Friday, September 27, 2019

The 28th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival has announced it's slate


The Most Acclaimed Nonfiction Films Of The Year To Unspool atThe 28th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival,the Longest Running All-Documentary Film Festival in North AmericaOctober 18 - 26, 2019
The Female Filmmaker-Led Organization Will Showcasethe Best Nonfiction Films of the Year including:17 BLOCKS, FOR SAMA, KIFARU, THE KINGMAKER,LOS REYES, ONE CHILD NATION and VARDA BY AGNES

September 25, 2019 (Hot Springs, Arkansas) - The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF), the longest running all-documentary film festival in North American, announced today the slate of feature films that will screen as part of the 28th edition of the annual Hot Springs, Arkansas festival.
The HSDFF is lead primarily by working filmmakers who are crafting an inclusive festival of a diverse group of documentary filmmakers from across the globe.
“Our programs are designed by and for filmmakers and it is our hope that our festival will inspire, support, challenge and rejuvenate our attending industry guests,” says Executive Director, Jennifer Gerber.  “This year we are growing our filmmaker development programs with the goal of HSDFF becoming a central meeting place for independent documentary filmmakers in this Southern region.”
Highlights from this year’s slate include:
17 BLOCKS - directed by Davy Rothbart -  Tribeca Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner; FOR SAMA - directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts - Cannes Film Festival Best Documentary/SXSW Grand Jury Prize Winner; KIFARU - directed by David Hambridge - Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize/Full Frame Audience Award; THE KINGMAKER - directed by Lauren Greenfield - World Premiere Venice International Film Festival; ONE CHILD NATION - directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang - Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner; LOS REYES - directed by Iván Osnovikoff and Bettina Perut - IDFA Special Jury Award; VARDA BY AGNES the final film from legendary filmmaker Agnès Varda.
“Our goal is to showcase award winning documentaries while pushing the program forward with bold and challenging films,” says Director of Programming, Jessie Fairbanks. “When curating the program it is of great importance that the filmmakers invited to present at Hot Springs are diverse in background, experience, and representation. I am delighted to announce our final program will include 64 documentary features and 59 shorts. In the Feature documentary category we have over 50% female directors; a program of true equality.”
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival programming team includes Abby Sun, Programmer; Robert John Torres and Robin Robinson, Assistant Programmers; and Director of Programming, Jessie Fairbanks.
The complete lineup is below. Opening, Closing and Centerpiece announcement will be made next week. For more information, please visit

US Documentaries
THE APOLLODir. Roger Ross WilliamsInternationally renowned for having influenced American and pop culture more than any other entertainment venue, the Apollo Theater created opportunities for new talent to be seen and has served as a launchpad for myriad artists including Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and more.

