72 films from NZ and around the world have been selected for the 2012 Festival and are split into familiar sections – NZ, world cinema, culture vultures, heroes and icons, shorts and generations.
In the New Zealand section you can find Intersexion, the story of Mani Bruce Mitchell, an intersex activist. Mani’s story follows what happens when parents and doctors alike cannot answer the age-old question, “Is it a boy or a girl?” The film follows Mani around the world to meet other intersex people living in America, Ireland, Germany, South Africa and Australia.
Sexologist Dr John Money says gender is the product of “nurture, not nature” and says his studies into intersex people reveal a culture where a particular surgical model is employed for babies born with ambiguous genitalia, which left families hiding a dark secret.
Far from a dark story, Intersexion shows that while sexuality is never straight forward, one’s journey to acceptance can still be heart-warming and funny in amongst the pain.
The generations section of the Documentary Edge programme has a film called The Queen Has No Crown, a self portrait of filmmaker Tomer Heymann, who chronicles the life of his family after three of the five members of his family leave for America.
Heymann’s film seeks to navigate the family’s bonds whilst discussing loyalty, sexuality and displacement. He also frames this quest for understanding within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the area’s struggle for human rights and GLBT equality.
This is just a small snapshot of the brilliant selection of films at this year’s festival. You can check out the full catalogue at www.documentaryedge.org.nz or pick up a brochure from cinemas.
The festival plays in Auckland from 26 April – 13 May and in Wellington from 17 May – 3 June. Get your tickets now.
Photo of Mani by Rebecca Swan.