Head Games

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

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.

Call for Entry: IDFA Bertha Fund December 8, 2014 | The IDFA Bertha Fund has announced its first selection round for 2015. The deadline for project entry is February 1, 2015.
Help crowdfund Lyari Notes November 26, 2014 | In the IDFA Bertha Fund-supported Lyari Notes, a rock star teaches a group of girls from the most volatile district of Karachi, Pakistan how to express themselves through music. The directors need your help to finish their film!
And the winners are... November 28, 2014 | The winners of IDFA's seven competitions and two audience awards have been announced.
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?


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