The 2015 Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) will close with Steven Spielberg’s BRIDGE OF SPIES on Monday, October 12, 2015 at Guild Hall in East Hampton. The festival announced its Spotlight Films along with its World Cinema and Shorts programs; and also revealed that Emily Blunt, Michael Moore and Dan Rather will be in attendance to take part in “A Conversation With…” for the 23rd installment.
The Festival’s closing night film is three-time Academy Award®-winning Steven Spielberg’s BRIDGE OF SPIES, a dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, BRIDGE OF SPIES is the story of James Donovan (two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, BRIDGE OF SPIES stars: three-time Tony Award® winner Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, and Academy Award nominee Alan Alda. The Walt Disney Studios and Touchstone Pictures film will release in theaters on October 16, 2015.
This year’s Spotlight Films include the North American Premiere of A ROYAL NIGHT OUT, the US Premieres of I SAW THE LIGHT, THE LADY IN THE VAN, LOUDER THAN BOMBS, the East Coast Premieres of ANOMALISA and MACBETH, and a Sneak Preview of BORN TO BE BLUE. The Spotlight Films will also feature SUFFRAGETTE, WHEN I LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN, BROOKLYN, EXPERIMENTER, MEADOWLAND, and WHERE TO INVADE NEXT directed by Michael Moore, who will attend the festival along with taking part in “A Conversation With…” on Sunday, October 11th, at NOON at Bay Street Theater.
This year’s World Cinema Documentary titles include the World Premieres of THE C WORD, CLASS DIVIDE, HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST, the North American Premiere of BY SIDNEY LUMET, an American Masters Film, the US Premieres of BOLSHOI BABYLON, and the East Coast Premiere of SHERPA. Other films in the section include CROCODILE GENNADIY, DREAM/KILLER, HARRY & SNOWMAN, HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO, IN TRANSIT, PALIO, THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER “OROSZ HARKÁLY.”
The World Cinema Narrative films include the World Premiere of THE PREPPIE CONNECTION, the North American Premieres of CAFÉ DERBY, BABAI and A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS “UN MONSTRU DE MIL CABEZAS,” the US Premieres of 11 MINUTES “11 MINUT,” ALL ABOUT THEM “À TROIS ON Y VA,” DHEEPAN, DISORDER “MARYLAND,” and the East Coast Premieres of 45 YEARS, ROOM, and THE WAVE. The section also includes THE CLUB “EL CLUB,” KRISHA, SON OF SAUL “SAUL FIA.”
The 2015 Hamptons International Film Festival will also present a special screening of Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s BEST OF ENEMIES, winner of the 2015 SummerDocs Audience Award.
HIFF will present 10 programs of short films this year, including the Narrative Short Film and Documentary Short Film Competition programs, the New York Women In Film and Television: Women Calling The Shots program, the Ahoy! Shorts for All Ages program and the Crafted program, which features three short films about auteur Claude Lanzmann, and artists Phil Toledano and Hilary Knight.
HIFF previously announced Paolo Sorrentino’s YOUTH as the Southampton Opening Night Film, Tom McCarthy’s SPOTLIGHT as the Saturday Centerpiece Film and Todd Haynes’ CAROL as the Sunday Centerpiece Film, and its Documentary and Narrative Competition Films, which now also includes the North American Premiere of Jonas Carpignano’s MEDITERRANEA.
The full line-up of the 23rd Hamptons International Film Festival is below.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Director: James Vanderbilt
Academy Award® winners Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford star in James Vanderbilt’s sharp and insightful take on the controversial CBS 60 Minutes investigation of George W. Bush’s military record that ended Dan Rather’s career as the network’s anchorman. Adapted from producer Mary Mapes’ (Blanchett) account in her book “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power,” and featuring exceptional performances by a stellar cast, including Elisabeth Moss, Dennis Quaid, and Topher Grace, TRUTH is a polished and absorbing dramatization of the ever-changing relationship between journalism and politics in today’s media.
SOUTHAMPTON OPENING NIGHT FILM
East Coast Premiere
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
The stunning new film from Academy Award® winner Paolo Sorrentino (THE GREAT BEAUTY), YOUTH follows two old friends as they vacation in a Swiss luxury resort. Fred (Michael Caine) is a retired composer and conductor, enjoying his retirement and Mick (Harvey Keitel) a film director planning his final film. While musing about their lives and illustrious careers, their pasts resurface and a sense of melancholy disrupts the vacation. With a phenomenal cast of characters, played by Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, and the iconic Jane Fonda, YOUTH is a whimsical meditation on the crossroads of friendship and aging. Lusciously lensed and scored, the Swiss Alps serve as magical setting for this mesmerizing tour de force.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Tom McCarthy
Oscar® nominees Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams star as the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, assigned by their newly appointed editor Martin Baron (Liev Schreiber) to investigate the allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church. For over a year, they pursued the story relentlessly, despite intense resistance from the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment. Tom McCarthy’s SPOTLIGHT examines the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation that uncovered a massive web of pedophilia and systemic cover-ups within the Catholic Church. Aided by a fantastic supporting cast (Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup), SPOTLIGHT is a nuanced and thrilling procedural about the power and impact of great investigative journalism.
Director: Todd Haynes
With groundbreaking performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (winner of the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival) as two women entangled in an intoxicating love affair, director Todd Haynes (FAR FROM HEAVEN) illuminates the delicate intricacies of navigating forbidden desire in 1950s New York. Adapting Patricia Highsmith’s semi-autobiographical novel “The Price of Salt,” CAROL is the story of an unlikely bond between an ingenue shop girl dreaming of a better life and an older sophisticated woman trapped in a loveless marriage. A masterfully crafted love story, CAROL is an exquisite and poignant meditation on longing.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
BRIDGE OF SPIES (USA)
Director: Steven Spielberg
A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, BRIDGE OF SPIES is the story of James Donovan (two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Directed by three-time Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg and written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, BRIDGE OF SPIES stars: three-time Tony Award® winner Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel, a KGB agent defended by Donovan; Scott Shepherd as CIA operative Hoffman; Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan as James’ wife, Mary; Sebastian Koch as East German lawyer Vogel; and Academy Award nominee Alan Alda as Thomas Watters, a partner at Donovan’s law firm. Inspired by remarkable true events, Spielberg captures the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life.
