A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Friday, May 19, 2017
KIEF DAVIDSON’S BENDING THE ARC TO OPEN GREENWICH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
WMCHealth is the presenting sponsor of the opening night film, Bending the Arc and Q&A discussion following the screening.
Other highlights of the festival weekend include:
The Changemaker Awards honoring Christy Turlington Burns for her work with Every Mother Counts and Renee Zellweger for her leadership and support in the search for a cure for ALS.
A performance by Flo Rida at the opening night party on Friday, June 2nd.
The Social Impact Awards with a jury chaired by Actress, Activist and Humanitarian Sophia Bush.
LIVE FROM CONNECTICUT: A Discussion with Saturday Night Live Writers to be moderated by Lorne Manley of The New York Times. Presented by GIFF in partnership with First Republic and WGA-E.
PRODUCING SPORTS: ESPN 30 for 30’s Mike and The Mad Dog screening followed by an insightful panel with sports entertainment leaders Connor Schell, Mark Teixeira, Kyle Martino and moderator in sports Ryen Russillo.
“The Film Review: An Inside Look At the Responsibility of a Film Critic,” moderated by Joe Meyers of the Connecticut Post, featuring Alison Wilmore (Buzzfeed), Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair) and Marshall Fine (General Manager, NYFCC)
“Women Driving ROI Panel in the Film Marketplace,” sponsored by J.P. Morgan.featuring Suzanne Farwell, Producer (Carrie Pilby, It’s Complicated, the Intern, Something’s Gotta Give) and Susan Cartsonis, Producer (The DUFF, Where the Heart Is, What Women Want) and Moderated by: Ruth Ann Harnisch (Lead Investor, Superlative Films, Executive Producer, The Hunting Ground, Unrest).
A Captain Underpants book signing by Dav Pilkey and screening of DreamWorks Animation’s CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE on Thursday, June 1st at 5:00pm.
Post-screening conversations will include a panel on rape culture and sexual assault following the Centerpiece showing of Jessica Thompson’s THE LIGHT OF THE MOON on Saturday, June 3 at 1:00pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich. Participating in the Q&A will be Jessica Thompson, film producer Carlos Velayo, lead actress Stephanie Beatriz, and Peg Cafferty (producer, India’s Daughter).
Film highlights including: Centerpiece film, Phillip Baribeau’s CHARGED: THE EDUARDO GARCIA STORY on June 3rd, at 6:30pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich. Sophia Kruz’s LITTLE STONES on June 2nd at 3:00pm at Cole Auditorium at Greenwich Library. Beach Rats on June 3rd, at 8:45pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich. Dina on June 3rd at 6:15pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich. Blame on June 3rd at 3:45pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich. Bobbi Jene on June 2nd at 3:30pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich. Writer/director Brett Haley’s THE HERO starring Sam Elliot, Nick Offerman and Krysten Ritter on June 3rd at 4:30pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich. The Connecticut Shorts Program on June 3 at 3:00pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich showcases short films that were either shot in Connecticut or made by a filmmaker from Connecticut. This new category will celebrate local film talent and the beautiful State of Connecticut.
As previously announced, the 3rd annual Changemaker Gala will take place on Thursday, June 1, 2017. The Changemaker Awards honor artists who have used their public platform and the power of film to further positive social change. This year, Renée Zellweger and Christy Turlington Burns, will be honored for their humanitarian work with ALS and Every Mother Counts, respectively. The June 1st Changemaker event, presented by CuisinArt Resorts & Residences and ALS FindingACure, will include a cocktail reception at Betteridge followed by a black tie dinner at L’Escale in Greenwich, CT
Actress, Activist and Humanitarian, Sophia Bush will present the Best Social Impact Film Award at Opening Night Party on Friday June 2nd. This prize will be awarded to one film across all categories that promotes social change and awareness. The films in competition for The Social Impact Prize will be determined by the GIFF team, awarded by the Jury and the prize will have a cash value of $10,000.00 USD. The Social Impact Jury is comprised of actors, activists, philanthropists, and entertainment professionals. The award will be presented to the winning director, during an awards ceremony, where he or she will be presented with a trophy and receive a check.
