Home News NFB returns to IDFA with premiere ofUyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd

NFB returns to IDFA with premiere ofUyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd


NFB returns to IDFA with premiere of
Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd

;NFB returns to IDFA with premiere of Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd;
(November 10, 2014 – Toronto, ON) The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will return to the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) with four major new projects in the official selection. The festival, which runs from November 19 to 30, will see the international premiere of acclaimed Chilean-born filmmaker Patricio Henríquez`s Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd. Screening in the feature-length competition at IDFA, the film exposes the human drama of a group of men from China’s persecuted Uyghur minority of Turkic-speaking Muslims, sold to the United States, then detained in Guantánamo as terrorists.

Produced by Macumba Media (Patricio Henríquez and Michelle Shephard), in co-production with the NFB (Colette Loumède, Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd is a 99-minute journey that has been described as an incredible odyssey. The film exposes the cold logic of post-September 11 geopolitics. Part human drama, part political thriller, and equally thought-provoking and moving, Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd had its world premiere in Montreal on October 10, at the Festival du nouveau cinéma. Its director, Patricio Henríquez is a past winner of a Special Jury Award at IDFA, for his 2010 film You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantanamo, co-directed with Luc Côté.

IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Documentary Storytelling hosts the launch of In Limbo. A coproduction between the NFB, ARTE and Providences, this philosophical and poetic essay questions what becomes of our individual and collective memory in the digital era, from the point-of-view of the data that will outlive us all. Launching online in January 2015, In Limbo immerses participants in a world without forgetting, fed by all the machines, data centres and connected individuals that gather all our memories.

In Limbo features insights from such key figures as pioneering computer engineer Gordon Bell, and author, computer scientist, futurist and Google director of engineering Ray Kurzweil, along with a wide range of everyday users, who together explore the limbo that is this gigantic pyramid of memory. In Limbo was directed by Antoine Viviani and produced by Marianne Levy-Leblond and Alexander Knetig (ARTE); Antoine Viviani and Emilie Arlet (Providences); and Hugues Sweeney and Louis-Richard Tremblay (NFB).

Also featured in the DocLab Competition is the hit interactive documentary Seven Digital Deadly Sins (NFB/The Guardian), which invites users to take a momentary break from the endless stream of tweets, shares, views and comments to examine who we are as moral creatures in the 21st century. Seven Digital Deadly Sins launched online in June of this year and quickly became the NFB’s most popular interactive work of 2014—and one of the NFB’s top webdocs of all time.

Seven Digital Deadly Sins explores the shifting grey area of morality in the digital age through a series of seven candid short films featuring well-known artists and media figures, as well as 21 first-person stories from a wide range of contributors, including a secret Twitter star, a hacker and a couple whose wedding invite went viral. Users also have the chance to absolve and condemn the behaviour of others. It features artists Bill Bailey, Billy Bragg, Ophira Eisenberg, Josie Long, Gary Shteyngart, Jon Ronson and Mary Walsh. It was produced by Alicia Smith (NFB). Executive producers are Loc Dao (NFB), Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton (The Guardian). The co-creators are Jeremy Mendes (NFB), with Pablo Vio (Jam3) as creative director.

The fourth project is titled Primal. Beginning in our childhood, we express some of our most powerful emotions through screaming. This primal form of expression transcends language, expressing joy, anger, fear or astonishment. We scream with passion and hatred, to let off steam, to call for help. Screaming is a raw, primitive means of venting our most intense feelings, allowing us to channel our energy in extraordinary ways.

This is an NFB/Encuentro coproduction and the collaborative web experience looks at how we express our strongest feelings. It challenges participants to let go by screaming, channelling their most intense emotions to create a participatory work of art: a collective online scream.

Primal launched on the web on October 29 and is the first collaboration between the NFB’s Digital Studio and Encuentro, the Ministry of Education of Argentina’s television channel.

For a link to the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, click here for our November 2014 film festival listings.