Documentary Competition

There are stories to be told all throughout our living world, providing documentarians endless source material for compelling projects. Sports, politics, journalism, social injustices, and art all offer new perspectives and challenge our preconceived notions. These films broaden our horizons and invigorate our understanding of the planet, including the people and creatures with whom we share it. From the absurd and terrifying to the inspiring and beyond, documentary art is about showing the world as it truly is, truly was, and truly could be.

The Documentary Competition jury comprises film industry professionals and journalists who will choose the winning filmmaker, which will be announced at the Closing Night Awards Celebration and receive a cash prize of $1,500.

Captains of Zaatari

Egypt | 2021 | 75 minutes | Ali El Arabi

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

A rousing, heartfelt tale about two soccer-obsessed Syrian friends living in Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp who, upon learning that a famed Qatari sports academy is visiting the camp, may have finally found their ticket to a bigger, brighter future.

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Chuck Connelly: Into the Light

USA | 2020 | 74 minutes | Benjamin Schwartz

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

An entertaining and elucidating portrait of the temperamental, neo-expressionist painter Chuck Connelly, the Harvey Pekar of the painting world, from his alcoholic 1980s heyday to his disillusioned, agoraphobic present.

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The Earth is Blue as an Orange

Ukraine | 2020 | 74 minutes | Iryna Tsilyk

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

Amidst the surrounding chaos of the 2014 War in Donbass, a Ukrainian film school-bound youth, her three siblings, and her single mother make a film to cope with living on the frontlines of a war zone.

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The Return: Life After ISIS

Spain | 2021 | 90 minutes | Alba Sotorra Clua

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

A humanizing depiction of the young Western women who committed themselves to ISIS, only to regret joining an organization that preyed on their devotion, as they deprogram at a refugee camp with no country to call their own.

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Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

USA | 2021 | 117 minutes | Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

Interweaving lecture, personal anecdotes, interviews, and shocking revelations, ACLU deputy legal director Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.

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Writing With Fire

India | 2021 | 93 minutes | Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

A powerful and uplifting documentary about the fearless journalists behind Khabar Lahariya, India’s only newspaper run by Dalit (“untouchable”) women, as they fight for truth and justice in the face of hostile patriarchy and the rise of the right.

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Faya Dayi

Ethiopia | 2021 | 119 minutes | Jessica Beshir

April 16 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

A visually breathtaking narrative/documentary hybrid about the khat trade, a lucrative Ethiopian crop with a psychoactive effect, told through a hallucinatory patchwork of episodes on those who cultivate it, those who partake, and the local youth who seek something more out of life.

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