What happened, that 24th of December ? This is what officer Chartier wants ton find out. To understand, he will have to go back 48 hours earlier: Franck's Christmas Eve. Franck: insignificant drama-teacher, Franck belongs to a nameless and leaderless commando: the Animal Liberation Front. These characters are bound by a limitless empathy towards mistreated animals, and will have to show courage to complete a mission they have been preparing for months. Their goal: to free dogs, condemned to be sold to laboratories for the purpose of live experiments. Their philosophy: when something has gone beyond the boundaries of reason, you have to forget about what's legal, and care about what seems right. During the questioning, Franck understands that one of his fellows betrayed him. A unique thriller with a powerful message.
This very powerful film is set in 1942 Athens. A war ravaged Greek family is forced to host a high ranking Nazi officer. Their home, already weakened by the death of their eldest son and the ever-present pangs of hunger, is thrown into upheaval as they try to satisfy the exacting demands of their unwelcome border. The officer's cruelty escalates while their adolescent daughter, intoxicated by the power of a man in uniform, walks a fine line between service and servitude. With outstanding acting and cinematography the film portrays the rarely explored details of life under occupation, leaving us to question the strength of our own morality under such circumstances.
BIBILOTHEQUE PASCAL by Hajdu Szaboles – 96min, fiction – Hungary
In order to regain custody of her daughter, whom she left in the care of her fortune-telling aunt, Mona must tell a social worker her story. The tale she spins---and the movie we watch---is a wild, surreal adventure in which people are able to project and enter each other's dreams, and our heroine is sold into slavery and lands in a swank, debauched Liverpool brothel where the patrons enact their literary/sexual fantasies with Lolita, St. Joan, and Desdemona. Under the seductive surface is a very human story of a woman who uses fantasy to cushion the pain of life. Los Angeles Film Festival
BORN AND RAISED by Joshua Dragge & Nick Loritsch – 96min, fiction – USA
Young Bubbs was born and raised in a seaside Florida panhandle and has had little experience in the world. His fed-up and restless girlfriend Jess announces she is dumping him to run off to Tampa with a new flame. All he knows of the outside world comes from the well-to-do boaters who come to the marina for pit stops. One of these is his grandfather Frank, a rascally sort who has been estranged for many years from Bubb’s mother, whom he abandoned when she was a young girl. When a rift opens between Bubbs and his long-time best friend Kenny over Bubb’s new-found romantic interest in Kenny’s sister, Corey, Bubbs starts to think that getting out of this small town is not such a bad idea after all. Well scripted and acted.
CHASING A STAR by Avi Malka – 90min, fiction – Israel
Adam, an unemployed actor, is waiting for his big break although all his agent has found for him is an audition for the role of a washing machine. Much to his surprise he finds the role has gone to superstar Moshe Ivgi. Shir is the best soccer player that anyone has seen in years. The final game of the season is taking place the day after tomorrow. She simply has to succeed although it is common knowledge that, at the moment of truth, she will probably panic and literally wet her pants! Victor is an ex-con who has just been released from jail. He decides to pack up his stashed millions, and his girlfriend Lena get as far away as possible and turn over a new leaf. However, his past reemerges, causing him to change his plans at every turn. Chasing a Star (Who Kidnapped Moshe Ivgy?) is a stylish crime comedy with an inventive, very funny plot.
Director Robert Altman directs this elegant cinematic adaptation of Ed Graczyk's Broadway play, which observes the interactions between a group of women holding a 20-year reunion of their James Dean fan club. Over the course of their get-together, the old friends expose painful secrets and stunning revelations, all of which are powerfully conveyed by a cast that includes Sandy Dennis, Karen Black, Kathy Bates, and in her comeback performance, Cher.
CROOKED ARROWS by Steve Rash – 105 min, fiction - USA
A Lacrosse movie produced, in part, by the Onondaga Nation. A mixed-blood Native American, Joe Logan, eager to modernize his reservation, must first prove himself to his father, the traditionalist Tribal Chairman, by rediscovering his spirit. He is tasked with coaching the reservation’s high school lacrosse team that competes against the better equipped and better trained players of the elite Prep School League.
Joe inspires the Native American boys and teaches them the true meaning of tribal pride. Ignited by their heritage and believing in their new found potential, coach and team climb an uphill battle to the state championship finals against their privileged prep school rivals…will they win?
FIFTH HEAVEN by Dina Zvi Riklis – 100min, fiction – Israel
In this beautifully made coming-of-age drama, a teenage orphan struggles to adjust to a new life amidst other exiles in a British-controlled Palestine. It’s 1944. Deserted by her parents 13-year-old Maya is deposited at an orphanage for Jewish girls on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The trauma of war shows in the faces of the malnourished girls and lonely routines of their adult supervisors who await liberation from personal and national isolation. Smitten with Maya, the director of the orphanage conjures memories of a tortured love affair while Maya develops forbidden feelings for an anti-British resistance fighter who is the fiancé of an orphanage worker.
