Head Games

Steve James, USA, 2012, color, DCP, 92'
Synopsis

Christopher Nowinski is a Harvard graduate and former football player and wrestler. For 12 months, he was plagued by headaches, nausea and sleepwalking, and it ultimately meant an end to his athletic career. A friend suggested that he go to a medical specialist, and that's where Nowinski discovered he had probably suffered brain damage. Over the years, he had gotten perhaps a hundred concussions that were never diagnosed as such, and Nowinski is by no means an exception. Scientific research suggests that brain damage is widespread among American athletes, especially those playing ice hockey, football and soccer. The consequences can be dramatic. One 40-year-old former athlete tried to strangle his son of 14; a few weeks later, this same man committed suicide in front of his wife, with his children in the next room. More and more stories of this kind have been appearing in recent years. The problem is that it's only possible to diagnose the damage with any certainty posthumously - and there's no treatment for it, anyway. But it's difficult to convince American youth, or their parents and coaches, of the dangers - especially when sports are so important for both individual triumph and communities. Besides, being a crybaby just isn't cool.

IDFA Bertha Fund supports ten new projects April 1, 2014 | The IDFA Bertha Fund has concluded its February selection round of 2014 by choosing ten documentary projects from countries like Mozambique, Venezuela, India and Kyrgyzstan.
IDFAcademy Summer School announces first tutors March 24, 2014 | Director Leonard Retel Helmrich, editor Jesper Osmund and IKON commissioning editor Margje de Koning will be among the tutors for the seventh IDFAcademy Summer School.
Call for submission IDFA-Mediafonds Workshop March 10, 2014 | IDFA and the Dutch Cultural Media Fund encourage creative, experienced filmmakers to enter their film plans for the IDFA-Mediafonds Workshop 2014. The deadline for entry is April 4. Please note: Only Dutch speaking participants are eligible for this workshop.
Call for IDFA.tv January 20, 2014 | IDFA.tv is looking for festival classics online. We are researching which documentaries previously shown at IDFA are (legally) available online and on which platform.
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