The documentary selection at MIFF is often a highlight of the festival each year. This year, Mini has teamed up with MIFF to curate a selection of documentaries as part of a Mini Selects program, focusing on the theme “big love”. Over the festival’s run from August 3 to August 20, expect a line-up of documentaries that shine a spotlight on communities often overlooked by the mainstream.
It’s a program-within-a-program that’s not to be missed. Here’s our pick of the highlights, but a deep dive into the full program is highly recommended.
As a runway model in the ’70s, and co-founder of the Black Girls Coalition to platform and support African American models in the ’80s, Bethann Hardison’s life as a Black model and booking agent changed the fashion industry – and it’s examined in Invisible Beauty with detail and flair.
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
Hardison (who co-directs this biopic with Frédéric Tcheng), brings together a parade of iconic fashion voices, including Fran Lebowitz, Zendaya, Whoopi Goldberg, Naomi Campbell, Iman and Tyson Beckford, to provide a vivid look at her struggles and her personal life alongside the impact her activism had on an industry.
El Eco, a tiny village in Mexico’s central-highland state of Puebla, is home to Montse, Luz María and Sarahí. Not yet adults, their lives are a mix of adolescent dreams and harsh reality as they work and learn in a place where the men aren’t always around, but their presence is often felt.
Filmed over 18 months, this is a tender yet unsanitised look at an often ignored side of Mexican life. A loose collection of vignettes that tracks the rhythms of village life, it won the documentary award at the 2023 Berlinale, with director Tatiana Huezo taking home the award for best director in the festival’s Encounters section.
On the Adamant
Moored on the River Seine in the heart of Paris, the Adamant provides a unique service: a waterbourne day-care centre for those facing mental health challenges. Focusing on creative activities with a team of specialist carers and professionals on hand, the healing properties of artistic activities are explored with a clear and unsentimental gaze.
Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, the facility at the centre of this documentary is close to the heart of director Nicolas Philibert, who spent time there himself.
In the 1950s and ’60s, a holiday resort hidden deep in America’s Catskills held space for a specific clientele – transgender women and cross-dressing men looking for a place where they could bring their families and be themselves without fear.
Packed with archival material and stories from the period, it’s a window onto an experience forced out of sight at the time and still under threat today. Casa Suzanna relates a powerful untold story, providing viewers with a deeper understanding of queer history.
The Tuba Thieves
Taking as its starting point a wave of tuba thefts across Californian high schools a decade ago, this film seeks to up-end the status quo when it comes to cinema’s relationship with the aural.
Director Alison O’Daniel, who is hard of hearing herself, has created a film that juggles documentary, essay film, character study, and video art to build a sensory experience that takes audiences into the sensory world of the d/Deaf and hard of hearing, a place where narrative thrives in the absence of sound.
MIFF runs from August 3 to August 20, 2023. See the full program and get your tickets here.
Broadsheet is a proud media partner of MIFF.