FIVE EASY PIECES (1970) by Bob Rafelson – 98 min, fiction – USA
The film tells the story of a surly oil rig worker, Bobby Dupea, whose blue-collar existence belies his privileged youth as a child prodigy. When word reaches Bobby that his father is dying, he goes home to see him, reluctantly bringing along his pregnant girlfriend, Rayette (Black), a dimwitted waitress. The film was selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Film Registry in 2000.
GIRL$ by Kenneth Bi – 105min, fiction – Hong Kong
In this very controversial film four girls - tempted by the money that can be earned in prostitution - meet men on 'paid dates' in Hong Kong and enjoy the rewards to the fullest. However, after awhile, each of them will learn that nothing comes without a price. A very stylish film that deals with a serious social problem under the veneer of sexual exploitation.
GIRLFRIEND by Justin Lerner – 94min, fiction – USA
The film depicts the evolution of a friendship between a young man with Down’s Syndrome and a single mother in a small town in Massachusetts (Wayland). Lerner cast a former high school classmate, Evan Sneider, who actually has Down’s for the part. When Evan’s mother dies, she leaves him an inheritance in the form of cash in a box. Evan tries to help his neighbor, a single mom, Candy, by dumping cash gifts in her home. But Candy’s problems are bigger than what Evan can comprehend. They include an unforgiving landlord, and a very jealous ex-boyfriend Russ, who then tries to manipulate Evan.
Screened with an original score, commissioned by the Festival, by Italian composer Gian Luca Baldi and performed by members of the Society For New Music. Mr. Baldi will be present for a Q&A after the performance.
The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) travels to the Yukon to take part in the Klondike Gold Rush. Bad weather strands him in a remote cabin with a prospector who has found a large gold deposit and an escaped criminal, after which they part ways, with the prospector and the fugitive fighting over the prospector's claim, ending with the prospector receiving a blow to the head and the fugitive falling off a cliff to his death. The Tramp eventually finds himself in a gold rush town and takes a job looking after another prospector's cabin. He falls in love with a lonely saloon girl, Georgia, who he mistakenly thinks has fallen in love with him. He soon finds himself waylaid by the prospector he met earlier, who has developed amnesia and needs the Tramp to help him find his claim. When we next see them they are on a steamer, two wealthy men headed for home. By chance, Georgia is also on the steamer and she and The Tramp plan
HELLBOY (2004) by Guillermo del Toro – 122min, fiction -USA
Brought forth by the Nazis during a sacred ritual towards the end of World War II. Our hero was summoned by accident when the evil monk of Russian history/folklore, Grigori Rasputin was meddling with forces that lead to his undoing. With the twisted and evil monster trapped for another sixty years when things don't go as planned (US soldiers heroically intervened). Hellboy is raised by Prof. Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm, an expert in the occult. Our demonic hero is initiated in to the Bureau of paranormal research were he joins the amphibious, kind hearted, and clever fellow "Freak", Abe Sapien. When Rasputin returns once again with the aid of his minions the maniacal, undead assassin Kroenen and the monk's faithful lover Ilsa. Hellboy must unwillingly pair up with John Myers, an idealistic, naive new agent of the Bureau. Not only that but the big hunk of an evil basher becomes entangled in a love triangle with the pyro-telekinetic love of his life Liz and his new comrade. Fighting evil couldn't prove more difficult or out there. Written by robert-filmfan(firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOLD ON YOUR HAND by Huayu Xu – 90min, fiction – China
Syracuse University MFA alum returns with his second feature film. The story centers on a photographer trying to reconcile his urban popularity with his true desire for artistic freedom. Circumstances bring him to a small village in which he encounters the beauty of the Chinese landscape and the care of an innocent woman. A poetic, beautifully shot work that exits in both a mythic and mundane world.
INTO PARADISO by Paola Raudi – 100min, fiction – Italy
Alfonso is a Neapolitan scientist, shy and awkward, who has just lost his job. Gayan is a charming former Sri Lankan cricketer who has not a penny has just arrived in Naples and is convinced of finding heaven. Alfonso has spent a lifetime studying cell migration and watching soap operas with his mother. Gayan has traveled, knew fame, glory and money. What connects these two men? In a multiethnic Naples, intertwined destinies of Alfonso and Gayan, meet to share a shack erected illegally on a roof of a building in the heart of the Sri Lankan city. A comedy.
IRVINE WELSH’S ECSTACY by Rob Heydon – 99min, fiction - Canada
Frustrated with her boring middle class and loveless marriage, Heather Thompson seeks a change. When she meets happily-partying Lloyd Buist, a drug addict, she falls hard for him despite the fact that most of there is spent under the influence of drugs. As they experiment with this new lifestyle, they are faced with the question of whether they love their drugs, each other, or are just drugged into loving each other. When Lloyd almost dies after a drug smuggling operation goes terribly wrong and faces the possibility of losing Heather, he decides to turn his life around, and he finds that natural highs might be the best of all.