The Festival will host a special performance open to the public by Flo Rida on Friday, June 2nd. Tickets will go on sale Friday, May 5th, 2017 and will be available for purchase at greenwichfilm.org.
About The Greenwich International Film Festival
Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that hosts a world-class film festival in Greenwich, CT. The goal of the Festival is to bridge the worlds of film, finance and philanthropy. The third annual Festival will take place June 1st – 4th, 2017, has a social impact focus, and will benefit charity partners with proceeds. The four-day event will feature a star-studded Opening Night Party, film premieres, engaging panels, a Changemaker Honoree Gala, and more. For additional information, please visit www.greenwichfilm.org.
About Westchester Medical Center Health Network
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit www.WMCHealth.org
The following panels will take place during the festival.
LIVE FROM CONNECTICUT: A Conversation with Saturday Night Live Writers – Thursday, June 1st at 7:00pm at Avon Theatre in Stamford
Since the inaugural utterance of its now notorious opening line—“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”— NBC’s Saturday Night Live has gone on to become one of the most popular, celebrated, and longest-running programs in television history. This legendary late-night sketch show, known for the irreverent manner in which it has poked fun at politics and pop culture, has been a preeminent breeding ground and launching pad for some of the best comedy writers, most talented performers, and biggest stars of the last forty years. This multiple Emmy Award winning show arguably has provided more classic moments of entertainment than any other program in the history of the medium—and it all starts in the writers’ room. In partnership with First Republic, please join us in an engaging discussion with leading SNL writers to discuss the creative process of script to screen.
Moderated by: Lorne Manly (New York Times)
Panelists: Tim Herlihy, and Bryan Tucker
WOMEN DRIVING ROI IN THE FILM MARKETPLACE PANEL
Movies for women do better than movies focused on any other demographic at the box office, yet funding is harder to come by for female focused entertainment. Join us for an engaging discussion about this illogical disparity and how Hollywood can grow by investing in female-centric films.
Moderated by: Ruth Ann Harnisch (Lead Investor, Superlative Films, executive Producer, The Hunting Ground, Unrest)
Panelists: Suzanne Farwell, Producer (Carrie Pilby, It’s Complicated, The Intern, Something’s Gotta Give) and Susan Cartsonis, Producer (The DUFF, No Reservations, Where the Heart Is, What Women Want)
THE FILM REVIEW: An Inside Look at the Formidable Responsibility of a Film Critic – Friday, June 2nd at 3:00pm at Greenwich Arts Council
Ever since the dawn of cinema when the Lumière Brothers first set up their cameras, there has been a flood of filmmakers who have attempted, in various ways, to capture "objective truth" on celluloid. For almost as long, film criticism has wrestled with the difficulties inherent in the process of analyzing a film objectively. Is it possible—or even desirable—for film criticism to be free from personal bias? And what is a critic’s responsibility to the success or failure of a film? A critic’s response can ultimately be the make or break of that movie’s future in terms of festival play, its distribution success, and its box office prowess. Join us in a conversation with top film critics as we discuss objective criticism and the responsibility these heavy hitters have over the future of a film.
Moderated by: Joe Meyers (Connecticut Post)
Panelists: Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair), Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed), and Marshall Fine (General Manager, NYFCC)
PRODUCING SPORTS: ESPN 30 for 30’s Mike and The Mad Dog screening followed by an insightful panel with leaders in sports entertainment – Sunday, June 4th at 3:00pm at Cole Auditorium
Whether it’s a sportscaster narrating the action of a game—or a filmmaker focusing his documentary on a sports legend, many different people are responsible for merging the worlds of sports and entertainment. Life changing moments that have transformed the sports landscape have become the content for some of the most celebrated television and film productions. This year, 30 for 30's OJ: Made In America has even become the first sports documentary to air on television and win an Academy Award. Please join us for a screening of ESPN 30 for 30’s new documentary Mike and The Mad Dog—based on two of the greatest sportscasters in history—followed by a discussion of the bright future of sports entertainment.
