The Sarasota Film Festival today released its complete program of films. The festival runs from March 31 to April 9. Full line-up below the fold:
OPENING NIGHT FILM
TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON (PICTURED)
Director: Rory Kennedy
Producers: Rory Kennedy, Paul Speaker, Mark Bailey, Jack Youngelson
Big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton has always seemed like an action figure sprung to life, complete with extraordinary physical abilities, a penchant for criss-crossing the globe, and a complete lack of fear. In director Rory Kennedy’s exhilarating, careening and intimate documentary, we follow the charismatic Hamilton during a winter surf season on Hawaii’s Kauai Island, where Hamilton grew up and where an approaching El Nino storm system may now provide unprecedented waves for him to conquer. A competitive surfer since he was a teenager, Hamilton’s 30-plus years of celebrity has gone along with alongside a willingness to always challenge himself on his board. He’s dabbled in modeling and acting, introduced technical innovations into the sport, and famously rode a “wave of heaviest consequence” in Tahiti in 2000. With extraordinary images, Kennedy brings to the surface Hamilton’s story both in and out of the water, showing how both have been filled with epic moves. Dive in!
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
PARIS CAN WAIT
Director/ Producer: Eleanor Coppola
Cast: Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard, Alec Baldwin
Eleanor Coppola’s narrative directorial and screenwriting debut stars Academy Award® nominee Diane Lane as a Hollywood producer’s wife who unexpectedly takes a trip through France, which reawakens her sense of self and her joie de vivre. Anne (Lane) is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successfully driven but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin), she finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband (Arnaud Viard). What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a journey of discovery involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom, and much more.
Director: Yuri Ancarani
Producers: Christophe Gougeon, Fabrizio Polpettini, Pierre Malachin, Tommaso Bertani
Dating back 40 centuries, falconry’s prestige remains undiminished in contemporary Arab culture. A sign of extreme wealth, this age old sport is put in the same context as luxury cars, pet leopards and private planes where the intensity over these animals is depicted by Yuri Ancarani’s voyage to the Qatar desert to document the competition of a falconer and his bird. This strange desert weekend recounts an unassuming mix of technological advancement and mother nature.
THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS
Directors/Producers: Shirley Abraham, Amit Madheshiya
Once a year, a parade of traveling tent cinemas bring the wonder of movies to faraway villages in India, but after more than seven decades, this film-exhibition nears extinction. As their cinema projectors collapse and film reels become scarce, viewers are lost to the allure of digital technology. Following two traveling cinemas, we are given an intimate look into the lives of the men who run the exhibitions in their frantic attempt to keep a tradition alive in the midst of a changing medium and dwindling audience.
Directors/Producers: Dan Sickles, Antonio Santini
Dina, an outspoken 49 year-old resident of Philadelphia has finally found love in Walmart staffer and fiancé Scott, who she met at a social group for the neurologically diverse. As she moves him into her apartment from his parents’ home, Dina’s fierce independence and desire for physical intimacy, which she gleans mainly from reality TV, contrasts heavily with Scott’s introversion. DINA explores the trials and tribulations of love where obstacles expose the anxiety and insecurities of romance and intimacy.
Director: Peter Nicks
Producers: Linda Davis, Peter Nicks, Lawrence Lerew
Having been under federal monitoring for misconduct, the notorious Oakland Police Department hires Chief Sean Whent, a young, clear minded idealist, in an effort to bridge the divide between police and the community’s mistrust. Whent’s honest intentions and demand for transparency are initially met with enthusiasm, but when he seems to be making headway, the corrupt and scandal-laden past return with novel accusations. THE FORCE examines the tumultuous relationship between the people who claim to defend and protect us and the community they serve.
LAST MEN IN ALEPPO
Director: Feras Fayyad
Co-Director: Steen Johannessen
Producers: Søren Steen Jespersen, Kareem Abeed
The 350,000 remaining residents of Aleppo live in constant fear as they struggle to survive each day. Feras Fayyad follows three founding members of The White Helmets, the Nobel Peace Prize nominated volunteer rescue organization at the front lines of the conflict. Khalid, Subhi, and Mahmoud are the first to enter the rubble of destroyed buildings, scouring them for bodies. Their stories give a window into the daily life, death and triumph of the city under siege.
NOWHERE TO HIDE
Director: Zaradasht Ahmed
Producer: Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas
Male nurse and father, Nori Sharif, provides unique access into one of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible areas – the triangle of death in the heart of Iraq. Asked to report the state of his country from his war-torn province of Diyala, Sharif films the numerous victims of war spanning across five years. Trapped between Iraqi militias and ISIS, Sharif’s integrity and humanitarian vision are the only things that drive him to continue and document against all odds, telling the story of human resilience in the worst of times.
Director: Tony Shaff
Producers: Rebecca Green, Laura Smith, Tony Shaff
Following the creation of the 70th Anniversary issue, 44 PAGES constructs a portrait of the cultural phenomenon, Highlights Magazine, introducing the quirky people who diligently and passionate produce this publication – from the first editorial meeting to its delivering in homes nationwide. Family-owned since 1946, Highlights remains an American icon, revealing the rich, tragic history, the state of childhood, the impact of technology, and the journey of the publication for “the world’s most important people” – children.
95 AND 6 TO GO
Director: Kimi Takesue
Producers: Kimi Takesue, Chiemi Karasawa
Tom Takesue, a recently widowed Japanese-American in his nineties, discovers his passion for filmmaking when he becomes invested in his granddaughter’s screenplay of a love story. In this affectionate portrait of the unlikely duo, Tom breaks away from his rigid routine to reveal his opinions and concerns about love, loss, unfulfilled dreams, and mortality. Tom’s past memories and intimate anecdotes eventually surface to examine the fine line between reality and imagination.
Directors: Charles Clapsaddle, Durand Adams
Producers: Charles Clapsaddle, Durand Adams, Charles E. Williams
America, since the beginning of its history, has served as a haven for those who are in search of a place to live free from the things which have always compelled people to move. AMERICAN DREAMS chronicles the stories of four young women who explain their decisions, or a decision made for them, of abandoning their homeland to come to America. This intimate documentary discusses the history of the country’s immigration and examines the driving forces, among them fear, poverty, persecution, and hope, that make men and women risk everything to come to America.
BRIMSTONE & GLORY
Director: Viktor Jakovleski
Producers: Dan Janvey, Elizabeth Lodge Stepp, Kellen Quinn, Affonso Gonçalves, Benh Zeitlin
Since 1989, the small Mexico City suburb of Tultepec has celebrated the National Pyrotechnic Festival, a nine day firework festival celebrating San Juan de Dios, the patron saint of fireworks makers. Known for hand-making more than half the fireworks for the entire country, they take pride in displaying them at this annual event. BRIMSTONE & GLORY places you in the midst of explosions and smoke filled scenes, creating a mix of palpable danger and indescribable awe.
CALL ME DAD
Director: Sophie Weisner
Producers: Madeleine Hetherton, Rebecca Barry
Can a violent man change? CALL ME DAD is the story of men who have perpetrated family violence. The film follows a group of men in counseling as they attempt to change themselves and modify their behavior. These men struggle to maintain intimate relationships without resorting to abuse, physical or otherwise, while working to heal the fragile bonds with their loved ones.
Director: Anna Zamecka
Producer: Anna Wydra
Ola, a fourteen year old girl, is forced to grow up quickly in order to take care of her autistic brother Nikodem, dysfunctional, alcoholic father, and absent mother, who resides with her boyfriend. Forced to adapt and adopt a role she’s much too young to fill, Ola strives to reunite her family during Nikodem’s First Communion where the seemingly impossible strength, hope, and optimism of a young girl reveals the possibility of change when change seems inevitable.
DARE TO BE
Director: Adam Reist
Producers: Adam Reist, Dayna Reist, Matt Lagle
DARE TO BE follows a series of rowers ranging from novice girls to women training for the Olympics on their journey to not only excel at their sport, but chronicle the development of the human spirit. Rowing causes more than just a physical change but exhibits influence that molds the unique qualities of rowers, who on a journey to discover the sport, discover themselves. We learn along their journey to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness, that success is defined by more than just a medal, but rather individual triumphs and the fact that they can define their own success.
