The Sarasota Film Festival released its film line-up for 2016. The festival runs April 1-10.
From the release:
OPENING NIGHT FILM
OTHER PEOPLE (pictured above)
Director: Chris Kelley
Producers: Adam Scott, Naomi Scott, Sam Bisbee
Cast: Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow, Madisen Beaty, Paul Dooley, June Squibb
You can’t go home again, we all know, but most of us try at one point or another. Even so, David (Jesse Plemons) is having a more difficult time than most in the dramatic comedy OTHER PEOPLE. David is a gay sitcom comedy writer in New York who journeys back to his childhood home in Sacramento to spend time with his acerbic mother, Joanne (Molly Shannon), who’s dying of cancer. The sharp-tongued, no-holds-barred Joanne refuses to go gently, turning David’s visit into a kind of tortured limbo. While recovering from his recent breakup with a longtime boyfriend, David attempts
to find a connection with his emotionally remote father (Bradley Whitford) and reconnect with his sisters (Madisen Beaty, Maude Apatow) as he hangs out with an old pal (John Early). But things aren’t what they used to be, because he isn’t who he once was — and
neither is everyone else. It’s a classic premise handled with audacity and wit by writer-director Chris Kelly, making his debut feature. The well-cast and deeply-felt ensemble includes Paul Dooley and June Squibb as David’s grandparents, and is anchored by Plemons (TV’s FARGO and BREAKING BAD) and Shannon, in a turn far from the wacky characters she made her name with on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Director: Congressman Robert Mrazek, Jared Martin
Producers: Johanna Giebelhaus, Jared Martin, Robert Mrazek, Fred Roos
Cast: Treat Williams, George Hamilton, Ryan Merriman, Jayne Atkinson, Elizabeth Marvel
Disgruntled Maine Congressman Charlie Winship (Treat Williams) has reached a crossroads in his life, both personally and professionally. After the Congressman publicly refuses to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance he finds himself in the midst of a major media backlash and unrelenting criticism from the public. Charlie’s sense of honor blinds him to the fact that he has real enemies. His own Chief of Staff, Jared (Ryan Merriman), conspires against him with Laird Devereaux (George Hamilton), a corrupt former congressman and lobbyist. Retreating to a small remote island in his district to deal with a fishing scandal growing into a small civil war, Congressman Charlie Winship begins to regain some perspective after meeting locals and experiencing a different way of life. Through the example of the rugged and self-reliant constituents fighting to save their way of life, the Congressman once again begins to find purpose and faith in himself and his country.
ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
Director: Michal Marczak
Producers: Marta Golba, Michal Marczak, Julia Nottingham, Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski
You know what would be even better than an observational narrative film about what life is like for 21st century young people in Warsaw? A vérité documentary about what life is like for 21st century young people in Warsaw. Sounds too good to be true, but here it is. It helps that director/cinematographer Michal Marczak has a great eye for composition and lighting, as you might expect from his experience. ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS feels completely immersive, and completely beautiful.
Director: Kirsten Johnson
Producers: Kirsten Johnson, Marilyn Ness, Danielle Varga
As a cinematographer, Kirsten Johnson has garnered acclaim for her work on documentaries such as PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, THE INVISIBLE WAR, THE OATH, and CITIZENFOUR. This time around she takes the director’s chair.
The ensuing documentary is a memoir patched together from excerpts from her previous works, and its intimacy takes you by surprise. Johnson’s camera takes us from Tahrir Square to a Serbian kill site and from the World Trade Center to a new-born baby struggling to survive in an ill-equipped Nigerian hospital. CAMERAPERSON is a kaleidoscopic gem that illuminates and reframes the art of the craft, as well as the art of life.
EXOTICA, EROTICA, ETC.
Director: Evangelia Kranioti
Producer: Charlotte Vincent
Evangelia Kranioti’s debut feature is a stunner. She traveled with all-male container ship crews across the oceans to 16 different countries, concerning herself especially with the prostitutes they encountered while ashore. However the film’s main aim is not narrative; it’s poetic. The cinematography is dizzyingly beautiful, the soundtrack eerie and majestic. The sequences at sea reveal a work-world most of us never get to see, in all its banality and profundity, all its beauty and ugliness. Kranioti shot over 450 hours to come up with this 73-minute film, and every single frame feels like a revelation.
IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE
(USA, UNITED KINGDOM, JAPAN, GERMANY, CHINA, TAIWAN, INDIA, BELGIUM)
Director: Patrick Shen
Producers: Patrick Shen, Andrew Brumme, Brandon Vedder
Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s seminal silent composition, 4’33”, the sights and sounds of this film delicately interweave with silence to create a contemplative and cinematic experience that works its way through frantic minds and into the quiet spaces of hearts. As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence and the impact of noise on our lives. Brandon Vedder’s lush cinematography and director Patrick Shen’s gentle insistence that we not only consider the silence, but actually enter into it, make for a transforming experience.
Director: Margaret Byrne
Producer: Ian Kibbe
Filmed over a six-year period, RAISING BERTIE follows the lives of three young black men growing up in Bertie County, North Carolina. Challenged by poverty and a lack of educational opportunities, these boys strive to establish their identities as they make the transition into adulthood. This powerful vérité film takes an intimate look at the obstacles faced by underprivileged youth in America today. The result is an eye-opening experience that encourages us to recognize the lives and communities all too often ignored by mainstream media.
(GERMANY, IRAN, SWITZERLAND)
Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Producer: Gerd Haag
As an Afghan refugee in Iran, far from her family and without any papers, Sonita dreams of becoming a famous rapper, but the crude reality is women are not allowed to sing in Iran. Her mother tries to persuade her to return; as a bride she would be worth $9,000 to her family. But her dreams are big and unyielding to the pressures and conservative expectations surrounding her–and those dreams do not include an arranged marriage. Risking imprisonment she records a few rap videos and starts getting noticed- will this help her achieve her dreams or thwart them? A veritable phenomenon on the festival circuit, winner of both the Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema) and the Audience Award at Sundance, SONITA might just manage to take the whole world by storm.
Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
Producers: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
One of the most notorious political meltdowns of the modern era gets its close-up in this stunning behind-the-scenes documentary, winner of the Grand Jury Prize (US) at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner had survived a devastating sexting scandal to become an unlikely frontrunner in the 2013 New York mayoral race. Then a second sexting scandal erupts, this time with a young woman determined to get face time. Co-director Josh Kriegman, Weiner’s former chief of staff, gets incredible access to his former boss and his wife, Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin. What Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg capture on film is a dissection of how one high-profile figure’s personal, political, public and private moments intersect.
Director: James Solomon
Producer: James Solomon
As Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was murdered on the street outside of her Queens NY apartment in 1964, supposedly 38 eyewitnesses stood by and didn’t do a thing. This infamous act of violence became synonymous with American apathy, and posed a grand riddle for behavioral scientists to puzzle over to this day. William Genovese, Kitty’s brother, leads the search for the facts behind his sister’s murder and finds quite a bit more than he bargained for. Artfully told with animation, first-person testimony, and intimate footage of Kitty herself, THE WITNESS is a stunning testament to the frailty of truth, and the enigma of closure.
ABOVE AND BELOW
Director: Nicolas Steiner
Producers: Helge Albers, Brigitte Hofer, Cornelia Seitler
One of the most talked about documentaries on the festival circuit, Nicolas Steiner’s sophomore effort is an ode to the American desert and a look at five individuals living there, marginalized by modern society. Three of them live in the drainage canals beneath Las Vegas; one lives a solitary existence in the middle of the desert; one participates in daily simulations of space missions, determined to be the first woman on Mars. Steiner has a documentary master’s sensitivity and care for his subjects and a cinematographer’s eye for composition. There’s a lot of ugliness in ABOVE AND BELOW, to be sure. But there’s an awful lot of beauty too.
Director: Viveka Melki
Producer: Adam Pajot Gendron
Sarasota, “Circus Capital of the World”, owes much of its unique identity to the performers who reside and retire here. Director Viveka Melki visits the tight-knit community of retired and semi-retired circus artists to show us how they live now, at the end of their careers. AFTER CIRCUS is a deeply moving look at the endearing, amusing characters who support each other and continue to live “in circus” long after the spotlight and applause have faded. Archival film clips give a dream-like quality to this story that culminates with footage of an exquisite 2015 Circus Sarasota performance by Dolly Jacobs, “Queen of the Air.”
ART OF THE PRANK
Director: Andrea Marini
Producers: Andrea Marini, Judy Drosd
ART OF THE PRANK tells the story of New York artist and media activist Joey Skaggs who has gained notoriety for his elaborate media hoaxes that bring to light societal flaws and satirize these imperfections. Known as the mastermind behind the Celebrity Sperm Bank, the Cathouse for Dogs, the Fat Squad, and the Portofess (the mobile confessional booth), he has successfully tricked mainstream media into believing his outrageous schemes since the 1960s. Filmmaker Andrea Marini is given the unique opportunity to follow the mischievous prankster as he puts together the most demanding hoax of his career.
Directors: Rebbie Ratner
Producers: Rebbie Ratner, Suzanne Mitchell
Regina is living with Borderline Personality Disorder. The first time she tried to kill herself, she was five years old. Now she is 45 and hell-bent on trying to live – most of the time. She reacts on impulse, attacks, distracts, meditates, offers social commentary, trips over herself, laughs, judges, burns bridges, makes social gaffes, apologizes, loses her cool, philosophizes and remains dogged in her search for recovery. First time director Rebbie Ratner’s documentary is a raw, vulnerable and honest portrayal of what it’s like living with BPD. BORDERLINE is executive produced by SFF veterans Suzanne Mitchell (RUNNING WILD, SELECTED) and Barbara Kopple (RUNNING FROM CRAZY, THE NATION, and this year’s MISS SHARON JONES!)
THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD
Director: Jen Senko
Producers: Adam Rackoff, Matthew Modine, Jen Senko
Filmmaker Jen Senko (THE VANISHING CITY) found the subject of her latest documentary close to home: her father, Frank, and how decades of conservative talk radio and cable news took a toll on him. Tracking links between media and government, Senko comes to a shocking conclusion: Frank had been “brainwashed” by a barrage of Right-wing talking points. And he wasn’t alone — his story, according to Senko, is indicative of an entire generation. Narrated by Matthew Modine, combining a sense of history with in-depth interviews, this thought-provoking chronicle examines fact-denial and what it means for America.
BREAKFAST AT INA’S
Director: Mercedes Kane
Producers: Mercedes Kane, Sanghoon Lee
Ina Pinkney has faced a life of adversity with courage and a smile, and found a way to turn what she loves doing into a thriving business – namely, a Chicago breakfast institution called Ina’s. After 33 years in business, Ina’s closed in 2013. BREAKFAST AT INA’S follows the restaurant’s final month of operation as it celebrates a beloved Chicago eatery and a woman who achieved her dream against the odds.
CAN WE TAKE A JOKE?
Director: Ted Balaker
Producers: Courtney Balaker, Ted Balaker, Melanie Miller, Zach Weissmueller, Steven
“When people are outraged about something,” argues comedian Gilbert Gottfried in CAN WE TAKE A JOKE?, “they’re also patting themselves on the back. Hey, I’m a good person! I was outraged!” The roots of outrage and its expression in politically correct culture are thoroughly skewered in Ted Balaker’s documentary. Jim Norton, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carrolla, and other comedians also gather to tell horror stories of their tangles with the “thought police”; with a shocking number of tangles coming on college campuses. It’s easy to laugh when the butt of the humor is someone
with whom we don’t really identify. But when it hits a little too close to home: can we take a joke?
