Closing Night features Marlene “Mo” Morris’s A NEW COLOR: THE ART OF BEING EDYTHE BOONE
World Premieres include Janet Paxton Gardner’s LOST CHILD-SAYON’S JOURNEY, Jim Virga’s SWEET DILLARD, Margo Pelletier’s THIRSTY, and Maciej Adamek’s TWO WORLDS
|RAIN THE COLOR BLUE WITH A LITTLE RED IN IT|
New York, NY (September 8, 2016) – The 2016 Harlem International Film Festival today announced the official selections for the 11th edition of the film festival taking place on September 14-18 at MIST Harlem (41 West 116th Street). Opening with a tribute to Prince including a screening of Christopher Kirkely’s African homage to Prince’s PURPLE RAIN, RAIN THE COLOR BLUE WITH A LITTLE RED IN IT, and closing with Marlene “Mo” Morris’s A NEW COLOR: THE ART OF BEING EDYTHE BOONE, the five-day film festival will screen 99 films (31 features, and 68 short films). With a theme of “Around the world in 5 days,” the Harlem International Film Festival will screen films representing 35 countries, led by 14 world premieres, 1 North American Premiere, and 7 U.S. premieres.
“We are honored and ecstatic once again to be able to bring so many phenomenal works from around the world here to Harlem, while celebrating the work of some wonderful local filmmakers at the same time. What better way to launch our second decade than with a film from Saharan Africa inspired by Prince’s PURPLE RAIN, in a language that has no word for “purple” and represents the first narrative film ever in the Tuareg tongue. There will be unforgettable musical and dance performances as well - all inspired by Prince’s artistry on screen, stage and in the studio,” said Harlem International Film Festival Program Director Nasri Zacharia, “To bookend the 99 films, we are wrapping up with a crucial and necessary one because it is a Harlem Homecoming for a woman who lived in a housing project in Harlem and during the problems of the 80s when she decided to move to the San Francisco Bay Area. She became a famous muralist, activist and educator and is now returning to Harlem as an elder to have her East Coast Premiere with A NEW COLOR. The fact that Eric Garner (who was killed by NYPD in a chokehold) is Edythe’s nephew ties several important issues together for us, which makes it more than appropriate as a closing night film.”
Opening Night, on Wednesday, September 14, will be an exciting evening of live dance, musical performances and films from around the world including the Harlem Premiere of the Tuareg tribute to PURPLE RAIN, Christopher Kirkley’s (with Mdou Moctar and Jerome Fino) RAIN THE COLOR BLUE WITH A LITTLE RED IN IT (Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai). Filmed in a language without a word for “purple,” the film is also the first fiction film in the Tuareg tongue. The story follows the struggle of a musician’s efforts to succeed, against all odds, in the winner-takes-all Tuareg guitar scene of Niger. The screening will be preceded by three short films, including; the East Coast premiere of Jacob Krupnick’s DOVE, about a woman’s efforts to retrieve her prize bird, which has been stolen by her estranged lover; the world premiere of Michael Fequiere’ KOJO, about child prodigy jazz drummer Kojo Odu Roney; and the New York premiere of Paul Szynol’s THRIVE, about 12-year-old blind piano player. Following the screenings, fest goers will enjoy a “purple party,” as the Prince-themed celebration continues.
Closing Night, on Sunday, September 18, will feature the New York premiere of the award-winning A NEW COLOR: THE ART OF BEING EDYTHE BOONE, about the celebrated muralist, educator and aunt of Eric Garner whose chokehold death and final words ignited a national outcry for racial justice. The evening will feature a Harlem Homecoming for the film’s subject, as Boone will attend and participate in a Q&A, following the film. The film received the Audience Favorite Special Mention at Mill Valley Film Festival, and won Best Documentary Short in Chicago. The screening will be preceded by three short films, including; Jamal Joseph’s STREETS, where the professor and former Chair of the Columbia University Film School takes a look at the streets of his home burg; and Mike De Caro’s BY JAMAL JOSEPH, which turns the camera on the man, himself.; The third short is Byron Harmon’s FOX 5 FILMS: YELLOW TAPE, which follows rap stars Maino and Uncle Murda, as they take the viewer on a tour on one of New York’s most notorious neighborhoods.
Highlights among the 14 world premieres populating the festival’s official selections are:Janet Paxton Gardner’s documentary LOST CHILD-SAYON’S JOURNEY, about the subject’s harrowing life and survival in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge atrocities; Jim Virga’s SWEET DILLARD, which gives a fly-on-the-wall account of one of the nation’s best public high school jazz band’s efforts to reach the finals; Margo Pelletier’s THIRSTY, about drag queen sensation, Scott Townsend; and Maciej Adamek’s TWO WORLDS, where a 12-year-old girl serves as the audience’s guide through life with her deaf parents.
