The first batch of Docs for Sale 2020 films is in

    We are opening the 2020 catalogue to Docs for Sale subscribers with eight exciting titles that were previously pitched at IDFA Forum. See the films.

    Following yesterday's press release, Docs for Sale is opening its catalogue for subscribers earlier this year, with eight new titles that previously took part in IDFA Forum, while a bigger showcase is coming later this summer.

    The new selection features documentaries that tackle current and historic social and political issues, as well as personal and art-related topics, some of which have recently had their world premieres whereas others are still unreleased.

    In their explosive and eye-opening film The People vs. Agent Orange, US directors Kate Taverna and Alan Adelson reveal the troubling story of the eponymous chemical that was banned from use during the Vietnam War only to keep poisoning the American soil and causing defects and illnesses up to the present day. The investigative documentary has received support from both the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund and Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund and makes for a prime example of a mix of historical and current issues and environmental topics. A co-production between Films for Humanity, ITVS/PBS, and ARTE, it is handled internationally by Java Films and the world premiere is still available.

    Another unreleased title, The Jump, is the latest effort by the Lithuanian filmmaker Giedre Žickyte (Master and Tatyana) who tackles an incident from 1970 when a Lithuanian sailor aboard a Soviet ship tried to use the rare opportunity of a meeting with a US vessel to defect. Detailed and investigated with gusto and the seaman's own singularly spirited contribution, the film is a co-production between Lithuania's Moonmakers, Latvia's VFS Films and France's Faites un Vœu, in association with the US company Naked Edge Films, while London-based MetFilm has the international rights.

    Stop Filming Us (pictured) sees Dutch director Joris Postema (FC Rwanda) go to the city of Goma in the north of DR Congo to work on a documentary that explores how the Congolese wish to be represented in films and on TV, and how prevalent, one-sided Western imagery is perceived by local artists and activists. Still unreleased, the dynamic and thought-provoking film is a production of DOXY, who are also handling the international sales.

    Another current political topic is treated in Meet the Censors by the Norwegian filmmaker Håvard Fossum, known to IDFA audiences as the cinematographer of Tongue Cutters, Bravehearts, and Maiko – Dancing Child. In his first feature-length documentary as a director, which has world-premiered at CPH:DOX, Fossum goes to South Sudan, Germany, India, Iran, China, and the US to explore if censorship can be good—with a refreshing deadpan approach and often surprising results. Produced by the Norwegian company Medieoperatørene, Meet the Censors is handled internationally by Journeyman Pictures.

    Moving from politics to political art, Body of Truth by the seasoned German filmmaker Evelyn Schels looks at the work of four unique women artists who use the body as a tool of expression: Marina Abramović, Shirin Neshat, Sigalit Landau, and Katharina Sieverding. Well suited for any arts & culture festival section, it can also serve as a good discussion-starter for any topic from history to culture to politics to gender. The film was co-produced by Indi Film and DokLab, and is handled internationally by Autlook Films.

    The Austrian sales agency is also in charge of Reunited by Danish director Mira Jargil (Dreaming of a Family), which follows a Syrian family that has been divided by war, with the father ending up in Canada, the mother in Denmark and the two sons in Turkey. The heartfelt and clear-cut film has already touched online audiences at CPH:DOX, Visions du Réel, and Hot Docs, and can work well both as a debate topic and a hopeful piece of art in its own right.

    In I'm in Love with Pippa Bacca, Italian director Simone Manetti (Goodbye Darling, I'm off to Fight) investigates how the titular character, an activist, went hitchhiking from Milan to Jerusalem, wearing a wedding dress and carrying a Christian message of peace and love, only to end up killed in Turkey. Wide House has the international rights for this tragic story about an inspiring woman, which was co-produced by Italy's Nacne SAS, Switzerland's Fiumi Film, and Canada's Filmoption International, with US broadcaster A+E Networks on board.

    Finally, Self Portrait by Norwegian filmmakers Margreth Olin, Katja Høgset, and Espen Wallin tells the story of photographer Lene Marie Fossen, who broke out with her haunting self-portraits of her anorexia-ridden body. Halfway between a touching human interest story and an exploration of body as an artistic object, the film is a production of Speranza Film AS, and is handled internationally by Cinephil.

    TV buyers, distributors, and festival programmers can sign up for a Docs for Sale subscription via this link.

    Meanwhile, Docs for Sale and IDFA Forum are now open for submissions.

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