Moderated by: Ryen Russillo (Radio Host, ESPN)
Panelists: Connor Schell (Co-Creator and EP, ESPN’s 30 For 30), Mark Teixeira (Analyst, NBC Sports), and Kyle Martino (Analyst, NBC Sports)
The following films will screen as a part of the festival. For screening dates / times / venues please visit: www.greenwichfilm.org
Directed by: Max Azulay and Matt Porter
Starring: Max Azulay, Matt Porter, Emily Walton, Zoe Azulay and Bobby Moynihan
Synopsis: Convinced that he's dying from a bizarre array of symptoms, struggling comedian Spencer Kaminsky returns home to visit his five childhood doctors in a single day, all while desperately trying to avoid the friends and family that he left behind.
A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG
Directed by: Jason Headley
Starring: Matt Jones, Will Rogers, Eleanor Pienta
Synopsis: A comedy about two would-be thieves who accidentally arm the alarm system and have to break out of the house they just broke into. When they discover an unexpected housesitter, they suddenly have to deal with a hostage situation, double crosses, sexual tensions, and discoveries that make their difficult escape even more dubious. SXSW Special Jury Recognition for Best Ensemble.
Directed by: Eliza Hittman
Starring: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Frank Hakaj
Synopsis: An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online.
Directed by: Quinn Shephard
Starring: Trieste Kelly Dunn, Chris Messina, Tate Donovan, Geneva Carr, Quinn Shephard
Synopsis: It’s the start of a new year at a small suburban high school—Abigail (Quinn Shephard) is an eternal outcast returning for the first time after a mysterious event the previous year. Facing constant bullying, Abigail escapes from her hostile surroundings by immersing herself in the worlds of the characters she reads about, much to the amusement of her manipulative classmate, Melissa (Nadia Alexander). When the girls’ intriguing new drama teacher Jeremy (Chris Messina) announces Arthur Miller’s 'The Crucible” as their fall show, and casts Abigail over Melissa in the starring role, Abigail’s confidence blooms — but soon her relationship with Jeremy begins to move beyond the fantasy world she's constructed. This taboo bond strikes a nerve in Melissa, fueling a vengeful jealousy that quickly spirals out of control — and brings about a chain of events that draws even further parallels to the madness of Salem…
CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE
Directed by: David Soren
Starring: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal
Synopsis: Based on the worldwide sensation and bestselling book series, and boasting an A-list cast of comedy superstars headed by Kevin Hart and Ed Helms, DreamWorks Animation brings audiences the long-awaited global movie event, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. This raucously subversive comedy for the entire family tells the story of two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.
Directed by: Amman Abbasi
Starring: Devin Blackmon, Dontrell Bright, Lachion Buckingham, Kordell Johnson
Synopsis: In the wake of his older brother’s death, 13-year-old Dayveon spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town. When he falls in with a local gang, he becomes drawn to the camaraderie and violence of their world.
FITS AND STARTS
Directed by: Laura Terruso
Starring: Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee
Synopsis: David Warwik is a struggling writer who has been toiling away at the same novel for years. His wife Jennifer is a hot young literary figure, who has just released a critically acclaimed work. When her publisher invites the couple to an artists' salon at his home in Connecticut, the pair embark on a twisted journey, and David must face his demons and try to “not be weird” among the waspy salon guests and competitive art set in attendance. He encounters a dentist with publishing aspirations, a book critic full of condescending advice, a fellow writer who may know his wife a little too well, an old “friend," and a high powered bipolar literary agent who just might be able to help him...for a price.