CONCERTO – A BEETHOVEN JOURNEY
Director/ Producer: Phil Grabsky
Norwegian pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes, embarks on a four-year world tour playing sold-out concerts with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in order to interpret and understand Beethoven’s five piano concertos. As one of the leading pianists of the time, Andsnes provides deep insights into the inspiration behind some of Beethoven’s work and reveals the hard work hidden behind their apparent effortlessness. He uncovers the deep personal perceptions and trials that plagued Beethoven’s life in Vienna, driving him to solitude and eventually to the creation of some of the most meaningful works in music.
Director: Ben Henretig
Producers: Andrea Chung, Carlton Evans
Bhutan is a country like no other, its uniqueness stems from the focus placed on the so-called “Gross National Happiness”, used as a measure of the country’s progress. The GNH creates a sense of community and well-being that is otherwise ignored in the modern world. Additionally, severe restrictions on tourism help to emphasize a peaceful and communal state of society, nearly untouched by modernization. Four athletes, with unprecedented access, embark on a 500-mile expedition by foot and bike across Bhutan, that is to be completed in 42 days. Narrated by Imogen Heap CROSSING BHUTAN is a transformative experience that brings the trekkers together to experience the serene beauty that will open their hearts and create a rare, humble, human connection between themselves and nature.
DAUGHTERS OF THE FOREST
Director: Samantha Grant
Producers: Carl Byker, Kate McMahon, Veronica Lopez
DAUGHTERS OF THE FOREST tells the powerful, uplifting story of a group of girls in the Mbaracayu Reserve in rural Paraguay, one of the most remote forests left on earth. They attend a radical high school where they learn to protect this threatened forest and forge a better future for themselves. This documentary offers a rare glimpse into a disappearing world where timid girls grow into brave young women. DAUGHTERS OF THE FOREST follows the girls from their humble homes in indigenous villages through post-graduation, to see exactly how their revolutionary education has and will continue to impact their lives and the lives of others.
Directors/ Producers: Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow
SFF alum Noah Baumbach (FRANCES HA) and Jake Paltrow (YOUNG ONES) team up to present a look at the career of the great Brian De Palma, not with a star-studded tribute, but with an in-depth conversation with the man himself. Although De Palma’s biggest hits after CARRIE were arguably crime stories like SCARFACE, CARLITO’S WAY and THE UNTOUCHABLES, the bulk of his career was devoted to Hitchockian psychosexual thriller classics like DRESSED TO KILL, BLOW OUT, and BODY DOUBLE. Paltrow says, “The more you talk to Brian, the more valuable this stuff is, and at a certain point, we just thought, ‘It must be recorded!’”
DON’T BLINK- ROBERT FRANK
Director: Laura Israel
Producers: Melinda Shopsin, Laura Israel
Director Laura Israel allows for an intimate view into the never-before-seen personal life of one of the most influential and innovative filmmakers and photographers, Robert Frank. The Swiss artist based his life in New York City where he broke conventional, cultural, and aesthetic barriers of independent film and photography. His introspective photos altered the understanding of standard beauty social conformity, and told a story that reflected his deeply troubled life. Notoriously difficult, Frank’s unwillingness to compromise allowed him to truly transform the way photography is perceived through his subject composition and innovative developing techniques, which eventually brought him the widespread acclaim that he has so adamantly rejected.
DRIVING WITH SELVI
Director/ Producer: Elisa Paloschi
Like so many girls living in India, Selvi was forced to marry at a very young age, only to find herself in a violent and abusive situation. In an Indian society where millions of vulnerable and impoverished girls are considered worthless, Selvi refuses to accept this limiting estimation of herself. She escapes her impoverished past and violent marriage to become South India’s first female taxi driver. DRIVING WITH SELVI follows the 10-year journey of this remarkable woman who defies all societal norms and expectations with grace, remarkable strength and tremendous courage, creating an inspirational new life for herself.
FRAME BY FRAME
Directors: Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli
Producers: Jeff Orlowski, Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli, Chandra Jesse
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerged, and a photography revolution was born. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, Afghanistan is left to stand on its own, and so are its journalists. Set in a modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, FRAME BY FRAME follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape – reframing Afghanistan for the world, and for themselves.
THE GUYS NEXT DOOR
Directors/ Producers: Amy Geller, Allie Humenuk
Not many people actually have a “normal” family life, do they? But some people’s families are even more irregular than others. In the documentary THE GUYS NEXT DOOR, Erik and Sandro are a gay couple whose friend Rachel was the surrogate for their two daughters. Rachel is a married woman in her forties, with a husband and three children themselves. Together they form a quite unusual extended family, and over a three year period they explore the struggles and possibilities that their choices bring. And at the end of the day, those irregularities may be what makes them the most regular family of all, just like the rest of us.
HOW TO LET GO OF THE WORLD AND LOVE ALL THE THINGS CLIMATE CAN’T CHANGE
(USA, AUSTRALIA, VANAUTU, SAMOA, PERU, CHINA, ICELAND, ECUADOR, ZAMBIA)
Director: Josh Fox
Producer: Deia Schlosberg
Oscar-nominated director Josh Fox (GASLAND) traveled to 12 countries on 6 continents to see how people faced with imminent environmental disaster are reacting. In the Amazon, indigenous tribes are battling the oil companies; the Pacific Climate Warriors organize a flotilla of hand-carved canoes to blockade coal tankers on their way to China; American Tim DeChristopher was sent to prison for trying to save federal lands from drilling. Fox says the world needs to change its culture so it needs less energy and he discovers that the most undeveloped places seem most developed about solutions. The film asks: what is so deep within mankind that no calamity can take it away?
I DREAM OF AN OMAHA WHERE
Director: Mele Mason
Producers: Vic Gutman, Daniel Beaty, Sherwood Foundation
Like so many places in the U.S., Omaha, Nebraska suffers the devastating effects of gang violence in its community. This film documents the “I Dream” project, a collaborative community workshop project involving former/ current gang members and people affected by gang violence. This project hopes to change the dialogue about the nature and impact of gang violence in Omaha and similarly affected cities from tragedy and despair to hope and understanding.
Director: Sara Jordenö
Producer: Annika Rogell, Lori Cheatle
Winner of the Teddy Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival KIKI brings back to the forefront the fierce and fabulous world of vogue battles 25 years after PARIS IS BURNING took the world by storm. First time director Sara Jordenö takes us on a enthralling journey behind the scenes, and asks penetrating questions about the LGBTQ culture making KIKI an intriguing character study. The contrast between the glamour and ecstasy of the voguing contests and the often challenging circumstances of their everyday life not only makes for good cinema, it make for cogent social commentary. And once the beat starts and the dancers start voguing, just try to stay still in your seat.
LO & BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD
Director: Werner Herzog
Producer: Werner Herzog, Rupert Maconick
Documentarian Werner Herzog likes to take on big topics in his films: in LO AND BEHOLD, he tackles the Internet—all of it. This breezy, consistently thought-provoking documentary doesn’t purport to be exhaustive (what would such a film about the World Wide Web look like?) but it does offer a fascinating once-over of the Internet’s glories and dangers, extolling its ability to connect people while at the same time worrying about its toxic skill at alienating us from each other and our true selves. Here, Herzog
breaks tradition and invites his cornucopia of guests to guide the movie’s talking points. It’s Herzog’s intelligence and curiosity that ties the whole thing together, reminding us once again of his singular ability to provoke wonder and profundity with his work.
THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT
Directors: Robert Cannan, Ross Adam
Producer: Natasha Dack Ojumu
It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s completely true — North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il is a huge film buff. So when beautiful South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee went missing in 1976, and then her legendary director husband Shin Sang-ok went searching for her and disappeared too, people began speculating. The truth was much stranger than they could have imagined. Dissatisfied with his own state-produced films, Kim kidnapped them and forced them to make movies for him for years. THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT even includes footage Choi was able to secretly record during his captivity, including footage of the dictator himself. A fascinating documentary and a hell of a good tale.
MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE
Directors: Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack
Producers: Rita Coburn Whack, Bob Hercules, Jay Alix, Una Jackman
This is the first documentary about Dr. Maya Angelou: poet, singer, dancer, actor, writer and many more accomplishments that may surprise a lot of people. The story, told mostly in Angelou’s own deep voice, starts with the abuse and neglect during her childhood and an event that caused her not to speak for five years. The filmmakers spent four years interviewing Angelou, her son and her closest friends to produce this intimate portrait of one of America’s finest writers, who helped usher in the civil rights movement, who always stayed true to herself and who lived life to the fullest.
Director: David Shapiro
Producers: David Shapiro, Alan Oxman, Michael Tubbs
David Shapiro’s multi-awarded documentary MISSING PEOPLE follows Martina Batan, the director of a prominent NYC gallery, who spends most of her free time investigating and agonizing over the unsolved murder of her younger brother, as well as obsessively researching and collecting the works of New Orleans fringe artist Roy Ferdinand. In violent and graphic scenes, Ferdinand’s paintings depict the African American experience in the pre-Katrina New Orleans. While trying to understand one tragedy she is also seeking closure for the other one. Shapiro’s raw and tender documentary seeks to find deeper truths about Ferdinand, about Batan’s brother, and even about Batan herself.
A NEW COLOR: THE ART OF BEING EDYTHE BOONE
Director/ Producer: Marlene (Mo) Morris
Long before ‘Black Lives Matter’ became a national rallying cry, 77-year-old Edythe Boone’s life embodied that sentiment. As an African-American muralist and indefatigable art educator to thousands of underserved San
Francisco Bay Area youth, she builds bridges rather than walls between culturally distinct groups. A NEW COLOR follows Boone as she changes her Bay Area corner of the world one mural at a time, shining a light on all the social injustices she paints and protests—poverty, gender inequality and racial discrimination.
NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU
Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
Producers: Suzanne Hillinger, Brent Miller
Not many people are game-changers in two different walks of life. Norman Lear became famous as the father of modern television comedy, having created All In The Family, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford And Son, Maude, and many others. Then, at the beginning of the Reagan era, he walked away from it all to form People for the American Way, one of the foremost progressive advocacy groups of the last half century. SFF alums Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (JESUS CAMP, DETROPIA) tell Lear’s story with a bit of help from George Clooney, Jay Leno, Russell Simmons, and many more… including, of course, the inimitable Norman Lear himself.
NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON COOPER
Director/ Producer: Liz Garbus
From Academy Award® and Emmy Award nominee Liz Garbus comes NOTHING LEFT
UNSAID, an illuminating documentary that follows Gloria Vanderbilt and her youngest son, Anderson Cooper, as they reminisce about her remarkable life, with its many tragedies and triumphs, setting the record straight in a series of candid conversations. Having a name that is synonymous with American royalty, Gloria was born into a world full of prying eyes. This captivating documentary features rare and intimate footage which sheds new light on the historical Vanderbilt family. SFF alum Liz Garbus has been nominated for two Academy Awards, including this year for WHAT HAPPENED MISS SIMONE?
NOW MORE THAN EVER: THE HISTORY OF CHICAGO
Director: Peter Pardini
Their sound fused jazz, pop and horn-and hook-filled harmonies, creating some of the most listenable music to ever come off the radio. They were Chicago, a band whose multiple hits (“25 or 6 to 4,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Wishing You Were Here”) helped lay the soundtrack of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Director Peter Pardini’s footage-filled documentary shows how their tapestry of sound came from the Midwest, from serious rock chops, and —with the exception of a tussle with the transit authority of Illinois’s biggest city, from which their original name derived — professional and personal friendship, which helped them when tragedy and conflict arose. As Chicago gets ready to be inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, this rollicking, rolling behind-the scenes film helps it all come alive again.