Additional festival highlights include the Saturday, September 17, East Coast premieres of Christina Kallas’s 42 SECONDS OF HAPPINESS, and Adam Kriitzer’s GOOD FUNK. Kallas’s 42 SECONDS OF HAPPINESS has echoes of Cassavetes in its ensemble dramatic comedy about a group of friends and family gathered for a same-sex wedding and a family intervention while under threat from Hurricane Sandy. The locally produced and shot film recently won Best Feature at the Women Texas Film Festival and will have the entire cast on hand for a post-screening Q&A. Set in Red Hook, Kritzer’s GOOD FUNK follows three generations of citizens whose lives intersect via acts of kindness in a neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. Also making their East Coat premieres on Saturday will be Yoon-ha Chang’s I GO BACK HOME – JIMMY SCOTT, about the attempts of music producer Raif Kemper to record a record with the jazz legend, and Karmia Olutade’s THE REMNANT, about a group of orphaned child laborers struggling to escape the factory they are held and forced to work at in their drought-stricken world.
The Harlem International Film Festival will also feature a number of films in their annual Harlem Spotlight, which celebrates the work of Harlem and locally-based filmmakers in front of and behind the camera. Led by the Harlem Shortcuts short film program on Sunday, September 18, and including films screening throughout the other short film programs as well.
Closing Night will also feature the final stage of the Harlem International Film Festival’s Screenplay Showdown, where 6 finalists from this year’s competition will direct excepts from their scripts in a live read by actors for the film festival’s audience. Following the readings, the winner will be announced along with the other festival awards winners for best feature, best short, best Harlem Spotlight film, etc.
Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. To purchase tickets and for more information on the Harlem International Film Festival go to http://harlemfilmfestival.org/hi-lights//
Feature Films Presentations
RAIN THE COLOR BLUE WITH A LITTLE RED IN IT
(Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai)
Director: Christopher Kirkley (in collaboration with Mdou Moctar and Jerome Fino)
Country: Niger, Running Time: 75 min
A revolutionary story of one musician’s struggle to make it, against all odds, in the winner-takes-all Tuareg guitar scene of Niger.
Director: Jacob Krupnick
Country: Colombia, Running Time: 4:52 min
Desire and betrayal shot throughout the alleys and markets of Bogotá, Colombia. The story begins as our hero realizes her lover has left — and stolen her prize bird. With a seductive soundtrack by Pillar Point and featuring the sensational moves of Voguing artist Kia Labeija, what follows is an adventure through the city told through music and dance.
KOJO World Premiere
Director: Michael Fequiere
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:27 min
A short profile piece on child prodigy jazz drummer Kojo Odu Roney.
Director: Paul Szynol
Country: USA, Running Time: 13:15 min
A short documentary about the prodigious talent and irrepressible spirit of a musically precocious 12-year-old blind boy who plays the piano.
A NEW COLOR: THE ART OF BEING EDYTHE BOONE
Director: Marlene “Mo” Morris
Country: USA, Running Time: 57 min
A joy-filled and yet heart-rending Harlem homecoming for this story about community, art and lives that matter. Spanning from Harlem to Berkeley and from Malcolm X to Eric Garner, Boone’s commitment to challenging inequality inspires hope. But when the death of her nephew ignites a national outcry, everything she has worked for so tirelessly is at stake.
BY JAMAL JOSEPH Harlem Spotlight
Director: Mike De Caro
Country: USA, Running Time: 13:28
A short portrait of the filmmaker, professor, activist, youth advocate, and Oscar Nominee, Jamal Joseph. Formerly a young leader in the 70’s Black Panther Party, Jamal changed his life through and with the arts and is now a well respected writer/director based in his beloved Harlem.
STREETS Harlem Spotlight
Director: Jamal Joseph
Country: USA, Running Time: 5:00
A view of life on the streets in Harlem
FOX5 FILMS: YELLOW TAPE
Director: Byron Harmon
Country: US, Running Time: 15:33
Fox 5 Films’ Zachary Kiesch spent the day in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and the Pink Houses with Maino and Uncle Murda, two of the biggest rap stars in the game right now. We take you inside two of the most notorious neighborhoods in New York City and show you a side rarely seen on local news.