Directed by: Nevio Marasovic
Starring: Franjo Dijak, Natasa Janjic , Goran Bogdan, Edita Karadjole, Filip Krizan, Bojan Navojec
Synopsis: Goran just wants to drive his taxi, but the people close to him also have agendas and dreams of their own, which threaten his carefree existence. With the cold and white winter as backdrop, the fiery personalities of these highlanders surface, and collide. White gets mixed with red.
Directed by: Brett Haley
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Sam Elliott, Katharine Ross
Synopsis: THE HERO stars the legendary Sam Elliott as an aging actor confronting mortality in the moving new film from writer/director Brett Haley (I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS). Lee Hayden (Elliott) is a Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy. THE HERO is a beautiful and poignant celebration of life and the legacies we all leave behind.
Sponsored by: Hospital for Special Surgery
IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD
Directed by: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux
Synopsis: Louis, a terminally ill writer, returns home after a long absence to tell his family that he is dying.
THE LIGHT OF THE MOON
Directed by: Jessica M. Thompson
Starring: Stephanie Beatriz, Michael Stahl-David, Conrad Ricamora, Catherine Curtin
Synopsis: Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, is sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control of her life, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at -risk woman causes her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame.
Directed by: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Starring: Kate Mara, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, Ramon Rodriguez, Edie Falco, Will Patton, Common, Geraldine James, Marko Caka, Catherine Dyer, Corey Johnson, Sam Keeley, Miguel Gomez, Melina Matthews
Synopsis: MEGAN LEAVEY is based on the true life story of a young marine corporal (Kate Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite (BLACKFISH) from a screenplay by Pamela Gray and Annie Mumolo & Tim Lovestedt, the film also stars Edie Falco, Ramón Rodríguez, Bradley Whitford, and Common.
Directed by: Joshua Z Weinstein
Starring: Menashe Lustig
Synopsis: Set within the New York Hasidic community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Menashe follows a kind but hapless grocery store clerk trying to maintain custody of his son Rieven after his wife, Lea, passes away. Since they live in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother present in every home, Rieven is supposed to be adopted by the boy’s strict, married uncle, but Menashe’s Rabbi decides to grant him one week to spend with Rieven prior to Lea’s memorial. Their time together creates an emotional moment of father/son bonding as well as offers Menashe a final chance to prove to his skeptical community that he can be a capable parent.
THE STRANGE ONES
Directed by: Christopher Radcliff, Lauren Wolkstein
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, James Freedson-Jackson, Emily Althaus, Gene Jones, Owen Campbell, Tobias Campbell, Marin Ireland
Synopsis: Mysterious events surround two travelers, seemingly brothers, as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to a dark and complex web of secrets.
Directed by: Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney
Starring: Sylvio Bernardi
Synopsis: It's the story of a small town gorilla, Sylvio, who is stuck in his job at a debt collection agency. Deep down he just wants to express himself with his hand puppet, Herbert Herpels, and his experimental puppet show that highlights the quiet moments of life. He accidentally joins a local TV program and a series of on-air mishaps threaten to shatter his identity, sending him on an adventure of self-discovery where reality and fantasy start to blend.
BENDING THE ARC
Directed by: Keif Davidson
Synopsis: The powerful documentary follows the extraordinary team of doctors and activists including Paul Farmer, Jim Young Kim and Ophelia Dahl – whose work thirty years ago to save lives in rural Haitian village grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all. Epic, yet intimate, the film is a compelling argument for the power of collective and personal vision and will to turn the tide of history
Directed by: Leah Warshawski, Todd Soliday
Synopsis: For years, Sonia Warshawski (90) has been an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons, where her stories of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager have inspired countless people who once felt their own traumas would leave them broken forever. But when Sonia is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop (in a dead mall), she's confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop, or retire. For a woman who admits she stays busy to keep the dark parts away, facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces. BIG SONIA explores what it means to be a survivor and how this affects families and generations. Will you let your trauma define you? Or will your past make you stronger?