Director: Luke Korem
Producers: Russell Wayne Groves, Luke Korem
Sixty-two year old Richard Turner holds the title of one of the greatest card magicians and is known within the community as a master “card mechanic” yet is completely blind. DEALT chronicles Turner’s life as he struggled with losing his vision as a child, his mentoring by Dai Vernon, overcoming insurmountable obstacles, and his unwavering dedication in the face of adversity to achieve his current reputation and success. The combination of archival materials, family interviews, and intimate footage reveal one of magic’s greatest hidden treasures.
Directors: Carrie Schrader, Charlene Fisk
Producers: Carrie Schrader, Phoebe Brown, Charlene Fisk
They were not supposed to be athletes. They were not supposed to get paid to play. They were not supposed to call the shots. But in 1950, 13 amateur women golfers battled society, finances and sometimes even each other to stake their claim to become professional sportswomen by creating the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). THE FOUNDERS is about finally recognizing those unseen efforts and identifying these women as true icons of sport and equality.
(CHILE, FRANCE, NETHERLANDS)
Director: Maite Alberdi
Producers: Maite Alberdi, Denis Vaslin
THE GROWN UPS chronicles the lives of four middle-aged students at a school for Down Syndrome children as their desire for independence clashes with the emotional and financial shortcomings. Following their quarrels, misbehavior, secrets, and love and desire, this film creates an intimate and empathetic view on the tragic, inescapable conflict between will and inability to make progress as they approach old age.
HEATHER BOOTH: CHANGING THE WORLD
Director/ Producer: Lilly Rivlin
Heather Booth is one of the most productive social change organizers in history that you have NEVER heard of. She epitomizes the power of a single individual “in the trenches” to make a difference on behalf of the causes in which she believes. Over the past 50 years, she has masterminded 70+ varied and (mostly) successful community actions and political campaigns, for a wide variety of causes about which she is passionate. She is a master of the art, tactics, strategy and magic of organizing for social and political transformation.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Directors: Mila Aung-Thwin, Van Royko
Producers: Bob Moore, Mila Aung-Thwin
Clean, safe, and unlimited energy is a concept that scientists have strived after for decades, with the only solution being the holy grail of energy – nuclear fusion. The desperate need and having been previously thwarted by failure, politics, and miscalculation, scientists and inventors from 37 countries are pursuing the creation of nuclear fusion with a renewed zeal with the world’s most complex experiment – an artificial star on Earth. In the face of skeptics and failure, LET THERE BE LIGHT chronicles the work of some of the brightest minds on their journey to create perpetual, cheap, clean energy for all of mankind.
A REVOLUTION IN FOUR SEASONS
Director: Jessie Deeter
Producers: Jessie Deeter, Sara Maamouri, Rob Peterson, Marcy Garriott
Two Tunisian women with opposing political views fight for their different versions of a democratic future for their country at the start of the Arab Spring. Politically, both women must navigate how females are treated in their society, personally making difficult choices to balance their public and private lives while facing common obstacles as outspoken women in their country.
RIVERBLUE: CAN FASHION SAVE THE PLANET?
Directors: David McIlvride, Roger Williams
Producers: Lisa Mazzotta, Roger Williams
River conservationist Mark Angelo embarks on a journey to inspect and examine the fashion industry’s devastating impact on river pollution. Traveling around Asia, Angelo speaks with fashion designers as well as fellow environmental conservationists to reveal the horrifying reality of how this multi-billion dollar industry discards chemical waste. The disregard for the calamitous effects of pollution highlights not only environmental consequences, but also the effect on humanity and presents potential solutions to create a sustainable future.
Director: Thomas Lennon
Producer: Jessica Wolfson
In a time where religious persecution dominates the world’s headlines, SACRED explores the global effect of faith on human existence. Shot by 40 filmmaking teams around the globe, the stories of people spanning across continents and countries are strung together to illustrate the intimate way in which religion helps everyone from teenagers to elders navigate the most profound issues and passages of their lives. With a sweeping global reach and visceral raw intimacy, this film unifies the world under the singular guise of faith.
Directors: Andrew Becker, Daniel Mehrer
Producers: Andrew Becker, Daniel Mehrer, Cristina de la Torre
Looking to escape the stress of modern life in Holland, Martin and Margo find a simple and quiet way of life nestled in an isolated village in Northern Spain. An idyllic setting for the young couple, Santoalla is also home to the Rodriguez family, the only remaining locals in town. Divided by cultural and ideological differences for a decade, their story comes to a boiling point when Martin mysteriously disappears. With a devastated Margo left behind, an engrossing and tense village strife turns into a thrilling search for the truth in Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer’s atmospheric debut, SANTOALLA.
SARASOTA HALF IN DREAM
Director: Derek Murphy
Producer: Mitchell Zemil
There is more that goes on in the sleepy suburban city of Sarasota, Florida than meets the eye. In this experimental documentary, Derek Murphy attempts to capture and bottle the bizarre and sometimes astonishing energy that appears in the most unexpected places. From abandoned golf courses to early morning expeditions in parking garages, SARASOTA HALF IN DREAM captures the small, iridescent impressions of this tropical city and its secrets.
THE SUNRISE STORYTELLER
(CANADA, TANZANIA, SOUTH AFRICA, MOZAMBIQUE, THAILAND, CHINA, USA)
Director: Kasha Sequoia Slavner
Producer: The Global Sunrise Project
A sixteen-year-old young woman sets out on a six-month journey around the globe, camera in hand. She intersects with a variety of individuals in several countries, from trailblazers finding sustainable solutions to major world issues, to those who have overcome major adversity with tremendous resilience. All the while, this young filmmaker learns what it takes to make a difference and inspire others in a call to action.
Director: Jessie Auritt
Producers: Jessie Auritt, Carmen Delaney, Justin Levy
In many ways, Naomi Kutin is a typical Orthodox Jewish pre-teen, until she breaks a powerlifting world record, and turns into an international phenomenon. Her extraordinary talent transforms the lives of her family and thrusts her into the headlines. SUPERGIRL follows Naomi’s unique coming of age story, trying to hold on to her title while dealing with the perils of adolescence, cyber-bullying and health issues. Can she still be “Supergirl” if she is not breaking world records?
Director: Lara Stolman
Producers: Ann Collins, Shanna Belott
In response to the lack of programs and public services for their autistic son, New Jersey residents Maria and Mike McQuay form the Jersey Hammerheads, a competitive swim team, comprised of diverse autistic teenagers trained with high expectations and zero pity. SWIM TEAM chronicles the extraordinary rise of the team as they vie for state and national titles, following three of the star athletes as they navigate the trials and tribulations both in and out of the pool on their quest for independence, inclusion, and recognition.
THROUGH THE REPELLENT FENCE: A LAND ART FILM
Director: Sam Wainwright Douglas
Producers: Julianna Brannum, Jeffrey Brown, David Hartstein
Postcommodity, an art activist collective comprising of three Native American artists, creates a two-mile long art installation of a metaphorical suture stitching between Mexico and the United States. Aided by communities on both sides of the border, 28 inflatable spheres were installed emblazoned with the “open eye,” an insignia existing in indigenous cultures for thousands of years. THROUGH THE REPELLENT FENCE explores the profound and transformative effect of Land Art and examines our complex relationship with the environment.
Director/ Producer: Matt Rutherford
Singularity University, tucked away on a hidden NASA base in Silicon Valley, recruits, and challenges 80 young geniuses each summer to create a company that will impact billions of people within ten years. With the support of NASA and elite companies, mentored by astronauts, billionaire tech icons, scientists, and inventors, and provided with unlimited resources, we follow four teams on their journey through the most intense pressure cooker, where they have ten weeks to bring their dreams to life.
