Home Entertainment CPH:DOX Unveils Full Program With a Focus on Conflict in Gaza

CPH:DOX Unveils Full Program With a Focus on Conflict in Gaza

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CPH:DOX, one Europe’s leading documentary film festivals, has announced its full program, which includes no fewer than 84 world premieres out of more than 200 films being screened in the Danish capital and nationwide from March 13 through March 24.

This 21st edition, which aims to make documentary film accessible not only to a select industry few but to the public at large, will take off with a new nationwide approach, with mini festivals running simultaneously in nearly half of Denmark’s municipalities. In addition, alongside the six main awards, a new Audience Award is being revived by popular request, which comes with a €5,000 prize.

Running alongside the festival’s overarching theme of “Body Politics,” which explores questions about the body and our understanding of it, organizers have announced the other main theme of this edition: “Conflicted.”

Born from the war in Gaza, which has hit the headlines again since Oct. 7 last year, “it is about local, territorial, and cultural conflicts around the world,” explains artistic director Niklas Engstrøm. “It expands on what’s going on in Israel-Palestine, but we’re also looking at other conflicts that have some of the same elements.

In an increasingly polarized world, “it’s important for us to take our responsibilities seriously as a documentary film festival and to facilitate dialogue, to show we can be a space where different and opposing views about the world, about cinema, about documentary film, can meet in an atmosphere where it’s okay – even productive – to be in disagreement,” he says, citing the opening film, “Life and Other Problems” by Max Kestner, as “a perfect example of this open and inquisitive spirit.”

Seven films explore the Israel-Palestine conflict, three of which are world premieres. One of them, Tal Barda’s “I Shall Not Hate,” about Nobel Peace Prize nominated author and doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish, who continues to advocate for peace despite losing family members to the war, will run in the festival’s new Human Rights Competition, which has been revived after a 10-year long hiatus.

“Conflicted” also zooms in on other conflicts, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, the simmering tensions between China and Taiwan, and the longstanding dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh (“The Black Garden,” running for the top award).

Faithful to its reputation as a fun, experimental festival, that likes to mix genres and bring in big names in the music industry to perform at special events, this edition will draw the likes of legendary British rocker Pete Doherty for a special screening of “Peter Doherty: Stranger in My Own Skin,” and Canadian electroclash superstar Peaches, who will be in Copenhagen to talk about her film portrait “Teaches of Peaches.”

This 21st edition will also be resuming its super popular director talks and two-ways during the Conference mornings, with guests such as Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (“The Inventor,” “Taxi to the Dark Side,”) who will be in town with “In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon,” James Marsh (“The Theory of Everything,” “The King”) with his Samuel Beckett biopic “Dance First,” Shiori Ito with her Sundance title “Black Box Diaries,” Cannes winner Asmae El Moudir (“The Mother of All Lies”) and rising star Zia Anger, who is premiering the film version of her groundbreaking docu live performance “My First Film.”

In addition to those screening in competition, a raft of out-of-competition world premieres will be shown at theaters throughout the city, including “Apollo Thirteen: Survival” by Emmy-award winner Peter Middleton (“Notes on Blindness”), “Housewife of the Year” by Ciaran Cassidy (“The Last Days of Peter Bergmann”) and the hybrid film “The Stimming Pool,” co-created by a collective of autistic directors and artist-filmmaker Steven Eastwood.

CPH:DOX kicks off in Copenhagen on March 13 and runs through March 24.