Director: Penny Lane
Producers: James Belfer, Daniel Shepard, Caitlin Mae Burke, Penny Lane
During the Depression, Dr. John Romulus Brinkley achieved success by implanting goat testicles as a cure for impotence. Winner of the Special Jury Award for Editing at Sundance, this “mostly true” story of a charlatan, entrepreneur and eccentric genius is told by a “hilariously unreliable narrator” using wacky drawings, animated re-enactments, archival footage and a foot-tapping soundtrack. Dr. Brinkley had millions of ideas (a million-watt border radio station, junk mail, infomercials), some so audacious that the government had to create regulations to stop him. Award-winning director Penny Lane (OUR NIXON) crafts yet another engrossing documentary. This laugh-out-loud film is sure to be the most fun you have ever had watching a documentary!
OFF THE RAILS
Director: Adam Irving
Producers: Adam Irving, Glen Zipper
The remarkable true story of Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger’s syndrome, whose overwhelming love of transit has landed him in jail 32 times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors and driving their routes. Darius commandeered hundreds of trains and buses, staying en route and on schedule, without ever getting paid. He attended transit worker union meetings, lobbying for better pay and working conditions for a union he didn’t belong to. Although he has never damaged any property or hurt anyone in his decades of service, he has spent 23 years in maximum-security prison.
OUR LAST TANGO
Directors: German Kral
Producers: Nils Dünker, Dieter Horres
María Nieves and Juan Carlos Cope are two of the most legendary dancing partners in the history of tango. For nearly fifty years they worked to bring about the revival of this Argentinian dance, turning it into a worldwide art form. Now in their 80’s, they reflect back on their tumultuous relationship full of love, heartbreak, hatred and betrayal. Juan and María share their stories with a group of young dancers from Buenos Aires who transform their most powerful moments into beautifully choreographed performances. The seamless fusion of dance and personal anecdotes conveys these two dancers’ undying passion for their first love: tango.
THE PROMISED BAND
(USA, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, NEPAL)
Director: Jen Heck
Producer: Maria DeLaO, Chris Martin, Jen Heck
It takes a lot to get a band together, even in America. But what if, in order to meet up with your bandmates for rehearsal, you had to cross a heavily guarded border, cover up your car’s identifying markings, and hide your face since it was illegal for you to be in the area in the first place? In Jen Heck’s documentary THE PROMISED BAND, she follows a rock and roll band whose members are drawn from both sides of the border between Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The normal rock-and-roll movie conventions suddenly acquire new meaning as each of them seems to correspond to patterns in the larger societies around them.
Director: Rebecca Parrish
Producers: Nicole Bernardi-Reis, Daniel Alpert
RADICAL GRACE follows three fearless American nuns who live by the gospel of love, justice and inclusion, as they challenge the Catholic Church’s hierarchy. They take their message on the road in their “Nuns on the Bus” tour. When the Vatican investigates and reprimands the sisters citing their “radical feminism,” these courageous women become the spiritual and symbolic center of a struggle for the future of the Catholic Church by refusing to be silenced. As they serve those on the margins and continue to struggle for Catholic women’s religious equality, these sisters and their colleagues are transforming American politics and the Church itself.
RAIDERS! THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE
Directors/ Producers: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen
Think Hollywood hits are tough to make? Try being an 11-year-old filming a shot-for-shot remake of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen’s documentary follows Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb, who were Mississippi grade-schoolers in the ’80s when they began their home movie adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s 1981 adventure classic. For seven summers, the mini-blockbuster occupied their lives. But one scene eluded them; finally, in their 40s, they reunite to finish their opus. Filled with amazing footage (the wrong putty nearly burns a kid’s
face off; another risks his life to hang onto a moving vehicle), RAIDERS! expresses movie-love as a metaphor for life.
ROMEO IS BLEEDING
Director: Jason Zeldes
Producer: Michael Klein
A decades-long turf war between Central and North Richmond gangs has created a sense of danger and violence in Richmond, California. From North Richmond, Danté Clark seeks to end the violence through education and the spoken word of low-income youth in the community. Clark applied his skills and passion to help create RAW Talent, a group of underprivileged youth using spoken word and slam poetry to address the unspoken real experiences and issues that plague their lives. In a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” that parallels his hometown’s turf war, Clark hopes to inspire those around him to address and bring a voice to the internal and unspoken violence that encompass the residents’ lives.
Director: Jason Benjamin
Producer: Lena Dunham, Jenni Konner, Carly Hugo, Stacey Reiss, Ericka Naegle, Jason Benjamin
They say the clothes make the man, right? But what if your body isn’t shaped like other men’s? What if you’re transgender? Don’t you deserve to have suits made that fit you, too? The man behind Bindle & Keep, Daniel Friedman provides just those suits for just that community. Originally he had planned to aim his business model at highflying Wall Street executives, but a transgender assistant convinced him that he could do well by doing good for an underserved community, and so he has. Produced by Lena Dunham (whose sibling is highlighted in the film), SUITED is a fascinating profile of the artisans tailored to service those who otherwise wouldn’t fit and a look into the hopes, dreams, and fears of their clients.
Directors: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve
Producer: Carthew Neal
New Zealand journalist, David Farrier, specializes in exploring the bizarre stories of fringe internet communities. In TICKLED, Farrier finds online ads seeking contestants for a Tickling Endurance Competition. Upon further investigation, he’s met with fierce opposition, including blistering attacks on his own homosexuality. Intrigued and wondering just what is hiding beneath the initial story, Farrier goes further and further down an increasingly strange rabbit hole that leads to places he could never have expected. It’s hard to believe, but the Tickling Endurance Competition may be the least bizarre part of the whole film.
A WAY OUT
Director: Charles Clapsaddle
Producers: Durand Adams, Charles Clapsaddle, Charles Williams
A WAY OUT explores how women get out of dangerously abusive relationships. Drawing upon the portrait of a woman, Kim Donatelle, who traveled a path that took her from nearly being killed by her ex-husband in a brutal attack, through escape, recovery, redemption and heroism. Donatelle recounts the details of the day on which she nearly died and describes how her best friend died when she tried to come to Kim’s aid.
TRAFICANT: THE CONGRESSMAN OF CRIMETOWN
Director: Eric Murphy
Producers: Eric Murphy, Jeff Alberini, Ed O’Neill
“Oh, the HAIR!” “Huge ego!” “You don’t know which part is brilliant and which part is psychotic!” Surprisingly, this is not a film about the current cast of candidates. In the 70’s, Jim Traficant blasted onto the political scene in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, then the crime capital of the U.S. He took on the mob, cussed out the IRS and FBI, and served time. Yet this larger than life congressman endured…his constituents LOVED him. This action-packed, wildly entertaining documentary about an original, a rogue, and the town that spawned him, is full of great one-liners, captured in copious news broadcasts.
BETWEEN SEA & LAND
Director: Carlos del Castillo
Producers: Manolo Cruz, Robespierre Rodriguez, Carlos del Castillo
Cast: Manolo Cruz, Vicky Hernandéz, Vivianna Serna, Jorge Cao, Mile Vergara, Javier Saenz
Carlos del Castillo’s stirring film BETWEEN SEA AND LAND takes place in La Cienega Grande, a makeshift community of the coast of Colombia where the little shacks are elevated on stilts above the water. It’s here that Alberto, who is immobilized by muscular dystrophy, lives with his caretaker mother, Rosa. Although he loves his mother, the highlights of his days are the visits from longtime friend Giselle, now a gorgeous woman who is utterly devoted to him. When Rosa confronts Giselle about her relationship with Alberto, life will be changed for everyone involved. This beautifully crafted drama was one of the few films to win two awards at Sundance 2016 (Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic and Special Jury Award for Acting).
Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Producers: Maria Hatzakou, Athina Rachel Tsangari
Cast: Yorgos Kendros, Panos Koronis, Vangelis Mourikis, Makis Papadimitriou, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Sakis Rouvas
The set up is irresistible – six men on a luxury yacht are stranded in the middle of the Aegean Sea. In order to stave off boredom while their boat is being repaired, they decide to test their friendship with a series of contests designed to determine which of them is “The Best in General.” In this witty exploration of machismo and competitiveness taken to absurd levels the 6 friends will measure and rate each other, they will become enemies, spies, saboteurs and unlikely allies. CHEVALIER won Best Film at the London Film Festival and further establishes director Athina Rachel Tsangari as one of the most exciting talents of the Greek New Wave.
Director: Anna Rose Holmer
Producer: Lisa Kjerulff, Anna Rose Holmer
Cast: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson, Makyla Burnam, Inayah Rodgers, Antonio A.B. Grant, Jr., The Q-Kidz Dance Team
Eleven-year-old Toni is mesmerized by the dance team she sees practicing in the gym where she boxes. Despite her initial hesitation its allure proves irresistible and Toni decides to join them. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells starts plaguing the team, the dynamics shift, and Toni has to reevaluate her place on the squad. THE FITS keeps you on the edge of your seat with expectation. First you think it’s going to be a gritty inner-city drama about a young girl. Then you think maybe it’s going to turn into a relatively conventional horror film. It turns out to be a gripping metaphorical journey about young girls becoming young women.
MEN & CHICKEN
Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
Producers: Tivi Magnusson, Kim Magnusson
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, David Dencik, Søren Malling, Nikolag Lie Kaa
It’s difficult to write about Anders Thomas Jensen’s wonderfully absurd comedy MEN & CHICKEN without spoiling it. It really is the kind of film that the less one knows of it before viewing, the better. But this much we can say – it’s unlike any film you’ll see in this or any other year. At the start of the film, Gabriel’s father passes away, and he calls his brother Elias to tell him the news. Together they watch a video their father left for them, revealing that they are the sons of two different mothers. When they travel to the tiny island of Ork to investigate, things get…well, much weirder. The film has been described as Franz Kafka meets THE THREE STOOGES, and that’s probably as good a description as any.
MORRIS FROM AMERICA
Director: Chad Hartigan
Producers: Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy, Martin Heisler, Gabriele Simon
Cast: Craig Robinson, Markees Christmas, Carla Juri, Lina Keller, Jakub Gierszal, Levin Henning
MORRIS FROM AMERICA tells the touching story of Curtis and Morris, an African-American father and son living in Heidelberg, Germany. In an environment that is utterly foreign to both of them, their relationship flows along with the hip hop beats they so often exchange. Among his peers, Morris struggles with racial stereotypes as the German kids expect him to be a great basketball player like Kobe Bryant, or a skillful dancer like Michael Jackson. Ironically, his real dream would be just as easy for them to understand — he wants to be a great rapper. Once a beautiful older girl begins to show interest in him, the stakes are raised dramatically. An important movie in the year of #OscarsSoWhite — and an entertaining one at that.
Director: Yaelle Kayam
Producers: Eilon Ratzkovsky, Yochanan Kredo, Lisa & Yossi Uzrad, Guy Jacoel
Cast: Shani Klein, Avshalom Pollack, Haitham Ibrahem Omari
Devout Orthodox Jew Zvia lives with her husband and children on the edge of a large cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Ignored by her husband, who spurns her sexual advances, and looked at with pity by the mourners who come to funerals in the cemetery, it’s a lonely existence. One night she discovers a prostitute completing a transaction with her customer on top of one of the gravestones, and she discovers a small community that gathers in the cemetery every night for clandestine business. She’s fascinated, and despite herself, becomes more and more drawn into this strange world. Anchored by a beautiful performance by Shani Klein (ZERO MOTIVATION), Yaelle Kayam’s directorial debut is a gorgeous and tender exploration of loneliness, desire, and belonging.
