//////// RAFF DOCU SELECTION
LEJLA DEDIĆ, selector
When my colleague Robert Zuber said he wanted to organise a festival of investigative films on the island of Rab, I immediately found it interesting. Along with a music section, carefully prepared by Zoran Kekić, a fiction film strand, selected by Vladan Petković, he also planned to have a documentary section and he wanted to entrust the task of selecting documentary films to me. In addition to its sounding interesting and him trusting me with this task, this was also a challenge for me because, I must admit, I had only two documentary titles in mind at that moment. Not many people in Croatia, as well as in the entire region, make investigative documentaries, but, still, it’s a start.
Six films were selected for the competition:
The first to be selected for the RAFF documentary strand was Bellingcat. The film received its world premiere at the IDFA in November 2018, where it embarked on its festival journey around Europe and the world. The film came to be because its director, writer and cinematographer Hans Pool wanted to tell a story about five guys sitting at their computers, i.e. about truth in a post-truth world. The story follows the revolutionary rise of the “citizen investigative journalism”, known as Bellingcat: a group of Internet investigators dedicated to exposing the truth behind murky media stories from all over the world. A “cutting-edge documentary”, in the words of Variety.
Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck have been working together since 2007, but it is with The Cleaners that they had their directorial debut in 2018. The film poses the questions: When you post something on the Internet, can you be sure that it will stay there? Who is controlling what we see… and what we think? Take a peek into the hidden industry of digital cleaning where the Internet gets rid of the content it doesn’t like. From a common social vision of the global village to the web of fake news and radicalisation, the film shows the rise and fall of the utopian ideology of social media. “Equal parts fascinating and frightening”, according to Toronto Star.
We then present you Sea of Shadows, the winner of the Sundance Audience Award. The film follows undercover investigators, environmentalists, journalists, and the Mexican Navy in their desperate attempt to save the smallest species of whales from extinction and to bring an international crime syndicate to justice. This is a so-called documentary eco-thriller directed by Richard Ladkani.
That’s the Way It Is is a moving story about a father who is trying to exercise his right to see his daughter after the divorce, with his ex-wife blocking the attempts. The film screened at the 2018 Croatian Film Days and the 2018 Mediterranean Film Festival Split. It “portrays a man, although represented in a basic and very compressed way within the problem he finds himself in”, says its director Oremović, who has also been through a divorce, and, as a father, has felt some of the injustice and prejudice of the system that should be the first not to regard people and their destinies in this way.
After ten years in the making, Green Gold by the director, producer and writer Sergio Ghizzardi, has been completed. It is an investigative documentary that takes us into the very heart of renewable energy and agrofuels, which were at one time presented as the solution for three big crises the world was facing: the energy crisis, the economy and financial crisis, and the environmental crisis.
Cold Case Hammarskjöld is a film by Mads Brügger, the Danish filmmaker and TV presenter, who uses his sense of humour, dedication and great partnership with the private investigator Göran Björkdahl in an attempt to solve the mysterious death of Dag Hammarskjöld. While the investigation is nearing its end, they discover a crime much worse that the murder of the United Nations Secretary General, which makes this film a real investigative masterpiece!
Finally, I really like the words of my colleague Vladan, which can be applied to both our selections:
“Above all, all these films carry important, humanist messages of tolerance, understanding, equality, hope and love, and of the importance of exposing the secrets of the past in order to prevent the past evils from repeating themselves. And that is exactly what the creators of the best investigative films do: they dedicatedly and thoroughly explore particular issues and turn them into outstanding works of art, in order to make us interested in the parts of society we often neglect; in order to bring them closer to us. The rest is our responsibility.”
(Lejla Dedić was born in Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1972. In 1997 she graduated in Media and Society from South Bank University in London. She has over 20 years of experience working in the media sector. She worked for the BBC World Service Trust/Media Action. Since 2011 Lejla has been working at the Programmme Department of Al Jazeera Balkans as Programme Producer in charge of acquisitions and co-productions.)