BORN TO BE BLUE (USA/Canada/UK)
Director: Robert Budreau
An intimate portrait of jazz legend Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke), BORN TO BE BLUE is a remarkable reimagining of the iconic musician’s comeback in the 1960s. When approached to star in a film about his heyday and given a chance at redemption, he finds that re-entering the spotlight may not come as smoothly as the notes that made him famous. With girlfriend Jane (Carmen Ejogo, SELMA) by his side, he struggles against addiction and a career-threatening injury to reclaim his former self. With a delicate touch, writer/director Robert Budreau paints an immersive and imaginative look at the trumpeter’s fragile story.
Director: John Crowley
Waving good-bye to her mother and sister in Ireland, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) sets sail to follow her American dream in 1950s Brooklyn. With the support of a kind priest, Eilis finds work at an upscale department store and enrolls in school, but it’s only after she meets Tony (Emory Cohen) that she finally feels at home and romance heals her loneliness. When an unexpected tragedy forces Eilis to return home, she finds a renewed love for Ireland. With award-worthy performances and exquisite cinematography, John Crowley’s BROOKLYN is a beautiful tale of a young woman torn between two worlds.
Director: Michael Almereyda
EXPERIMENTER follows the infamous social psychologist Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard), who conducted a series of highly controversial experiments on obedience and authority in the 1960s. In an attempt to better understand the horrific events of the Holocaust, Milgram observed and recorded the responses of a group of subjects instructed to deliver potentially fatal electric shocks to strangers concealed behind a closed door. A refreshing departure from the traditional biopic formula, director Michael Almereyda deftly investigates the inner psyche of this notorious character. With nuanced performances by Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder as Milgram’s wife, EXPERIMENTER is a compelling look at our willingness to follow orders despite our better judgment.
I SAW THE LIGHT (USA)
Director: Marc Abraham
Country music legend Hank Williams is brought to life in Marc Abraham’s I SAW THE LIGHT, a moving tale of success and personal hardship based on Colin Escott’s award-winning biography. Celebrated as one of the most influential singersongwriters of the 20th century, Williams compiled a lasting body of work before his untimely death at the age of 29. With brilliant and complex performances by Tom Hiddleston as Williams and Elizabeth Olsen as his ambitious wife, the film chronicles a restless soul, driven towards the spotlight and unable to resist the temptations that destroyed his health and personal life.
THE LADY IN THE VAN (UK)
Director: Nicholas Hytner
In this “mostly true” story, based on writer Alan Bennett’s (THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III, THE HISTORY BOYS) memoir and popular West End play, the extraordinary Maggie Smith stars as Miss Mary Shepherd, an eccentric high-born woman living out of her van. When Alan (Alex Jennings) moves into his new London home, he soon discovers Miss Shepherd, who mysteriously claims to speak directly with the Virgin Mary, and reluctantly offers her his driveway as a temporary home. Fifteen years later, she is still there. THE LADY IN THE VAN is a hilariously witty story of two strangers who form an unlikely friendship and lasting bond despite their best attempts to be left alone.
LOUDER THAN BOMBS (Norway/France/Denmark)
Director: Joachim Trier
On the eve of an exhibition honoring noted war photographer Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert), whose career was cut short in the wake of her untimely death, a father and two sons grapple with her domestic and professional legacy. Flashbacks of Isabelle’s life intermingle with the present-day attempts of the Reeds to manage their grief amid combat of a different kind. Family patriarch Gene (Gabriel Byrne) discovers secrets about his late spouse while pursuing a new romance and struggling to connect with teenage son Conrad (Devin Druid) and adult son Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg). Past and present coalesce in sharp focus as the surviving Reeds come to terms with love and loss — locating in memories both painful and joyous the skills they need to soldier on…
East Coast Premiere
Director: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Michael Stone is a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip to Cincinnati, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel, where he is amazed to discover a possible escape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep who may or may not be the love of his life. A beautifully tender and absurdly humorous dreamscape from the brilliant minds of Charlie Kaufman (SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK) and Duke Johnson (“Community”), this is a darkly comedic and surreal journey. ANOMALISA confirms Charlie Kaufman’s place amongst the most important of American filmmakers, and announces Duke Johnson as a major creative force.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Justin Kurzel
Director: Justin Kurzel Set in the war-torn countryside of 11th century Scotland, MACBETH is the classic story of a brutal warrior who is consumed and eventually defeated by his uncontrollable ambition. In this impressive update, Michael Fassbender and Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard give award-worthy performances as one of literature’s most notorious couples. After a trio of witches prophesize his ascent to the throne, Macbeth and his cunning wife decide to seize the crown for themselves through brutality and murder. Violent and visceral, director Justin Kurzel delivers an exhilarating adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most renowned tragedies.
Director: Reed Morano
In her dreamy directorial debut, celebrated cinematographer Reed Morano (KILL YOUR DARLINGS) examines the visceral and isolating experience of grief, and the distortion of reality that occurs following the loss of a child. MEADOWLAND follows distraught parents Sarah (Olivia Wilde) and Phil (Luke Wilson) a year after their 8- year-old son mysteriously disappeared from a gas station bathroom. In the wake of this unimaginable tragedy, they each struggle in their own way to heal. Phil attempts to ease his suffering with the help of a support group, while Sarah seeks a more destructive path. Wilde and Wilson, who give raw, emotional performances as the unraveling couple, are backed by an impressive cast of supporting actors, including Elisabeth Moss, John Leguizamo, Giovanni Ribisi, and Kevin Corrigan.