42 SECONDS OF HAPPINESS East Coast Premiere
Director: Christina Kallas
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
A circle of thirty-something friends reunite for a weekend away to celebrate the same sex wedding of a member of their group. Yet, despite their best efforts to behave themselves, a series of surprise plans, unexpected arrivals and exposed secrets lead to an explosion of drama that, coupled with the flammable combination of hurt feelings, unresolved tensions, and lots of wine cannot be contained.
Director: JD Ferenc
Country: USA, Running Time 3:45 min
Josh Wells’ music video takes a unique look at gun violence and police brutality.
CHILDREN OF THE MOUNTAIN
Director: Priscilla Anany
Countries: Ghana/USA, Running Time: 102 min
A woman gives birth to a son with cleft lip and other health complications. Her life becomes a nightmare as she’s accused of impairing the child because she carried and delivered it. While she endures bashing from her community, she does everything in her power to find cure for the child. When all fails she decides get rid of the child in favor of a clean slate with a new love interest.
HOW WAS YOUR DAY? East Coast Premiere
Director: Damien O’Donnell
Country: Ireland, Running Time: 13:30 min
A Woman is excited about the approaching birth of her first child.
CLARENCE New York State Premiere
Director: Kristin Catalano
Country: USA, Running Time: 76 min
After fifty years away from academia, Clarence Garrett, an 85-year-old African-American WWII Vet, returns to the University of WI-Milwaukee to nullify his biggest regret–not earning his Bachelor’s Degree.
BEAUTIFUL LIES World Premiere
Director: Tracey Anarella
Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min
Dementia serves as the vehicle for an 87-year-old artist to be able to talk about his life, his art and why he painted all through the alter ego he created in his head named “Charles.”
Director: Saman Hosseinpuor
Country: Iran, Running Time: 3:41
An old couple are in their apartment, the man is sleeping and the woman is doing housework. She wants to change the fishbowl water but it slips out of her hand and falls on the ground. They've ran out of water and there’s no water for the fish. But with the help of the sleeping man they find some.
COLD NIGHTS HOT SALSA Manhattan Premiere
Director: Edwin Gailits
Country: Canada, Running Time: 61 min
The passionate story of two young salsa dancers from Montreal, Canada, in love with dancing and each other, who, over three ambitious years, set their sights on winning a World Salsa Championship.
Director: Corin Michalski
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min
Gerardo, a Mexican immigrant living in New York, feels isolated after moving to the city. Exhausted and alone he works as a janitor for a small studio where he rediscovers his passion for dance and connects with the present and the daughter he left behind.
DADDY DON’T GO
Director: Emily Abt
Country: USA, Running Time: 88 min
Captured over two years, the feature length documentary about four disadvantaged fathers in New York City as they struggle to beat the odds and defy the deadbeat dad stereotype.
Director: Gine Therese Gronner
Country: Norway, Running Time: 15 min
Kim has been messing up his life. He lost his family on the way. Now, he wants one thing only: To spend some time with his ex-wife and their daughter. Like they used to before, if only for a few stolen moments.
DAUGHTER OF THE MAYA (Rigoberta Menchú Tum) US Premiere
Director: Dawn Engle
Countries: Guatemala/USA, Running Time: 61 min
In 1959, a little girl is born into a poor family, in one of the most remote, mountainous areas of Guatemala. One year later, civil war breaks out and her tiny village is swept up in a tidal wave of violence. What can one family do to stand up for their rights, in a time of such great change? What can one young woman do, to tell the world what was happening, and to try to stop the suffering? What could the indigenous Maya people do, to gain a voice in the determination of their own future? This is a story about a family, a people, and a destiny. After more than five decades of political turmoil, the courage and tenacity of the indigenous Maya people of Guatemala shines through in this beautiful, tragic, and ultimately triumphant film, which tells their story of struggle and success, through the personal journey of 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchú Tum.
Director: Jeremy Ungar
Countries: Cuba/USA, Running Time: 16 min
Winners of the 2016 CUBADISCO Award for best vocal group, the Vocal Vidas are a female a cappella quartet from Santiago de Cuba — the cradle of Afro-Cuban music. This documentary explores their unique sound and tells the story of crafting a musical career in a society in which artistic merit is not measured solely by economic success.
DOGTOWN REDEMPTION New York City Premiere
Director: Amir Soltani
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
Set in Oakland, California, DOGTOWN REDEMPTION is a story about Americans who survive off trash. Jason, the Olympic titan of recycling, Landon, a former minister, and Miss Kay, formerly a punk rocker, introduce us to the art, science, economics and politics of recycling: what it offers, how it touches and why it matters to the poor. Their struggles with addiction, mental illness, homelessness, and their triumphs, provides a glimpse into the dynamics of economic inequality, racial discrimination and political disenfranchisement in Oakland and beyond.
