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Documentary Fortnight 2014 brings international selection of new films to MoMA
Campaign 2. 2013. Japan/USA. Directed by Kazuhiro Soda. Courtesy of Soda.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art announces Documentary Fortnight 2014: MoMA's International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media, the 13th annual two-week showcase of recent documentary films that examines the relationship between contemporary art and nonfiction practices and reflects on new areas of documentary filmmaking, from February 14 through 28, 2014. This year's festival includes an international selection comprising more than 20 screenings of features, shorts, and installations. All are New York premieres, and many will be presented by the filmmakers. This year's selection includes three noted video installations shown at the 55th Venice Biennale: Duncan Campbell's It for Others (2013), Sharon Hayes's Ricerche: three (2013), and Akram Zaatari's Letter to a Refusing Pilot (2013), all presented in single-channel versions. Documentary Fortnight is organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film, with Matthew Freundlich, Festival Liaison, and Paulina Kowalcyck, Film Intern. The Selection Committee consists of Sally Berger; Chi-hui Yang, independent curator; and Lucy Raven, artist.

The festival opens on February 14 with A Mãe e O Mar (The Mother and the Sea) (2013), director Gonçalo Tocha's cinematographically majestic portrait of the aging inhabitants of Vila Cha, Portugal, where he uncovered a link to the mythical stories of seafaring women that were said to exist in the coastal villages of Portugal. The festival's closing night film, the exhaustively researched Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2013), directed by Thomas Allen Harris, reveals how African American photography since the 1840s has played a major role in shaping the identity and aspirations of African Americans from slavery to the present day. Both films show the important role of the documentary filmmaker in revealing unknown and hidden histories.

Several other works, including Danis Tanović’s Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (2013), combine narrative form with documentary impulses to create emotionally searing critiques of social conditions. Tanović’s film re-creates the harrowing story of a couple in a Roma community in central Bosnia and Herzegovina who are refused medical treatment. Pine Ridge (2013), the first feature film by Danish director Anna Eborn, uses intimately framed cinéma vérité footage to slowly reveal a portrait of life on the infamous Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The film focuses primarily on the daily activities and aspirations of the reservation's young adults.

Many of the films focus on current events, capturing the realities of life across the world in greater depth using documentary tools as a way to examine the core of existence. Wang Bing’s cinéma vérité work ‘Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), shot almost entirely on one floor in a bleak asylum in Southwest China, follows incarcerated men—some of whom have committed violent crimes and others who simply cannot function well in society—as they fight over food and intimacy, seeking to create new relationships in order to survive in isolation. Two films—Peter Snowdon’s The Uprising (2013) and Victor Kossakovsky’s Demonstration—examine contemporary mass public protests taking place in different areas of the world. The Uprising—an imaginary, pan-Arab event—is created from actual protest footage shot by residents in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia. Demonstration (2013), directed by Kossakovsky and 32 students, creatively captures one day of protests against Spanish government austerity measures in 2012. This satirical social critique perceptively reveals the passions of the populace, as the music to Don Quixote plays in the background.

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