A ROYAL NIGHT OUT (UK)
North American Premiere
Director: Julian Jarrold
It’s Victory in Europe Day in 1945, and while the King and Queen of England (Rupert Everett and Emily Watson) prefer to observe the end of the Second World War as solemnly as possible, Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) are quite eager to participate in the revelry in the heart of London. Never before allowed to roam freely about in public, each girl is given a disguise, a chaperone, and a curfew. However, the girls quickly ditch their disapproving mother’s itineraries for an unforgettable night of adventure, drinking, and romance.
Director: Sarah Gavron
Inspired by true events, SUFFRAGETTE movingly explores the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote–their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives. Academy Award® nominees Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, and three-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep lead the cast of the powerful drama about the fight for equality in early-20th- century Britain. The stirring story centers on Maud, a working wife and mother who becomes an activist for the Suffragette cause alongside women from all walks of life. SUFFRAGETTE is directed by BAFTA Award winner Sarah Gavron and written by Emmy Award® winner Abi Morgan
WHEN I LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN (USA)
Director: Robert Edwards
Escaping New York City, Jude (Amber Heard) heads to the wintry, desolate Hamptons for some self-reflection and reinvention. The daughter of a famed romantic crooner, Paul Lombard (Christopher Walken), Jude has inherited not only his musical talent, but also his vice of self-destruction. When the aging Paul attempts to revitalize his career with a self-penned comeback song, Jude is pressured to take initiative to shape her life. With a supporting cast that includes Oliver Platt and Hamish Linklater, WHEN I LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN is a charming examination of regret, family, and the evolution of life.
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT (USA)
Director: Michael Moore
In an unexpected twist, Michael Moore’s (BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, SICKO) latest project, WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, does not refer to American imperialism, but rather to Moore himself. Armed with a camera and a flag, the Oscar®-winning documentarian “invades” a slew of European countries in an attempt to learn more about their successful practices and programs. From Norwegian prisons to female-run Icelandic banks, to Italian employee benefits, Moore travels around the world with the intention of bringing these progressive philosophies back to the States. A surprising departure, WHERE TO INVADE NEXT is a refreshingly optimistic look at the possibilities for the future.
CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM (UK/Romania/Germany)
New York Premiere
Director: Ilinca Calugareanu
In the 1980s, the last decade before the revolution overthrew communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania was marred by intense austerity, isolationism and a pervasive cultural blackout. For the oppressed population, a new form of escapism emerged: illicit video nights in which smuggled Western films were shown. The majority of the films were dubbed by the same person, Irina Nistor, one of the most recognizable voices in pre-revolution Romania. First-time director Ilinca Calugareanu’s endearing and entertaining documentary shows how the magic of film created an awakening that helped to instill the seeds of the revolution.
A GERMAN YOUTH “UNE JEUNESSE ALLEMANDE” (France)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot
Covering a decade of worldwide political unrest (1965-1975), A GERMAN YOUTH is a compelling portrait of the Baader-Meinhof Group (a.k.a The Red Army Faction), a radical movement which drew into its orbit not only disillusioned students, but also established journalists and intellectuals as well as important filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean Luc Godard and RW Fassbinder. Culled together from a fascinating pastiche of agitprop, news broadcasts, interviews, student films, and other archival footage, A GERMAN YOUTH provides the context for an ideology that shaped an entire generation.
MISSING PEOPLE (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: David Shapiro
Fifteen years after his debut film KEEP THE RIVER ON THE RIGHT, director David Shapiro returns to HIFF with MISSING PEOPLE. The documentary follows Martina Batan, the director of a prominent New York art gallery as she investigates her young brother’s long unsolved murder. At the same time, she obsessively researches and collects the work of New Orleans artist Roy Ferdinand whose paintings are known for their violent and graphic content depicting African American culture in pre-Katrina New Orleans. Martina’s journey is driven by both a hunger for closure and an inexplicable fascination with Ferdinand as an artist and as a loved one to a family she wedges herself into.
Director: Jon Fox
Orphan. Entrepreneur. Recluse. Genius. Megalomaniac. Inventor Joseph Newman is all of the above. A controversial figure in the scientific community, Newman rose to notoriety with “The Newman Device,” an electromagnetic machine that he claimed produced more energy than it took to power it. What should have been a revolutionary discovery was stopped by a lengthy and disheartening legal battle with the United States Patent Office. In his enthralling debut, filmmaker Jon Fox deftly seeks to understand the enigmatic inventor — through intimate discussions with Newman’s colleagues and, surprisingly, with the man himself.
THE VISIT “A LÁTOGATÁS” (Finland/Denmark)
New York Premiere
Director: Michael Madsen
Imagining an event that has yet to happen – an alien invasion on Earth – Michael Madsen’s engrossing new documentary leads us on a captivating journey through surreal, slow-motion, dream-like tableaus intercut with interviews with scientists from NASA, SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Life Institute) and experts from the UN. THE VISIT takes an imagined encounter and stimulates the implications and the potential response from humankind. With questions such as “What makes you happy?,” “Do you know what is good and what is evil?,” “How do you think?” and of course, “Why are you here?,” Madsen constructs an unsettling scenario that forces us to reconfigure our insular mentality and reflect on humanity.
EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT “EL ABRAZO DE LA SERPIENTE” (Colombia)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Ciro Guerra
Inspired by the real experiences of explorers in the Amazon, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (Colombia’s submission for the Oscars®) centers on the relationship between Karamakate, a shaman of an extinct tribe carrying secrets and traditions, and two scientists in search of a sacred plant, capable of immense healing. Opting for powerful black and white cinematography, director Ciro Guerra tracks their parallel stories over 40 years with trips deep into the jungle. Winner of the top prize at the Cannes Directors Fortnight, the film intimately captures the thirst for knowledge and the ravages of colonialism that have destroyed the harmony and balance at the heart of the indigenous way of life.
FRENCH BLOOD “UN FRANÇAIS” (France)
Marco (Alban Lenoir) is a young Neo-Nazi and skinhead who, along with his friends, terrorizes the lower-class suburbs of Paris hoping to clear out the “scum” that is polluting the pure, white landscape of their beloved country. Spanning almost 3 decades in Marco’s life as he struggles to understand his own anger and brutal actions, this evocative and moving portrait–the sophomore effort from writer-director Diastème–offers a rare and unsettling look into the rise of xenophobia in France. With a brilliant performance by Lenoir, this poignant drama distinguishes itself as a unique and powerful work by an emerging talent.