LOSING CONTROL by Valerie Weiss – 90min, fiction – USA
This is a quirky, totally entertaining romantic comedy. Samantha, a sweet and neurotic Jewish Harvard biochemist working on her Ph.D., has discovered the Y-kill protein. Four years after her discovery she finds herself under pressure to replicate her results. Outside the lab, Samantha's frustrated as well. Her boyfriend of five years, Ben, proposes, but Samantha rejects him, and sets out—on a series of dating mishaps—to find proof whether he's Mr. Right. She uses the only tools she knows, science.
MARIA MY LOVE (2011) by Jasmine McGlade Chazelle – 99min, fiction – USA
A young woman named Ana is struggling to deal with her mother's death and her father's mistakes. In an effort to feel better, she reconnects with her half-sister Grace, (Lauren Fales) and, inspired by a new boyfriend (Brian Rieger), sets out on a quest to find someone to help. Though excited and hopeful when she meets an eccentric woman named Maria (Karen Black), she soon discovers Maria is a compulsive hoarder, and is swept up in a situation more emotionally and morally complicated than she had expected to find. Inspired by a true story.
PAVILION by Tim Sutton – 68min, fiction – USA
Syracuse’s own Tim Sutton’s highly acclaimed film is about Max, a young teenager who leaves his lakeside town to live with his father on the fringe of suburban Arizona. The film creates a deep and ethereal world, showing us an innocent way of life coming apart at the seams, constructing an indelible image of the enigma of youth. One of ten films selected for IFP's 2011 Narrative Lab and by the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 2011 Emerging Visions Workshop.
PRINCESS by Arto Halonen – 100 min, fiction – Finland
Inventive, funny, beautifully acted and ultimately heart warming Princess is based on real-life events and a real person. Cabaret dancer Anna Lappalainen, drifting from one foster home to another, ends up in psychiatric care and soon the hospital staff and her fellow patients see that she’s suffering from severe delusions. She claims to be “Princess”, a member of the English royal family from Buckingham Palace. Although Princess herself numbers among the patients, helping others becomes her life mission.
REGARDS (WATCHING) by Paolo Zagaglia – 80 min. fiction – Belgium
This is an extraordinarily beautiful and narratively unique film. The script, acting and cinematography are noteworthy. The setting is a café that serves as a regular meeting place for many individuals and couples each with their own story imagined and told by an old man who in turn is observed by Arlette, a woman in a wheelchair and sister of the café owner, who is in love with him. And, for the old man this is not an afternoon like any other.
REST AREA (AREA DE DESCANO) by Michael Aguilo – 97min, fiction – Spain
A story in the press inspired the filmmaker Michael Aguiló to shoot his first film as director. Cosmos, a 55year-old Polish coach driver is driving tourists to Spain. The coach breaks down. He parks in a rest area. The passengers are picked up by another coach leaving Cosmos to stay alone with his broken bus, with no light, no water and no food. Awaiting a spare part, he stays for two weeks, surviving thanks to the generosity of a few travelers. A very interesting story beautifully acted.
RISTABBANNA (FAST FORWARD) by Cardillo & De Plano – 85min, fiction – Italy
Natale's niece, Rosina, left many years before for the States to become an actress. To see her again, Natale decides to shoot little movies. But a clumsy burglar, Salvo, steals her camera. Salvo's son, Nicolo, brings it back to Natale and finds a kind of grandfather, who changes the life of the family, lending Salvo a boat. At Natale's funeral, Rosina shows up. She's intending to sell the house and the boat and leave. But she finds out Natale knew the truth about her life in America. Nicolo's family is shocked by jealousy and fear of losing the boat that living an honest life just achieved. Rosina faces her past. Inventive plot structure and excellent acting mark this intriguing film.
STROKE (2000) by Rob Nilsson – 95min, fiction – USA
Phil Berkowitz is a 55 year old North Beach poet and survivor of the days of wine and roses, has a stroke. Helpless, he lies in his flea bag hotel room in San Francisco’s Tenderloin until he is found by Jonny,, his neighbor, a 60 year old Black man. Jonny barely survives working par-time janitorial in a seedy strip club and escort service run by St. Tre and Malafide, now operating under the name Modisco. Breaking hotel rules Jonny lets Phil stay in his room and tries to help him regain his speech. He also plays cupid, introducing Phil to Svetlana, Polish, 35, a waitress, ex-model and recovering alcoholic. She feels sorry for Phil but he mistakes kindness for affection. Ron Perlman appears in a cameo.