FOR KIBERIA! New York City Premiere
Director: Kati Juurus
Countries: Finland/Kenya, Running Time: 56 min
Self-taught radio journalist and cameraman, Boy Dallas, lives in one of Africa’s largest slums. One day he starts wondering why his native slum Kibera stays poor despite the many aid projects and NGOs that try to make life in Kibera better for its inhabitants.
THE VOICE OF THE KORA New York City Premiere
Directed by Claudine Pommier
Countries: Canada/Gambia/France/Mali/Senegal, Running Time: 45 min
The kora is a harp-lute originating in West Africa. Traditionally it is played by the “Griots”, who have been for centuries, from father to son, storytellers, diplomats, advisers, keepers of memories, poets. The Griot talks and sings while playing very elaborate music that gets enriched from generation to generation.
FROM MASS TO THE MOUNTAIN US Premiere
Directors: Kurt Sensenbrenner, Colin Sytsma
Countries: USA/Panama, Running Time: 66 min
Film looks at Eastern Panama which has suffered decades of government corruption and neglect that has impoverished the region. However, thanks to the tireless efforts of one priest to build infrastructure, protect watersheds, and conserve the rainforest, life is looking up for the locals.
Country: Cuba, Running Time: 9 min
A young girl in a Cuban pueblo leaves her school one afternoon with a secret.
Produced as part of the workshop of auteurs filming in Cuba with Abbas Kiarostami just months before his passing this Spring.
GOOD FUNK East Coast Premiere
Directed by Adam Kritzer
Country: USA, Running Time: 73 min
Set in Red Hook, a Brooklyn neighborhood on the verge of gentrification, is the story of three generations of citizens whose lives intersect through acts of kindness both big and small.
MBFF (MAN’S BEST FRIEND FOREVER) New York Premiere
Director: Tony Ducret
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min
An abused dog escapes its captor and embarks on a quest for love and glory.
GOOD GRIEF New York City Premiere
Director: Brandon Ford Green
Country: USA, Running Time: 103 min
Life pulled them apart. Cory drew them together. A film inspired by one of the world’s most beloved comics.
I’LL TEXT YOU East Coast Premiere
Directed by David Lasdon
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min
Two people meet on a blind date…Or is it?
Director: Adrian Manzano
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
When a young Latina graduate returns to her native Bronx, she struggles to find a job, a career, a love, and herself.
THE QUANTUM LIGHTER (L’Encenedor Quàntic)
Director: Pau Escribano
Country: Spain, Running Time: 5:12 min
She thought it was just another night out. She didn’t expect she would see another side of him.
THE GRANT GREEN STORY World Premiere
Director: Sharony Green
Countries: USA, Canada, Running Time: 58 min
A son travels to several cities to learn more about his father, the late jazz guitarist Grant Green.
WORLD’S NOT FOR ME World Premiere
Director: Greg Charles Royal
Country: USA, Running Time: 13:02
A jazz musician wakes up from a coma in 2016 to find the world he once knew is gone on every level. An up and coming jazz musician, whose career is cut short in 1987, wakes up from a near 30 year coma to find a world out of control, musically, economically and culturally. Featuring former Duke Ellington trombonist Gregory Charles Royal.
PEPSI, COLA, WATER US Premiere
Director: Tom Bogaert
Countries: Belgium, Egypt, Switzerland, Running Time: 9:18 min
The video chapter of “1971, Sun Ra in Egypt” a visual arts project based on the life and work of the legendary American jazz pioneer, mystic, poet, and philosopher Sun Ra.
HEAR THE SILENCE (Höre die Stille) US Premiere
Director: Ed Ehrenberg
Country: Germany, Running Time: 95 min
One could actually get lost in the breathtaking cinematography and set design of this piece if not for the riveting story of the men and women at the time of the German attack on the Soviet Union in 1941. A small, lost unit of German soldiers is looking for shelter in a remote, small, snowy village in the Ukraine. They get separated from their company during battle and wind up deep within enemy territory cut off from their fellow troops.
THE NIGHT WITCH
Director: Alison Klayman
Country: USA, Running time: 4 min
This animated New York Times Op-Doc explores the life of Nadezhda Popova, known as Nadia, who became a World War II hero as part of a Soviet all-female bombing regiment.