North American Premiere
Director: Jonas Carpignano
Ayiva (Koudous Seihon) seizes the opportunity to leave Burkina Faso and find a better life for his daughter in Jonas Carpignano’s gripping feature debut, MEDITERRANEA. Joined by his best friend Abas (Alassane Sy), they embark on the treacherous journey by boat to Italy, only to find that getting to dry land is merely half the battle. Expanding on his award-winning short, A CHJÀNA (HIFF 2014), Carpignano artfully presents a complex portrait of immigration with both urgency and a humanist approach to understanding life on the margins. Inspired by real events and Seihon’s personal journey, MEDITERRANEA offers a profound and intimate look at the migrant crisis.
RAMS “HRÚTAR” (Iceland)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Brothers Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) live side-byside but have not spoken in forty years. Stubborn and competitive, they only communicate via handwritten notes delivered by their loyal sheepdog Somi. When a deadly virus threatens their prize-winning sheep and livelihood, they are forced to come together to save their unique family breed, and themselves, from extinction. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Award in Cannes, RAMS (Iceland’s submission for the Oscars®) details the hardships of daily farm work in remote Iceland with humanism and humor. Stunningly combining otherworldly landscapes and powerful performances, director Grímur Hákonarson expertly builds this gentle comedy to reveal a deeper and emotionally moving tale.
TAKE ME TO THE RIVER (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Matt Sobel
Accompanying his parents to a Nebraskan family reunion couldn’t be more uncomfortable for Ryder (Logan Miller), a gay Californian teenager. For his mother’s sake he agrees to act “normal,” but nonetheless attracts some unwanted attention from his conservative relatives. The only one who seems to like him is 9-year-old Molly (Ursula Parker), but a strange encounter between the two of them raises many questions and places Ryder at the center of a long-buried family secret. A superbly acted drama from first-time filmmaker Matt Sobel, TAKE ME TO THE RIVER reveals itself through Ryder’s perplexed point of view, unfolding in an atmosphere of mystery and trepidation.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY
BOLSHOI BABYLON (UK)
New York Premiere
Director: Nick Read
Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet is one of the most esteemed ballet institutions in the world. A high-stakes environment in which some of the best ballet dancers in the world vie for the top spot, only an injury away from a complete career collapse. Behind its gleaming facade lies a world of boundless ambition, intrigue, and corruption that all came to a tragic apex in the 2013 acid-attack against its creative director, Sergei Filin by one of the company’s dancers. Benefiting from an unprecedented access, director Nick Reed follows the company’s attempts to recover after the incident and to redirect the focus back to the talent and artistic brilliance of its dancers.
BY SIDNEY LUMET (USA)
North American Premiere
Director: Nancy Buirski
Nancy Buirski’s BY SIDNEY LUMET is an enthralling portrait of the work and life of one of American cinema’s most accomplished and prolific directors. In a neverbefore-seen conversation recorded three years before his death, Sidney Lumet looks back on everything from his early years growing up in the Yiddish theater world to his distinguished career as a filmmaker. From his classic breakout hit, 12 ANGRY MEN, to his gritty, socially conscious masterpieces DOG DAY AFTERNOON, SERPICO, and NETWORK, Lumet has captivated audiences for decades with his powerful and timeless films. With humor and humility, the celebrated director speaks candidly about his legacy as an artist.
THE C WORD (USA)
Director: Meghan O’Hara
Filmmaker and cancer survivor Meghan O’Hara (producer of FAHRENHEIT 9/11, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE) wants to change the way we think about cancer. In this daring and intimate film, she investigates the connection between the current cancer epidemic and our western lifestyle, including medical professionals’ tendency to treat only the symptoms and not the underlying causes. Backed by personal experiences and the scientific validation of Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, O’Hara asks us to reconsider the way we currently treat cancer, and advocate instead for societywide lifestyle changes. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Morgan Freeman, THE C WORD challenges us to step up and take control of our health.
CLASS DIVIDE (USA)
Director: Marc Levin
Director Marc Levin (SCHMATTA: RAGS TO RICHES TO RAGS, HIFF ‘09 and HARD TIMES: LOST ON LONG ISLAND, Audience Award HIFF ‘11) presents CLASS DIVIDE, a look into the modern effects of gentrification in West Chelsea, New York, seen through the eyes of students from both sides of the street—one avenue and worlds apart. On one side of the intersection of 10th Avenue and 26th Street sits Avenues, a world-class private school with a $50,000 per year price tag; on the other side sits the Elliott-Chelsea public housing projects, home to thousands of low-income and underemployed residents. In the face of rising inequality, stagnant class mobility, gentrification and much more, the kids from both sides of the street grapple with their relationship to each other amid the stark transformation.
CROCODILE GENNADIY (USA/Ukraine)
Director: Steve Hoover
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was left with dysfunctional social and political institutions, resulting in an increase in child homelessness. Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko takes matters into his own hands by forcibly abducting drug-addicted children from the streets, and rehabilitating them at his in-patient facility. Over the course of a decade, Gennadiy builds a reputation as a local hero to some, an anarchic vigilante to others. Director Steve Hoover meticulously chronicles this thrilling story with style and dedication. From executive producer Terrence Malick comes CROCODILE GENNADIY, a complex character study of a man who will stop at nothing to carry out his mission.
Director: Andrew Jenks
In 2005, Ryan Ferguson, a 21-year-old from Columbia, Missouri, was wrongly convicted of murder by way of a drug addict’s false confession. Andrew Jenks’ timely documentary DREAM/KILLER follows Ryan’s father, Bill, as he wages a decadelong war to prove Ryan’s innocence and overturn his 40-year sentence. Bill’s restless efforts eventually lead to the discovery of legal misconduct, exposing fault lines in the American criminal justice system. Digging into a father’s fight to free his son, Jenks offers a sobering look at how easily a life can be lost to miscarriages of justice, and how an unwavering family bond can make all the difference.
