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 Forum Selection 2014 October 14, 2014 | The complete list of projects selected for IDFA Forum 2014 has been announced.
Film List 2014 October 10, 2014 | The complete list of selected films for IDFA 2014, in alphabetical order, is now online.
Framing Reality October 7, 2014 | Hybrid film will get a special focus in the Framing Reality program during IDFA 2014. The program, a continuation of 2013's Based on the Same Story, presents ten films in which real people play themselves on camera.
Wanted: Youth Jury! September 30, 2014 | Every year, a selection of films from the IDFA program compete for the IDFA DOC U Award, given out by a youth jury. Do you want to have a say about the winner, and are you between 15 and 18 years old? Then apply now!
IDFA 2014 presents theme program Of Media and Men September 23, 2014 | A theme program investigating the mediated interaction between the people and their governments will be presented at IDFA 2014. Of Media and Men encompasses a film program, several new media projects in IDFA DocLab and a Paradocs program curated by visual artist Aernout Mik.
IDFA Bertha Fund introduces European program September 1, 2014 | The IDFA Bertha Fund is launching a new program: IDFA Bertha Fund – Europe. The new program will support the production and distribution of documentaries realized through co-productions between European producers and producers from developing countries.

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