Director: Daniel Maldonado
Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min
A meditation on urban communication that weaves two stories together, both inspired by true events in New York City. Part 1 is a lyrical tone poem concerning of a missing young man with Asperger’s Syndrome who wanders through the labyrinth-like subways, somehow unnoticed. Part 2 follows a gambling Ecuadorian livery driver who offers a ride to a stranded Chinese woman desperate to get home to her sick child. H.O.M.E. explores alienation & meaningful encounters through the lens of a “disconnected” city in constant motion.
HERE COMES THE TRAIN World Premiere
Directed by Joie Lee
USA, Running Time: 8:08 min
A woman wrestles with honesty, integrity and two needy souls on the NY subway.
Director: Alexander Hankoff
Country: USA, Running Time: 5:16 min
A day in the life of Jerry, a pet store owner in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn as he tends to his pigeons and shares his philosophies about NYC.
I GO BACK HOME – JIMMY SCOTT East Coast Premiere
Director: Yoon-ha Chang
Country: Germany, Running Time: 96 min
The story of jazz legend Jimmy Scott and disillusioned producer and composer Ralf Kemper who accepted the job to produce an album with the almost-forgotten icon. Jimmy Scott, friend of Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and one of the last connections to the golden age of jazz, was described as “perhaps the most unjustly ignored American singer of the 20th century,” by the New York Times. Kemper becomes obsessed with the idea of bringing attention to his hero, but it takes a tragedy to put his thoughts into action. Ralf gathers some of the most important jazz musicians into the studio in tribute for Scott. Together with many of Scott’s old friends like Quincy Jones, Joe Pesci and James Moody, Kemper pursues his dream. He can’t give up. He spares no expense and reaches the limits of what can be done to capture Jimmy’s unique voice in a race against time. Winner of Best Musical Documentary at SXSW this past Spring.
|Jonas and the Backyard Circus|
JONAS AND THE BACKYARD CIRCUS US Premiere
Director: Paula Gomes
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 83 min
Jonas is 13-years-old and his life dream is to maintain the circus that he created in his backyard. While he faces this challenge, he will live the adventure of growing up.
MARQUIS World Premiere
Director: Maya Suchak
Country: USA, Running Time: 7:46 min
The story of Marquis Dixon who was sentenced to 9 years in state prison for stealing a pair of sneakers, told through the perspective of his mother Aisha.
GUILT TRIP World Premiere
Director: Majestic Tillman
Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min
Shot in one single take, GUILT TRIP is the story of two cousins dealing with the aftermath of a crime gone wrong.
LOST CHILD – SAYON’S JOURNEY World Premiere
Director: Janet Paxton Gardner
Countries: Cambodia/USA, Running Time: 57 min
Sayon Soeun was abducted at age six and exploited by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, and his family life and education were stolen. Breaking a 25-year silence, he takes us inside the Children’s Army as a witness to genocide. Footage from a lost archive reveals a war-torn country closed to Western media during the 1970s, and we follow Soeun’s remarkable recovery and redemption from painful childhood trauma. LOST CHILD celebrates the power of the human spirit to overcome oppression and make peace with an inconceivably difficult past.
THE TELEGRAM MAN (2011*)
Director: James Khehtie
Country: Australia, Running Time: 14 min
A man delivers telegrams to farming families during World War II in a rural community letting them know a husband or son was killed in action.
*Regarded as a film of artistic, cultural and historical significance by the OSCARS® | Academy Awards® Film Archive, THE TELEGRAM MAN is part of its permanent collection at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood. The Archive collects, preserves and provides access to moving images that represent significant contributions to the art and science of motion pictures. Starring Australian and international screen legends Jack Thompson, Gary Sweet and Sigrid Thornton.
NUCLEAR NEIGHBOR US Premiere
Director: Fredrik Oskarsson
Countries: Finland/Norway/Sweden, Running Time: 79 min
NUCLEAR NEIGHBOR isn’t just a film about a nuclear plant project, where the end justifies the means. It is also a story about a regular person’s mammoth task to overcome the powers that be.
Director: Stefan Beaumont
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:09 min
One man's trash is another man's treasure - a junk man's take on cleaning up our act.
Director: Janssen Powers Manhattan Premiere
US, 2016 (3:18 min)
This film visually and emotionally captures the energy and attitude of exploring the Pacific Northwest through the eyes of people who do so religiously. Modern day explorers living and breathing the outdoors. Narrated by infamous Mountaineer Lou Whittaker who is a living example of explorer and environmentalist John Muir.
REDEMPTION SONG North American Premiere
Director: Cristina Mantis
Countries: Brazil/Guinea/Italy/Senegal, Running Time: 64 min
This film sings the song of redemption that the African refugee Cissoko, dreams for his people and his land. Having arrived in Italy, in the hottest time of migration, Cissoko decides to return home to convince his young brothers not to emigrate in search of false dreams. Back in Africa, he begins to make projections in schools and villages to inform the people about the precarious living conditions of many immigrants, often dramatically close to slavery.