Directed by: Elvira Lind
Synopsis: After a decade of stardom in Israel, the American dancer, Bobbi Jene takes intensity to a new level: She decides to leave her great mentor/choreographer Ohad Nahardi and the love of her live behind to return to US. Determined to establish herself, she creates her own violently personal and boundary-breaking performances. A woman ́s fight for independence and the dilemma of its consequences
CHARGED: THE EDUARDO GARCIA STORY
Directed by: Phillip Baribeau
Synopsis: CHARGED chronicles the life-changing journey of chef and outdoorsman Eduardo Garcia after being shocked by 2400 volts of electricity in a freak accident while hiking in the remote back country of Montana. Eduardo lost his hand, ribs, muscle mass, and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. Through sheer resilience, his former partner, Jennifer Jane, nursed Eduardo back to health and he learned to embrace his past, his family, and his future. A survival and love story unlike any other, CHARGED tells Eduardo’s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.
CITY OF GHOSTS
Directed by: Matthew Heineman
Synopsis: Directed, produced, and filmed by Academy Award–nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman (CARTEL LAND, 2015 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award), CITY OF GHOSTS is a singularly powerful cinematic experience that is sure to shake audiences to their core as it elevates the canon of one of the most talented documentary filmmakers working today. Captivating in its immediacy, CITY OF GHOSTS follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”— a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With astonishing, deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.
Directed by: Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles
Synopsis: Dina’s getting married in a few weeks and there’s still so much to do. She has to move her boyfriend, Scott, from his parents’ house to her apartment, and settle him into only the second home he’s ever had, all while juggling his schedule as an early morning Walmart door greeter. She has to get her dress, confirm arrangements with the venue, and make peace with her family, who remain nervous for their beloved Dina after the death of her first husband and the string of troubled relationships that followed. Throughout it all, in the face of obstacles large and small, Dina remains indomitable. She’s overcome tragedy and found the man she wants and, at age 48, is bent on building the life for herself that she believes she deserves. Dina is unstoppable, a force of nature, and as the star of her own life story, she’s an unconventional movie protagonist the likes of which hasn’t been seen before.
Directed by: Peter Bratt
Synopsis: In the copious volumes written about Cesar Chavez and how he formed the first farm workers' union in America, there's little mention of Dolores Huerta, although she was his equal partner and co-founder of the union. DOLORES sheds light on this enigmatic, intensely private woman who is among the most important yet little-known activists in American history. With unprecedented access to both Dolores and her children, the film reveals the raw, personal stories behind the public figure. It portrays a woman both heroic and flawed, working tirelessly for social change even as her eleven children longed to have her at home. Directed by Peter Bratt.
GIVE ME FUTURE
Directed by: Austin Peters
Synopsis: In March 2016, following the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, electronic dance music trio Major Lazer made history, becoming one of the first major American acts to play in the communist state. Unsure how their descent on Havana would be received and hoping to reach a few tens of thousands, the epic concert unexpectedly drew in close to half a million fans. Much more than a garden variety music film, Give Me Future begins as a behind-the-scenes look at the historic concert and evolves into a masterful exploration of Cuba’s inspirational youth movement and its ingenious DIY information culture. Capturing exhilarating performance footage and authentic stories highlighting the country’s cultural growth and desire for inclusion in the global community, director Austin Peters conjures a transcendent, rhythm-laced depiction of the powerful catalysts driving a country on the brink of change.
A GREY STATE
Directed by: Erik Nelson
Synopsis: In 2010 David Crowley, an Iraq veteran, aspiring filmmaker and charismatic up-and-coming voice in fringe politics, began production on his film "Gray State." Set in a dystopian near-future where civil liberties are trampled by an unrestrained federal government, the film’s crowd funded trailer was enthusiastically received by the burgeoning online community of libertarians, Tea Party activists as well as members of the nascent alt-right. In January of 2015, Crowley was found dead with his family in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly become a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists who speculate that Crowley was assassinated by a shadowy government concerned about a film and filmmaker that was getting too close to the truth about their aims. Directed by "Grizzly Man" producer Erik Nelson and Executive Produced by Werner Herzog, “A Gray State” combs through Crowley’s archive of 13,000 photographs, hundreds of hours of home video, and exhaustive behind-the-scenes footage of David’s work in progress to reveal what happens when a paranoid view of the government turns inward —blurring the lines of what is real and what people want to believe.