Director: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Drew Houpt, Brad Becker-Parton, Paul Mezey, Andrew Goldman
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge
Frankie, an aimless Brooklyn teen caught in between his cancer-ridden father and his mother’s pressure to get a girlfriend, resorts to spending his days causing trouble with delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his webcamming intensifies, Frankie must balance his increasing amount of hookups, a potential new girlfriend, and closeted sexuality. BEACH RATS examines the societal expectations and internal struggle of a teen struggling to reconcile his competing desires.
Director: Mohamed Diab
Producers: Moez Masoud, Mohamed Hefzy, Eric Lagesse
Cast: Nelly Karim, Hany Adel, Tarek Abdel Aziz, Mai El Ghaity, Mohaem El Sebaey
Mohamed Diab presents his much anticipated follow-up to CAIRO 678, CLASH, set in Cairo, summer of 2013 two years after the Egyptian revolution. In the midst of celebrating the ousting of Islamist president Morsi, a number of participants diverging in political views and social backgrounds are detained in a police truck. Pro-army supporters and Brotherhood members are brought together only by their unfortunate fate, and in suffocatingly close proximity. Shot entirely in an eight meter truck, the sense of chaos and claustrophobia makes you question whether it’s safer inside or out as the sense of national unity disintegrates.
Director/ Producer: Cristian Mungiu
Cast: Adrian Titieni, Maria Drǎgus, Lia Bugnar, Mǎlina Manovici, Vlad Ivanov
Residing in a small mountain town in Transylvania, physician Romeo Aldea’s wishes for his daughter Eliza to escape Romania and study abroad are realized when she receives a scholarship to study in the UK – contingent on her passing her final exams. However, being attacked the day before her final exams puts Romeo in a moral dilemma where he must weigh the choices of corruption to ensure Eliza’s success or the principles he raised her on.
KATIE SAYS GOODBYE
Director: Wayne Roberts
Producers: Eric Schultz, Carlo Sirtori, Jacob Wasserman, Max Born, Kimberly Parker, Benjamin Steiner, David Steiner
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Christopher Abbott, Mary Steenburgen, Jim Belushi, Mireille Enos, Keir Gilchrist, Chris Lowell, Nate Corddry
At seventeen-years-old, kindness is practically an affliction for Katie, a waitress at the small town’s diner who gladly hands over her wages to her alcoholic mother. An irrepressible optimist, she turns to prostitution in order to save up to escape New Mexico and pursue a new life in San Francisco. A hopeless romantic, falling in love with ex-con, Bruno, tests her unfailing optimism and tenacity of youth as her endearing innocence disintegrates as she’s forced to face betrayal and the brutal reality of life.
ONE WEEK AND A DAY
Director: Asaph Polonsky
Producers: Saar Yogev, Naomi Levari
Cast: Shai Avivi, Evgenia Dodina, Tomer Kapon
After the weeklong mourning period of Shiva following their son’s passing, the grief stricken couple, Eyal and Vicky, struggle to resume their daily lives. Vicky seeks to keep a routine and return to her ordinary schedule, reluctant to show a break in her facade. In contrast and an effort of avoidance, Eyal turns to his marijuana fueled coping mechanism, which drives him on an unexpected day excursion. Accompanied by his neighbor, he discovers and appreciates the things still worth finding happiness in.
(SOUTH AFRICA, GERMANY, NETHERLANDS, FRANCE)
Director: John Trengove
Producers: Elias Ribeiro, Cait Pansegrouw
Cast: Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay Ncoyini
Xolani, a lonely factory worker, joins the men of his community in a remote mountain camp to initiate a group of teenage boys during Ukwaluka, an age old rite of passage into manhood. Tasked with mentoring Kwanda, a semi-westernized, defiant initiate, Xolani’s life begins to unravel as the observant boy discovers his best-kept secret when he tries to reignite relations with a fellow mentor. In a conflict of sexuality and masculinity, he must chose between his passionate love for his childhood friend or heed Kwanda’s exhortations to face an uncertain future.
INDEPENDENT VISIONS COMPETITION
Director: Aisha Tyler
Producers: Aisha Tyler, Barry Sonders, Lemar Vertel Scott, R. Vaughn Gill
Cast: Emmett Hughes
Actress Aisha Tyler (TV- ARCHER, THE TALK, WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?, CRIMINAL MINDS), in her directorial debut, shoots an entire film inside one car in Los Angeles. It’s not a great day for Tristan (Emmett Hughes, who is also the screenwriter) – his life is falling apart and everyone is abandoning him at his time of need. Taut, tense, claustrophobic, and dramatic.
Director: Mike Ott
Producers: Heika Burnison, Nicole Arbusto, Alex Gioulakis
Cast: Carolan J. Pinto, Cory Zacharia, Neil Harley, Patrick Llaguno, Kevin “K-NINE” Gilger, Mark Borchardt
Mike Ott presents an intimate look into the lives of five unique individuals who all possess big Hollywood aspirations but have never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Ranging from celebrity impersonators to struggling writers, these aspiring actors are given the chance to play a role as themselves in this film within a film. The ambiguity between what is true and what is fabricated creates a borderline uncomfortable and bitingly funny film that reveals the entrancing hypnotic grip that Hollywood, in some way or form, on everyone.
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp
Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo
A middle-class family goes to extremes to achieve the American Dream in this masterfully edited found footage documentary hybrid. Director Dean Fleischer-Camp discovers on YouTube over 100 hours of home footage shot by an unknown working-class man who obsessively filmed his family for more than 7 years. Birthday parties, trips to the mall, family vacations–seemingly endless footage of their mundane activities are skillfully shaped into a provocative and unexpected narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat. At once meditative and thrilling, FRAUD is the director’s unique and layered vision of capitalism, personal identity, and biography in media.
Director: Janicza Bravo
Producers: Sam Slater, Paul Bernon, David Bernon, Han West, Houston King
Cast: Brett Gelman, Judy Greer, Michael Cera, Nia Long, Shiri Appleby, Fred Melamed
Isaac, a middle-aged acting teacher residing in Los Angeles, watches his life unravel after his girlfriend of 10 years leaves him. LEMON presents a deranged self-portrait of Isaac as he accepts that things don’t come naturally to him and satiates his passive-aggressive tendencies by berating his college students. His limited social skills and self-obsession create a quirky amalgamation of feelings as we are presented with the awkward series of events that comprise his life as a failing actor.
PERSON TO PERSON
Director: Dustin Guy Defa
Producers: Sara Murphy, Toby Halbrooks, James Johnston
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, Philip Baker Hall, Bene Coopersmith, George Sample III
Over the course of a windy day in Manhattan, PERSON TO PERSON follows the lives of an eclectic cast of characters on a seemingly normal day. From a jazz buff record dealer, a youth style journalist, a crime reporter with her trainee, a depressive houseguest, and a repairman – this amalgamation of characters never cross paths but rather are brought together by the city, focusing on the appreciation of otherwise overlooked emotional triumphs.
THE STRANGE ONES
Directors: Lauren Wolkstein, Christopher Radcliff
Producers: Sebastien Aubert, Michael Prall, Eric Schultz, Shani Geva, Daniela Taplin Lundberg
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, James Freedson-Jackson, Emily Althaus, Gene Jones
As two brothers traverse the remote America landscape, mysterious events surround their travels. In what appears to be a simple vacation, events quickly take a turn to reveal a dark and complex web of secrets.
Director: Michael Almereyda
Producer: Uri Singer
Cast: Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith, Tim Robbins
Can lost memories be re-learned? Marjorie (Lois Smith) sits in her quiet home, suffering from dementia, hearing about her life from a “Prime” — a hologram (Jon Hamm) in the younger form of Marjorie’s dead husband Walter. As Marjorie bonds with the unemotional would-be Walter, Marjorie’s daughter and son-in-law (Hope Davis and Tim Robbins) find that altering the past is as slippery as it seems. Director Michael Almeryda’s thoughtful drama poses questions of ethics and identity, with a terrific ensemble led by a pitch-perfect Hamm (MAD MEN).
THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS
Director: Barbara Kopple
Producers: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy
A transgender Youtube star, Gigi Lazzarato, aka Gigi Gorgeous, tells the tale of her life, transition and fame in this intimate documentary by acclaimed Academy Award® winner Barbara Kopple (HARLAN COUNTY USA, AMERICAN DREAM, MISS SHARON JONES). Formerly a competitive diver, Gregory Lazzarato’s path to who she really was includes losing her mother to cancer, coming out as gay and living out loud to over 2.4 million Youtube subscribers. Kopple’s incisive style and Gigi’s glitzy reinvention make for a compelling study of an unforgettable journey.
ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL
Director: Steve James
Producers: Julie Goldman, Mark Mitten
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Abacus Federal Savings Bank was the sole U.S. bank indicted for mortgage fraud. Family-owned and founded by Thomas Sung in an effort to give back to the community, Abacus served immigrants in Chinatown, New York, creating a close-knit social hub. Fighting prosecution for five years, the complex and taxing relationship between the government and the underdog is examined as the Sung family faced humiliation, money loss, and heartache.
CITIZEN JANE: BATTLE FOR THE CITY
Director: Matt Tyrnauer
Producers: Matt Tyrnauer, Robert Hammond, Corey Reeser, Jessica Van Garsse, Jennifer Carchman
In the history of New York battles, none had more impact than Robert Moses versus Jane Jacobs. The urban planner and the activist clashed more than 50 years ago, and Matt Tyrnauer’s masterful documentary depicts how Jacobs stopped Moses from destroying architectural gems in Greenwich Village. But more than that, it shows how and why cities work, and where in that philosophy Jacobs’ particular approach fits. The journalist-turned-urban champion, we see here, was a real New York landmark.
CITY OF GHOSTS
Director/Producer: Matthew Heineman
The Syrian crisis comes into focus in director Matthew Heineman’s nail-biting documentary about the ISIS-resistance movement Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS). Since Raqqa, on the Euphrates river, was overtaken, RBSS has sent video to the outside world – at their own peril – to document inhumanity, death, and desecration. Academy Award- nominated Heineman (CARTEL LAND) embedded himself with the group as they moved across the region for their safety and mission. The resulting film is an amazing chronicle of destruction, and urgent resistance, happening in real time.
I, DANIEL BLAKE
(UNITED KINGDOM, FRANCE, BELGIUM)
Director: Ken Loach
Producer: Rebecca O’Brien
Cast: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan, Briana Shann, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy, Kema Sikazwe
An incredibly topical drama of middle-class struggle. Director Ken Loach’s drama about Daniel (Dave Johns), a 59-year-old Brit squeezed on all sides by lack of work due to a medical emergency, a health-care system that traps in bureaucracy, a lack of savings in his bank account and a discomfort with modern technology. Daniel’s friendship with Katie, a mother of two kids trying to find housing, helps each deal with day-to-day issues. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
Director: Brett Haley
Producers: Houston King, Sam Bisbee, Erik Rommesmo
Cast: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Katharine Ross
Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is not going to ride quietly into the sunset. A former Western movie star, Lee is at a point where he’s taking lesser movie roles and brooding about the wife (Katherine Ross) and family he abandoned decades ago. After he’s given a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Lee grabs life by the horns, traveling to a small-time western-film appreciation society to receive an award. Having no one to go with him, he spontaneously asks a woman he meets through his pot dealer (Nick Offerman) to join him. But Charlotte (Laura Prepon) is a wild card, and after one especially footloose night she manages to make the reluctant Lee a household name again. Elliott gives another performance of grizzled, growly perfection, and Prepon is a provocative partner in crime. Director Brett Haley – who directed Elliott in the 2015 hit I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS – knows how to make the revelations of ordinary life resonate with true grit.
Director: Joshua Z Weinstein
Producers: Alex Lipschultz, Traci Carlson, Joshua Z Weinstein, Danny Finkelman, Yoni Brook
Cast: Menashe Lustig
A drama that brings us deep into another world: The Hasidic community in Borough Park Brooklyn. The title character (played by Menashe Lustig) is a widower and father of a preteen son (Ruben Niborski). Menashe’s community is putting pressure on him to marry in order to be a good father and role model; if he doesn’t, his son could get kicked out of school. The community believes rather than raise his son as an unmarried father, Menashe should let his brother Eizik (Yoel Weisshaus) raise the boy. Thus sets in motion a conflict between the two men, not to mention a bunch of awkward dates for Menashe. Director Joshua Z. Weinstein uses his skills as a documentarian to great effect in his narrative debut, letting us in on the customs and character of a man forced to go into crisis mode in order to live his way.
MISSION CONTROL: THE UNSUNG HEROES OF APOLLO
Director: David Fairhead
Producers: Keith Haviland, Gareth Dodds
In almost 60 years of human space flight, astronauts have been the face of bravery but it was the engineers on the ground who made it all possible. This fascinating, in-depth documentary set on Florida’s space coast lets the men and women who built the space program tell their stories. Without them, the moon would have remained out of reach and American adventurism would have remained Earth-bound. Combining the excitement of “Apollo 13” and the behind-the-scenes drama of “Hidden Figures,” director David Fairhead uses new interviews and extraordinary NASA footage to craft a gripping chronicle of courageousness.
PAINT IT BLACK
Director: Amber Tamblyn
Producers: Wren Arthur, Amy Hobby, Anne Hubbell, Amber Tamblyn
Cast: Alia Shawkat, Janet McTeer, Alfred Molina
The void left after a loss is explored poetically and intensely throughout Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut. Soulful, fiery Josie (a gripping Alia Shawkat) struggles to keep her emotional bearings after her boyfriend Michael’s suicide. For Michael’s angry, remote mother (Janet McTeer), the easiest thing to do is blame Josie. How each woman comes to terms with a darkness that neither was expecting, and come to know each other’s pain, is at the heart of this emotional drama. Costarring Alfred Molina in another essential supporting turn.
Directors: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen
Producers: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen, Matt Radecki
Not only is all the world a stage, but all of a small Italian town is one, too. In Tuscany, an annual theatrical event allows the 136 residents of a village to depict their lives in a play. Children, couples, the elderly — all take part in this unique way to confront their issues, learn something new, and define who they are. It’s been a tradition here for half a century. A very intimate, special documentary unlike any you’ve ever seen.
THE UNKNOWN GIRL
Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Producers: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
Cast: Adèle Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jérémie Renier, Louka Minnella
Jenny (Adèle Haenel) is a young doctor in Belgium conflicted over a professional change but devoted to helping people. That devotion is called into question when it’s revealed that Jenny was unaware of a young woman trying unsuccessfully to enter the hospital where Jenny works. When the girl winds up dead, Jenny becomes obsessed with piecing together what happened and why. The Dardennes brothers’ latest is a moving drama that tracks the disquieting nature of accidents and the emotional depths of empathy.
Director: Jill Campbell
Producers: Jill Campbell, Barry Greenstein, Dr. Michael J. Brunetti, John Getz, Gregory Gerhard
Former NBA All-Star and New York City basketball prodigy Kenny Anderson finds himself in the midst of a mid-life crisis ten years post-retirement. Having faced both his mother’s death and subsequent DUI, Anderson is forced to confront his questionable choices and adopt the father role that he previously neglected. On his journey of rehabilitation, Chibbs visits people and arenas from his past to reflect and discover what life is like after his famous title fades away.
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Producer: Michal Kwiecinski
Cast: Bogusław Linda, Aleksandra Justa, Bronislawa Zamachowska, Zofia Wichlacz, Krzysztof Pieczynski, Mariusz Bonaszewski
Set in the mid 1900’s, AFTERIMAGE presents the somber portrait of acclaimed Polish artist and beloved art professor, Władysław Strzemiński as he stands defiant in the face of Poland’s Soviet-controlled communist government. Regarded as the leader of the Constructivist movement and a crusader of modern art in Poland, he refuses to conform to the demand for strictly Socialist Realist art, championing artistic freedom and defending his ideals, eventually leading to his downfall revealing how punitive systems of power can destroy and dehumanize us all.