THE LAST WINTER (2006) by Larry Fessenden – 101min, fiction - USA
The American oil company KIC Corporation is building an ice road to explore the remote Northern Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seeking energy independence. Independent environmentalists work together in a drilling base headed by the tough Ed Pollack in a sort of agreement with the government, approving procedures and sending reports of the operation. When one insane team member is found dead naked on the snow, the environmentalist James Hoffman suspects that sour gases may have been accidentally released in the spot provoking hallucinations and insanity in the group. After a second fatal incident, he convinces Ed to travel with the team to a hospital for examination. However, weird events happen trapping the group in the base. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
THE MAIDEN DANCED TO DEATH by Endre Hules – 100min, fiction – Hungary
Beautifully made, totally entertaining. Steve, a dancer-turned-empresario, returns from Canada to his native Hungary after 20 years. Though the Communist regime that expelled him is gone, his brother, Gyula, hasn't changed. He still works with the same dance company they started together, and is married to Steve's former sweetheart, Mari. The two men's rivalry is triggered instantly, but Mari challenges them to revive their last success together, a dance on the ballad "The Maiden Danced to Death". The film seamlessly combines dramatic scenes with dance and music, allowing the dance to reveal long-held secrets and emotions.
A DAY by Jae Bin Han – 25min, fiction – Korea
A grandmother travels through 90 years of her life in one day. She meets herself in a series of encounters until she first meets the man who will become her husband. She shares with him what will be his last day.
A GOOD THING by Mark Tobey – 22min, fiction – USA
Film Festival Honorary Board Chair and 2011 Sophia Award for Lifelong Achievement honoree, Tom Bower stars as the owner of a rural gas station where he and his wife struggle to maintain their faith as the fear of an elusive killer sweeps the region of their lonely desert outpost.
A PLACE TO GO by Wajdi Elian - 17min, fiction. – Lebanon
"Ziad is a solitary character living a surgically organized unadventurous routine existence in the city. One day, his rhythm is disrupted by a series of tiny accidents that bring a peculiar street cat to share his home, for better or for worse…" A fascinating narrative that is beautifully shot.
A WONDERFUL DAY by Yosi Meiri & Ariel Weisbrod - 24min, fiction – Israel
A Holocaust survivor tries to prevent her grandson from going to Germany by setting up a call girl to become his love interest. Great acting and an interesting story make this at times very funny and at times heart rending.
AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN by Shawn Alex Thompson – 10min, fiction – Canada
A simple street sweeper goes unnoticed by the people around him, but things aren't always what they seem.
BABYLON FAST FOOD by Alessandro Valori – 14min, fiction – Italy
An unexpected plot develops between an African man and Italian elderly woman. He cooks outdoors, she in her kitchen. After implied tension she invites him in for dinner. Well acted.
BEAST by Attila Tell – 20 min, fiction – Hungary
A man reports a missing dog to police. In a rural setting the family’s father enslaves a poor man. He treats him like a dog. The daughter gets knocked up by boyfriend and wants to move in with him. Believing the slave is responsible for his family’s woes the husband/father beats him to death. A very powerful film.
CARPENTER EXPECTING A SON by Narina Malyan – 20min, fiction – Armenia
Set in the distant past a wife won’t have sex until her husband gets a job. Living in squalor he leaves with spikes in his hands. His three daughters look out the window. Soldiers march on street. A man carries a cross. At night the husband comes home commenting that he had a hard day at work. His wife is not happy with his pay. His shirt is bloodied.
A Kashmiri woman is waiting for her husband from across the border. The day comes when he finally arrives. She welcomes him. But her contentment will not last for long. Poetic, with wonderful cinematography.
FALLING LEAVES (1912) by Alice Guy – 12 min, fiction – USA
This is one of the first films of America’s first woman director. Dr. Earl Headley is eagerly demonstrating what seems to be a miraculous cure for tuberculosis. Not far from where he is working, the disease seems ready to claim another life, a young woman named Winifred. Winifred's mother and younger sister Trixie are devastated. When Trixie hears the family doctor say of Winifred that "when the last leaf falls, she will have passed away", she interprets the doctor's words literally and seeks to do everything possible to save her sister.
FINALE by Balazs Simonyi – 8min, fiction – Hungary
A clever, single shot film, that begins with a couple in a car. The woman gets out to go into a restaurant to sell flowers. A fly on the bar is killed. Two men hear operatic music. They pass a woman as the camera follows her to the orchestra pit while opera takes place on stage. The two men are percussionists and make the film’s final musical sound.
HOMECOMING by Gursimran Sandhu – 26min, fiction –USA/India
When 12 year old Nina Patel is nominated by her classmates to represent her seventh grade class at Homecoming, she’s thrilled. However, Nina’s Indian heritage comes with pride and restrictions, and her traditional parents refuse to let their daughter assimilate into such an American tradition. Beautifully made, powerful, and very well acted.
HOT STUFF (1912) by Mack Sennett – 8 min, fiction – USA
This is one of several dozen short comedies Sennett directed for Biograph before we went to Keystone to work on his own. He directs and stars in a film about a jilted lover.
IL SETTIMO by Luska Khalapvan – 10min, fiction – France/Armenia
A woman gets off the Metro and is immediately chased by man in a chicken suit. She is going to a restaurant to meet a blind date, her cousin, but another fakes it’s him. When the real cousin shows up he mistakes another woman for her. Very clever.
