discovery called the Jubilee Field off the coast of Ghana… no film offers a more incisive look at how the enormous wealth oil creates subverts the morality of individuals, corporations, even entire countries."—LA Times

Economics & Globalization, Environment, Human Rights, Power Politics, Women Directors
Nonfiction Features

Long a German resident, filmmaker Dario Aguirre gets called home to Ecuador to help save his father’s grill from bankruptcy. As the vegetarian son and meat-loving father circle each other warily amidst talk of spreadsheets and the advantages of wholesale, a humorous and deeply touching family odyssey emerges.

Economics & Globalization, Family Relations, Food, Farm & Garden, Immigration
(Costa da Morte)
Nonfiction Features

Home to shipwrecks and oil spills, Spain’s Costa da Morte has rightfully earned its moniker. Lois Patiño’s poetic documentary explores these treacherous shores and the people who inhabit them through a series of immaculate tableaux. "A visually stimulating and gently engrossing film…"—Next Projection. Winner, Best Emerging Director, Locarno 2013.

Experimental & Avant Garde, Environment, Science & Technology
Nonfiction Features

A doctor at LA County Hospital, first-time filmmaker Ryan McGarry provides the ultimate insider’s look at the realities of the ER and the adrenaline-charged residents who work there. Fast-paced and provocative, McGarry’s accomplished work will disturb and enlighten by turns. Winner, Best Documentary, Los Angeles 2013.

Health (Mental & Physical), Science & Technology
Nonfiction Features

The power, intensity and drama of desert ultramarathon racing is impressively conveyed in Jennifer Steinman’s documentary. Following a small group of runners competing in the 4 Deserts (the Atacama, the Gobi, the Sahara and the Antarctic) series of races, the film is a compelling look at what motivates these extraordinary competitors.

Adventures Outdoors, Sport, Action, Thrills & Suspense, Women Directors
Nonfiction Features

Filmed in Cumbria, and taking as its subject the 500-year-old building process that remains the dominant method of construction in the upland areas of Great Britain, this is a celebration of tradition from Kelvin Brown and Jacob Robinson.

(Ekspeditionen til verdens ende)
Nonfiction Features

Set against ancient glaciers, an old-fashioned schooner carries a merry band of scientists and artists (Daniel Richter and Tal R) to absolutely sublime arctic lands previously unvisited. Displaying a spirit of adventure and sense of the absurd, Daniel Dencik’s striking documentary takes us on "a sublimely idiosyncratic odyssey."—Maclean’s

Adventures Outdoors, Fine Arts & Theatre, Environment, Science & Technology
(Assistance mortelle)
Nonfiction Features

Raoul Peck gets to the heart of the problem in this cogent and powerful look at why post-earthquake Haiti is worse off than ever. "Shines a damning light on the damage done by international aid agencies whose well-meaning but ignorant assumptions turned a nightmare into an unsolvable tragedy."—Variety

Human Rights, Power Politics, Revolution & Empowerment
Nonfiction Features

Director Bill Morrison weaves together compelling archival footage of the great Mississippi flood of 1927, complemented by a very well-considered Bill Frisell original score. That flood led to an exodus of sharecroppers, all heading north. The result? Chicago blues, rhythm & blues and, ultimately, rock ’n’ roll…

Environment, History, Music & Dance, Science & Technology
(ER Yerushalayim)
Nonfiction Features

A revealing day in the ER ward of Hadassah Medical Center, located in the ethnically charged buffer zone of Mount Scopus, as seen through the eyes of two female doctors, one a Jewish immigrant from Chile, and the other a Palestinian Israeli from the north of Israel.

Health (Mental & Physical), Jewish Interest, Women Directors
Nonfiction Features

If you were a young soldier in Afghanistan and thought the line between the "fog of war" and "killing for sport" was being crossed, would you blow the whistle? Adam Winfield did, and then found himself a target of one of the largest war crimes investigations in US history. Dan Krauss directed this riveting, must-see exposé of what armed foreign intervention can lead to. Winner, Best Documentary, Tribeca 2013.

Crime, Human Rights, War & Espionage
Nonfiction Features

A visually stunning celebration of the artistry and idiosyncrasy of Megan Boyd, the reclusive Scot whose intricate, hand-tied fishing flies made her a legend to anglers and artisans alike. An amalgam of breathtaking painted animation and reverential musings regarding the allure of fly fishing, Eric Steel’s enchanting documentary is "an elegant and fascinating delight…"—Screen

Animation, Fine Arts & Theatre, Biography, Environment, Science & Technology, Sport
Nonfiction Features

Unfortunately for Antarctica’s Ross Sea, there’s "white gold" swimming in its depths. Lured by schools of incredibly valuable toothfish, fishermen have set course for these pristine waters. Peter Young’s urgent, absorbing documentary makes an impassioned plea for retreat before a virtually untouched ecosystem is ruined.

Economics & Globalization, Food, Farm & Garden, Under 18 May Attend, Science & Technology
Nonfiction Features

Reassembling archival news footage and interviews concerning one of Philadelphia’s darkest hours, Jason Osder sheds new light on the 1985 standoff between police and a radical black liberation group that culminated in an inferno that claimed 11 lives. This found-footage documentary "has the force and intrigue of a courtroom thriller… it ripples with urgency and moral complexity."—Screen

Crime, History, Human Rights
(Manqana, romelic kvelafers gaaqrobs)
Nonfiction Features

During a series of open auditions, Tinatin Gurchiani turns her camera on young Georgians, discovering both aspiring stars and disenfranchised strugglers eager to share their stories. Self-deprecating humour and heartrending accounts of war and domestic strife conspire in highly cinematic vignettes. Winner, World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary, Sundance 2013.

Filmmaking, Women Directors
Nonfiction Features

Produced by Leviathan’s Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Laboratory, Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s debut documentary takes us high above the jungle in Nepal, where pilgrims go on an ancient journey, travelling by cable car to reach the Manakamana temple. Winner, Golden Leopard (Filmmakers of the Present), Locarno 2013.

Experimental & Avant Garde, Religion, Spirituality & Myth, Women Directors

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