ARE WE NOT CATS
Director: Xander Robin
Producers: Joshua Sobel, Theo Brooks, Tatiana Bears
Cast: Michael Patrick Nicholson, Chelsea LJ Lopez, Michael Godere
Within a day Eliezer, a 20-something New Yorker loses his job, his girlfriend, and his apartment and attempts to restart his life. Stumbling upon an unlikely acquaintance who shares his same peculiar habit – eating hair – Eli is torn between the comfort of his compulsions and need for a new start. ARE WE NOT CATS imbues us to examine our own destructive habits and in a mix of magical realism and raw expression, tells the story of the surprising things we do for love.
Director: Spencer King
Producers: Amy Berg, Francesco Carrozzini
Cast: Wurl Sotto, Breonna Phillips, Erica Shantelle Carter, James Xavier Slade
Spencer King’s directorial debut BLACK PETUNIA is set in a dystopian Detroit, where unsuspecting citizens are being poisoned through municipal water causing them to forget their identities. James, a young inner-city black male, is convinced to stop drinking the water and challenge the corrupt government when he encounters an underground conspiracy. With the help of his friends, he pieces together his life and devises a plan to reshape the future of Detroit, challenging contemporary culture, social customs, and traversing racial boundaries.
Director: Max Heller
Producers: Raymond Hauserman, Max Heller, William Mahoney
Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Jay Devore, David Coussins
Lonely and frazzled New York social worker Judy (Rosanna Arquette) constantly messes up her own life. Her son Marty (Jay Devore) is trying to be creative in his advertising career and be a good boyfriend to Leslie (Keesha Sharp). When Marty’s free-spirited Aussie pal Rawl (David Coussins) shows up, Marty hires Rawl to see Judy and “restore her to health” — any way it takes. Director Max Heller’s heartfelt, ensemble comedy is filled with wry, sly, funny and sexy connections reminiscent of Nora Ephron, Woody Allen and Rob Reiner’s romantic concoctions.
THE FIRST TIME CLUB
Director: KT Curran
Producers: Source Productions, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida
Cast: Alexis Calderon, Francesca Phillips, Frankie LaPace, Christina Norcia, Jackson Linn
Four teenagers on the brink of adolescence, full of vitality and naiveté, make a vow of friendship by pricking their fingers and sharing blood. The teens embark on midnight adventures and unknowingly venture into the dangerous world of sex, drugs, and HIV where their friendship is tested as they experience the pain of loss, ache of betrayal, and chaos. This local film centers on the difficulties teens face in today’s America and the unexpected consequences of their actions.
FITS AND STARTS
Director: Laura Terruso
Producers: Margherita Arco, Neda Armian, Laura Terruso
Cast: Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee, Maria Dizzia
Struggling writer David Warwik (Wyatt Cenac) lives in the shadow of his wife Jennifer (Greta Lee), a young, popular literary figure. Having just released a new bestseller, the couple is invited by her publisher to attend an artists’ salon at his home in Connecticut where David is thrust into a competitive art setting that forces him to face his fears and own creative short-comings. In the company of a various literary figures and unable to escape his wife’s success, the trip takes an unexpected turn where David must reconcile his demons and regain control of his life and work.
Directors: Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva
Producers: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov, Konstantina Stavrianou
Cast: Stefan Denolyubov, Margita Gosheva
A poor railway worker’s world is turned upside down when he finds a huge pile of cash abandoned on the tracks in Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s absorbing tragicomedy, GLORY. He decides to do the honorable thing and turn it over the police, but a careless government propaganda team eager to capitalize on the story sends his life spinning out of control. Set against the backdrop of contemporary Bulgarian society, where corruption and bureaucracy are givens, GLORY is a mysterious journey of one man’s race against time to expose the truth and regain his dignity.
Director: Kôji Fukada
Producers: Masa Sawada, Hiroshi Niimura
Cast: Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga , Momone Shinokawa, Kana Mahiro
An explosive family drama, HARMONIUM chronicles the collapse of a seemingly ordinary Japanese family as an old acquaintance makes a reappearance in their lives requesting a job. In the midst of trying to make ends meet for his family, Toshio’s mysterious acquaintance, Mr. Yasaka, becomes more involved in his family’s life, throwing it into disarray revealing the true depth of their relationship, the hidden strains of marital life, and human motives.
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Producer: Shlomi Elkabetz
Cast: Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura
The lives of three contemporary Palestinian women intertwine in a Tel Aviv apartment where they struggle to break free of societal and cultural expectations. Living independently in the heart of Tel Aviv, separated from their families and the imposition of tradition, they struggle with staying true to themselves as they challenge the cultural ideals and expectations that surround them. However, they discover unity through their attempts to balance tradition and modernity, citizenship and culture, fealty and freedom.
IN THE RADIANT CITY
Director: Rachel Lambert
Producers: Jeff Nichols, Sonny Mallhi
Cast: Michael Abbott Jr., Marin Ireland, Paul Sparks, Madisen Beaty, Celia Weston, Jon Michael Hill, Deirdre O’Connell
Andrew, a bearded loner who returns to his small hometown in Kentucky, faces familial animosity for testifying in the murder trial against his brother, and must now decide whether or not to participate in his parole plea. Bearing the brunt of the blame for his family’s misfortune, Andrew struggles with betrayal, resentments, and how far he’ll go to repair his broken relationships.
INTO THE WHO KNOWS!
Director: Micah Barber
Producers: Alexandra Malick, Brittney Shepherd
Cast: Bryce Gheisar, Delaney Wingrove, Macon Blair, Lee Eddy
Ten year old Thomas, possessing more creativity than social skills, prefers the company of his imaginary best friend Felix the Fox. In a push to get him to make real friends, his parents sentence him to a week at the Camp Bartle summer camp, which Thomas takes an immediate disliking to and escapes into the forest of Who Knows with Felix. The duo aim to have their own adventures and capture the mythical Totem, but what they discover will change Thomas and Felix’s friendship forever.
KING OF THE BELGIANS
(BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS, BULGARIA)
Directors/ Producers: Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth
Cast: Peter Van den Begin, Bruno Georis, Lucie Debay, Titus De Voogdt, Pieter Van der Houwen
Filmmaker Duncan Lloyd is commissioned by Queen Ursula to make a documentary that will humanize Belgian King Nicolas III and depict him in a flattering light to contrast his true bland and reserved disposition. While celebrating Turkey’s admission into the EU, the monarch receives news that Wallonia has declared independence, necessitating his return home. In the midst of a cosmic storm, the king hatches a comedic and dubious escape plan on his mission to escape Istanbul and return home across the Balkans.
Director: Jorge Thielen Armand
Producers: Jorge Thielen Armand, Adriana Herrera, Rodrigo Michelangeli
Cast: José Dolores López, Marley Alvillares, Adrializ López, Jorge Roque Thielen, Maria Agamez
In the midst of Venezuela’s economic crisis, 27 year old José lives with his six year old daughter in La Soledad, a dilapidated villa formerly belonging to his grandparents in a wealthy neighborhood of Caracas. Upon hearing the news that the property will be sold, José seeks to uncover one of the property’s secrets that may save his family from homelessness. LA SOLEDAD depicts Venezuela’s socio-economic crisis through José’s inner turmoil, hope, and the struggle of not being forgotten.
Director: Paolo Virzì
Producer: Marco Belardi
Cast: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Micaela Ramazzotti
Beatrice, a talkative, pathological liar of aristocratic lineage and Dontella, a tattooed, fragile introvert form an unpredictable friendship as they receive treatment at the Villa Biondi psychiatric clinic. The duo escape the asylum in pursuit of long awaited freedom in search of love and happiness as they reflect on their former lives, making us question what it means to be truly sane.
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
Producers: Andrei Konchalovsky, Florian Deyle
Cast: Julia Vysotskaya, Christian Clauß, Philippe Duquesne, Peter Kurth, Jakob Diehl
In the midst of Nazi occupied France during the Second World Ward, the lives of three souls intertwine amidst the unlikely circumstances and devastation of war. Olga, a Russian member of the French resistance, is arrested and succumbs to the sexual pressures of her French-Nazi captor, Jules, before being relocated to a concentration camp where she crosses paths with Helmut, a German SS officer with whom she shares a romantic history. Recounting to the time where their paths first intersected reveals costs of loyalty to one’s convictions and Olga’s inevitable fate.
