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.

First Hand
Sjoerd Oostrik wins Mediafonds Documentary Award 2014 November 19, 2014 | Two awards were presented during IDFA's opening ceremony. The Mediafonds Documentary Award 2014 was awarded to Sjoerd Oostrik for his film plan Hier is het nooit stil. Documentary maker Jessica Gorter received the Cultuurfonds Documentary Grant for her oeuvre.
The Female Gaze: IDFA statistics As part of the theme program The Female Gaze, IDFA investigated its own gendered history: are female filmmakers equally represented in the program?
Meet the Juries November 17, 2014 | A grand total of 31 jury members, ranging from renowned industry experts and leading documentary filmmakers to the five teenage members of the DOC U jury, will preside over IDFA's seven competitions this year.
The Female Gaze: The Filmmakers November 13, 2014 | With IDFA less than a week away, meet the 15 leading female documentary directors who compiled this year's theme program The Female Gaze.

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