NEITHER HEAVEN NOR EARTH
Director: Clément Cogitore
Producers: Kazak Productions
Cast: Jérémie Renier, Kévin Azaïs
The hypnotic NEITHER HEAVEN NOR EARTH follows a detachment of French troops
stationed on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. When soldiers begin to disappear without a trace, the commander’s first thought is that they were abducted by the Taliban. He initiates a furious quest into enemy territory, but falls short of finding the answers he seeks. Clement Cogitore’s transfixing debut feature, which premiered at the Cannes Critics’ Week, does not focus on the physical damages inflicted by war, instead it’s a metaphysical exploration of souls lost on the periphery of a world at war with itself.
THE SALTON SEA
Director: Veena Sud
Producers: Chad Ostrom, Shana Fischer Huber
Cast: Jamie Anne Allman, Diarra Kilpatrick
A young woman identified only in the credits as The Driver (Jamie Ann Allman), driving drunk on a remote desert road, hits something in the road, but panics and speeds away. She stops in an abandoned town to wash the car and is approached by The Hitchhiker (Diarra Kilpatrick), who blackmails her into taking her along on a ride to the sea. The odyssey of these two troubled women through this desolate land of beautiful vistas turns eerie when The Driver can’t find the road out of a ghost town; she loses her direction and seems to be backtracking. Things become stranger until, in a surprising twist, the journey changes profoundly. The mysteriously surreal psychological drama is the directorial debut for Veena Sud, who created the Emmy-nominated series THE KILLING, which also starred Allman.
INDEPENDENT VISIONS COMPETITION
Director: Andre Hyland
Producers: Michael Rizzo, Andre Hyland, Eric Binns, Shane Bruce Johnston
Cast: Andre Hyland, Johnny Pemberton, Eliza Coupe, Yasmine Kittles, Anna Lee Lawson, Paul Erling Oyen
Andre Hyland first came to our attention in 2014 with his short film FUNNEL – an eight minute study of a day lost to errands and phone conversations. In THE 4th, Hyland expands this premise to focus on Jamie, an economically challenged hipster who’s on a mission to check off all the boxes on his to-do list in preparation for the best Fourth of July party…ever. Obstacle after obstacle keeps getting thrown up into his path, and every solution he comes up with seems to make matters worse. Fans of shaggy-dog, live-the moment films like THE BIG LEBOWSKI will feel right at home here, although the tone of the film also recalls CLERKS and its oft-misquoted tagline: “I wasn’t even supposed to be here today!”
Director: Claire Carré
Producers: Charles Spano, Claire Carré
Cast: Jason Ritter, Iva Gocheva, Greta Fernández, Tucker Smallwood, Karl Glusman
What if you knew that tomorrow you, and everyone around you, would have no memory? A man reading a list of precious moments makes for a poignant opening to this look at a post-apocalyptic world where, for 10 years, a virus has been destroying people’s memories and their abilities to form new ones. Another man (Jason Ritter) and a woman (Iva Gocheva) wake up in bed together wondering who the other is and what their relationship was. In five interwoven stories, people grapple with lost memories and try to make sense of their place in a world of chaos. This thought-provoking film was called “Best Science Fiction discovery of the Year” by Indiewire.
FIRST GIRL I LOVED
Director: Kerem Sanga
Producers: David Hunter, Ross Putman, Seth Caplan
Cast: Dylan Gelula, Brianna Hildebrand, Mateo Arias
Karem Sanga’s debut feature about a high school girl’s painful coming out is so authentic, so universal, that somehow you’ll feel it’s your story too. It taps into the feeling we all have at some point in middle or high school of not fitting in, of confused identity-building, of feeling different and not even knowing how to articulate it. One of the most powerful elements is that there really are no bad guys in this film, just well-meaning people getting in their own way. And you read it here first—Dylan Gelula is going to be a big, big star. Winner of the Audience Award, NEXT section, Sundance Film Festival 2016.
Director: Celia Rowlson-Hall
Producers: Lauren Smitelli, Aaron Schnobrich
Cast: Celia Rowlson-Hall, Andrew Pastides, Amy Seimeitz
MA, a story told entirely through movement with no dialogue, is a modern-day retelling of the Virgin Mary’s holy pilgrimage. Bursting with surrealism, this film is part narrative and part interpretive dance, which seeks to express the complex emotions felt by Ma. Free from the distractions of dialog, the film focuses on the symbolism as Ma treks through the American Southwest in preparation to give birth to The Messiah. The film stars SFF favorites Kentucker Audley and Amy Seimetz, among many others, and first-time director Celia Rowlson-Hall (who wrote the script and plays the lead role as well) who won the Breakthrough Award at the 2015 AFI Festival.
Director: Robert Putka
Producers: Mike Blanchard, Joe Battaglia, Robert Putka, Eilis Cahill, Jennifer Lafleur, Mark Reeb, Kevin Hughes
Cast: Jennifer Lafleur, Maryann Plunkett, Eilis Cahill
When Mel suffers a nervous breakdown, her daughters Connie and Casey couldn’t care less. Convinced she is only seeking attention, they leave her in the care of the hospital’s psych ward. Years of repressed emotions and resentment come to light as this dysfunctional family learns to cope with Mel’s new situation. The road to recovery is strenuous but, when given the chance, heals those who didn’t even know they were suffering. Weaving together comedy and drama, MAD takes a lighthearted approach to family crisis, showing that sometimes all you can do is laugh.
REFINERY SURVEYOR BLACK
Directors: Galen Jackson, Brian George
Producers: Rhiannon Guilford, Tyler Scott Null, Ross Warren, Boris Fain, EB Richardson
Cast: Joshua Turek, Harper May Houghton, Raul Delarosa, Jeffrey Lee Taylor
Creepy industrial waste and mysterious corporate poisonings trouble a mild-mannered factory inspector in this David Lynch-esque black comedy-mystery. After a small-town sugar refinery plant closes, Mr. Black, the oversight assessor, discovers that opiate addiction, medical problems, and other odd goings-on that are rampant in the area. However, the more Mr. Black investigates the corruption, the murkier things become. Director Brian George maintains a palpable sense of dread and paranoia amidst rust colored quirkiness.
Director: Cameron Bruce Nelson
Producers: Ashley Maynor, Courtney Ware, Ben LeClair, Walker Deibel
Cast: Frank Mosley, Heather Kafka, Lindsay Burdge
Sal (Frank Mosley) aspires to be a modern day Thoreau, living and working in a remote Appalachian farming community. Facing hardships and the complications of a long distance relationship with his girlfriend Rene, Sal questions the myth and reality of his values. After a tragedy strikes the close-knit community, Sal must reconcile his place in a world that lives outside of the law. Director Cameron Bruce Nelson’s background in anthropology, documentary filmmaking, and experience working in Virginia
as a farmhand for 3 years inform the film’s intense realism. Yet the film’s experimental feel and meditative moments create an intimate view into the culture of contemporary Appalachia.
Director: Deborah Kampmeier
Producers: Deborah Kampmeier, Troy Johanson, Rich Barbadillo, John Roche
Cast: Amy Ferguson, Morgan Spector, Anna Mouglalis, Fredric Lehne
Inanna, a young actress working as a stripper, becomes obsessed with a mask maker. In order to win his love she enters a mythic journey in the theater, one that blurs her performance, her dreams and her real life, resulting in a provocative and powerful confrontation that frees her. Director Deborah Kampmeier (VIRGIN, HOUNDDOG), is a provocateur, but with a purpose; she uses experimental forms not for show, but to explore issues for which more traditional narratives would be inadequate. SPLit is a powerful meditation on the traumas women face, and the struggle to overcome them.
FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE
Director: Maris Curran
Producers: David Oyelowo, Maris Curran, Carly Hugo, Matthew Parker
Cast: David Oyelowo, Dianne Wiest, Rosie Perez
If you saw 2014’s SELMA, you likely wondered why the film’s Martin Luther King Jr, David Oyelowo, doesn’t get more leading roles. In her sophomore feature, Maris Curran gives him just that, and to great effect. Oyelowo, who also produced, plays a recent widower who goes to rural Maine to visit his late wife’s parents, trying to work through his grief. It’s not hard to make Maine look beautiful, but cinematographer Sofian El Fani’s work here is nothing short of stunning. Curran shows great promise as a director that takes her time to explore moments, even uncomfortable ones, but it’s Oyelowo’s wounded, reeling, quietly desperate performance that you won’t be able to get out of your mind.
UNLOCKING THE CAGE
Directors: Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker
Producers: Chris Hegedus, Frazer Pennebaker, Rosadel Varela
How humane is the law? Is it humane enough to cover defendants who are not human? That’s the mission of lawyer Steven Wise, whose decades-long quest to save chimpanzees, dolphins and whales from a life in captivity results in a landmark case. Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project works to break down the legal wall that allows one species to imprison another — and in the process, save a chimp named Tommy. Legendary documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus follow as Wise and his team struggle to define “personhood” in this poignant documentary aimed at shifting the conversation about animal rights in the US.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Producer: Jeremy Thomas
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss, Luke Evans
Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) moves into a high-tech concrete skyscraper, stratified according to each inhabitant’s social class. A world unto its own, the building has a strict residential hierarchy of residents led by a de-facto king (Jeremy Irons). Life seems like paradise until a breakdown in services on the lower levels incites an uprising against the higher, more affluent floors. Class struggles boil over, chaos ensues and civilization breaks down, with brutal and often gory results. HIGH-RISE is an ambitious adaptation of the eponymous J.G. Ballard novel skillfully crafted by cult British director Ben Wheatley.
Director: Ira Sachs
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Ira Sachs, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Jim Landé, L.A. Teodosio
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina Garcia, Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri
The latest New York drama from acclaimed director Ira Sachs (KEEP THE LIGHTS
- ON) follows Brian (Greg Kinnear), Kathy and their son Jake as they move into the building inherited from Brian’s father. Jake quickly becomes best friends with Tony, the son of the seamstress that rents the space on the ground floor. Brian and Kathy learn that Brian’s father had been charging the shop rent far below market value. They face a financial crisis themselves and they’re forced to make some difficult decisions. In the aftermath of this dispute, Jake’s friendship with Tony is put to the test. LITTLE MEN is a vibrant and tender exploration of friendship that is sure to resonate with the audience.
LOUDER THAN BOMBS
(NORWAY, FRANCE, DENMARK)
Director: Joachim Trier
Producers: Thomas Robsahm, Joshua Astrachan, Marc Turtletaub, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Alexandre Mallet-Guy
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg
Joachim Trier’s (OSLO AUGUST 31) first English language feature is a marvelously observed drama of a fractious family. An aging schoolteacher (Gabriel Byrne) and his two sons (Jesse Eisenberg and Devin Druid) struggle to confront their different feelings and memories of their deceased wife and mother (Isabelle Huppert), a famed war photographer. Byrne is exquisite as a father simultaneously trying to grieve, to learn the truth about his wife, and to hold his family together. LOUDER THAN BOMBS tells a quiet, nuanced tale of loss, betrayal, and revelation.
