The 13th Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival is in full swing and yesterday I had the chance to see two great documentaries that managed to combine compelling stories, beautiful images and a strong message. The Tillman Story is a moving account of US football star Pat Tillman who gave up a multi -million dollar contract to join the Army, only to be killed by his own side during a botched operation in Afghanistan.
Director Amir Bar-Lev and screenwriter Mark Monroe take a unjaded look at how the US military and political leadership lied about the incident in order to spin a more acceptable patriotic version of the truth. In doing so we have an insight into how the media across the board also fell in line with the official line to produce what amounted to a propaganda campaign in support of the Bush administration's foreign war policy.
However, don't let the politics put you off as Bar-Lev has produced a movie that is full of intrigue, suspense and human emotion in the raw. For those of you who missed the previous showing there is another showing at 8pm, Thursday at the Olympion cinema, Aristotelous Square (the film is in English with Greek subtitles).
The second movie I managed to catch is Wiebo's War which examines the life of a Christian community in Alberta, Canada and their struggle with oil companies who started drilling in the area. The resulting environmental destruction set in motion a series of events that would pit Wiebo Ludwig's group against both energy corporations and their neighbours. Once again we have a film with a powerful plot and beautiful images to tell a story that is both moving and has a strong sense of narrative. As a result film maker David York avoids giving the viewer the sense that s/he are being preached at. A trap into which many documentaries with worthy topics sadly fall into.
The film can be seen again at 24.00 (yikes) on Thursday at the Olympion cinema. If you are around at that time I recommend the film unreservedly.
Last but not least, Enraged December - Οργισμένος Δεκέμβρης can be seen at 3.30pm today at the Stavros Tornes theatre (in the port).