IT’S NOT DARK YET
Directed by: Frankie Fenton
Synopsis: Soon after premiering his short film The Sound of People at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, promising young Irish director Simon Fitzmaurice was tragically diagnosed with motor neurone disease (ALS). At just 34 years old, he was given four years to live, Fitzmaurice and his wife were expecting their third child, and a career in storytelling lay at his feet. Reeling from the shock, Fitzmaurice drew strength from his deepest desires—instead of being stuck in that painful moment, he realized his greatest defiance of ALS would be to direct his first feature film. Seven years later, despite total physical incapacitation, Fitzmaurice completed My Name is Emily (2015), directing it only with the use of his eyes. This emotional journey of self-realization and personal triumph over life-crushing adversity is nothing short of inspiring. All of it is captured with intimate home movies, photographs, and an affectionate voice-over by compatriot Colin Farrell, transporting us into Fitzmaurice’s creative world where every physical and psychological challenge is met with positivity and the desire to fulfill a dream.
Sponsored By UBER
Directed by: Sophia Kruz
Synopsis: LITTLE STONES weaves together the personal stories of four women artists, from across the world, who dedicate their lives to empowering women and survivors of gender based violence to express and help eradicate the atrocities of domestic violence, human trafficking, extreme poverty, and female genital mutilation, with their unique art forms.
MIKE AND THE MAD DOG
Directed by: Daniel H. Forer
Starring: Mike Francesa, Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo
Synopsis: They never attempted an at bat, handoff, slap shot, or free throw, yet they are some of New York’s biggest sports celebrities. Now they make their big screen debut in this look at the inner-workings of one of sports media’s most successful partnerships: Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, the voices that launched a thousand sports talk shows. Mike and the Mad Dog chronicles the rise and fall of the titular radio show, celebrating the New York sports scene that fostered Francesa and Russo’s success and pointedly exploring the conflicts, shortcomings, and controversies that led to the pairing’s demise after 19 years together on the air. Former colleagues, writers, broadcasters, and sports heavyweights like David Stern, Alex Rodriguez, and Brian Cashman weigh in as part of this unvarnished history. Francesa and Russo don’t disagree, contributing their own honest retrospection in characteristic style. As Francesa puts it, “When you are confident in your opinion, you get called arrogant.” They provide a satisfying insider story for the New York sports fan, but also an incisive analysis of their unlikely stardom and just what should be taken from the personalities that get behind the microphone.
Directed by: Lara Stolman
Synopsis: SWIM TEAM is a feature documentary chronicling the rise of a competitive swim team made up of children and teens on the autism spectrum. Based in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the cast of SWIM TEAM is largely Latino and Asian, minorities that are underrepresented in competitive swimming and underserved in autism intervention and education. The film followings three of the team’s star athletes, boys on the cusp of adulthood as they face a future of exclusion and dependence. But everything changes when they come together as a team with parent coaches who train them with high expectations and zero pity. As the team vies for state and national Special Olympics championships, SWIM TEAM captures a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels winning.
Sponsored by Rambler’s Way
Directed by: Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz
Synopsis: Endangered African species like elephants, rhinos and lions march closer to extinction each year. Their devastating decline is fueled in part by a global desire to consume these majestic animals. Trophy investigates the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation. Through the eyes of impassioned individuals who drive these industries – from a Texas-based trophy hunter to the world’s largest private rhino breeder in South Africa – the film grapples with the consequences of imposing economic value on animals. What are the implications of treating animals as commodities? Do breeding, farming and hunting offer some of the few remaining options to conserve our endangered animals? Trophy will leave you debating what is right, what is wrong and what is necessary in order to save the great species of the world.
