World Stories Delivered Directly to Your Bubble

The Documentary Edge International Film Festival 2020 (Doc Edge) will be coming directly to you in the comfort of your own bubble! The festival, traditionally presented in Auckland and Wellington, will now be available to everyone in Aotearoa. Doc Edge is moving the full 2020 festival and industry event programme online this June.

Doc Edge intends to reimagine the collective experience of the Festival by creating digital spaces for interaction and conversation, including the popular Q&A sessions with filmmakers. More than simply a library of online content, Doc Edge will bring the in-cinema festival experience into the home.

Presented by The Documentary NZ Trust the Doc Edge Festival will open on 12 June – 5 July, becoming Australasia’s first major film festival to take on the challenge of Covid-19 by going fully digital. Last month Variety and The Hollywood Reporter covered Doc Edge’s plans, catching the attention of international filmmakers, including winners from Cannes and Sundance. 

Doc Edge is an Oscar® qualifying festival. The Academy has confirmed the winners of the NZ and International Doc Edge Awards are still eligible for consideration for the 2021 Oscars – which is a huge asset in an industry under threat.

The Doc Edge Schools programme will be a welcome addition to teachers around the country with free screenings for students. Schools sessions will be supported by educational packs and will also include interactive talks with filmmakers and experts.

In a full line-up of over 70 films, a record number of filmmakers will present their world premiere screenings at this year’s Doc Edge. The full programme was released on Thursday 14 May.  

Over the past 15 years, the Doc Edge Festival has brought the world’s best documentaries and filmmakers to our shores. While 2020 will look different, the quality of award-winning films will continue to set the bar high. 

Doc Edge is proud to announce the first selection of films.

 A Sundance favourite, Influence (ZA/CA), is a timely examination of the career of Tim Bell, one of the most powerful and notorious names in global public relations. From award-winning South African directors and journalists Diana Neille and Richard Poplak, this compelling film is steeped in the world of politics and weaponised communication, investigating the rise and scandalous fall of British multinational Bell Pottinger. 

Dive into the suspenseful journey of renowned underwater wildlife photographer Amos Nachoum in Picture of His Life (US/IL). Nachoum has shot close-ups of great white sharks, leopard seals, orcas, anacondas and crocodiles, but one animal has forever escaped him: the polar bear hunting underwater. Last time he took up this challenge it nearly cost him his life. Award-winning filmmakers Yonatan Nir & Dani Menki continue their success of capturing the unique and touching relationships formed between humans and nature. 

For more than 40 years, journalist Robert Fisk reported on some of the most violent and divisive conflicts in the world. Director Yung Chang captures Fisk in relentless action—feet on the ground, notebook in hand, as he travels into landscapes devastated by war, ferreting out the facts and firing reports back home to reach an audience of millions. This is Not a Movie (CA/DE) follows Fisk in his dogged quest of the truth in a world where fake news is a sad reality. His motto: Report what you see with your own eyes. Only then will you get close to the truth. 

Kiwi filmmaker Sally Williams celebrates the stellar 67-year long career of the remarkable New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson in the biopic, Stevenson: Lost and Found (US/NZ). Williams creates an unexpectedly moving portrait that unearths the life, struggles and humour of an artist and his truly dazzling volume of work. 

Upon receiving a mysterious invitation, award-winning director Yoav Shamir sets off on a thought-provoking and humorous quest into the world’s biggest UFO religion. The Prophet and the Space Aliens (ZA/IL/AT) follows leader Rael who founded the religion after an alleged encounter with extra-terrestrials, during which he was appointed the “last prophet”. Through his ambitious attempts to find loyal followers, this gripping modern-day tale sheds light on some of the many themes and questions of religion and faith. 

With unprecedented access to World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab, Marcus Vetter becomes the first filmmaker to look behind the scenes of the controversial summit. The Forum (DE/CH) follows Schwab on his mission to improve the world through dialogue with some of the biggest names in politics and business. This absorbing documentary questions if the Forum can really contribute to solving global issues, or if it is just another part of the problem. 

By partnering with New Zealand company Shift72, Doc Edge will realise its vision of offering all of New Zealand the chance to experience a documentary film festival, even it is in the comfort of their own home.

As audiences are key to creating the community of the Festival, Doc Edge would like to invite kiwis to be part of it.

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Feature photo: Just another day on the job for wildlife photographer, Amos Nachoum, Picture of His Life, Doc Edge Festival 2020. Photo Credit @JebCorliss.

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