IN FONDO A DESTRY by Valerio Groppa – 15min, fiction – Italy
Piano music hints at comedy. A vacuum cleaner salesman develops a relationship with an elderly male customer. It turns out the man buys from all door to door salesmen and uses their visits as the way he socialize. Funny and poignant.
INFINITE MINUTES by Cecilia Felmeri – 19min, fiction – Hungary (1)
A man traces a snake on dead man’s body. A man has a mermaid on his stomach. One is a doctor the other a surgeon. They talk repeating lines from respective points of view. It's a fractured time structure where all story lines are set off in time though fictionally happening at the same time.
KAISER KANER CONDUCTOR by Viktor Portel – 13min, fiction – Czech Republic
A drunk pianist and conductor, are they the same person? Both play piano, are alcoholic. The drunk calls the other “master.” Is this a case of, a split-personality. Inventive and very well shot.
MAX AND HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW (1912) by Max Linder – 8min, fiction – France
Max and his young bride attempt to enjoy an Alpine honeymoon despite the presence of her mother.
ME TOO by Lilat Movsisyan – 20min, fiction – Armenia
Great cinematography. Extraordinary film. An image of a strong but distressed character, fighting against his fears, love, hope and pain in a psychological hospital. Sounds of incredible music, played by a girl with no musical instrument, come to his ear making him much more helpless. Is he really insane?
MATAR AUN NINO (THE CHILD WILL DIE) by Esteban Alenda – 8min, fiction – Spain
Told from the point of view of a child now an adult. Its 10am and a happy child is going to die. The
Boy dreams of fishing with his father. Car crash kills the driver not the boy. Inventive and well written.
MUERTON Y VIVIENTES by Darmul Love – 17min, fiction – Spain
A funny Zombi movie in which a bereaving woman kills zombies so she can get to her husbands grave and digs him out. Once free the two drive off, forever together.
PRODIGY by Lisa Ford – 9 min, fiction – USA
A young girl struggles with her violin lessons. Recognizing she is letting down her teacher and her mother she imagines that suddenly she has become a prodigy.
ROOM by Fernando Franco – 18min, fiction – Spain
Ana is on her computer, chatting. She smokes, drinks, strips to bra and panties. Guys on line go crazy. There is heavy breathing of a male voice but the sounds seem to contradict the image. Ana leaves her room. When she returns her death is watched on web cam. An interesting statement about on-line relationships.
STITCHES by Adiya Imri Orr – 8min, fiction – Israel
Amit and her female life partner Noa decide to take a crucial step and have a baby. Despite their strong self-confidences, neither one of them knows for certain what they will do next. The night after Noa gives birth they both discover that certain things cannot be hidden.
THE FASTEST MATTHEW IN THE WORLD (NEJRY CHEJSI MATEJ NA SUETE) by Tomas Pavlicek – 21min, fiction – Czech Republic
A man is always in a hurry, forgets things, and gets lost driving to his own birthday party that his girlfriend has arranged at a restaurant. His adventure forces him to confront his childhood and his phobia. Funny and interestingly told.
THE GIRL AND HER TRUST (1912) by D.W. Griffith – 16min, fiction – USA
Some tramps assault the telegraph office trying to rob $2000 delivered by train. The telegraphist girl, trying to help, telegraphs the next station and then the men are captured. Extreme close-ups, long shots and multiple story lines are part of filmdom’s earliest sophisticated works.
THE HEART OF MONEY (1912) by Louis Feuillade and Leonce Perret - 17min, fiction – France
An innkeeper’s daughter is in love but her mother has already decided that she is going to be married to another man. This early use of split screen makes for an impressive viewing.
THEY SAY by Alauda Ruiz De Azua – 16min, fiction – Spain
About bullying. An unpopular teenage girl and boy. She shares her secret with other girls in the hope of being accepted but they turn on her. In the end he dies. Well shot and acted.
TINA FOR PRESIDENT by Carmen Emmi – 13min, fiction – USA
A film about bullying made by Syracuse native, Carmen Emmi. A middle school girl challenges the class big shot.
A PAKHTUN MEMORY by Tentative Collective – 14min, documentary – Pakistan
This project by the Tentative Collective used Pakhtun folk music and memory to temporarily privilege a subaltern population in Karachi, Pakistan, allowing it to own a contentious public space. The ensuing series of events were unexpected and exciting!
A diverse group of Iraqi performing arts students unite through hip hop, jazz, orchestra, and Broadway at an American arts academy in Iraqi Kurdistan. Arabs and Kurds, Christians and Muslims, Americans and Iraqis, everyone must work together to prepare for the big show. Along the way, cultures collide, egos clash, dreams come true, and the viewer is offered a candid and revealing look at the troubles and triumphs of this life-changing event. Written by Ryan White
DISLECKSIA: THE MOVIE by Harvey Hubbell – 85min, documentary – USA
Harvey Hubbell V and crew explore Hubbell's own experiences about growing up as a dyslexic while also looking into the latest scientific research and educational developments regarding the condition. They examine how the education system in the US handles students with learning disabilities, and explore ways in which this treatment can be changed to improve the social status of dyslexics. And along the way, they meet a variety of dyslexics from very different backgrounds who share their experiences and demonstrate that dyslexics are not disabled - just different.