Directed by: Joschka Laukeninks
Starring: Jan Stapelfeldt, Xenia Assenza, Jessica McIntyre
Synopsis: As a young child our protagonist is left by his mother and has to live with his violent father. He fights his way through adolescence and falls in love with the woman of his dreams and just as everything seems to be finally working out for him, a sudden event changes the course of his life forever. A story about how everything we love, everything we learn, everything we build, everything we fear, will one day be gone.
Directed by: Paul Meschuh
Starring: Eugene Boateng, Jule Ronstedt, Thomas Clemens
Synopsis: 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.
Directed by: Jason Neulander
Starring: Josephine McAdam, Scarlett Neulander, Chris Gibson, Cami Alys
Synopsis: Sheila's new babysitter Emmie asks if there are any bedtime rituals she should know about. There are.
Directed by: Erik Ivar Saether and Nicolai Berg Hansson
Starring: Hans Petter Nilsen, Trine Wiggen
Synopsis: The past few months, Jens has realized that he isn’t happy. Luckily, he has chosen the suitable time and place for spilling his guts: The family dinner. Glass House is a black comedy that will make you choke on laughter and salty duck breast.
Directed by: Jonathan Mason, Hamid Saidji
Synopsis: A kaleidoscopic journey through the streets of Algiers in HOCINE FILALI's ramshackle taxi. With dreams of setting sail for a better life in Italy, Hocine will first have to escape the grip of this magical city and its colorful cast of characters.
LE GRAND BAIN
Directed by: Valérie Leroy
Starring: Anne Agbadou-Masson, Camille Bardery, Djemel Barek, Franc Bruneau, Béatrice Clement, Flaminio Corcos, Anouchka Csernakova, Maryse Flaquet, Valérie Leroy, Stéphane Ly-Cuong, Jean Masini, Carole Massana, Olivier Ruidavet, Pierre Zéni
Synopsis: : Mia, 30 years old, just divorced, moves into a small studio in a popular district. A former swimming champion, she ends up giving swimming lessons to the residents of her building... Without a swimming pool...
Directed by: Leandro Goddinho
Starring: Luciana Paes, Sandra Dani, Carolina Bianchi, Marcela Feter, Ester Laccava, Mawusi Tulani, Jane Eyre
Synopsis: Claudia decides to investigate her grandmother's past, who recently passed away. Through a letter, she comes to Marlene, an old German lady who lives in Brazil and keeps her memories inside a pool without water. During the visit, the old lady reveals details of her life that intersect with Claudia's grandmother's past, a German fugitive of the 2nd World War.
Directed by: Lilli Schwabe
Starring: Karin Lischka, Jan Mixsa, Gabi Schuchter, Julia Zborowska, Norman Shetler, Tess Werner, Anna Schwabe, Nadine Petrea, Katrin Graf, Heinz Rank u.a.
Synopsis: Clara, an aspiring gynecologist, is enthusiastically supporting her patients, no matter if they are bringing a child into the world or are making the decision to have an abortion. At the same time, she is attempting to be a good wife and loving mother to her two little children. However, with the increasing pressures of daily life, her self imposed belief systems are beginning to falter, her duties in the clinic suddenly seem insurmountable and her family life is slipping away.
Directed by: Zofia Kowalewska
Synopsis: Barbara and Zdzislaw Torhan have been married for forty-five years. Eight years ago, Zdzislaw left Barbara and moved in with his mistress. Recently, he decided to return to his wife. Barbara took him back. However, returning to a shared life in one flat is turning out to be difficult for the couple. Zdzislaw suggests holding a jubilee celebration of their marriage.