AUTONOMYDir. Alex HorwitzA brave new world awaits us in this engrossing investigation of technology and the ethics of self-driving cars — will they will control us or set us free?
BEDLAMDir. Kenneth Paul RosenbergOver a period of five years, a psychiatrist visits homeless camps, emergency medical facilities, and jails tracking the lives of individuals suffering from debilitating mental illness.
CHANGING THE GAMEDir. Michael BarnettTransgender high school athletes from across the country compete at the top of their fields, while also challenging the boundaries and perceptions of fairness and discrimination.
CIRCUS OF BOOKSDir. Rachel MasonKaren and Barry Mason are the typical American parents — with the exception of owning and operating the infamous LA gay porn book store, Circus of Books.
FUNNY YOU NEVER KNEWDir. Andrew HuntThe pioneering comic genius of 1950s live television era superstars Imogene Coca, George Gobel, and Martha Raye take center stage in this crowd-pleasing tribute.
HARVEST SEASONDir. Bernardo RuizAn elegant panoramic portrait of the multitude of Mexican-American winemakers and migrant workers who are the quiet driving force behind the premium California wine industry.
HUMAN NATUREDir. Adam BoltAn unprecedented gene engineering tool known as CRISPR presents the biggest scientific breakthrough of the modern era, holding the potential to edit human DNA — but at what cost?
JUMP SHOT: THE KENNY SAILORS STORYDir. Jacob HamiltonMeet Kenny Sailors, inventor of the jump shot, whose “leaping one-hander” changed the game of basketball forever.
KATE NASH: UNDERESTIMATE THE GIRLDir. Amy GoldsteinAn unvarnished, behind-the-scenes look at the creative life and professional struggles of British singer-songwriter Kate Nash.
LOVE, ANTOSHADir. Garret PriceThe sterling talents and mercurial spirit of the late actor Anton Yelchin are remembered by his closest friends and family in this joyful, bittersweet eulogy.
MADE IN BOISEDir. Beth AalaThis deeply empathetic and eye-opening peek at the burgeoning business of surrogacy in Boise, Idaho follows four gestational surrogates and their intended parents.
MAKING WAVES: THE ART OF CINEMATIC SOUNDDir. Midge CostinMeet the sound designers responsible for creating the cinematic soundtrack to some of your favorite films, while learning about their creative process and how they collaborate with renowned directors.
MIKE WALLACE IS HEREDir. Avi BelkinAn unflinching look at the legendary reporter Mike Wallace, who interrogated the 20th century’s biggest figures during his 50 years on air and whose aggressive reporting style and showmanship redefined what Americans could expect from broadcasters.
MYSTIFY: MICHAEL HUTCHENCEDir. Richard LowensteinA bold collage of electrifying performance footage and intimate home videos paint a tender, illuminative portrait of the iconic INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence.
NOTHING FANCY: DIANA KENNEDYDir. Elizabeth CarrollAt 96, Diane Kennedy is a legendary chef and author, whose razor sharp intellect, fabulous taste, and cutting wit are beautifully captured in this homage to her lifelong quest to preserve Mexican cuisine.
PIZZA, A LOVE STORYDir. Gorman BechardNew Haven, Connecticut is home to three of America’s top ranked pizza restaurants, and they’re all located within a six block radius of each other.
RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINSDir. Janice EngelFew journalists have left a legacy so profound and sharply funny as Texas’ Molly Ivins, whose acerbic insights into the political process are revived in this biography.
RINGSIDEDir. Andre HormannIn this emotional gut-punch of a boxing documentary, two young Chicago men fight to survive both professionally and personally.
RUNNERDir. Bill GallagherGuor Marial’s difficult and triumphant journey from refugee to world-renowned athlete, told in intimate interviews with gorgeously animated flashbacks, as he strives for athletic greatness.
THE CONDOR AND THE EAGLEDir. Clement GuerraThis epic journey connects four Indigenous leaders across North and South America as they seek to connect, empower their communities, and find solutions to combat environmental disasters.
THE DOG DOCDir. Cindy MeehlCalled a maverick, a miracle-worker, and a quack, Dr. Marty Goldstein, a pioneer of integrative veterinary medicine, provides a last hope for pet owners with nothing left to lose by holistically treating animals after other vets have given up.
THE STORY OF PLASTICDir. Deia SchlosbergAs plastic pollution continues to be a world-wide problem that can’t be solved by recycling alone, scientists and activists challenge corporations pushing single-use plastic consumerism.
TRIXIE MATTEL: MOVING PARTSDir. Nicholas Zeig-OwensTrixie charmed audiences and judges as winner of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, but the grind of performing and the pressure of the title proves that heavy is the head that wears the tiara.