A QUIET PASSION
(UNITED KINGDOM, BELGIUM)
Director: Terence Davies
Producers: Roy Boulter, Sol Papadopoulos
Cast: Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff, Keith Carradine, Jodhi May, Joanna Bacon
Terence Davies’ presents his biographical drama, A QUIET PASSION, that chronicles the life of one of America’s greatest poets, Emily Dickinson. Enduring familial strife while challenging gender inequality and bourgeois influences, Dickinson gradually withdraws from society as she becomes more consumed with her poetry. Following her days as a young school girl to writing in complete seclusion, A QUIET PASSION gives a deeper insight into the trials and tribulations that composed Dickinson’s life on her journey to retain her creative integrity.
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
Producer: Ilya Stewart
Cast: Petr Skvortsov, Aleksandr Gorchilin, Victoria Isakova, Julia Aug
Venjamin, a high-school student in Kaliningrad, becomes gradually obsessed with the Bible, interpreting it with a fundamental literalness where he falls into the grasp of unwavering religious obscurantism. Only his biology teacher, Elena Lvovna, objects to his mounting sexist and homophobic outbursts alongside the school’s theological bullying where she, herself falls into a dubious predicament. A satire on Russia’s state of religious imposition in schools , THE STUDENT reveals the profound impact of faith on our lives.
SUNNY SIDE UP
Director: Mike Melo
Producers: Mike Melo, Nelson Reis, Luis Carvalho
Cast: Hunter Davis, Samantha Creed
Young funeral director, Gregory Samuel, suffers from debilitating social anxiety and a self-deprecating inner self-doubt which prevents him from leading the “normal life” he desires. Given a 30-day leave of absence in order to address his disorder, he takes a month long, self-imposed house arrest, only to have his comfort challenged by the curiosity of an enthusiastic neighbor searching for a friend.
(CZECH REPUBLIC, SLOVAK REPUBLIC)
Director: Jan Hřebejk
Producers: Zuzana Mistríková, Ľubica Orechovská, Ondřej Zima
Cast: Zuzana Mauréry, Peter Bebjak, Zuzana Konečná, Csongor Kassai
A witty satire set in communist Czechoslovakia, THE TEACHER explores the veiled corruption and power plays that were all too common during the Communist era. Since the arrival of the new teacher at their school, students and parents alike slowly discover that a few well-timed favors can greatly increase the odds of getting a good grade. Parents are asked to sign a petition to remove the teacher from the school, but she has powerful connections within the Communist Party, and doing the right thing might prove to be more difficult than they had originally anticipated.
Director: Jason Connery
Producers: Keith Bank, Jim Kreutzer, Bob Last, Tim Moore
Cast: Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden, Ophelia Lovibond, Sam Neill
Father and son meet on the golf course, but it’s not a relaxed game: “Old Tom” Morris (Peter Mullan) and “Young Tom” Tommy Morris (Jack Lowden) are champions in 1860s Scotland, a country storied in the sport. Old Tom is a legend; young Tom is a talent to watch, with a powerful club captain (Sam Neill) in his corner. Father and son play local rivals, but soon their focus turns on each other. Director Jason Connery — whose father, Sean, has long touted his pride in being a Scot — finds a fantastic story in a game that can have real rough patches under its genteel image.
Director: Zrinka Katarina Matijevic
Producer: Ivan Maloca
Cast: Franka Mikolaci, Tena Nemet Brankov, Marija Tadić, Lana Barić, Frano Mašković, Asja Jovanović, Nina Violić, Igor Kovač, Enes Vejzović
THE TRAMPOLINE follows three soulmates – a traumatized child, a rebellious teenager and a thirty-something woman as they deal with the emotional fallout from their past, and the legacy of violence inflicted by a loving parent. When their paths intersect, they share a moment of mutual recognition, and a shared longing for clarity in the chaos dogging them.
Directors: Alex Smith, Andrew Smith
Producers: Brunson Green, Laura Ivey
Cast: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman, Alex Neustaedter, Lily Gradstone
Fourteen year old David reluctantly leaves his comfortable urban Texas home for his annual visit with his estranged father, Cal, in rural Montana. Having planned his son’s first big game hunt, Cal attempts to bond over stories of his late father’s hunting trips as the pair descends into the Montana backwoods. A brutal, chance encounter disrupts their trip and forces them to assess the strength and resiliency of their relationship and reinforces the unbreakable bond between father and son.
WE’RE STILL TOGETHER
Director: Jesse Klein
Producers: Evren Boisjoi, Marley Sniatowsky
Cast: Jesse Camacho, Joey Klein
Chris, an unassuming, overweight teenager wishes that he could be as invisible as he feels. Seeing him fall victim to bullies, single father Bobby intervenes and befriends the teen, dragging him along on his hectic night expedition through Montreal only to reveal the self-destructive streak that underlies his own charisma. This bittersweet drama examines what it means for strangers to connect and how only with true transparency and acceptance can we learn to live, love, and know ourselves.
(NEPAL, USA, QATAR, NETHERLANDS)
Director: Deepak Rauniyar
Producers: Deepak Rauniyar, Joslyn Barnes, Tsering Rhitar Sherpa, Michel Merkt
Cast: Dayahang Rai, Asha Magrati, Rabindra Singh Baniya, Sumi Malla, Amrit Pariyar
In the wake of the Nepalese civil war, Chandra returns to his remote village after a decade to mourn the death of his Royalist father. Inevitable conflicts arise when Maoist rebel, Chandra and brother Suraj struggle to set aside political feelings while carrying out the local ritual for his father’s cremation, resulting in the abandonment by Suraj. Chandra reluctantly must obey not only with the strict discriminatory gender traditions that he fought to eliminate but ambiguous paternity dilemma with ex-wife Durga, illustrating the ever-present romantic and social frictions.
SHORTS: NARRATIVE SHORTS COMPETITION
Director: Marc Wilkins
While on a sailing trip across the Mediterranean, a couple’s compassion is put to the test when they come across a sinking ship of refugees.
Director: Camilo Restrepo
To keep a promise to her mother, a young woman sets out to find her estranged father.
IT WAS YESTERDAY
Director: Valentina Pedicini
Gio, a 13 year-old girl, is the head of a boys’ gang. She’s ready to compete with the boys to win the heart of her crush.
THE MESS HE MADE
Director: Matthew Puccini
A man spends 15 minutes waiting for the results of a Rapid HIV Test in a small-town strip mall.
Director: Vincent Maury
Minh Tâm has given up on love, and instead devoted her life to her autistic son. Then she meets Oliver.
Director: Farnoosh Samadi, Ali Asgari
Fatma must translate for her mother while they visit the doctor, but she decides to keep silent.
SHORTS: DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION
BROKEN – THE WOMEN’S PRISON AT HOHENECK
Directors: Volker Schlecht, Alexander Lahl
Interviews with former inmates of East Germany’s main prison reveal devastating complexities in the prison system.
THE BUS TRIP
Director: Sarah Gampel
“Isolated by her desire to talk politics at an Israeli film festival, a filmmaker talks to her dead father over a noisy telephone line instead.”
Directors: Wes Hurley, Nathan M Miller
An autobiographical tale of growing up gay in Soviet Union Russia, escaping, and finding a new oppression in America.
THREE CONVERSATIONS ON LIFE
Director: Julia Staniszewska
Three conversations between a mother and a daughter and their opposing views on religion and science.
WHAT HAPPENED TO HER
Director: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
Our cultural obsession with images of dead women goes deep. One woman describes her experience playing one on camera.
SHORTS: ANIMATED SHORTS COMPETITION
Director: Peter Larsson
A group of lost bodies wander through a forest towards an open field. A gathering with an unclear purpose.
Director: Réka Bucsi
Abstract and poetic, LOVE describes affection in 3 different chapters, through an impact on a distant solar system.
A LOVE STORY
Director: Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara
A powerful tale of love faced with depression.
Director: Jie Shen
What happens when one of three monkeys is dead?