HERE I LEARNED TO LOVE by Avi Angel -54min, documentary – Israel
Brothers Avner and Itzik live in Israel. As toddlers, their lives were saved first by their aunt, later by another young woman. Their past included three women who would become their mothers. But all this remained hidden -- even from close family and friends. Now, at the age of 70, Avner decides to take his brother Itzik on a journey in search of their true identity, in an attempt to piece together this incredible story of their survival and most important to deeply connect with the pain and loss of their three mothers.
I AM NOT A ROCK STAR by Bobbi Jo Hart – 86min,doc – Canada
An absolutely outstanding documentary that follows the story of 20-year-old Marika Bournaki, who embarks on a journey to become a world-class concert pianist, a dream she has had ever since her father first encouraged her to start playing the piano at the age of five. Shot in cinéma vérité style over eight years, the film begins when Marika is 12 years old and commuting every Saturday from Montreal to attend Juilliard’s prestigious Pre-College Program in New York. She moves on her own to New York City at age 14, and starts auditions and performances around the world. The effects of this lifelong sacrifice of her parents to turn Marika into a star begin to reveal themselves, while within the walls of Juilliard she finds a kindred soul and her first love. The film ultimately reveals the gritty realities of making it in the cutthroat classical music world, but also how Marika matures to eventually question her path, appropriating her musical passion to make it her own.
OC87 by Glenn Holstein/Scott Johnston/Bud Clayman – 90min, documentary – USA
Director Bud Clayman documents his struggle with OCD and Asperger's Syndrome and how it derailed his plan to become a filmmaker. OC87, named for the year Clayman experienced his initial breakdown (and the shorthand he uses to describe his altered state of mind), is one man's attempt to exorcise his demons. But it's not a singular vision. Clayman has difficulty making decisions, and so shares director's credit with psychologist Scott Johnston and documentarian Glenn Holsten, who keep the camera focused on Clayman. They alternate interview segments with inventive scripted sequences, the latter re-creating the internal debates Clayman has when confronted with basic social situations like buses and restaurants.
ONE DAY AFTER PEACE by Miri Laufer – 86min, documentary – Israel
Can the means used to resolve the conflict in South Africa be applied to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? As someone who experienced both conflicts firsthand, Robi Damelin wonders about this. Born in South Africa during the apartheid era, she later lost her son, who was serving with the Israeli Army reserve in the Occupied Territories. At first she attempted to initiate a dialogue with the Palestinian who killed her child. When her overtures were rejected, she embarked on a journey back to South Africa to learn more about the country's Truth and Reconciliation Committee's efforts in overcoming years of enmity. Robi's thought-provoking journey leads from a place of deep personal pain to a belief that a better future is possible.
OUTSIDERS IN ISRAEL by Juliano Mer Khamis/Ran Tal/Tomer Heyman – 90min, documentary - Israel
A film project created by Jewish and Arab teenagers from Israel's outskirts, in collaboration with directors Juliano Mer-Khamis ("Arna's Children"), Ran Tal ("Children of The Sun") and Tomer Heymann ("Paper Dolls", "I Shot My Love", "The Queen Has No Crown"). The teenage directors from Israel's 'twilight zones', whose voice is rarely heard, got cameras and the guidance they needed in order to film their communities, their families and themselves. The goal of the project was to supply them with tools and faith in the power of the 'story' - a first-hand, personal and intimate story - and for them to stop serving as an object of others' films and reports and to gain some control over their own image. The themes they chose provide a glimpse of what it feels like to be an outsider in Israel. Powerful, insightful, and original.
TAKING A CHANCE ON GOD by Brendan Fay – 55min, documentary – USA
Former Le Moyne College professor of philosophy, a POW in Nazi Germany, Vietnam peace promoter, leading gay rights advocate and partner of 46 years to Charles Chiarelli, the film follows the life of 86-year-old Jesuit priest John McNeill, telling his story of faith, love and perseverance in the face of oppression and rejection. McNeill, the co-founder of the LGBT Catholic group Dignity NY, author of the revolutionary “The Church and the Homosexual,” and leader in the gay community during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, has refused to let his voice be silenced despite being expelled from the Jesuits after forty years of faithful service.
RECORD PARADISE by Michael Streissguth – 53min, documentary - USA
Record Paradise rolls with Joe Lee, black sheep of a blue-blood Maryland family, owner of one of the nation's most successful record stores, and an irreverent musical impresario. Leading an unruly parade of musicians, collectors, and disc jockeys, Joe has sold records to generations and produced, booked and managed some of Washington D.C.'s most beloved blues and rock acts, including the tragically zany Root Boy Slim. Opinionated, brash, and unabashedly entertaining, Joe Lee is a movie unto himself. Record Paradise is the next best thing. From the writer and co-producer of the award-winning Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Record Paradise features the music of Root Boy Slim, The Nighthawks, and The Lost Boys.