International Documentaries

CACHADA - THE OPPORTUNITYDir. Marlén ViñayoFive women from El Salvador break through the cycle of generational abuse in this poignant exploration of the power of participatory, community theater.
CHINA LOVEDir. Olivia Martin McGuireTake a fantasy ride through contemporary China as we explore the billion-dollar pre-wedding photography industry.
DIVE: RITUALS IN WATERDir. Elín Hansdóttir, Anna Rún Tryggvadóttir, Hanna Björk ValsdóttirA visionary swimming coach encourages infants to swim underwater long before they can crawl, walk, or talk, Snorri Magnússon’s unconventional teachings provokes outrage, engenders parental trust, and leads to miracles underwater in this cinematic and engrossing profile.
FLOATDir. Phil KibbeAn insider's look at the F1D World Championships for free flight model airplanes, whose balance is threatened when a newcomer joins the competition.
FOR SAMADir. Waad Al-Khateab, Edward WattsA harrowing and unforgettable autobiographical portrait of a woman’s life over five years during the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as told to her infant daughter, Sama.
HOPE FROZENDir. Pailin WedelA Thai family cryopreserves their two-year-old daughter following her death from cancer — are they deluded or prescient in their attempt to escape fate?
THE KINGMAKERDir. Lauren GreenfieldIn Lauren Greenfield's searing new film on the implacable "Mother" of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos plots her family's grand return to power.
KIFARUDir. David HambridgeAn intimate look at the extinction of the northern white rhino through the eyes of two Kenyan caretakers charged with protecting Sudan, the last remaining male.
LOS REYESDir. Iván Osnovikoff, Bettina PerutThe lives of two stray dogs, Football and Chola, are captured over a period of two years as they make their home inside an urban skate park in this unconventional canine documentary.
LOVE CHILDDir. Eva MulvadA poignant portrait of forbidden lovers, who escape to Turkey with their secret child; desperate to start a new life they find themselves stalled in bureaucratic limbo.
MEETING GORBACHEVDir. Werner Herzog, André SingerThe life of Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final President of the Soviet Union is carefully explored in Werner Herzog’s loving tribute to his old friend.
MIDNIGHT FAMILYDir. Luke LorentzenSet in Mexico City, this propulsive nocturnal drama follows the Ochoa family who operate an independent for-profit emergency ambulance within the country’s shockingly underserved healthcare system.
MOTHERDir. Kristof BilsenA deft exploration of the concepts of identity, memory, and what it means to be a mother through Pomm, a Thai caregiving who cares for other families, while supporting her own children from afar.
MR. JIMMYDir. Peter Michael DowdRock out to the music of the mercurial Japanese Jimmy Page impersonator and superfan, Akio Sakurai, who moves to California to join a Led Zeppelin tribute band.
ONE CHILD NATIONDir. Nanfu Wang, Jialing ZhangAfter becoming a mother director Nanfu Wang explores the ripple effect of China’s devastating One Child Policy, uncovering shocking human rights violations as well as her own family’s complicity, and the liability of American adoptive families.
OUR TIME MACHINEDir. S. Leo Chiang, Yang SunThe Shanghai-based artist Maleonn races against time to stage an elaborate, magical, and moving autobiographical play for his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
RIGHT TO HARMDir. Annie Speicher, Matt WechslerAn essential investigation into the impact of factory farming across the US, and what affected communities have courageously done in response.
SEAHORSEDir. Jeanie FinlayWhen a transgender man decides to carry his child himself, the pregnancy prompts an unexpected and profound reckoning with conventions of masculinity, self-definition, and biology.
SHOOTING THE MAFIADir. Kim LonginottoItalian photographer Letizia Battaglia spends her career documenting the life and crimes of the Mafia with intimate details and stunning insight.
VARDA BY AGNESDir. Agnes VardaAn unpredictable documentary from a fascinating storyteller, Agnès Varda’s final feature documentary sheds light on her experience as a director, bringing a personal insight to what she calls “cine-writing.”
WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHEDDir. Mariam GhaniThe story of Communist-era Afghanistan and lives under fire, told through a recently uncovered treasure trove of five unfinished films, all based on real, unfiltered life.
WHAT WILL BECOME OF USDir. Steven CantorSir Frank Lowy, self-made billionaire and founder of Westfield Corporation, must decide if he should sell the company he’s built since 1953 or continue his life work.
WILD HONEYDir. Ava Porter, Farhad AkhmetovThe harmonious universality of musical expression is explored in this rapturous ethnographic look at traditional folk music in five different regions of Russia.
YOUR TURNDir. Eliza CapaiWith kinetic energy and infectious empowerment, three young Brazilian activists fight for an education and affordable transportation, their experiences, passions, and fears immediate, relevant, and all-pervading.

