More to see at Bermuda Docs

Bermuda Docs has added an extra day to its biannual documentary film festival to meet the demands of a public hungry for hard hitting and insightful documentaries.

The Seventh Annual Bermuda Documentary Film Festival will be held this month and will include films on a wide range of topics from history, culture, and quirky personalities to art and freedom of expression.

“Under the new format, there will be two films on Thursday, two on Friday, four on Saturday, and three on Sunday,” said organiser Duncan Hall. “Expansion to four days is a response to the strong public support for the festival. Adding a day spreads the films over a longer period, providing more opportunities for filmgoers to enjoy the festival. It also allows the festival to end a bit earlier on Sunday evening, but leaves a late film slot on Sunday that can be used for a second screening of a film if the demand is there.”

One of the opening night films, ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’ should be of interest to many people on the Island as a year ago Amnesty International Bermuda asked locals to write letters to the Chinese government in his support. Amnesty is a charity that uses letter writing as a way to fight injustice and persecution in the world. Mr Weiwei is one of China’s most celebrated artists and also one of the most controversial.

Because of his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government he has been arrested numerous times, most recently on charges of tax evasion. His critiques of China’s government has ranged from playful photographs of his raised middle finger in front of Tiananmen Square to memorials of the more than 5,000 schoolchildren who died in shoddy government construction in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In April 2011, he and several associates were arrested, but released in June 2011.

The film ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’ by Alison Klayman was released earlier this year and has won numerous prestigious film awards including special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Ms Klayman’s detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and a portrait of Mr Weiwei who is thought to be one of China’s most compelling public figures.

Another film to be held on the opening night of the festival will be ‘The Queen of Versailles’. It will have a completely different feel than that of the Klayman film.

“This insightful, engaging documentary, winner of a Special Jury Prize at Sundance, is the inside story of a passionate dissident for the digital age, a highly original man who blurs the boundaries of art and politics,” said Mr Hall.

Director Lauren Greenfield won the Best Director award at Sundance for her sharply observed and deliciously funny riches-to-rags portrait of billionaires Jackie and David Siegel. The film follows the couple who founded Westgate Resorts, as they embark on the construction of a 90,000 sq ft mansion that is one part Versailles, and several parts Vegas. When the economic downturn begins to bite, it has dramatic results for the family.

“This is an entertaining tale of the American family writ absurdly large,” said Mr Hall.

The remainder of the film line-up will be announced soon. The festival will be held on October 18, 19, 20 and 21 in TradeWinds Auditorium at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI). Tickets to Bermuda Docs go on sale October 5 at, All Wrapped Up-Washington Mall, Fabulous Fashions-Heron Bay Plaza, or by calling 232-2255. Bermuda Docs is sponsored by Stella Artois, BELCO, Bermuda Commercial Bank Limited, the Department of Tourism, the Bermuda Arts Council, and the Cultural Legacy Fund. The festival’s host hotel is the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

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Published Oct 1, 2012 at 6:00 am (Updated Sep 30, 2012 at 11:09 am)

More to see at Bermuda Docs

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