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Docuweeks lineup: magicians, Mormons, migrants and more

June 28, 2012|By Julie Makinen

A Mormon man’s effort to rescue, preserve and share 20,000 volumes of ancient Tibetan text, the annual Scottish Prison Service hairdressing competition and the struggles of people with bipolar disorder are among the stories that will unspool onscreen at the International Documentary Assn.’s Docuweeks screening series in August.

Seventeen feature films and 11 shorts from 19 countries will play between Aug. 10 and 30 at the Laemmle NoHo 7. Tickets for individual films at the Laemmle NoHo 7 are $11 for general admission, $8 for IDA members and $8 for seniors and children.

Here’s a look at the lineup, with descriptions as provided by IDA:

Feature films

“The Anderson Monarchs”

Director:  Eugene Martin

The Anderson Monarchs is about a nationally competitive African American girls soccer club competing, living and thriving in an at-risk urban neighborhood in Philadelphia. Nominated in 2008 by Sports Illustrated as sports team of the year, they were also hailed as "the future of American Soccer" in the London newspaper, the Guardian. The Anderson Monarchs, like their namesake Marian Anderson, are making history. Their remarkable story brings them to a place they only ever imagined in their dreams.

“Defiant Requiem”

Director/producer/writer:           Doug Shultz

A memorial concert reawakens the story of an artistic uprising in the Nazi concentration camp, Terezin, where a chorus of 150 inmates confronts the Nazis face-to-face ... and sings to them what they dare not say.

“Digital Dharma:  One Man's Mission to Save a Culture”

Director/producer/writer:           Dafna Yachin

When ancient writings of Sanskrit and Tibetan texts vanish during the political turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s, the history of a whole society is in danger of disappearing.  Digital Dharma chronicles the 50-year journey of E. Gene Smith, a Mormon from Utah, the unlikely leader of an effort to rescue, preserve and share 20,000 volumes of ancient Tibetan text. It's the story of one man's mission that became the catalyst for an international movement to provide free access to the story of a people.


Director: Everardo González

Residents from the ejido (communal land) Los Cuates de Australia in northeast Mexico every year stage a massive exodus to look for water during drought. In this exile, men, women, elders and children wait for the first drops of water to return to their lands, a metaphor of a small town that hides from death.

“Garden in the Sea” (Jardín en el Mar)

Director/writer:                               Thomas Riedelsheimer

Garden in the Sea is a documentary about art, landscape and environment. Over a period of four years, the director followed Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias to the Mexican Sea of Cortez where she was commissioned to create an underwater sculpture that gradually would help enhance marine life. Expanding the form of a classic portrait, the film talks not only about the role of art but also about human passion, experiences and longings and makes the stunning beauty of our world tangible inviting us to care for it.

“La Source”

Director:  Patrick Shen

After an earthquake devastates his beloved country, a Haitian Princeton janitor seeks the support of the privileged community he serves every day and sacrifices everything to revive his lifelong dream to bring what is most fundamental to his village's survival: clean water.

“Love Free or Die”

Director: Macky Alston

"Love Free or Die"is about a man whose two defining passions are in direct conflict: his love for God and his partner Mark. Gene Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the historical traditions of Christendom. His consecration in 2003, to which he wore a bulletproof vest, caused an international stir, and he has lived with death threats every day since. "Love Free or Die" follows Robinson from small-town churches in the New Hampshire North County to Washington's Lincoln Memorial to London's Lambeth Palace, as he calls for all to stand for equality –– inspiring bishops, priests and ordinary folk to come out from the shadows and change history.

“The Magic Life”

Director: Nelson Cheng   

 Three aspiring individuals try to turn their passion into a career. Can they pull off the biggest trick of their lives and become working magicians?

 “Of Two Minds”

Director: Doug Blush, Lisa Klein

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