GOOD THINGS AWAIT “SÅ MEGET GODT I VENTE”(Denmark)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Phie Ambo
Biodynamic farmer Niels Stokholm is committed to raising his herd of rare, Danish Red cattle according to their natural instincts. Practicing ancient agricultural techniques, all living things on his farm live in spiritual harmony. In his attempt to get an organic certification for his farm, Stokholm must overcome the unyielding bureaucracy of the EU. Risking everything for his beliefs, Stokholm hopes he won’t be one of the last biodynamic farmers, but rather the first of a new generation. Offering a refreshing alternative to “factory farming,” Phie Ambo’s visually stunning documentary makes a compelling case for nutrition, sustainability, and animal welfare.
THE GREAT ALONE (USA)
New York Premiere
Director: Greg Kohs
This is the inspiring comeback story of underdog Lance Mackey as he tries to live up to his father’s legendary 1978 win of the Iditarod race. His attempt to match his progenitor’s success was postponed when Lance was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001. Through use of archival footage and home videos, we witness Lance’s unprecedented resilience and desire for greatness. An exhilarating experience, THE GREAT ALONE follows his lifelong journey to overcome his illness and become one of the greatest sled dog racers of all time.
HARRY & SNOWMAN (USA)
New York Premiere
Director: Ron Davis
At the end of World War II, Harry deLeyer journeyed to Long Island, New York, where he made a name for himself as a horse trainer and riding instructor at the exclusive Knox School. His career took a new turn when he paid $80 for an Amish plow horse named Snowman, bound for the glue factory. With the odds against them, Harry and Snowman went on to break show jumping records, becoming household names in the late 1950’s after winning the sport’s Triple Crown. The award winning documentary HARRY & SNOWMAN is a touching tale of a unique, decade-long friendship, told first-hand by Harry, now 85.
HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST (USA)
Director: Matthew Miele, Justin Bare
HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST chronicles the illustrious career of the prolific photographer who initially rose to fame alongside The Beatles, having been assigned to cover their inaugural trip to the United States. With unprecedented “behind the scenes” access, Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of the most popular band in history. His extensive portfolio includes iconic images of Winston Churchill, Bobby Fischer, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. Now 85, workaholic Benson has no intention of stopping.
HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO (USA)
Director: Alexandra Shiva
Finding a date, getting dressed up, and going to a school dance can be difficult for any teenager. For many living with autism, the idea of going to a spring formal is even more intimidating (and even frightening), considering the need to navigate social cues they don’t understand. Alexandra Shiva’s HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO follows a group of young people as they attempt to overcome their fears and prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically for this rite of passage. With a gentle and sensitive eye, Shiva follows the group through counseling and a series of role-play exercises leading up to the big dance.
IN TRANSIT (USA)
Directors: Albert Maysles, Lynn True, Nelson Walker, David Usui, Ben Wu
In his final film, legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (GREY GARDENS, GIMME SHELTER, and HIFF Audience Award winner IRIS) boards the Empire Builder, the most active long-distance train route in America. In a series of thoughtful vignettes, Maysles and his four co-directors quietly capture the journeys of the various passengers and employers aboard the train. Against the backdrop of the wintry North American landscape, we learn each of their stories through personal anecdotes, snippets of overheard conversation, and hushed confessions between new friends. Harrowingly intimate, IN TRANSIT offers a new perspective on the cross-country journey, and acts as a moving farewell to the celebrated filmmaker.
INDIAN POINT (USA)
Director: Ivy Meeropol
Just 35 miles from Times Square looms Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, an aging facility that has raised a great deal of controversy in the surrounding community. Supported by the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), the plant’s safety has been a topic of debate for many years. With over 50 million people living in close proximity to the facility, director Ivy Meeropol offers a startling reality check in this powerful documentary. Compiling arguments from environmental activists, journalists, power plant employees and local residents, INDIAN POINT features varied points of view about one of the most concerning issues of our time.
MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER (South Korea)
Director: Mo-young Jin
An intimate portrait of an elderly couple nearing the end of life, MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER is as delicate as it is raw. Observing this fragile couple in their South Korean home, director Mo-Young Jin’s camera acts as a fly-on-the-wall, observing a deep love painted through simple acts of affection—from a goodnatured leaf fight to a gentle caress of the cheek. No filmmaking tricks are necessary, as the honest and tender feelings emoted by this husband and wife are all that’s needed to tell this story of true love.
Director: Cosima Spender
Twice a summer, the Italian city of Siena transforms into a fierce battleground of jockeys representing each of the city’s ten districts in the Palio, the oldest horse race in the world. At the heart of the race are the jockeys, whose success means highesteemed praise but for whom failure could mean dishonor. Following the legendary Gigi Bruscheli, winner of 13 races, and his young protége Giovanni, PALIO gives a rich, all-access account of the city’s passionate relationship with the annual event. Playing like a classic sports drama, director Cosima Spender’s third documentary is a colorful and thrilling cinematic experience.
THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER “OROSZ HARKÁLY” (Ukraine/UK/USA)
Director: Chad Gracia
The Chernobyl disaster remains a mystery and for Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovic, it fuels an obsession. Haunted by the events that forced his family to evacuate, Fedor begins to investigate the Duga, a massive radio antenna next to the nuclear plant. Once the most expensive Cold War weapon and possibly the key to understanding the explosion, the Duga leads Fedor and filmmaker Chad Gracia on a wild hunt for the truth. Weaving Soviet history with the current events in Ukraine, the Sundance Grand Jury prizewinner THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER is a highly thrilling documentary about an artist’s courage and determination.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Jennifer Peedom
April 18, 2014. A 14,000-ton block of ice barrels down Mount Everest, killing 16 Sherpas in its frightening path. In the wake of the worst tragedy to ever befall the mountain, the remaining Sherpas unite to fight for respect and better working conditions, as their share of profits is not proportionate to the risks they regularly take. In Jennifer Peedom’s suspenseful documentary, these unsung heroes of the mountain they call Chomolungma, men who for over 60 years have guided Westerners to triumph upon Everest’s peak, step into the spotlight to tell their story.