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
(IRELAND, FRANCE, NETHERLANDS)
Director: Whit Stillman
Producers: Katie Holly, Lauranne Bourrachot
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Stephen Fry
Based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novella, “Lady Susan,” LOVE & FRIENDSHIP captures Austen at her most gleefully wicked. Writer-director Whit Stillman distills her acidic wit into a string of endless delights. The beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) retreats to her in-laws’ country estate to wait out the salacious rumors circulating amongst her high-society peers. While there, Lady Susan has decided not only to secure a husband for her reluctant daughter, Federica (Chloë Sevigny), but one for herself as well. Her unabashed narcissism goes well with a sharp tongue, so long as you’re watching from a distance.
Director: Jeff D. Johnson
Producer: Kate McDonald
Cast: Josh Radnor, Alex McKenna, Amanda Day
The golden moments and dark undertow of a woman’s life spanning from childhood to adulthood flow together in this evocative and full-hearted movie about life and loss. Nature and searching are constants in this current of images and emotion, magnetically guided by Alex McKenna’s rich performance and the fusion of memories and music. Josh Radnor produced the film and plays the lead role, and the music of Cloud Cult provides the constant soundtrack to a story told without dialogue. Chad Amour’s dreamlike cinematography leads the viewer into a poetic exploration worthy of Terrence Malick, and likely one of the most imaginative films you’ll see at the festival this year.
THE WAIT (L’ATTESA)
Director: Piero Messina
Producers: Nicola Giuliano, Francesca Cima, Carlotta Calori, Fabio Conversi, Jérôme Seydoux
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Lou de Laâge, Giorgio Colangeli, Domenico Diele, Antonio Folletto
Anna (Academy Award®-winner Juliette Binoche) lives in a luxurious Sicilian villa and is in mourning for her recently deceased son, Giuseppe. Unexpectedly, a young woman named Jeanne (Lou de Laage) arrives from Paris saying that she is Giuseppe’s girlfriend and he has invited her for Easter. Anna can’t bring herself to tell her the truth and deal with her grief; to Jeanne, Giuseppe is still alive and this allows Anna to cling to the illusion that he is. Jeanne leaves messages on his cellphone, begging forgiveness for some unnamed transgression and believes that she is the reason he has gone away. Together, the two women “wait” for his promised return. Piero Messina’s debut feature with its delicate exploration of grief and beautiful cinematography, heralds the arrival of a talented new voice.
KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE
Director: Robert Greene
Producers: Bennett Elliott, Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa
Sarasota newswoman, Christine Chubbuck, turned to the camera, and with utmost professional decorum, uttered her last words: “In keeping up with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first -attempted suicide.” What happened next continues to fascinate and bewilder students of the human condition 40 years after Christine’s suicide aired on live television. Robert Greene’s KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE is the story of actress Kate Lyn Sheil, as she prepares to play Chubbuck in reenactments, and attempts to put herself in the headspace of perhaps the darkest machination in show biz history. Winner of the 2016 Sundance US Documentary Special Jury Award For Writing, KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE goes far beyond the realm of character study -this is the very conflux of life and art, and Greene shows that he is a master at balancing on the precipice.
MISS SHARON JONES
Directing: Barbara Kopple
Producers: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy
Someone once told Sharon Jones that she was “too black, too fat, too short, and too old” to make it big as a singer. We can all thank the heavens that she didn’t listen. As the frontwoman for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, she now stands at the forefront of the neo-soul revival, and her live shows are a wonder to behold. But in 2013 she faced a brand new struggle – she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Two-time Academy Award® winner and frequent SFF guest Barbara Kopple was there to chronicle her journey. A stirring portrait of courage, perseverance, and – ultimately – triumph.
Director: Gingger Shankar
Producers: Loren Schneider, Nicholas Bruckman, Gingger Shankar
Composer and performer Gingger Shankar is an accomplished artist in her own
right, as the second lead composer for The Passion of the Christ and the lead
composer for Circumstance and many other films, and having toured with the likes
of the Smashing Pumpkins and Cheap Trick. She also comes from an impressive
pedigree as a member of the family of Ravi Shankar, possibly the best known
musician in India’s long history; her grandmother Lakshmi and mother Viji also
groundbreaking musicians in their own right, although in the West they never
quite emerged from Ravi’s long shadow. NARI, which is a multimedia installation
combining documentary film and live performance, seeks to tell their story.
TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU
Director: Joe Berlinger
Producers: Joe Berlinger, Lis Gray, Kevin Huffman
In 2015, Award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger gained unprecedented access to Tony Robbins’ once-a-year mega seminar, “Date with Destiny,” attended by 2,500 people from 71 countries. He was able to film the entire 6 day event and go behind the scenes to see how Robbins, the internationally renowned life strategist, prepares for each high energy, inspirational day. The film highlights the deeply emotional, life-changing transformations of five participants in real time. TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU provides us with a generous sampling of the techniques and exercises that make him a world famous communicator.
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD
(FRANCE, BELGIUM, CANADA)
Directors: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci
Producers: Michel Dutheil, Franck Ekinci, Marc Jousset
Cast: Angela Galuppo, Tod Fennell, Tony Robinow, Mark Camacho, Macha Grenen
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD, is a captivating new adventure tale based on the work of renowned graphic novelist Jacques Tardi. In an alternate universe, scientific development grinds to a halt when scientists mysteriously begin to disappear. Forced to continue without them and their inventions, the world faces an energy crisis. Following the disappearance of her parents, April continues her parent’s scientific research by perfecting the Ultimate Serum that they had spent their lives studying. April embarks on a journey to discover the mystery behind their disappearance and the truth behind the serum.
Director: Berndt Mader
Producers: Johnny McAllister, Berndt Mader
Cast: Onur Tukel, Marija Karan, Alex Karpovsky
One of the most unusual films in the 2016 lineup, Berndt Mayer’s BOOGER RED is an unexpected mashup of narrative and documentary filmmaking, a true crime exposé of a case possibly gone wrong, and an acting showcase for Onur Tukel (who won a Special Jury Prize at SFF in 2012 for RICHARD’S WEDDING). Tukel plays a journalist named Onur Tukel (or is he himself, posing as a journalist, because either is plausible) who travels to a small town in Texas to report on an old case in which the owners of a local swinger’s club were convicted of running a child sex ring. But the case doesn’t turn out to be quite that clear cut, and the truth may be even stranger and more sinister.
CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Producers: Charles de Meaux, Simon Field, Hans W. Geissendörfer, Michael Weber
Cast: Banlop Lomnoi, Jenjira Pongpas, Jarinpattra Rueangram
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest film takes place in a military hospital in a small town in Thailand. The soldiers there seem to have been stricken by a mysterious sleeping sickness. Jen, a new volunteer, is told by the staff that the machines the soldiers are hooked up to are part of their treatment, but she has visions in which mysterious visitors tell her they have a more sinister purpose. CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR is a poetic amalgamation of images, ideas and moods. This emotional and philosophical terrain is where Weerasethakul feels most comfortable, and he’s still finding fresh ways to explore it.
Directors: Jake Fuller, Alex Markman
Producer: Alex Bach, Halavah Sofsky
Cast: Stephanie Brait, Miranda Levitt, Matthew Dixon
Colby (Stephanie Brait) is a troubled young drifter who has been surviving by stealing or manipulating and using people. She persuades her recent conquest to take her to “a nice beach” where they break into an unoccupied luxury house and spend the night. The next day, when she finds herself alone again and stranded in an unfamiliar place with no means of getting back to the city, she has to use her street smarts to find a way out. A promising first feature from co-directors Jake Fuller and Alex Markman and producer Alex Bach, a native to Sarasota.
Director: Alice Winocour
Producers: Isabelle Madelaine, Emilie Tisné
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger
Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts, RUST AND BONE), a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who is suffering from PTSD, takes a job with a few of his friends from the war, working security at a sprawling mansion. When the owner of the house goes on a business trip and leaves his wife Jessie (Diane Kruger) and son to be taken care of by Vincent, the trouble begins. Vincent must battle his attraction to Jessie and the demons of his past in order to protect them from danger. The film was nominated for the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes; it was director Alice Winocour’s third time being nominated for an award at the festival.
Director: Jason Shirley
Producer: Paul Papadeas, Matthew Zboyovski, Jason Shirley
Cast: Burt Reynolds, Michael Abbott Jr., R. Keith Harris
Billy Barnes is having a rough day. He gets no respect from the town for doing his job as an exterminator. His pretty wife seems to be awfully flirty with his annoying next door neighbor. And now his good-natured but trouble-making neighbor Randy has come for an extended visit. Burt Reynolds co-stars in a hilarious turn as Billy and Randy’s wisecracking Dad. A hilarious scene of Randy in a full sized wrestling ring in a match with his high school football coach is worth the price of admission alone. Jason Shirley’s directorial debut is like a Southern fried NAPOLEON DYNAMITE.
FULL METAL JACKET (1987)
(USA, UNITED KINGDOM)
Director/ Producer: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Ermey, Dorian
Harewood, Arliss Howard, Kevyn Major Howard, Ed O’Ross
Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam War masterwork still stuns nearly 30 years after its release. Matthew Modine is magnetic as Pvt. Joker, an unlikely soldier who journeys from the brutality of boot camp (and a barking drill sergeant memorably played by R. Lee Ermey) to the barbarism of the (often urban) Asian battlefield. Memorably split into two sections, Kubrick’s vivid, penultimate film is intense, wry, sly and thought provoking — a meditation on what happens to the mind as it prepares for, and partakes in, the act of killing. Paired with Modine’s illuminating “Full Metal Jacket Diary” book and App, this is an unforgettable sensory experience.
HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
Director: Taika Waititi
Producers: Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi, Leanne Saunders, Matt Noonan
Cast: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley
This spirited comedy from beloved director Taika Waititi (WHAT WE DO IN THE
SHADOWS) features Ricky, a cheeky city kid who is uprooted to the New Zealand countryside in order to live with a new foster family. He immediately settles in with the endearing eccentric family; the affectionate Aunt Bella, the grumpy Uncle Hec, and dog
Tupac. When an unexpected turn of events threatens to uproot him from the new family, he decides to hide it out in the bush until the madness subsides. A surprisingly tender tale, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE will make you laugh, cry and remind you of how growing up can be hard without fellow “outlaws.”
Director: Clea DuVall
Producers: Sam Slater, Paul Bernon, Sev Ohanian
Cast: Clea DuVall, Melanie Lynskey, Natasha Lyonne, Vincent Piazza, Jason Ritter, Ben Schwartz, Alia Shawkat, Colby Smulders
If the basic setup of this film sounds familiar—a group of friends gather for a weekend at a vacation home and complications. But actor-turned-director Clea Duvall’s film is different. First, she comes up with an intriguing premise— the friends have gathered for an intervention, not for one character’s substance abuse problems, but for two characters’ marriage. The friends are going to tell the couple they need to divorce. Second, she has gathered a stellar cast of indie stalwarts, notably including national treasure Melanie Lynskey.
Director: Jayro Bustamante
Producers: Marina Peralta, Pilar Peredo, Edgard Tenembaum, Jayro Bustamante
Cast: Justo Lorenzo, Manuel Antún, María Telón, Marvin Coroy, María Mercedes Coroy
Filmed in a tiny Guatemalan coffee bean harvesting village in the shadow of an active volcano, IXCANUL stars many of the village’s residents. Young Maria is in love with the dreamer Pepe, but she has been promised to the foreman of the plantation. When she discovers she’s pregnant with Pepe’s baby, Maria is faced with a life-altering choice. Will she fulfill her family’s wishes and the expectations of the town, or will she take her
shot at love? The film is Guatemala’s first-ever Academy Awards® entry, and is the directorial debut for Jayro Bustamante.