ALL THEY KNOW IS SHOOT New York City Premiere
Director: Anike Bay
Country: USA, Running Time: 5:04 min
This is a civil rights Anti-Police Brutality protest music video for the artist Tripp Sticc for his new song of the same title.
OUT OF THE ASHES
Director: Susan Saltz
Countries: Congo, US, Running Time: 23:32 min
Out of the ashes of war torn Eastern Congo two boys emerge with an education, an adventure and a dream.
THE REMNANT East Coast Premiere
Director: Karmia Olutade
Countries: China/USA, Running Time: 120 min
A group of orphaned child laborers in a second hand water factory struggle to escape and rediscover home in a drought-stricken world.
SEARCHING FOR SHANIQUA New York City Premiere
Director: Phil Branch
Country: USA, Running Time: 61 min
Searching for Shaniqua is a documentary that examines the impact that unique, Afrocentric, Islamic and so-called “ghetto” names have on people’s lives.
THE SISTER US Premiere
Director: Joseph Israel Laban
Country: Philippines, Running Time: 80 min
In the midst of the traditional moryonan rites observed every Holy Week in the island province of Marinduque, Mariana receives a devastating news from abroad – her sister, Magda, who was working as a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia is dead. Mariana and her mother then have to deal with the tedious and expensive process of repatriating the remains of Magda.
Director: Shakti Bhagchandani
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
A day in the life of a woman in the Nation of Islam.
SWEET DILLARD World Premiere
Director: Jim Virga
Country: USA, Running Time: 54 min
From the first day of class to a national competition, SWEET DILLARD provides an inside look at one of the nation’s best public high school jazz bands.
BUSKERS: SOUND OF THE CITY World Premiere
Director: Megan Zebrowski
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:27 min
Film looks at the people that play on the city streets and trains and their inspiration to perform.
THIRSTY World Premiere
Director: Margo Pelletier
Country: USA, Running Time: 97 min
Bullied, girly-boy Scott Townsend grows up to become drag queen sensation, Thirsty Burlington, known for her spot on impersonation of Cher. But is it enough? A true-life, musical adventure as dramatic as it is entertaining.
TRAVIS: THE TRUE STORY OF TRAVIS WALTON (DIRECTOR’S CUT)
Director: Jennifer W Stein World Premiere
Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min
The film recounts the now world-famous 1975 UFO abduction of Travis Walton and the impact it has had on his life over the intervening forty years — and on the lives of others who were also involved.
Director: Alexander Heringer
Country: Germany, Running Time: 11 min
A grievous loss puts a young woman in an endless struggle of escaping the past.
TWO WORLDS World Premiere
Director: Maciej Adamek
Country: Poland, Running Time: 51 min
In this inspiring family portrait, 12-year-old Laura serves as the audience’s guide through life with her deaf parents, which is unusual, challenging and surprisingly ordinary.
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? World Premiere
Director: Stephanie Mankins
Country: USA, Running Time: 43 min
A documentary about the filmmaker’s sister, deafened by spinal meningitis at age 3, and her decision to get a cochlear implant 38 years later.
Director: Benjamin Weill
Country: France, Running Time: 80 min
Film follows four inseparable teenagers in a small town in Brittany, France. As lifelong fans of the West Coast, they think they are real gangstas. Together as a “gang”, they are invincible, respected, fearless and nothing can reach them, certainly not the teasing and contempt of their fellow classmates. So when Fle-O, the leader of this merry gang learns that he has to leave his town and his friends at the end of the year, his whole world falls apart leaving him vulnerable when the most popular kid in school decides to make fun of them in front of everyone. Humiliated, our protagonists decide to take their revenge through one last expedition together that will lead them further than they would have imagined.
LET’S STAY TOGETHER
Director: Wayne Williams
Country: USA, Running Time: 5:41
Aubrey, an easy going yet dangerously oblivious nine year old husband has to convince Bobbi, his eight year old devoted yet overly-sensitive wife, not to file for divorce after she witnesses an unforgivable transgression of his.
WANT IT BACK
Director: Olivier Dressen
Countries: China, France, Running Time: 4:04 min
A world without adult, only ruled by kids. The story about 5 years old kids, living like adults in a wild wild world.
