Astra Film Festival, an overview of the 2019 edition: 4 competing sections and 12 thematic programmes
This year marks the 26th edition of the International Astra Film Festival in Sibiu, which will present a selection of the latest 126 films made in over 45 countries from around the world during the week of 14-20 October. 46 documentaries divided into 4 sections will be competing for the awards at Astra Film Festival 2019. The programme is completed by dozens of exceptional films grouped by their topics into 12 special thematic programmes that will bring on the big screen the subjects that stir us all these days, irrespective of gender, nationality or age.
The 11 films selected in the Romania competing section represent an equal amount of methods of in-depth exploration of the turbulent history of the country and the visible and less visible effects that it had on the present, while objectively searching for faces of truth. The Central and Eastern Europe competition includes 10 films and although they approach different topics, their commonality lies in the power with which they succeed in entering the private universe of certain people or nations from the former Soviet space. 10 powerful films made by the most promising new voices of documentary film-making from all over the world are included in this year’s International competition. It has been 20 years since AFF started including in its official selection films made by film schools and universities from all across the globe and this year the best 14 films were selected in the DocSchool competition, bringing together students from Romania, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, UK, Belgium, Israel, India and Lebanon.
The AFF 2019 Awards will be held on Saturday, 19 October, and the winning films will be screened again during the last day of the festival – Sunday, 20 October.
This year’s festival programme is rich and diverse and in addition to the competing sections the festival also proposes 12 special programmes dominated by films that train and sharpen the mind of the viewers and offer them new perspectives on the world. An extremely captivating cinema experience awaits children and teenagers during Astra Film Junior, with this year’s selection of over 20 documentary films that touch upon such topics as: climate change, the desire for a better future, social movements, justice and national identity.
The films in the thematic programmes evoke moments in Europe’s recent history, caught between two walls, one that was demolished in 1989 and the other one which was built 30 years later due to an increased fear of foreigners (”Videograms – Romania 1989” and ”Europa 30”), they take an in-depth look at the secrets of marriage, love and sex (”Sex Work Stories” and ”Marriage, Sex and Beyond”), they present the stories of women who are ready to face life for an ideal, for survival or for the good of another person (”Power is feminine”), they capture the private microcosm of their authors or nations in great detail (”The Family Camera” and ”China Unknown”) or they bring the justice system closer to the citizens (”The legal system under scrutiny”).
Since Asen Balikci, one of the prominent figures in modern visual anthropology, passed away this year AFF dedicates a portrait-programme to him including film screenings and panel discussions. ”DokStation” will present three musical documentaries in Sibiu from this year’s programme of the festival bearing the same name. The section entitled ”Great Masters 2019” includes the most recent creations of prestigious names of world cinema: Viktor Kossakovsky, Kim Longinotto and Werner Herzog, who brings a memorable conversation with none other than Gorbaciov to the big screen. There will also be event-screenings: “Touch Me Not”, ”Siberia în oase” and ”Între Chin și Amin”.
You can find the titles of the films that were selected for this year’s edition of Astra Film Festival on www.astrafilm.ro.