SONG OF LAHORE (USA/Pakistan)
Directors: Andy Schocken, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Lahore, Pakistan, was once known for its musical legacy, but with the Islamization of Pakistan in the 1970s, musicians have since struggled to continue their life’s work. When the talented musicians of Sachal Studios decide to fuse their traditional eastern sound with that of Dave Brubeck Quartet’s famous “Take Five,” they create a unique hybrid that unexpectedly finds its audience through social media. Garnering the attention of thousands, including legendary trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, they are invited to perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center. From directors Andy Schocken and Oscar® winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, SONG OF LAHORE is a real-life Cinderella story about the universal power of music.
WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE
11 MINUTES “11 MINUT” (Poland/Ireland)
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
After a 5-year absence from filmmaking, celebrated Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski (KNIFE IN THE WATER, ESSENTIAL KILLING) makes his glorious return with the gripping 11 MINUTES. Written and directed by Skolimowski, the thriller follows the same 11 minutes as experienced by a diverse group of characters, including a struggling actress, an ambulance driver, a would-be thief, and a hot dog vendor, whose lives are destined to intersect over a single day in Warsaw. Weaving through hotel rooms, private homes, and public spaces, Skolimowski captures the kinetic energy of a major metropolis filled with unique stories. Beautifully photographed and expertly paced, 11 MINUTES will keep you guessing until the very last second.
45 YEARS (UK)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Andrew Haigh
In the midst of planning their 45th anniversary celebration, Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff’s (Tom Courtenay) seemingly happy marriage is suddenly called into question when he receives a letter concerning his first lover. Haunted by the past, Geoff withdraws into his memories, leaving Kate bewildered and insecure. As their anniversary approaches, Kate becomes increasingly troubled by how little she knows of her husband’s former affair, and how it may have unknowingly affected their own marriage. With outstanding and nuanced performances by Rampling and Courtenay, 45 YEARS quietly exposes the fragility of human relationships.
ALL ABOUT THEM “À TROIS ON Y VA” (France)
Director: Jérôme Bonnell
Charlotte (Sophie Verbeeck) and Micha (Félix Moati) are drifting away from each other and into the arms of Mélodie (Anaïs Demoustier), a young ambitious lawyer. Unaware that the other is having an affair with the same woman, their charade snowballs into a complicated mess of lies and lust, forcing each to reevaluate their relationship. Mélodie, on the other hand, is falling in love with both of them and finding it hard to juggle her romantic entanglements with work. Director Jérôme Bonnell’s ALL ABOUT THEM is a thoughtful rumination on the nature of relationships, carried by strong performances, humor, and passion.
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD “AVRIL ET LE MONDE TRUQUÉ”
East Coast Premiere
Directors: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci
In an alternate reality, where scientific innovation has stalled and electricity has yet to be invented, April (voiced by Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard) is a young scientist trying to find her parents, who were mysteriously abducted while researching a powerful longevity serum. Accompanied by her talking cat Darwin and new friend Julius, April bravely embarks on a journey to discover the truth. From the producers of PERSEPOLIS and renowned graphic novelist Jacques Tardi, APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD is a riveting adventure through a dystopian society where government agents and a master conspiracy stand in the way of human progress.
North American Premiere
Director: Visar Morina
Ten-year-old Nori (Val Maloku) and his father Gezim (Astrit Kabashi) roam the streets of Kosovo selling cigarettes and barely earning a living. Only a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Gezim is lured west to Germany, leaving his son behind in search of a new life. Feeling deserted and desperate to claim some sense of stability, Nori embarks on a dangerous journey to Germany in search of his father—his “babai.” His tenacity, resilience, and sheer grit must be enough to guide him. BABAI (Kosovo’s submission for the Oscars®) marks the feature debuts of Maloku and Kosovo-born writer/director Visar Morina, both of whom demonstrate a profound maturity and quiet intensity in their respective crafts.
CAFÉ DERBY (Belgium)
Director: Lenny Van Wesemael
A born salesman, George can sell anything to anyone. When he hears about the Pope’s visit to a neighboring town, the anticipation of large crowds leads him to uproot his family and move his restaurant for the event that is sure to make him a millionaire. With unconditional support from his youngest daughter Sara, the wild adventure begins! Based on the true story of her extraordinary family, director Lenny Van Wesemael’s feature debut is a visual treat—a roller coaster ride seen through the unassuming eyes of young Sara, whose coming-of-age transpires softly throughout the film.
THE CLUB “EL CLUB” (Chile)
New York Premiere
Director: Pablo Larraín
In a quiet seaside town lies a home of repentance, inhabited by four dishonored priests and a former nun. After the admittance of a new priest creates a fatal stir, bringing unwelcomed visitors, including a victim of child molestation and a church bureaucrat, the home’s still atmosphere trembles. As old demons are brought to light, the priests are forced to bear the weight of their transgressions. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival and Chile’s submission for the Oscars®, THE CLUB’s muted colors, stellar ensemble cast, and dramatic score establish a somber mood that chillingly echoes the crimes of its lead characters.
Director: Jacques Audiard
Winner of the Palm D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, DHEEPAN is the stirring new film from renowned French director Jacques Audiard (A PROPHET, RUST AND BONE). Finding himself on the losing side of the brutal civil war in Sri Lanka, a Tamil rebel fighter (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) assumes the identity of a dead man named Dheepan in order to flee the country. Hoping to increase his chances of being granted asylum in Europe, he also finds a “wife” and a “daughter” to serve as his makeshift family. A fascinating observation on the immigrant experience, DHEEPAN follows the family as they struggle to build a new life and unexpectedly find themselves at the center of another conflict.