Director: Jonathan Ashley
Country: USA, Running Time: 54 min
A documentary on the American cultural stereotype of Wiggers—White rap fans who ‘act Black’. A group of White artists and activists share their thoughts, emotions and opinions on the subject while illustrating how their lives and consciousness were forever changed by their involvement in hip hop culture.
ANY DAY NOW
Director: Albert Uria
Countries: Spain/USA, Running Time: 20 min
A short, sweet comedy about how short (and sweet) life can be…
IN BLACK AND WHITE
Director: Dana Verde
Country: USA, Running Time: 20:10 min
When an interracial couple hosts a feast for family and friends to announce their pregnancy, what should have been a celebration quickly turns into a debate over the racial and ethnic identity of the unborn child (who has an African-American mother and a Latino father).
Short Film Programs
ADULT SHORTS NIGHT
BLASTERCORE East Coast Premiere
Director: Alessandro Vivarini
Country: Italy, Running Time: 11:25 min
Porn lovers, hardcore music, ninja-police and socially inadequate behaviors are mixed in a low-quality homemade exploitation style short film.
THE FROZEN EYE
Director: Karim Oulhaj
Country: Belgium, Running Time: 29 min
Bernard is an average man who is moving into his new apartment. While settling in, he suddenly discovers there’s a hole in his floor, enabling him to spy on his neighbor…
Director: Zeina Barakeh
Country: US, Running Time 9:47 min
This animated piece investigates various mechanisms of war and the fragmentation of the body and the self. It further draws upon current events, as well as cotton as a core resource in the economics and spread of Empire from the Islamic Era, through the Crusaders, through slavery and into the present.
PRINCESS EUN HWA
Director: Dave Zhang
Countries: China/South Korea/USA, Running Time: 38:12 min
A dark fairy tale about a young Korean princess who falls in love with princes from different kingdoms in her fantasies.
Director: Yagmur Altan
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:36
Animated short film looks at an ordinary day at an old mysterious Turkish country house where the residents have an extraordinary way of brewing tea.
Director: Devereux Milburn
Country: USA, Running Time: 12:22 min
A maladroit bumbler pines after a co-worker in the vain hope of catching her eye over the advances of his superior.
HARLEM SHORTCUTS – HOMEMADE CINEMA
BOOK OF DAYS: THE FINAL CHAPTER
Director: Ian Phillips
Country: USA, Running Time: 39 min
A book vendor on the streets of NYC struggles to get his own book published. Shot over the course of 8 years.
CURSE OF WAR
Directed: Abdul Malik Abbott
Country: USA, Running Time: 16:49 min
A U.S. Marine who's suffering from PTSD reminisces about his tumultuous past and makes a decision that will affect his future.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HARRIETS
Director: Clare Kent
Country: USA, Running Time 5:20 min
Three Harriet Tubmans have something to say about how America runs its money, since her face is going to be on it. Featuring a soul/rap track with a gospel finish.
Director: Ted Schneider
Country: USA, Running Time: 22:44 min
If a man is stopped and frisked in the middle of Harlem but no one thinks it’s a big deal, did anything really happen?
ONE MAN’S TRASH
Director: Kelly Adams
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min
For 34 years, Nelson Molina has worked for the NYC Department of Sanitation, developing a unique relationship to the objects that fill the garbage bags lining the streets. With a keen curatorial eye for finding treasure in household trash, Nelson has created a collection of found objects in a sanitation garage in East Harlem, which he refers to as a museum of “Treasures in the Trash.”
Director: Nuhi de Stani
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min
Film looks at Michael Henry Adams, a Harlem historian and activist who finds himself in a constant battle against greed and cultural destruction.
SUNDAY SHORTS - SOULFUL
THE CRIP WHO LOVES YOGA
Director: James Wvinner
Country: USA, Running Time: 6:00
A Crip gang member tells the story of the rise and trials of the Shoreline Crip gang in Venice, California and how yoga became a part of his life.
Director: Azar Dagher
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:33 min
Hendrix tribute song from Charlie Sayles 25th anniversary reissue of the classic 1990 sessions.
HOW BERLIN GOT THE BLUES
Director: Victoria Luther
Countries: Germany, USA, Running Time: 45:00
The film looks at Eb Davis and the Super band. How a military man, working in a small, clandestine unit in West Berlin, was able to spread the Blues to the people of West and East Berlin, bridging the gap between the cold war and the love of the Blues.
Director: Colm Dillane
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:40
A collaborative story between visual artist Colm Dillane and recording artist Zarif Wilder (AKA theMIND). Dillane’s film is a depiction of the streets of Zarif Wilder’s youth in Chicago and Philadelphia. The video’s characters are made out of clay and hand-made clothes from the fabrics from Dillane’s KidSuper clothing line and the sets are made of cardboard, paint and found objects.
