Heat of the Moment

A selection of this year’s best documentaries pushing the boundaries of the form.

Kortfilmfestivalen Play 19-25 October

Home Constructors

Five Palestinian workers try to find their place alongside their Jewish-Israeli constructor during Israeli Memorial Day. By distancing themselves from a foreign fellow worker who is a refugee from Darfur, the workers are hoping to finally belong to this land that defines its owners by the rules of war.

Israel, 2019, 4, Direction: Nitzan Rozen, Production: Kobi Mizrahi, Nitzan Rozen.
Nitzan Rozen was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Kfar Warburg, a village in the south of Israel. She graduated with honors from The Sam Spiegel Film School in 2017, and directed 2 short fiction films.

Up at Night

Three separate screens make us discover the resilience of a population that reinvents light, in front of an invisible government.

Belgium, 2019, 21, Direction: Nelson Makengo, Production: Rosa Spaliviero.
Nelson Makengo graduated in Visual Communication from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa. After participating in masterclasses in photography, documentary writing residencies in Kinshasa, Saint Louis Senegal and training in filmmaking in Paris at the National School of Image and Sound Trades (La Femis); he now makes documentary and experimental short films


Based on a true story, “Guillermina” is a film that reconstructs the memories of the trace left in a 9-year-old child, the son of a well-to-do family in Havana in the 1940s, of his wet-nurse, a black woman named Guillermina.

Cuba, Spain, Brazil, 2019, 17, Direction: Aida Esther Bueno Sarduy, Production: Aida Esther Bueno Sarduy.
Aída Esther Bueno Sarduy is a documentary filmmmaker and Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and has completed advanced studies on race relations and black culture at the Center for Afro-Asian Studies at the Universidade Candido Mendes in Río de Janeiro. Her research on religions of African origin has taken her to Havana, Cuba, and Salvador de Bahía, Recife and São Luis de Maranhão in Brazil. She is currently researching the trade of enslaved women, freedom charters, and documents related to the purchase of personal freedom of african women or afrodescendents in Brasil at the end of the 19th century in th State of Pernambuco. In addition to teaching Anthropology in various U.S. university programs in Madrid including Middlebury College, Boston University, Hamilton College, New York University, and Stanford

Douma Underground

With the barrel bombs falling on Ghouta, civilians sought shelter in the basements of their homes. I was one of them. Holding on to my camera, I tried to film what I couldn’t express in words.

Lebanon, Syria, 2019, 11, Direction: Tim Alsiofi, Production: Mohammad Ali Atassi.
Born in Douma, Damascus 1994, Tim Alsiofi studied sound engineering and music but could not complete his studies due to the siege on Eastern Ghouta where he remained until the forced displacement of 2018. Inside Ghouta, he documented the daily stories of the besieged civilians and since 2013 he’s been serving as a field photographer contributing to reporting from inside the siege to a number of news agencies.


The documentary paints a portrait of a drag family from Brussels, spanning four generations, during an evening backstage. As layers of makeup and alcohol erode their masculinity and feminize them, their hearts begin to open. Difficult subjects are addressed, the jokes merge and generational misunderstandings inevitably insert themselves into the discussion.

Belgium, 2019, 20, Direction: Hippolyte Leibovici, Production: Manon Mancini.
Hippolyte Leibovici is a Franco-Belgian producer. His attraction to cinema begins at the age of 13 whilst serving coffee on the sets of an African production company. Slowly abandoning his studies, he works in this same production company from the age of 15 to 17 as an imagery technician. He begins producing short films without the means to do so, and mixes his technical apprenticeship with his desire to produce. He joins INSAS at the age of 18, which introduces him to the team with which he will produce his films. At the age of 21, he abandons fiction for documentaries, with the desire of finally accomplishing and creating cinema with a purpose, notably for the LGBTQ community.

Huntsville Station

Every weekday, inmates are released from Huntsville State Penitentiary, taking in their first moments of freedom with phone calls, cigarettes, and quiet reflection at the Greyhound station up the block.

United States, 2020, 13, Direction: Chris Filippone, Jamie Meltzer, Production: Jamie Meltzer. Jamie Meltzer (b Washington D.C., USA, in 1973) graduated from the San Francisco State University’s cinema programme with a master’s in 2002. He teaches and is the programme director of the MFA programme in documentary film at Stanford University.Chris Filippone ( b Philadelphia, USA in 1987) studied film and media arts as well as political science at Temple University and documentary film and video at Stanford. His films explore the intersection between work, marginalised voices and contested spaces.

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