Southern Documentaries

17 BLOCKSDir. Davy RothbartFilmed over the course of 20 years, the tight-knit Sanfords live 17 blocks from the US Capitol.  Struggling with addiction, poverty, and gun violence, an unexpected tragedy leads to a journey of love, loss, and acceptance.
ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPSDir. Jenifer McShaneTwo San Antonio police officers challenge long-held police practices for dealing with the mentally ill.
GAY CHORUS DEEP SOUTHDir. David Charles RodriguesIn response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws and the divisive 2016 election, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South.
GUEST HOUSEDir. Hannah Dweck, Yael LuttwakThree women overcome their opioid addiction with the support of a re-entry house in this inspiring and hopeful portrait of human resilience.
JADDOLANDDir. Nadia ShihabA young filmmaker returns to her mother’s dazzling artistic haven in Lubbock, Texas to explore three generations of their Iraqi family in this intimate, reflective portrait.
MEN & WOMEN OF DISTINCTION: GOVERNOR MIKE BEEBEDir. Kathryn TuckerFeaturing politics from a by-gone era, this profile of the incredible career and commendable public service of former Governor Mike Beebe charts one man’s efforts to create lasting change for Southern communities.
MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALLDir. Alexander GlustromThe inhabitants of Mossville, once a thriving, historically black community, have all been uprooted due to contamination and pollution by petrochemical plants — except for one mighty man who refuses to relinquish his family’s land.
PAHOKEEDir. Patrick Bresnan, Ivete LucasFour teens face heartbreak and celebrate in the rituals of an extraordinary senior year in a small agricultural town in the Florida Everglades, where hopes for the future are concentrated on the youth.
QUALIFIEDDir. Jenna RickerInside the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis 500, where the laps separate footnotes from legends, Janet Guthrie — the first woman to attempt Indy — had to do it with unprecedented scrutiny.
SEADRIFTDir. Tim TsaiA Gulf Coast community is haunted by racist tensions from 40 years ago, when a Vietnamese refugee shot and killed a white crab fisherman.
STATE OF THE ARTDir Brent Renaud, Craig RenaudA journey of artistic discovery...100,000 miles, 1,000 destinations in search of 100 under-recognized American artists for one unforgettable exhibition - here are the stories of seven of the artists from the groundbreaking exhibit at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas.
WE BELIEVE IN DINOSAURSDir. Clayton Brown, Monica Long RossA charged conversation between evangelical creationists and scientific-leaning secularists unfolds as a massively scaled Noah’s Ark theme park is built in Williamstown, Kentucky.
WELL GROOMEDDir. Rebecca SternThe creative and colorful world of competitive dog grooming is presented in this charming documentary that follows four champion groomers.

Festival All-Access Passes are available for $400, plus processing. All passes can be purchased through the festival website General Admission tickets & Passes will be available for sale by September 27th.

About The Hot Springs Documentary Film FestivalDeep within the Ouachita Mountains, in what Native Americans have named the Valley of the Vapors, amidst turn-of-the-century bathhouses and on the doorstep of a national park lies the unforgettable spa city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, host to North America’s oldest all-documentary film festival. The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will celebrate its 28th Anniversary October 18-26th at the historic Arlington Hotel in downtown Hot Springs.
Hosted by America’s “First Resort” and held in a national park , the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is a culturally diverse and intergenerational event. The city’s colorful past as the 1930’s playground of Al Capone lingers in the air amidst the majestic turn of the century buildings that make up Bathhouse Row. In the 1950’s, Hot Springs served as the boyhood home of former President Bill Clinton.
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival had an auspicious beginning in 1991 with the screening of 10 Academy Award® -nominated documentary films. Actor James Whitmore lent his presence to this first event and spoke of a bright future for HSDFF. The following year, James Earl Jones announced, “I see the 1990’s as holding the promise of an unparalleled era of popularity for nonfiction film, with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as one of the genre’s most important venues.” Mr. Jones’ predictions have come to pass, as both the documentary genre and HSDFF continue their upward trajectories.
Each year, with the help of a small staff and over 100 dedicated volunteers, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the nine-day multicultural event. Now approaching its 28th year as the oldest all-documentary festival in North America and one of the longest running non-fiction festivals in the world, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival remains a prominent champion and protector of the documentary film genre.
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival offers an extraordinary mix of documentary features and shorts, both domestic and international, as well as exclusive film panels, tributes to industry greats, and local access to a host of celebrity guests and visiting professionals. Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is a designated Oscar-qualifier in the category of Documentary Short Subject by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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