RICKY ON LEACOCK by Jane Weiner – 90min, documentary – USA
A 38-year journey that I began in 1972 as a young filmmaker and, shooting off and throughout many years, I filmed many and various encounters between Ricky, his friends and contemporaries including Henri Langlois, Jean Rouch, Jean-Luc Godard, DA Pennebaker, Robert Drew, and others. Mixing my own footage with film clips and rare images from Leacock's personal film archives, this film pays homage to my mentor and, most importantly, allows him to tell us the story of his long film making career in his own words. Written by Jane Weiner
THE GAME OF LIFE: HEART AND SPIRIT OF THE ONONDAGA by Stu Lisson – 14min, documentary - USA
The film explores the cultural and spiritual significance of the sport of Lacrosse to the people of the Onondaga Nation. Called the “Creator’s Game” by the Onondagas, Lacrosse has its origins deep within the customs and beliefs of The Six Nations people. Interviews with players, tribal leaders and coaches help tell the story of the sport that has grown to span the world. The Onondaga Nation’s involvement with feature film “Crooked Arrows” is also covered as well as its unique connection with Syracuse University through the Haudenosaunee Promise program.
UNFIT: WARD VS. WARD by Edwin Scharlau & Katie Carmichael – 75min,doc - USA
In 1995 in Pensacola, Florida, Mary Ward lost custody of her 11 year old daughter, Cassey, to her ex-husband, John Ward, solely based on her sexual orientation. John, a convicted murderer and alleged child molester, was deemed a better parent by the court system that said the child deserved to be raised in a non lesbian world even though the courts own appointed social worker testified in defense of the mother. An appeal court upheld the decision in 1996. Mary Ward died of a heart attack in January of 1997 while awaiting the outcome of her second appeal. In 2002, Cassey, then 18 and an adult, came forward in defense of lesbian mothers everywhere.
WAR’S DAUGHTER by Lana Hijazi - 9min, documentary – Gaza/USA
A powerful look at the consequences of chemical warfare on innocent children, and one child in particular, now a young woman
WHAT HAPPENED HERE by Rob Nilsson – 94min, documentary – USA
This is not a standard documentary. It’s a documentary “road movie” seeking a real place, the site of Leon Trotsky’s birth and home town, a secret to most of the world today due to Stalin’s attempt to erase him from Soviet history. But we found that the farmers who live in a tiny area around Bobrinetz, a small town 40 miles south of Kirovograd, Ukraine know him as Lev Davidovich Bronstein, father of Davyd Bronstein, a middle level farmer and landowner. Their opinions of him, the Russian Revolution, the Holodomor and the 1941 Nazi pogroms are featured in the film. It’s a movie made to speculate about Trotsky the man, the writer, the political activist. Its antecedents are essay films by directors such as Jean Luc Godard and Chris Marker where opinion, history and combinations of both point out the subjective nature of perception.
WHO SHOT MY FATHER by Liora Amir Barmatz – 73min, documentary – Israel
Three daughters, one big secret and many unsolved issues. This film follows the courageous attempts of these women to uncover the dark secret behind the murder of their father, Israeli Air Force Attaché Colonel Joe Alon. An investigative report that has personal and national dimensions, the film applies to a story that occurred in 1973 that continues to be problematic. The film documents the riveting life of Colonel Alon, and includes interviews with FBI agents, Mossad chiefs, a former American Air Force Chief Commander and other key personnel. A story of intrigue and personal anguish.
300 MILES TO FREEDOM by Richard Breyer and Anand Kamalakar– 40min, documentary – USA
This totally engaging film tells the story of John W. Jones, a fugitive slave who escaped bondage in Leesburg, Va., in 1844 and traveled the Underground Railroad to Elmira, N.Y. Arriving as a 27-year-old illiterate with $1.46 in his pocket, by his death in 1900 he was a respected, wealthy member of society.
BODY MEMORY (KEHA MALU) by Ulo Pikkov – 10min - Estonia
Our body remembers more than we expect and imagine. Our body remembers and bears the sorrow and pain of our ancestors. Powerful, inventive, a major award winner.
CAR CRASH OPERA by Skip Battaglia – 8min – USA
An all singing short animated cartoon, constructed as an homage to that paragon of American cinematic art form staples -- the car crash film. But this is sung as an opera, with seven characters, graphic and musical flourishes, poignant interludes, orchestration, and sound effects. Strong and beautifully drawn
CITY by Kim Ye-Young and Kim Young-geun – 5min – Korea
Computer generated animation. Seoul is full of skyscrapers and asphalt amid pollution and noise. But what it is essentially is its people. Imagine the city without walls and roofs, free from its shell able to breathe and feel the warmth. Very creative.
ESO TE PASA POR BARROCO by Pablo Serrano – 4min – Spain
Claymation in which a chicken gets to dine on a human. Very funny.