Director: Alisi Telengut
A hand-painted visual poem about diaspora, homeland, and the tragic mass-deportations of the Kalmyk people during WWII.
Director: Astrid Goldsmith
Dot, a grey squirrel, and her new friend, Mr. Acorn, are trapped on a mysterious red squirrel island. What they uncover is much more dangerous than they could have imagined.
SHORTS: NARRATIVE 1
Directors: Tobias Smeets, Merijn Scholte Albers
A married couple wins free shopping for 1 minute. This is gonna be good.
MADE IN SPAIN
Director: Coke Riobóo
A miniature surrealist portrait of epic dimensions takes place on a sunny Spanish beach.
[OUT OF FR]AME
Director: Sophie Linnenbaum
When Paul ends up falling out of his frame, he finds solace in The Outtakes, a support group for people with film defects.
Director: Fredric Lehne
Just two pee-shy guys supporting each other. Nothing to see here.
Director: Mathijs Geijskes
A marriage is tested when a car flips over and the couple finds themselves stuck.
Directors: Josh Ruben, Vince Peone
Tond wakes up one day and realizes he doesn’t have any friends aside from his mean wife, Janice.
SHORTS: NARRATIVE 2
Director: Jeannie Donohoe
A new kid makes a big impression at the high school boys’ basketball tryouts. Will talent and drive be enough to make the team?
Director: Thyrone Tommy
When an incident from his past returns to haunt him during his final exams, a young marine navigation student must choose to suffer or benefit from the anxiety.
Director: Erin Sanger
A family’s planned intervention derails when they discover Michael has grown attached to a mutt he’s taken off the street.
Director: Mounia Akl
Under the imminent threat of Lebanon’s garbage crisis, Hala is the only one to refuse evacuation, clinging to whatever remains of home.
WHEN JEFF TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD
Director: Kendall Goldberg
When Jeff discovers that the bowling alley he manages is being sold, he must do everything he can to save the place he’s come to call home.
SHORTS: NARRATIVE 3
Director: Cameron Burnett
A man in a small town is accused of murder. His only alibi is being with his brother’s wife.
Director: Toby Fell-Holden
In a neighborhood rife with racial tension, a local girl falls for a recent immigrant who is the victim of prejudice and shame.
(BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA)
Director: Marta Hernaiz Pidal
Mira, a Romany woman enjoys her daily sit at the front entrance of Selma’s house. A power struggle ensues.
Directors: Rana Kazkaz, Anas Khalaf
On a Mediterranean shore, a Syrian Father makes a decision that puts his daughter’s life at risk.
Director: Philippe Grégoire
An 80-year-old man follows the traces left by a car accident.
SHORTS: DOCUMENTARY 1
10 DOLLAR PERSPECTIVE
Director: Keith Donavan
The largest garbage dump in the Caribbean is also home to about 2,400 people who struggle to survive there.
Director: Jared Callahan
Liz is a Southern girl and a first-time voter struggling to find herself, and a candidate that represents her in 2016 presidential election.
Director: Jessica Kingdon
This is Yiwu International Trade Market, the world’s largest wholesale market.
Director: Vanessa Hudson
Indian sprinter Dutee Chand makes sports history by challenging the international gender testing policies that led to her disqualification from competition due to her naturally high hormones levels.
Directors: Melina Tupa
Thirty-seven years after her daughter was kidnapped and murdered during the Argentinean “Dirty War”, Estela is still searching for her long-lost grandchild.
SHORTS: DOCUMENTARY 2
BAYARD & ME
Director: Matt Wolf
Walter Naegle remembers Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the March on Washington, one of the leaders of the civil rights movement, and his longtime partner.
BORN OF STONE
(ITALY, CZECH REPUBLIC)
Director: Emilio Bellu
Artist Pinuccio Sciola’s remarkable sculptures have proven that stones are alive, plastic and a fundamental way to communicate with nature.
Director: Geoffrey Feinberg
19 year old Kirill is a fearless leader in Moscow’s “roofing” culture. He spends his days breaking into buildings, and climbing rooftops and towers that have earned him the nickname “Russian Spiderman”.
THE HOLLOW COIN
Director: Frank Heath
A man has lost a very special nickel in a New York City phone booth and must seek the help of customer service.
JORDY IN TRANSITLAND
Director: Willem Timmers
Will Jordy ever escape the persistent narrow-mindedness as a transgender?
THE RABBIT HUNT
Director: Patrick Bresnan
During harvest season, seventeen year old Chris and his family hunt rabbits in the sugarcane fields of the Florida Everglades.
Director: Marie-Cecile Embleton
A poetic portrait of a Persian watchmaker, whose philosophical musings on his craft invite us to reflect on how we engage with time in a globalized, fast-paced world.
Director: Francy Fabritz
Two women, a broken elevator and a bathroom emergency.
Director: Cyrus Neshvad
Sébastien cannot come to terms with his son being in a coma and begins to question his reality.
Director: Grace Nayoon Rhee
A tiny bug tries to figure out what it wants to become.
MOMS ON FIRE
Director: Joanna Rytel
What’s it like to be massively pregnant and bored out of your mind? At least you’re in this together.
Director: Frank Mosley
A naked body moves a stranger to empathy.
SADHU IN BOMBAY
Director: Kabir Mehta
A portrait of a man with ascetic origins who has been radically transformed by city life.
Director: Gillian Wallace Horvat
Young Justin is at risk of becoming a misogynistic jerk. After an encounter with a mysterious blonde and her whiskey bottle, he’s forced to see things differently.
Director: Lasse Ulvedal Tolbøll
A sick wife and a sleep deprived husband enter a grocery store. Things escalate.
LIKE WE NEVER LEFT
Director: Yu-Chieh Chung
After years of living in the U.S., a Cuban girl returns to her hometown to celebrate her quinceañera.
Director: Marly Hernández Cortés
Lucinda tries to navigate being a migrant farm worker and teenage life. When an encounter with the farm owner’s son takes a dark turn, she risks losing everything.
Director: Joosje Duk
An unpleasant encounter with a bouncer changes the mood of the night for four girls with different perspectives.
Director: Jordan Nikolic
A young boy in rural Yugoslavia is raised to fear the world outside and the atrocities his father witnessed.
Director: Kevin Vu
A physically disfigured fashion model becomes haunted by eerie visions as she prepares for her runway debut.
Director: Molly Gandour
When Maggie returns to her hometown for her brother’s funeral, she struggles to find ways to grieve.
SHORTS: FLORIDA ON FILM
THE GRAND ILLUSION
Director: Preston Mack
35 years ago, the Miami Hurricanes baseball team executed one of the all time great plays in College World Series history: the hidden ball trick!
THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT
Director: Lara Arikan
It’s midnight and a sleepy waitress at a roadside coffee shop braves the night to investigate an ominous noise.
Directors: Sana Srinivasan, Kyle Lopez
In the game of Chess, where rules are the law, what would happen if someone broke them?
Director: Malia Bruker
A performative documentary, KLASSE reanimates a classroom at the Israelitsche Töchterschule, a building in the Jewish section of Hamburg which has been maintained intact since 1938.
Director: Aemilia Widodo
A young girl breaks her camera and throws it away, unaware it has feelings.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LINE
Director: Gaspar González
Architect Hilario Candela reflects on his signature creation: Miami Marine Stadium, the first venue ever built for powerboat racing.
Director: Jake Hammond
High school cheerleader, Laurie, must face her gruesome bodily insecurities when asked on a date by the quarterback.
RETURN TO SENDER
Director: Catherine Bailey
The romantic story of a guy, a girl, and the mailbox that brings them together.
Director: Stephen Crompton
Alvin is a retired entertainment producer living in a Florida “active living” community. He recounts his brief foray into a soft core porn production in the 1970s.
TEN FINGERS, TEN TOES
Director: Pieter Miller
A surprise incident interrupts Felix Spoon’s outstanding magic show.
SHORTS: YOUTHFEST AGES 8+
Director: Jeremy Haccoun
When a rock traps his parents inside a burning car, a 7 year-old boy must come to their rescue.
