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2009 Sundance Film Selections: World Cinema Documentary Competition

With a little bit more than half the films being world premieres, this year’s World Cinema Documentary Competition tally of 16 were chosen from 744 submitted docs.

This year’s 16 films were selected from 744 submissions.
Films screening in World Cinema Documentary Competition are:
211:Anna / Italy (Directors:Paolo Serbandini & Giovanna Massimetti)—The story of Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist and human rights activist who risked her life to report the truth about the Chechen conflict and President Vladimir Putin.  World Premiere
Afghan Star / Afghanistan/UK (Director: Havana Marking)—After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. This film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. North American Premiere
Big River Man / USA (Director: John Maringouin)—An overweight, wine-swilling Slovenian world-record-holding endurance swimmer resolves to brave the mighty Amazon–in nothing but a Speedo®. World Premiere
Burma VJ / Denmark (Director: Anders Ostergaard)—In September 2007, Burmese journalists risking life imprisonment to report from inside their sealed-off country are suddenly thrown onto the global stage as their pocket camera images of the Saffron Revolution make headlines everywhere. U.S.  Premiere
The End of the Line / UK (Director: Rupert Murray)—Based on the book by journalist Charles Clover, The End of the Line reveals the devastating effect that global overfishing is having on fish stocks and the health of our oceans. World Premiere
The Glass House / USA (Director: Hamid Rahmanian)—The Glass House follows four teenage girls striving to overcome drug addiction, abandonment and abuse by attending a rehabilitation center in Tehran. North American Premiere
Kimjongilia / France/USA (Director: N.C. Heikin)—Defectors from North Korea finally speak out about the terrifying reality of their lives–and escapes. World Premiere
Let’s Make Money /Austria/China/South Africa/Spain/Switzerland/U.S.A. (Director: Erwin Wagenhofer)—From the factories of India, to financial markets in Singapore, to massive housing developments in Spain and offshore banks in Jersey, Let’s Make Money reveals complex and shocking workings of global money flow. World Premiere
Nollywood Babylon / Canada (Directors: Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal)—Welcome to the wacky world of Nollywood, Nigeria’s bustling home-grown movie industry. U.S. Premiere
Old Partner/ South Korea (Director: Chung-ryoul Lee)—A humble octogenarian farmer lives out his final days with his spitfire wife and his loyal old ox in the Korean countryside. North American Premiere
Prom Night in Mississippi/ Canada (Director: Paul Saltzman)—When a small-town Mississippi high school resolves to hold its first integrated senior prom, strong emotions fly and traditions are challenged to their core. World Premiere
The Queen and I (Drottningen och jag) / Sweden (Director: Nahid Persson Sarvestani)— Swedish filmmaker Sarvestani, an Iranian exile who helped overthrow the Shah’s regime in 1979, confronts her own assumptions and complex truths about Iran when she enters the life of the Shah’s widow. World Premiere
Quest for Honor/ Kurdistan / USA (Director: Mary Ann Bruni)—A former teacher and tireless activist works with local lawmen, Kurdish government agencies and her colleagues to investigate and eradicate honor killings in the tribal regions of Kurdistan. World Premiere
Rough Aunties/ UK (Director: Kim Longinotto)—Fearless, feisty and unwavering, the ‘Rough Aunties’ protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa. North American Premiere
Thriller in Manila/ UK (Director: John Dower)—A tale of betrayal stoked by the racial politics of 1970s America, Thriller in Manila chronicles the most intense and bitter sporting rivalry ever:  the 1975 final match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. North American Premiere
Tibet in Song / USA (Director: Ngawang Choephel)—Through the story of Tibetan music, this film depicts the determined efforts of Tibetan people, both in Tibet and in exile, to preserve their unique cultural identity. Choephel served six years of an 18-year prison sentence for filming in Tibet. World Premiere

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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