Directed by: Pipus Larsen, Kenneth Gug, Scott J. Ross
Synopsis: Kelvin Pena, a charismatic high schooler from rural Pennsylvania, went viral in 2016 after befriending a group of wild deer and posting his adventures with them on Snapchat and Instagram. In this short documentary, he discusses his life philosophy, describes his experience with sudden internet fame, and takes the filmmakers on a trip to meet his deer friends
Directed by: Charlie Lyne
Synopsis: A search for the truth behind a fishy tale.
GIVING BIRTH IN AMERICA EPISODE
Synopsis: Maternal health non-profit Every Mother Counts presents a new three-part, short documentary series, “Giving Birth in America,” to examine some of the key reasons that the U.S. is falling so far behind in maternal healthcare. Each short film follows pregnant women and their healthcare providers in Florida, Montana and New York in the days leading up to delivery. Together, they navigate challenges of race, poverty, chronic illness, overuse of medical interventions and other inequalities that impact maternal health outcomes in America.
Directed by: Tom Scott
Synopsis: In a remarkable twist of fate, it was the decades-long effort of one blind person, Gordon Gund, that made it possible for another, Yannick Duwé, to see. After more than 45 years, the journey of Gordon and Lulie Gund to find a cure for blindness can only be described as an act of love.
Directed by: Matthew K. Firpo
Synopsis: A small team of filmmakers, photographers, and storytellers travel to Greece to document human stories from the Refugee Crisis. This film explores the answers to the universal questions, 'Why did you leave your home?' and 'What do you hope to find where you're going?'.
TEN METER TOWER
Directed by: Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck
Synopsis: A ten meter diving tower. People who have never been up there before have to choose whether to jump or climb down. The situation itself highlights a dilemma: to weigh the instinctive fear of taking the step out against the humiliation of having to climb down. TEN METER TOWER is an entertaining study of the human in a vulnerable position.
THE RABBIT HUNT
Directed by: Patrick Bresnan
Synopsis: In the Florida Everglades rabbit hunting is considered a rite of passage for young men. The Rabbit Hunt follows seventeen year old Chris and his family as they hunt in the fields of the largest industrial sugar farms in the US. The film records a tradition by which migrant farm workers in the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee have been hunting and preparing rabbits since the early 1900s.
Best of Connecticut
A CHRISTMAS SURPRISE
Directed by: Sarah Lew
Starring: Kim Rogers
Synopsis: When a young girl finds out the devastating truth that Santa isn't real on the night before Christmas, she analyzes the implications of this realization.
Directed by: Alex Morsanutto
Starring: Bryan Burton, Jessica Cadden-Osborne, Nina Negron, Jack Brinkley-Cook
Synopsis: Tommy Ashby embarks on a mission to learn 70’s disco dancing in order to impress the girl of his dreams at his high school’s annual dance. Hi-Glow Retro is a proof of concept for a feature film of the same name.
Directed by: Eric Heimbold
Synopsis: BLIND SUSHI is a short documentary featuring Ryan Knighton and Bun Lai, made by Eric Heimbold, (produced, filmed, directed & edited). The film tells the story of a blind travel writer who goes foraging and diving with the world's first sustainable sushi chef, in search of enlightenment, and culinary solution to a serious global ecological problem.
MY NAME IS JOAN
Directed by: Margaret Stapor Costa
Synopsis: “My Name is Joan” tells the story of a woman who was born to an unwed mother in a mother and baby home in Ireland in 1949 and then illegally adopted by an American family when she was over 2 years old. The film highlights how the Catholic Church and the Irish Government allowed the illegal exporting of babies for money to occur for decades and how the church and the government are still denying adopted children the right to access their adoption records and learn their true identities.
A WONDERFUL PLACE
Directed by: Sam Ketay
Synopsis: A Wonderful Place is a short documentary film told from the perspective of 80 year old Greenwich, CT estate owner, Norma Asnes. We travel with Norma, via John Deere electric cart, around her property and on the journey gain insights into family and nature.
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