The organisers say: "From the basketball court of Rucker Park in Harlem to the notorious slums of Rio de Janeiro, and from a Frenchman's death-defying scheme to walk on a high-wire between the World Trade Center towers to the intense drama and family rivalries of wild African meerkats, the films in Spotlight cover a fascinating range of themes spanning everything from war to the artist's process. Presenting a combination of narratives and documentaries adding up to 17 films from eight different countries, these significant works feature high-profile directors, cast members, and timely subjects."
Before The Rains and War, Inc.
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass; Writer: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass; Stars: Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge, Greta Gerwig)
It's not often that a film can be both a hilariously tongue-in-cheek send-up of indie flicks and a brilliantly insightful bit of character drama, but the Duplass brothers (The Puffy Chair) pull it off in this story of four fledgling actors, a rustic cabin, and. . . something. . . in the woods.
Before The Rains
(Country: India; Year: 2007; Director: Santosh Sivan; Writer: Cathy Rabin, Dan Verete; Stars: Linus Roache, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Jennifer Ehle, John Standing, Leopold Benedict, Lal Paul), Official Site
A sweeping period romance set in Colonial India.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Christopher Bell; Writer: Christopher Bell, Alexander Buono, Tamsin Rawa)
As entertaining as it is informative, this documentary goes beyond simply examining the truth about anabolic steroids and the athletes - professional and amateur - who use them. Focusing on his own family's personal history, Bell looks at why Americans feel the need to be the biggest, strongest, and fastest.
(Country: UK; Year: 2007; Director: John Crowley; Writer: Mark O'Rowe; Stars: Andrew Garfield, Peter Mullan, Katie Lyons), Official Site
A former juvenile offender released from prison after 14 years reenters society with the help of his counselor. Newcomer Andrew Garfield gives a stunning performance as the hesitant 24-year-old who must catch up with his peers while keeping his past a secret.
Elite Squad (Tropa De Elite)
(Country: Brazil; Year: 2007; Director: José Padilha; Writer: Rodrigo Pimentel, Bráulio Mantovani, José Padilha; Stars: Wagner Moura, Caio Junqueira, André Ramiro, Milhem Cortaz, Luiz Gonzaga de Almeida, Fernanda de Freitas, Bruno Delia, Marcelo Escorel, André Felipe, Thelmo Fernandes, Emerson Gomes)
A special squad officer in the violent Brazilian slums tries to find a replacement. Read our exclusive interview
with José Padilha.
Savage Grace and Mister Lonely
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Peter Tolan; Writer: Peter Tolan; Stars: Matthew Broderick, Brittany Snow, Peter Facinelli, Steve Coogan, Maura Tierney)
In Tolan's (co-creator, Rescue Me) hysterical feature directing debut, a successful TV writer (Matthew Broderick) comically struggles with his addiction to gambling, drugs, and alcohol, making it that much harder to travel to Las Vegas and convince his troubled niece (Brittany Snow) to go to rehab.
Gunnin' For That #1 Spot
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Adam Yauch; Stars: Jerryd Bayless, Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans, Donte Green, Brandon Jennings, Kevin Love, Kyle Singler, Lance Stephenson), Official Site
Examination of pre-college American basketball.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Susan Koch; Writer: Susan Koch; Stars: Narrated by Colin Farrell), Official Site
The lives of homeless people are changed forever through an international soccer competition. This film follows six players as they set off for Cape Town, South Africa to play in the Homeless World Cup.
Lou Reed's Berlin
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Julian Schnabel; Stars: Lou Reed, Antony Hegarty, Emmanuelle Seigner, Sharon Jones), Official Site
Concert film of Lou Reed's live rendition of his song cycle album.
Man On Wire
(Country: UK; Year: 2008; Director: James Marsh; Writer: James Marsh; Stars: Philippe Petit), Official Site
Documentary about tightrope walker Phillippe Petit's attempt to cross between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
The Wackness and Man On Wire
Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Chris Barker and Mike Slee ), Official Site
Using lively footage of wild African meerkats and Whoopi Goldberg's narration, this film ingeniously tells the story of Flower and her family. As imaginative as any cartoon, it will have kids begging for their very own baby meerkat (not recommended).
Mister Lonely (Mr Lonely)
(Country: UK, US, France, Ireland; Year: 2007; Director: Harmony Korine; Writer: Harmony Korine, Avi Korine; Stars: Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant, James Fox, Werner Herzog, Anita Pallenberg), Official Site
Celebrity lookalikes get to know one another whilst a crazy old priest takes nuns flying.
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Guy Maddin; Writer: Guy Maddin, George Toles; Stars: Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage, Amy Stewart, Louis Negin, Brendan Cade, Wesley Cade), Official Site
"Docu-fantasia" blurring fact and fiction.
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Tom Kalin; Writer: Howard A Rodman; Stars: Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, Eddie Redmayne, Elana Anaya, Simon Andreu, Anne Reid), Official Site
Accomplished telling of a real life upper class family's disturbing meltdown.
The Universe Of Keith Haring
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Christina Clausen; Stars: The Haring Family, Kenny Scharf, Tony Shafrazi, Yoko Ono, Kermit Oswald, Julia Gruen)
Featuring Madonna, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Fab 5 Freddy, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, this documentary takes an affectionate look at the colorful life of Keith Haring, whose street drawings helped define the 1980s New York art scene.
Elite Squad and My Winnipeg
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Jonathan Levine; Writer: Jonathan Levine; Stars: Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary Kate Olsen, Method Man), Official Site
A teen drug dealer swaps spliffs for psychiatry in the long, hot New York summer of 1994.
(Country: USA; Year: 2008; Director: Joshua Seftel; Writer: Mark Leyner, Jeremy Pikser, John Cusack; Stars: John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff, Ben Kingsley, Ned Bellamy, Velizar Binev, Shirly Brener, Marc Casabani, Ben Cross, Doug Dearth)
A hit man is sent to a fictional war-torn Middle Eastern country where the United States is waging the first fully outsourced war.