DISORDER “MARYLAND” (France/Belgium)
Director: Alice Winocour
Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts, RUST AND BONE) is a Special Forces agent suffering from PTSD after a recent tour in Afghanistan. In between assignments, he is hired to protect the lavish estate of a wealthy Lebanese businessman. While the owner is away, Vincent is charged to look after his beautiful wife Jessie (Diane Kruger, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS) and their young son Ali. Disoriented by paranoia and anxiety, Vincent obsessively looks for danger in every corner of the seemingly peaceful home. Expertly helmed by director Alice Winocour, DISORDER seamlessly transitions from nuanced character drama into a riveting, suspenseful thriller.
North American Premiere
Director: Kasimir Burgess
Having lost his daughter in a tragic accident, Thomas (Matt Nable) withdraws from city life and takes on a new identity as a logger in the town where the accident took place, working side by side with the man who was responsible for his daughter’s death. Marden Dean’s breathtaking cinematography captures the lush, foreboding Victorian Alps and gracefully guides the viewer between two painfully divisive worlds. A tonal achievement, it’s hard to believe that this contemplative, image driven drama is Australian filmmaker Kasimir Burgess’s feature debut.
JAMES WHITE (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Josh Mond
James (Christopher Abbott) is a troubled, unemployed twenty-something trying to survive the chaos of New York City one vice at a time. However, his perpetual adolescence is abruptly put on hold when his mother’s (Cynthia Nixon) battle with cancer forces him to sober up and take care of her. With the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood looming over him, James lashes out and alienates himself from his loved ones, but when his mother’s health takes a turn for the worse, James must find new strength or risk total self-destruction. With his directorial debut JAMES WHITE, Josh Mond explores the deep and complicated relationship between a mother and son, and features a breakout performance from Abbott.
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Krisha is doing fine. Krisha is doing much better. She will face her family for Thanksgiving because she is sober and she is ready. After years of absence from her family, she returns to reconnect with her son, cook dinner, and prove to her family that she has changed for the better. Completely panicked and teetering on the edge of delirium, Krisha comes face-to-face with her past in the narrative feature Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner at this year’s SXSW. With knockout performances, the film tears apart the common portrait of addiction, favoring inventive sound design and raw cinematography. KRISHA is unlike anything you’ve seen before, yet strangely familiar.
LABYRINTH OF LIES “IM LABYRINTH DES SCHWEIGENS” (Germany)
Director: Giulio Ricciarelli
Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) is a recently appointed public prosecutor frustrated by the tedious traffic offenses assigned to him. When a local journalist tries to bring the crimes committed at Auschwitz to public attention, Radmann takes on the case against the orders of his supervisor. Fighting against ignorance and willful denial, his investigation uncovers the real horror and lasting wounds in 1958 Germany. Giulio Ricciarelli’s moving and thoughtprovoking LABYRINTH OF LIES (Germany’s submission for the Oscars®) is an artfully rendered account of the fight to identify, locate, and bring the Nazis responsible to trial.
A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS “UN MONSTRU DE MIL CABEZAS”
North American Premiere
Director: Rodrigo Plá
When her insurance company refuses to approve the care her husband needs to survive, Sonia Bonet (Jan Raluy) takes things into her own hands. Up against an unyielding bureaucracy and disinterested workers, she is pushed to her breaking point: with her son in tow, she attempts to fight the system. Rodrigo Plá’s (LA DEMORA, HIFF 2012) new film A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS combines socio-political commentary with a tense hostage thriller. With his expertly executed look at fury in the face of injustice, award-winning Plá delivers on the tension and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
THE PREPPIE CONNECTION (USA)
Director: Joseph Castelo
Based on a true story, THE PREPPIE CONNECTION chronicles the exploits of Toby Hammel (Thomas Mann, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL), a working class prodigy who steps into the elite corridors of Sage Hall, a prep school in his hometown, yet a world away. Vying for acceptance in the privileged culture and trying to charm Alex Hayes (Lucy Fry, VAMPIRE ACADEMY), the beautiful and elusive girl of his dreams, Toby quickly learns the way into the “Preppies” is different than he expected – supplying them with cocaine. Toby uses his connections and fearlessness to impress his new friends, but finds that accessing the world of privilege comes at a steep cost. Director Joseph Castelo’s edgy new film offers a unique and intriguing twist on the line between friendship and fitting in, especially when taken too far.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Adapted from the bestselling novel by author and screenwriter Emma Donoghue, ROOM follows Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his Ma (Brie Larson), who live in a small, locked room. Having never left Room, Jack believes that only the things in the room are real and that everything he sees on TV is make-believe. Right after his fifth birthday, Ma reveals the secret that has kept them confined to the room all these years. A harrowing journey of discovery ensues, and Jack has to come to terms with the fact that there’s more to the world outside Room. A profoundly emotional exploration of the bond between mother and son with gripping performances, including Academy Award® nominees Joan Allen and William H. Macy, ROOM demonstrates the unstoppable force with which these bonds prevail even in the darkest circumstances.
SON OF SAUL “SAUL FIA” (Hungary)
Director: László Nemes
Winner of the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival and Hungary’s submission for the Oscars®, SON OF SAUL is the monumental debut feature from Hungarian director László Nemes. Saul Auslander (Géza Röhrig) is a JewishHungarian prisoner in Auschwitz and a member of its Sonderkommando (the body disposal team). With a haunting opening scene that lingers on Saul’s ashen face, his journey through the inferno is transfixing and, ultimately, a poignant danse macabre. When he discovers the body of a boy among the corpses he risks everything to save the corpse from cremation and find a rabbi to recite Kaddish and give him a proper burial. With tightly lensed cinematography, Nemes skillfully recreates the claustrophobic, dehumanizing atmosphere of the camp and its unsettling banality of evil.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Prashant Nair
In the small Indian village of Jitvapur, America (UMRIKA, as it’s known in the local vernacular) is an alluring utopia, vividly detailed in the fantastic letters Udai sends to his younger brother Ramakant. With Udai’s precise whereabouts unknown, Ramakant embarks on a journey to locate his older brother. What unfolds is a refreshingly energetic coming-of-age film in which idyllic images of America help shape and catalyze Ramakant’s entry into adulthood. With a strong cast that includes Suraj Sharma (LIFE OF PI) and Tony Revolori (THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL), UMRIKA is an inspired tale of love, disappointment, and growth.