Director: Frodo Kuipers
A good old-fashioned western shoot-out, in which both the fired bullets fall in love with each other…
Director: Mark Kuczewski
Jeremy attempts to celebrate his one year wedding anniversary with his undead demon bride.
Directors: Job, Joris & Marieke
An encounter with a broken washing machine forces three friends to gain some perspective on each other.
THE SECRET HANDSHAKE
Directors: Susie Webb, Jackson Read
A young apprentice must complete the final step of his initiation into an elite secret society.
Director: Jack Corpening
A tired, grumpy space garbage man happens upon a magnetic alien that changes his life forever.
Director: Jim Ford
A Stuntman is in the market for a new car.
Director: Matthew Manson
In order to win over his crush, a neurotic Jewish boy must first impress her skeptical Jamaican family.
THE WITCHING HOUR
Director: Riley Geis
One spooky Halloween night, a young boy meets the daring girl next door who takes him on a haunted adventure.
SHORTS: YOUTHFEST ALL AGES
149TH AND GRAND CONCOURSE
Directors: Andy London, Carolyn London
An animated documentary portrait of New York City and its overlooked and diverse voices.
Director: Richard Wiley
A librarian discovers a bookworm among the books and must act quickly.
Directors: Sam Wade, Beth Tomashek
Dust buddies don’t let dust buddies get sucked into a vacuum.
Director: Jyllian Gunther
Eight-year-old Elias is an animal lover, and his vision to change the world starts with one sheep at a local animal sanctuary.
Directors: Andrew Wilson, Michael Trikosko
A shy chameleon seeks the attention of his crush at a school dance. Unfortunately, he’s so nervous that he keeps disappearing.
Director: Gulliver Moore
A down-on-his-luck baker meets a magic chicken. That’s really all he needed.
OUR WONDERFUL NATURE: THE COMMON CHAMELEON
Director: Tomer Eshed
The feeding habits of the common chameleon as never seen before.
Director: Robert Dollase
A time-traveling scientist refuses to learn from the lessons of his future.
SUMMER CAMP ISLAND
Director: Julia Pott
Oscar and his best friend Hedgehog just got dropped off at Summer Camp. This sleepover may not be like all the others.
Directors: Kal Athannassov, John McDonald, Echo Wu
When a fountain malfunctions, the creature responsible for granting wishes must go above ground.
SHORTS: THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES 2
GIRLS LEVEL UP
Director: Anne Edgar
A gaming summer camp for girls??!! You bet!
THE GRAVEDIGGER’S DAUGHTER
Director: Shira Gabay
A prickly, feminist film about conflict in an Orthodox Jewish gravedigger’s family, with more than a sprinkling of “graveyard humor.”
Director: Nikki Lee
“Iris” struggles to make the “human connection” with an Alzheimer’s patient.
Director: Leandro Goddinho
Investigating her late grandmother’s past leads a young woman to an old Brazilian woman living in an abandoned swimming pool.
WOMAN IN DEEP
Director: Janicza Bravo
A woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown struggles to make it through her birthday in one piece.
SHORTS: THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES 2
Director: Mageina Tovah
A new beginning starts at the end of the world.
Director: Nina Knag
When a young single mother finds herself broke and desperate, her young daughter makes a very adult decision.
STRIKING A CHORD: INSTRUMENTS OF HEALING
Director: Susan Rockefeller
Returning soldiers with PTSD find their way back to themselves through music and art.
TOO YOUNG TO WED: NEPAL
Directors: Stephanie Sinclair, Arianna LaPenne
Nepal has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world. TOO YOUNG TO WED profiles this practice.
THE VOICE IN THE HEAD
Director: Cyrus Trafford
Where are the margins between sanity and insanity?
SHORTS: THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES 3
A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Director: Phedon Papamichael
Gene arises every day and follows the same monotonous routine. But not today.
THE BUS TRIP
Director: Sarah Gampel
Isolated by her desire to talk politics at an Israeli film festival, a filmmaker talks to her dead father over a noisy telephone line instead.
THE DISAPPOINTMENT TOUR
Director: Erica Liu
Three generations of women crammed into a car with their emotional baggage experience an unexpected moment of connection.
Director: Alexandrina Andre
A visit to a small café exposes a transgender woman to discrimination.
Director: Kat Coiro
At a routine visit to the local wig shop, an Orthodox Jewish woman uncovers a secret.
SHORTS: SHORTS BEFORE FEATURES
BECAUSE THE WORLD NEVER STOPS
Directors: Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck
Behind the scenes of a live broadcast, we may be in for a surprise.
Director: Theodore Ushev
Vaysha was born with a left eye that sees only the past and a right eye that sees only the future, unable to live in the present like the rest of us.
Director: Cara Cusumano
In 1997, a mysterious sound was recorded from deep in the ocean by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Director: Michael Jackson
A delusional man endeavors to heal his sick mother, but first must cope with his own illness.
Director: Lea Triboulet
Three sisters go about their everyday life in the absence of their missing brother. Inspired by stories from New Orleans.
Director: Adam Roffman
Two friends stumble upon the mother lode of movie memorabilia.
Directors: David Wilson, Kamau Bilal
A portrait of a one hundred year old candy store and lunch counter in St. Louis.
Director: Varun Tandon
Basketball is empowering children in rural India. They’re about to change the world.
Directors: Rory Moon, Amy Zhang
The Billion Oyster Project, a restaurant manager, and a cancer survivors dragon boat team join efforts to restore oyster reefs in New York City’s waters.
Directors: Hiske de Goeje, Randy Oost
Hanna holds her ground amongst the boys. But, can she always fit in with them?
(ETHIOPIA, MEXICO, USA)
Director: Jessica Beshir
Every night, Yussuf journeys to the outskirts of the ancient city of Harar, Ethiopia to bond with his beloved Hyenas.
THE HEAD VANISHES
Director: Franck Dion
Jacqueline is living with degenerative dementia and her annual trip to the seaside is a welcomed escape. Too bad a woman is following her around calling her “mom.”
HOME IS WHERE THE SUNSETS
Director: Kayla Tong
When her family comes to visit from Hong Kong for the first time, Allison must face the contrasts of her life in L.A and her old life.
Director: Casimir Nozkowski
Can you really go to the same school as your cousin and never meet her?
Director: Liz Cardenas Franke
A 15-year old gay teen is ready to stand up to his bullies, even his own father.
IN THE BEGINNING WAS WATER AND SKY
Director: Ryan Ward
A haunting fairytale of two Native American children trying to find their way back to a home that has been taken from them.
Director: Charlotte Wells
On a routine morning, a woman on a crowded New York City subway is sexually assaulted in plain sight.
LEGAL SMUGGLING WITH CHRISTINE CHOY
Director: Lewie Kloster
Filmmaker, Christine Choy, tells the story of how she accidentally illegally smuggled cigarettes.
Director: Julia Hechler
Four young men of immigrant descent in Paris have created their own version of French.
MILES OF SAND
Director: Sonejuhi Sinha
With all odds against her, a single mother in rural India just wants education for her daughters.
Director: Christopher Bell
Mohammad’s relaxing evening after work is interrupted by an unnamed man who kicks him out of his home, furnishing him a new pace to live.
Director: Xavier Neal-Burgin
A desperate mother must make a difficult decision when she’s late for a job interview.
Director: Jason Outenreath
When Mariela, an undocumented immigrant, is diagnosed with kidney failure, her only hope of survival is to be smuggled into Mexico for treatment.
Director: Aemilia Scott
Found footage from police shootings over the last two years, synchronized to the moment of the first gunshot.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Director: Tarek Roehlinger
An abandoned bag, curious passersby, a crazy tramp, and Omar, a soldier in charge of securing an official building in Paris.
VICTOR & ISOLINA
Director: William Caballero
Victor and Isolina answer questions from their grandson about their life-long, complex relationship.
WAITING FOR HASSANA
Director: Ifunanya Maduka
In 2014, nearly all of the 276 teenage girls preparing for exams were taken from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. Jessica, an escapee, shares her haunting account of a friendship violently interrupted by Boko Haram.