LIBERAL ARTS (2012)
Director: Josh Radnor
Producers: Josh Radnor, Claude Dal Farra, Brice Dal Farra, Lauren Munsch, Jesse Hara
Cast: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser
Casual fans may know Josh Radnor best from his lead role in the long-running CBS comedy HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, but he’s also, among other things, one of the most talented, heartfelt, and intelligent emerging writer/directors around. His debut film, HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE won the Audience Award at Sundance in 2010. He follows that with the equally successful LIBERAL ARTS. Radnor stars as a man who goes back to his alma mater for his mentor’s retirement party and finds himself befriending an irresistible undergraduate (Elizabeth Olsen). This star-studded romantic comedy is equally intelligent, tender, wise, and earnest in the very best meaning of the word.
Director: Julio Medem
Producers: Penélope Cruz, Julio Medem, Alvaro Longoria
Cast: Penélope Cruz, Luis Tosar, Asier Etxeandia
Magda (Penelope Cruz) is a down on her luck, soon-to-be unemployed teacher, with an estranged husband and virtually no support system. The day she learns the devastating news of a breast cancer diagnosis, she looks for an escape at her son’s soccer game. There she meets Arturo (Luis Tosar) a devoted husband and father experiencing tragedies of his own. Together they form a special bond that will help them both through the tough times ahead. Academy Award®-winning actress and producer Penélope Cruz delivers an extraordinarily emotional performance in MA MA, the newest film from
acclaimed director Julio Medem (SEX AND LUCÍA).
THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY
Director: Matthew Brown
Producers: Edward R. Pressman, Jim Young, Joe Thomas, Matthew Brown, Sofia
Sondervan, Jon Katz
Cast: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Devika Bhise, Stephen Fry, Toby Jones
A British biographical drama based on book, THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY stars
Dev Patel (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) as the mathematical prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan. Despite growing up poor in India, his brilliance earns him admittance to Cambridge University during World War I. While at Cambridge he strikes an unlikely friendship with the eccentric professor G. H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons). Hardy defends him in the face of prejudice and racism, and under his guidance Ramanujan becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories.
THE MEASURE OF A MAN
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Producers: Christophe Rossignon, Philip Boeffard
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Karine de Mirbeck, Matthieu Schaller
Thierry (Vincent Lindon), a newly unemployed factory worker in his ‘50s, has been laid off and is in dire financial straits. His hapless unemployment officer can’t find him a new job, he can’t sell the mobile home he uses for his family’s vacations, and he and his wife have to take care of their special needs son. But Thierry bravely faces his sometimes maddening circumstances, even occasionally finding the humor in them. The film has been described as “a powerful and deeply troubling vision of the realities of our new economic order.” His standout performance earned veteran French thespian Lindon the 2015 Best Actor Award at Cannes.
Directors: Vladimir de Fontenay, Nina Ljeti
Producers: Iris Torres, Nicolaas Bertelsen, Sev Ohanian, Paul Bernon, Sam Slater
Cast: Sam Dillon, James Franco, Thomas Mann, Keith Stainfield, Ruby Modine
At the opening of MEMORIA, troubled teen Ivan Cohen (Sam Dillon) walks out to the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge and looks down. Much of the rest of the movie, which is based on a James Franco short story, is devoted to flashbacks that trace the events that brought him to this place. Franco wrote the character based on a schizophrenic teen he went to high school with; he also plays the sympathetic teacher who tries to guide Ivan to using writing as an outlet for his frustrations. A musing, atmospheric psychological drama, MEMORIA is thoroughly unforgettable.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Producers: Sarah Green, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones
Cast: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard
A new Jeff Nichols film coming out is cause for rejoicing. He’s one of the most exciting directors working in America today. The Arkansan-turned Austinian began his career in 2007 with the smolderingly intense SHOTGUN STORIES, starring Michael Shannon, before electrifying Sundance with his 2011 sophomore feature TAKE SHELTER, pairing a then-unknown Jessica Chastain with Shannon. His career was taken to a new level in 2012 with MUD, starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon (with Michael Shannon in a supporting role). This time he turns to science fiction thriller territory, as Shannon stars once again as a father who is desperate to hide his 8-year-old son’s special powers.
MOMMIE DEAREST (1981)
Director: Frank Perry
Producer: David Koontz, Neil A. Machlis, Terence O’Neill, Frank Yablans
Cast: Faye Dunaway, Rutanya Alda, Diana Scarwid, Steve Forrest
SFF celebrates the 35th anniversary of this cult film about the glamorous yet lonely star Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) who takes in two orphans, and at first their unconventional family seems happy. But after Joan’s attempts at romantic fulfillment go sour and she is fired from her contract with MGM studios, her callous and abusive behavior towards her daughter Christina (Diana Scarwid) becomes even more pronounced. Christina leaves home and takes her first acting role, only to find her mother’s presence still overshadowing her. This screening features special guest Rutanya Alda, who played the faithful assistant Carol Ann. Ms. Alda will take part in a Q & A and a VIP reception.
Director: Martín Rosete
Producer: Atit Shah, Martín Rosete
Cast: Kellan Lutz, Jess Weixler, Jesse Williams
Mark (Kellan Lutz, TWILIGHT) and Sean (Jesse Williams, THE BUTLER) are best friends and successful businessmen in search of more. In their case, the “more” turns out to be over $5 million in dirty money, which they hide in Mark’s basement one night just before a dinner party with their wives. When a neighbor shows up unannounced, it’s all a good time until he turns out to be not quite what he seems. Twists and turns abound, violence erupts, and relationships are tested. SFF favorite Jess Weixler (last year’s APARTMENT TROUBLES) turns in an especially good performance that is sure to keep you guessing.
A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS
Director: Rodrigo Plá
Producers: Sandino Saravia Vinay, Rodrigo Plá
Cast: Jana Raluy, Sebastián Aguirre Boëda, Hugo Albores, Nora Huerta, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Emilio Echeverría, Ilys Cazés
The US isn’t the only country struggling with a bloated health care bureaucracy, as this Mexican drama shows. When Sonia Bonet (the fantastic Jana Raluy) goes in search of answers at the office of the insurance company that refuses to pay for the medicine to treat her husband’s tumor, she’s plunged into a strange, Kafkaesque world of bureaucratic nightmare. Like a creepy hybrid of FALLING DOWN and BRAZIL, the film depicts Bonet’s dogged assurance to find answers, no matter what it costs her.
MONTY COMES BACK
Director: Thomas John Nudi
Producers: Vincent Dale, Thomas John Nudi, Trishul Thejasvi
Cast: Brandon Tyler Jones, Deborah Childs, Brad Clark, Stephen Birge, Jessica Cohen
Monty, a young actor/writer, moves back in with his parents after getting fired from an acting gig. Claiming that he is on a “creative hiatus,” he spends most of his time back home loitering around instead of becoming a productive member of society. His selfish actions lead him on a destructive path that only hurt the people closest to him. Torn between doing what is right for him versus what is right by others, Monty must come to terms with what it truly means to be “great.” An entertaining feature debut from Sarasota filmmaker Thomas John Nudi.
ORPHANS OF ELDORADO
Director: Guilherme Coelho
Producers: Daniel Dreifuss, Mariana Ferraz, Eliane Ferreira, Maurico Andrade Ramos Cast: Daniel Oliveira, Dira Paes, Mariana Rios, Adriano Barroso
After being away for over a decade, Arminto Cordovil returns home to find his father in ailing health. Amidst loss and newfound responsibilities, he meets a mysterious girl who disappears from his life just as quickly as she entered it. Arminto’s passion grows into obsession as he squanders everything he has to finding her. Based upon the eponymous novel by Milton Hatoum, ORPHANS OF ELDORADO brings Amazon mythology to life in a modern tale that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. First time narrative director Guilherme Coelho’s 2005 documentary FALA TU won or was nominated for nearly every major award in Brazil, and producer Daniel Dreifuss’ 2012 film NO was nominated for the Academy Award ® for Best Foreign Language Film.
Directors: Joel Fendelman, Patrick Daly
Producers: Frank Hall Green, Brian Newman, Prema Menon
Cast: Angela Barotia, Paolo O’Hara, Olive Nieto, William Ledbetter, Prem John
REMITTANCE follows Marie, a foreign domestic worker from the Philippines, as she struggles to cope with her demanding new employers in Singapore, long hours of work, and separation from her family. Breaking from the conventional image of maids as “labor,” REMITTANCE explores the transformations Marie goes through as she gets caught up in the new life she is building for herself in Singapore. At its heart, REMITTANCE is a story about a woman trying to balance her personal aspirations against her family responsibilities back home.
Director: Chris Cordone
Producers: Adam Silver, Kuldeep Malkani, Brandon Amelotte , Chris Cordone
Cast: Chris Cordone, Torrey DeVitto, Kevin Chapman, John Aprea
No one is sad to see a Mafioso get accidentally killed – except the Mob, that is. They tend to come after the person responsible, even if it was an accident. Stevie D, the title character (Chris Cordone) finds himself on the wrong end of that situation, so his successful businessman father hires an unsuspecting actor to play him, in real life. Hilarity ensues. Cordone, a TV and indie film veteran, wrote and directed as well. The
film also stars Torrey DeVitto (PRETTY LITTLE LIARS), Kevin Chapman (MYSTIC RIVER), and John Aprea (THE GODFATHER: PART II).
(UNITED KINGDOM, LUXEMBOURG)
Director: Terence Davies
Producers: Roy Boulter, Sol Papadopoulos, Nicolas Steil
Cast: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie
A longtime passion project for legendary British director Terence Davies, SUNSET SONG is based on the classic novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, considered to be one of the greatest Scottish novels of the 20th century. Agyness Deyn is a true revelation as Chris Guthrie, a young Scottish woman coming of age just before World War I. When the war disrupts her rural community, bringing forth unexpected change, she must find the strength necessary to overcome these difficulties. Shot on glorious 65mm film, the cinematography seems almost otherworldly in its beauty and lyricism. Slow and thoughtful, SUNSET SONG rewards patient viewers with a deeply moving experience.
TALE OF TALES
(ITALY, FRANCE, UNITED KINGDOM)
Director: Matteo Garrone
Producer: Matteo Garrone, Jeremy Thomas, Jean & Anne-Laure Labadie
Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Bebe Cave, Stacy Martin, Christen Lees, Jonah Lees
An adaptation of several folk tales collected by Giambattista Basile, a renowned 17th century Italian writer, TALE OF TALES is a stunningly lush and imaginative film. It creates a fairy tale world that has much less in common with the sterilized Disney adaptations of recent years, and much more in common with the original Grimm Brothers tales many of those films are based on – darker, more sinister, and often more violent and sexual (it’s not an accident that the Brothers were big fans of Basile). It’s
the English language debut for Matteo Garrone (GOMORRAH- Grand Prix at Cannes 2008), who directs a stellar cast including Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, and Vincent Cassel.