ONE DAY AT A TIME
Director: Gabri Christa
Countries: Netherlands Antilles, Running Time: 27:18
When a Caribbean Man discovers Yoga and finds his Guru, he discovers that he is more than his blackness and becomes a yoga teacher and health activist in his local island community.
Directors: Gini Richards, Monica Berra, SheRea DelSol
Country: USA, Running Time: 20:45
The story of a group of Black Power activists who attempt to build a multi-racial utopia in Klan Country, North Carolina during the 1970s.
SUNDAY SHORTS – SCI FI TO SURREAL
GHOSTS IN TIME
Director: Jimmy Nsubuga
Country: UK, Running Time: 8 min
Eve risks her life to travel back in time in order to change the events that caused the death of her parents.
Director: Tamika Guishard
Country: USA, Running Time: 9:22
Using exposure therapy to supplement his PTSD medication, a soldier teeters on the edge of reality.
Director: George Dalphin
Country: USA, Running Time: 20:10
ORANGE is the AI that runs society, to which all humans are directly connected via wireless brain implants. Gwen is a young woman who wants to find the base of reality; Will is a young man who has discovered a meditative method of making use of the mental connection shared by all, to take over the bodies of others, and after they meet, nothing will be the same.
Director: Jace Alexander Casey
Country: USA, Running Time: 21:33
Seeking solace from her domineering fiancé, a traumatized bride-to-be searches for an artist who appears to be drawing her erotic, ominous fate. Part psychosexual thriller, part art-house film, SHEN is a unique portrait of desire and domination in their most cerebral and bodily manifestations.
Directed by David Chontos
Country: USA, Running Time: 3:50
A music video which is part exercise of passion, and part love letter, SISTERS is a fragment of some lost, tragic opera
THE SKY OVER BERLIN OF MY CHILDHOOD New York City Premiere
Director: Bakhtiyar Islamov
Country: Kasakhstan, Running Time: 10:04 min
This is a film about lost children in a strange place and a metaphor of the lost generation born in the post Soviet area between 1980-1990. The images of the film are memories of the young people who passed through the collapse of the empire.
TUSSLE IN THE BACKWOODS
Director: Fabio Sousa
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 14:34
An animated short film about a group of farmers in a rickety truck that have an accident and have to finish the trip on foot. That is when they end up face to face with a mysterious creature.
SUNDAY SHORTS – SUSPENSEFUL
A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Director: Phedon Papamichael
Country: USA, Running Time: 21:01 min
Gene Thompson (James Brolin) wakes up knowing that the decision he has made will change his life forever. Following in the tradition of the new Greek Cinema phenomenon, the film’s Athens-born director brings a searing expose of the fragility of the human psyche. Gene gets up day after day and follows the same monotonous routine that he has lived since the death of his wife ten years earlier. He is aging fast from illness and loneliness and has given up on the future. Today, however, he awakens with a new determination to end the life he has known. Today, there is a new resolve that will change the course of everything.
ALL MY BLACK SONS
Director: Nicole Lockhart
Country: US, Running Time 5:42 min
Italian art's iconic Black Madonna comes to life to protect her son, the Black Messiah, from his impending death.
Director: Paul Meschùh
Countries: Croatia/Germany, Running Time: 29 min
On his journey from Somalia to Europe, shipwrecked Moussa is picked up by a wealthy couple on their luxurious catamaran. The athletic young man is the only survivor of a disaster in the Mediterranean Sea and asks Hannes and Gerlinde to smuggle him across the border. Questioning Moussa’s true intentions, the yacht owners are torn between mistrust, fear and the urge for helping a fellow human being. A political drama of two separated worlds colliding within one global community.
THE FIRMEST FRIEND
Director: Andrew Fixell
Country: USA, Running Time: 19:46
The story of human and canine outsiders finding their way into each other’s lives and giving each other hope where previously there had been none.
UGLY New York City Premiere
Director: LeRon Lee
Country: USA, Running Time: 21 min
An urban, coming-of-age story of a boy looking for love in the wrong place..his own environment.
ABOUT THE HARLEM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Celebrating the art of cinema in the home of the Harlem Renaissance, The Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) inspires and entertains by honoring dynamic films by anyone about anything under the sun. Conceived from the belief that we all have unique experiences and perspectives to share, the Festival actively seeks and exhibits fresh work. Hi is committed to exemplifying the eminence that Harlem represents and is dedicated to bringing attention to the finest filmmakers from Harlem and across the globe.