VIRGIN MOUNTAIN “FÚSI” (Iceland/Denmark)
Director: Dagur Kári
Shy and awkward, Fusi (Gunnar Jónsson ) is in in his forties and still lives with his mother. Expecting little from his routine life and seldom socializing with others, he floats through a life within his own barriers until the bouncy Sjöfn (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) unexpectedly enters his life and he is forced to take a leap. Director Dagur Kári’s fourth film, the award-winning VIRGIN MOUNTAIN is a skillfully told balancing act of two outcasts—a timid hermit and a seemingly grounded extrovert who forces the former out of his shell.
THE WAVE “BØLGEN” (Norway)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Roar Uthaug
Norway’s submission for the Academy Awards®, THE WAVE is based on a terrifyingly plausible scenario. Nestled among Norway’s stunning fjords, Geiranger is one of the most spectacular tourist destinations on the planet. But above it looms a mountain that geologists know will one day collapse, triggering a massive tsunami. When seismic readings on the mountainside start producing unusual data, no one wants to believe that this could be the big one, especially with tourist season at its peak. When the mountain does begins to crumble, every soul in Geiranger has just ten minutes to get to high-ground before the tsunami hits, consuming everything in its path in this pulse-pounding thriller.
FILMS OF CONFLICT AND RESOLUTION
THE ARMOR OF LIGHT (USA)
Director: Abigail E. Disney
With her directorial debut, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, Abigail Disney presents a candid portrait of a brave evangelical minister who questioned whether someone could be both pro-life and pro-gun. A leader of the anti-abortion movement and his church, Reverend Rob Schenck was forced to reconsider his position after meeting Lucy McBath, a fellow Christian and gun control activist, whose son, Jordan Davis, was shot in Florida. Forming an unlikely alliance, the two embarked on a courageous journey, taking on the NRA and the church, giving hope to the idea that we can unite across party lines and find a common ground.
Director: Camilla Nielsson
More than two decades after president Robert Mugabe’s corrupt dictatorship began, international pressure forced Zimbabwe to assemble a bipartisan committee to begin writing the country’s first democratic constitution. With remarkable access and over the course of three years, director Camilla Nielsson traces the arduous process of negotiations led by two rivals appointed to head the committee as they compete and debate the democratic process. At times dramatic and often comical, DEMOCRATS balances the clash of personalities against the backdrop of Mugabe’s regime with intimate moments of honesty and respect.
HE NAMED ME MALALA (USA)
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Academy Award® winner Davis Guggenheim’s (AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, WAITING FOR SUPERMAN) latest documentary is a candid look into the life of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. An advocate for education and children’s rights, Malala was rushed to the hospital after being attacked by the Taliban on October 9, 2012. With the entire world rallied behind her, Malala recovered and co-founded The Malala Fund to empower girls worldwide by facilitating access to education with the belief that “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
THE HIGH SUN “ZVIZDAN” (Croatia/Slovenia/Serbia)
Director: Dalibor Matanic
The inter-ethnic wars that tore Yugoslavia apart loom large in the background of Dalibor Matanić’s latest film THE HIGH SUN, winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and Croatia’s submission for the Oscars®. Although never shown on screen, the tumult of the conflict seeps through and disrupts the lives of three young couples in stories that mirror the turmoil and healing process of a nation at war with itself. The tryptic spans decades: the first story is set in 1991 at the beginning of the war, the second one in 2001 at the end of the war, and the final one a decade later. With superb performances by Tihana Lazovic and Goran Markovic, THE HIGH SUN illuminates the tenacity of love across hatred and ethnic divides.
THE UNCONDEMNED (USA)
Directors: Michele Mitchell, Nick Louvel
THE UNCONDEMNED tells the gripping and world-changing story of a group of young international lawyers and activists who fought to make rape a crime of war, and the Rwandan women who came forward to testify, to win justice, where there had been none. Up until this point, rape had not been considered a war crime and was committed with impunity. A courtroom thriller and personal human drama, THE UNCONDEMNED beautifully interweaves the stories of the characters in this odyssey, leading to the trial in the International Criminal Court–and the results that changed the world of criminal justice forever
COMPASSION, JUSTICE & ANIMAL RIGHTS
THE CHAMPIONS (USA)
Director: Darcy Dennett
THE CHAMPIONS is the powerful story of the brave individuals who rescued, rehabilitated, and adopted the pit-bulls from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s violent dog-fighting ring. Despite tremendous pressure from animal welfare organizations to euthanize these animals, a handful of men and women stepped in to give the dogs a second chance. With her inspiring documentary, first time filmmaker Darcy Dennett proves the power of resilience and addresses a variety of important issues, including the unfair stigma surrounding this misunderstood breed, the exploitation of animals for the sake of entertainment, and the way society is too quick to forgive its star athletes.
HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD (UK/Canada)
Director: Jerry Rothwell
In 1971, a group of journalists, scientists, and hippies set sail on a mission to prevent American atomic tests on an Alaskan Island. Transformed by the experience, this small grassroots band of activists launched the start of the Greenpeace movement. Young, media-savvy, and with cameras in hand, they campaigned against the whaling industry and made front-page news. Compiling never before seen footage into a thrilling and high-energy film, Jerry Rothwell’s HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD chronicles the rise of Greenpeace, their dynamic personalities, and the internal ideological debates about the mission of the organization.
BEST OF ENEMIES (USA)
Audience Award Winner: SummerDocs
Directors: Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon
In 1968, liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. were invited to participate in a series of nationally televised debates on the Democratic and Republican national conventions as an attempt to bump up ratings for ABC. BEST OF ENEMIES is the behind-the-scenes look at the explosive live event, filled with deep insults, both personal and political, that launched the shift in public debate from substance to spectacle. From filmmakers Robert Gordon and Academy Award® winner Morgan Neville (TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM) comes a brilliant and often hilarious take on the verbal boxing match that changed the way we talk about politics.