TOUCHED WITH FIRE
Director: Paul Dalio
Producer: Kristina Nikolova, Jeremy Alter, Jason Sokoloff
Cast: Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby, Christine Lahti, Griffin Dunne, Bruce Altman
What is the difference between loving madly and loving, madly? When two poets (Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby) meet in a treatment facility, they struggle to align the rhythms of their new found love, emotions, and creative pursuits. The highs and lows of their love story set against the diagnosis of bipolar disorder creates tension between their families (Christine Lahti, Griffin Dunne, Bruce Altman) who endeavour to help their adult children navigate a life that is both difficult and extraordinary. Paul Dalio’s debut feature is informed by his own experiences, and a stunning filmic portrait of an illness that also gave the world such artistic geniuses as Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, and Ernest Hemingway.
SHORTS 1: NARRATIVE SHORTS COMPETITION
Director: Isabella Carbonel
A young sex offender faces the consequences of his actions.
Director: Giovanni Aloi
Ali, a Tunisian immigrant must make a radical choice when he finally receives a visa for his wife and daughter.
Director: Matt Kazman
When a tragic event occurs at the exact moment that he masturbates for the first time, 12-year-old Dusty blames himself for it.
Director: Julian Higgins
An aging college professor in Montana must stand his ground when two hunters trespass on his property.
Director: Ian Garrido Lopez
Not feeling at home in hir body, Mari begins to experiment with hir gender.
SHORTS 2: DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION
KINGDOM OF GARBAGE
Director: Yasir Kareem
Zahraa dreams of going to school, but instead she must scour endless fields of trash for valuable materials to help support her family.
THE MANY SAD FATES OF MR. TOLEDANO
Director: Joshua Seftel
Risking his family and mental health, photographer Phil Toledano delves into his latest project, which focuses on his own mortality.
Director: Melissa Langer
A young family who fled the war in Syria tries to cope with the devastation in their country.
Director: Adam Sekuler
Who says funerals always have to be such stuffy affairs?
Director: Eric Rockey
An intimate portrait of a gender-creative boy growing up in conservative rural Florida.
SHORTS 3: ANIMATED SHORTS COMPETITION
ABOUT A MOTHER
Director: Dina Velikovskaya
A mother’s love is never ending.
Directors: Lou Hamou-Lhadj, Andrew Coates
Haunted by the past, a weathered sheriff returns to the scene of the accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget.
Directors: Alexa Lim Haas, Bernardo Britto
A woman is forced to adjust to a new life in a human zoo exhibit on an alien planet. The true story of a glove that’s been floating forever in space since 1965.
HANSEL + GRETEL
(SOUTH KOREA, USA)
Director: Soyeon Kim
Some yarns are so ubiquitous that they have become woven into the fabric of our cultural narratives, but what would happen if we were to sub out the words that shape said narratives for shapes themselves?
IN DEEP WATERS
Director: Sara Van Den Boom
From the moment they are conceived, twin babies forge a close bond in their mother’s womb. But when one twin dies in utero, the surviving twin is left with a deep feeling of grief that may last a lifetime.
Director: Dianne Bellino
A young boy attempts to comfort his grieving mother. Hipster bunnies really do throw the best parties, even if they make you feel like you’re going to crawl out of your skin from time to time.
(SOUTH KOREA, USA)
Director: Soyeon Kim
There are only two creatures on Earth that can take part in a murder: people, and crows – but make no mistake, the foul play is reserved firmly for the former.
Director: Ao Li
With charming 2D animation, OLILO tells the story of an introverted girl and the power of love to break through barriers and transform all things.
ON THE SAME PAGE
Directors: Alli Norman, Carla Lutz
An introverted writer goes on a colorful adventure in a newspaper world.
(SONAMBULO) THE SLEEPWALKER
Director: Theodore Ushev
A surrealist journey through colors and shapes inspired by the poem Romance Sonámbulo by Federico García Lorca. Visual poetry in the rhythm of fantastic dreams and passionate nights.
TRAVEL BY FEET
Director: Khris Cembe
Like the madeleines in Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past,” foot odor conjures all kinds of fun memories for the subject of this film, and inspires anything but pedestrian measures to “clear the air,” if you will.
SHORTS 4: NARRATIVE 1
Director: Bridey Elliot
Bored with her mundane life, Bridey desperately seeks to find change.
Director: Joshua Tate
A sensitive and edifying glimpse into the world of a young woman with Down syndrome grappling with issues of autonomy, intimacy, and identity after learning that she is pregnant.
THE MINK CATCHER
Director: Samantha Buck
It is 1980, and Dallas just got a new first lady who looks so fabulous in her mink coat that she can suck the oxygen right out of the room. Mint juleps with a garnish of neurasthenia anyone?
PITTER PATTER GOES MY HEART
Director: Christoph Rainer
Lisa has been dying to reunite with her long lost boo, Alf, and when he is back in town to photograph varicose veins, she will stop at nothing to feel his embrace once again.
THE QUATIFIED SELF
Director: Gleb Osatinski
The desire for perfection turns into a religious experience with unforeseen consequences.
Director: Chelsea O’Connor
Following the discovery of her newfound abilities, Susie Sunshine seeks to uncover the secrets of the company she works for.
SHORTS 5: NARRATIVE 2
Director: Óscar Bernàcer
Dating isn’t the same these days, but if you play your cards right, you just might get lucky.
Director: Li Lin Wee
Meishi is a normal ‘80’s teenager. She loves Madonna and boys in colored Ray-Bans, and can never turn down a good dance-off – even if she can’t dance.
THE DYNAMIC DOUBLE STANDARD
Director: Luke Patton
Midnight Hawk needs a sidekick. But first, he needs a makeover, and then a little lesson on the most fearsome 20th century super-villain yet: heteronormative gender roles.
PIECE OF CAKE
Director: Joe Ahern
A meticulously planned kid’s birthday party goes horribly wrong.
Director: John Fortson
Imagine a world where you had no influence over a public rating system that hangs over your head everywhere you go… Now forget about Google Glasses for the sake of your own sanity.
SUMO ROAD- THE MUSICAL
Director: Ken Ochiai
Kure discovers his love for sumo wrestling and befriends the team at school. But after he is caught cheating, he must defeat the team captain in order to be accepted again.
Director: Stuart Bowen
Two men try to impress the woman they love, using balloons as tokens of their passion.
SHORTS 6: NARRATIVE 3
Director: Renos Gavris
Inspired by the ongoing Greek government debt crisis, AUSTERITY begs the question: Is a life without dignity a life worth living at all?
THE BIG DAM
Director: Samuel Grandchamp
A father and son embark on a road trip to visit Europe’s largest dam and find that the barriers they must face are far from what they expected in this subtle meditation on coming of age within a split-family dynamic.
Director: Myrsini Aristidou
A signature is just the excuse for Semele to visit her father at his workplace.
(SINGAPORE, HONG KONG, USA)
Director: Alexandra Hsu
Sophie is an 8-year old living in Hong Kong, and when she misses a class trip to the zoo due to her mother’s absence, she invites an exchange of multi-generational wisdom that may take her a lifetime to unpack.
TASTE OF LIFE
Director: Medoo Ali
There was once a time in Baghdad when children had to worry more about safely crossing the street than suicide bombings – this is a meditation on the innocence we are all robbed of in times of war and unrest.
Director: Katie Found
Elaine is forced to confront the reality of taking care of her mentally-ill husband and what is means to be a widow in waiting.
Director: Dusty Mancinelli
Boys will be boys, and where adventure leads, life lessons are sure to follow.
Director: Johnathan Sousa
A mourning daughter and father reconnect in a surprising way.
SHORTS 7: DOCUMENTARY 1
THE EXTRA MILE
Director: Courtney Ross
A day in the life of Patrick Kato, a Ugandan immigrant and dedicated caretaker at an assisted living home for adult men with mental disabilities.
Director: Sharon Liese
A family builds little “fairy” houses in a Kansas forest to serve as a reminder for those in need of hope or just to believe in something.
THE HOUSE IS INNOCENT
Director: Nicholas Coles
Tom and Barbara got a killer deal on 1426 F Street, that’s because it once belonged to a serial killer! Fava beans, anyone?
ONE WAY: A JOURNEY TO THIS MOMENT
Director: Todd Hannigan
This film is about the journey of one woman navigating uncertainty, seeking peace along the way, and truly embracing the abundance of each moment.
(USA, SPAIN, FRANCE)
Directors: Jessica Lewis, Annie O’Neill
Phil, diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, creates a Camino in his own backyard before eventually going to Spain and completing the Camino de Santiago.
SHORTS 8: DOCUMENTARY 2
THE ART OF RICHARD THOMPSON
Director: Bob Burnett
“Calvin and Hobbes” creator, Bill Watterson saw Richard Thompson’s work and said, “now I have a reason to read comics again”.
MUNICH ’72 AND BEYOND
Director: Stephen Crisman
A searing account of the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Summer Olympics, MUNICH ’72 AND BEYOND exposes shocking new information about the tragic events, their devastating
aftermath and their continued relevance today.
MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER
Director: Ann Shin
Zahed and Najah are two former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War who become blood brothers for life.
Director: Wen Li
A stranger jumps off a bridge, committing suicide, setting off a journey to find the men who fish bodies out of the Yuanjiang River and the meaning of death, loss and life.
SHORTS 9: MIDNIGHT
Director: Eva Colmers
Sound remains an unseen force until it finds just the right tenor -at 2.57K it becomes nature’s most uncanny choreographer and commands a dance of unwitting grace and sensuality.
Director: Brandt Shandera
Little Edward might have been a miracle, but when he miraculously disappears from his bed one night, the fairy tale turns nightmare – for his mother, at least.
I BLAME MONTY HALL
Director: Ben Mehlman
Kate and Charlie are about to enjoy their first weekend away together at aunty Rose’s creepy old crash pad… or are they?
NIGHT OF THE SLASHER
Director: Shant Hamassian
Jenelle knows a thing or two about scars, but don’t worry, she takes care of business by facing her demons head-on in this modern take on a time-worn genre.
NONE OF THAT
Directors: Anna Hinds Paddock, Kriti Kaur, Isabela Littger
A Night Museum Guard discovers that he took more than he bargained for when a mysterious entity begins to censor all the nude artwork in the museum.
Director: Brandon Daley
A man in the midst of a midlife crisis attempts to soothe his existential concerns by practicing the age old art of yoga.
Director: Camille De Galbert
A beautifully choreographed meditation on an actor preparing for his entrance onto the final stage, as he passes back and forth from reality to his inner self.
TOMMY AND DAVID
Director: Sarah Joe Wolansky
Tommy, an entrepreneur, makes his money by selling souvenirs of Michelangelo’s David and more specifically, the statue’s penis.
Director: Erin Vassilopoulos
Eva is one of the first to undergo a successful partial face transplant, but to say she has entered uncharted territory wouldn’t account for the half of it.
Director: Jinyue Wan
Love can be deadly.
SHORTS 10: SRQ FILMS
Director: Jorden Kieffer
A single mom and her teenage daughter, Fausta, find common ground on their quest for selfactualization and failure to find a few good men.
Director: Trishul Thejasvi
A scandalous rumor regarding two teenage friends gets blown out of proportion at the biggest party of the year.
Director: Tony Ahedo
After learning he will soon become a parent, Jay recollects and reconnects to his own father who abandoned him long ago.
THE INVISIBLE TRUTH
Directors: Adrian Pumarejo, Jacob Ferguson
Some monsters aren’t just hiding under the bed.
R.I.P BIG E’S
Director: Joe Lipstein
Big E’s Coffeehouse has always served as refuge for those in the Sarasota seeking acceptance, so when the business closes, it takes a large emotional toll on the community that called it a home.