HOW A MOSQUITO OPERATES (1912) by Winsor McCay – 6min – USA
A hungry mosquito spots and follows a man on his way home. The mosquito slips into the room where the man is sleeping, and gets ready for a meal. His first attempts startle the man and wake him up, but the mosquito is very persistent.
This is an extraordinary Claymation. The two main characters are, Mary, a poor, unloved little girl from Australia and, Max, a heavyset middle-aged New Yorker with Asperger's syndrome. They become penpals after Mary's random encounter with a telephone directory, and their exchange of letters swiftly emerges as the emotional lifeline for their unhappy existences. Mary is taunted by the children at her school for the birthmark on her forehead. Her only friend is the man for whom Mary collects mail, a WW11 veteran who lost his legs in combat and has developed agoraphobia. Expect to be entertained and emotionally moved by this masterpiece.
SPRITE (KLICENI) by Martina Vybiralova – 5min - Czech Republic
Drawn animation. A girl is trapped in a birdcage kept by a wolf man. She escapes, sends butterfly to him and teases him with the cage key. The key becomes a bird and flies to the girl. The wolf becomes a prince.
THE BOY IN THE BUBBLE by Kealan O’Rourke – 8min – Ireland
Rupert, a ten year old boy falls hopelessly in love. When it all goes terribly wrong he wishes never again to experience heartache. Turning to a book of magic he invokes a spell to forever shield him from emotion.
THE OLD MAN and the OLD WOMAN by Basia Goszczynska – 9min – USA
Two soul mates struggle with opposing fears of death and loneliness in this short dark comedy.
THE REVENGE OF A KINEMATOGRAPH CAMERAMAN (1912) by Wladyslaw Starewicz
12min – Poland/Russia
A jilted husband takes revenge by filming his wife and her lover and showing the result at the local cinema. This is one of Starewicz’s first animations and stars animated beetles.
THE THING IN THE CORNER by Zoe Berriatua – 10min – Spain
A writer who can’t write because there is a thing in the corner of his room. Is he crazy or is it real? He meets a drunk who can see it. He learns to live with it.
TICKET by Frenc Rofusy – 10min – Hungary
Rotoscoping is the primary technique used to explore the physical and psychological journey of a man, through life, from birth to death from his point of view. Powerful.
TRIP (PYTUVANE) by Radostina Neykova – 8min – Bulgaria
A man and a woman are moving towards one another on a train. During the trip they meet and part with different people in different places and at different times until they finally find each other. Very inventive
TWINKLING by Oh Jimon – 7min – Korea
A man listens to his car radio. He’s underwater. It's a toy car surrounded by monsters
He’s in a glass globe. A large hand belongs to a sleeping girl. Girl is in car with him. She tells him they are through and he drowns in tears.
APOSIOPESIS by Jagoda Szelc, 6min, experimental/fiction – Poland
Outstanding cinematography and art design mark this short gem about “aposiopesis” a term for an unfinished thought or broken sentence, in this case explored through the movements of a woman in solitude.
JUST TWO STEPS by Too Avd Kaprealian – 5min, experimental/fiction – Syria
An old man walks on streets in a Syrian city. His feet shuffle, his age showing, a metaphor for an old dysfunctional society,
LA MARCHE DE L’ESCAROT by Mario Damian Funes – 4min, experimental – Argentina
We all want to live with dignity but not everyone respects the rights of others to live as they choose.
MARROW by Wasim Alsyed – 15min, experimental/fiction – Syria
There is a couple in bed, no dialogue, only music. They fight with one another. There are frogs in a jar. The man drinks coke and spills it on the woman. We are primed for violence. This is a beautifully shot and totally bizarre film, symbolically structured to deal with a destructive environment.
MOZG (BRAIN) by Andrey Silvestrov – 64min, experimental – Russia
The film takes place simultaneously in two realms. The first is the contemporary city of Moscow. Random passers by stop in front of the camera and talk about themselves or about the issues that bother them. These documentary scenes are interchanged with scenes involving professional actors in order to emphasize the absurdity of the whole action. The second realm is the 3D fantasy. We witness the grand battles of the greatest minds and poets of all times – such as Dostoevsky, Goethe, Anatole France, Yukio Mishima and Alexander Block - who are fighting against the Collective Unconscious. This film attempts to give a critical account of the social and political processes which take place in Russia today.
PAPER MEMORIES by Theo Putzu – 8min – Spain
An old man searches for happiness in old photos. His world is divided into multiple realities. The film combines live action with animation. Interesting combination of live action and animation
SOLO PIANO by Anthony Sherin – 5min, experimental/fiction – USA
A piano sitting on the sidewalk in NY is seen from an apartment window two or three floors up as still images show people playing it and otherwise interacting with it until finally a group of people break it apart.
SON OF A RAILWAY MAN by Assaf Tager – 26min, documentary/fiction – Zambia/Israel
Casapo, the son of a locomotive driver for the Zambian railway company, is called back home following the news of his father’s death. A poetic, beautifully filmed work that is evocative and mysterious.