CAMDEN – The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) announces the slate of feature and short films for its 18th edition, which will take place in person from Sept. 15 through 18 at venues in Camden and Rockland, and online from Sept. 15 through 25 for audiences across North America. Longtime sponsor SHOWTIME® returns as a headlining sponsor, and is joined this year by YETI, MSNBC Films, CNN Films, and the RandomGood Foundation.

A program of the Points North Institute, CIFF remains widely recognized as a major platform championing the next generation of nonfiction storytellers and one of the hottest documentary and industry festivals on the festival and awards calendars. This year’s edition is the most international and formally adventurous to date and includes 34 features and 37 short films from more than 41 countries. More than 60% of the entire program is directed or co-directed by BIPOC filmmakers and this is the sixth consecutive program the festival has reached gender parity within the program and across all competitions.

Nearly half of the feature program will be United States or North American premieres, including several new titles fresh from Venice, Locarno, and TIFF premieres, alongside award-winning films from Sundance, Rotterdam, Cannes, and Visions du Reel.

This year’s program celebrates the diversity of voices and forms in documentary and cinematic nonfiction,” said Ben Fowlie, executive and artistic director of the Points North Institute, and founder of the Camden International Film Festival. “These films help us make sense of an ever-changing world, and do everything we expect from great art – they ask provocative questions and interrogate the form. This year’s program emphasizes the international that represents the ‘I’ in CIFF, and reminds us time and again of the limitless creative potential and potency of the documentary form. Just as we have been for each of the past 17 years, we are grateful to the filmmakers who have made these works of art and shared these stories.”

Major festival highlights include the U.S. Premiere of Tamana Ayazi and Marcel Mettelsiefen’s new Netflix release “In Her Hands,” a powerful film about Zarifa Ghafari, one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors filmed in the months leading up to the Taliban takeover in 2021; “Sr.,” an endearing portrait of the life and career of Robert Downey Sr. and his relationship to his son and the latest film by award-winning filmmaker Chris Smith; and a special sneak preview of “My Imaginary Country” by acclaimed director and documentary icon Patricio Guzman, which chronicles the recent protests in Chile where millions took to the street to demand democracy, dignity and a new constitution. CIFF will also present two world premieres, an unlikely Western set in the world of the American national cowboy poetry gatherings called “Cowboy Poets” by Mike Day and “This Much We Know” by Lily Frances Henderson.

The festival will present seven North American premieres from some of the most inventive filmmakers working across the globe, including “Foragers” by Jumana Manna, which will be one of two films opening CIFF and which recently took home the Green Dox Award at Dokufest Kosovo; recent Locarno premieres “It Is Night In America” by Ana Vaz and “Matter Out Of Place” from award-winning director Nikolaus Geyrhalter; the winner of Rotterdam’s prestigious Tiger Award “EAMI” by Paz Encina; “Polaris” by Ainara Vera, which recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; and the Visions du Reel special jury award-winning “Herbaria” by Leandro Listorti.

In honor of Diane Weyermann, the widely beloved industry veteran and former chief content officer at Participant who passed away last October, CIFF will screen several of the last films she executive produced. Films include “A Compassionate Spy” by Steve James that is set to premiere at Venice next month, “Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power” by Geeta Gandbhir and Sam Pollard, and the Sundance award-winning “Descendant” by Margaret Brown. Last November, Points North established a memorial fund for Weyermann, and is currently developing a filmmaker fellowship to honor her legacy and the impact she had on the global documentary community.

The feature slate also includes two alumni of Points North’s Artists Programs. Reid Davenport’s “I Didn’t See You There,” which received a director prize at Sundance, was developed through the organization’s Points North Fellowship and received a grant from the American Stories Documentary Fund. Jon-Sesrie Goff’s “After Sherman” was also part of the inaugural cohort of American Stories grantees in 2020.

Storyforms, CIFF’s exhibition of immersive documentary experiences, will feature a large-scale video installation of recent work by Colectivo Los Ingrávidos from Mexico, whose films and artworks have been exhibited across the world, including at the Whitney Biennial.

Organizers also announced that CIFF will continue with its Filmmaker Solidarity Fund for the third consecutive year. Established in 2020, this year the fund will provide $300 honoraria to all feature and short filmmaking teams participating in the virtual festival. The Filmmaker Solidarity Fund is presented by Bright West Entertainment.

This year also marks the return of in-person panels and masterclasses through the festival’s Points North Forum program, which will feature conversations around the ethics of film financing, an exploration of experimental filmmaking about the climate, a masterclass/performance with veteran editor Maya Daisy Hawke, and a special performance lecture on sensorial cinema led by award-winning Iranian artist Maryam Tafakory. The forum program will conclude with a “town hall” gathering of the documentary community following the screening of “Subject,” which will include participants from “Hoop Dreams,” “The Square,” a sneak preview of the Documentary Accountability Working Group’s upcoming publication, “From Reflection to Release: A Framework for Values, Ethics, and Accountability in Nonfiction Filmmaking.”

Once again the festival will run concurrently with Points North Artist Programs. Twenty-one projects will be supported through four fellowship programs, 15 indigenous filmmakers will be present for a special alumni gathering of the fourth World Media Lab collaboration with Nia Tero, and nearly 20 additional fellows on the ground via continued partnerships with Bay Area Video Coalition and Brown Girls Doc Mafia. Dozens of industry leaders will be in attendance for the Points North 1:1 programs, making the CIFF weekend the most dynamic and intimate documentary market experiences in the U.S.

This year, the festival will be a hybrid model, offering in person showings at indoor and outdoor venues in the Midcoast as well as virtually for those unable to attend in person or hoping to catch up on things they missed at the in person festival.

All Access Passes grant access to the full festival experience; in person and virtually with advanced registration to screenings, special engagement opportunities such as the Points North Pitch and Point North Forum events, access to the immersive Storyforms exhibition at the CMCA, and CIFF’s renowned After Dark parties. They also benefit from services such as the CIFF shuttle bus making regular trips from Rockland to Camden.

Organizers have also introduced a new six-pack ticket bundle for in-person screenings, reducing the individual ticket cost from $15 per screening to $10. Six-pack bundled tickets can be used by one to six people and can be applied to one screening or spread out to many.

Individual tickets go on sale Sept. 6. Ticket holders will be asked to show their COVID-19 vaccine card at the door for each screening. Individual tickets for both in person and online screenings are $15 each.

A complete list of the program’s feature and short films can be found online at pointsnorthinstitute.org/ciff/.

A film still From “Cowboy Poets.” Courtesy of CIFF

A film still from “Foragers,” directed by Jumana Manna. Courtesy of CIFF

A film still from “Geographies of Solitude,” directed by Jacquelyn Mills. Courtesy of CIFF