SARASOTA KEYS FEATURING JACK DOWD
Director: Edward James Fagan, Shaun Greenspan
Follow world-renowned artist Jack Dowd through his creative process as he designs a public piano for the Sarasota Keys project.
Director: Trace McNabb,
Socially awkward Chad is enraptured by the enchanting voice of his new neighbor.
Director: Darryl Saffer
The beauty of landscapes and animals are captured in the picturesque habitats and ecosystems that surround Sarasota.
SHORTS 11: FLORIDA SHORTS
Director: Christopher Nold
A touching scene that speaks volumes on America’s shifting mores concerning love and sexuality, ABOUT JAMES is both an intimate and universally viable exploration of grief and acceptance.
Director: Mitch Glass
Haunted by the memory of his girlfriend, Ben becomes obsessed with reliving their best moments together through the company, AGAIN™.
Director: Pete Capó
The unexpected arrival of a baby leaves a young couple desperate to have the life they once had.
Director: Amber Steele
In order to escape her morbid past, Ila takes up running again in order to return to her normal life.
Director: Tommy Demos
We’re not talking Honey Boo Boo or even Brit’s lil’ sis in this masterful study of the thin line between memory, truth, and that which simply can not be explained.
THIS MODERN MAN IS BEAT
Director: Alex Merkin
A man in dire circumstances must sell his prized guitar in order to keep him and his wife from losing their livelihood.
SHORTS 12: NYU
Director: Faraday Okoro
A teenaged boy challenges his father to a blitz style game of chess.
Director: Liam Brady
A solitary amateur ballplayer confronts an invisible past in plain view of a new teammate.
Director: Hadrien Royo
A young girl believes that she encounters the legendary Hodag and strives to prove its existence.
Director: Sahadev Kelvadi
As tensions rise between rioters and the police, a young boy is influenced by the violence he sees on TV.
Director: Joshua Foster
Whether it’s the size of the boat or the motion of the ocean, any man is in deep water when he realizes he might be infertile.
Director: Max Rissman
A young couple goes on a romantic getaway only to discover that they aren’t alone.
WADE IN THE WATER
Director: Abbesi Akhamie
Jamal must decide whether to abide by his mother’s wishes and be baptized or continue to protest the religious ritual.
THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES 1
BUT I LOVE HIM
Director: J. Lee Santoro
A battered woman documents herself and her experiences as she goes through the “life cycle” of abuse.
Director: Devon Kirkpatrick
In this dark comedy, life after death takes on a whole new meaning for a gender-queer widow following the loss of their wife.
Director: Joanna Rudnick
Former fashion photographer Rick Guidotti uses his lens to challenge convention and redefine beauty with the help of two extraordinary women.
Director: Alexandrina Andre
A young college student’s life is upended when he gets knocked up. Yes, you read that right.
Director: Karyn Childs
Sometimes new roads lead to old places.
SHORTS 14: THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES 2
Director: Darlene Johnson
Bluey, an angry young woman trapped in a life of violence, meets a mystery mentor who could help her change everything.
PHENOMENAL WOMAN, A SHORT FILM
Director: Elizabeth Masucci
What is feminine beauty? Maya Angelou’s poem personified.
Director: Andie Esquivel
The life of a child beggar on the streets of Mexico is temporarily transformed.
Director: Silvia Cremaschi, Stefano Etter
In a mysterious room in a train station, a young hat maker secretly dreams of a different life, and may herself hold the key to escaping her imprisonment.
SISTA IN THE BROTHERHOOD
Director: Dawn Jones Redstone
On the first day at the job site, a young tradeswoman struggles to prove herself.
SHORTS 15: YOUTHFEST ALL AGES
(UNITED KINGDOM, SWITZERLAND)
Director: Katia Lom
A little bird develops his singing abilities through some coaching and exposure to the world of music.
Director: Tomofumi Inoue
An egg dreams of being a chick but is stuck.
Directors: Christina Chang, Charlie Parisi
A strict father-son relationship is put to the test when an unexpected surprise is brought into the mix.
Directors: Giada Strinati, Valentina Delmiglio
It’s time to learn to fly.
Director: Rawan Rahim
Lilou is extremely sensitive and curious, but also crippled by an unbearable shyness. She receives the power to see into the past of people, and that will force her out of her introversion.
THE MOON AND EYE
Director: Nancy Biniadaki
A moon visits a little boy who cannot sleep.
PAPA CLOUDY’S ORCHESTRA
Director: Akiko McQuerrey
Papa Cloudy amasses an animal following to produce an orchestra that raises awareness surrounding environmental issues after receiving word that the ice caps are melting.
Directors: Ru Kuwahata, Max Porter
An unknown houseguest goes on a cleaning spree.
SPANNEROO AND JOE
Director: Stephanie Piera
Joe, a deaf child who communicates in sign language, befriends a mischievous blue robot.
SHORTS 16: AGES 8+
Directors: Daniel Martínez Lara, Rafa Cano Méndez
A delightful tale of a young boy who struggles to nurture his creative spirit in a society that rewards conformity and the father who must decide the right path for him.
Director: Saman Hosseinpuor
On the way to school, an Iranian girl expresses her appreciation for nature and the little things that bring her happiness.
CAN I STAY?
Directors: Katie Knudson, Onyee Lo, Paige Carter
An apprehensive homeless girl must traverse a dangerous, wintry city in order to escape her adorable pursuers.
Director: Benny Davis
A boy goes on a dangerous mission to retrieve his favorite action figure from a bully’s room.
Director: Saschka Unseld
Leaving your childhood home can be tough.
Director: Mikhail Gorobchuk
This clay animation is a parable which reminds us that not every goal deserves our attention, energy and time.
IN THE FOREST
Director: Xia Li
A monster saved a kid.
Director: Xing Zhang
A social and philosophical journey represented by a lonely lemon.
Director: Alex Hawley
Norma’s Story is a true tale of change. It documents the effects of climate change on the environment , culture and food security of the Vuntut Gwitchin people of the Northern Yukon as seen through the eyes of Norma Kassi.
Directors: Stewart Powers
A whiteboard animation about the upwards adventure of a young boy.
Director: Ratimir Rakuljic
What are the stars? In search of an answer to that seemingly simple question, Carl, a curious child, sets off on a great voyage of discovery.
STELLAR MOVES: THE STORY OF PLUTO
Director: Millivette Gonzales, Tabia Lees, Valerie Sattazahn
Aspiring to fulfill his dream of becoming part of “the Planets,” Pluto enlists the help of his asteroid friend, Sharon, to coach him in order to win the dance competition.
Director: Maurice Joyce
‘Violet’ is the dark, cautionary tale of a young girl who despises her reflection.
SHORTS BEFORE FEATURES
Director: Mark Tapio Kines
One actress, one shot, 20 matches, and the world’s worst birthday present bring this delightfully subversive fable to light.
THE ADAPTABLE MIND
Director: Tiffany Shlain
An exploration in redefining the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century.
AMANDA AND THE HARE
Directors: Emily Mils, Jared Hopkins
A different take on the concept of “dust bunnies”.
BACON & GOD’S WRATH
Director: Sol Friedman
“It’s courageous to choose the truth, even if it means abandoning what you know.” – Razzie, who, at 88 discovered “the Google”, and never looked back.
Director: Cameron Burnett
There is more than meets the eye in this random encounter on a park bench.
Director: Jake Honig
Mr. Fennimore was once a math teacher who, upon a chance “blast from the past” run-in with a former student, is put back in touch with the unsung potential of his personal influence.
Director: Zack Godshall
Joseph Gonzales navigates the onset of blindness and painful memories in hopes of finishing the oyster boat he started building decades ago.
BOB SPELLS BACKWARDS
Directors: Ryan Maxey, Josh Polon
We all have our quirks, only Bob can spell his backwards.
Directors: Ivan Joy, Tanya Zaman, Nathaniel Hatton
In a Brazilian favela, after finishing up a wall mural of a beautiful woman, a street artist is chased by police, but the beautiful painting comes to life to save him.
Director: Adinah Dancyger
Young Soli is spending a summer in New York with her Korean grandmother, and actively forging her own path towards personal identity amidst the disparate forces of cultural heritage and modern American assimilation.
DARK TO DARK
(IRAQ, UNITED KINGDOM, USA)
Director: Omid Khalid
As the victim of a forced marriage, a 14-year-old girl hides on her wedding day.
Director: Rose McGowan
Dawn is a quiet young teenager who longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life.
Director: Daniel Ambor
A young man struggles with the inadequacy of his emotion as he views the effect it has on another.
Director: Kristin Peterson
Two young sisters extort their neighbors for charity.
Director: Alexander Gabrielli
Featuring LA-based modern dance duo WHYTEBERG and an original soundtrack by Slow Meadow, EVOKE plumbs the primacy of communication through movement.
Director: Manuel Urrego
A young woman is forced to confront her shattered identity when removing the bandages after mastectomy surgery.
Director: Irina Rubina
Dots, Lines, Planes and Forms set themselves in motion and get drown into their own choreographic world.
Director: Ines Gowland
Malena, a young woman form Argentina comes to New York to work as an actress, but she quickly realizes she is not “latin” enough to play these roles -and that she has too much of an accent to play the “white” roles.
LIFT LIKE A GIRL
Director: Allie Sultan
A 40-year-old mom overcomes postpartum depression and redefines her idea of beauty through Olympic weightlifting.
A PASSION OF GOLD AND FIRE
Director: Sébastien Pins
A beekeeper shares his worries about the future of his apiary school. A passion of gold and fire that definitely helps our environment to keep on living.
Director: Eva Riley
Against the backdrop of simmering racial tensions within her rural English town, the life of eleven year old Hannah changes forever when she meets a boy from a mysterious and forbidden world.
PENNY & DEE
Director: Jamie Dack
Meet Penny and Dee – a once-married couple that has transitioned into a radical new understanding of what it means to love in the ever-changing context of the Modern American Family.
Director: Naomi Despres
When a personal organizer’s life gets turned upside down, a client becomes the accidental solution.
Director: Sebastian Avery
When two friends happen across a dead bird in a parking lot, their differing opinions thrust them into an argument about the meaning of beauty.
Director: Ani Simon-Kennedy
An intimate portrait of one of the few remaining craftsmen in Mexico.
RELEARN, RESPECT, REPEAT
Directors: Sophia Palombo, Joel Palombo
Intolerance is not born, it is raised
RITA MAHTOUBIAN IS NOT A TERRORIST
Directors: Roja Gashtili, Julia Lerman
A story of romance, terrorism — and trying to be a better person.
Director: Brittney Shepherd
A trip to the corner store stirs a surprising decision within one little girl.
Director: Azadeh Ghochagh
A chance encounter with a runaway rebel during the 1979 revolution creates a dilemma for an Iranian woman.
TWO LEFT FEET
Director: Isabella Salvetti
Mirko and Luana hit it off right away, but an awful surprise tears them apart.
Director: Ann Prim
Viktor’s grandmother has been able to keep his secret up until now, when she can no longer stand her family’s ignorance.
Director: Tati Barrantes
Lord knows the music industry has been pretty F-d since the dawn of the Internet Age, so when aging one-hit-wonder, Adrian Granado, loses his dog and is coerced into some misguided karaoke, he takes a much needed paws pause for reflection.
WHERE WE BEGIN
Director: Mitsuyo Miyazaki
The film follows the lifetime memories of Sophia, who is near her end. Through exquisite dance performance, this film sheds light on the many faces of love and the pressures faced in life.