This is the last step before the launch of the 18th Millennium Docs Against Gravity on September 3! Starting on August 19, you can purchase single-screening tickets on mdag.pl and in the ticket offices of festival cinemas (during opening hours). The festival portal now offers a program grid featuring both film screenings and additional events of this year’s festival.
This year’s Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival will be a hybrid edition. After the cinema section in seven cities of Poland (Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdynia, Poznań, Katowice, Lublin, Bydgoszcz) between September 3-12, the online section will begin, screening selected films from the cinema section from September 16 to October 3. This means that this year’s festival will last an entire month—from September 3 to October 3! Millennium Bank is the patron of the festival.
Our attendees get to choose among almost 150 documentaries from all over the world. This year’s program is particularly oriented toward films about activists fighting for environmental issues, human rights, and better working conditions; those who oppose the destruction of the planet, like Greta Thunberg, the protagonist of the opening film, I Am Greta (dir. Nathan Grossman), or seek the roots of social inequalities by examining the actions of today’s multinational corporations, like the authors of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (dir. Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan), the continuation of the 2003 festival hit The Corporation. The world of young activists is also depicted in Dear Future Children (dir. Franz Böhm), where teens all over the world fight for the things that matter the most to them. In Courage (dir. Aliaksei Paluyan), the director follows a group of actors from a Belarusian theater opposing the regime of Alexandr Lukashenka after the elections.
Several new sections were added to the 18th edition of the festival. DIY Protest is for films showing that even taking just one step is enough to do something useful for the society and the planet. Crime Mysteries @MDAG showcases those films where truth-seeking is filled with adventures like a classic thriller, as is the case with this year’s Oscar nominee The Mole Agent (dir. Maite Alberti). Life in the Time of the Pandemic comprises films by young Polish filmmakers—these works show that lockdown improves creativity, as “regular” people reach for cameras (in their smartphones or otherwise) to document this bizarre reality. The highlight of this section is Polish Self-Portrait (authors: Maciej Białoruski, Jakub Drobczyński, Jakub Rados), which depicts a cross-section of the Polish society having to cope with the virus of loneliness in isolation. The Different Faces of Latin America will take our attendees on a long journey: these films come both from widely discussed countries like Chile or Venezuela and from lesser-known parts of South America, like Paraguay. They show a sunny continent with a complex past and an equally complex present.
This year’s program is also filled with films by eminent creators and the hits of the biggest global festivals. Gianfranco Rossi comes back with Notturno, a shocking portrayal of war-torn areas of the Middle East. In Gorbachev. Heaven, Vitaly Mansky visits Mikhail Gorbachev in his mansion to discuss the transformation in Russia after the fall of the USSR, as well as the sense of abandonment and loneliness tormenting the last leader of the Soviet Union. We’re also going to screen Flee (dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen), a Sundance hit likened to the cult film Waltz with Bashir: an animated portrayal of a boy and his family fleeing Afghanistan to Scandinavia through Russia, facing not just the challenges of being a refugee, but also of being gay, which is not accepted in his culture of origin.
In addition to the Best Debut Award, this year’s festival will also see a competition for the Best Polish Film. The 14 movies fighting for this distinction include the new works of famous directors—Rafael Lewandowski’s Herbert. Barbarian in the Garden sheds a new light on the life of the eminent Polish poet, while Paweł Łoziński chats up the pedestrians passing by his balcony in the Saska Kępa neighborhood in his The Balcony Movie (which had its world premiere at the Locarno festival), building an unusual, intimate, and engaging tale about our society.